Honeymoon in Tehran
Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran
Azadeh Moaveni

Random House
Hardcover/352 pages
ISBN: 140006645X
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". . . a glimpse through cracked rose-colored glasses that is enlightening, sad, and honest."

Honeymoon in Tehran: A memoir that reluctantly takes off the rose-colored glasses.


It would seem that with Azadeh Moaveni’s background, being born in Iran and raised and educated in the United States, she is the best person to provide the rest of the world with an even and balanced view of Iran under the mullahs. In some ways that is true. However, in Honeymoon in Tehran Moaveni’s effectiveness as an unbiased journalist is questionable. In light of her own admission that she slants her articles in order to stay out of trouble with the Iranian government—and to stay in good graces with her government handler, Mr. X—it is difficult to tell what Moaveni leaves out of her story.

Throughout the memoir, Moaveni’s clear prose and obvious romance with Iran’s history and culture are evidence of a deep connection with her roots and an honest wish to show her embattled country and its people in the best light. However, her ambivalence toward what her homeland has become is clear. On one hand she is a foreigner with a romantic view of Islam and Iran and a longing to reconnect with her roots, a longing she learned from her grandmother who shared the beauty of Islam with her. On the other hand Moaveni is a journalist from Iran’s greatest enemy, the United States, and is therefore a stranger with a hidden agenda constantly under surveillance, afraid that her next article or book will land her in prison where she will be tortured, beaten and may die. She has to choose between compromising her journalistic principles and neutrality with her own safety.

Honeymoon in Tehran is a balancing act over a tank of ravenous sharks. Moaveni is a gifted journalist who does her best to illuminate the dark corners of Iranian society in spite of her qualms about the price she pays to remain among her friends and extended family. This memoir is also a chronicle of a woman caught in a cycle of pain and reward that shares much of the sensibility and compromises of an abusive relationship, one she is reluctant to leave. She focuses on the honeymoons between the periods of abuse, mirroring the relationship many Iranians have with the theocratic government of their country.

Azadeh Moaveni provides a very humane portrait of Iran, making Honeymoon in Tehran a memorable account of the hidden faces of the people. She gives the reader a glimpse of a world most Westerners would not otherwise see. Honeymoon in Tehran is a glimpse through cracked, rose-colored glasses that is enlightening, sad and honest.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell