Ask An Iranian

Ask An Iranian

There's nothing sensible about what we're doing — like hosting Iran's #1 English-language podcast, based in Iran... until we can't. So get that hashtag ready #FreeAskAnIranian

Episodes

April 5, 2021 41 min

Time—it has been said—is a concept, by which we measure our pain. We’re gonna say it again… time… is a concept… by which we measure… our pain. Now, let’s take that concept (with its accompanying pain) and turn it around. In doing this, we’ve invented celebrations. Some peoples and cultures mark the measurement of time on a seemingly random time-space moment known as January 1st, and others do so on the Spring Equinox. Iran is o...

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Colour plays an important role in the social hierarchy, and it’s important that everyone knows their place. Such social constructs play an important part in elevating the important people above the lower-level nobodies. Using this construct we wanted to elevate ourselves, which is why we wanted to have a certain guest on the show. This guest, among other many great things, is universally known for his colour. Tehran Von Ghasri ...

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There are languages you know you speak, and there are bits of other languages that you don’t know you speak. New concepts arrive; those concepts get coined, and as and when they get used elsewhere, we see languages evolve. To give yourself an example, simply try speaking English, without using Latin, Greek or, heaven forbid, French. The embryonic stages of this phenomena can be referred to as code-switching. This is the term us...

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February 23, 2021 43 min

It was Voltaire that once said, “paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value: zero”. The US dollar is getting close in that respect, in that $100 in 1913 would only be worth about $3.87 today. In the race to the bottom, however, the Iranian Rial is winning. It took around a 5th of the time for Iran to achieve this decrease. One such purported reason for the invention of Bitcoin in 2008, was to counter this specific si...

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February 17, 2021 61 min

What are the first words you learn when learning another language? It’s always the same of course! You learn how to ask if the meat is halal, if the toilets have a botty-hose, and of course, the names of various four-legged animals. After you’ve impressed any newly-found foreign friends with the names of four-legged animals in their language, they’ll likely proceed to teach you more words. Don’t be confused though when they fol...

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February 9, 2021 56 min

You’re a curious one, aren’t you! You’re not alone though, you are most likely a human, which means you think things like, “what happens if I put an effervescent tablet in sparkling water?”. There are some things that you think about but never act on, such as pushing that man in front of that bus. You don’t do it, because you’re most likely a human. There are some things you stop yourself from doing, but at times, there are som...

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February 2, 2021 63 min

What is the sweetest, most important sound in any language, and why does it have so many variations? Well, according to Dale Carnegie, writer of one of the most popular 20th-century books, that sound is the sound of your own name. If you’re new to Iranian names though, you’ll likely be making them sound less sweet. Fear not though, this episode can help remedy this, while also enlightening you on the many odd things there are t...

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January 25, 2021 47 min

Are you bored with the long-running spat between Iran and everyone? Us neither! It’s so long-running that academia has kinda coined a word for it. Yes, don’t be surprised if you later find out that some Iranian, in some Western university decided to summarise all this hoohaa as “geopolitics“. Anywhats, who does geopolitics better than academia? Well, Michael does! The Red Line podcast is Michael Hilliard‘s baby, and it’s grown ...

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January 18, 2021 39 min

It goes without saying that Iranians invented pretty much everything, ever! So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the two-handed finger-snap is better known as the Iranian finger-snap. This method of finger-clicking is not only different, in that it requires two hands, but it’s different in that it’s loud! In fact, if you listen carefully, you’ll currently hear several Iranian grandmothers, sat around a room, finger-snapping ...

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January 12, 2021 65 min

What somebody identifies as has been all the rage in recent years, but like nearly everything—ever!—Iranians did it first. Since 1935, when Iran ceased to officially be Persia, Iranians have been choosing to refer to themselves as Persians. Throughout the following years, the reasons have changed for why one identifies as Iranian or Persian, and it’s exactly this that we wanted to explore. To help you understand more about this...

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Unfortunately, you don’t yet have a Universal Translator, and most likely, you don’t have 200 years to wait for one. You do, however, have various translation tools available to you, but… effort… urgh! You’ve learned English, and you’ve probably also worked hard for an IELTS 7.5 result, but do Tehran baristas share your ambition of being a polyglot, global citizen? We’ll it kinda turns out that they do. Well, at least the one t...

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December 28, 2020 39 min

There’s beef; there’s a whole lot of beef; and there’s a meat-feast, at a carvery, on a Sunday, at the Annual Cannibal Conference, level of beef. This is the level of beef that we’ve arrived at between Iran and America. In this episode, we discuss some of the defining points in the decades of drama between these two nations. We also touch upon how things were once very much the other around. To help see how modern-day Iranians ...

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December 22, 2020 48 min

We’re “glass-half-full” kinda people, which is why we never look at an empty pistachio shell with a frown. No, no! There are many applications for an empty pistachio shell, and we’re sure that we’ll find them soon. For those that aren’t us though, the year 2020 was like finding that empty pista chio shell — an expected nutty experience. For this episode, we wanted to reflect on the year that has passed, by asking our previous g...

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Each year, Light conquers Dark. It’s not even a competition! Light is truly a bad-ass battler, and Dark’s heart is really never in it. It’s for this reason that the bookies will never give you good odds. This is 2020 however, and things could end up going the other way. To help prepare you for a possible Team Light lights-out, we tell you all you need to know about the Night of Yalda, while also foreseeing what 2021 holds. To d...

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December 7, 2020 57 min

You say hello, and we Iranians say goodbye, goodbye, and goodbye. It is an almost ritualistic ending to any gathering and is a practice that you should definitely know about. In this episode we let you know how to delicately announce your departure, and how to respond when your host protests. This practice is so important that we’ve borrowed a term for it. We call this Irexit, which is short for, the Iranian exit. So, if you’re...

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November 30, 2020 65 min

Catering to 8.5m Tehran residents with increased exposure to, and an increased expectation for international dishes is tough. Although tough, it’s also been one of the reasons behind the capital’s recent restaurant industry boom. Yes, part of this boom has been accompanied by Iroonianising the hell out of well known international dishes, but you gotta do what you gotta do. To help us get a taste of what Tehran has to offer, as ...

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November 23, 2020 58 min

Words of affection, for Iranians, will flow out like endless rain into a paper cup. In fact, the Iranian universe is positively overflowing with them — so much so that even the Iranians can’t keep up. If you’re new to learning about affection in Iranian culture, it’s weird; if you’re familiar with Iranian culture, it’s weird. Regardless of how familiar you are, it’s always good to be fresh with your words of affection. To help ...

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November 16, 2020 56 min

Taxi trips are more than just a means of getting from A to B — they are about the experiences on the journey. Taxi trips in Iran however, are somewhat similar and somehow different. On a taxi journey in Iran, you’ll likely be taken through the entire alphabet, but you can at least hop out happy, knowing that you’re now ‘au fait’ on the latest happenings. This is because Tehran’s taxi drivers are the most up-to-date resource for...

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November 9, 2020 78 min

A question that has likely crossed your mind this week is, whether you should move to Iran or not. Well, you’re not alone. To help those wrestling with this decision we brought in Katya, the woman behind ‘Stranger In Tehran’. For ten years or so, this Russian-born lady has been using her platform to collect her experiences of Iran and to help others learn more about the place. For this episode David, our host, and Katya join fo...

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November 2, 2020 49 min

As is said in Persian, “Iranians worship strangers”, and therefore lavishing them with nuts and tea is a standard. To take it to the next stage however, Iranians need to bring out the compliments and the comedy. In this episode we explore that, and more, with an emerging young Iranian comedian, based in Toronto. Neema Naz joins us to chat about Iranian humour and the contemporary comedy scene, as well as his recent role in the hit ...

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