My Name is Iran

Series Chronicles Personal Journey, Struggle for Change in Iran

Listen: Morning Edition audio - Part 2

Listen: Morning Edition audio - Part 3

Davar Ardalan

NPR Producer Davar Ardalan lived in Iran under both the Shah's reign and that of the Ayatollahs. Saied Ghaffari hide caption

itoggle caption Saied Ghaffari
Ardalan, in1982, posing like Brooke Shields.

Ardalan, in 1982, posing like Brooke Shields. It was taken at a photographer's studio in Boston, where she attended high school for a time. Courtesy Davar Ardalan hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Davar Ardalan
Ardalan in headscarf

Ardalan, photographed in Tehran in 1984, five years after the fall of the Shah: "I'm veiled and somber, a young bride in Ayatollah Khomeini's new revolution." Courtesy Davar Ardalan hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Davar Ardalan

Her great-grandfather — Ali Akbar Davar — created Iran's legal code in the late 1920s. NPR's Davar Ardalan has lived in Iran under both the Shah's reign and that of the Ayatollahs. In a three-part Morning Edition series produced with American RadioWorks, she traces her personal journey and Iran's struggle for a lawful society, 25 years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

»American RadioWorks: My Name is Iran

Photos, essays and background on key players in the human rights struggle in Iran.

A century ago, Iran became the first country in the Middle East to bring together secular and religious law. In 1979, an Islamic revolution made Iran a theocracy and enshrined religious law as supreme. The changes were dramatic: women were stoned for adultery, children could be tortured, and the age of marriage for girls reduced to nine. Now, a movement is growing within Iran to create a society that ensures human rights.

Inside Iran's courtrooms, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and other lawyers are fighting for change. They've been successful in raising the age of marriage for girls from nine to 13 and divorced women now can have custody of male children up to the age of seven. But they are confronting hard-line clerics who are adamant that the legal system remain based on their interpretation of the word of God.

Ardalan and co-producer Rasool Nafisi explore the ferment in today's Iran at a time when other nations in the Islamic world are debating how to balance secular and sacred law in a modern society.

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