ABC News correspondent Muhammad Lila reports from Iran this week, digging into a changing country few Americans understand. His latest dispatch from Tehran:
We made it to a central square in the capital today, the kind of place you'd see in New York or Boston: thousands of Tehran residents, scurrying and hurrying through the day, on their cell phones, rushing to get the next subway, most too busy to spend any time with a reporter (yours truly) anxious for a quick sound bite.
First person to finally approach was a police officer.
He'd seen our camera. He'd heard me speaking English. And he saw me approaching random women with that sly look that only a reporter looking for an interview knows how to give.
I'd heard horror stories and was prepared for the worst. Equipment confiscated, forced to leave, you name it.
But something entirely unexpected happened.
Or DIDN'T happen, to be more accurate. The officer didn't do anything. He just asked if we had permission to film. Our producer showed it to him, and that was that. It was entirely respectful and pleasant.
Iran's new president says he wants Iran to be more open with the world. A big part of that means allowing journalists more access to Iran and its fascinating culture.
Sure, it hasn't been long, but we haven't faced any censorship here. It's been entirely unrestricted. Iranians have been eager to share their stories and culture with us.
As one couple put it to us in a park this afternoon: "The world doesn't know what Iran is really like. It's beautiful. We're happy here, and want the world to see that."