Features

>>> Archive
February 2007

 

TOONS

Here's your democracy

Cartoons
Ali, 2500BC

WAR
Carpet dealer diplomacy

What the West fails to understand is that Iranians are much talk and little else. They are carpet dealers not warriors.
Shahla Azizi

Everywhere you turn these days there is talk of war with Iran.  Ever since the Islamic Revolution of ’79 there has never been a time when a military strike, by the U.S or Israel, seemed more probable.  I have very mixed feelings about this possibility stemming from a mixture of vengefulness, self-interest and common sense.  There are very few people who would stand to directly benefit from a regime change in Iran as much as yours truly. It would mean the revival of my chance to recuperate my rather significant confiscated patrimony which at this time in my life I need more than I do a country or a sense of identity.  Also, I simply hate Islamist ideology because of its unbalanced and outdated view of women.  I don’t have any nationalistic feelings for Iran beyond supporting the football team >>>

COMMUNITY
PARSA

An idea big enough to move the world
Mariam Hosseini

Behind every great transformation, there lies a remarkable individual who ignites change with a vision and decision to take action. Armed with innovation and an idea more important to them than anything else, social entrepreneurs are determined to solve a particular problem, regardless of what it takes. Although they exist in every community, working tirelessly to see their vision materialized, they may not be readily identifiable. The Persian community stands to benefit by finding these people, supporting them, and helping them fulfill their dream of social change.
What exactly is a social entrepreneur? A social entrepreneur is a transformative power, a person with a vision to address vital problems, who is persistent in their quest to see their new idea succeed, who will not relent until their idea has crossed borders, cultures, and has become the norm rather than a curiosity >>>

STORY
Tehran nights

My clothes were gone, my suitcases were gone.
Sanaz Khalaj

"Yes, I love Iranian food. Sure, I'll try one." It was Rob's voice coming from the main dining-room. It must have been pretty loud for it to have traveled all the way through the white marble hallways that lead to that area of my mom's penthouse. Last I checked nobody in my family was deaf, so naturally I decided to get dressed and go and join the festivities. I was starving and felt the need for chocolate in my tummy. I needed to get dressed and find something to eat from the kitchen. I looked over at the couch in the corner of what used to be my room when I lived here some years ago. It was also where my travel clothes and suitcases were last night. My clothes were gone, my suitcases were gone. "Shamsi!!!" I yelled immediately at the top of my lungs. "Shamsi, come here right now!" I continued, as I got up and put my pink robe on >>>

NOISE
This is all psychological warfare digeh!
Nahid Shafiei

JESUS... JEEEEEESUS... and Moses... and Muhammad... and every other prophet on earth!!!!! I am SO SICK AND TIRED of reading every headline about the U.S. and Israel preparing to attack Iran. I swear to God I'm ready to throw up "digeh"! Before, I used to read these articles, but now I just read the headline and if it says anything about the U.S. and Israel wanting to attack Iran I just skip it and go to the next news item. AND... worst of all Iranians themselves are hyping this more than others ! "baba jaan" "aadamhaay-e aqel", "professorhay-e daneshgah"  who keep writing article after article about how the U.S. is preparing to attack Iran ---- use your heads a little >>>

WORD
Dar vasfe ghater

Nobody knows how and why the country of Qatar got its name
Guive Mirfendereski

Down in the southwestern corner of the Persian Gulf lies a promontory shaped like a bilakh. It is called Qatar and nobody has been able to give a rational explanation of its name – until now, that is. How I have arrived at this study, itself, is a testament to the insightful suggestions and questions that I receive, from time to time, from friends and readers of this site. This morning, I received an innocuous inquiry about a possible connection between the word khar [Dar Vasf-e Khar] and the English “car,” as the means of transportation. The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the word “car” with its various variants and spellings is of pervasive use in the European languages. In German, we are told, the word spelled as karre, which meant a two-wheeled wagon. Because German is a sort of an entry point of our Indo-Iranian words into European languages, I thought of gari, the Farsi word for that familiar two-wheeled mode of transportation in the Iranian landscape >>>

INTERVIEW
Twenty eight years later

Conversations with my father: Nosratollah Amini
Fariba Amini

My father was born in June 1915 in the town of Arak, in west-central Iran, into a middle class family. He was named Nosratollah (God’s Victory). The story goes that when he was a baby, the Russian army invaded Iran -- this was the time of World War I -- and a band of Russian soldiers had come to their house. Anticipating their arrival, everyone, including his parents, had left out of fear, and in the chaos little Nosratollah was left on top of the korsi, the traditional charcoal stove that was used to heat Iranian homes, with all the household money and jewelry stashed underneath. When the soldiers saw the little baby, they left, without touching or taking anything >>>

ART

One time art

Painting + Photography
Farhad Nabipour

IDEAS
Leaders and followers

Are Iranians undeserving of decent leadership?
Ben Madadi

I'd like to put on a very simple example to show how we probably deserve tyranny when we have it and what can be done about it. Let's assume you belong to a small tribe (a few hundred members, so that we can understand the community better and more easily) where there is a brutal tribal leader. He is the ruler of the tribe. That is a fact that cannot be disputed, either as a reality in general or as a fact within the tribe. Disputing, challenging or probaby disrespecting the tribal leader may lead to explusion, execution, imprisonment or torture, depending on the gravity or the circumstances of your action. However one thing is clear, the tribal leader is a brutal man. But why is he a brutal man while another tribal leader from the vecinity is said to be a kind and just man whose fame has gone beyound all the surrounding tribes? There are always circumstances by which one man or another becomes a tribal leader >>>

GREED
No more encores

The nuclear program is not the reason
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

The word déjà vu is on everybody’s mind and lips these days as an attack on Iran seems imminent.  Washington’s uncanny creation of Iran as the WMD ogre du jour is all too reminiscent of the Iraq invasion; while the Administration’s latest deceptions remind some of Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia claiming it would reduce the Vietnam casualties.  What escapes peoples’ memory is that the real déjà vu is the case of Iran herself.  For the second time in little over 50 years, Iranians are about to witness yet another assault on their country by the United States. Iranians have a vivid memory of 1953, whether they witnessed it or it was passed down to them.  It was the year when they fell victim to the first CIA-backed coup which destroyed their democracy >>>

PRISON
Prisoners of love

Evin, Part 3: Housing arrangement for female inmates
Azadeh Azad

In 1993, female offenders were no longer held at Ghasr or Ghezel-Hessâr prisons; Evin was now officially the only prison in Tehran where they were incarcerated. It was situated on the mountain slopes of Darakeh and had a vast courtyard that held administrative buildings, place of worship, infirmary, and all kinds of stores including a pastry shop. The women’s section building was on the northern end of the courtyard whose gardens could not be viewed by the inmates and bounded by a mountain. The women prison’s small airing and strolling space was dry, empty and without greenery. On the first floor there was a general warehouse and a medication depot. The infirmary was on the second floor, and on the third floor the office of the Warden of the women’s prison was at its entrance, which opened to a long corridor in the back >>>

SNOW

Undercover

Photo essay: We had a lot of beautiful snow in Washington DC area
Simin Habibian

RALLY

Peace plan

Photo essay: Anti-war rally in London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

DISCRMINATION
Can we trust you?

To call this discrimination is a misuse of English language. This is a hate crime.
Majid Borumand

"Majid how can we trust you? You may read Quran and get ideas?" That is what I was told in one occasion by my manager at Merrill Lynch co. where I worked for more than 3 years! Merrill Lynch is the largest brokerage firm in America. An investment bank and a fortune 100 company with billions of dollars in profits each year. They have also a long track record of discrimination against African Americans, women, etc. (Google "Merrill Lynch + discrimination" for a long list of law suits and class actions some currently pending). The company employs roughly 50,000 employees out of which only 50 or so have Ph.D degrees. I was one of those with a Ph.D in physics and only one with a middle eastern or Muslim background >>>

CONFLICT
You can be against both

Neither with the US nor with the Islamic Republic
Maryan Namazie interview with Hamid Taqvaee

It seems as if the US government is following in the same footsteps [as in Iraq]. But there is a big difference when you compare today’s conditions with conditions before the attack on Iraq and that is of course the experience of Iraq itself. We know that the US government is facing a quagmire in Iraq and does not know how to end it. Moreover, public opinion in the US and across the world is against any type of military attack on Iran and even the reinforcement of US troops in Iraq. So there is a huge difference but on its own this does not mean that an attack is completely impossible. It is not. It is still possible as a last and desperate act of the Bush administration >>>

SPACE
Star Wars 2
Tina Ehrami

Iran launched its first space shuttle today. According to dr. Bahrami, head of Iran's aviation research center the shuttle carried material for research for the ministry of Science and Defence. Iran already had launched its satellite Sina-1 in 2005. Iranian officials say to plan more such satellite launches in the near future. For some reason this reminds me of the Star Wars during the eighties when the US and USSR made a contest out of having the most technologically advanced satellites, shuttles, aircrafts, etcetera hanging in space. This must all be part of Ahmadinejad's muscle-talk to show the US that Iran's technological progress, whether nuclear or in aviation will not be stopped by any kind of sanction or international pressure >>>

NUCLEAR
Fraud & coercion
Daniel Pourkesali

Bush administration officials and their Zionist allies in the media are trying hard to portray Iran as a rogue and defiant nation that is "thumbing its nose at the international community" by ignoring United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 which gave Iran 60 days to halt its uranium enrichment program. In an article written shortly after the passage of the same on Dec 23, 2006, this writer highlighted some important facts that warrant repeating.  First and foremost that Iran is not in breach of any international conventions or agreements. Processing of uranium is entirely within the guidelines of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has accounted for all fissile material and confirmed that none have been diverted to prohibited activities >>>

MUSIC
Daf
Nazy Kaviani

It whirls and sings and jumps out of his hands, only to return and to resume the magical and intoxicating beat of music of a different kind and texture, sporadically augmented with the sound of chains chiming.  Mohammad Vali once read me a poem in which heaven was described.  Among the imagery the poem described, it said:  “... and people there play music, a different kind of music, with a different instrument, something we have never seen before, something that might resemble a Daf... ”  Tonight I was in heaven, listening to my nephew, Pejman, playing the Daf so masterfully.  I wished he would play longer... I wished he would live up here to play for us everyday.... I wished we could all be together everyday... I wished Mohammad Vali were still alive.  He is up in heaven, playing the instrument that might resemble a Daf >>>

VIDEOBLOG

THAT's how cold it is

Back from a trip to Canada
Siamack Salari

LIFE
Riviera memories
Shahriar Zahedi

I was living in a furnished studio apartment on the second floor of this motel-like complex called "The Riviera". There was a hyper-chlorinated swimming pool in the middle of the courtyard. There was also a billiards room, an exercise-room, and a sauna. The redneck downstairs had bought a red T-bird. "The damn thing nearly cost me 8,000 bucks," he'd tell me. I caught him a couple of times standing in the subterranean garage, looking admiringly at his "bird". The manager's wife was an alcoholic. And she looked the part too; thin and frail and prematurely wrinkled and old. One time she begged me to go to the store to get her vodka. I went but came back empty-handed. The clerk had asked for ID so I had to bail out without the booze >>>

DRAMA
Honarmandi porkaar

Niloofar Beyzaie: Hardworking playwright in exile
Shahla Abghari

HISTORY
Kodaam doshmani?

Islam and Iran
by Esmail Nooriala

ART

Breaking tradition

Paintings
Mansoureh Panahgar

DRUGS
Poppy proliferation

Opium production and consumption in Afghanistan and Iran
by Mathew McLaughlin
Introduction by Abbas Milani

I would like to discuss briefly the outline of the paper. In Part I, I discuss Iran’s history of opium addiction from 1860 to the Islamic Revolution. I will then explore in Part II the relationship between Iran’s Islamic government and opium addiction. In Part III, I discuss the rise of Afghanistan as a major opium producer. In Part IV, I explore the Taliban’s ban on opium followed by a glance in Part V at the U.S.-initiated invasion of Afghanistan and the invasion’s impact on Afghan opium production. I then explain in Part VI what the United States is doing to curb opium production in Afghanistan and suggest in Part VII that Washington’s failure to combat opium production in Afghanistan has chilled U.S.-Iran relations >>>

FICTION
Faceless

Chronicles of Fredrick D. Suama' Part 6: There was one person that I found it hard to approach and she was Parvin
Farid Parsa

The euphonious music playing in the background suddenly made me more ashamed of myself, its melody passing harsh judgment on me. All those sexual encounters that I had with various women over the last sixteen months began to stare me in the eyes as defeats rather than conquests, failures to have a permanent relationship. I saw myself as dirty and cheap. Someone who was totally lost in the midst of his pleasures and fantasies and had become a sexual pervert as the result. I had a definite vision about my life, which I had abandoned as soon as the first storm of life began to swirl around me. I also had betrayed my family name and the tradition that I was trying to uphold. Although circumstances had forced me to quit my job and my career was obliterated, they were not to blame for the person I had become >>>

LIFE
Outside the days

Gather me. Pull me. Comb me. Turn your face. Here I am. See me.
Sheema Kalbasi

Let me be granted the beauty of your voice, to watch the movement of your unseen apple on your throat. What time will my ears translate the moment into the language of my silent love for you, the man I live everyday to spread my arms to his earthen body, bright mind, heavenly soul. I wait for you to tell me I can stand between my silence and you to uncover and retell you everyday of my longing for you. I long for you. I long for you. I long for you. I long for you. I long for you. My voice isn't still, my hands aren't. I want to tremble when you look at me even if you never love me as I love you. I don't question the love I feel for you, and when I question, I can't find the smallest doubt, a reason not to love you. There is no reason to love you. You are the reason >>>

HEADACHE
Wizard of Dalam Dolum
Yasmin NA

Few nights ago for the diligence of a friend who was under a wrong impression, me and few friends decided to explore the Persian restaurant (chelo kababi during the day and the night club at nights). Needless to say that it took me three full days to get the phone number and the address, simply because no one knew the correct spelling of this God forsaken place. I tired "08 Irania" as well as 411 several times and came out with the variety of any possible spelling of the name to no avail. So finally another friend said "Oh yea I know where it is but I heard it is not a very good place so don't raise your expectations". With that in mind and my pledge to my friend who insisted that we should go and have fun we set to go >>>

PERCEPTION
Incident on the PATH train

I am an Iranian man in this dystopian post-Sept 11 society-what can I do?
Roozbeh Shirazi

I went out with my girlfriend a few nights ago to have a long a leisurely dinner with two of our friends in the Village. We met up with them a little late, but there were no hard feelings; despite the delay, we were in high sprits and happy to see each other. We asked each other how we had been, got caught up on the details of mutual friends’ lives, and told a few satisfying stories over some good Japanese food and beer. After dinner, we walked with them to the West 4th Street stop hugged and kissed our goodbyes, and walked up two blocks to the PATH station at 9th St. and Sixth Ave. As we had inadvertently learned on our inbound journey, the PATH train was running on a holiday schedule because of President’s Day, so we got settled in for a longer than normal wait >>>

WORD
Dar vasfe khar

For a long time now I had assumed that khar also meant “big”
Guive Mirfendereski

I was looking up the meaning of the American slang-word “shlong,” which in my generation’s parlance used to mean a long dangling penis. For sometime I had suspected a connection between it and the Farsi word for the garden-hose, shelang. I checked my collegiate dic-tionary but had no luck, as the word shlong did not appear there. Then I checked my Haim’s Inglisi-Farsi-Inglisi dictionary, agian to no avail. The word shelang or shilang did not appear in the Farsi part, and the meaning that it gave for garden hose was luleh abyari: a watering tube. So, I Googled “shlong,” and -- bingo: According to Urban Dictionary, in English, the word schlong (variation: shlong) means a penis. It comes from the German “schlange,” which means “snake.” Intuitively, I knew that the Farsi equivalent of the English schlong is, you guessed it, kir-e khar. The career linguists (not me) however tend to demand more proof >>>

JUST KIDDING
I can fix the crisis
Saman

In my opinion, Iran should build an atom bomb and test it on Mecca. Before you think I'm joking hear me out ... there's good reasoning behind this. By destroying Islam's holiest site, most Wahabi/Sunnis will be in such state of shock that terrorism will indefinitely stop worldwide. There's no recovery from that amount of Shock & Awe with tears, shit and piss combined. Helpless/hopeless Bin Laden will commit suicide. Extremists won't even have time to reach out to God because Iran just made him/her/it homeless. Not to mention Iran will probably destroy a couple of big-shot terrorists visiting the site on that same day >>>

PEOPLE

The departed

Photo essay: Faces in graveyards of Qazvin
Mehdi Vosoughnia

U.S.-IRAN
Ominous signs

America is pushing towards greater disaster if neo-cons can manufacture an invasion of Iran
Farhang Jahanpour

In the same way that false intelligence was used prior to the invasion of Iraq in order to establish a link between Saddam's regime and al-Qa'ida, the neocons are busy doing the same in the case of Iran and Syria. Without providing any evidence, President Bush linked the Sunni insurgency with al-Qa'ida and Syria, and the Shi'i insurgency with Iran. He again linked the situation in Iraq with the events of 9/11. In the State of the Union address the president said: "This war is an ideological struggle. ... To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come to kill us." He continued: "What every terrorist fears most is human freedom – societies where men and women make their own choices." >>>

DANCE
Raghs

There is nothing cheap or shameful in learning a cultural art form and performing it to share the sense of pride and joy
Shadi Gholizadeh

I, like most every Persian girl I knew, was enrolled in the community Persian dance class soon after my sixth birthday. I hated it. I was awkward -- my gher looked like a muscle spasm  and I sprained two fingers trying to beshkan. Still, my parents made me go and somehow over the next few years a sense of grace and confidence became instilled in me and I learned to love this cultural art form. It was only through dance that I began to love and embrace my culture -- a phenomenon that is true for many Persian girls. I began to notice, however, that soon after their 12th birthdays, most of the girls gradually dropped dance class never to return. The reasons they gave were similar -- their parents had wanted them to be familiar with Persian dance, but to continue it after a few years…well that would just be tacky. They did not, after all, want their daughter to be considered a “raghas” >>>

MEMORIES
Shomaal days

Stories that would last forever
Layla Khamoushian

Certain stimuli bring them back instantly -- my memories of Shomaal Days. A nice afternoon breeze, the smell of earth after a rainfall, the warm sun on my skin, the sound of ocean waves, watching the beautiful sunset, a sense of hunger after swimming, and of course... the taste of "seer torshi" and "rayhoon" with "loobia-polo". Looking back, those were my best memories of Iran and my childhood. Whether we went for Norouz, when it was cold and we had to stay in our villa and light the fireplace the whole time, or if we went for long weeks in the summer... all of them bring back a smile to my face >>>

SASANIAN
Why do we care?

Arab invasion of Iran lies at the root of the Iranian inferiority complex
Khodadad Rezakhani

The recent pieces about the Arab invasion of Sasanian Iran have made me think hard, as they were meant to I am sure. It is an interesting debate and I for one am very desirous of it continuing in a civilized and possibly academic way. But what has made me really think is the question of why we care? Iranians generally have a common animosity towards the study of history, associating it with boring stories and names of kings and princes and the dates of their reign and wars. Surprising for a nation which traditionally liked its history, with a dash of myth and epic perhaps, and often took it upon itself to tell and retell the stories of the old. Maybe it is the fault of the historians for trying to wipe off the beautiful stories of the Shahnameh and other great works of epic in favour of “real history”, one that was not mentioned by Ferdowsi and other great epic poets >>>

ROULETTE
Luck has the last word

It is amazingly similar to how people live their lives and make decisions in face of uncertainty
Majid Borumand

Stunningly, we have same kind of characters when it comes to leading life. The followers, the sophisticated, the spiritual and superstitious! In the long run though, everyone is a loser! C'est La vie (Such is life)! It is amazingly similar to how people live their lives and make decisions in face of uncertainty. Life is a gamble. After all, you are the lucky sperm who won the lottery! In roulette you can calculate the odds of something happening. In life you cannot even calculate the odds! If you disagree ask people who bought CISCO stock on Jan of 2001. When you board an airplane do you know the odds of surviving? When you buy a house do you know the odds that market would go up or down. What is the odds of your spouse being diagnosed with a terminal illness? >>>

REALITY CHECK
Golden dreams
Guive Mirfendereski

I am in heaven right now, enjoying the heights of depravity and depths of pious righteousness in the recent headings and headlines on this site. I begin with the representation of an Eye-rainian Iranian king showing the finger, the index finger. Of course, we leave it up to the archaeologists and career historians, to conclude without any evidence whatsoever that in ancient Iran giving the index finger was a sign of respect. Because kings hardly needed to respect anyone, I would buy this “sign of respect” explanation only if the pictorial had shown a mass of people giving the king the finger! My explanation for this gesture -- the sculptor caught the king taking a break from picking his royal Persian nose >>>

TRAVELERS

Field of dreams

Photo essay: Kermanshah's ancient past
Afshin Deyhimpanah

MITHRAISM

The finger

The raised index finger as a gesture of respect was an Iranian gesture
H. Behzadi

WOMEN
Treating us like criminals

Pressures increase on activists involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign
Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani

What part of our activities in the “One Million Signatures Campaign” are unjustified and worthy of punishment? I raise this question because since the inception of the Campaign, its members have suffered the wrath of the security forces. We have become powerless, asked for mercy and are now wondering exactly what crime we have committed deserving of such retribution -- a retribution which has been inflicted upon us quietly and gradually. In the past few years, we have tried all possible civic and peaceful strategies for giving voice to these very demands which you claim not to be problematic. Once again, we have chosen the most peaceful of strategies, so that god forbid, we do not cause any problems for anyone -- meaning face-to-face dialogue and the collection of signatures. Truly, we wonder, is there a more civic and peaceful strategy than that adopted by the Campaign? >>>

SAUDI ARABIA
House of shame

The treatment of religious minorities in Saudi Arabia brings shame to all Muslims
Abbas Bakhtiar

We have to face the fact that as long as House of Saud is able to buy friends and influence in the West and East no-one is going to really pay any attention to what is really going on in the kingdom. No one cares if migrant workers are abused, if women are treated as third class citizens or if minorities are discriminated, tortured, and imprisoned. As long as the arms contracts are signed and oil flows, then it is OK. As long as United States supports and protects the House of Saud and its feudal system, then we have no choice but to sit and watch. But this doesn’t mean that we have to keep silent.  Sooner or later, the American people will see this regime for what it is and will demand that their government leave this unholy alliance. It is then that we will see how long this House of horror will stay in power? >>>

PRESSURE
Smart sanctions

Focus sanctions against the IRI, not the people
Jahanshah Rashidian

All indications testify that whether we like them or not, the ongoing nuclear ambitions of the IRI cannot escape the inevitable sanctions of the Untied Nations Security Council. The sanctions are underway and are capable of inflecting massive problems on our people. Blind sanctions are sanctions of food and medical supplies, including all primordial needs of ordinary people in their daily life. Blind sanctions raise serious problems like the infant mortality, malnutrition problems, the massive deteriorations in basic problems, in particular in massive poverty, the health-care system and hygienic conditions, as it was the case during the sanctions on Iraq. All we, the freedom-loving Iranians, can hope is that the inevitable sanctions will not be blindly imposed on our people, but smartly worked out to punish real culprits; all IRI’s officials and their different factions. Smart sanctions should target them, not Iranian people >>>

OPINION
Melting pot myth

Political correctness is the incubator of Islamism
Amil Imani

Time and again we are told by the politically correct "experts" not to worry about Islam posing a threat to our way of life. We are repeatedly lectured that only a very small minority of Muslims are troublemakers who are giving the peaceful masses of Muslims a bad name. We are also informed that the terrorists, who happened to be Muslims, are the disaffected and the young. And not to worry, since as the fire of youth turns to ashes of old age the rebellious will mellow, as they always have. With heavy assurances like this, coming from so many know-it-all authoritative figures, we can sleep soundly without the aid of sleeping pills. After all, people reason that these pundits are "experts" whose job is to know and tell it like it is. Those who voice contrary views must be a bunch of racist, alarmist hate mongers. Who is right? >>>

WINTER

Chilly Mount Vernon

Photo essay: Snow & ice in Virginia
Morteza Loghmani

NUZIZO
One World. One City.
Said Amin

I would like to offer all Iranian.com readers a special invite to visit Nuzizo City. My good friend Darren Romeo and I built Nuzizo City with the intention of creating a peaceful, vibrant space for people to live, connect, and re-imagine what is possible. Nuzizo City is an online community where folks from all over the world come to make friends, share ideas and explore different cultures. The city is comprised of over a dozen neighborhoods that represent various lifestyles, ethnicities, and interests. I live in the Iranian neighborhood called Rumi, but you are free to move into whatever neighborhood that resonates the most for you. If you are into beach culture for example, Nuzizo Beach may be a good option. If into the arts, you may enjoy the Bohemian vibe of the Lower East Side neighborhood. It’s up to you >>>

NOROOZ
Modern & elegant cards
Misha Zadeh

As Iranian-Americans, we have come to look forward to receiving photo greeting cards from friends celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah - we even send them ourselves - but it seems even more appropriate to share photos and greetings on our favorite holiday, Norooz. So, as Norooz 1386 fast approaches, I wanted to let you know that I've teamed up with a friend (Shiva Sarram) to produce modern & elegant, custom photo Norooz cards. It’s been a real labor of love! We plan to launch the line officially next January, but since we have a few of the designs ready to go, we thought we would do a “soft launch” to our friends and family this year. Our Web site noroozcards.net is really just a placeholder currently >>>

ART

1500 B.A. (Before America)

Sasanian silver
Freer & Sackler galleries

WAR
Attacking Iran?

If I did it, this would be how.
Goudarz Eghtedari

In recent weeks the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and many other politicians have said over and over that they are not planning to attack Iran, yet they keep sending more specialized troops, aircraft carriers, and other attack units to the region. US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month's notice. Two carriers in the region, the USS John C Stennis and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, could quickly be joined by three more now at sea: USS Ronald Reagan, USS Harry S Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as by USS Nimitz. Each carrier force includes hundreds of cruise missiles. Even presidential candidates are in a race to outperform each other on their toughness towards Iran, emphasizing that NO OPTION is off the table >>>

WMD
Déjà vu or amnesia?
Daniel Pourkesali

Leesburg, VIRGINIA -- Four years after failing to discover any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or evidence of links between Iraqi regime and the al Qaeda terror network, and faced with the colossal and growing violence of insurgency and civil unrest, the Bush Administration is at it again by accusing Iran of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and aiding the insurgency in Iraq. The preposterous and since discredited dog and pony show put on Feb 11, 2007 in Baghdad by three military personnel who would not dare to go on record while claiming that Iran is providing explosive devices used in attacks on US troops, fell far short of delivering the long promised "smoking gun" linking Tehran and Iraqi militants >>>

POINT
Buyers beware

2008 U.S. presidential candidates
Jeesh Daram

Doesn't it bother you that the news media take it upon themselves to tell you if a candidate to potentially become the next president is a woman or black or gay or vegetarian? Do they think that people can't see for themselves that Hillary Clinton is a woman? These days we keep hearing the generic description of 2008 presidential candidates: "If Hillary Clinton wins the election she will be the first 'female' president". Or: "If successful senator Barak Obama will be the first 'black' President". Don't you agree that this style of categorizing presidential candidates is more or less stereotyping of such candidates and seems like a reminder to the public as buyers beware? >>>

LOVE
Dori delamo mishgani
Maggie Joon

The first time I saw you I thought I would faint from your beauty. You stepped from out of my dreams, my visions, my aching nights of solitude wrapped around an ancient cry for a companionship created out of ether. I see you now in my mind's eye exactly as I saw you that evening: dark black long wavy hair, carmine lips, eyes that would make an addict give up opium, and your sexy flowery blouse that somehow matched your apple martini >>>

ART

Still life

Paintings
Davood Zandian

BLOGGERS
Atash bas

A call to ceasefire in Iranian blogland
Nazy Kaviani

I am not an internet technologist.  I am not a politician.  I am not, in random order, an activist, a spy, or a troublemaker.  I am just an ordinary user, a consumer of information, news, and facts about things I like to see and read.  I am ordinary in the way I review and learn information, not a genius, and not a complete idiot.  Very ordinary.  I realize, however, that I am an important player in the blogging game -- I am the audience.  By virtue of their very nature, blogs are created and updated out in the open, waiting for “authorized snoops” like me, to come and read and see what the author has to say today, and to leave a comment, send a link to a friend, or to move on.  It has been a scary few weeks in Iranian Blogland (affectionately called Weblogestan by some).  Accusations, name calling, profanity, and downright hate are running rampant >>>

POINT
Rainbow of dictators

A large collection of garbage
Alidad Vassigh

A day is not a day unless I check Iranian.com, and please excuse my vile language: it is just who I am, rude to the point of exhilaration. I was delighted tonight to find the roll-call of dictators -- marvellous -- gratified and bemused, I say. Gratified because most of them are black, as they should be, and I could not see President Bush there. There are so many nasty black dictators one wonders if there was ever a good black ruler -- alright Yoweri Musenewi and PDiddy or BigFat Daddy or one of those -- and therefore they can happily share one slot, the collective African slot, right on top, say? What were readers' selection criteria here? >>>

EVIN
Prisoners of "love"

Part 2: Three months of disheartening visits
Azadeh Azad

In the beginning of our visits to the women’s section of Evin in the summer of 1993, we had a meeting with Mr. Alvandi, the head of Reform and Education for men, who also worked in a certain "Criminology Research Centre" at the Prisons Organization. First he told us that there was an Office of Supervision After Release whose employees were supposed to help released prisoners find a job, but that nothing had been done by them yet. The office existed legally, but had done nothing in practice. Then he engaged in uttering lies: "We don’t have the previous view of ourselves as a disciplinary force... " >>>

POETRY
San Francisco

You know i live in an enchanted place
Maryam Djavid

POETRY
Sharghi

Abshaari az mowj
Habib Shokati

POETRY
Baaz khaanam

Ey derakhshan...
Massoud Vatankhahi

POETRY
You can't be better than me

Why did I follow you?
Tara Shirani

POETRY
Jasmine Revolution

For Damon, my Valentine
Tina Ehrami

POETRY
Eshgh dar geroe omr

Love & life
Shahireh Sharif

POETRY
Amoohaayam raa migooyam!

Mes oncles
Mahasti Shahrokhi

TRAVELERS

Pure gold

Photo essay: Commercial signs in Dubai
SM

LIFE
A day after

Break me to as many pieces as you can but touch me
Sheema Kalbasi

I hardly can keep my eyes open. The dining table is full of what I like or have liked at one point in my time. My dad's handmade ceramic pots with flowers, a few crystals I bought in Czech Republic in 1995, and baskets. The heater is on, and it makes funny noise. I am almost done with the boxes in the kitchen. My fingers are dry. I am going to have to put almond oil on them before I collapse to sleep. It has been snowing and there will be more snow, heavy snow, over here in D.C., the state I have moved to from Connecticut. I had planned to go shopping for the day after, for my first reading in English, from my new book. There will be another poet reading, an American. I wonder how you would sound reading to me >>>

FOROUGH
Willful distortion
Jasmin Darznik

Mazdak Khajehpour’s would-be critique seems less animated by an interest in accuracy than the need to promote his own biases.  So regretfully I must counter his charge of inaccuracy with the same, and add to this one of my own: the willful distortion of my essay in the service of his own views. With respect to his specific criticisms, I offer the following rejoinders >>>

LIFE
Hello out there

Don’t let yourself be defined by your limits. Good luck.
Maziar Shirazi

I can’t help but put everything against the backdrop of death, destruction and transience.  Or is that backdrop really just there, pure reality, or is it actively being put there by all these current events?  Terrible thoughts: one day, the people I love most in this world will be gone; one day, the US will send jet fighters over Iran’s airspace and carpetbomb cities and countryside with laser-guided precision, and a big, fat missile will land right in my grandmother’s room; one day, the genocide will be billed as officially over, and everyone will say, “Never again”, again; one day, it’ll be the way it’s been for a long time now, every day; one day, I will wake up and know without a shred of doubt that I have successfully fooled myself >>>

HOLOCAUST
In the name of humanity

Iranian intelligentsia in diaspora unite against revisionism
Darius Kadivar

This spontaneous common initiative deserves notice all the more that it is rare to see Iranian intellectuals including political and human rights activists to find common ground and solidarity for a common cause. However the excesses of the current Islamic Regime in Iran and its leaders have shed a dark shadow of suspicion and animosity towards Iranians worldwide ever since Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has clearly stated that he wished to see the “State of Israel Be Wiped off the Map” and has held an international conference including western revisionist historians, Ku-Klux Klan members and racist delegations to Tehran to examine the veracity of the Holocaust that cost the lives of 6 million Jews, Gypsies, mentally retarded or political outcasts from all over Europe’s Nazi occupied territories during WWII >>>

IDEAS
Chetor shod keh eentor shod?

Stuck between superstition and the unenlightened educated class
Hossein Mirmobiny

HISTORY
Neveshtan bedoone zirnevis

The challenges of writing about history without footnotes
Esmail Nooriala

FILM

Sharing with the world

Photo essay: Iranian films in Rotterdam festival
Babak Andishmand and Amine Delkhoshnavaz

ATTACK
How would I feel?
Rana Rabei

The other day, a Canadian Iranian friend of mine asked me this in passing: As a resident of the United States, how would you feel if America attacked Iran? I haven't thought about politics in a long time, so without thinking I recycled my answer from the last time I was asked this question. Inside the brackets were my thoughts as I was voicing the seemingly RIGHT, expected and patriotic response >>>

FOROUGH
Glossing over

Inacuracies about Forough Farrokhzad
Mazdak Khajehpour

It was with great pleasure that I noticed that there was an article about Forough Farrokhzad in the Iranian. Forough is one of my favorite poets, and I always avidly read any article about her. However Ms. Darznik’s article "Iran’s great poet of exile" was a disappointment. I am a scientist by training, and have no pretension to being anything but an enthusiastic amateur in literature. However, to my untrained eye, her article exhibited a great deal of scholarly inaccuracy and sloppiness >>>

SECULARISM
What the civilized world needs

An international secular movement
Azar Majedi

I am very pleased to be part of this movement. Coming from the Middle East, living under the Islamic Republic in Iran, one of the most brutal regimes of the 20th century, I feel very passionate about the aims of this movement. As a first hand victim of political Islam, as a woman who has lived under the rule of Islam, I have experienced first hand the brutalism and suppression of an Islamic regime and political Islam. As a left activist fighting for freedom and equality I experienced this brutal regime and this reactionary political force, loosing many friends and comrades. I have devoted my life to fight for a better world, a free and egalitarian society, where there exists unconditional freedom of expression and criticism, unconditional freedom for women and equality among all human beings, regardless of their gender, nationality, ethnicity, race, religion or beliefs >>>

CONFERENCE

New ideas

Photo essay: U.S.-Iran conference in Washington, DC
Sasan Afsoosi

NUCLEAR
Not a pretty sight
Faramarz Fateh

News of North Korea's nuclear disarmament has dominated headlines. With 2 of the axis of evil members under control, it's time to attend to Iran; the notorious third leg of this so called axis conjurred up by the neocons. So what's next? The Bush administration is laying the ground work to start the process of mass brain wash as they did with Iraq. Once the polls show that the brain wash has taken a hold of the public, a few young American soldiers are going to be sacrificed to further boil the blood of the 50% of Americans who hate Iran and Iranians. These are the folks who still remember the hostages and 444 days of Amercian pride in captivity. This group also includes most of the Jews, specially the older ones and also the young redneck who just itch for a fight to prove their manhood and superiority by bombing other countries >>>

FILM
Iranian Hot Spots

Jafar panahi's "Offside" in Rotterdam film fest
Sasan Seifikar

Each year the Hot Spots program of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) scans the globe looking for those places where the creative energy has developed in unusual circumstances. This year the Hot Spots program focused on Bucharest (Romania) and Tehran (Iran) both capital cities which have experienced revolutions in recent decades. The Hot Spots program was intended to "tele-transport" the spectators in the Ro Theatre of Rotterdam to Bucharest or Tehran in order to experience the cultural life of these two revolutionary cities. Along with feature length and short films and videos, the Hot Spots program also included live musical performances, theatre, fashion, and the installations of graphic and audio visual artists >>>

POLITICS
A Frankenstein of a leadership council

There is no short cut to political power in Iran
Reza Bayegan

Over the past few years some Iranian political activists have held conferences and virtual roundtables in Europe and the United States ostensibly on how to save Iran at this crucial juncture by putting together a so-called ‘leadership council’. The actual item on the agenda of these meetings however has been nothing except outright self-promotion and vulgar or occasionally subtle displays of the participants’ inflated ‘Me’. It is one of those cases where bad form and bad content reinforce each other to produce a recipe for unmitigated failure. The leadership council would supposedly comprise of a bunch of top Iranians, a kind of brain trust or political crème de la crème who are qualified to wrest the country away from the hands of its repressing tyrants and navigate it to the shores of safety and democracy >>>

LOVE
Khosrow vs Farhad

Love in Persian literature >>> Persian
Majid Naficy

Many years ago, when for the first time I saw the romance of Khosrow-O-Shirin written by Nezami-ye Ganjavi (1158-1262), I wondered why he had called it "Khosrow and Shirin" and not "Farhad and Shirin".  Of course, in my elementary school books I had read about the Sassanid king, Khosrow II (d. 628) and his feasts and pageants, but I did not know that the name of his beloved was Shirin.  I took Shirin solely as a mate and partner to Farhad. After I read the romance of Khosrow-O-Shirin by Nezami, I found out that both Khosrow and Farhad loved Shirin.  With this difference, the former succeeds in his love, but the latter does not and hurls himself from Mount Bisotoon >>>

TRAVELERS

Boston album

Photo essay: In Boston for a friend's 2007 New Year's Eve party
Jahanshah Javid

POETRY

Killing all Sohrabs

Video: Poem about Bush & war
Leila Farjami

FOROUGH
Iran’s great poet of exile

Forugh Farrokhzad, forty years later
Jasmin Darznik

Beginning in the 1950s a bold new tradition of writing by women emerged in Iran, and it would be a development that would completely transform Persian literature in the space of half a century. That women are today a vital part of Iranian literary history owes much to one woman, the poet Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967). Farrokhzad was not Iran’s first woman poet; a handful of well-born women began to publish their verses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But she was the first to rise to fame without the support of a prominent male figure. More significantly, her poetry broke totally new ground with its modern form and equally modern sensibility. In her short life, Farrokhzad traveled a great distance from most Iranian women of her time >>>

POETRY
Stop! Heart Stop!

Tired of your incessant beating to some Cannibal rhythm
Setareh Sabety

LOVE
Cupid was an Iranian man. Not!

How Iranian men have almost collectively behaved under the Islamic Republic of Iran
Nazy Kaviani

My wonderful 22-year-old niece, full of life and hope, asks me if I knew that Valentine’s Day does not actually have its origins in St. Valentine’s birthday, but that it is an ancient, 3000 year old Iranian celebration of women and love, called Espandarmaz, taking place on the 29th day of the month of Bahman, also called Esfandgan.  On this day, she says, women and love were celebrated by men, where women did no house chores and men took care of the women in their lives.  To that, I say, dream on my child!  Even if true, just as the governing style of Cyrus The Great, The Persian Empire, and all the glamour of it disappeared, so has any national inkling among most Iranian men, that women are sacred and special! >>>

STORY
Unluckily in love

I gathered our separation as a step in the right direction
Heatherley Peckham

Luck is not honest, nor loyal. Luck is not consistent and luck will not always be on your side. Depending on luck when truly needed is the worst stage of despair. One with the ability to accept fate never looses. As I entered the room I quickly pulled the card out of my pocket and glanced at the information prepping myself for the speech. The speech I provided almost every day this week as I had an unusual amount of cases. "Hello Mrs. Amani my name is Sarah I will be in surgery with you today assisting Dr. Khan locate the sentinel node." I continued to explain the purpose for this procedure on a light note, and high pitch in my voice. The radioactive materials that was soon to be injected into her breast would travel through her lymphatic system. The drug then would accumulate in the nodes and become easily detected with a gagger counter now known as a neo probe >>>

POETRY
Daaneh daaneh

Picking stars
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

VALENTINE
First love

I could care less where he was from, or that his language was very strange, or that his alphabet looked like something done by a child
Rosi Canales

I met him when I was only 16 and with a dual enrollment in high school in the mornings and college at nights. I met him my first day at college, he saw me waiting for my classes to start, sitting at the library, came to talk to me, asked where I was from and where and at what time were my classes. I answered him, like obeying an order. That night he was waiting for me after my classes and asked me to give him a ride back to his apartment, only a few blocks from campus. That was the beginning of a story that shaped the rest of my life, my first encounter with Iranians, and as I see it today, a very bad day for me and how I choose my lot in this life >>>

VALENTINE
Ability to see
Nikoo G.

Valentine's Day? Why look forward to that? I am  not a soppy, dopey, icky-sicky, treacly, weak-at-the-knees type of person. I don't go in for that lovey-dovey, koochie-woochie, kissy-wissy kind of nonsense. I am not cold-hearted. I am not unromantic. I am just practical. So, er... what is it then that is starting to melt within me now? As my defence rolls down in my heart today, a problem begins to become less problematic elsewhere in my world. Perhaps I shouldn’t deny what I feel; Swings, roundabouts. Upside, downside. Pros, cons? What a bore! Why, every time something good happens, must it be accompanied by something undesirable? What rotten trickster designed that particular part of universal law? >>>

VALENTINE
Open your heart
Pillango Farfar

Sleepless night again? One of those days you want to share and you don’t know where to start? And you know it is Valentine’s day, what a pressure!You are suppose to communicate love! Maybe when I begin writing and you read we both will know what is all this about. Life has never been easy but  I know some days or nights you find even taking a breath challenging.Some nights of life goes by for you without being able to sleep and you think and think as if there is no other time for thinking. How can such an enjoyable act as sleeping become difficult? Is it because you are so sad? What is bothering you? Did anybody offend your heart. Or better ask did you allow someone to offend your heart? >>>

ART

In your face

Paintings
Farkhondeh Marashi

HIPHOP
Hich Kas

Tracks form "Jangale Asphalt"
MP3s

CONFLICT
Pussy

The present enmity between Iran and Israel is like the game of cat-and-mouse
Guive Mirfendereski

I knew it! You saw the title of this piece – pussy – and rushed to see if there is anything in it for you. The object of this essay, however, is to say a few words about the state of enmity that exists between Iran and Israel. What does “pussy” have to do with it? Nothing. But here is my two cents about the origin of the word pussy – as in “pussycat.” It is from the Persian pishy, from pish, meaning “near, forth.” The Oxford English Dictionary (get it? dick-tionary) says that the word “puss” is a common word for cat in the Teutonic languages, with origin unknown, perhaps from a call to attract the cat. Like what? Like, pish-bia (come here), the antonym of pass-boro, (go away, pisht!) >>>

LIFE
Death in translation

Nothing poetic about it. Just a difficult exit.
Setareh Sabety

I have witnessed a person’s slow decline into death twice.  The first time it was my father.  At the age of ninety-eight he became bedridden and weak after an operation and after three months or so of staying in his bed, at home, he died.  There was nothing poetic about this.  He was not in a lot of pain but his immobility pained him greatly.  An active and ambitious man who could walk for miles even into his late years he hated his predicament and used to tell me those last months, “my greatest ambition now is to get from my bed to the bathroom.” Recently I witnessed another slow death.  My dear friend’s nanny, after a year of dialysis and a history of much illness, spent the last five weeks of her life in a French hospital dying.  She was a nanny of the Old Iranian variety --- the kind that was practically born in the household and grew up as part of the family >>>

PRISON
Prisoners of "love"

Evin is a Kurdish female name, meaning "love"
Azadeh Azad

I find some time off my busy schedule and read my journal entry for July 4, 1993, which I have written in Persian. In the morning of that day, my research team and I arrived at Evin village, north-west of Tehran, and alighted from the research Institute’s cars onto a sun-drenched street with a few grocery shops on one side and the long wall of the prison, on the other. My colleagues reached into their bags for long black chadors, which they wore over their existing Islamic clothing and held the two ends together with their hands. I found myself persuaded that governmental institutions of the Islamic State were doing their best to demoralize working women by imposing those oppressive black tents on them in the heat of 45 degree Celsius. We entered the Information Office - a small checkpoint building with three cell-like offices >>>

RISE & FALL
Charlemagne

With posthumous permission of Will Cuppy
Khodadad Rezakhani

Charlemagne was the King of the Franks. Nowadays, the French insist that he was French and the Germans claim the same. If you asked him, he would probably say that he was Frank and screw the French and the Germans! This shows that Charlemagne was not very polite. Charlemagne’s name was not really Charlemagne, I mean it did not have the magne part and it was just Charles (if you are French) or Karl (if you are German). His mom probably called him Karl dear, which shows that his mom was polite and goes further to prove that kids never learn from their parents. Charles’ dad was called Pepin, and his friends called him Pepin the Short since he was only about a yard tall and all that. But he wanted to prove himself and so he wrote a letter to the Pope (who was his friend) and asked him if he could remove the king (who was a half-wit since his parents were cousins or something) and the Pope obviously would not have said no. You don’t know Pepin, he was very convincing >>>

JOKE
Did Iran fart?
Lucy Ghoreishi

When I read the news these days it gives me enough anger to remember an old bad joke and I thought to put in writing since even bad words are made to be used one day when appropriate. The joke is this. A truck driver who was a pedophile gave a ride to a young boy. They started talking and the boy, even though he needed the ride, was very timid and could not carry a conversation. After a few miles the driver siad: "Hey buddy, I want to make a point very clear to you: I hate farts and if you make a stink, you're fucked! Is  that understood?" "Yes!" said the frightened boy, "I will never do that." >>>

LIFE

Bit of rest

Photo essay: Taking a break, London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

WAR
Terrorist by any other name

The blueprints for an attack on Iran have already been drawn
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Unable to accept a humiliating defeat in Iraq, refusing to own up to the carnage that has been created, not to mention the blood that is on their shoulders, not only is Iran a prime scapegoat, but it gives the vampires at the AEI a solid excuse for the next war.  According to former weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, he noted classrooms for training all Iraqi covert agents in the black art of making and using IEDs during an inspection of the Iraqi Intelligence Service's training academy in Baghdad in April 1997.  From his observations which were not limited to the classrooms, Ritter states that Saddam’s government and its remnants are familiar with every in inch of Baghdad and beyond including all neighborhoods including Shiite and Kurdish; and “for every 100 active insurgents fielded, there must be 1,000 to 10,000 active supporters in the local population.” It is only logical to conclude that IED are the Saddam followers wishing to rid Iraq of the coalition presence >>>

POINT
Zereshk!

If you want to change public opinion in the U.S., this is not the way
Jeesh Daram

Let me ask you a question: Why is it that you seldom see an Iranian political scientist being invited by FOX or CNN news or the likes to discuss their viewpoints about Iran despite of all that is going on between the West and Iran and the fact that we have such a large population of Iranians in the US? Well, before I collect your answers let me jump to a little scenario before I forget: When she lived in Iran the Revolution was two decades old, and by the time she got out of Iran she was about seventeen. Daddy somehow managed to get her out of Iran thanks to the fact that his green card was still valid and he decided to leave Iran for good. A couple of years later in the US she decides to write books, essays and articles against the Iranian regime staging herself in the center of it all as a political refugee, an expert on Iranian affairs, a poet, a victim of Islamic atrocities, a scholar at large, and 'nokhodeh har aash' a jack of all trades! "Ya aba abdollah khodet beh dadeh ma beres" >>>

TIMES
Vaz o haal

A conversation amidst swirling crises
Shahriar Zahedi

POLITICS
Twilight zone

The promiscuous power of Iranian political parties abroad
Tina Ehrami

In the turbulent world of party politics where party members choose their own captain to steer their ship, candidates swarm around their aspirant supporters, hoping to be elected next as the following captain. This procedure is as old as politics itself. Some candidates are more able and eloquent in their approach than others. Some are more charismatic than others and some simply know exactly how to play the game to win sympathy. This is all quite accepted and known, since acumen and leadership qualities of a candidate decide whether he wins the game or not. The arena that exists for this game is present in its national state and facilitates for the people to behold this spectacle and decide for themselves who to support and follow >>>

VIEW
Point of no return

Get united for Iran
Sohrab Ferdows

The Islamic revolution makers of 1960's and 1970's are traveling around the world these days to paint a different image of their Islamic system for the Iranians abroad and others. In the summer of the year 1997, when a "moderate" clergy could gain the trust of Iranians as new Islamic president with promises of change and prosperity in his political campaign and debates, many people (including myself) were convinced that real change in near future would be inevitable. During those days it happened that I was there to witness how our nation tried to defeat the deceitful masters of Islamic regime in their own game. Polling stations were packed and many had run out of the electoral cards >>>

BLOGGERS

Words can, bombs can't

Photo essay: Iranian bloggers' panel discussion at Stanford University
Jahanshah Javid

SEX
The night flight

From Paris to New York... to London's magazine stands!
Sarvenaz

My erotic diaries  are hitting the mainstream. The first episode of Sarvenaz which appeared on this site is to be reprinted in the March 2007 issue of The Erotic Print Society's magazine, "SEX". The Society is based in London and will be publishing the entire diaries in book form. They are an upmarket erotic publisher that boast such titles as, The Guide to Oral Sex, and the translation of the Kama Sutra. A small step for me, but a big step for Iranian women and their right to express their sexuality! So if you are one of my fans and happen to be in the U.K. please go out and spend a few pounds on SEX and read the version edited for the UK audience. You can read the original here >>>

LIFE
Dealing with the aftermath
Fereshteh Saheli

A couple of months ago I wrote "Clearing my closets".  Now nothing is what I had thought it would be.  I am so very tired.  My nine year-old feels it, enough that if he sees me try to clean a room, he offers help.  I tend to work a little in my yard whenever I can; long gone are the days I could mow the lawn and clean the flower beds.  These days I’m lucky to be able to weed the stuff my hired help missed.  Even that gets me into such a frenzy of fatigue, I am inclined to give it up.  I don’t do so though.  It helps my baby see me doing (or at least try to do) what I used to be able to do.  I believe it helps him cope >>>

POETRY
New York

Four post-9/11 poems >>>Also in Persian
Majid Naficy

POETRY
Rooydad

Bebeen...
Laleh Irani

POETRY
Hameh ro bargh migireh ma ro cheragh nafti

Misheh benzin bezanim?
Shahireh Sharif

POETRY
Papa don't

You cut me down so low
Dawn

POETRY
War

Last I heard nailing to the cross didn't change a thing
Jam Hamidi

POETRY
Hindsight

Look behind to the road
Tina Ehrami

POETRY
Jense latif

Tohmat-e seeb
Ava Koohbor

POETRY
The definition of a miracle

No mistakes eternity cannot forgive
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Tange Bolaghi, niloofare abi

Taarikh gol midahad
Shokooh Mirzadegi

POETRY
A dive not so deep

With eyes closed to all that's past
Sara Rahai

POETRY
Ode to Damavand

O’ dome of the world!
Mohammad Taghi Bahar
Translated by Mahvash Shahegh

POETRY
Convention

Time fills the trees
Jamshid Shirani

POETRY
A sermon on coexistence

Respecting the views of all is essential
Akbar Showkatian

POETRY
Dreaming of you

Knowing you are lost to me but a memory
Farah Afshari

POETRY
Kooch

Khodahafez
Zahra Samani

 

DRAMA

Voices of our generation

Photo essay: Young actors on stage in Berkeley
Mansour Taeed

BOOK
Finishing a story that was only half told

The Saffron Kitchen is a great reminder of how imperative it is to provide details when passing down stories to the next generation
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Yasmin Crowther’s début novel, The Saffron Kitchen, walks the fine line between fiction and memoir. In this compelling story of a woman caught between two worlds, foggy images of Iranian society are seen throughout, images that are peculiar to first generation Iranian immigrants. Considering Iran’s drastic social changes during the last three decades, endearing stories are passed down to the young through memoirs of parents who have seen the best as well as the worst. When these stories are retold, some details are bound to be inaccurate while others may be missing altogether. However, the narrations possess a familiar resonance to those with similar experiences, and the stories succeed to touch on some fundamental aspects of the past. The Iranian reader may even identify with some of the characters and at times it reads more like one’s own memoir >>>

AZERBAIJAN
Visa to Mashad?

The dynamics of ethnicity in Iran
Fereydoun Safizadeh

It is a very sensitive time in Iran’s history. It is not clear what is in store for Iran. In as much as there are plans to possibly use bunker buster atomic devices to get at nuclear sites in Iran, there are also plans to use ethnic tensions as internal atomic bombs in democracy operations in Iran. It has been said that if Khuzistan is separated and turned into another Kuwait, Iran is finished. Thus, it is important to find out what are the ethnic issues and regional grievances and to stop the simplifications that go on. In Iranian Azerbaijan the answer to the question Is There Anyone in Iranian Azerbaijan Who Wants to Get a Passport to Go to Mashad, Qum, Isfahan or Shiraz? >>>

VIDEOBLOG

Toddler taming

Uncle Agony on how not to raise your kids
Siamack Salari

ISLAM
Silk Road block

Disruption of trade and the Arab, Roman, Persian wars
Esmail Nooriala

Here is what I could put together as an answer to the above enquiry within a short period of time in a busy schedule for the day: Dear Madam, Thank you for your enquiry. I will try to render a short report, as you wished, on what I have written. Nevertheless, I do not intend to get involved in any debate with others who do not like what I say. The readers are to decide for themselves. You probably know that Mohammad was 40 years old when he claimed to have been chosen by God to act as his prophet. He was involved in leading trading caravans that commuted between Yemen, Mecca and Jerusalem since he was 13 years old. He also married Khadija -- known the Princess of Qoraish and the wealthiest of all owners of caravans -- when he was 25 years old (and she was 40). Thus, he became a wealthy trader himself >>>

RETREAT

Peace in time of war

Photo essay: Esalen retreat, Big Sur, California
Jahanshah Javid

POINT
Don't just blame America

How the left should campaign against the war
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The analysis by John Pilger in "Iran: The war begins" that the war with Iran is going to happen, is not news. Many have already been talking about this, and I, for one, have been writing about the high probability of it happening for the last 2-3 years. And if it happens it would not happen only because of the American/British policies, but also because of the policies adopted by the Iranian government.  While every effort should be made to prevent this catastrophe (even though it may be too late now), it does not help the anti-war movement to concentrate wholly on the US government’s designs and exonerate the Iranian government of what it has been doing -- as John Pilger does in his analysis >>>

DIASPORA
We are not in Iran

A shift in the Bush strategy on democratization in Iran
Nema Milaninia

I do not think the administration believes that the Iranian Diaspora is a significant lobbying group. It's clear that the Diaspora is disorganized, diverse, often conflicting with one another, and for the most part apolitical and apathetic. Especially since 9/11, most Iranians have shed their Iranian-American skin for American clothing. Most Iranian-American Muslims have for the most part stopped identifying Muslim part. In essence, we have become more Persian than Iranian in the most historically inaccurate way possible. Thus, I doubt that the administration is appealing to the Diaspora in order to appease them or gain their trust. I think there is an opposite effect in hoping that the Diaspora can be a front, amongst many fronts, against the Iranian regime. This is nothing new or novel, but the approach I think might be different >>>

RESPONSIBILITY
Defiance is for children

Never underestimate the power of the people, professor
Shirin Saeidi

I understand that international relations is a masculine field fascinated with war and that it tends to view social realities, such as wars, through cold calculations and game theory. Indeed, studying in one’s office in New York or Cambridge makes it easy to forget that our actions determine the future for countless individuals.  Nevertheless, as the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon this summer, as the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980, have all shown, professor, never underestimate the power of the people. No amount of methodological course work or realist paradigm applications can account for the love a nation has for its land, and for the explosions which occur when a people are placed under immense pressure. Putting aside the tone and inspiration of your writing, unfortunately, you also have the facts wrong >>>

LIFE
Solamente para ti ...

What are these feelings creeping inside me?
Cameron Batmanghlich

Each day, I look forward to one thing above all ... the words that she types ... on the other side. And yet, I have not even heard her voice ... Sometimes, it is as if she is in another dimension ... cause such connection is not common ... not anymore ... not in this day and age ... with malice and gloom covering people’s hearts. What is this bizarre feeling of annoyance, when thinking of her in someone else’s bed, in the past? Is this what other people call jealousy? >>>

PHOTOBLOG

Impossible is nothing

Photo essay
Alireza Aghakhany

REVIEW
Cold cuts
Gum Boo

Bad service, good food, or good service bad food, sums up most of London's Iranian restaurants. Hafez is a case of bad service, worse food. First up, rice is cold. "No, it isn't," says the waiter. "Yes, it is," our party of eight says. "Touch the rice and tell us it's hot," we say. The waiter accepts the rice is cold. "I'll get you warm rice." Meanwhile, the barg kebab goes cold. The rice is returned steaming in one minute. "Did you microwave it?" >>>

TESTIMONY
Understanding the Iran crisis

Diplomacy may be the only option in confronting Iran
Ray Takeyh

Prepared testimony for U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs: From the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorism, from human rights to democratization, the Islamic Republic of Iran cuts across a wide range of American concerns. The American leaders routinely characterize Iran’s meddling in Iraq and its nuclear ambitions as a grave threat, while often musing about the eventual necessity of using military force against the recalcitrant theocracy. To properly contemplate the Iranian challenge, I shall focus on two areas of contention: Iran’s Iraq policy and its ambitious nuclear program. Through a better understanding of Iran’s motivations, one can best assess how to address its essential goals and objectives on these two critical issues >>>

YOUR LETTERS
If a war were to start between Iran and the US...

In response to Jason King's "Letter from America": America hosts the biggest Iranian population outside of Iran, many of them with communist and socialist beliefs, however, the language of Anti-Americanism is prevalent more among those living in America and the West in general, than the ones who actually live in Iran and look up to the International community, including the West, to provide support for their struggle against the current Fascist regime of Iran. It is unfortunate, ironic, and a fact, that many Iranians, more than any other people in the middle east, would actually greet American troops as liberators, disregarding the fantasized arguments of some of our intellectuals abut the evils of Capitalism, Neo Cons and western values. History has clearly proved that the capitalist system of government, even though not flawless, provides the best possible quality of life for its citizens. That is a historical fact >>> More letters

CONCERT

Hot waters

Photo essay & video: Roger Waters in concert
Farhad Nabipour

ANALYSIS
Iran vs. Saudi Arabia

Am I the only one that thinks that US is looking for terrorists in all the wrong places?
Abbas Bakhtiar

Dorothy Thompson once said that the only force that can overcome an idea and a faith is another and better idea and faith, positively and fearlessly upheld. Saudi Arabia is afraid that if Iran is successful in its rise, it may become a model for Muslims in the Middle East. It may weaken and ultimately destroy the Wahhabi version. The Wahhabi clerics know that in an ideological fight, their version of Islam is going to lose. They now are looking at United States to protect them by weakening Iran. And by all indications, United Sates is obliging.Saudi Arabia is now pushing hard to “contain” Iran through United States and UK. It is also spending as much as it can in creating a fissure along the sectarian lines in the Islamic community. Saudi controlled press and their affiliates have started using Sunni and Shi’ite. The Saudis are trying hard to regain lost ground in the Muslim world by trying to scare them of the rising Shi’ite. But what they don’t seem to understand is that no one is fond of the Wahhabi version of Islam >>>

LIFE
The birth

Each month there is this week that the mysterious Venus is jealous of the days that the bleeding doesn't envelop the body into cliffs of insanity
Sheema Kalbasi

I don't think I am a woman who is defeating the taboos of her time or maybe I am. This however has not been intentional or planned. It just happens that I have come close to death on several occasions and the experiences have left me with little to worry about what others may think of me. After all I woke up the day I was given a time by birth, the birth I remember as the present, and then like all else there will be a time for dying. Just like that. So if one place has too many chains, too many neurotic people who make the air suffocating and impossible for the soul, the mind, and the body, I find another place. Simple! >>>

POETRY
Camel Jockey

Inspired by and my reworking of the song "Colored Spade" from the musical "Hair"
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
The veil

Layer by layer
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

POETRY
A new day

As I look around me I realize that...
Niloofar Nafici

ART

The war within

Paintings
Khosrow Hassanzadeh

THREAT
The price of defiance

It is most unlikely that Iran will give up its nuclear ambitions unless it concludes that the price will be too high to bear
Alon Ben-Meir

That Iran stands today able to challenge or even defy the United States in every sphere of American influence in the Middle East, attests to the dismal failure of the Bush administration’s policy toward it during the last six years. Feeling emboldened and unrestrained, Tehran may, however, miscalculate the consequences of its own actions, which could precipitate a catastrophic regional war. The Bush administration has less than a year to rein in Iran’s reckless behavior if it hopes to prevent such an ominous outcome and achieve, at least, a modicum of regional stability. Tehran is fully cognizant that the successful pursuit of its regional hegemony has now become intertwined with the clout that a nuclear program bestows >>>

WAR
G W & Hillary

The other side of the same coin
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Speaking at the Democratic National Convention’s winter meeting, Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that once she becomes president, she would end the war in Iraq and restore the basic promise of America.  Mrs. Clinton, who voted for the illegal invasion of sovereign Iraq, knows she must end the Iraq war in order to launch another – a war on sovereign Iran. This clever and yet unimaginative woman has failed to come up with her own rhetoric.  Borrowing from W. she shamelessly echoes him:  "In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table."  And so she intends to restore the basic promise of America by engaging the country in a far more violent conflict.  The road to the White House is no longer through Iraq, but through the ruins of Iran >>>

CALM DOWN
Don't worry
Bem Madadi

Why do Iranians in the US seem so much worried about the US invading Iran? I simply cannot grasp the logic of this. The US is just bogged down in Iraq, the budget deficit is ballooning while new funding is required for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that seem not to offer any signs of ending. The Congress is controlled by the Democrats who oppose the Iraq war and are calling for the returning of the American troops. Even a large number of the Republicans are now anti-war. The American people are mostly against the Iraq war already. George Bush is nothing but a lame duck president who is counting the miserable days to leave office and there are going to be plenty of them to count. Add all this to the fact that Iran is not a small country and Iranians are much more nationalistic than Iraqis >>>

LIFE
Toghyan

I refuse to accept this fate
Shahireh Sharif

ARABS
Cultural exceptionalism

Cultural biases and superiority fantasies
Khodadad Rezakhani

Again, it is interesting to see that in his latest piece, "Doshmani-e Eslam ba Iran", Dr. Nooriala has noticed a very important aspect of the rise of Islam, one that is often lost in the traditional versions of the story of Islam which is often devotional. Economy, particularly commerce, was indeed essential to this rise and should always be considered. However, it is a pitty that although his previous article had maintained a level of scholarly detachment, this latest installment gets awfully close to the concept of Cultural Exceptionalism >>>

CARING

Why do we love pets?

Photo essay: Saving pets at Tehran University vet clinic
Noushin Najafi

ENEMIES?
Americans are losing their very best friends in the world

Contrary to the Bush's administration's repeated claims that the sanctions target the regime, there are signs that shows they have targeted ordinary Iranians
Hassan M.

I am an Iranian businessman who started from scratch and worked hard for the past four decades. I have the responsibility of taking care of more than 500 families who work in my manufacturing plants. In the past few months after the U.S. involvement in putting pressure against Iran, my business went down like many many others. Two months ago after the U.S. treasury department implemented sanctions against Sepah Bank, many of my transactions with the west came to a halt. We badly needed materials and some spare parts but somehow had great difficulty importing them from our various sources in Europe. Now we hear the news of even more possible financial sanctions in the near future. In that case I have to close down most of my businesses and wait for the dark future that the blue-eyed Americans have in store for us >>>

OPINION
No bombs, no appeasement

It is dangerous and unnecessary to attack Iran militarily, neither does the U.S. need to go the route of appeasement with a seriously weak adversary
Amil Imani

It is only a matter of time before the confrontation between the world and Iran's Mullahs, with the U.S. leading the charge, sets off a catastrophic conflagration. The present stand-off is bound to change, either by the U.S. use of force to make good on its threat that a nuclear Iran is not acceptable, or by the Mullahs managing to make the unacceptable an accomplished fact. Although the main adversaries are the U.S. and Iran, much of the world has a huge stake regarding this potentially catastrophic confrontation. Israel, the Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq as well as nations farther away from the region are willing and unwilling parties to this unfolding crisis >>>

LIFE
The daily lives of ‘predators’

There are no rules ... just instinct, intuition, and raw power and desire for survival –  in all spheres ... and even blood
Cameron Batmanghlich

Yea... the ‘Predators’... with the presence of a lamb... a walk of the butterfly... a touch of the velvet... a laughter of Mephistopheles... and a look of the Devil himself, that they took from him long ago, as a war booty. They roam around ... in all spheres... They are not settlers... they are no ants, building colonies, they are no sheep herding together, nor are they horses accepting to be domesticated for the sake of a secure existence in the shelter of a stable. At most, when they feel they can afford it, they act like birds, nesting for a season and then move on >>>

EMPIRE
Doshmani-e Eslam ba Iran

Roots of Islam's animosity torwards Persia
Esmail Nooriala

PHOTOBLOG

Urban surfaces

Photo essay
Amirali Ghasemi

OPINION
Unjust war

Scapegoating Iran for failurre in Iraq
Ardeshir Ommani

To start waging a twelve-year war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN), the U.S. under a Democratic President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, concocted the fictitious Vietnamese attack on a U.S. naval vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin. To enter a four-year-war so far, against the people of Iraq, Washington this time headed by a Republican President -- George W. Bush -- manufactured the fiction of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Currently, the U.S. is laboring its mental powers to come up with a similar hoax. But to make such a deception believable, the neo-conservative hoaxers must prepare the mental condition of their audience. To that end, President George W. Bush, with the generous help of the mainstream media (Fox News, CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many others) has painted Iran already guilty of multiple crimes >>>

MAP
United States of Iran

Believe it, accept it, and respect it
Javad Fakharzadeh

1. Iran has never been independent or self-ruled for the last 300 years. This has raised many eyebrows in many Western capitals.
2. The Axis of Evil, US-UK-Israel, are very scared seeing a true democracy growing in the heart of the Middle East where BLACK GOLD is at stake and they want to control it.
3. The traditional Western mentality and operatives of subversive actions against smaller nations, like Iran, that used to work for the past 300 years is no longer working on Iran. This has made these folks very nervous >>>

LIFE
Quote of the day

Maybe when I meet you I can slip my arms around you
Sheema Kalbasi

TRAVELERS

Diffrent aproach to Isfahan

Photo essay: Dibai House turned into a hotel
Alale Golestani

POETRY
Saf

Baraaye naan
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

POETRY
Jomhouri-e Basij

Hameh baraaye savaab
Mahasti Shahrokhi

POETRY
I wander

A wanderer knows better, sans doute (no doubt)
Tina Ehrami

POETRY
Degardisi

Parvaneh shodan
Ava Koohbor

POETRY
Shaaneh

Khashm o eshgh
Alireza Tarighian

POETRY
To my Mother Moon

Guide me with your healing wisdom
Azadeh Azad

ART

Headstrong

Cartoons
Kambiz Derambakhsh

AMERICA
Goodnight Baghdad, good morning Tehran

Our generation's Gulf of Tonkin is about to drag us further into endless war
Daniel Patrick Welch

I'm putting my mother into bed and the high-pitched urgency of MSNBC's 'this just in' crisis reporting cuts through evening calm. Same on CNN, and I don't even bother to check the other channels. Iran, we are being told, is to blame for the Kerbala attack. We have always been at war with Eastasia. I can't believe it is happening so neatly, so on cue and so cutely bundled in such a familiar package. There is absolutely nothing credible about anything that comes out of Iraq either through the administration or the mainstream press. War- weary Americans, who spoke loudly and clearly about the question of more war, are known suckers for official lies >>>

YOUR LETTERS
You gotta love the madness and laugh

In response to Nazy Kaviani's "Get off your chair": There is not going to be a war, its all saber rattling, the attack on Iraq by Israel was surprising at least to common folks. This time they all talk about it, as the old saying goes "Sang e bozorg dalil nazadan ast". Just think of it, Iran is 3x Iraq and the population is 5 times. Israel is a hostage to the whole bit, even though some times talks make you wonder if the guy is all there, but alas I believe there is not going to be a war, of course accidents do happen, as they say, you gotta love the madness and laugh. :-) >>> More letters

SELF-DEFEATING
Alayhe khodi, benafe beegaaneh

Islamic radicals serve the interests of foreign powers
Ali Salari

DANCE
Learning the moves

The relevance of repertory
Maryam Pirnazar

In an unrelenting downpour last April, a group of us stood outside the Mainstage Theater at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during the intermission at a performance by Ballet NY. Huddled together under umbrellas that evening I was struck by the force with which a performance can inspire immediate engagement in a new audience in a small town... It is perhaps true that we usually see dance in company of people like ourselves. I normally go to performances with others who have long-standing involvement with the arts or at least are seasoned audience members. Over the years we develop preferences and acquire knowledge that inevitably colors our receptivity to performances. But after the performance that evening, as our little group of nine assembled at a friend’s house discussing the pieces well into the night, I found it infinitely more interesting to listen than offer my own views >>>

MUSIC
Top that

We have chosen to listen to Iranian music because it is so diverse and brings out the kinds of emotion
Azam Nemati

Growing up in Khorramshar, I only saw classical music on TV occasionally. I heard some of the legendary Arab singers beginning the age of five and late at night Abadan TV wanting to make the Europeans and some of the Americans working for the refinery happy, played western programs and movies. I was fiver-years old when we bought our TV and I began to wake up and tiptoe to the hall so I could watch Count Dracula and see various American bands and all my playmates knew how to twist and we went to see Elvis. That is when I also developed a passion for Native Americans culture and way of life and hatred of John Wayne. Abadan Radio had Golha and Barge Sabz late at night and before it played western classical music. At 4:00 pm it had "te dansan" or dance music. I never took naps so I read while listening to all these various music >>>

ADVICE

Uncle Agony

Video blog: Do you have a problem? Send me your questions.
Siamack Salari

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