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Iranian Television broadcast American, English and European series and movies dubbed in Persian. The National Iranian Television N.I.T.V was considered as the second channel which had programs in English and the series could be followed in the original language. It was only by the mid Seventies that this channel was broadcast beyond Teheran, the Capital, to the whole country. Larger image

Like all new and foreign products these shows brought their share of good and bad. The characters in these shows sometimes served as new role models in a society which was quickly being modernized and westernized. Iranian Films as well as series were often copying these series to a certain extent but did not have the same success.

However Iranian productions such as Atash Bedooneh Dood, Soltaneh Saheb Gharan, Octopus,Daei Jan Napoleon, as well as TV shows like Mohandes Billi (BBC) were very popular and by the mid seventies equally competed with these western shows. The Iranian audience was therefore very much in phase with television programs in western democracies. I was often surprised to see fellow American comrades surprised to see their favorite TV show like Star Trek or Sesame Street on Iranian TV and in Persian.

It is no surprise that one of the first decrees of the New revolutionary government was to censor all American shows or cartoons seen as a form of brainwashing and un Islamic The Disney channel shows which were extremely popular among the youth was gradually replaced by East European cartoons like "Lolek and Polek" which would also be subject to censorship for example if a girl would kiss or hold the hands of a boy.

Television was to become more and more dogmatic and entertainment programs were to be replaced by religious programs. At some point the Islamic Television was to be named "Sheesheh va Rish " i.e. "Glass and Beard" by secular Iranians One show called "Run Joe Run" about a dog who was a veteran of the Vietnam War was so successful that it kept being shown until the Hostage crisis of the US embassy started.

One can like or dislike the influence of these shows but one thing is certain they have influenced several generations of Iranians with the Western culture and habits. This could also probably explain why the Iranian Diaspora has had less difficulties in integration in the West than many other nationalities or minorities.
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Sent by Darius Kadivar

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