Canberra Times (Australia)
January 6, 2008 Sunday
Final Edition


A blend of two cultures



Alarge painting dominates the foyer of the Iranian ambassador's
residence in O'Malley. In Persian script it says, "In the name of
God", and it hangs beside the Iranian flag.

Delicious exotic smells waft through the home that the ambassador,
Mahmoud Movahhedi, and his wife Iran share with three of their four
children.

The couple's Iranian chef is responsible for the delicious smells and
the family eats traditional Iranian food and sits down to meals in
the formal dining room every day.

The two-storey home has six bedrooms and three bathrooms upstairs.
Downstairs is a foyer, a formal sitting room, which opens to the
formal dining room, a kitchen, the lounge room, where the family
watch television, and a guest bathroom.

Set on a steep 1706sqm block, long timber stairs lead from the back
door down 5m to the backyard.

Hand-made Persian carpets lie in every room. The intricate silk rugs
in the formal sitting room are small and have more than 100 knots per
square centimetre. These rugs are not on the floor, but are displayed
as art.

On the wall hang photographs of Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei and former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.

Above the marble fireplace, reproductions of Armenian archers from
500BC sit alongside silver candelabras.

In the lounge, the family watch Iranian television courtesy of a
large satellite dish in the backyard. On the walls hang reproductions
of works by one of Iran's most famous artists, Mahmoud Farshchian.

The dining table can seat 12 and was made in Iran. The chairs are
carved in a traditional design.

The ambassador's last posting was in Brazil, where the family was
forced to leave their pet dogs. The ambassador's wife misses her
pets.

"With quarantine and costs it was impossible to bring them with us.
The children miss them, especially my youngest Shahab," she said.

The home is being rented by the Iranian Government while discussions
about building an Iranian-style residence and chancellery are
finalised.

While decorated in typical Iranian style, the home also boasts an
Australian feel visitors are greeted by a front garden with plenty of
native shrubs, which attract birds, and the recent rains have
rejuvenated the lawn.