My special ticket to the said event.

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"Hizbollah, Hizbollah, death to America, death to America, death to Israel!", the attendees repeated again, in response the sporadic outbursts coming from the back. I took a look around to check out if I was in the minority in not repeating these chants; I was. I turned back and glanced across the varied crowd, made up mostly of representatives from many national institutions, and noted with some surprise that many were smirking as they played along. This moment brought memories of the days I mimed out hymns at school assembly not helped by the fact that we were all sat crossed legged on the floor listening as verses from the Quo'ran echoing throughout the room.

"Daveed, what are you doing tomorrow?", my uncle phoned and asked, curious as to how I planned to spend the national holiday marking the end of Ramazan. "Do you want to come and see the Spiritual Leader?", he asked, finally getting round to a long spoken about moment. "Of course!", I responded without hesitation, "but what do I need to wear?", I went on, confused as to whether we are celebrating or not; because at times it's difficult to tell here. "Wear Basiji stuff", he said partly in jest, referring to the type of clothing worn by the moral police, by which he simply means an open-collar white shirt, ill-fitting trousers, sandals and overgrowth in facial hair.

I sat twiddling with my finest tasbi (praying beads that is), besides my uncle whom I kept close for translation purposes as the sporadic chanting continued while we awaited the Spiritual Leader. Gradually the room filled up, for which I took great amusement in watching varying ranks arrive in order of reverse-importance. Army, navy, air force and police personal took seats bringing increasingly decorative uniforms and commanding a larger fuss on entry.

Some socks crossed my face and an apology followed and with little sign of shame, a Basiji looking chap had practically sat on my uncle's lap. "Are you going to stay there?", I ask this man, "If you'll allow me", he responded, "you're sitting on my uncle", I reminded him, "yes, I'm sorry", he politely added. Maybe I was out of line but I thought I'd see it through, "don't apologise to me, it's his legs you are sitting on", I exclaimed, arousing the attention of those around us. He came back at me calmly, "when the leader arrives everyone will rush forward and everyone will be on everybody else's legs". My uncle gave me a blink, that indicated that I should leave it, after which this guy sought new legs to sit on.

Somebody shouted something, a name maybe, to which the entire room raced to their feet. I didn't think, I just joined them to which the next few seconds seemed to arrive in slow motion. "Khaamenei, the leader!", came the chants as scores of men raced in front of me, followed by us being pushed forward as the crowd condensed. I tip-toed to look ahead and saw the Spiritual Leader snap out from behind the curtains, to my utter surprised there followed Ahmadinejad, the president, appearing from his left, and then Rafsanjani, the former president, appearing from his right. I was astonished at this fan of cards that was put before me, a full-house for sure.

With a slight lapse in security, the whole of the regime would surely be gone – I was sitting in a dream American target!

I scanned the room; the head of the parliament, the head of the judiciary, the nuclear negotiator guy, two former presidents, the most senior ranking members of the institutions, and these were just the faces I knew of. With a slight lapse in security, the whole of the regime would surely be gone I thought to myself in horror - conscious that I'm sitting in a dream American target.

The resulting mosh-pit calmed as the stars took their seats on the stage; we joined them, and arranged ourselves on each other's laps as the Basiji guy had previously mentioned. The president took to the microphone first, for which I understood pretty much nothing of what he had said. I got the impression that he was reading poetry but it's always so difficult for me to understand Iranians when they use the formal 'book' language. There then followed the stern tone of the Spiritual Leader, of whom I understood a fair amount more; although I found myself rather distracted by his prosthetic arm, that I'd heard so much about, yet never seen. I was mesmerised by its ability and its strange strained look when in the open position. This appendage turned in time with his other hand as he accentuated his agitation; being very critical of American ambitions and very supported of the Hizbollah cause citing concerns for the Palestinian people, yet mostly he referred to the region developing though indigenous desires.

Although there were roars of supportive cheers, there was no encore as the stage emptied. This moment seemed to have been as snappy as the entrance with large volumes of the attendees rushing off to try and get backstage. I joined them; not entirely with reason but rather with curiosity, yet all I had seemed to do is get in the way of the top brass as they wished each other well on this celebratory day.

I rather enjoyed the fact that I may have been surrounded by some of Iran's most influential names and not have been aware of it. In fact, this became a bit of a game to me; guessing the value of these cards as they shuffled themselves around at the end. Yet in this moment I was reminded; this is the only way in which I am a player among them.

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Also found near Haft e Tir, strange luck around that place.

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"Were you with a girl?!", "Were you with a girl?!", I heard again, yet a little louder as I was about to walk across a dimly lit road, 8pm, a short way from Tehran's Haft e Tir. A young man had begun walking beside me and was seemingly addressing me, I politely turned to face him assuming he needed help, "I'm sorry?". "Were you with a girl?!" he repeated angrily, his tone shattering my presumption. I paused for a short moment, wondering why he might be asking me this, his question was one expected of a Basiji (religious police) yet his dress was of a different kind of trash, – too clean shaven with careless mix of fake 90s clothes to accompany his Imam Ali necklace.

I gathered that he might have seen me walk my friend home and opportunistically presented a Basij front to try and extort money from me. "Ah yes, that was my friend", I confidently asserted, letting him know I was not intimidated. "Ah, your friend was it?!", he responded in cocky aggressive manner. I let out an tired laugh, turned around and carried on about my business, unperturbed. With my first step I felt my sleeve being grabbed as I was pulled back towards him, I struggled a little to shrug him off but he managed to rapidly turn me to face him again.

The very moment I felt me sleeve tighten around my arm I realised things were going to be different – shit – I thought. My suspicion was confirmed, I was in the process of being mugged and upon facing him again a rapid succession of thoughts raced through my mind, complimenting the arrival of an adrenaline rush. I sized us up (he had the advantage), noting every detail on his person and curious as to whether weapons were being held, yet maybe my first error was found here I later thought. I'd excepted that a physical confrontation seemed likely and instead of paying attention to that around me – ways of escape or people to help – I indulged the moment he'd forced upon me.

It was then that I called upon a helpful technique for evading problems like these – a technique so far proven successful with persons of authority. "I'm sorry, can I help you? Did you say you were lost? Is there a problem?", question after question in the finest of my Queen's English – I turned it around maybe. Again he asked me, louder still, "I'm sorry I don't understand you, can you talk English?". "Where are you from?", he asked angrily, "Are you lost? Do you speak English?", "Where are you from?", he aggressively repeated in frustration.

"Ah, you're from England! Hello, hello, very pleased to meet you, my name is Ali, I am your friend – we're friends!", he said in Farsi, and sometimes it happens like this, but I wasn't taking my chances. In my confusion of pretending to not understand him I walked the usual, shorter route to my destination – down a dark ally. He grabbed my arm and threw me up against the wall, "Give me your money!" – my new friend was in need, yet oddly enough I let out a little laugh, the sort found leaving poker games prematurely.

I'd limited my options quite considerably leading to me having to revise the maths – working out what I was holding, what he thought I might be holding, what I might relinquish to avoid a scuffle and at what point I would consider a scuffle. It seemed we'd settled on a couple of day's wages yet thankfully my mobile and bag containing a hard drive went unnoticed – maybe.

Just as he'd plucked the money from my wallet, popping it into his pocket, I saw two seniors appear from behind him, passing by. I stared at them and they at me, we all carried on with our business. I'd missed a moment and so did my friend Ali who'd made a sharp exit showing the courtesy of shouting goodbye – in English – from a distance.

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Prior to the elections, the Tehran streets awash with candidates' faces.

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"How did it feel to have voted then?", I asked a friend as we left the small school tucked away from one of Tehran's main roads. "Like having done my duty, painful though it was", she responds. "Yes, it is like volunteering a gun to a person that will shoot you in the foot because the other one will go for your head – no different to how it was for me in England really", I add, inviting a nervous laughter between us. Like a song that's over reliant on its chorus we faded to silence and I'm certain she filled this moment with the same thoughts as I as we reflected on our recent political action. We'd gone against our family's aggressive protest as well as the tireless repetition of "what for?" and "why? spilling from the lips of our peers, had we wasted our time, or possibly made things worse?

Having handed birth certificates, pressed our inked-sodden fingers and been issued voting slips we departed from the line of female civil-servants fully equipped to relinquish our fate. Two parallel walls hosted a huddle of people jotting down codes from the 10-large posters filled with details of an astounding 1200-plus candidates.

Phone calls were made to confirm spelling as scraps of paper collected scribbles of hope. "Why are there 5-boxes available for the code and each of the candidates only have a 4-digit code?", my friend gasped, far from reassured by the vague verbal instructions given by the onlooking security. We raced around shouting numbers to one another while collecting the 15-names needed to adorn the Tehran council. 1200 wasn't enough however, we were giving it up in style with the occasion offering further exercises of democracy – two extra ballots were available to embellish, a further 2-candidates were needed for something missed last time around and also 12 of the supreme league – not wanting to feel left out – were in need of some flattery.

"No, if you vote for women only then the government will brag to the west about how this system not only functions but is inclusive and progressive"

Prior to the big day I'd planned various strategies for how I'd vote. "No, if the head in your drawing of a sheep falls between a box then they may count it a your choice", I was oddly informed. "No, if you vote for women only then the government will brag to the west about how this system not only functions but is inclusive and progressive", came more advice. "Pick the reformist candidates" I was repeatedly told, "but I want to vote for somebody I want, not for somebody who is opposes the person I don't want", I ranted, reminding myself of the strategic voting that distorts the political outcome back on the UK.

"My statement cannot be lost with the unaware or unconcerned", I answered to the angry people that accusing me of giving credit to a system they've long given up on. "Apathy and conscious avoidance register the same with the absence of a 'none-of-the-above' box", I plead. "Increasing the turnout must surely represent an active public and an active public should invite a more conscientious government, spoiling your ballot is surely an available option", I conclude.

It nearly seemed like a worthwhile option until I heard, "20,000 Basij have been brought into Tehran to vote!". Of course, I hadn't noticed, I was not registered to vote at any specific location, I'd freely walked into a school, handed my birth certificate and began my art project. And of course, any other Iranian is at liberty to do so also, potentially giving Tehran a 150% turnout for example. Indeed, maybe the gun was never in my hand – maybe we had wasted our time.

I'd left the school having endured a test, and to the question of democracy I'd indulged it with my answer of action. I sit and wait to see the results yet even though my answer may not be counted, the certainty that at least one person had to decipher my choice, for me at least, counts.

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