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Friday, June 25, 2021

DNA of Tehran is not good vs bad: Moshe Zonder

Co-creator Moshe Zonder said that Apple TV+ series Tehran was a chance for him to write about life in Iran that's beyond news headlines.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: September 27, 2020 9:05:43 am
tehran tv showTehran is streaming on Apple TV+. (Photo: Apple TV+)

After Fauda, Israeli television is starting to get a global audience and taking that to the next level is Apple TV+’s series Tehran. In an exclusive virtual conversation with, creators Moshe Zonder and Dana Eden discussed the “DNA of Tehran”, how the series balances its politics and the striking visual resemblance between Iran and Greece.

Writer and co-creator Moshe Zonder is known all over the world for his work on Fauda (as a writer). Moshe shared that aside from a screenwriter, he has been an investigative journalist and “always wanted to cross the border to have the ability to meet with my enemy, to interview him, to know him personally.” He said, “For example, I went to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to meet the Hamas leaders and of course, meeting them showed me that they are very different from what I had read about in Israeli press. And that led me to write the first season of Fauda.”

Moshe shared that the “DNA of Fauda” is also the “DNA of Tehran” and “it is not good vs bad. It’s not that Israel is good, and Iran is bad.” The co-creator said that for him, this was a chance to write about life in Iran, “the life that is beyond the headlines in the news.”

He added that the story deals with “identity, nationality, family roots and the tragedy of immigration. Those things are relevant to everyone in the world, no matter which tribe or country they belong to.”

The story of Tehran unfolds from two perspectives. From the Israeli side, we see Mossad agent Tamar (Niv Sultan) whose mission in Tehran goes awry, and from the Iranian side, we see the investigating officer Faraz (Shaun Toub). Even though they are both fighting from opposing ends, they have more in common than they realise. “They have much in common, they could work together, they could be allies,” Moshe said.

Also Read | Tehran first impression: Binge-worthy spy thriller | Hoping that Tehran can bring people closer to one another: Shaun Toub

To seem authentic in their storytelling, the makers of Tehran had another challenge on their hands, and that was to find a place that closely resembles the topographical landscape. Co-creator Dana Eden shared that she was researching quite a lot for places to shoot at as they could not shoot in Tehran, but it was during a family vacation in Athens that the idea clicked. “I saw that there are similarities in the topography of the city and the architecture of the city. So very surprisingly, Athens looks a lot like Tehran,” she shared.

Tehran is streaming on Apple TV+.

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