I was born in Iran and spent my early years in the city of Shiraz. Upon graduating from high school, I left the country and lived in Canada, the US, the UAE and the UK for 20 years.

About four years ago, I received a job offer in Tehran which I decided to accept due to my love for Iran. When I returned to Iran, the first thing I realized was that I knew nothing about my country; I didn’t even know where the most basic services were offered. I tried using the Internet, like I did in other countries, to find the information I was looking for and to my disbelief realized there is  no website where a person who is not very familiar with life in Iran can find necessary information. I realized even Iranians do not have a directory to look for information about their own city or other cities. This was one of the reasons which ultimately led to my leaving Iran.

From then on, it became my dream to create a website to gather and offer information about Iran. So while I was busy with other projects, I continued research for this purpose. I started looking for a good name for my project and one day while I was on GoDaddy I came across the perfect name: ToIran- a name which has meaning in both Persian and English. Even though it was a high price for a domain name in 2011, I purchased it for 5,000 dollars and created a couple of accounts for it on different social media platforms.

With the right name in my hand, I began more systematic research. Everything started falling into place for me.  But I didn’t have sufficient funds for such a large-scale project so I began looking for a potential partner.

I met a French group who had a similar idea. They became interested and to begin the project, I traveled to Morocco.

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We had a few meetings when reports started coming out that Iran plans to nationalize its Internet, which cast doubt on the feasibility of the entire project.  These false reports, sadly, hindered our project for a while and I became involved in other things…

ToIran founder: Faranak Askari