Iran, Undercover (Video & DVD)
(in English)
A Rare Political Documentary About Iranian Students Movement in Iran 

Dispatches reporter Jane Kokan risks her life as she goes undercover in Iran to obtain secret pictures showing the medieval barbarity the Iranian authorities want to keep hidden. Iran has been labeled part of the Axis of Evil but as Jane discovers, the real evil is the state-sponsored torture and murder of its own young.

This June, violent street demonstrations shook Teheran and other Iranian cities. Students, supported by thousands of ordinary Iranians, took on the mullahs' thuggish vigilantes to demand freedom of expression and democracy: the latest chapter in a peoples' revolution that has been quietly gathering pace. The world saw virtually none of this, because journalists were kept well away, with threats of violence.

They were not idle threats. In July, the Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death after 77 hours of interrogation for photographing students demonstrating outside Evin prison.

No television crew has managed to tell the story Zahra was killed trying to tell - until now. In this special Dispatches , reporter Jane Kokan, another Canadian, goes undercover to reveal what is really going on in Iran, securing exclusive interviews with leaders of Iran's hidden revolution, and detailing, with powerful video and forensic evidence, the 'disappearances' and torture of young people opposed to the regime.

Gaining entry to Iran via an overland package trip from the Balkans, Jane meets up secretly with dissidents right across Iran. Dodging her minders, who stalked her whenever she left her hotel, Jane finds and films the anonymous site in Shiraz where Zahra Kazemi's body was buried.

In a series of covert trips away from the eyes of her minders, Jane films compelling first-hand stories of vicious torture, from student leaders under almost constant surveillance. Jane even manages to interview one the young leaders of the revolution, Amir Fakhravar, on a mobile phone smuggled into his prison cell. This was right in the heart of Teheran under the eyes of the revolutionary guards.

Throughout this cat-and-mouse game with the authorities, Jane films her minders and keeps a vivid diary of her increasingly perilous trip. She is followed to phones and internet cafes, and at every hotel is placed in the same room - 101 - between two minders.

Jane couldn't risk taking her tapes with her back across the border. Instead, they were smuggled out of Teheran, across the Turkish mountains. Just as well Jane didn't take the chance: leaving Iran, she was searched and all her tourist tapes viewed by the authorities: the one incriminating tape she was carrying - last-minute interviews with students in Tabriz - she hid in her knickers.

Seventy per cent of Iranians are under 30, many have access to the Internet and satellite TV and, as one of Jane's confidants says touchingly, all they want is a 'normal life' - free from oppression.

Images from this film:





Zahra Kazemi