A Turn in Tehran

A rare visit to Iran during its surprising election reveals a nation eager to be heard

Newsha Tavakolian / Polaris for TIME

Youths hanging out in the western part of Tehran, where mostly middle class families live. They are still doubting who to vote for, or if they will vote at all, they said.

Leaning against the wall in ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini's Tehran sitting room is a portrait of a young boy. A portrait of the Prophet Muhammad as a young boy, to be exact. How is it that this fire-tongued figure of radical Shi'ism, this thrower of fatwas, the face of political Islam, would permit something so sacrilegious as a portrait of the Prophet in his presence, when we all know that depicting the founder of Islam is a sin? The guard at the gate of Khomeini's house and museum in Tehran just shrugged. "I don't know. He just liked it."

A few days...

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