Crooked Alleys

Deliverance and Despair in Iran

Soraya Lennie

The inside story of everyday life in Iran, revealing a divided society struggling to take charge of its destiny.

Bibliographic Details
Crooked Alleys Hardback
April 2021£20
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By the end of the Ahmadinejad era, Iran was suffocating. It was as though the streets of Tehran had become narrower, the buildings taller, the dirty air thicker. In 2013, Iranians chose a new leader representing reform and pragmatism, burying the gloomy days when a Holocaust-denying president had pushed the country to the edge of economic collapse and violent conflict. But the nation hasn’t quite broken free.

This is the story of Iran today, told through the eyes of its people. Iranians are moving on, yet the Islamic Republic remains a prisoner of the past, plagued by US sanctions, medical shortages and failing planes; internal divisions, a broken economy and the threat of war. Now, the Trump years have destroyed Iran’s best chances for real change.

The 2010s marked one of the most significant periods in Iran’s modern history. Rouhani’s election gave voice to millions sick of the hardliner status quo, of Iran’s pariah status and its reputation in the West as a country of revolutionary extremists. But how have Iranians met and lived through the latest challenges? What future do they imagine now? Crooked Alleys explores Iran during some of its darkest days, but also its most hopeful.


Soraya Lennie is an Australian-Iranian journalist and analyst. Based in the Middle East, including Iran, since 2010, she has covered politics, war and international crisis. She holds an MA in International Diplomacy (MENA) from SOAS University of London and a diploma in Persian from the University of Tehran.