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Real Voices of a Country and Its People

"In today’s interconnected global village, Iran remains a mystery to much of the rest of the world―especially to those living in the United States. While the country is often synonymous with rogue behavior on the world stage, there is also another, rarely seen side to this nation."

- Tara Kangarlou

No, this is not a story about Iran, it is a story about its people—stories told through intimate moments and intricate windows of their lives; stories filled with intimacy and irony; stories filled with juxtaposing narratives that guide you through the nuances life in the Islamic Republic of Iran. As you read these stories, you’ll find an intriguing familiarity, yet so distant—tucked away in an isolated country that’s rarely seen through the reality of life in its complex society. These are real stories of ordinary Iranian people who live thousands of miles away in a country that’s often synonymous with rogue behavior on the world stage. These stories are slices of life—of Iranians who want to be heard, be seen, and belong to an international community that often sees them through a blur of a political fog. Iran is a country of 80 million, with a young population that has been living in an isolated and peak-a-boo thrusting society since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This is a country where 60 percent of its population are under the age of 30; a country that is home to the largest population of Jews outside of Israel in the Middle East; a country that has the largest population of Internet users in the region; a country with the most transsexual surgeries in the Middle East; and an Islamic Republic that is an ambiguous question mark for millions of people in the United States and beyond. As you flip through each story, you’ll feel the defiance of a transgender woman whose salvation was in the hands of a prostitute, learn from a young rabbi who is training the future generation of Jewish rabbis in Israel’s enemy state, and walk along side a Muslim cleric who spends his money saving animals and defying religious bigotry - it is then that you will realize that each experience can belong to any one of us. Despite national, ethnic, religious and political divides, these are real people whose fears and dreams mirror that of millions of others worldwide.

"These are frozen moments of life in the schisms of the contemporary Iranian society—stories of love, loss, fear, hope, dreams, and dissolved ambitions and battle royals—true stories about the people who make this country breathe. This is the heartbeat of Iran."


Regarded as the Studs Terkel of Iran, Tara Kangarlou gives readers a never-before-seen and understood side of this country through her in-depth reporting and textured writing.



"Tara conveys all of what she sees, hears and feels -- the vibrancy of the hues, the warmth of the personalities, their charm, the ambient noises, the scents, so vividly; this is no monochromatic culture she is dealing with, but an extraordinary kaleidoscope of human experiences, and all concentrated in a single geography once the home to some of humanity’s greatest poets. I hope you enjoy this magnificent book as much as I did."

— Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein,

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2014-2018)


The Heartbeat Of Iran

The Heartbeat of Iran takes us on a journey into everyday life in Iran, where we meet the diverse people who make up the country’s delicate socio-cultural, political, and religious mosaic. Through portraits of 24 regular Iranians―from a blind Sunni environmental activist to the gay son of a general, from Iran’s first female race car driver to a Saffron farmer in the dry lands of Khorasan―The Heartbeat of Iran reveals an intimate glimpse into people's lives, whose dreams and fears mirror that of millions of others worldwide, and who yearn to join an international community that often views them through the blur of hostile political fog. At a time when the world is grappling with the impact of the pandemic, political and racial divides, The Heartbeat of Iran offers an unprecedented insight into how people's shared humanity, culture, and aspirations are far greater and more powerful than any rift and divide.


All photographs in Iran: Amir Sadeghi (Iran)

Cover Photo: Sabrina Rynas (Germany)

Dress: Ali Karoui (Tunisia) 

Make Up: Al Rumaih Beauty (Kuwait)

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