TEHRAN, Iran Nov. 5, 2013 -- ABC News reports from Iran this week, digging into a changing country few Americans understand. His latest dispatch:
The first thing you notice when you walk into the weekly briefing at Iran's Ministry of Foreign affairs is the women.
Unlike some other Middle Eastern countries, women in Iran are involved in many spheres of public and political life. One of Iran's vice presidents is a woman. And even the foreign ministry spokesperson is a woman – and she speaks several languages fluently, including English.
In the foreign ministry's briefings, most of the journalists are women. Wearing black chadors over their blue jeans, microphones and notebooks in hand, they were the ones asking the most aggressive, insightful questions.
Frankly, they made the men look meek in comparison.
One of the journalists, Farideh Khoosha, caught my eye. Sitting in the front row, she landed the first question, and later wrangled a one-on-one interview with the spokesperson.
Outside, we learned Khoosha's with the youth wing of Iran's state broadcaster – not exactly a bastion of freedom of expression. We asked if we could profile her, and after a phone call with her boss, she agreed.
She insisted that her wearing a black chador had no bearing on her work, and that she would be respected as a journalist regardless of what she chose to wear. She also insisted that she was free to report on whatever she wanted – I didn't believe her – but added that final decisions on what to broadcast were made by her editors back at the station. Now, that's something any correspondent can relate to.
Above, in her own words, she tells her story.