For centuries, Tehran was practically a Western city, with thousands of years of history still unbothered, the beautiful spires and arches and minarets, the varying worlds, now mostly rubble. At its heart, the Grand Bazaar was once an Edenic district full or guest houses and shops, markets and gardens with giant fountains. Corridors with spired ceilings — each blazoned with an intricate design — and stained-glass windows, blue, yellow, red, so that there's a glow all around you as you walk down through the stone walkway.
For roughly six months, Iran has fought back protests and insurrection. Then last week, the whole thing burst wide open.
Thousands of protestors marched to the Grand Bazaar in Iran, as protests in Iran continue for the fourth day. Police fired teargas at unruly crowds — men with fists in the air shouting, "Down with Palestine!" Anytime the police fired another canister of teargas at the protestors, the streets erupted in a scatter of frantic people, clutching their eyes, ducking into storefronts.
Young men in off-brand work-suits sprinted into markets and through backyard alleys. A work truck drove around dispersing bricks for the protestors to hurl at the robotic-looking riot police, with their clubs and their shields and their futuristic helmets.
Peace lasted exactly an hour and 40 minutes.
Oddly, the protests abruptly stopped. An almost eerie, somewhat peaceful hush overtook the city, interrupted by random outbursts throughout the entire country. This peace lasted exactly an hour and 40 minutes, as Iranians watched their soccer team play Portugal in the World Cup.
They tied. But it was not enough: they needed a win.