Spent the evening listening to Quran recitation at a mosque established by Iraqi refugees in Dowlatabad, a Tehran neighborhood that has been home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees, and many Afghans as well, for decades.
The mosque is named Ahl al-Kazemeyn, after the neighborhood of Baghdad that the refugees came from - the stage of the mosque is set up to look like al-Kazemeyn's own grand mosque, and the walls are covered in murals of other Iraqi shrines.
In the neighborhood, every mosque is named for the city or shrine in Iraq from which the refugees came from- down the road are husseyniyes with names like Samarra, Najaf, and Karbala.
In every direction are memories of Iraq - shawarma, baklava, bus tickets to Baghdad, Basra, Suleimaniye - and the streets are alive with the guttural ayns and heavy h's and dhads of the Iraqi accent.
Iraqi refugees in Iran have come in wave after wave- there were the hundreds of thousands expelled in the 70s and 80s, often given 24 hours notice to leave their homes and dropped off at the border, the vast majority whose only crime was being Shia or having a grandfather or grandmother who was ethnically Persian. Others escaped political persecution under Saddam in the 1990s, and yet more fled to Iran amid the wave of sectarian violence, killings, bombings, and assassinations that follows the US invasion.
And all of them made their way to Tehran's Dowlatabad, given a refuge alongside thousands of others - especially Afghans, particularly Shia Hazaras - in this expansive neighborhood dotted with parks and playgrounds and, most importantly, filled with a sense of safety and possibility for the future.
In the parks, families picnic and children play until late into the night, while old men gather at the corner to drink thick Arabic coffee and discuss news. These simple pleasures, so often marred by bombings and bloodshed back in the homelands they fled.
The US has closed its doors to refugees, but here in Iran - home to 3 million refugees, many of them fleeing countries militarily occupied by the US - the doors remain open for the foreseeable future.
Hopefully they continue to be open, and are opened even further.