Daily Dose of Iran

Iran has appeared in numerous headlines around the world in recent months, usually attached to stories about military exercises and other saber-rattlings, economic sanctions, a suspected nuclear program, and varied political struggles. Iran is a country of more than 75 million people with a diverse history stretching back many thousands of years. Iran is also home to nearly 300,000 Christians, and the largest community of Jews in the Middle East outside Israel.

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 Iranian grooms, Javad Jafari, left, and his brother, Mehdi, right, pose for photographs with their brides, Maryam Sadeghi, second left, and Zahra Abolghasemi, who wear their formal wedding dresses prior to their wedding in Ghalehsar village, about 220 mi (360 km) northeast of the capital Tehran, Iran, on July 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian grooms, pose for photographs with their brides, . (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
 Palangan Village, in the mountains near the Iraq border. Palangan, illustrative of many of the country's rural settlements, has benefited handsomely from government support. Many villagers are employed in a nearby fish farm, or are paid members of the Basij, whose remit includes prevention of "westoxification", and the preservation of everything the 1979 Islamic revolution and its leader the Ayatollah Khomeini stood for, including strict rules on female clothing and male/female interaction. (© Amos Chapple)
Palangan Village, in the mountains near the Iraq border. (© Amos Chapple)
 Iranian rollerbladers wait to hear whistle of referee, to start their competition, in a women's rollerblading championship league, at the Azadi (Freedom) sport complex, in Tehran, on June 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #
Iranian rollerbladers wait to hear whistle of referee, to start their competition, in a women’s rollerblading championship league, at the Azadi (Freedom) (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #
 commemorative plate of the former Shah of Iran in an antique store in Shiraz. The Shah was given an Authoritarian hold on power thanks to an MI6 and CIA-backed coup in 1953 which deposed Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and cost the lives of several hundreds of Iranian citizens. "Operation Ajax" was actioned after Mosaddegh nationalized the petroleum industry of Iran, thus shutting out British dominance of an industry they had controlled since 1913. That Mosaddeqh had been a democratically-elected leader, with wide popular support fueled resentment at the Shah, who many saw as a brutal puppet for the west. The anger at western intervention stoked strong initial support for the virulently anti-western Ayatollah Khomeini. (© Amos Chapple) #
commemorative plate of the former Shah of Iran in an antique store in Shiraz.(© Amos Chapple) #
ranian Ghashghai men play a traditional game called Dorna Bazi during a nomadic pastoralist festival in northern Tehran, on September 16, 2011. The Ghashghai are Iran's largest nomadic pastoralist group who live in Fars, Khuzestan and southern Isfahan province. Each year they travel with their flocks from Shiraz in the hot season to the winter pastures near the Persian Gulf. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Iranian Ghashghai men play a traditional game called Dorna Bazi during a nomadic pastoralist festival in northern Tehran. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
min Gholami, right, dances in Azeri-style as Aydin Kanani plays a Gaval, a large tambourine, in the Gharadagh mountainous area in northwestern, Iran, on October 26, 2011. In the 1980s, Iran's music almost vanished. Music schools went into full recession, police or militias stopped cars to check what passengers were listening to and broke tapes playing pre-revolutionary singers, and clerical institutions even banned music as un-Islamic. But Iran's social life has dramatically changed a decade later, with a landslide victory of former President Mohammad Khatami relaxing some of rigid restrictions on cultural and social activities, including bans on music bands, but Iran has recently tightened censorship of books, films, and music since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power. (AP Photo) #
Amin Gholami, right, dances in Azeri-style as Aydin Kanani plays a Gaval, a large tambourine, in the Gharadagh mountainous area in northwestern, Iran . (AP Photo) #