Behind the Scenes Photos: Iran

By Tom Hanson 10.21.2015 blog

I’ve been to many places during my time at Channel One, and I have to say, there’s no place in the world quite like Iran. It’s the world’s only official Islamic State, and everything in the country is paradoxical. We were treated with warmth and kindness by the Iranian people, while exploring and filming a city plastered with Anti-American murals and slogans. The country is under strict Islamic law, with 99 percent of the population identifying as Muslim, according to the Pew Research Center. However many people on the ground view the laws as dated and impractical, so they don’t follow the rules – a bold decision in a country that executes more of its prisoners per capita than anywhere else in the world. There are no secrets in Iran, but people’s lives are under the watch of a highly secretive government.  It also plays a role in maintaining stability and fighting terrorism in the region, despite being labeled as a state sponsor of terror by the State Department.

Preparing for the trip was certainly a lot of work. First we had to get our journalist visas and shooting permits. We had to hire a government fixer to usher us around, and we had to devise a budget only using hard cash because western banks don’t do business in Iran due to sanctions. But once we finally set foot in the JFK airport, the reality of the trip set in – Maggie Rulli and I were headed to report from a country that ranks as one of the worst in the world for freedom of the press, and is currently holding an American journalist. Admittedly, the circumstances sound a lot crazier while writing this than they did leading up to the shoot.

But because Iran has gained worldwide attention for its controversial nuclear program, we decided to set off for Iran. So off we went – no turning back – to a country where America is often equated to the “Great Satan”. Our trip took place amidst the backdrop of a promising nuclear deal that had been reached between Iran and six world powers, including the United States (known as G5 +1). Needless to say, it was an exciting time to be inside this closed off country.

Check out below a slideshow of some of the photos we took:

Sometimes you have to get creative with the lighting. This was our makeshift bounce for part of the shoot: tin foil and cardboard.

It’s not uncommon to see murals like this around the capital city of Tehran. Most people on the streets don’t agree with this message of hate.

A woman walks along the exterior of the former US Embassy in Tehran.

Doing standups outside of the US Embassy was pretty tricky. We were watched closely by the revolutionary guard.

After a long day of shooting, I snapped this photo of Maggie.

Tehran traffic. Unbelievable.

The American seal remains on the walls of the old US Embassy. After the embassy was stormed in 1979, it was turned into an anti-American art museum.

More “Down with America” murals. This one shows a skull on the face of the Statue of Liberty.

Pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini, the former religious leader, are all over the city – giving the feeling the government is always watching.

Stopped by the Revolutionary Guard while trying to film. He checked out our press cards, and decided it was okay for us to continue.

Another image of Ayatollah Khomeini, the former religious leader.

People casually walk by anti-America artwork without giving it a second glance.

Barbwire fence encircles the former US Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

The beautiful mosques of Isfahan—this historic Iranian city was once known as the capital of Persia.

Isfahan is a great example of Iran’s vast history. It can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period. In recent discoveries, archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages.

Isfahan is often referred to as one of the “gems” of Iran, for its beautiful and historic mosques.

Isfahan’s rich history and cultural heritage make it an attractive tourist destination. The city is famous for its handicrafts, such as silverware, copper work, woodwork, brass work, and pottery.

While the city is known for its stunning mosques, Isfahan is also the site of a Uranium Enrichment plant for nuclear development.

The mosques in Isfahan are as blue as the sky.

Yet another picture of Ayatollah Khomeini. A constant reminder that the government sees everything.

The main mosque in the Iranian city of Isfahan – a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Thousands of people gather outside of the Isfahan Mosques after sundown – a way to escape the intense desert heat of Iran.

A marketplace in Isfahan – one of Iran’s historic cities.


  1. Julia

    that’s really brave of you, to go to that specific country to see what really goes on there, not what the tension between our countries makes us believe

  2. Muskaan

    (say this to the kids)

    i think that it would be the next big thing because people can try new things and maybe enjoy and make it

  3. Adriancoolness

    Hi, I go to greater Miami and we look at your news. You make the news fun and the other news are not. Thanks for being real

  4. marisol casillas

    I love your videos and i think its great you made this website its cool for kids more yonger to watch so they can now some stuff about things going and Maggie your the best bye im in 6th grade

  5. melody

    awsome light

  6. kadence young

    Hello I watch your videos at my school and I would love if you said this text to the kids just say kadence young said hello I’m in the sixth grade thank you

  7. kadence young

    Hello I watch your videos at my school and I would love if you said this text to the kids just say kadence young said hello I’m in the sixth grade

  8. kittykatcutie

    I admire that you would take a trip to this mysterious country just for the viewers!

  9. William DeFoereal


  10. coolgamer921

    nice pics

    • kadence young


      • Presley Benson

        Ok sup

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