Experience contradicts Western media image of Iran

December 24, 2018 - 21:5

TEHRAN – An American fashion psychologist who accidentally landed in Iran believes that her perception of the country is totally different from what mainstream Western media outlets portray.

Ashely Duncan told IRNA in an interview released on Sunday that “As an American, I did have a pleasant experience. I did not allow the politics and the diplomatic relationship to taint my view of Iran's people.”

Duncan’s flight made an emergency landing in Shiraz on December 14, she says the incident provided her with an opportunity to have a better understanding about the Iranian people.

The Boeing plane en route to Oslo, Norway, from Dubai, had to make an emergency landing in Shiraz international airport due to technical problems.

Due to the time required for sending a relief aircraft by Norwegian officials to Shiraz, passengers were accommodated in a hotel in the southern Iranian city.

“The Iranian people allowed me to have a pleasant experience contrary to what has been promulgated in the media.”

“So, I just want to thank them for their hospitality,” she reiterated.

She went on to raise examples of the Iranians’ hospitality and kindness, saying she was able to ask an Iranian for his personal hotspot so that she could use WiFi to talk to her family and let them know that she was safe in Iran.

“I was also able to talk to a local Iranian woman on how to wear a shawl properly,' Duncan, who works as a fashion psychologist in 35 countries,” she added.

Elaborating on her fear which turned out to be an opportunity, she explained, “Although it was a horrific experience- having the engine shut off and descending unexpectedly in Shiraz- the Iranian people were very hospitable and very kind. I was able to learn about the fashion psychology- the science behind what the Iranian women wore- to increase my knowledge and to expand my field of study.”

“As a fashion psychologist, I am all about studying the science behind why we wear and what we wear so I was able to learn about the Middle Eastern culture by way of fashion by the way of what the Iranian women wear.”

“It was a very humbling and enriching experience, “she stressed.

Many visitors to Iran believe that Western media often portrays Iran negatively, saying there is a widespread misunderstanding about the true nature and safety of the country, which is tainted by the reputation of some of its more politically unstable neighbors.

The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, puts Iran among countries with “insignificant risk”, a category where the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are placed in.