Esfahan TV, which had televised the prayer service, saw us and wanted an interview. It was exciting to be on local TV. They asked why we were here, how I saw Iranian people, and why I thought there was a problem between the US and Iran. (I pointed out the "Death to Israel" banner that was prominently displayed in the mosque, for starters.) They fixated on whether our show would actually air...and if we'd spin our report to make Iran look evil.
Leaving the mosque, our crew pondered how easily the footage we'd just shot of the prayer service could be cut and edited to appear either menacing or heartwarming, depending on our agenda. Our mosque shots could be juxtaposed with guerillas leaping over barbed wire and accompanied by jihadist music to be frightening. Instead, we planned to edit it to match our actual experience: showing the guards and “Death to Israel” banner, but focusing on the men with warm faces praying with their sons at their sides, and the children outside scrambling for mulberries.
We set up to film across the vast square from the mosque. My lines were memorized and I was ready to go. Then, suddenly, the cleric with the beaming smile came toward us with a platter of desserts — the local ice cream specialty, like frozen shredded wheat sprinkled with coconut. I felt like Rafsanjani himself was serving us ice cream. We had a lively conversation, joking about how it might help if his president went to my town for a prayer service, and my president came here.
About This Entry
You are reading "Friday Prayers in Iran, Part 2", an entry posted on 07 April 2010 by Rick Steves.