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Interview: The Voice Of Iran's Youth

Young shoppers at a Tehran music store (epa) In November, RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari spoke with 19-year-old Arash, who delivers pizzas for a Tehran pizzeria. He tells RFE/RL that young people in Iran are worried about the future.

Arash: Regarding the demands of young people, several issues need to be taken into account. First of all, their demands should be taken seriously. Somebody should listen to their demands, their problems. Then there are the financial problems [unemployment]. Most of them are worried about their future, what’s going to happen to them. And most of them say, "our families do not understand us.” These are the main problems of the youth. Most of them are pessimistic about the future. They have no hope”

RFE/RL: How about yourself?

Arash: My heart is broken. I have no hope and I don’t have [a proper] job.

RFE/RL: Many young Iranians say they want more social freedom. They want to have the freedom to wear what they want and be free to go out and socialize with members of the opposite sex. Is there concern that there could be a crackdown on the relative social freedom that there is now?

Arash: Young people manage to do what they want to do, including having relations with [members of the opposite sex] regardless of restrictions. But their main problem is money. Many of them think about it. Outside Iran they say that boys and girls are arrested in Iran because they've been together -- it's really not true. Everyday I see many young men who are with their girlfriends and nobody bothers them. There are not many restrictions.

RFE/RL: Do you feel that many young people are politically oriented or is it the opposite?

Arash: For some, politics is important; for others its not. Most of them do not want to get involve in politics.

RFE/RL: Why is that?

Arash: I don’t know. I personally don’t like politics at all.

RFE/RL: How do young people spend their free time?

Arash: Those who have money drive their cars and turn up the music. They go up town; they go to the shopping malls; they eat pizzas. Those who don’t have money just wander around aimlessly in the streets; they go to the park. Some go the sports club, and some just stay home and sleep.

The Power Of Youth

The Power Of Youth

A special webpage devoted to youth-oriented political movements around RFE/RL's broadcast region.