Features

June 2005
Latest

ART
Blue meets green

Paintings
Shahla Armin

PHOTOGRAPHY
Conference of birds

Photo essay
Azadeh Tahaie

READING
It's about oil

Many charge that the United States is in Iraq for the oil and oil alone -- a perception that has hardened by the obvious fact of the U.S. dependence on oil
Guive Mirfendereski

Gawdat Bahgat’s book is revealing especially because once again America finds itself agonizing over political access to the Persian Gulf’s oil and security of its supply. The insignificant contribution of the much-ballyhooed Caspian Sea oil makes the present U.S. need for Arab oil all the more urgent. With Iranian oil being embargoed by the United States and the Iraqi oil not quite on line, the U.S. dependence on Saudi and Venezuelan oil is even greater.

OPINION
What happened

... in the Iranian presidential election
Majid Tehranian

Iran is one of the few countries in the world that has had three revolutions in the past 100 years. It was in 1905 when a Constitutional Revolution took place in Iran. In 1979, under the aegis of the Islamic Revolution, another social revolution took place in Iran. The presidential elections of 2005 may be considered as a third revolution via the ballot box. How can we understand this extraordinary phenomenon?

STUDY
Iranians in Canada

A statistical analysis
Vahid Garousi

Demographic features of the Iranian-Canadians such as population, gender, immigration status and period, age groups, marital status and marriage are investigated and compared to other typical Canadians. Other topics such as education, employment factors, income levels, ties with the home country (Iran), interest in and preservation of the home culture, identity in Canada, following issues related to Iran are also addressed. We also give a short discussion on the intra-social relations in the Iranian community in Canada.

REVIEW
Being Lolita in Tehran

Azar Nafici's observations of post-revolution Iran from Olympian heights
Asghar Massombagi

It's 1979, only weeks after the overthrow of the Pahlavis when a young Nafici arrives in Tehran after a stretch at a Suisse boarding school and a longer one at Norman, Oklahoma, breathless and fresh-faced clutching a PhD, flushed with Fitzgerald, Mike Gold and Nabakov, eager to educate the natives to the subtleties of James and tragic beauty of Gatsby. But much to her chagrin she finds the natives unwilling and the universities dominated by the red and black reactionaries. Except for a few students (naturally mostly women in this book) the student body consists of underdeveloped minds in an underdeveloped country. Nafici loves her country, wants to lift it from its aesthetic poverty but this love must be strictly on her terms (crack the whip professor. It's for their own good, the poor bastards).

MUSIC
Fereydoun

Gharibe album
Bahman

STORY
Human wave

He saw over his head the Air France Boeing 747-200 touch down at Mehrabad
Filipe Barini

The crying went through for two days and two nights. The black marks couldn't hurt more than the marks on his soul. The lie he lived for almost twenty years. On the second night of tears, he heard that Imam Khomeini was going to return from his exile in France. Munir looked at that figure, the bearded cleric. He was the synthesis of his problems, he was guilty, guilty of his suffering. Instead of calling for a fatwa, he issued himself the decision: capital punishment. He was going to wash with blood his pain.

POINT
The real nuclear threat

Unlike in Iran, fanaticism in Pakistan and Israel is hardcore, and the combination of such fanaticism with a nuclear arsenal makes an explosive cocktail
Abolala Soudavar

Politicians as well as the press, pursue their unidirectional focus on the Iranian “nuclear threat,” to the exclusion of the danger stemming from Israel and Pakistan, which already have a nuclear weapon and which, unlike Iran, are not signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and do not allow any international inspection of their nuclear facilities.

POLITICS
What’s the matter with Iran?

How the reformists lost the presidency
Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi

By electing Ahmadinejad, the electorate showed that they rather live in a society in which redistribution rather than accumulation of wealth defines the greatest Islamic virtue. The president-elect and his allies need to know that the commodities of the western culture industry do not mesmerize all Iranians, and indeed many respect and value their religious and cultural particularities. The result of this election shows that even with an open and democratic election, this faction will not disappear from Iranian political landscape. The freer the electoral process in Iran, the stronger the legitimacy of its institutions.

POETRY
Az sefr taa sefr

Four poems from "Az ghoncheh taa adad-e khaak"
Habib Shokati

MUSIC
It's that god-damned refreshing

Iranian-Swedish singer Laleh strikes a new chord
Behrouz Bahmani

Recently a friend punched me in the mouth with a new and wonderful find, the kind that like all good sexual diseases you can only catch from a friend. Laleh is a new phenomenon, this time coming to us via Sweden and parts of North Sea Europe. Apparently we are too jaded to deserve her here. That and LA wouldn't know what to do with this music, it's that god-damned refreshing.

LIFE
She let loose

Within a week of their meeting, she had forced him to surrender the ring he had bought for his German fiancee
Jasmin Darznik

My mother’s wedding dress was made out of curtains. One day as she sat sipping tea at a cousin’s house, she looked out toward the garden and the sheen of a handsome cream-colored brocade caught her eye. The curtains were disassembled at once and the next day my grandmother cut the cloth against her body. Then my grandmother pinned the fabric while my mother frowned and pulled it tighter and tighter across her busom, her hips, her legs.

REVIEW
Growing pains

Shifting the focus away from perceiving Islam as a homogenized faith in a dichotomized relationship with the West
Firoozeh Papan-Matin

Rather than a clash of civilizations, Reza Aslan argues for a clash of monotheisms and calls attention to the internal conflicts of Islam that have played a crucial role in the formation of the post-colonial discourse. The debates among Muslim traditionalists and the reformists are attempts to define Islamic modernism. And the relationship between Islam and modernity does not find its genesis in the affront with the West but involves varied constituencies that have gained momentum against the colonial background.

RIGHTS
Islam & minorities

The case of the Bahais
Christopher Buck
Full text English -- Persian

In Turkey, the Bahai Faith has been legal for decades. The Bahai community enjoys legal status in Albania and in most Central Asian nations as well. Over the past few years, a groundswell of articles and dialogue on this subject has appeared. Persian-language media in the United States have begun to openly talk about the plight of the Bahais in Iran, with some predicting that, in Iran’s future civil society, even the Bahais must be given freedom of religion. Moreover, several non-Bahai Iranian academics are beginning to speak out about the conspiracy of silence against the Faith.

PRESIDENT
Deserving victory

Ahmadinejad, both in terms of principles and behavior, is very close to our intellectuals. So why are they complaining?
H.D.

These intellectuals are so stupid that they complement their opponent with terms such as "conservative"' or "fundamentalists" or "traditionalist". Maybe to them the problem with Ahmadinejad is that (according to them) he sincerely belives in principles and traditions and he is conservative! They hail Ahmadinejad for his views on social justice! Ahmadinejad is all what they want and all they are: populist, leftist, against USA, nationalist, opposing the traditional clergies, mournful of Iranian greatness, revoloutionary... what else they want? How are they different?

SATIRE
Pirezani raa setami dargereft

Post-election poem
Hadi Khorsandi

LESSONS
Exact opposite of paranoia

What can be learned from the rightwing backlash that led to Ahmadinejad victory?
Ahmad Sadri

As the velvet revolution of 1989 unrolled in Prague, Czech activists recalled the dark skies of the Spring of 1968. They had jubilantly arrived at 89 by turning 68 on its head. Today, Tehran feels like it has been on a runaway time machine going in the other direction. A decade’s struggle for democracy has come to naught, or so it feels to the reformers who hoped to win the Presidency in this election. The rightwing that was chased from the elective corridors of the Islamic Republic eight years ago has come back with a landslide victory. But there were sufficient rumblings before this volcano blew its top.

POLITICS
The ugly truth

If the people who stayed home had voted, this Ahmadinejad guy would have never been elected
Najmeh Fakhraie

Sure, there are those who claim nothing has changed after the election and nothing will because someone else is in charge. But living here in Tehran on a daily basis, I know that is far from the truth. I look at the girls with their colorful shawls and makeup. Will they be thrown in the closet come August 24th when Ahmadinejad begins his term in office? Will I see the existing few worthy publications banned? And how will I bear watching the news to see such an uncomely looking man representing me in all international forums?

HOMOSEXUALITY
Pink parade

Video clips: Lesbian festival in San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

Javaneh and I were at the Dyke March in San Francisco's Castro district Saturday. I had been to a couple of gay festivals in New York some ten years ago. But for Javaneh, who came from Iran only a year and a half ago, it was quite a shocker. Just watching and being around people who celebrate their homosexuality with so much joy -- and so little fear -- is an experience of a life time.

SATIRE
And the winner is... the Shah!

Reached for comment, the late Shah rolled over in his grave, and said, “If I had known these people were this pathetic, I would’ve cashed out a lot sooner.”
Manesh

As the results of the 2005 Iranian presidential election poured in, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi appeared to be the clear-cut winner. With 99.9% of precincts reporting, historians everywhere declared him the winner in a landslide. This was a stunning victory considering that the Shah has been dead for almost a quarter of a century. Also on the ballot was "Initiative 1953", in which the Shah also won a decisive moral victory. The people have been heard: the Shah was right all along!

ANALYSIS
Eftezaah-e bozorg

A view forem Tehran on Ahmadinejad's rise and Rafsanjani's humiliation
C. Chaqueri

REGRET
Emrooz pasheemaanam

I should have voted
Sheida Kalbasi

CHAOS
The coming second qiyamat

When a system lacks a responsive legislator, independent judiciary and enlightened leader or executive, then the recipe for political and social change, even if it is regressive, will require violence
Guive Mirfendereski

The 1979 Qiyamat was about class, economic power and the general disconnect between the haves (corrupt, unjust) and the have-nots (virtuous, victim). The rapacious rise of the clergy to the leadership of the 1979 Qiyamat was therefore no accident, as they spoke the language of right versus wrong better than any other sector of the Iranian public. They offered a vocabulary and articulated a position with far greater moralistic resonance than others. The result of the recent Iranian presidential elections is the prelude to the coming of another moralistic Qiyamat. The one-Party and single-ideology political system, with no more allowance for any differentiation, is bound to precipitate a struggle from within -- once again between the haves (corrupt, unjust) and have-nots (virtuous, victim).

BIRD'S EYE
Better the devil you don't (quite) know?

Iran elects Ahmadinejad
Sa'id Farzaneh

Iranian elections, in particular this one, is not like any other elections around the world. In democracies, elections are a serious competition between established parties and/or their representative personalities. George W (Bush) against Al Gore or John Carey. Tony Blair versus Michael Howard. In totalitarian systems including Iran's theocracy, even if people are given choices to put in the ballot box, it is generally not who they vote for that matters too much but whether or not they vote. Elections are a vote of confidence for the regime: Not quite what percentage of the electorate believe in the system, but the proportion that dare to publicly express their dissent and not go to the ballot box.

 

POLL
What does Ahmadinejad's victory mean?

1979 votes :o)
Reaction to new president

REACTION
Rage against the regime

The frustrated masses think their vote for Ahmadinejad means acting against the corrupt establishment
Jam Hakim
unedited

No doubt, our society once again is charged and polarized. On the one hand, you have a man out of wood, that thanks to the Sepah, Basij and other para military circles and contrary to all the polls reading s was able to hit the very top. But, nevertheless, we should not forget the very fact that, he IS actually presenting the common people's outcry for justice, especially those of the lower classes, the poor and the mobs. He has become the symbol of the masses' frustrations toward the establishment. As they say, he has been able to conquer the heart s and minds of the masses and the mobs.

ELECTION
The stay-home majority

Most people did not vote because they do not believe in the system
Shokooh

In most nations, lower voter participation indicates apathy or indifference. In Iran, apathy has nothing to do with most people staying home. The most politically active and educated Iranians stayed home yesterday in a deliberate refusal to allow the Islamic Republic to use their vote as proof of its own legitimacy. They didn't stay home because they didn't care. They didn't stay home because they were busy or tired or bored. They didn't stay home because they aren't political. And they CERTAINLY didn't stay home because ridiculous satelitte programers told them to. They stayed home because they do not believe in the system.

ELECTION
Dark & darker

Photo essay: Election fever 24 hours before final round presidential vote
Nader Davoodi

SATIRE
Money for nothing

I know it's our country's flag and our identity, but I don't find the beast particularly attractive and I don't think a scary-looking creature characterizes my identity
Siamack Baniameri

It's Friday night, big date, nothing clean to wear. I had two choices: do laundry or buy new clothes. The choice was clear. I left work early and drove to the mall. On my way to Banana Republic, I was intercepted by a teenage skateboarder with baggy pants and a T-shirt that said, "Got Weed?" "Hey, man, you Persian?" the kid asked. I had no time for this. So, I said what every rational Persian man in my shoes would've said, "No, I'm Italian." The kid smiled.

PRESIDENT
Can't help liking the ape

Ahmadinejad is not the savior, far from it; he will do us all in, but...
Ramin Tabib

Ahmadinejad reminds me of the promises of the green revolution when I was 12. He reminds me that there are still forces challenging the unbridled materialism blanketing my country of birth. He reminds me that there are still the poor and the uncared for. He reminds me that religion is still an internal force not a political tool. He reminds me that there is the other side of tracks where the majority lives and silently suffers. He reminds me that there is a South to the ubiquitous North.

REVIEW
Beyond your wildest dreams

Muslim women have always had sex lives, but they have not always spoken openly of them
Jasmin Darznik

Muslim women have sex lives. There’s proof of it now: an Arab woman has just written a pornographic book. To judge by the attention now being paid to the The Almond, in the West this constitutes a stunning revelation. I must confess here that I am prone to one prurient habit above all others: watching the West watching Middle Eastern women. The publication of two recent books, The Almond and Embroideries, is giving me fresh opportunities to indulge.

SEX
Heaven forbid

God-given right to a happy sexual life
Mattbina

Your bold view about your own virginity at the age of fourteen only reveals your curiosity at a very young age and yet the awareness of the external ideologies even during the liberal Shah's regime which was much more agreeable to such viewpoints. At the same time, when I talk to the older Iranian women from that era, they all have late failed marriages or very unhappy ones at best. This makes me wonder and question as to the whys? It makes me wonder why would two people who have no compatibility of any sort live with each other for 50 years and yet still remain in such misery in the name of "marriage"?

LIFE
A war plan

"I am looking at the street," she said. "And I am thinking about how it is going to change if there is a war."
Siamak Vossoughi

My grandmother had just been getting the hang of America when the war talk broke out. She had joined a hiking club, and they went out to a different place in the Cascades every weekend. My grandmother was one of the oldest members, but she would go ahead and walk with the fastest group, looking down because she was interested in flowers. She had a lot of experience from going up Mt. Damavand back in Iran. She told me she would go up high enough to where she could take off her scarf and there was nobody around to bother her.

U.N.
What's the problem?

John Bolton is a problem for tyrants, who prefer the UN system
Alidad Vassigh

Supposedly Bolton is a real shit to his subordinates and departmental juniors. Well that is a problem, I can say as a former office worker. But we all know that every office, every floor, department and section has its control freak, sick shit and budding dictator. I used to work for a French-language news agency in Tehran, which was ruled by a veritable eminence grise who would silently glide around the office all day, looking into this room and that, listening to conversations, seeing who is who and what is what. I eventually had to leave, after an enormous row wherein I was called haughty, arrogant, rude, you name it. All I had done was to call him a peasant: so?

LANGUAGE
More caviar, please

And other afterthoughts
Guive Mirfendereski

Just as I thought I was done with ruminations of a tokhmi kind, up pops one Fathali Khan with some pertinent observations about the etymology of khaviar [Kneading a meaning]. He -- like many who think everything whose origin cannot be nailed to Shah Abdolazim or Sabzi Miydan necessarily must have emanated from abroad -- asked if the term “khaviar” began by the Greeks. I can tease Fathali Khan because he is a first class tease.

BOOK
Mostaz'af and Mostakbar

The idea of a classless society entered Iranian revolutionary discourse via the Marxist-Leninist left and was coded by Islamist groups
Minoo Moallem

On a number of occasions related to his call for the end of idolatry wherever it existed, Ayatollah Khomeini called for all Muslims of the world to unify with the disempowered mostaz'afan of the world. I am investigating here the notion of mostaz'af that emerged in the context of the Iranian revolution of 1979 and that was used to mobilize the people, specifically the Shah's "White Revolution" and the Islamic Republic's cultural revolution. Such revolutions rely less on people as active participants in the revolutionary process than on what is good for people and should be done for them.

ELECTION
What's wrong with us?

What have we been doing wrong as a nation for so long? As if married to the wrong men suffering every day
Natalie Esfandiari
unedited

When you listen into Iranian people on a day of election there is something unreal about it all as if we are all moving objects in Dali's paintings of time. People fantasizing almost LSD-like visions of democracy as if hallucinating effect of the temporary freedom on our people lasts one election day. I can not get it more right by comparing it with a Halloween night, which once a blue moon you wear your masks and walk among your country men and women, not knowing anybody any more, in a game of pretend, wishing no one to recognize your inner most fear, the truth.

ELECTION
Unveiling a dictatorship

This is a great opportunity for a suppressed nation to finally have a voice. But as the recent coverage of elections has proven, the international media is not interested
Alaleh Ashtari

Exposing what limited information reporters have gathered through the biased words of Mullahs and so-called government officials, gives the wrong impression of Iran to the international community. In order to truly understand the political atmosphere in Iran, the media must concentrate on the realities that exist behind what appears to be strong support for the government. Realities that people in Iran are afraid to expose.

ELECTION
Bekojaa chenin shetaabaan?

Voting for either Rafsanjani or Ahmadinejad would be wrong
Ali Salari

PHOTOGRAPHY
Marin Ave

Photo essay: Green Albany & Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

ELECTION
The hell with both of you

I would not choose between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad just as I would not choose between two Nazis
Shokooh

I am not voting in these Iranian Selections for the same reason why I wouldn't have voted in Apartheid South Africa or Nazi Germany. Because in such a state, the mere participation in elections is a vote of confidence and faith in the system. Between two pro-Apartheid candidates, I would choose NEITHER. Between two Nazis, I would stay home and plot against them. And between two supporters, defenders, and engineers of the murderous Islamic Republic of Iran, which is responsible for the arrest, torture, and murder of countless individuals whose only crime has been to work for my freedom, I say the hell with both of you.

ELECTION
99 degrees

Choosing between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad is like trying to decide whether you want your head clamped tightly in a vise and slowly squeezed or a having a car door slammed on your hand, respectively
Siamak Kiarostami

As the dust settles in Iran and political analyses commence, as the ballot boxes are given a triumphant wipe-down before they are retired, a dilemma emerges. This latest sham-election all but guarantees that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention of addressing democracy, a separation of church and state, human rights, gender equity, and the expansion of civil society.

BOOK
Spot on

Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" serves as a reminder of this Islamic holocaust, voicing a persecuted generation's quest for civility
Omid Parsi

On rereading the touchingly honest and unabashed sharing of personal experiences that in essence speak for the turbulent life of an entire generation of cultivated Iranian youth, what seems most remarkable about Ms. Satrapi's masterpiece, is its daring account of the kind of traumatic details of the dark Islamist terror and genocide that Iranians, out of embarrassment or convenience, have relegated to their collective historical unconscious.

ART
Flying carpet

Public art projects
Seyed Alavi

NOVEL
Feudal lines

Excerpt from "The Quince Seed Potion"
Morteza Baharloo

Due to the father's ambivalence in naming his son, Barat-Ali, Zolfali's brother, resorted to ridicule by naming the infant Sarv-e-ali, after the tall cypress tree of Ali, the first imam in Shiite Islam. Unfortunately Sarveali was an exceptionally small infant and became known instead as "Sarveali, the son of Zolfali, the Blind Licker." Zolfali, although unsighted, could lick his own forehead. His tongue could eject, as he put it, like a monkey's penis, pink and fleshy, and ascend to his forehead. Depending on an individual's anatomical, physiological, vocational, sexual, or criminal idiosyncrasies in rural areas during that era, one might easily be called "Ruhullah, the Bushy Eye-Browed Youth Killer," "Mustafa, the Epileptic," or even "Hassan, the Mare Mounter."

EAST-WEST
Treasures of the East

Ironically, the West has just discovered the Eastern culture and the value of what we once so foolishly discarded
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Today, you can ask any intellectual about Sufism, Shahnameh or the poetry of Rumi and you'll get an earful! Little by little the gems of this treasure, which for centuries remained hidden, are being discovered. Then why are we not thrilled with the prospect? Alas! Once more we can easily be cheated out of our wealth! We live in a world where “Wisdom” is in dollars and cents and your worth is measured by the size of your home and the brand of car you drive. While many young Persians are desperately seeking “fast money,” the wisdom of Rumi is selling records, T-shirts and calendars to benefit others.

ELECTION
Let's not forget

On Rafsanjani and the presidential election
Hamid Boroumand

In sticking firmly to the Iranian presidential election boycott, let us not forget who Iran's president was when Dr. Abdolrahman Boroumand was stabbed to death at the entry to his apartment with more than 30 dagger thrusts, and let us not forget who Iran's president was when Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar had his head severed at his residence. Also, let us collectively remember whose son it was who looted the National Iranian Oil Company in contract negotiations with foreign bidders.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Marin Ave

Photo essay: Green Albany & Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

ELECTION
The hell with both of you

I would not choose between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad just as I would not choose between two Nazis
Shokooh

I am not voting in these Iranian Selections for the same reason why I wouldn't have voted in Apartheid South Africa or Nazi Germany. Because in such a state, the mere participation in elections is a vote of confidence and faith in the system. Between two pro-Apartheid candidates, I would choose NEITHER. Between two Nazis, I would stay home and plot against them. And between two supporters, defenders, and engineers of the murderous Islamic Republic of Iran, which is responsible for the arrest, torture, and murder of countless individuals whose only crime has been to work for my freedom, I say the hell with both of you.

ELECTION
99 degrees

Choosing between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad is like trying to decide whether you want your head clamped tightly in a vise and slowly squeezed or a having a car door slammed on your hand, respectively
Siamak Kiarostami

As the dust settles in Iran and political analyses commence, as the ballot boxes are given a triumphant wipe-down before they are retired, a dilemma emerges. This latest sham-election all but guarantees that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention of addressing democracy, a separation of church and state, human rights, gender equity, and the expansion of civil society.

BOOK
Spot on

Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" serves as a reminder of this Islamic holocaust, voicing a persecuted generation's quest for civility
Omid Parsi

On rereading the touchingly honest and unabashed sharing of personal experiences that in essence speak for the turbulent life of an entire generation of cultivated Iranian youth, what seems most remarkable about Ms. Satrapi's masterpiece, is its daring account of the kind of traumatic details of the dark Islamist terror and genocide that Iranians, out of embarrassment or convenience, have relegated to their collective historical unconscious.

ART
Flying carpet

Public art projects
Seyed Alavi

NOVEL
Feudal lines

Excerpt from "The Quince Seed Potion"
Morteza Baharloo

Due to the father's ambivalence in naming his son, Barat-Ali, Zolfali's brother, resorted to ridicule by naming the infant Sarv-e-ali, after the tall cypress tree of Ali, the first imam in Shiite Islam. Unfortunately Sarveali was an exceptionally small infant and became known instead as "Sarveali, the son of Zolfali, the Blind Licker." Zolfali, although unsighted, could lick his own forehead. His tongue could eject, as he put it, like a monkey's penis, pink and fleshy, and ascend to his forehead. Depending on an individual's anatomical, physiological, vocational, sexual, or criminal idiosyncrasies in rural areas during that era, one might easily be called "Ruhullah, the Bushy Eye-Browed Youth Killer," "Mustafa, the Epileptic," or even "Hassan, the Mare Mounter."

EAST-WEST
Treasures of the East

Ironically, the West has just discovered the Eastern culture and the value of what we once so foolishly discarded
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Today, you can ask any intellectual about Sufism, Shahnameh or the poetry of Rumi and you'll get an earful! Little by little the gems of this treasure, which for centuries remained hidden, are being discovered. Then why are we not thrilled with the prospect? Alas! Once more we can easily be cheated out of our wealth! We live in a world where “Wisdom” is in dollars and cents and your worth is measured by the size of your home and the brand of car you drive. While many young Persians are desperately seeking “fast money,” the wisdom of Rumi is selling records, T-shirts and calendars to benefit others.

ELECTION
Let's not forget

On Rafsanjani and the presidential election
Hamid Boroumand

In sticking firmly to the Iranian presidential election boycott, let us not forget who Iran's president was when Dr. Abdolrahman Boroumand was stabbed to death at the entry to his apartment with more than 30 dagger thrusts, and let us not forget who Iran's president was when Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar had his head severed at his residence. Also, let us collectively remember whose son it was who looted the National Iranian Oil Company in contract negotiations with foreign bidders.

ELECTION
Khoroosh

The election charade has destroyed all optimistic illusions about the IRI
Sayeh Saidi Sirjani

ELECTION
Az shekast taa moqaavemat

Turning defeat into victory after sham presidential election
R. Hiwa

ELECTION
Wake up!

SINCE DAY ONE, you have been telling us to defend Bazargan, Banisadr, Rafsanjani, Khatami, this, that ... while those who truly are in power have been laughing at every one of us? UNTIL WHEN?
David Etebari

You want me to vote for Rafsanjani, because you are afraid of that monkey Ahmadinejad? You are scaring people of religious Fascism?! HELLLO?!!! We have had religious fascism for 26 years already. WAKE UP! Ah, yes, but Ahmadinejad is not going to let women show their hair and do make up and wear colorful clothes ... Is that it? He is going to close even more newspapers? Are you happy with the little meat that they throw your way once in a while and then they take it away when they want?

ELECTION
Not the right boycott

How exactly will rewarding the most repressive elements help make Iran freer?
Qumars Bolourchian

The not-so-great voter boycotts of 2005 will not accomplish anything. Instead, it has so far served to take away an important position from Iranian reformists to express their frustrations and force a public confrontation with the ruling clerics. This boycott has not and will not hurt the Islamic Regime. The argument I keep hearing is that a boycott would "de-legitimize" the Islamic republic, perhaps "exposing" it as "undemocratic" and presumably leading to some kind of change. I'm only guessing because no one has ever presented any kind of a workable plan on how we get from A to C. How will a 65% or even a 45% turnout change anything fundamental regarding the regime?

SATIRE
Yek saal-e ba'd dar hamin rooz (3)

Part 3: A year from today under President Ahmadinejad's administration
Shahyad

ELECTION
With a little bit of democracy

A tale of Iran’s ninth presidency
Ahmad Sadri

After arbitrary vetting and before politically motivated disqualification of ballot boxes, however, the process of voting in Iran is fairly normal, marred only by the usual business of a few dead people insisting on performing their civic duties and a few hanging-chads. It must be said that both vetting and disqualifying of ballots are used sparingly as they impose enormous costs on the rightwing establishment. Having detailed all these irregularities, however, one must concede that even this imperfect democracy is better than a sham democracy or no democracy at all.

ELECTION
The losers

Photo essay: Final hours of Mostafa Moin's presidential election campaign center
Nader Davoodi

ADVICE
Post-election depression?

On the couch in Tehran
Shokooh Miry

Dear Shokooh: I live and attend Tehran University. Like others, I watched the elections with a mixture of hope and sadness. My hope led me to vote, even though my classmates boycotted the election. I voted because I felt it was my responsibility. I do not believe in this system. I want Iran to be a democracy and I want people to have freedom. I did not vote as a supporter of this regime. I am now feeling something that I have never felt before and, in fact, have argued passionately with other students about: a feeling of depression about Iran's political future.

ELECTION
I voted. In Los Angeles.

Yes I did it. I voted because I believe participation in our future and our politics is what my country and my people need the most at this time
Pedram Missaghi

I kept staring at my birth certificate having an argument with myself. "Am I endorsing this government by voting for the reformist candidate?" "Will he be able to do anything beyond what Khatami did for us?" " Am I not going against all those people who I admire by voting in this election?" The people behind the desks looked at me in a strange way. Having taken a lunch break from work I had walked in there with a business suit and tie, clashing with everything and everyone in that room. I wanted to turn around and leave. Aside from my internal conflict, the crying lady outside reminded me of those Iranian brothers and sisters of mine who had lost family members to this regime. Their words outside, begging me not to vote made me sweat with embarrassment. What was I supposed to do?

ELECTION
I don't play games

But if you want to play politics, Rafsanjani is your man
Mirmohsen

So here we are, stuck with two candidates who were carefully planned to meet each other for the second round. Remember how Rafsanjani got marginalized after the reformists took the majority of seats in the parliamentary elections eight years ago? He learned a tough lesson; he needed careful planning and not to take things for granted. This time, he entered the elections with an uneager attitude. But behind the scenes he was making wide-ranging plans. The point is that Rafsanjani planned all this and it has done wonders for him. He is a genius -- and we need one right now! He has the guts to change, to plan, to trick and to be a real politician and make small changes one at a time.

LIFE
Fashion echoes

In the sixties, my mother was channeling Googoosh, who was channeling Maria Callas, who was channeling Audrey Hepburn. I long for those kind of echoes
Jasmin Darznik

The Shah of Iran had a lasting influence on my mother’s fashion sense. Sure, political discussions faded out of my family’s dinnertime conversations by the mid-eighties and soon no one would dare confess any royalist leanings, but the Iranian royal family lingered in our closets for years, folded in deep as my family’s nostalgia and longing for home. You could see their influence in the hounds tooth suit in which my mother dressed me for the first day of second grade, the starched primness of its collar and the sharp pleats of its dainty skirt. I think I was meant to look like an English schoolgirl from the first part of the century. Which I imagine was the kind of look the royal family itself aspired to in those countless photographs staged at this villa or that all through the sixties and seventies.

SATIRE
Yek saal-e ba'd dar hamin rooz (2)

Part 2: A year from today under President Ahmadinejad's administration
Shahyad

ELECTION
Saaz-haaye khod raa az no kook konim

Voting for Rafsanjani in the second round of the electiuons will take courage. But it's the right political decision.
Ahmad Sadri

DEBATE
Qaatel yaa dozd?

Take your pick: Supporter and opponent of participation in the elections debate the issue

ELECTION
Who is Ahmadinejad?

If you had bothered to go to southern Tehran, you would know Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Commentary & Photo essay
Nader Davoodi

SATIRE
Yek saal-e ba'd dar hamin rooz (1)

After the first year of President Ahmadinejad's administration
Shahyad

ART
rePresent

Iranian-American art in Oakland, California
Photo essay

NEWS PIX
Seeing red

Photo essay: Demonstration outside IRI embassy in Ottawa, Canada
Samira Mohyeddin

ELECTION
Round one

Presidential election day
Photo essay

VOTING
My first ballot

Voting in the Iranian presidential elections in northern California: Ok now, what was his name?!
Chekonim

I walked in the lobby and sheepishly asked the receptionist about any polling stations around. Pointing to the left, she told me to turn right, and then right again. Kind of confused, I walked towards the direction she had pointed to, and suddenly I saw the words "Mahal-e Akhz-e Ra'y" printed in large Farsi font. Relieved I followed the signs down a hallway. Passed a huge American security guard and then another. A third security guard standing next to a door told me to knock and walk in. It was a large quiet room with two desks and a few chairs on the left and a table with cookies and candies on the right. A teenage girl was sitting to the left of the door, wearing a scarf, a dark skirt down to her knees and black silk stockings.

LETTER
Tell the world

Open letter to Sean Penn on his visit to Iran
Ali Javadi

Dear Mr. Sean Penn,

Allow me to get to the crux of the matter without any introduction. Your position on the U.S. war against Iraq generated the admiration of many freedom loving people around the world. You stood along the peace loving people of the world and condemned the U.S. aggression against Iraq. I admire that you have now traveled to Iran as a newspaper reporter to witness and expose the undeniable truths of the lives people are leading under the dark and repressive Islamic regime, in order to expose these shocking realities to the world. This is also what the freedom loving people of Iran will expect from your trip to Iran.

OPINION
Persia’s future

Part I: Shah & Mossadegh
Manesh

There is a half-century old rivalry among the followers of the Shah and Mosaddegh. Even though both men have passed away, the rivalry lives on as bitterly and as divisively as ever. These two groups, who comprise the vast majority of mainstream Persian population, have opposed each other so successfully over the years that they have effectively paralyzed each other. In doing so, they have also crippled the Persian political process. As a result, a great nation is in ruins and her noble people are suffering greatly.

ELECTION
Eight candidates, 10 choices

In 1979, 98 percent voted yes to the IRI. What about 2005?
David Etebari

Post revolution Iranian referendum of 1979 resulted in a 98% popular vote for creation of an Islamic Republic, empowered by a constitution that gave the ultimate power to a non-elected Ayatollah as the supreme leader. Today one more time Iranians were supposed to show up at the voting poles, this time to select their new president. A post that historically has been more of a ceremonial position in comparison to the ultimate decision power of the supreme leader.

ELECTION
Goodbye reform?

Commentary & photo essay: Do Mostafa Moin and the reform movement have a chance?
Nader Davoodi

ELECTION POLL
Vote here

The presidential elections are on Friday.
If you could vote, would you, and to who?

ELECTION
Referendum on legitimacy

The election is more a referendum on the legitimacy of the government and the constitution than anything else
Shahla Azizi

Most people I questioned told me they would not vote. Some like my mother’s card- playing friends (all ladies in their eighties) and the grocery man around the corner and the student of Elm va Sanaat technical university, proclaimed loudly that voting in the election is a betrayal of the nation. Others avoid the election because they believe that it won’t make a difference who comes to power. The power of the president is limited by the constitution, it is the non-elected bodies such as the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader himself who wield real power.

INTERVIEW
IRI cannot be reformed

The regime is a sultanate and incapable of reform, says jailed journalist

In a radio interview with Masoud Behnoud and Masoud Behnoud and Enayat Fani from the BBC recorded on June 6th, Akbar Ganji ridicules the presidential elections as a show and says democracy is impossible under the current constitution.

ELECTION
The next level

Rafsanjani, a seasoned veteran of infighting and related international intrigue, may be looking to make Islamic Iran a full member of the international community
Maggie Mitchell Salem

As Time Magazine put it, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is "poised" - not guaranteed - to win a third term as Iran's president in elections on Friday. Given Rafsanjani's close relationship with the Islamic Republic's founding spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a certain capital might wince from some involuntary flashbacks. Seared into the national conscious of those over the age of 35 are scenes of the Shah's hasty departure in 1979, and the Shi'ite tsunami that followed the Islamic revolution. The clash of opposing religious and political ideologies sparked a sharp up-tick in harsh rhetoric and threats of military confrontation.

BLOG
blogsbyiranians.com

Building a community by blogging
Nema Milaninia

The blog has done all of that. It has created a community of Iranians that write daily or weekly about their personal problems. It has also created a community, which engages political topics. There has been no greater forum concerning the current military gestures toward Iran by the US than the blog. And there has been no greater promoter of human rights and filter of information than the blog.

HISTORY
History, in depth?

We don't have one tenth of the amount of information we have about the economy of Britain or France for Iran
Khodadad Rezakhani

Subjects that are now becoming more and more important in historical research about Europe are completely unknown in the Iranian case. Subjects such as looking at edicts and royal charters, as well as using hagiographies for historical research, are not even considered. This particularly is true in the research done in Iran and in Persian. Other than the lack of attention to the field of history itself, many historians do not even know about the new methodology and sources for historical research. I find myself running research about subjects that have been solved for the European case a long time ago, yet in the Iranian context are neglected matters.

MUSIC
Bakhtiari songs

From Nima Chehrazi's "Dodareh Bakhtiari" CD
Mahshid

ELECTIONS
Moshaarekat dar farib-e bozorg

Nehzat-e Azadi's decision to take part in illegitimate elections
Hassan Behgar

RIGHTS
Universal values

The power and force of freedom and democracy
Goli Ameri

In my encounters with thousands of Iranian-Americans in the past two years, an overwhelming majority want for the people of Iran to enjoy the same basic freedoms we have enjoyed in this country: freedom of press, speech, religion, separation of church and state, the rights of women, right to property, etc. They want for Iran to be respected and recognized as an example of freedom, democracy, human rights, rule of law, and economic prosperity in the Middle East and as a trusted partner in the world community. They also care deeply about Iran’s sovereignty and the preservation of its borders and are profoundly concerned about a military conflict between the United States and Iran. Ultimately they believe that a free, democratic and prosperous Iran cannot be a nuclear or any other form of threat to the US or any other nation.

IDEAS
The Age of Secularism

The rise of humanism and secularism in Iran
Maryam Namazie

The backlash and opposition in Iran is at its essence strongly humanist, secularist and modern. You can see it clearly in the examples I have given but also in a much more deep-seated way -- in rational, popular, and spontaneous acts and the establishment of hundreds of organisations outside government structures and restrictions that are non-religious and purely for the defence of the human being via reliance on human will.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Last push

Photo essay: Mostfa Moin's supporters
Mehran Afshar Naderi

MUSIC
Man agar barkhizam

Hamid Mossadegh's political poem turned into music
Pouyan Abdoli

MOJAHEDIN
Only enemy

All the regime's propaganda, statements and denunciations are directed against the MKO and no one else
Ernest Friar

My understanding of the situation in Iran today is that the struggle is not that of the transfer of power from the privileged to the poor, as the latter aren't the only ones at the receiving end of Iran's government, but so are intellectuals, middle class professionals, as well as those who seek to establish a secure and efficient capitalist economy in Iran by ensuring free investment and flow of capital. It is with this realization that I support the MKO's struggle against the Iranian government.

ELECTIONS
A few reminders about Mr. Rafsanjani

If I was in Iran, I would definitely vote
30Morgh

(Sorry for the bad hand writing! Had no access to Persian fonts!)

IRAN
Shah & Shaykh

The coming Iranian class wars: Those of us the people of Iran who will yield neither to the Shah nor to the Shaykh, will have to make an unambiguous stance
Rosa Faiz

Weapons of Mass Destruction or not, next on the agenda for another century of barbarity is if and when and how to attack Iran. The 'if' relates to whether or not the imperialists can get 'their man' at the helm of the power in Iran. That man is said to be Akbar Rafsanjani, aka Akbar shah. He is well known to have very cordial relations with institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, and is the author of a 'privatization' plan very popular with Western investors. He is known as a 'pragmatist' for very good reasons.

PRESS
Jal al-Khaalegh

Insulting women and minorities in the press
Shahriar Zahedi

IDENTITY
Italy's a lovely place. But it aint Iran.

To the "Italian" children of Iranian immigrants
Tahereh Aghdassifar

When I was in high school I met a girl named Ava. Ava was your average girl, nothing stood out about her really, but I took particular interest because I, stupidly, assumed she was Persian. Now, the name "Ava" wouldn't necessarily give away her ethnicity... but in combination with her three syllable last name and oh-so-Iroony features, well, it was pretty obvious... but hey, I was clearly jumping to conclusions... because it was later revealed to me that Ava, in all her Persian glory, was actually Italian.

IDENTITY
False images

Identity and social change
Parisa Hassani-azad

What does it mean to be Iranian/Persian-American? Growing up, it meant conforming to all of the stereotypes. Basically, you aren’t a true Persian unless you drive a German luxury car, are extremely rich, smart, successful, stuck up, your parents are doctors, lawyers or engineers and you plan to follow in their footsteps, wear all black, dress up all the time, are good looking but extremely hairy, hate to be called Arab, pretend you’re Italian at times, and brag about how Iranians are the true Aryan race. This stuff is all great and arguably true for the most part but it doesn’t really capture our true identity.

ARTS
Had to be a follower

Paintings
Behrang Samadzadegan

MUSIC
Haale

Songs from upcoming album
Drawing on Persian and urban American roots

MUSIC
Negaah-e yaar-e man

Decades-old lyrics with Hip Hop beat & guitar
Sepehr Hadad

I have finished another song with Persian lyrics. This is also like "Anzaman" last year, in that my uncle Fatollah Minbashian wrote the lyrics several decades ago back in Iran, but with the difference that I was able to convince my mother Anvar, to sing the lyrics. I added a hip-hop beat and guitar to it, so you can call it truly a family project:

BOOKS
J

A review of Masood Khayyam's novel. "J"
Shahrnush Parsipur

ADVERTISING
Power by deceit

On Rafsanjani massive advertising campaign to appeal to the young
Open letter by eight Islamic students' societies

ADVICE
Shokooh's couch

Vas vaas or obsession?
Shokooh Miry

Worried Sister writes: I am writing to you about my sister. As long as I can remember, she has been very “vas vaas.” When we were growing up, she always took long showers, took extra time ironing her clothes, and kept her room very clean. While the habit was a little annoying when we were young, it has now gotten so bad that I think she may need therapy. She lives in another town and I went to visit her recently. Do you think there’s something wrong with this situation? I am very worried about her -- can you be too “vas vaas?” Does showering this way sound like an obsession?

OPINION
The sport of politics

We need to recognize that simply having a vote every four years in no way constitutes a democratic government; it is the electoral process before, and after the fact, that matters. In this respect, the people of Iran have moved way beyond their governing bodies
Samira Mohyeddin

In what turned out to be quite an absurd statement, the "official" reformist candidate and former Minister of Higher Education, Mostafa Moin, warned voters earlier this week that a boycott of the elections "could lead to the creation of a totalitarian regime." One wonders from Moin's warnings what country he has been living in for the past twenty-six years. A totalitarian state is a state or country completely controlled by a single power that exercises massive direct control over virtually all the activities of its citizens. Newsflash Mr. Moin, Iran is already a totalitarian state!

OPINION
Bar sar-e doraahi

Iran's clerical leaders will have to choose between peaceful transition to a democratic government or face the same fate as the Shah
Hassan Massali

OPINION
Cute won't cut it

Reza Pahlavi should fly to Iran ASAP and join ranks with those who have decided to stay and resist
Siamack Baniameri

If RP wants any standing with Iranians, he needs to put his life where his mouth is. He should not ask Iranians to do anything he is not willing to do himself. That's what separates leaders from talker. That's what separates doers from bullshiters and that's what inspires people to follow. RP needs to make a believer out of us. And he can accomplish that by going to Iran and fighting like a man.

WOMEN
I am a woman. I have rights.

Women demand equal rights at Tehran University gathering
Photo essay

ANALYSIS
Behind the bombings

Who would be the main beneficiary?
Masoud Kazemzadeh

A series of bombings would increase the likelihood of votes going to Qalibaf as the self-proclaimed “Hezbollahi Reza Khan,” promising to restore order by massive repression. Therefore, because Qalibaf is the main beneficiary of the bombings on Sunday, one may suspect that he or his supporters may have been behind them.

OPINION
The time is coming

I could not help myself but to remember the time that I was in Tehran University and how the chain of actions lead to the overthrow of Shah's dictatorship
David Etebari

Today after I saw the photos of the demonstrations of Iranian women in front of the Tehran University, I started to search for more information as more news were unfolding. On the same day there were two explosions in Tehran and few in other cities on previous days. Although regime is claiming that they are caused by opposition groups, but it is more likely that it is orchestrated by the regime itself to scare people of the consequence of a regime change by attempting to give the impression of potential anarchy.

POETRY
Kaafaram agar modaaraa konam

Recited in front of Evin Prison
Simin Behbahani

POETRY
Azadi

I still believe
Orkideh Behrouzan

POETRY
Koshtan-e hame-ye Sohrab-haa

You only need one Rostam to kill off all Sohrabs
Leila Farjami

POETRY
Ghazal-e azad

Qalbam raa mitapi
Ali Zarrin

PROTEST MUSIC
Rai nemeedam

Election boycott song
Author unknown
English translation

ARTS
Faces & figures

Paintings
Mokhtar Paki

ELECTIONS
Welcome back hero!

Hashemi Rafsanjani advertising blitz + football fans
Photographs by Ali Shirkhodaie & Negar

"Welcome back hero" is one of the slogans mass produced in English by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's presidential campaign machine. Others include "No more talk" and "Just Work". The use of English for advertising (including HASHEMI stickers in bold letters) is a new phenomenon in Iran. This strategy is aimed at attracting votes among the country's sophisticated young generation, especially in Tehran. Not only are most voters in the country under the age of 30, but a significant portion are connected (and attracted) to the English-speaking world through the Internet and satellite TV.

RIGHTS
Saddam + Taliban + Apartheid =Islamic Republic

This is why Iranians are calling for change -- a structural change in the regime
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The record of the Islamic Republic of Iran on human rights is one of the worst in the contemporary world. The world today is full of states violating human rights in law or practice, or both. Some establish discriminatory laws to systematically violate the rights of minorities and some time a majority of the population. The apartheid system in the old South Africa was a prime example of this. Some use brutal and inhumane methods of physical punishments long abhorred by the civilised world. Beheadings and stoning to death practised by the Taliban in Afghanistan and in countries like Saudi Arabia are examples of this behaviour.

RIGHTS
I've done nothing wrong

Open letter
Akbar Ganji

LANGUAGE
Kneading a meaning

Etymology of caviar
Guive Mirfendereski

A few weeks ago I turned to Encyclopaedia Iranica in order to learn about the etymology of the word “caviar” or “khaviar,” as we say it in Farsi. I was immensely disappointed in what I found. The word “khaviar,” according to the entry, is the alteration or the variant of the Persian “khaya-dar,” which literally means “having eggs,” as in “mahi khaya-dar,” or egg-bearing fish! I thought, well, here is an explanation as charand as it can graze -- a fish story, with some basis in reality and a lot more imagination than even the mightiest parandeh could wing. It takes a lot of khayeh (balls) for a fish to inhabit the perilous Caspian Sea: It takes equal if not larger balls to offer in an end-all scholarly tome an explanation such as that.

WORLD CUP
Street party

Photo essay: World Cup celebrations in Tehran
Nader Davoodi

POLITICS
Reza Khan-e Hezbollahi

Presidential candidate Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and his mentor Reza Khan
Hassan Behgar

IDENTITY
Hoviat-e Irani

Iranian-ness is not limited to culture, country or blood. It's about politics.
Ramin Kamran

TRAVELERS
Portrait of a city

Yes, even in Tehran, even in this crazy, congested, polluted city, beauty abounds
Sara Valafar

War-torn Tehran has been recovering for years, at a stand-still as far as progress and productivity are concerned. But today we passed a construction site where cement mixers actually churned and men ranged all along the scaffolding with trowels in hand like insects along the exoskeleton protecting some larger beast. In the once elite northwest corner of Tehran, where my in-laws reside, you can find houses as large as palaces, corniced and columned like wedding cakes, guarded by the most delicate of iron scrollwork across the windows and doors. Across the street sits a lone newspaper stand fashioned from an iron hut, flanked by yet more rubble and the droppings of yesterday's passersby.

MUSIC
Ravesh

Hip Hop album
Ali Sufi

WORLD CUP
Bachehaa motshakerim

People pour into the streets of Tehran to celebrate Iran's World Cup qualification
Safainla.us

WORLD CUP
Germany here we come!

Iranian football fans on the day Iran qualified for World Cup 2006 in Germany
Photo essay

MESSAGE FROM TEHRAN
N.F. writes: We won!!! And that makes everything legal for tonight. Including dancing in the street and mingling freely with the opposite sex. My friend tells me that in her street neighbors were handing out beer to everybody, although I personally haven't seen anything like that.

ESSAY
Bileh dig, bileh choghondar

Extraordinary insight into the Iranian character
Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh

ELECTIONS
It's not democracy. It's a joke.

It's certain that a majority are not going to vote. But that's not enough
Marayam Namazie's interview with communist leader Hamid Taqavee

You cannot compare Iran with the sort of democracy found in the west. Of course we don't approve of that sort of democracy either like in the USA where only two main parties because of money, influence and other factors can really participate and run every 4 years. But even with that sort of democracy, what is taking place in Iran is incomparable. On paper, if you are not a Muslim, and a Shia Muslim at that, you cannot become a candidate for the election. If you are a Muslim and don't agree with the Supreme Spiritual leader, again you cannot take part in the elections. That's the issue.

ETHNIC
The melting pot

Like the EU, our region needs to think of an economic union and open trade routes instead of sticking to futile and counterproductive racist ideas
Hirad Dinavari

In reply to Keyvan Valizadeh's "Turk khodeti":
No nationalist ideology, be it Persian, Azeri, Pan-Turanist, Kurdish, Arab, Zionist, Armenian or Afghan will give you the full picture. They are all wrong! I am glad you are reading history, but please read objective history, avoid ideologs with an agenda like Ahmad Kasravi. I am not saying he is wrong, or his research is faulty, I am saying he uses history to push his Iranian nationalist ideology. I am a history major and love the history of the Balkans, Turkey, Caucasus (Ghafghaz), Iran, Iraq, the Arab world, Afghanistan, Central Asia and India. I have lived in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Turkey.

ARTS
Center of the universe

Watercolor nudes
Saeed Siadat

LETTERS
I'm not scared anymore

On Rosa Faiz's "Illegitimate contender"
My question is that as much as i feel Iranian and of course am Iranian what right do i have to sit here on my high horse and endorse change in a country i haven't seen in a quarter of a century? What right do any of the oppossition groups have? If there is to be change in Iran it has to come from the ones who have directly suffered at the hands of this regime,and our role should should solely be secondary. Yes its been tough for all of us,but have any of us trully suffered like they have? I can leave my house in the middle of the nite go to a store buy myself ice cream and yell at the top of my lungs against the president of the United states and thats my right, that is freedom! I'd like to see someone try that in Iran and be able to get away with it! >>> Full text
>>> Latest letters

 

MOJAHEDIN
Illegitimate contender

Mojahedin are finding it increasingly necessary to buddy up with neo-conservatives in Washington DC, further proof of their ideological bankruptcy
Rosa Faiz

I reply to Ernest Friar's "Short on facts long on ridicule".
The deeper point here is of course missed completely by Mr. Friar. The point was not so much that the Mojahedin have called for the US to attack Iran. Not even Ledeen says anything like that. They are careful enough to say that they want a ‘people’s revolution’. And it is only expected that they would talk like that. Mojahedin, to their credit, are not morons and know that utterances openly calling for an imperialist attack on Iran would be effective political suicide. And, besides, our opposition to the Mojahedin is based on their ideology and predates their ambiguous relations with the imperialists.

SATIRE
Our god's plan

The Lord has informed me that He wants America to prepare, to make safe, the way for freedom and democracy in the world
Doug Soderstrom

God wants us to make it clear that they will not be allowed to tell their own people what they must believe, what they must do, or how they must live their lives. God’s message is that it is our responsibility to tell them that they must let their people go, that they must set their people free, that they must free their people from the shackles of oppression placed upon them, that they must give their people the freedom to choose their own leaders. They must realize that if they want to take their place in the world of tomorrow, they must be willing to live according to the principles of God. They must realize that if they are to survive, they have but one choice... the choice to choose freedom and democracy.

ETHNIC
Turk khodeti

Azaris are not Turks. They are Iranians who speak Turkish
Keyvan Valizadeh

I was taught in my childhood that we were "iranian tork" but when I was 16, I told myself that this was weird to be both iranian and turk. I wanted to be sure of my identity. And I remember that I hated the Persians because I heard from pan-turkist azaris that we were being oppressed by them for hundreds years. The fact that we spoke a turkish language was enough for me to claim I was in fact a Turk. But with time I discovered that these pan-turkist nationalists didn't reveal us all about our history and many of their claims was totally false. But I feel to be turkish even if I begin hesitating about the origin of my people.

ARTS
Personality profiles

Drawing portraits
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

FILM
Crash & burn

A film that leaves plenty of bold questions about race
Faye Farhang

Without apology, Crash depicts tragic race relations that exist among various ethnic groups in America. Making the film even more interesting is Haggis' inclusion of the desperate Caucasian suburbanite and its counterpart, the white blue collar worker. In all its boldness, the film repeatedly brings its racist characters to their knees. So they are crashing into one another but it seems they are burning more often than they expect.

IDENTITY
To be Iranian

Anyone who wishes to be an Iranian, is
Guive Mirfendereski

The laws that govern nationality have been handed down to us from antiquity. They are in the form of concepts of identity based on the place of birth and blood. If one is born in Iran, one is Iranian. If one is born from an Iranian, natural or naturalized, one is Iranian or is legible to become an Iranian. If one is born of an Iranian father anywhere in the world, one is Iranian. If one is born of an Iranian mother anywhere in the world, one could become Iranian. I think it cannot be left to the institutes of government, caprice of the legislator or politics of division practiced by ethnic purist to define anyone’s identity. Anyone who wishes to be an Iranian, is.

ELECTIONS
Only credible candidate

The only candidate that can again inspire Iranians with hope is called a referendum
Reza Bayegan

The sole candidate worth its salt on the people’s judgment day in June, will be backed by the Iranian youth, thousands of whom every year leave their beloved homeland, their dear family and friends not in search of Western debauchery and promiscuous living, but in quest of a place where they and their children can live in peace, dignity and security. They sacrifice what they love most for those inalienable rights indispensable to the soul and spirit of every human being.

ART
Shadows

Paintnings, illustrations & digital art
Pantea Karimi

POETRY
Zarabaan-haaye eshgh

For our fallen and imprisoned jornalists
Mojgan Mazkoori

POETRY
Roya

And other poems
Mahmoud Kavir

POETRY
The first night

The world is not my oyster
Leyla Momeny

POETRY
The nature of things

Wind, sky, sun, earth, and you
Siavash Emamzadeh

POETRY
Who stole my sorrow

The M16 feels heavier today
Shoja Adel

POETRY
Cheraa?

Cheraa khandehaa khaali az jaan shodeh?
Morteza Mirbaghian

POETRY
Daard

(Armenian accent)
Sheema Kalbasi

POETRY
Nili Square

For broken hearts there is no glue
M.T. Maan

BOOK
Modernity & sexuality

Uncovering the gendered tropes of Iranian modernity
Afsaneh Najmabadi

The nineteenth-century heteronormalization of love was central to the shaping of a number of political and cultural transformations that signify Iranian modernity. Feminization of the category "beloved" made the figure of Iran as a female beloved available to the male national brotherhood. Heteronormalization of love thus performed patriotic labor. This process made the entire discourse of protection of woman -- a body that needs protection against alien designs, intrusion, and penetration -- and the defense of honor available to nationalism.

PROFILE
Comic timing

Houshang Touzie's talent to entertain, move and empower
Peyvand Khorsandi

In a culture that rates a shoddy film like The Lizard (Marmoulak) cutting-edge satire, one cannot help wonder why audiences in Iran should be deprived of Touzie’s talent to entertain, move and empower. The man himself, however, is not one to dwell on such trivialities. He already has a sequel in the pipeline which inches further towards a bilingual audience, and will release a DVD of From Satellite after is second tour, due to start in September, ends. (In Europe such was demand for tickets that hundreds had to be turned away.)

ANALYSIS
Omidi hast?

Do reformists have a chance in winning the presidential elections?
Nader Davoodi

DOORIYAAT
Dar baab-e taarikhche-ye democracy

On the history of democracy
Bidjan Assadipour

DRIVING
Boogh boogh

A Western perspective on traffic in Iran
Martin

On my second day I felt sufficiently acclimatised to venture out for a drive. That was a mistake, as became apparent when we drove onto the high street. To get an idea, picture a roller coaster. The roller coaster is inside a huge washing machine full of pedestrians. It has crossings, the brakes don't work and the carts are going either way. This indeed is like traffic in Iran, only safer.

WOMEN
Who needs a husband?

Young women and the idea of marriage
Solmaz Separy

I’m sure we all identify with, or know someone who lives the life of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, or even Samantha! It’s powerful and very intriguing, but frowned upon by our Iranian cultural restrictions, and lets not forget the opposite sex. Nonetheless, there are far more doors open to women professionally today, and these women are increasingly opting to delay marriage for some time in order to pursue personal goals and achievements. But there is a problem with the latter in our culture traditionally and I have spoken to many different women my age or older who seem to feel the pressures of the same social restrictions.

MINI WAR
Black Ops target Iran

With things not going good for American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and aggressive intentions towards Iran, clear Black Ops are the means of choice for achieving American aims
Peter Khan Zendran

They are the resort of a desperate power and can hit where it hurts the most. They have also gone on in Iran and Central and Western Asia for a long time. Black Ops, the method of covertly going after a target, and the method of using your forces designed to do one thing for another purpose, a method that embodies all the very worst qualities of the Asian soul. No matter how it happens like pain and smut, you know it when you see and experience it. Right now Iran has been and is on the receiving end of Black Ops, be it from America, Israel, resistance groups, etc. with many conflicting agendas.

POETRY
Dance monkey dance!

For sellouts everywhere from Morocco to Pakistan (and especially Iran)
Maziar Shirazi

You think you've found a quick fix
To turn water into wine
So you scream for everyone else to drink
What is poisoning your mind

CANDIDATE
Man in the middle

Photo essay: Campaigning for Mostfa Moin
Mehran Afshar Naderi

POETRY
* Khodaa naashenaasam
* Heech peesh amadeh...?

Now that iranian.com is banned in the motherland
Ali Akbar Saidi Sirjani

BOOK
There's no meter down there

Excerpt from "Embroideries"
Marjane Satrapi

STAR
I'm famous

I thought I was dreaming. I felt my face burn with a deep read blush.
Siamack Salari

I was about to cross a street when a hand reached out from behind me and gently tugged at my shoulder. My initial reaction was to continue to cross the road. After all, what could the stranger want except money. As I pulled away he pushed his way through the rest of the crowd to stand along side me.
“ Hey man, I know you man... ”
“ Huh?”
I noticed that half of the people who were crossing the road with me had now stopped to listen and work out why I had been recognised.

MINORITIES
First in peace instead of next in war

Build a Persian alliance that opens free dialogue, acknowledges past mistakes, and apologizes to all minorities and victims of Persian governments who have denied their rights
Kamal H. Artin

Some well-intentioned but probably not so well informed Persian friends have criticized Kurdish ethnocentricity. They argue that all Iranian ethnic groups are under equal oppression and that the Kurds are being taken advantage of to fight others. The argument seems to be reasonable, yet it ignores the fact that Kurds are under dual oppression. It is no secret that the central governments in Baghdad, Damascus, Ankara, and Tehran have been abusive toward most of their citizens in general and sabotaged any Kurdish progress toward freedom in particular. Thanks to changes in world politics, it's likely this oppression will not continue for long.

IDEAS
Socialism is the solution

There are no nations such as Loris, Gillanis... these are fabricated by those who try to divide people in order to hide their class interests
Ahmad Nikoobin
unedited

In our country there are prejudices against the minorities, there are even disparities in the rights of different nations living inside Iranian borders, there is probably a real national problem in Kurdistan. These are facts and there is a good old English proverb saying that "facts are hardheaded, you have to consider them anyway". Indeed, there problems in our country, a minor one is national problem, the national problem and the solution to it is a part of the Iranian socio-political problems, the solution is class based.

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