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March 14, 2003

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* I wonder if I want to be known as an Iranian

After working in retail for 12 years in the Los Angeles area,I am asking myself this question : There are far more Americans in this city than Iranians. Why is it that most of the thieves, scamers, con artists, etc are Iranians that I have come in contact with? They have no shame, are not afraid of any God nor religion. They would sell their first born for a buck.

I am tired of phony food poisoning claimes,slip and falls,... they even drag their kids into it.I think even Iranian business owners are tired of this crap.We are tired of our supposed Hamvatan. A bookstore owner in Westwood once told me if he could stop Iranians from entering his store he would.

When are we going to learn that we have to pay sales taxes like anybody else? When are we going to feel bad about returning products that we have fully used and finished? When our ladies are going to stop scaming Nordstrome? How many times are they going to buy a dress,wear it one night and return it the next day?

How much longer are we going to hide behind Hafez,Ferdowsi,Rumi... and pretend we are a civilised nation? I wonder if I want to be known as an Iranian. I know many of you share my feelings How can we educate or change these people? How can we teach them ethics? What does it take? How come nobody talks about these issues in the persian media? Do we need to create a monthly list of scamers by city?

I don't know anymore...


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* Iranian schizophrenia

Regarding criticisms to my article [The last stand of all things Persian]

Here is what I think, for what is worth, going on: the schizophrenia that we exhibit as Iranians comes from an epic struggle between two competing considerations: on a personal level, we are governed privately by self-interest as we should be for all sorts of reasons least of which, in the final analysis, is preservation of the self, but publicly we are all about the common good! If we were genuine and honest with our internal and external mores then somewhere we can all relate at a very basic and common level.

As for the Persians versus others: For some 14 centuries now, the Persians (Iranians) have been of the opinion that the Arab is ought there to finish the job that the conquest of the Sassanids began.

Equally, for 14 centuries the Arab is got his guard up because it fears the possible Iranian vengeance for what the Arab has been doing for the past 14 centuries. Neither side therefore trusts the other. The fear of the adversary's wish to finish the job and the fear that a wounded snake will strike is also at the heart of the conflict between the US and Iraq, Kurd and Turk, Arab and Israeli.

I am cc'ing this to as it may engender some useful discussion (and some vituperative, but therapeutic nonsense from some people).

Guive Mirfendereski

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* Fantastic photos

I saw the pics in "Different direction" photo essay on They are fantastic. Thanks for all your efforts in

Elham Gheytanchi

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* Churchill created Iran?

I was glancing over the Wall Street Journal this morning (March 10th issue) when I came across an article by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's grandson.

The article is named "How my Grandfather created Iraq" (or something very similar to it). He claims that Iran was created by Churchill -- along with Iraq -- after the Ottoman Empire was broken up.

I became furious. I have already sent a number of letters to WSJ. Iranians who wish to respond to Mr. Churchill's article can do so by emailing their comments to:


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* Superficial Khayyam

I just read your recent article on Omar Khayyam and Hollywood's tribute to this great Persian poet [Khayyam with popcorn]. I am pleased to see that some of us people of persian decent do go back to our heritage and re-examine the postive attributes of our rich culture in literature, science, sociology, and politics.

It is especially courageous to write about these topics at a time when all of our positive contributions are swept and ignored in a dark fashion under the dark banner of terrorism and fundamentalism. I congratulate you on having the courage to talk about your heritage in a public forum.

However, I must say, to my dismay, that at least what you detailed in your article about Omar Khayyam and the way Hollywood has portrait him, does not truly represent Omar Khayyam and his truly amazing Roba-iyat.

Omar Khayyam does mention of women and wine in his Roba-iyat repeatedly but as you know this is done in a context which is far from the apparent western interpretation of his work. I am not an expert in this field, but from what I can understand, Omar is not lusting after women and is not a drunken mad man after his lost love. This is a very superficial interpretation of his work. He is after much deeper philosophical meaning.

I believe he uses women and wine as the representation of lust for material things in this world and how that (lust for material things) creates a distance between our true spiritual nature and needs and what the world around us dictates to us. He sees this as a paradox; a paradigm that we cannot escape.

I would not like to get into details of what I believe Omar Khayyam and his Roba-iyat are all about, but I sure do hope that you and the experts in the field are able to represent this side of his precious poetic work as well.

Kaihan Ashtiani
California, USA.

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* Immoral, unnatural "gay, lesb"

Dear Mr. Baniameri,

With all due respect,you as satire journalist,the article "Interview with an Iranian man" in, in my humble opinion, I should say, was really out of line. A platitude and very dull quality. Though, I have enjoyed your many previous articles which was worthwhile reading,but this one was a journalistic flop.

Unfortunnately, this kind of life style -- "gay, lesb" -- in my personal opinion, a perverted life style, has become a bitter medicine that we all have to swallow and seems we have to accept it one way or other with the fact that it is immoral, unnatural and in a plain language sickenning as it may look like.

Your "interview"article didn`t give any funny impression or sincere thoughts of how to go about this human tragedy which is becoming popular every day. Wishing you a very happy Now Rouz and lots of sucess in your future endeavor.


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* Feranghi: Portugese sailors

Regarding the quiz word "Farang", Feranghee or Feranghi was a word used by Indians to refer to the Portugese sailors who had landed in India way before the British found their way there. It is very likely that it found its way into Farsi, a possibility that should be mentioned among the many serious and not so serious explanations of the word in the quiz secion.

Shahin Shahin

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* Move to Israel

I'm Moslem and not necessarily in love with Jews but I do not dislike nor wish them ill. I'm more spiritual and have never practiced Islam. I'll probably go to Hell IF there's such a place. I'm just by proxy of birth a Moslem!

However, I have a question which may shed light from our perspective: Are you an Iranian first or are you Jewish first? Where's and to who is your allegiance? If you consider yourself Jewish first and foremost, then that's what Israel is for. Jews in a fanatic Islamic country such as Iran have had all the time in the world like many other countries to migrate to Israel since WWII. Is Israel a situation where Jews want to have their cake and eat it too?

I don't understand this mentality of switching when convenient and asked, "Where are you from?" Most Jews and Armenians from Iran never divulge that they're Iranian but they respond by their religious affiliation as though it's a nationality.

Get rid of Israel so we can accept you back and reintegrate you back into our societies OR move to Israel. No! You can NOT have your cake and eat it too.

Sam M

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* I may not be as smart as you

Ok. So poor Iraqis hate the US because the US has been bad to them for the last 12 years [The war brief]. Can your honor explain why Iraqis attacked Iran? I wonder where you were when they were destroying Iran for eight years? Were we bad to them? (Don't give me the nonesense about "The US was behind the war" like all thoes morons who keep saying "The US planned the Islamic Revolution". I didn't see American soldiers fighting Iranian soldiers and I didn't see American people demonstrating in the streets in Iran, in support of an Islamic government.

I may not be as smart as you are, but I know when people like Jananshah Javid were supporting the Islamic Repulbic (and the continuation of the war with Iraq which could have at least ended after the freedom of Khoramshahr) The people of both countried were suffering. And why did they support the continuation of war? Because the great God of the country, Khomeini, said that war was a blessing.

I grew up thourgh thoes years, where the Islamic Republic had this moto" we will fight to free Karbala and Najaf from the Kafar Saddam, then we will free Ghods, and then we will rise the flag of LA elaha elala above the whole world. The way Islam has always tried theough the history to dominate the whole world. Thank God that you couldn't free Iraq!!!!!!!!!

You people supported a war, messed up the country, and left to London and the US so that you may not have to enjoy your lives and not to suffer from the fruit of your evil jobs. And why such moral people are asking the US to do everything according to moral law in face of enemies who are bent to destroy it?

The Iraqis dont' hate the US for thoes financial reason. They hate the US and European countries just becuase Iraqis have been taught to believe that the US is the reason for all their problems in the history! (the same belief shared by Iranians and peple of other Islamic countries.

There is always some mysterious foreing power behing their problems not thier stupid believes and rulers.) And its really funny that after messing up their own countries they take their sick minds to countries which generously hosts them and give them post in their governments and universitie.

I just remembered what the punishment was for anybody who even vaguely protested the war during thoes eight years. mostly death or jail. The title given to protesters: the enemies of God. Mr. mirfanderesky, Please Take your God out of the US. It can only bring destruction to the world.

And remember if people like you and Mr. Javid and other peace loving moslems who are working as the fifth column in the US and the European countreis mess up these host countries, there won't be any better coutnry for you to move to and enjoy your lives. Saddams nuclear weapons if used in the US will destroy your life too.

And some final questions. I don't expect an answer from you but maybe you can think about it? during the eight year war between Iran and Iraq, why were there not even one demonstration against Iraq, or against the war, in any moslem countries? Why did people from arabic(MOSLEMS) countries volunteered as soldiers to fight for Saddam? Why did all Islamic countries support Iraq?

And how come all of these couuntires and their people who are moving to Europe and the US in great numbers and taking their evil minds with them, all of a sudden have turned into peace loving, moral people and are worried for the poor people of Iraq, and using all their power and money in support of Saddam?


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* Small Persian victory

I would like to note a small victory for those of us who have been deploring the use of the term "Farsi" in English.

The Voice of America has stopped referring in English to its foreign-language radio program for Iran and Iranians as "Farsi" (The VOA has separate programs in Persian for Iran and for Afghanistan, the latter referred to as Dari).

VOA now refers to its Iran service as the "Persian" service on the mast of its web pages, and the announcer also begins the broadcast with: "Welcome to the Voice of America, in Persian". Up to a few months ago, it was still "...the Voice of America, in Farsi."

I am given to understand that the VOA staff are very happy about this change to "Persian." Since it was largeley Americans (journalists, NGOs, etc.) who were responsible for spreading the usage of "Farsi" in English, this seems particularly appropriate.

Frank Lewis

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* Persian or Farsi?

Wow! Thanks for the brief education [Persian or Farsi?]. I live close to Fremont, CA, home to the largest Afghani population in the U.S. Your paper cleared up some misconceptions.


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* Miniature by Ali Sajjadi

I have in my posession a miniature by Ali Sajjadi. It depicts a scene with camels and horses outside a gateway. Inside a walled area are varias domes, the tallest of which is blue.

I would be grateful if you could give any information on the painter and the painting. The only other writing on the back that I can read is "Khatam Sazi A. Golchin" which means nothing to me I am afraid.

R.B. Hutchins

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* Mojgan Haji-Jafari

I'm looking for a very old dear freind of mine Ms. Mojgan Haji-Jafari. She left Iran along with her family in 1978 shortly after the Islamic revolution. They migrated to States and as far as my memory helps, they moved either to California or San Fransisco. Couple of years after, she got married and changed her last name to Razavan.

We used to go to pre-high school "alAedin" back in Iran-Tehran, Davoodiyeh neighborhood.

If you know her please take few minute to write me a few line to :

It will makes me very happy ! Thanks !"

Jasmine Amjadi

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* War, death & jobs

Hallelluja brother [America, the neighbourhood gendarme]. I hope and pray that George W. goes to war against that dude Saddam and gets all of them boys killed so I can get a fucking joooob here.

Issa Hajjizadeh

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* Dovom Rah-namayi textbook

WSJF writer seeks a Persian textbook of Dovom Rah-namayi of the old days, preferably circa 1978-1981. Willing to compromise a year, more or less here or there. Primarily for research purposes, but possibly more. To borrow, purchase or even receive a fax copy of few specific pages. In other words: very amiable.

Please write to!

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* Standing for nothing

Ali Khalili in his article "More than oil, You have to feel sorry for Iraqis" seems to criticize both sides of the Iraq war arguments and goes on to stand for nothing. Peculiarly a lot of anti-war people, which I suspect Mr. Khalili is, are keen on pointing out the fact that America acts to promote her interests. We are expected to be shocked to find this out.

Of course, America should and does act on her interest and there is nothing wrong with that. I suggest that your dilemma to choose a side on this argument is not as complicated as you have presented it to be. At a risk of sounding too simple, I will tell you why you should be "comfy cozy" with the war argument.

Saddam is a brutal and ruthless dictator with a vendetta for the USA. On September 11, 2001 the Islamic radicals, whose ideals of establishing their Islamic society was known (i.e. Taliban's Afghanistan), but the intensity of their resolve was not, showed their hand. Namely that they will stop at nothing to destroy Western Culture, and America as its flag bearer, to establish their Islamic society.

After the removal of the Taliban and rooting out of the Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, it should not be a long stretch of imagination to see that Saddam and Al-Qaeda might become involved in a marriage of convenience. The next attack on America might be even more devastating. America must act to prevent such a possibility.

Keep in mind that Saddam would not have had any UN inspectors in Iraq were it not for the 250,000 USA troops knocking on his door. For the French, or anyone else, to argue that the inspections should go on at the expense of this massive and unsustainable troop presence on the Iraqi border is unacceptable.

You should also feel "comfy cozy" If America in the process of defending itself, rescues Afghanistan from the Taliban and Iraq from Saddam. It should be a net-positive for humanity and even more for the Iraqis.

Freidoun Farbod

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* Would you rather be a Moslem Arab in Israel?

With all due respect for the points made about the Human Rights and the rest [Imagine being a Jew in Iran], I could not let this one go without a comment.

I think I have a fair mind and a balanced position in regard to the Jews and the state of Israel, especially since many of my very good friends were Jewish while back home.

My questions to Mr. Dayanim:

1, Would you rather be a Moslem Arab in Israel, or a Jew in Iran, considering how the Jews got rid of the native Arabs in the new State of Israel?

2, Would you rather be a Palestinian in your own homeland of Palestine, or a Jew in your own homeland of Iran?

3, In regard to the Jewish sufferings under the Mollas, what do you thing the rest of us have been doing? Celebrating? Or suffering as much or even more?

4, Did you also write any thing about the sufferings of the rest of the Iranians? If you did, excuse my ignorance please.

As the saying goes, mordam as khoshi, kesi neest begeh cheteh, vaaghe'an, honestly.

Peerooz Azar

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* Jews part of vibrant mosaic that makes Iran

Dear Editor,

I'm glad you published the article "Imagine being a Jew in Iran" on your site. I only recently discovered in the past few years that there even was an Iranian Jewish community, and what a pleasant discovery it was.

Jewish people have contributed much to the world in practically every field imaginable, and I believe that having a Jewish presence in Iran only contributes to the vibrant mosaic that makes Iran so unique.

I only wish that the anti-Semitism that is so rampant in the Iranian community both within and outside of Iran would be eradicated. It disgusts me to think of our people as having an inherently racist or bigoted view towards others of different creeds or faiths, and it only brings our people down to play up to stereotypes and misconceptions.

I hope that all Iranians everywhere take the time to learn about their Jewish brethren and work toward building better relationships with this admirable community.

Sohrob Tahmasebi
San Diego, CA

P.S.--It might surprise many of you out there to learn that Israel has not only a Prime Minister (Ariel Sharon), but also a largely ceremonial position of President which is currently held by a Jew born in Iran, Moshe Katsav .

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* Portraying treatment of minorities worse than it actually is

I read an article on The Iranian the other day about the treatment of Jews in Iran [Imagine being a Jew in Iran]. I wonder about the factuality of some of the assertions in the article.

For example, it mentioned that Forward, the Jewish weekly, had interviewed Maurice Motamed recently. I couldn't find this interview when I searched their site ( I emailed the writer of the article and asked if the article actually appeared in the paper; I haven't heard back yet.

I worry about the intention of some people portraying the treatment of minorities in Iran as being much worse than it actually is.

Behzad Fazel
New York

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* Support them as best as we can

Dear Mr. Dayanim,

I want to congratulate you for writing such wonderful and informative article about Iranian Jews [Imagine being a Jew in Iran]. It is a shame to see how our brothers and sisters in Iran are suffering from the action of such brutal and immoral regime.

The only issue disturbing about your article was your attack and accusation directed at the Jewish leaders in Iran, according to your own article, you suggested that "Iranian community must avoid statements that could be interpreted as critical of the regime" and "the threat of retaliation against the entire community is an ever present factor in the minds of Iranian Jews and all community leaders " under these circumstances that you have indicated in your own article it is surprising and unfortunate that you are expecting them to act differently and sadly accused them of being agent of the regime.

I was quite disturbed about an article in Jewish Journal which you accused Mr. Motamed as agent of Iranian government, I found the statement to be unfair and self promoting. I have never met Mr. Motamed, but reading your article convince me even more that we need to support them as best as we can and we have stop the attacks and accusations, furthermore I find attacking any Iranian Jewish organization in print or public as being counter productive.


Mark Haloossim

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