November 2020
Editor’s Note

Paris: The Iranian Muse

In this issue we turn to Paris, which has been a secular haven for generations of Iranians. Join us as we explore a few of Iranian culture’s many connections with the City of Light.

Mozaffar Din Shah in Europe

Mozaffar al-Din Shah and Akkasbashi: The Initiators

The French-Iranian Film Connection is almost as old as cinema itself. In 1900, in a French spa town and then the Paris world’s fair, Mozaffar al-Din Shah encountered the new medium and ordered it brought to Iran.

Tehran, Abi & Rabi

Khan-baba Khan Motazedi: The Professional

The first Iranian to set out to make a career as a filmmaker, Motazedi acquired his skills as a young man in Paris. He would go on to open Tehran’s first movie theaters accessible to both men and women.

Farokh Ghafari: The Cosmopolitan

In the 1940s, Ghafari moved to Paris and into the heart of its vibrant cinephilic milieu, hired as an assistant by Henri Langlois, cofounder and director of the Cinémathèque Française.

Albert Lamorisse

Albert Lamorisse: The Innovator

With his documentary The Lovers’ Wind, Lamorisse has a modestly scaled, marvelously achieved place in the French-Iranian Film Connection, and a tragic one.

Fereydoun Hoveyda

Fereydoun Hoveyda: The Provocateur

Hoveyda was at the center of Paris film culture in the 1950s and 1960s, writing pivotal essays for Cahiers du Cinéma alongside François Truffaut and spearheading acclaim for Jerry Lewis.

From Diary of H.M. the Shah of Persia (Nasseredin Shah Qajar)

How Paris Bedazzled a Persian King

“We rose early in the morning, went down into a boat, and pushed off for the shore,” wrote Naser al-Din Shah, recalling his arrival in Paris on July 6, 1873.

Diaries of Haj Sayyah

Paris: A City That “Looked Like Jewelry”

From the Diaries of Haj Sayyah: “There was music and singing in coffee shops and theatres…. The trees were festooned with green lights…. Young people and children danced…. They enjoyed complete freedom.”

Iranians in Paris


Following in the tradition of capturing the American literary experience in Paris, from Stein to Hemingway to Baldwin, here’s a primer on some of the Iranian experience in France’s capital.

Iran's Military Assets Inside Syria

Iran’s Military Assets Inside Syria

It is an open secret that the Islamic Republic maintains a heavy military presence inside Syria, where for the past decade it has supported Bashar al Assad against an armed rebellion.