Feb 182010
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

After traveling there with her mother last May, Fort Collins resident Heidi Nash said Thursday a summer day in Iran is comparable to one in Fort Collins.

And while media coverage often portrays the Middle Eastern country as one of violence and terrorism, Nash and her mother, Jeanne Nash, said that is not always the case.

“Going to Iran is safer than going to Denver or New Orleans,” Jeanne Nash, a local artist told about eight people who attended International Night at the Library at the Council Tree Library.

A slideshow played during the presentation showed college students walking down city sidewalks and on campus studying, a family of five trying to crowd onto one bicycle and about 10 small boys sitting against a wall, eagerly waiting to have their photo taken.

Last May, the duo jumped at the opportunity to travel with 23 others –– doctors and scientists –– to a country so few people know about or understand. And upon their return, both were eager to share their experiences with others.

Heidi Nash painted a picture of a beautiful country with mountains, snow and ski resorts. She described the general hospitality, and above all, how safe she felt while traveling there.

“Everyone we talked to was very curious. Everyone loved Americans,” Jeanne Nash said, adding that American’s are often led to believe the opposite by the media.

“Everyone said that they thought it was wonderful that we (American troops) were in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said. “We (America) are their best chance at a democracy.”

Throughout the presentation, both women had an underlying tone of mockery for the American point of view of Iran and how the country is displayed in our news.

Often covered by the media, many nations have condemned Iran for its construction of nuclear power plants. Several countries, including the United States, argue the plants will help Iran produce nuclear arms to terrorize its religious rival, Israel.

And many, the younger Nash said, think these plants are being built in secret with few people being able to see or have access to them.

Jeanne and Heidi Nash, however, passed by them in their tour bus in broad daylight.

“There was nothing particularly secret about them,” Heidi Nash said.

The general consensus of the people in Iran is that the nuclear plants are being built as a new power source for when the country’s oil supply runs out.

“No one we talked to gave any implication that it was for anything other than energy needs,” Heidi Nash said.

Many Americans, too, believe that Iran is a place where women are oppressed and have no rights, but Heidi Nash told a different story.

“There are more women than men going to the university studying to be doctors,” she said. “I didn’t meet any women studying home economics, that’s for sure.”

While the women were still required to wear headscarves, their dress was less conservative than what is often portrayed.

College women were seen wearing tight shirts, even tighter jeans and colorful headscarves with most of their hair showing.

Fort Collins residents, Bill and Linda Attwooll, attended the presentation because they were curious to hear what the mother-daughter team had to say about the country they called home 30 years ago.

Bill Attwooll said that based on the images the two shared, “Nothing has changed hardly. It’s been 30 years; there’s style changes, but the people are the same, very friendly.”
Staff writer Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com_

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