Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran [NOOK Book]


BONUS: This edition contains a Honeymoon in Tehran discussion guide.

Azadeh Moaveni, longtime Middle East correspondent for Time magazine, returns to Iran to cover the rise of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Living and working in Tehran, she finds a nation that openly yearns for freedom and contact with the West but whose economic grievances and nationalist spirit find an outlet in Ahmadinejad’s strident pronouncements. And then the unexpected ...
See more details below
Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


BONUS: This edition contains a Honeymoon in Tehran discussion guide.

Azadeh Moaveni, longtime Middle East correspondent for Time magazine, returns to Iran to cover the rise of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Living and working in Tehran, she finds a nation that openly yearns for freedom and contact with the West but whose economic grievances and nationalist spirit find an outlet in Ahmadinejad’s strident pronouncements. And then the unexpected happens: Azadeh falls in love with a young Iranian man and decides to get married and start a family in Tehran. Suddenly, she finds herself navigating an altogether different side of Iranian life. As women are arrested for “immodest dress” and the authorities unleash a campaign of intimidation against journalists, Azadeh is forced to make the hard decision that her family’s future lies outside Iran. Powerful and poignant, Honeymoon in Tehran is the harrowing story of a young woman’s tenuous life in a country she thought she could change.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Gaiutra Bahadur
For Moaveni, born and raised in California, Iran is both an intimate and a stranger, a familiar motherland and an alienating theocracy that requires permits for musical instruments and prohibits coed wedding receptions. Yet it isn't only the contradictions of a child of exiles sorting out her identity crisis that makes this book worthwhile. It's the seductive contradictions of the motherland itself.
—The New York Times Book Review
Nahid Rachlin
Moaveni's depiction of Iranian society, her keen eye for detail and her astute observations make for exhilarating reading. One finishes the book feeling sad for a people forced to battle against arbitrary and inconsistent rules, but confident that they will obtain the freedom they long for.
—The Washington Post
Michiko Kakutani
[Honeymoon in Tehran] is a book that uses the author's own experiences as a prism by which to view political developments in Tehran, a book that leaves the reader with an indelible portrait of the author's family and a highly personal picture of Iran's social and political evolution…Ms. Moaveni does an affecting job of conveying how the Islamic government's edicts permeated every aspect of people's private lives.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In her new memoir, American-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad) returns to Tehran in 2005 to cover Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election for Time magazine, hoping to make the city her permanent home. Her plans are complicated by the standoff with the U.S. over Iran's nuclear program, as well as several unexpected turns in her life. She falls in love, moves in with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant, gets married-in that order-in a country that has no word for "boyfriend" and no qualms about brutally beating unmarried pregnant women. Through her own experience, Moaveni reports on the growing apathy of the people of Iran, a society burdened by staggering inflation and tensions between religion, political oppression and secular life, the latter ever more enticing through ubiquitous, illegal satellite television. Gradually, the idealism and religious faith that characterized Moaveni's younger years wane. With the birth of her son, her misgivings come to a head, compounded by the spying, threats and intimidation she experienced at the hands of the Ministry of Intelligence. Moaveni, who now lives in London with her family, has penned a story of coming-of-age in two cultures with a keen eye and a measured tone. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Frank, somewhat scattershot account by California-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad, 2005) of life under Iran's repressive regime. In Tehran in the spring of 2005, sent by Time magazine to evaluate young people's sense of their future on the eve of the Iranian presidential election, Moaveni, who then resided in Beirut, was also testing the waters to see if she wanted to move to Iran permanently. She was charmed by the feeling of thaw that permeated Tehran, the laxness about enforcing dress codes and the yearning for an open society run by a secular government. But the apathy about voting by this generation of Iranians, who cared more about securing material goods than about revolution or civil liberties, enabled the sudden, alarming ascent of fundamentalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the figurehead of an increasingly repressive theocracy. Despite such warning signs over the next two years as the arbitrary police destruction of satellite dishes and Internet censorship, Moaveni stayed, largely because she fell in love with a divorced businessman and became pregnant. (The couple's hasty decision to get married was prompted by fear of "the morality police.") She was required to meet regularly with a government minder to whom she had to reveal her journalistic projects and sources. "Mr. X" grew increasingly menacing, and the author was essentially cowed from talking to anyone or writing about injustice. Moaveni made peace with her decision "to put safety above the story," she writes, though she admires those like her friend Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who risked imprisonment and worse. Blessed with wealthy, influential relatives in a country where connections are everything, theauthor's self-proclaimed naivete is frequently appalling, though it certainly underscores the apolitical nature of a younger generation that dreams primarily of personal freedom from the Islamic regime. Stylistically clunky and excessively detailed, but still a rare, rich glimpse inside a closed society.
From the Publisher
Advance praise for Honeymoon in Tehran

“This perfect blend of political commentary and social observation is an excellent choice for readers interested in going beyond the headlines to gain an in-depth understanding of twenty-first-century Iran.”

“A rare, rich glimpse inside a closed society.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“A story of coming-of-age in two cultures [written] with a keen eye and a measured tone.”
–Publishers Weekly

“Sharp and written with ferociously brilliant reporting, Honeymoon in Tehran, Azadeh Moaveni’s nuanced perspective on her ancestors’ homeland, is without peer.”
–Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan

Honeymoon in Tehran is a timely, well-written, and intimate exploration of the soul of Iran. With an eye for detail and a feel for her subject matter, Moaveni has brought to life a country that is at once immensely important to the West and deeply misunderstood. Honest, perceptive, and nuanced, this tale of love and anguish in the Islamic Republic is brimming with poignant political insights. This book will enchant and educate.”
–Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future

“At a time when Iranian journalists were jailed and their newspapers regularly shut down, Time magazine correspondent Azadeh Moaveni managed to give voice to the Iranian psyche. Fearlessly, Moaveni pushed the limits of her Iranian government minder and refused to be intimidated. Her stories revealed the internal turmoil felt by many Iranians decades after the revolution. Honeymoon in Tehran is a powerful and compelling read that gives a face to the voices of discourse in Iran, voices that still long for a lawful society.”
–Davar Ardalan, senior producer at NPR News and author of My Name Is Iran

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588367778
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 410,475
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Azadeh Moaveni is the author of Lipstick Jihad and the co-author, with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening. She has lived and reported throughout the Middle East, and speaks both Farsi and Arabic fluently. As one of the few American correspondents allowed to work continuously in Iran since 1999, she has reported widely on youth culture, women's rights, and Islamic reform for Time, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. Currently a Time magazine contributing writer on Iran and the Middle East, she lives with her husband and son in London.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. On her trip to Iran to report on the 2005 presidential election, Moaveni encounters many Iranians who are boycotting the vote to register their disapproval with the government. (44) Others, however, plan to participate despite their opposition to the mullahs, because they wish to shape the outcome. Compare these two perspectives of ethicality versus practicality. Discuss whether voting under an authoritarian regime adds to the government’s legitimacy. Are those who choose to abstain also somehow complicit in what unfolds? What would you choose to do in such a situation?

2. Moaveni writes of Iran in 2005, “Iranians accustomed to a bland, mullah-controlled existence lacking in entertainment and retail prospect had never faced so much choice” (47). Compare her portrait of Iran at that moment with the more repressive society she describes in the book’s final pages.

3. In exploring the shock victory of the hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Moaveni learns that he ran on a platform of more jobs and economic change. The new president’s radical Islamic ideology was as much a shock to Iranians as it was to everyone else in the world. Discuss whether the real circumstances surrounding the president’s victory were effectively reported by the Western media. Did you assume that Ahmadinejad reflected Iranians’ true worldview?

4. Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s Nobel laureate, appears as a character throughout the book. How would you describe her?

5. Compare Arash and Azadeh’s attitudes to the Shia festival of Ashoura (119). How do their views reflect their respective experiences with Islam, and Islam’s intersection with politics?

6. Does Azadeh’s description of the government’s premarriage class (141), with its frank discussion of sex and liberal attitudes toward marriage and divorce, resonate with your understanding of Iran as a fundamentalist nation?

7. Was it foolish for Azadeh to risk her future by getting married under Iranian law?

8. Moaveni writes that “Iran has struggled for centuries to reconcile the Islamic and Persian traditions.” The tension between these two pasts recurs throughout the book. Discuss what it means for Iran to be a Persian, as opposed to Arab, nation, and how this history influences Iranians’ identity today (159).

9. Azadeh and Arash argue frequently about Islam, specifically whether the faith should be judged by its core tenets or by the realities of its modern adherents (168). What do you think?

10. In the chapter entitled “The Persian Bride’s Handbook,” Azadeh describes a society enthralled with extravagant weddings. What parallels do you see between the Iranian and the American wedding industries? What does the desire for such productions, the willingness to spend beyond one’s means, say about our societies?

11. As she chronicles Iranians’ attitudes toward their government’s support for groups like Hezbollah, Azadeh portrays a moderate society that frowns upon radicalism and yearns for respectable ties with the outside world (208-216). Is her depiction surprising, given how Iran is typically portrayed in the media? Is it convincing?

12. Discuss Azadeh’s interaction with the family she describes in the chapter “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” How do Azadeh’s attitudes toward her reporting and the Iranians she interacts with evolve throughout the book?

13. The history of Iran-U.S. relations, particularly the impact of the two countries’ troubled relationship on the daily lives of Iranians, is discussed throughout the book. Arash describes how U.S. economic sanctions keep Microsoft from developing Farsi software, effectively denying millions of Iranians access to computer-based learning. We learn that sanctions bar Iran from buying American and often European aircraft, and that many civilians die each year from air accidents in shoddy Russian planes. Azadeh also finds that the Bush administration’s democracy promotion fund has prompted a major government crackdown on civil society. She writes that “activists and scholars, the people who were toiling in their respective fields to make Iran a more open society, were being targeted as a result.” Discuss how intimately U.S. policy affects Iranians’ lives.

14. Azadeh questions “whether it was even possible to raise an open-minded, healthy child in a culture that was fundamentalist and anarchic.” Discuss how families cope when trying to impart values that run counter to the mainstream culture around them.

15. Azadeh writes that “paradoxically, authoritarian laws had somehow made Iranian society more tolerant” (282). In her description of young Iranian women’s instrumentalist attitude toward the veil, she interprets the ease with which women shed or don the veil to suit their relationship ambitions as progress. Would you agree that this is progress within a still deeply patriarchal culture, or do you consider it just an extenuation of adjusting to fit the demands of men?

16. The portrait of Iran that emerges throughout Honeymoon in Tehran is often quite complex. Azadeh describes the regime’s censorship of music and literature, but points out that censorship predates the Islamic Republic. In describing how Iranians’ attitudes toward music have evolved in the last century, she notes how the government’s repressiveness once reflected very real culture mores: “Something in our culture nurtures tyranny, and has for centuries.” Discuss the theme of complicity between Iranians and their government.

17. Discuss how Azadeh’s relationship with Mr. X evolves throughout the book.

18. In the Epilogue, Azadeh finds motherhood in the West more challenging and isolating than in Iran. Discuss how cultural norms of family life influence how stay-at-home mothers and working mothers are able to balance their own needs against those of their children.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    An interesting read but falls short of its potential.

    I was very interested in reading a book that offered an inside look at the workings of Iran - the people, their daily lives, what they think of their own government. And while those insights are provided in the book, the style of the author, Azadeh Moaveni, is a bit off-putting. She obviously loves Iran, the country of her parents' birth and, in many ways, the country of her heart. However, what comes across in the book is that she is attracted to the idea of Iran - its history, poetry, art, ancient religious traditions - and it is obvious that, to her, the reality of Iran falls far short of her expectations. While that is entirely understandable, her constant protestations about the affection and deep connection she has for the country are irritating in the face of her constant naiveté about conditions in Iran along with her unfortunate tone of intellectual arrogance, a combination that often puts her and her loved ones in potentially dangerous situations.
    Her relationship with her faith is similar in many ways. She loves Islam because it reminds her of her grandmother, she loves its mysticism and rituals, she is enthralled by the crowds of men whipping themselves in ritualistic mourning for the death of Muhammad's grandson. In short, she loves it for its drama and the fond memories it evokes of a much-loved relative. But again, the realities of the thing irritate her. She is angered at the need to cover her hair (an anger I would share), she ignores the rule about avoiding alcohol, she even chooses a Zoroastrian wedding rather than an Islamic one. While I can understand this paradox, it is the thinly veiled tone of arrogance that ruined it for me. There is an undeniable sense of condescension in this book and it detracts from the situations that are supposed to draw the reader in and, one suspects, garner sympathy for the author. Ms. Moaveni seems to have gone into her experience in Iran with blinders on. She is a woman who had extensive experiencing traveling in Iran for her work as a journalist but didn't seem to see the reality of the country. When confronted with it, she tends to bury her head in the sand. The book had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it didn't deliver.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Iranian life post revolution but pre-protest

    The author of this book also wrote "Lipstick Jihad" and is a journalist. However, this book is more of a personal diary regarding her life in Iran, and the cultural difficulties of being an Iranian who was raised in the United States.
    If you enjoy personal biographies that give you insight into a countries culture this is a good choice. This is not a dry scientific tome.
    My criticism would be that you are getting an upper-class view of the current situation in Iran. It would have been interesting if the author reached beyond her own circles and had more interaction with Iranians of different backgrounds.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2009

    Not as good as Ms. Moaveni's first book--Lipstick Jihad

    I was disappointed when I read Honeymoon in Tehran. The overall book and chapter titles were misleading and provoked the reader to bland endings. The book did not go through a second draft it seems, with the various grammatical errors. Also, fancy words slowed the reader down, which caused the book to drag. Ms. Moeveni's knowledge and research about the Iranian culture and its people was excellent, but her approach and story telling failed to satisfy the reader. However, I recommend her first book Lipstick Jihad since it seemed to be more interesting and stimulating to the reader. Honeymoon in Tehran was repetitive and took longer to read because I'd expected it to be just as good as the first memoir.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting POV

    I think this is kind of a tough read and hard to get into if you aren't used to her writing style. Luckily I have read her previous book and was prepared. I like how she includes lot of history of Iran both cultural and political to help you better understand the current state of the country and the way the population feels about what is going on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)