I am fortunate enough, despite the widespread internet bans in Iran, to have sources there. For obvious reasons, no name or location will be shared, but I asked one young person I know to tell us about daily life in Iran.

I wanted the chance to find out how everyday people feel about not only their government and the rules imposed on them, but how they view the world outside Iran, too. The nuclear deal that has been scrapped, for instance, how has that, or outside sanctions affected the people’s daily lives? What are their views about what the western world should do in regards to Iran?

I asked questions about regime officials and how people feel when they see them in the streets as they pass. Essentially, I asked my friend to be our eyes and show us his world through them so we can know. What follows here is a fairly brief first message he chose to send, and there will be more to come.

So, in his own words (edited only for a tiny bit of grammar by me), here is what he had to say so far.

“Hi. First off I’m not a writer. I am just a guy who is a hostage in this country.

I honestly don’t know if anyone reads this or not but I promise to share couple of my stories with you guys. I want to be honest. I want to share my thoughts, my hope, my dream as a Iranian and hopefully you’ll read it.
What laws must I obey? What should I do to avoid capture by authorities?
I don’t know how much you guys know about Iran but I try my best to share everything I could with you guys.

In Iran you must obey the law like any other country. The catch is this: law is based on Islam. Like having scarf for women, or you can’t kiss a girl in public etc…
I know it’s insane.

I can tell you guys so many crazy stories.

This time I want to say one important thing. Iranian people don’t hate Trump because of the exiting from Iran deal.
Travel ban maybe but not Iran deal. It’s Iran government fault not US or UK but we think airplane or emergency needs like medicine should be a exception for the new boycott.People need those things so bad. Boycott government people, or their money outside of Iran.

We don’t care. Its not our money.

You guys should know we didn’t get any benefit from Iran deal.

Yeah I’m scared about the future sometimes. What will happen next? We gonna be more poor? Are we gonna lose our houses? Hope not.

You guys remember that money with the plane right? in cash. Do you think that money save our economy? NO. We didn’t get any benefit from it. NONE. Trust me.
You know 1$ = 7500 Toman (our currency). That is insane.
That money could solve our problem but we didn’t get anything from it.
People get poorer every day.

I’m jobless right now.

I study as engineer architect and my twin brother is in university. I was working in a factory. Me with university degrees!!! I know.

Last year they laid me off. Payment was bad. Every 3 months, I know that sucks but still I got paid.

It was hard for me. Now I have to survive. Maybe I couldn’t found any job. I don’t know. You know what is funny this restriction for people of Iran.
For example did you know I cant buy a game from Ubisoft or EA or Blizzard(except for steam, kodus to them)? Did you know I can’t play an online game that uses Google servers?
Google blocking Iranian IP.

That’s insane. Its just a video game and there no excuse for that. None.I have a folder in my computer.

I take a screenshot from any restriction I see.
“Sorry but this item is not available in your country”, “Sorry but according to USA trade restriction you cant login or buy this item”.
I saw these message so many times. I know its just a video game but imagine with all sad things you see everyday, sometimes you just want stay away from them and be happy and enjoy your games for a couple hours.

Just let us to play a video game or having access to a specific medicine or new airplane.

I hope someday everything change.I hope I see E3 someday. This year EA will show Battlefield V and Anthem in E3 2018.
I hope until release date something will change and I could play those games. I don’t know but I know something for sure:

Iranian people are in Hell from inside and doomed from outside.”

– End of Source’s words.

He is a young man in Iran, who hopes to see a regime change happen. He hopes it will be done in some peaceful way, but he often tells me that things have gotten so desperate that there are many days he feels very hopeless, depressed and without optimism that anything will ever improve. He speaks of the lack of specific medications- most of them for Cancer treatment that people are unable to find access to, and how so many educated people were working in factories and other manual labor jobs due to the economic catastrophe under this regime.

He tells me how suppressed people are in general, and how somber the mood is while walking down the street. Where he should see young people busily racing around his city on their way to work, school or off with friends, he sees mostly misery. There are no movies to go see, no concerts, no fun to be had.
While games are held in stadiums in large cities, women aren’t allowed and music itself is all but banned by the regime.

Just to use social media or the internet in general, a person must be tech-savvy enough to know how to access it using VPNs and all manner of proxy servers. Even then, they cannot access much. He describes a world where you can be arrested for saying, writing or wearing the wrong thing, and where you can’t even play your favorite video game.

I can only imagine the uproar in the United States if our own government tried to ban even video games, let alone music concerts and the rest of it.

Provided he chooses to write more and is able to give us a further glimpse into life there, I will happily post it in my tiny corner of the web in hopes that I can help him tell the world what he’d like them to know about life under the Islamic Republic of what was formally Iran. Now, it is only a prison people hope to escape from one day.

– Rachel