To find your subjects as they really are, go where there are few police. Although Iran remains freer in some ways than neighboring countries such as Syria or Saudi Arabia, it is still a police state. And particularly after the democratic eruptions of 2009, the regime's panicked response has been to crack down even further. Gender relations remain the ultimate barometer of freedom in Iran, and in periods of official anxiety, unrelated men and women are routinely interrogated and punished for being together in public. Despite this, the city has an active dating culture, and couples are ubiquitous, especially in more remote parts of the city. Tehran's mountain parks give a particularly vivid suggestion of how the emerging generation of Tehranis would live and behave in a free city.
Here, a young man sits with his girlfriend in a tea house in Darband, in the foothills of northern Tehran. People go to Darband to have fresh air, hike, eat, drink tea, and most important for the youth, socialize in a calmer atmosphere.