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May 16, 2002

Part 2
May 16, Part 3
May 16, Part 1

* DEAD wrong

I usually enjoy reading Ms. Setareh Sabety's article with the exception of her recent feature in the titled "Today, I am a Palestinian". Although she makes some valid points in her views of America, Israel, Sharon and the roll of the media, I must say I disagree with her conclusions whole-heartedly.

1. She does not consider the suicide bombers in Palestine terrorist [but rather] they are freedom fighters. In my book, killing of innocent men, women, children whether carried out by Israel or the Palestinians, under any pretext and in any way, form or shape is DEAD wrong and MUST be condemned.

2. She speaks of fairness or rather lack of it in the world toward the Israeli - Palestinians conflict. Yet her article follows the same path except in defense of the other side.

3. She suggests that all Middle-Easterners with American citizenship should collectively burn their passports as an act of symbolic protest. To which I have two responses.

You cannot get Middle-Easterners to agree on simple things such as signing a simple petition against the acts before the congress barring them entry into the states and yet you expect them to burn their passports collectively. Good luck! Second point is that before you burn you passport, think and then react. Whether you like it or not, Bush's United States, and Sharon's Israel, are much better then Ayatollah's Iran and Sheikh' s Saudi Arabia; At least for women.

Palestinians have been oppressed for a long time and they do deserve their own homeland. But they have been screwed many times by Israelis as well as other Arab nations. I am usually an optimist, but when it comes to the resolution of this conflict, I am sorry to say that I do not see an end in sight. Unless we have leaders who are devoid of hatred, the killings will go on.

With regards

Mehdi Amini

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* Naked brainwashing

I find Mr. Ledeen's article [Iran on the Brink] incredibly offensive to whoever who loves, Iran, peace, and this fragile planet. He is a right wing Zionist ideologue, who could care less about Iran and her people. The Heritage/Enterprise "think" tank that he is paid by, espouses ideas that border naked fascism. Now he is trying to cynically use Iranians.

I sure would encourage Mr. Javid to give the readers a little sense of the background of the people he introduces to our vulnerable community. This is a good journalistic tradition. For example, PBS's Newhour regularly interviews spokespersons from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy without telling viewers what kind of the institution it is, while the BBC identifies this outfit as a "right wing" institution before talking on air to any of its pseudo-scientists.

We need to be very careful in this age of not-so-subtly-practiced naked brainwashing which, would make George Orwell blush.

God save this planet from ignorance and ill intent.

Moji Agha

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* Why do people in Tabriz speak Turkish?

To whom it may concern:

I am a German scriptwriter. At the moment I am working at a story that takes place in 1940 in Iran. I would be very grateful if somebody could answer to the following questions:

1) I once read that the Blue Mosque of Tabriz is described in one of the tales of the 1001 nights, but I can't find it. Does anybody know in which one of the tales?

2) Can anybody tell me why there are so many earthquakes in Iran, especially in the area of Azerbaijan?

3) Can anybody tell me why the people in Tabriz speak Azeri (turkish)?

Thank you very much in advance for your help! I am looking forward to hear from you!

Yours sincerely,

Katja Staschewski

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* I understand your anger

Thank you for your article [Today, I am a Palestinian]. I understand your anger and admire you for expressing an opinion which is shared by most people around the globe. Murdering innocent people no matter which side does it is not acceptable and should be condemend.

Please keep on writing and write to your representetives in the U.S. Congress who have just voted for the full support of Israel in its fight against the Palestinian "terrorists" without any consideration for the innocent people that they may be killing in the process. They accept Sharon's words that there has been no human rights violation commited by Israeli soldiers, even though Israel did not let the U.N. search team to find out for itself.

I have written to my representatives in the Congress and will write more. I encourage everyone to do so. If enough people write and express their anger,they will have to pay some attention. They need our votes. Fortunately in this country you are free to express your opinion.


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* Iran's affair is not A JOKE

What is the problem do you want to assassinate Dr. Nouri too,like General Oveysi!? Oh, wait a minute it was not your job but your colleagues in ?? !!! Sorry for the error!

Just kills me that you and your pals started a nightmare and now you are having fun in The Great Satan and your pass time is to make fun of people who are at least doing something to make the world notice our people's suffering!? You want to write porn that is your right, what ever makes you happy, but why make fun of someone who has a point of view which is against stoning or execution ... etc (all those things that once you believed in!!!)

You owe so much to us the generation, the ones that you and your friends took away all their rights and dreams. Isn't about time to repay us by actually caring about what our country and people are going through! Isn't about time to realize that Iran's affair is not A JOKE! If Iran was a democratic country would have no objection to your website attitude but hey it is NOT!

If you were a German during the Nazi era what would have you done! Write porno and make fun of all those who were against Adolf Hitler? And the excuse would have been well Nothing is sacred? One thing is sure Sacred and that is The concience of a man/woman

Let's see if this letter Sacred enough to not to be published!


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* We are all LEADERS

Surely, Dr. Nouri did not leave Iran because he would have been drafted to fight in the Iran-Iraq war. Surely, he is not a draft-dodger but a freedom-fighter.

The question is what Dr. Nouri, and thousands like him who have only sprang up in the past 5-6 years did ever do to bring democracy to Iran. What did he do while in Iran before he left there in 1981 for the sake of democracy? And surely, he has great knowledge in politics! Which Iranian does not or would claim does not?

We are all LEADERS, only if we could find some followers! I have counted and there are some 60+ million Iranians who are at the "head" of democratic movement in Iran. Only Judge Shahrudi and Khamenei, would admit that they might not be.

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* Not all bad if people wanted it

Has the iranian revolution influenced everyone negatively? I keep getting these articles about how bad it was for eveyone, but if the people wanted it so much, it couln't have been all bad. I am an American Student writing a paper on your revolution, and think that if the revolution really had such bad affects, then a counter revoultion should have occured. Anyways, it would be nice if you posted other people about the GOOD affects of the revolution, instead of focusing so much in the bad.

Thank You.


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* Enough about the Palestinians

And yet another pro-palestinian, heart-warming tale of commiseration [Today, I am a Palestinian]. Your typically hyperbolic comparaisons ("After witnessing Israel turn into Nazi Germany..") shouldn't get any attention, as they are coming from someone who is willing to shed her so-called "secular feminist" mentality for that of a Hezbollahi, even though living and profiting from the "Great Satan"'s hospitality.

You whine and moan of "ethnic cleansing" and "elimination" when even third-party international observers agree that there was NO MASSACRE in Jenin, or elsewhere. You speak of Israel turning into Nazis, I ask you where the mass genocide is taking place? You have no knowdledge, and even worst, no dignity when making such ludicrous claims.

It's people like you that should be stuck in Iran, spat on for not wearing your veil properly, beaten for not looking down when the Mullahs' thugs pass by. Your precious "Muslim brothers and sisters" will show you the real taste of Islam, one which the Iranians have been quietly enjoying in Evin and other delightful places for the past 23 years. It is a taste close to hundred of lashes on a journalist's back, or to the electrocuted flesh of a student. Can you smell it?

You "think all of us Middle-Easterners with American citizenship should collectively burn [your] passports as an act of symbolic protest"? Well, light it up now! And go to the nearest islamic dictatorship you wish to support. Just remember that Iran will be the first post-islamic country in the future, and that veil-loving, pal-worshipping, flag-burning types such as you might no longer be welcome.

Enough about the Palestinians, what have you done for Iran?


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* Just name the tragedies

Dear Mr. Bahrami,

I read you piece about "Axiom in San Diego". Very nicely written article; I loved the music pieces that were included with the article. However, I could not understand a couple of items in that article:

a. There was no mention of the date of the concert; when did that concert take place? From the date of publication of the Article, May 3, 2002, I concluded that the concert must not have been too far from that date; say couple of weeks prior to that date, at most? If so, the date of concert would have been over six months past the "Mehregan" festivities date, which is roughly the beginning of the month of "Mehr," or roughly September 20th. How does this "Mehregan celebrations" in the month of "Farvardeen" mix with the reality (provided that we are talking about the same Mehregan, i.e., the ancient celebrations of Iranians at the end of harvest period)?

b. You indicated that "most of the precedes went to the victims of the recent tragedies." I was puzzled as to which recent tragedies you are referring to. There has been so many tragedies in so many parts of the world in so many "recent" periods (definition of recent?) that I think you could provide clarifications to this item, also. For example, you could provide at least dates and or geographical boundaries, or other methods used to define the tragedies where their victims benefited from this concert; do you not think so? Or, just name the tragedies, simple.

Thank you for your response.

M H. Farzin

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* I'll work on it some more

Dear Dr. Farzin,

Thank you so much for your feedback ["Incorrect translation"]. My Persian is far from perfect and I very much appreciate the corrections I get from readers, who are my best teachers.

Oddly enough, in this instance, I understood the Persian in exactly the sense that you have given, but I guess I took too great a liberty in compressing that sense in the English verse if that doesn't communicate clearly. I'll work on it some more and post a new version soon.


Zara Houshmand

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* Unjustified criticism

Dear Mr Farzin,

I came across your letter ["Incorrect translation"] to Ms Housmand and found that your so-called criticism of her translation is itself flawed.

Your misunderstanding the phrase "home to my heart" is the cause of your unjustified criticism. Ms Houshmand's version of saying the same things as you have suggested is, no offence intended, far more peotic and elegant than your rather prosaic way of putting it.

Besides, I am sure you appreciate that there is no such thing as "one to one" equivalence in poetic translations, as is brilliantly demonstrated in Fitzgerald's translation of Khayyam's Rubbaiyat. It is the feeling that must be conveyed and not the meaning.


Parviz Khashaki

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* "Persian" versus "Iranian"

Thanks for your article [The rest]. I very much agree with what you said. Current political times have caused some Iranians outside Iran to refer to themselves as Persians.

An interesting to point to consider is that given Iran's varied history and the number of world powers who have conquered it at one time or another (Greeks, Mongols and Arabs, to name a few), how can any Iranian be absolutely sure of his or her ethnic origins? Unless one has access to a family tree that goes hundreds of years back, it would be very hard to be sure. My parents and I are from the Persian part of Iran, but how can I be sure that my great great great great grandfather was not of Russian, African or East Indian descent?

Also it would be a misconception to consider that people of different ethnic backgrounds in Iran keep away from each other and do not mingle. This may be true for some groups, but as far as I can remember, it is not unusual for someone from Tehran to marry a person from Tabriz or someone from Rasht to marry someone from Abadan. My great grandmother was from Azerbaijan and a very popular and much-loved member of our family.

All in all, I believe the obsession with the word "Persian" versus "Iranian" is a phenomenon particular to many Iranians living outside of Iran but not so much to those living back home. I mean, can you imagine a Therani going around Iran saying "Man Fars Hastam!" :))

Thanks again,

Nima Aryan

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I am not sure if you have someone who interviews people to write articles or not, but I have subscribed to and I think that the founders of this site need to be lauded for the great cultural work they have done and this amazing internet resource.

The have an amazing Farsi to Farsi dictionary, and over 35 poets and many books all in Persian. Somone really dedicated must be behind this and they must love the culture and its literature. Best of all, there are no ads or pop-ups!

Anyway, I have been studying Persian for a long time and having such a great resource is just amazing. Ig you could get anyone to write a story about them, I think it would be nice.



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* Who can compete with modern Western civilization?

It's good to see people, even if only one at a time, begin to understand. The Richmond (Virginia) Intelligencer editorial in 1831 about Nat Turner and his slave rebellion shows how in 171 years the US has learned and forgotten nothing. Substitute Osama bin Laden for Nat Turner, and what is changed?

Islam has brought forth a lot of nasty things, the Taliban regime and the Almohades of Morocco among the worst. There have been massacres and persecutions and whatever from time to time. But for great genocides and other wanton bloodshed and relentless oppression, combined with the most breathtaking self-congratulation, who can compete with modern Western civilization?

Within the last century, beginning with the Herrero genocide by the Germans in Southwest Africa and the Belgians in the Congo Free State, on up through the Armenian genocide by the Westernizing Young Turks, the Nazis and the Communists and now their heirs, the United States of America - it's quite a record!

The USA's genocide by embargo in Iraq has already exceeded in numbers the Armenian genocide, and what shall we say of American sponsored genocides in East Timor, Guatemala, Indochina, Cheju Island and now the Columbian aboriginal peoples? Still, I would not renounce American citizenship but use it.

Paul the apostle did not consider Roman citizenship an endorsement of imperial Rome - just something he could use to avoid a flogging, to get a hearing and a fair trial, and to shield others, much as the Christian Peacekeeper Teams in the West Bank now interfere with the Israeli army, which finds it inconvenient at this time to abuse them, and especially if they're American citizens.

American citizenship also allows some citizens of Ramallah to at least embarrass the American consular authorities who ignore their cases and may lay a foundation for legal action, which works here still.

An interesting property of apartheid South Africa, the United States, and modern Israel, among many other similarities, is the relative independence of their judicial systems, sometimes enough so to seriously inconvenience the authorities, as in Nelson Mandela's acquittal in 1958. They work better for citizens, and so as in Paul's case, that should not be rashly thrown away.

Peter A

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* Profoundly at odds

Setareh Sebaty, who is so deeply ashamed of being an American, should be aware of her options [Today, I am a Palestinian]. She is perfectly capable of renouncing her citizenship if she desires. And indeed, if Ms. Sebaty cannot tolerate being so far out of step with her fellow Americans -- "an electorate that continues to stubbornly and proudly be oblivious to the rest of the globe," as she puts it -- perhaps that's what she should do.

The procedures are explained here: //

I sincerely hope that Ms. Sabety will not choose to punish herself in this fashion. But the decision is hers alone.

Regardless of her choice, we, the rest of America, cannot justifiably take pride in being so profoundly at odds with the world she envisions. It is, after all, no great accomplishment not to celebrate mass murder, or to refrain from vilifying a government that fights anyone determined to harm its citizens, wherever these foes might be found. But we are entitled to feel relieved that we do not share such execrable views.


Josh Pollack
Washington, DC

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* We'll do the cursing for you

Howdy Iranian Reformers,

We at ZOWIE-HQ are so sad for the freedom loving people of your country. We read how the courageous in Iran are persecuted, while the mafia like "Shadow Government" sucks on the body politic like leeches.

The fact that the mullahs expect you to take being treated like 3rd graders would be laughable if not for the cruelty and violence that comes forth from these ideological bullies. When does the moment come when these bloodsuckers get the boot? Where is the Iranian man or woman who will unite ALL the Iranian Reformers? Where are your Zorros?

It begs the question that if Kermit Roosevelt (Operation Ajax) were alive today, would he be invited & welcomed by the majority of your citizens to help end the reign of fear & some believe that your freedom is more precious than your oil. We especially hope that the brave struggle towards a free press will hurry the day when a free thinking Iran will permanently remove the chains put on your liberties by idiological scoundrels carrying out their madness under the guise of religious pretext.

It is said, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, however, in a free Iran I would hope it would be allowable to do both, as there are so many candles to be lit and so many of the "Shadow Government" whom need to be cursed ! Good Luck and in the future I hope we can light some candles together... until free speech and thought arrives in your beautiful country we'll do the cursing for you, as we prefer not to get too nervous when we see a motorcycle pull-up alongside or hear a knock at the door! In a country where people are sacrificing so much for freedom Iranian Reformers are truly The Brave on the Front Lines of Liberty... and we wish you well.

Derek Flint

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* My father returned to Iran

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Patheresa Ann Vick and I am writing this email in hopes that someone may be able to help me. I am trying to find information on what steps I may be able to take to reach my birth father who is Iranian.

Here is alittle history.

My mother met my father while attending college in 1978 at Oklahoma State Unniversity. He had been sent here to study as many other Iranians at the time. When the political situation in Iran continued to escalate he had to decided whether to stay in the U.S. or return home, and decided to return to Iran although my mother refused to go with him.

My father returned to Iran Feb. 14, 1980 and I was born Aug. 26th. My mother and him keep in contact for some time but eventually lost contact. I have always been proud of my ancestry and continually wish that U.S./Iranian relations would improve.

But I have decided to try as much as I can to find my father although it may be a long shot. I have enough information about him to start but have not idea where I might begin my search. Any information that you might be able to provide will be greatly appreciated.


Patheresa Vick

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* The American-Iranian

Dear Mr Javid,

Sir, I beg you to save us from some of the turgid pieces posted on the Iranian. One example is Setareh Sabety's verbal diarrhoea [Today, I am a Palestinian]. She typifies a certain part of the educated (but not learned) Iranians with an inflated view of their intellect and huge chips on their shoulders yet so dense that they are not even aware of it. Kindly do not subject you readers to such mediocrity.

Please let's have a little more quality less quantity. It would be very easy for you to guide the debate to concentrate on issues rather than the constant mud slinging which prevents proper political discussion among Iranians.

Furthermore The Iranian is read in many places besides America, and the focus needs to change, otherwise you should rename The Iranian to The American-Iranian.

Yours truly,
Harold Bates

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* Three steps back

To consider, print and publicize a shallow, stupid, superficial article such as the one called Mediocre imagination shows that every time some of us try to take a step forward there are some other compatriots who take 3 steps backward.

It's great to share a true sense of humor with others but using profane and unacceptable words in a context that was not funny and indeed was very boring and also shows how narrow minded and uneducated the author of that article is. I don't mean that as a personal attack but I only want to give him one piece of advice:

Don't spit upward and don't eat yellow snow, and keep your daytime job, you won't make it as a satire writer.

F.A. Ashtiani

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* Sad... Sad... Sad...

Thankyou for publishing the Photo Essay on the state of SAADABAD PALACE today 23 years after the revolution [Sadabad]. I commend Mr Hooshmanzadeh for the interesting and novel photos hoping he will take photos of other palaces soon.

After watching these pictures I was suddenly gripped by a terrible sadness at how ugly and empty the palace looked. Everything spoke of decay, neglect and contempt for the past symbols of our great country and more tragically the decline of our heritage.

Iran today has sadly become empty of all the qualities that I once cherished. So sad....sad....sad....

Cyrus Kadivar

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* Go, find peace

Miss Sabety should give back her citizenship and go back to the region, Iran, where many have been executed innocently, or Palestine, where she may join the "freedom fighters" - then maybe she will find peace with herself and the world around her. [Today, I am a Palestinian]

Shahla Samii

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* So much more to being an American


Setared Sabety wrote: "As an American citizen of Middle-Eastern ancestry I think it is my duty to say that today I am ashamed of being an American. Today, I am a Palestinian." This was her expression of opposition to America's support of Israel.

There is so much more to being an American than opposition to a foreign policy of the moment. Our character is formed by timeless "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" as our Declaration of Independence attests.

Those natural laws are the basis of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights which protects your natural right to self-expression.

Would you be able to proclaim in Jenin a similar shame for Palestinian's encouraging their children to blow themselves up?

Please drink in the fullness of the American Founding and the remarkable liberty it has provided you and rejoice.

Much of the Founding was summarized in the first 55 words of the Declaration's second paragraph:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Congratulations on becoming an American citizen. So many have died trying to come to America for her liberty. It is through the freeing of the human spirit that so much wealth and good is created. Families thrive in liberty guided by "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God".

I am still learning about our Founding and its wisdom.


Bill Dillon

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* It is best if you call

Regarding the ban of visitors visa to Iranians, just a reminder for those of us who want to contact their representatives. If you are unable to go to thier offices personally, please do not just email or fax your letter. It will not even be read by the senators themselves. It is best if you call and ask for the "Cheif of Staff" and fax the letter to their attention. Then you can follow up with that person.


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* Two losers

Dear Sir/or Madam,

It is with great happiness that I have read the news that the MKO has been labeled a terrorist group by the E.U. The MKO sided with Saddam during the 8 year Iran-Iraq war.

Several of my cousins fought in the Iran-Iraq war and it is my view that the MKO are not only terrorists they also have committed treason against Iran and Iranians by aiding and abetting the Iraqi regime in killing Iranians.

The MKO should take their funny looking sickle and gun flag and their lion and sun flag and disappear. No sane Iranian wants a monarchy back. And we sure don't want a leftist goon government.

It is my firm belief that Reza Pahlavi and his pal M. Rajavi are two losers with loser politics. Monarchy and socialism is out dated.

Peyman Allen Alagheband
New York, New York

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* Daree varee

Doost aziz,

in sarbazan mashghool shashidan be samte gheble va be tarafe ghabre babaye dayoos to va khomeini goor be goor shode hastand.

Public email, UCLA

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* YES! Iranians Can Have Democracy!

Regarding the article by Ataollah Togha [Challenging the myth] YES! Iranians Can Have Democracy! The answer is that simple! Here's another question: Can Iranians have any more HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE?! That's a better question to deal with right now....and the Iranians will decide when the time is right... and the time is right!

Dalia Salvador

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* Just a thought

Ms. Sabety, [Today, I am a Palestinian]

You failed to conclude your article on whether your going to leave America or lobby your state Senator and Representative about your position on Palestine. You pointed out you're a citizen afterall. Just a thought, hope it leads somewhere.

Mitra K

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* Palace or mansion?

What was the big deal about this so-called Saad Abad Palace looks more like a mansion than a Palace. [Sadabad]

To think that Khoda Biamorz was accused of stealing the country.



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* I couldn't have said it better


This morning when I woke up I was thinking about what I was going to post on the news group that I am a member of. I thought that I would call it "Today, I am a Palestinian".

Oddly enough half way through I was distracted and started surfing until I came across your column. I posted a link to yours instead and called it "I couldn't have said it better". Bless your heart my dear lady.

Ali A

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* Employ common sense

This is a letter I sent to both Senators from the State of Washington. Could you please urge your readers to contact their Senators? This letter was regarding the denial of a Visa to the Singer named Sima Bina. Your readers can use the following linke to find the contact information for their Senators.

Dear Senator Murray,

My name is Niusha Fallahzadeh. I am one of your constituents from the city of Redmond. Additionally, I am US citizen of Iranian heritage.

I learned 2 days ago that an Iranian singer that was scheduled for 13 concerts in North America, 10 of which were to be in the United States, has been denied a US Visa. I am completely outraged by this action. What kind of threat would a traditional female singer pose to the safety of Americans?

Since when does the prevention of Terrorism equate to censoring of Musical Artists? I think that the US State Department needs to employ common sense in their decisions for Visa requests. This action speaks of nothing other than the American government's xenophobia toward people from the Middle East. I find it alarming and downright frightening.

The singer's name is Sima Bina. I urge you to look into this matter.



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You took our people hostage back in 1979. You send millions of dollars to finance TERROR... You call it a "life" decision to help, support, and send ship loads of arms to Arafat and terror groups... YOU -- IRAN -- SHOULD PAY. YOU -- IRAN -- WILL PAY!!!

John Williams

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* Looking naked

Dear Jahan,

Without Sarvenaz your site looks naked. Encourage her to write something, anything -- even regular daily activities of shopping and chid raising she is doing nowadays.



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* Complete support

Complete approval of the Ban of Non-immigrant US Visa for Iranian Visitors Proposed by US Senate in April 2002

Petition of pro-democracy citizens submitted to:

President George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America,
and the Members of the Congress,
Requesting to Approve the Ban of Non-immigrant US Visa to Iranian Visitors and University Education Ban For Iranian Students in the America

May 3, 2002

President George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Vice President Richard Cheney
Attorney General John Ashcroft
Secretary of State General Colin Powell
Members of the National Security Council
Members of the House of Representative
Members of the Senate

Mr. President, the Cabinet Members, and Honorable Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

We unequivocally remain behind you in battling out any despicable terrorist acts against the United States of America, as well as the homicide and suffocation inflicted by the IRI government on the freedom loving writers, students, free-thinking and ordinary people of Iran. The principles for which the United States stands precludes acknowledging the legitimacy of existence of such a barbaric and stone age government as the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Accordingly, we submit to you our complete approval regarding the passage of the Senate H.R. 3525: Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

If enacted into law, this bill would prohibit the issuance of visas to residents of countries, the government of which are a totalitarian regime such as IRI, sponsoring terrorist acts against their own people. If IRI is not a terrorist country, Mr. Khamanei himself should appear in front of the United Nations and apologize for IRIăs edict against Solmon Rushdiăs freedom of speech. He should grant a right to anyone in Iran (or overseas) to criticize Valayateh Faghih. He should also acknowledge the legitimacy of peopleăs right to have separation of church and state.

We recognize that the passage of Senate H.R. 3525 means that immediate family members of over one million Iranians in the U.S. cannot travel to visit their family members in the U.S. We believe that is a good thing for both the families in Iran and their relatives in the U.S. The reason is that it may cause these families to begin addressing their number one priority: organizing both in Iran and in the U.S. to remove IRI from power.

If enacted, this bill will send a clear message to the Iranians in Iran and in the U.S. that the time for "business as usual" is over. The Iranians MUST recognize that they cannot have their cake and eat it too. They cannot remain silent while IRI government remains in power, and in the same time, travel between Iran and the U.S. freely simply to visit Mummy. It is about time for the Iranian people to recognize that there are more important issues in life than kissing Daddy or visiting their children residing comfortably in the U.S. The Iranians, both in Iran and in the U.S, MUST realize that they have more pressing issues confronting them than their lust and desire for socializing sessions and shopping sprees with their relatives in the U.S. It is time for the Iranians in Iran to pour in the streets and demand freedom from the fascis and terrorist IRI government. It is time for the Iranians in the U.S. to spend their dollars to finance the overthrow of the Velayate Faghih at the expense of entertaining their relativesă visits and vacations.

Mr. President, Members of the Congress: Battling terrorism and promoting democracy throughout the world are true and legitimate endeavors that has so rightly united us all behind your leadership. Bestow us with the opportunity to continue working with you to seek out the actual culprits, the terrorist and fascist IRI government. We urge you to pass the Senate H.R. 3525 and send a clear signal to Iranians, both in Iran and in the U.S, that the time for "rooboossy" is over until such a time as the top priority for Iran is addressed. What is more important? Visiting family for chit-chat and shopping spree, OR replacing the detested IRI government with a democratic government that separates the church from the state?

In closing, we anticipate with commendation the approval of the HR. 3525 which will in turn, revive the confidence in our leadership to promote democratic governments worldwide.

Respectfully submitted,

On behalf of concerned citizens, prepared and presented by:
Society for Freedom from Religion

Sean Amour

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* Sobhani is not stuffy

I like your ideas and approach to getting Iranians involved and starting to finally lobby and back candidates etc [Act as a community].

I did not like your personal attack on Rob Sobhani. I have never met him, but I don't think him as stuffy and lacking charisma. Maybe you are not stuffy, but then I have not met you either.

Good luck ˇ I wish you success.

Shahla Samii

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* Great

This was Great... Enjoyed it a lot. [Whining and Die-ning ]

Mandana Asadi Tadayon

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* Bible instructs followers of Jesus to...

Dear Iranian Staff:

I commend you for your very attractive, organized web site!!! I share with you how we can have lasting peace in the Middle East & with each of us personally. I love Muslims & have been praying for you in this time of much conflict. The Koran has good moral teachings but it has many places where it teaches jhad & to kill those not Muslims. The Bible instructs followers of Jesus to love their enemies & do good to them as we should. For over 40 years I have studied the Bible which teaches that God is perfect & holy & we are sinners choosing to sin & live apart from God.

The end result of our sinning is death...eternal separation from God & His love. We have chosen to be in a horrible place called hell. But God has provided a way to prevent us from going to hell. The Bible declares, "For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whosoever believes [clings to] in Him, shall not perish [in hell] but have eternal life [now & in heaven]."

Jesus is God which enabled Him to suffer for all the sins of the world. He became a man, lived a perfect life, suffered & died on the Cross to prove His love for us as our substitute for our sins & rose again from the dead to prove He died for ALL our sins. There is more eyewitness proof that Jesus rose physically from the dead than that Napoleon ever lived. The Koran states that Allah had no son so Jesus as the Son of God did not originate as a man from Allah but from the living, eternal God of the Bible.

The Bible states in Ephesians 2:8 - 9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, & that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT of God, NOT of works, lest anyone should boast." God says we cannot do enough good deeds to get to heaven but must receive forgiveness, etc., as a FREE gift. Jesus declared, "I am THE Way, THE Truth & THE Life; NO man comes to the Father but through me." Jesus is not just another prophet along with Muhammad but the eternal God-man Who is the ONLY way to heaven.

He promised, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." His perfect peace is the answer to the Middle East war & for each of us personally. Jesus said He will return any day now to take out of the earth all who know Him & then the most horrible tribulation ever known shall come on the people left behind on earth. The Bible teaches we must repent or turn from our sin to Jesus alone & trust in Him to forgive our sin & come into our hearts to live in us forever.

After reading what God has revealed to all of us about how to know Jesus personally & know you're going to Heaven, is there any good reason why you would not want to trust in Jesus as your Savior & Lord now? If there is, let me know & we can email about it. Just ask Him to forgive you & be your Savior & Lord...& He will.



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* Hard from afar

I enjoyed reading Bruce Bahmani's comments on architecture [Arshia]. being an architect myself and having attended one of the so-called better architecture schools both in Iran, and later in the United States, I thought I should add my observation on the comment on Iran's architecture being only identified as a collage, and no more (I found this questionable and strange).

I suggest the commentators study Iran's architecture a little more, and I am sure they will find that which can be identified as distinctively as "Iranian architecture", on how they resolved the best way possible in how to deal with both the human needs and the enivornmenatl elements (the internal courtyards, the pool, the hallways and Badgeers acting as channels for the flow of air, the useage of distictively Iranian domes and the details in buildings, all acting in concert and harmony, and urban/city-scape spaces and elements, the decorative details, all originally found in Iran, etc., etc.).

I doubt that Bruce and Arshia know that even the great mosques built in the west (the famous ones in present day Iraq and Saudi Arabia) were designed and built by Iranians, of course by the decision of the ones who conquered Iran those times (I suggest they read the book "Sahm-e Iran dar tamadon-e jahan", there's a chapter, albeit very limited and incomplete on some historic references as to what can be called as Iranian architecture). The comments on Perspeolis being purely a collage certainly carries some creedence, but doesn't art and architecture as a whole, borrow from predessors? (and at times from others, for inspiration?).

When the collage shapes a distinctive form both in general and in certain details not even found in the original source that it was inspired from, it no longer deserves to be identified only as a "collage". I don't want to go on, but I guess Bruce has an idea what I'm talking about. It's hard to learn about architecture of a country from afar, and with limited resources as a basis of research, and study.

Kaveh T.

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* Educate Senator Feinstein

I'm forwarding you a email response to a recent letter I wrote to Senator Feinstein (see below). She is one of the sponsors of the "Border Security and Visa Reform Act" and the Senator for the State of California.

It is sad to see that the Senator of one the heaviest populated Iranian nationalities in the United States thinks that Iranians could pose a threat to United States and our loved ones are amongst people that this law will allow them to " distinguish terrorists from students and visitors."

We must continue to educate Senator Feinstein and others about our country and hope to prevent such acts of discrimination against our nation. I think she has forgotten that the 19 people on those airplanes were Arabs and she can not distinguish between an arab and an Iranian.

Warmest, Yek Hamvatan

Dear Ms. Iranian:

Thank you for writing to me about recent visa reforms. I appreciate your letter and welcome the opportunity to respond. The "Border Security and Visa Reform Act" was signed into law by the President on May 14, 2002.

This bill specified that foreign nationals from countries designated by the State Department as terrorist supporting states must go through a higher level of scrutiny in order to obtain a visa.

Visa applicants from these countries who pass an extensive background check and are certified not to pose a threat to national security will be issued a visa.

I do not believe anyone should be denied entry to the United States based solely on their national origin. However, the government must ensure the safety of everyone within our borders.

This reform will help to distinguish terrorists from students and visitors. I firmly believe that allowing people from all over the world to spend a period of time in the United States is one of the best ways to foster democratic movements globally.

Once again, thank you for writing. I hope you continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you. If you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact my Washington, DC staff at (202) 224-3841.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein

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* People have chosen to blind

Dear Ms. Sabety, [Today, I am a Palestinian]

I am an American of European background, born into citizenship. Yet I have long maintained the ideas that you've expressed in your article. I did not feel sympathy for my country after 9/11, including no sympathy for myself. We are all complicit in the institutional terrorism carried on by our government.

That most of our people have chosen to blind themselves to the actions of our government makes us doubly culpable. But like you, I find myself in a seemingly difficult position, defending governments that take overt actions against women, actions that are violent and demeaning.

However, as I think through the history behind the seeming freedom of women in this country, I see that it masks another reality. When I was first married, only 40 years ago, in my home state of Michigan as in most states a woman was not allowed to own property apart from her husband. She was legally not allowed to retain her maiden name (in Iran at the same time, women had the right to do both!).

Although the possibility in theory existed that a woman have a career, be active in politics, speak freely before men, etc, the reality was that women were demeaned and devalued. In American families with their happy facade, women and children were being brutalized, not only psychologically but also physically.

What seem to be accurate statistics tell us that the majority of American women are sexually abused in childhood, almost always by a close relative. We continue to be abused and demeaned in ways that are subtle rather than overt. Watch. Pay attention. And you'll begin to see that women are still devalued in America, no less although less obviously than in reactionary Islam.

What is true, however, is that women are now free to pursue many careers, although generally at lower wages than men. But this freedom to earn money comes not as a gift of enlightenment. It's a simple economic strategy. A few decades ago, with the expansion that resulted from war slowing down, American markets were facing the possibility of shrinking.

A sure way to continue to expand the economy was to push women into the work force and to cultivate an insatiable demand for goods at the same time. We women were not freed for self-realization but manipulated for the economic expansion of imperialism. Yes, some women in this country have benefited, but many are locked into deadening jobs, no less prisoners than women under the Taliban, although the bars of the cage are invisible.

I would never want to live under the brutality of the Taliban. But at the same time I know that American women live in conditions of humiliation and violence that are covered over with a rosy facade. And remember that many regimes around the world that brutalize women have come to power with the help of the US.

Whatever small freedoms American women have gained, they've gained on the backs of their sisters in other countries.This was a long way of suggesting that you not feel that you're betraying feminism by supporting the Hezbollahs, although I admire your courage in retracting your previous position.

American violence is so pervasive world-wide--and so much a contributor to the oppression of women--that anyone who opposes it out of whatever pain and anguish is our ally, the ally of oppressed women around the world. We can sort the details out later. All of us who are sisters are, today, Palestinians. I do wonder what action is big enough, however, to demonstrate our outrage. So we end with a question rather than certainty.



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* Move to Palestine

Dear Mrs. Sabety, [Today, I am a Palestinian]

Why don't you renounce your American citizenship, pack up, and move to Palestine?



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* I sympathize wholeheartedly

It is unfortunate to live in an age where differences are still settled with guns against fists [Today, I am a Palestinian]. I too am appalled by the whole thing that is going on there. Although i have a Muslim name i am not one, yet i sympathize with the Palestinians wholeheartedly.

Shame on us all for letting this go on as long as we have.

Great article


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* A million times more free and democratic

Dear Sana:

I read your article [The Queen Bum] in the Iranian. I was not much surprised at the level of ignorance shown about the significance of the British Royal family, and the deceased in particular. Afterall, it is an Iranian habit to think we know when we actually don't, and to express opinion about matters we know little or next to nothing about. But I was surprised that you allowed yourself to express these opinion on a public forum, where there are bound to be a significant number of people who know infinitely more about it.

I dare say you reside outside Iran. I am not sure if you left Iran at the start of the revolution, thus escaping many nights of bombardment and missiles, so please correct me if I am wrong. The Royal family, and the Queen mother in particular, not only refused to leave London during the Blitz when presented with the option of fleeing to Canada, but she refused to allow her daughters and even the King to leave London while ordinary people suffered nights of heavy bombardment and destruction. Her show of support to the people of east London, to name but one, is a legendary tale.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not a supporter of monarchy as such nor do I think of members of Royal family as 'godlike figures'. Far from it. However, many other royal families and other political systems around the western world, past or present, could learn a great deal of humanity, dignity, and humility from that shown by the Queen Mother at a time when her people needed her most.

Also, please consider this: as a member of an ethnic community living in the UK (and I am sure I speak for many members of other ethnic communities), I feel much more comfortable with the current Royal family and the Queen as Head of State, than say, a president Bush, a Clinton, a Reagan, a Margaret Thatcher or a 'President Blair'.

Finally, in the light of recent events, may I just point out that the British system (Royal family plus an elected prime minister) is a million times more free and democratic than the plutocracy, and often corrupt and discriminating, political systems of the United States of America and many other western countries.

Kind Regards

Peyman A

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May 16 letters, Part 3
May 16 letters, Part 1


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