A charming video captures moments of daily life in Iran

October 20, 2012

One of the six topics at Monday's presidential foreign policy debate will be "Red Lines -- Israel and Iran," a reference to the point in Iran's nuclear development at which Israel and/or the United States would resort to military action. Implicit in that topic name are some difficult questions: How effective would a military strike be in slowing nuclear development? Does setting a specific "red line" limit a president's flexibility in dealing with Iran? Does it deter Iran from crossing that line? What to make of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence on a public red line? What to make of the Iranian government's intentions?

This video doesn't address any of those questions, or any other question likely to come up at a presidential foreign policy debate. It shows a side of Iran apart from the country's autocratic leadership and its provocative foreign policy: regular Iranian life. Made by Chicago filmmaker Cyrus Dowlatshahi, who also produced a documentary showing vignettes from his city's South Side, it's called "Beautiful Iran." It offers a brief, warm tour of a less-seen side of Iran. It's not debate prep, exactly, but maybe consider it a debate supplement.

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Max Fisher · October 19, 2012