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Freed from an Iranian Prison, a Writer's New World

[caption id="attachment_8730" align="alignright" width="300"](Photo: flickr/blondinrikard) (Photo: flickr/blondinrikard)[/caption] What we know about Iran - its sponsorship of terrorism, its violent hatred of Israel and the United States - shows that the Islamic Republic is not to be trusted, despite what those who champion the recent nuclear deal insist. Writing at Matter, an Iranian writer looks at the world of today - of his home country, and at the larger world - after being freed from prison:

Seven months ago, I sat down at the small table in the kitchen of my 1960s apartment, nestled on the top floor of a building in a vibrant central neighbourhood of Tehran, and I did something I had done thousands of times previously. I opened my laptop and posted to my new blog. This, though, was the first time in six years. And it nearly broke my heart.

A few weeks earlier, I’d been abruptly pardoned and freed from Evin prison in northern Tehran. I had been expecting to spend most of my life in those cells: In November 2008, I’d been sentenced to nearly 20 years in jail, mostly for things I’d written on my blog...

Around me, I noticed a very different Tehran from the one I’d been used to. An influx of new, shamelessly luxurious condos had replaced the charming little houses I was familiar with. New roads, new highways, hordes of invasive SUVs. Large billboards with advertisements for Swiss-made watches and Korean flat screen TVs. Women in colorful scarves and manteaus, men with dyed hair and beards, and hundreds of charming cafes with hip western music and female staff. They were the kinds of changes that creep up on people; the kind you only really notice once normal life gets taken away from you...

Six years was a long time to be in jail, but it’s an entire era online. Writing on the internet itself had not changed, but reading — or, at least, getting things read — had altered dramatically...

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