Letters

January 2007

Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4

January 13

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Studying instead if snarky op-eds

In response to Behrouz Joon's "So good at bullshitting":

What did Reza Aslan ever do to you but write a book and become famous? Oh wait, that must be it. Perhaps if you would confine yourself to analyzing and critiquing Mr. Aslan's arguments, you would make a meaningful contribution to public discourse as well.

As for how someone trained in one area of academia might gain sufficient expertise to comment in another area: why is that such a mystery? There is this technique. It is called studying. You read the research and expert analysis of others, make relevant connections to what you know already and then you are ready to offer an informed opinion. You could even conduct research in a new area yourself. Studying and research may result in genuine intellectual growth. Snarky op-eds about former classmates rarely do.

Camron Amin

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Harkee az nanash ghahr mikoneh

In response to Behrouz Joon's "So good at bullshitting":

Behrooz joon

ONLY in the US of A, where its institutions of higher education, from Harvard to Harlem, are so impoverished in terms of an in-depth understanding of the culture, faith and history of the East, can such characters as Reza Aslan find an audience for their pretentious and nonsensical ideas. Sadly for Mr Aslan the market is intensely competitive. These days as we say in Persian "harkee az nanash ghahr mikoneh" -- whoever falls out with his or her mummy -- becomes an expert in Islam and politics of the Near and Middle East. Examples are abundant. Just look at the articles and letters appearing on Iranian.com.

What matters now is just to push through this cluttered bazaar and present your merchandise to a bunch of ignorant and bewildered customers who are buying any thing offered on the cheap. No one asks if these so-called scholars have published a single paper, let alone a book in the language of the area or of the faith wherein they claim to be specialised. Only a very small few, no more than two or three of the current Iranian-American researchers, and not even those who occupy a chair, meet this basic criterion. The only field where these upstarts are good at is writing fiction an area in which Aslan has obatined a master degree!

Parkhash

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Fits in with the CNN group think

In response to Behrouz Joon's "So good at bullshitting":

Behrouz -

From what I have observed about Reza Aslan, he pushes a reformist agenda regarding Iran. That would certainly fit in with the CNN group think.

I don't trust him and neither do others.

S. James

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Expected a higher standard of reasoning from a lawyer

In response to Behrouz Joon's "So good at bullshitting":

Funny article Behrouz Joon, although, I sense a bit of camera envy.

Come on dude, not being able to speak Farsi does not preclude one from becoming an Iran expert, certainly not at the level that's acceptable to CNN. Furthermore, Iran is an Islamic Republic, so stand to reason to have an Islam theologian explain their backward strategy. Also, you'd use "La Elaha El Allah" when you get pissed at your kid, not when you are barraging with a street peddler.

I'd have expected a higher standard of reasoning from a lawyer, even in a satirical short.

Best regards,

Abtin Assadi

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Making a name for himself in a KHAR TOO KHAR world

In response to Behrouz Joon's "So good at bullshitting":

Behrooz,

Very funny and yet serious article! Seriously, why are you surprise, when you have the theologians controlling the country without not much knowledge of NPT? Isn't Iran a political entity? Then why is it called Islamic Republic of Iran?

After all, non-Moslem journalists wanna know whether in Islam one can have nuclear bomb! How can you really separate Islam from politics? Shii'ism is after all a more political version of Islam.

What do you think about all the Christian fundamentalists (including Bush) who are running the world politics? Well, he is smart by making a name for himself in a KHAR TOO KHAR world of politics! More power to him! After all, if he would have become a lawyer you wouldn't have been writing about him,

jon goldust

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Anything worthy of praise?

On comments above news items in the left column of the front page:

Mr Javid,

I visit your site everyday. I am interested in the features column which is on the left hand side of the main features. I can tell how you feel about an article by reading the title you assign to it (i.e paper tiger, martikeh olaagh, usual zer zer, aghabmoondeh, etc).

I was wondering whom do you think is worthy of praising? As a publisher and owner of the site, don't you think you should be unbiased? No hard feelings.

NR

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No such thing as a perfect ideological partner

In response to Sima's "Show business":

One need not compromise one's principles to work with others for worthy goals. There is no such thing as a perfect ideological partner and requiring one before engaging in something constructive is just a clever way of doing nothing. The response to Iran's history of factional politics might be spirit of multi-partisanship. The women's movement has risen above factional politics before (however briefly) during the first women's suffrage campaign in the 1940's. Perhaps it could lead the way again.

Camron Amin

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Majority of Iranians prefer the present regime to what might replace it

In response to Kianosh Saadati's "A great lesson":

(I am sure, Mr. Javid won't publish my comment. He considers me a mortal enemy. But I hope it will reach you.)

You are comparing two almost totally different situations.

1. Saddam was the sole dictator. In Iran, there is a network of rulers--or dictators--if you would. Khamenei is a nominal leader. There is Rafsanjani, at least a hundred powerful mullas with numerous followers, the prayer leaders, the president--mulla or non-mulla, all poerful as Rafsanjani or as powerless as Khatami had been. And of course, there are non-mulla officials some of whom no less powerful than mullas. Who is going to order their execution, if Iran is invaded? Most importantly, Saddam had an army totally in his command, with all commanders from the minority group. In Iran, the army has a secondary role, although its commanders are hand-picked and at the service of the regime too (hence the impossibility of a coup.) But the real military force are Pasdarans and Basijis, ready to defend the regime and Iran, as they did during the Iraq-Iran war. And it was them who were influencial during the past presidential elections.

2. Saddam was supported and armed to his teeth by the west, and it was the west who sold him the gas to murder his own people, and of course Iranians. Yet, the same people who provided him with his killing machines, brought him down. If there were justice in the world, the likes of Rumsfeld should have been executed together with Saddam. No wonder Iraqis hated Saddam as much as they hate his former supporters--the occupiers.

3. Although there wasn't organized opposition inside Iraq (Bush the father betrayed Shi'i and Kurdish oppositions and let Saddam massacre them), the majority wouldn't lose the opportunity to oust and kill him. You might say there are many Iranians who oppose the rulers. However, the majority of Iranians prefer the present regime to what might replace it. That is why they haven't revolted against the regime. Besides, they will rally behind the government in case Iran is invaded. We should have learned a lesson from Iraq-Iran war.

Cordially,

Suri

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I feel ashamed

In response to the execution of Saddam Hussein:

On December 30th of 2006, Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was executed by the shiite-led regime of Iraq. I watched the video of the execution in horror as the savages who hung him, chanted Allah-o-Akbar time after time. It is well know that Saddam was a murderous tyrant who was responsible for murders of thousands of Iraqis, as well as thousand of Iranians during the eight year war. Sadam, however was the result of local Iraqi political phenomenon, he was deposed by foreign invasion. His premature execution was only to hide that fact that his chemical weapons were provided to him by other people of his ilk, murders such as Rumsfeld and the father Bush administration. His second trial would have implicated several U.S. administrations.

I am no Fan of Sadam or people like him. However, I feel ashamed of ever having been a Moslem, when I hear chants of Alah-O-Akbar when murders are committed. These are the same people who torture and murder several hundred Iraqis a months because they are Shiites or Sunnis. I thinks animal have better ethics that the Moslems brethren, whether they are in Iran , Iraq, or anywhere these moslem subhuman species exist.

Ramin Khashayar

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Bush worse than this dangling puppet

In response to Farshid Moussavi's "Justice or necessity?":

Dear Farshid,

I cannot agree more, the whole thing leaves a disgusting taste in my mouth. It is the usual typical american foreign policy crap which has made a mockery of humanity all together. They bring him up, give him all the tools to be a tyrant when it serves their purpose and then get rid of him when the embarassing side start creeping in. Disgusting and an insult to the rest of the world's intelligence. That fucking Bush is no better if not far worse than this dangling puppet.

Faz Rasti

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Do you really think this had anything to do with freedom?

In response to Farshid Moussavi's "Justice or necessity?":

Where do you come from?????? Do you really think this had anything to do with freedom?!!!!

Pseudo wrong argument based on self serving assumptions, get a life dude!!!

Faz Rasti

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The hands of American officials are just as much bloody

In response to Farshid Moussavi's "Justice or necessity?":

Farshid,

I agree totaly. The fact that Mr. Rumsfeld was the chief envoy and negotiator of providing all the pre-cursers of the chemical weapons to dictator of Baghdad would have been an obvious matter that would have been opened in the court proceedings. The hands of American officials are just as much bloody in any of the masssacares and campaigns against humanity that this man conducted.

In my view and by the way the view of many foreign governemnt officials including major Euoropeans this execution was to put an end to even dirtier file against a man that played into the hands of US and Israelies.

The voice of Kurdish was never heard in this trial which by all measures should have been the central crimes and convictions that Saddam must have been procecuted for. Thanks for your article!

Mehran

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Not alone

In response to Farshid Moussavi's "Justice or necessity?":

It was a relief reading your article. The past few days it felt like I was the only one who felt this way.

Thank you...

Haleh

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Bad as Saddam

In response to Jeesh Daram's "Saddam's last hours":

I do not who the F..k you are, you are as bad as Saddam... Go get a life, your report on Saddam has very poor taste...... Go get a life loser.

Reese kay

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You forgot Israel role

In response to Michael Boldin's "Saddam was right":

I admire and respect your honesty and bold spirit. It seems that, you forgot Israel role in this tragedy which was the cause!?

Marty

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Threat to German national security :o)

Trying to connect to iranian.com:

Yesterday morning I was at the airport in frankfurt, germany where I decided to access the internet via one of the booths at the airport. after checking my emails I decided to visit iranian.com, to my surprise the website is blocked and error message said that the content of this site is harmful. Thought you might find this interesting if you didn't know already.

Parham

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Jihadist strategy

In response to Javad Zarif's "The right to peaceful nuclear technology":

I was shocked and disappointed to see an article of one of the IRI’s officials in Iranian.com. It is needless to mention that Mr. Javad Zarif does not represent the interests of Iranian people in the UN, but the interests of an illegitimate and anti Iranian regime in Tehran. IRI’s Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations is only an ambassador of the anti Iranian Mullahs and terrorists bands who occupy our country since 28 years.

In an article that the ambassador of anti Iranian IRI published Saturday in the US Daily 'Los Angeles Times', and was unfortunately republished in Iranian.com, he made the repeated allegations of peaceful nuclear activities. These allegations have been long rejected by the international community.

These allegations are profoundly demagogic and all evidences show that IRI’s ambitions of nuclear have roots in its jihadist strategy to tighten the noose of ite dictatorship both inside and outside the country. The IRI needs nuclear technology to convert it in nuclear weapons not only to threaten some countries in the region, but probably under what is called “dirty bomb”, to commit suicide attacks all over the world. The IRI also needs this to defend its parasitic survival in Iran by frightening, threatening or even massively massacring Iranian people when these challenge the regime.

Jahanshah Rashidian

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The right to be hanged

In response to Javad Zarif's "The right to peaceful nuclear technology":

Agha Javad:

First of all, let's distinguish between the following concepts:

1) The right of Iran and its civilized citizens to the nuclear energy,

2) The desire of the ruling terrorists of the Islamic Republic (i.e., Akhoonds, President AhmadiNejad, their thugs and supporters both domestic and foreign) to the nuclear energy and/or bombs.

The former is protected and shall be available to the nation of Iran whenever it demands it.

The latter is something that you and your rag-head masters will take with you to the graves even at the high cost of military strikes on the nuclear sites by America. This of course, is to the chagrin of Iranians!

Now, as you very well know, each individual is entitled to his or her right. Unfortunately, the only right that applies to you and your mullah masters is what was applied to your friend and pal Agha SADDAM! For your convenience, I have attached an image of him with the rope tightening around his pathetic neck to remind you what faith is awaiting you and the akhoonds.

Not so truly yours,

KK

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Confrontation of logic with complete irrationality

In response to Nader Baghzadeh's "What are the options for Iran?":

Mr. Bagherzadeh:

Ba Dorood

I enjoyed your logical and factual analysis of the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West. I think you make all the correct conclusions about the most logical solution to this quagmire.

The problem I have is that I do not see this as battle of logics, but the confrontation of logic with complete irrationality.

In light of all the tough and uncompromising talk and rhetoric of Ahmadinejad's, I do not believe he has the courage to confront the monster he has created and compromise, and is driven more by his dogma and narrow world view, hence the whole balance of the equation hinges on him.

His irrationality is the source of the insecurity and the uncertainty that the world feels. By his unpredictability (in a mad sense) Ahmadinejad has the upper hand, in the face of rationality, until that moment when there is no option left but force, in which case everyone will have to suffer the consequences of the shortcomings of the logic of a feeble minded man.

There is one alternative. The Mullahtacracy, when and if faced with annihilation will start to play a different tune, push Ahmadinejad off the stage and revert back to a "more moderate" stance, to preserve itself. The resolution to the conflict could then manifest itself in the form of your second option.

Ba sepas,

Shahriar Azadmanesh

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Let IAEA have a free hand in inspections

In response to Nader Baghzadeh's "What are the options for Iran?":

LET US BELIEVE THAT IRANIAN ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES ARE TRULY FOR PEACEFUL PURPOSES, WHICH IS A RIGHT AND A NEED OF IRAN FOR NOW AND THE FUTURE. THEN, LET THE IAEA HAVE A FREE HAND IN INSPECTION OF ALL IRANIAN FACILITIES, OVER OR UNDERGROUND.HOWEVER, US CAN PLAY THE GREATEST ROLE BY FAVORING A NON- NUCLEAR MIDDLE EAST. THIS WOULD BE A KIND OF US POLICY WHICH SHOWS DIPLOMATIC MATURITY AND ALSO A GIANT STEP TOWARDS PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. BETTER YET LET US RECOMMEND A WORLD FREE OF ATOMIC BOMBS-COMPLETE AND VERIFIABLE. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Abbass Malayeri

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Acknowledge where we stand in the evolving human civilization

In response to Omid Farda Manesh's "Danger of extinction":

The article by Omid Farda Manesh is fascinating because of its perspective and how it attempts to attribute qualities to the Iranian nation that transcend reality. By introducing the concept of Islamo Fascists, the author attempts numerous times in the article to surgically carve out what is evident to all to be the fruits of the popular uprising of a nation. Hailed as the Islamic Revolution, it represented the aspirations and the singular unifying factor in the disparate groups within and outside of Iran, seeking freedom from two centuries of foreign influence combined with an end to the 3000 year tradition of kinghood.

The only alternative and one that they had universally embraced was the establishment of an Islamic theocracy. Why does the author believe that such self-evident facts need to be altered in a manner that lacks any basis? We all agree that education, freedom from prejudice, ability to investigate fundamental verities, and respect for fellow human beings, other creature and our environment are all noble qualities. They are, however, hardly what our people are recognized for by themselves or others, for that matter. How the author comes up with such a thesis is puzzling at best, and disingenuous at worst.

The holocaust denial conference is one of the latest fruits of the popular Islamic Revolution which has created the fertile ground for a society that is now economically, socially, and morally bankrupt. The current situation will only accelerate the disintegration of every social order in Iran. Before a new structure is built, the existing structure is demolished and the debris is removed, and in this case it will be placed in the dust heap of history. Today, the Iranian nation is engaged in a process of both disintegration and construction. Each segment of Iranian society, irrespective of whether it is conservative, moderate or liberal, are all playing their respective roles and yet they are all the by-product of the Iran that has been under the influence of Islam since the Safavids and not the original Persians of 2500 years ago. Even the group labeled by the author as Islamo Fascists, are also born out of this milieu.

So, the sooner we accept the realities of our Iranian society and acknowledge where we stand in the evolving human civilization, the more directly and realistically we can assume personal responsibility for turning a new leaf in our personal lives, the society's in which we live, and the world. We are indeed gifted in this regard, only if we can break the shackles that have held us back for far too long.

Alborz

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I salute her and play the air guitar for her

In response to Best Iranian of the Year poll:

As of December 26, 2006 Nazanin Afshin-Jam has 6.15% of the Vote for Iranian of the Year for the 2006 calander year. As her "mysite" page says, "Nazanin is an independent. She is not part of any political group, association or organization." She is a former Royal Canadian Air Cadet and obtained the highest rank of Warrant Officer First Class. She graduated with a double major from UBC in Vancouver. She then became Miss Canada. Presently, she is a famous rock and roll star on the same level as Elvis. Even if she isn't "Iranian of the Year", I salute her and play the air guitar for her.

Haji Peyman Esq.

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Top of the list

In response to Worst Iranian of the Year poll:

You have failed to include Maryam Rajavi and Jafarzadeh. They should be on top of the list.

S.

REPLY: ... They and Khamenei and his gang are on a more important and permanent list: The Iranian Hall of Shame... :o)
-- Jahanshah Javid

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Loud and clear

In response to Siamack Baniameri's "Ugly people":

I hear you...

Loud and clear...

Haleh

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Can you imagine if Googoosh had a concert in Iran with Mehrdad?

In response to Mehrdad listed on Worst Iranian of the Year poll:

Hi All,

Worst Iranian of the Year contest is the best new Poll on iranian.com. It is interesting that 28 out of the 996 people voted Mehrdad the worst Iranian of the year for ruining Googoosh's concerts. Of course, there was more important news items than this item. One must just take a moment and think about it. Close to 3% of poll voters believe Mehrdad can't sing. Iranians in Iran are bigger critics. Can you imagine if Googoosh had a concert in Iran with Mehrdad? After the concert mobs of Iranian who hypotheticly attend the concert would storm the stage and hang Mehrdad. And they would be chanting while hanging Mahrdad. As AC/DC once said, "for those of us who rock we salute you." And I for one, salute these guys who agree with me that Mehdad singing sucks big time.

Love and Happy New Year 2007,

Haji Peyman Esq.

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What has become of the "dissident students"?

In response to Best Iranian of the Year poll:

Dear Sir,

Here is a possibility worth considering -- The "students" who protested Mighty Mouse "the Motor Mouth" by holding placards and burning his picture were plants of the regime -- to showcase the fiction that Iran tolerates freedom of expression. Was that (freedom of speech) not also the regime's propaganda subtext for holding the Holocaust conference? What has become of the "dissident students" since their courageous display?

Very skeptically yours,

Guive Mirfendereski

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Do you live in the ivory tower?

In response to Best Iranian of the Year poll:

Happy Holidays everyone,

The $20 million plus USD Mrs. Ansari spent for her trip could have healed a lot of wounds in Iran, USA, Africa or anywhere. To all those voting her Iranian of the year I gotta say "Do you live in the ivory tower?".

Kavah

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It's their turn

In response to Alex Far's "Rescue plan: Let Iranian women look after Iran":

Your logic is almost dead wrong. First muslim women to win Nobel. True. But first muslim women to go to space? Why is she a muslim woman and not an Iranian woman?! Also, if she didn't live and start a company in the U.S., a NON MUSLIM country, she couldn't even go to Ardabil
First muslim women to win miss world.

And this is good and source of honor why? Look at others such as Christiane Amanpour. She is 1/2 Iranian and NOT muslim. Huge number of Iranian women artist, painter, musician overseas. Ooops... I didn't realize Jewish, Christian, Zorasterian, Bahai etc women didn't have any musicians and painters....that's right, its must be an influence of Islam.

Iranian men should be barred from taken part in running of the country. Maybe muslim iranian men should be barred..... after all, for the past 400 years they were in charge.

F.F.

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What did YOU get out of HIS Dutch heritage?

In response to Charlotte Najafi's "Going Dutch":

You wrote: "It's not easy for a layman to prove the roundness of the Earth"

I read your article up until:

"He adores Iran, he loves Iran, he loves our carpets, our music, our religion, our culture, our personalities, our familial relationships and our point of views!"

It's the "our religion" together with "our carpets" that stopped me in my tracks! How can you claim to be "one of those last remaining Iranian women with a healthy sense of humor, dignity and self-respect, educated and able to speak up to 5 languages, living in Europe and in love with Europe's history, churche's, cathedrals, museums as well as my own roots and for always in love with my own country and heritage..."

The "our points of view [sic]" just about killed me. I can't stand know-it-all people who think they can speak for me. I take major objection to your use of "our" all the time when you are expressing only and only "your" personal views.

I guess one can amass the degrees and still have little education. While I speak only four languages, love Europe but don't live in it, have way more than a "healthy sense of humour, dignitiy and self-respect, ..." I see nothing amusing in your article. It's horrible to even think of making a Dutch an Iranian man, or making an Iranian, an Icelandic man, etc. Not to take a human being for what she/he is made of is the most despicable thing one can do to that person. Ever heard of 'to each his own'?

And yet, there come such contradictory messages from you in the next paragraph no less: "you can find love and a good companion in anyone of any origin or background..." Is that so? You can? You could have fooled me!! You are the same person trying to make a Dutch an Iranian? And he's giving up his own heritage and family for your religion and beliefs? Whatever did YOU get out of HIS Dutch heritage?

Suffice it to say that it's supposedly "educated" women like you who give the rest of us a bad name. I happen to be an atheist, what do you say to that? Are you going to make an Iranian woman out of me somehow with all your religion and heritage? Who are you to judge who's Iranian? I am willing to bet though that I'll be forever more 'Iranian' than you. FYI, I'd have loved to have fallen mutually in love with a like-minded Iranian man. The one I did had had enough of the ones like you by the time I met him. And I, for one, wouldn't take any less.

Never more sincerely,

Bahar E.

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Actually it is quite easy

In response to Mazloom's "Laughed out of town":

You wrote: "It's not easy for a layman to prove the roundness of the Earth"

Actually it is quite easy if you can travel. You only have to measure the length of the shadow of a stick cast by the sun at noon on the same date in two places, one a few hundred miles south of the other. From that, simple geometry tells you the diameter of the Earth.

Don Cox

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Flirting with IRI

In response to Mazloom's "Laughed out of town":

Dear Mr. Mazloom,

Thank you for your short but frank article. Your candour brings me to think of some blind or hypocrite, so-called Iranian intellectuals, who so flirt with the IRI or some of its factions that avoid even speaking up the word “Holocaust”. Simply have a look at the front page of the Iranian.com at the end of December. Shameful article of Zarif aside, see how many of these so-called intellectuals do not mention the word “Holocaust” because it evokes the death-fatwa of Khomeini against the political prisoners of summer1987?

Jahanshah Rashidian

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Why the Jews and why so much and so damn long?

In response to Amil Imani's "Friends of the Jews":

Have you ever wondered why there have been so many crimes against the Jews? Why have they been pushed out of just about any region and why they are so disliked? Why the Jews and why so much and so damn long?

Amy

REPLY: Why? Because of hateful cowards like you who are too afriad to blame the powerful majority and instead point at minorties (Jews and Bahais in Iran or Muslims, Blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. or Palestinians in Israel or Bosnians in old Yugoslavia or Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa or Kurds and Armenians in Turkey or the people of Darfur in Sudan or...). Wake up before you burn another innocenet for the sins of the majority. -- Jahanshah Javid
PS: Oops! Apartheid was an exception. But you're still a coward.

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I had a hard-on from the 3rd paragraph

In response to Laleh Banoo's "Cat in the sack":

Laleh,

Let me be honest, as an Iranain man, I think your writing was pornographically uncoventional but on the plus side it demonstrated modern version of literary themes adopted by pioneers like D. H. Lawrence in his Lady Chatterly's Lover.

Let me be more honest, i had a hard-on from the 3rd paragraph. So to this extend i can say your writing invoked in me sexual desires i had to suppress as i was reading your "Cat in the Sack" in my office.

God Luck- Keep Writing

FS

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Folan not fellow

In response to Guive Mirfendereski's "Folon fellow shodeh":

Hello Mr. Mirfendereski,

There were linguistic inaccuracies, in your article, that I would like to point out. The words fellow and felon have nothing to do with folon and in fact have Germanic and Latin roots.

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French felun, fel evildoer, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German fillen
noun a person who has committed a felony. ORIGIN Old French, ‘wicked, a wicked person’, from Latin fello.

The word Yalda, as you mentioned, is of Syraic in origin, and crept into Persian via the Syraic Christians fairly late (between 2nd and 8th century AD). Yalda means birth and refers to the birth of Sun God Mithra on Shab-e-Cheleh, 21st Dec., the Winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Shab-e-Cheleh falls 40 days before Jashne Sadeh which is celebrated 50 days (100 days and nights) before Norooz.

There were also historical inaccuracies in your piece that I would like to bring to your attention. Arab Iraq did not exist before the Arab invasion of the Middle East. Shiism was a political movement from the beginning as, was Islam itself. It was an Arab concept, and was not concieved of in Iraq, but in Saudi Arabia. Ali and his relatives claimed that because of Ali’s relationship to Mohammad and the fact that he was the first to accept Mohammad’s call to Islam, he had the right of succession. They refused to accept the prevalent view of the Khalifet system. After the establishment of the Umayyed Khalifet, in Damascus, the Shiites were sought and systematically eliminated. In Iraq, which was still heavily Persian, the Khalifet pursued a policy of racism and anti Iranian prejudice. The only way for Iranians to get rid of their Arab masters was to capitalize on the rift between Arabs and side with Shiites. The Shiite Imams escaped the sphere of influence of the Bani Omayyed and found refuge in Khorasan and Mazandaran (Tabarestan).

Abu Muslim’s movement was a shiite backed uprising, in which he replaced the bani omayyed khalifet with the Abbaisds, the descendents of Mohammad’s uncle.

Maamoon the son of Haroon al rashid, born of a Persian mother, moved his house of control to Khorasan, from Baghdad, and named the eighth Imam of the Shiites, Reza, his successor.

The Buyids spread Shiism from Iran and dominated the religion and politics of Baghdad itself. This was the greatest period of Shiite influence as most of Saudi Arabia itself became shiite.

The Safavid legacy was to reduce the Suni population and force an official Shiite state religion for Iran to avoid dilution and domination by the Ottoman Sunnis.

Read more here.

With regards,

Shahriar Mostarshed

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I do not stop where Western lexicon stops

In response to Shahriar Mostarshed's "Folon not fellow":

Dear Shahriar,

I am indeed honored that you would take time out to comment on my latest musings [Folan Fellow Shodeh]. The tile of the piece, which is the work of the esteemed editor of the site, does appear misleading in that it conveys the sense that folan had become fellow. I made no such statement, even though I may have thought it.

On the second thought, you must be a lot more bikar than I to bother with nitpicking about the connection among folan, fellow and felon. None of the sources you cite in support of your view is determinative of anything. The Oxford English Dictionary that I consulted prior to doing the piece gave me reasonable pause to conjure the connections that I made among the words. This becomes particularly fun when the OED admits to ambiguity or not knowing the origin or etymology of a word. Who is to say exactly where the words came from before Old French, Latin or German, and so on?

I for one do not like to stop where the Western lexicon stops -- I dare to go beyond the times to another realm of possibilities suggested by the common and larger Indo-European and Semitic heritage and phonetics that relate Persian to the rest of the languages and Iranians to the rest of humanity? While I appreciate your pointing out the linguistic "inaccuracies" in my piece, I do not see anything terribly different in your use of words like "probably" -- not exactly free from doubt, is it now?

The reference to the origin of the term Yalda, you say, was correct. Thanks, man -- like I would write about it before checking some sources. The piece was not about Yalda, though, so I apologize if I did not include the other stuff that you saw fit to add about the significance of Yalda (most of which too is open to discussion). Anyway.

I am also at a loss about your need to be pointing out the "historical inaccuracies" in my piece. You say Arab Eraq did not exist before Islam. I do not recall saying that it did. I said Shiism began in Iraq -- okay -- in a place that is today a part of Iraq. After all where did Ali break with the traditionalists? Where was he butchered and where did his followers stay? You give this litany of Ali's relatives living in Hejaz -- so what? This makes my point all the more strong that Shiism is born from the Arab environment -- from Hejaz to Kufah, Basra and other places (and dare I say "Occupied Iran" as well). Thanks for the primer on Shii history in Iran -- like I would not know that. Hajji, you need to get a grip on this alameh dahr thingy you have got going on me. If you ever have the time, please read my piece on Plain of Paradise [See "Plain of paradise"] and tell me if there is anything in there about the move of the Shiis eastward to Tabarestan that you disagree with.

Nonetheless, I appreciate your good hearted gesture to correct/educate me. Above all I appreciate your civil and non-patronizing tone. Consider this unsigned and rude note from a professor (!) of matehmatics and biology at Penn State University (Mohamad M. Ansari) -- he wrote "Persian language is an Indo-European language. there are more than 800 Persian words in English language. I had find out so many word in Italian language that their origin is Farsi like , kiye(who is..) or mord(died). Please have a little pride .........." Padron me, I wrote back to him, "I do not need you fucking asshole to tell me to have some pride. Read the fucking pieces I have been writing on "Persian in English" series all this year and then tell me something I do not know, jackass."

Very cordially yours,

Guive Mirfendereski (the other alameh dahr)

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You were in too much of a hurry

In response to Jeesh Daram's "Events of Persian origin":

Dear Jeesh daram:

I think, as your name implies, you were in too much of a hurry and ended up hastily writing your piece not bothering to look for the answer to your inquiry, on the Internet.

"Christmas is, according to Christian tradition, a celebration of the birth of Jesus, and this is often the reason that many modern Christians celebrate the day. However, most scholars dating the birth of Jesus think that he was born in late spring or early autumn, and argue that the celebration is a survival of Saturnalia, the most popular festival in the Roman year. Saturnalia, originally a celebration in memory of the dedication of a temple to Saturn, had become by the 3rd century dedicated to the increasingly popular Mithras, under the title Sol Invictus (unconquerable sun), since the winter solstice fell during its week long festivities. The Roman Calendar was somewhat erratic in relation to the seasons, and the exact date of the solstice consequently drifted; after this was corrected under the Julian calendar, and once the festival became associated with Sol Invictus, Saturnalia was formally moved to December 25th."

Check here for Mitraism or Mithraism.

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithras
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitra

When you are ready to read a bit more in depth then read the references below. There are also many other researchers and Historians who have commented about the origins of Christmas and the Iranian influence on it. You can do an on line search and then go to your local library for more information.

1) Richard Foltz; Spirituality in the land of the Noble
2) Mary Boyce, The Contribution of Zoroastrianism To the Great World Religions, transcript of lecture

In the end it is not as important to know this tidbit of information as it is to know your own roots and the contributions your ancestors made to civilization, so that some day you can be inspired enough to make your contribution.

Happy reading.

Shahriar Mostarshed

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Iran is not a super power

In response to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's "Diminishing glory ":

Ms. Sepahpour:

With all due respect, majority of Iranians are not Zoroastrians, and they are not ruled by a visionary leader like Cyrus. In reality Iran is not a super power and we live in a world were we are a small country in the world of Titans.

Keyvan Nouri

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Ink is power

In response to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's "Diminishing glory ":

Wonderful article Soraya! You are one of those Iranian women who would make every Iranian man proud of having sisters like you! Your points are well taken.

I suggest to every Iranian to read the book "Target Iran" by Scott Ritter (Former Iraq Weapons Inspector and US marine intelligent officer.) His book has well documented and directly blames the American Jews and Israelis for initiating all the recent wars in the middle east. In fact, according to him, Israel gave all the targets in Iran and asked the US to attack Iran before attacking Iraq!

Remember, when MEK had a news conference where they exposed the Iranian Nuclear program? Scott reveals that in fact different Jewish groups were the real culprits (including AIPAC) who had obtained the information from the Russian Jews and arranged the news conference using the Iranian enemies MEK as their mouth piece!

When we say American sanctions or wars against Middle Eastern countries, what we really should be saying is the jewish groups such as "Benador Associates"and AIPAC (AMERICAN ISRAELI POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE) who are controlling the US congress and are bent on destroying Iran through the use of the American might! It appears that the real enemy of Iran is indeed Israel and Jewish American groups who are using the America's mighty power to control the middle east and the world. Is that why the Iranian president is attacking them, and Mel Gibson said that all the world wars are initiated by them?

I know there are many good Jewish people who are opposed to these groups activities and condone it, and I wish we had more of them. However, we should be aware of Iran's real enemies and be ready to defend our beloved Iran against the groups like them! INK IS POWER, and we should start using it as effectively as they are in order to defend Iran! Soraya, you just started doing that, now let's see how we can spread your word as THEY do! May be Anousheh should buy the LA TIMES, in order to feed the poor Iranian children!

jon goldust

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Dear lady, stop lobbying for murderous Mullahs

In response to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's "Diminishing glory ":

Sepahpour Ulrich's vehement support for the bloody Islamic dictatorship has taken a new dimension. Now, she blames Iranian people for the sanctions brought on Iran by twisted, confrontational policies of Islamic terrorist-dictatorship!!

Dear lady, stop lobbying for murderous Mullahs and stop stabbing Iranian people in the back.

Mansour

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How desperate do you have to be?

In response to news item in Haaretz, "Three Iranians seeking conversion to Judaism denied Israel visas":

Even though Iran is being attacked, bombarded, "az zamin-o hava", from all sides with negative propaganda these days, this one is really the masterpiece ! ! !

How desperate do you have to be to demonize and vilify a country to write this ridiculous piece? Iranians (and it must be mentioned that they were Shiites too!) who wanted to convert to Judaism and they were turned away by Israel" !!!!

If this story is true, (and that's a big "IF") it served those Iranians well for leaving their homeland (and with it their dignity and self respect) and going and begging the Israeli embassy for visas and being rejected and laughed at.

Stay tuned for more of these stories from Haaretz, Fox News, and the rest...

N. Shafiei

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Why should an Iranian site give a chance to those who wish to separate Kurdistan from Iran?

In response to Kamal Artin's "Kurdish choices":

I am surprised to see an article about Kurdish choices in your site that carries the Kurdish separatist flag. If people are asked to vote, then why should there be the suggestability of a separatist flag? Also, why should an Iranian site give a chance to those who wish to separate Kurdistan from Iran?

Clare Johannes

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Dinah does Zarrabi

In response to Dinah Shore singing Iranian song:

Thank you for the video clip in your site. I believe this song was originally song by Molouk Zarrabi – an old Iranian traditional singer who passed away many years ago. Happy New Year.

Hassan

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Last time I checked paradise is warm and plush, perhaps like "Hawaii"!

In response to Lily Raissi - Dehkordy's "Inja Behesht ast":

For years my wife and her family have been singing praises of Shahre Kord and vicinity and how beautiful it is. As pationately as they talk about the area, I have never heard them refer to it as "Paradise".

I think it is very tall order to call the region "Paradise". Last time I checked paradise is warm and plush, perhaps like "Hawaii"!

I think if anyone from Shahre Kord, Chahar Mahal & Bakhtiari, or anywhere near the region ever saw the Hawaiian Islands, Tahiti, or any of the Caribbeans Islands, would never again call some of the coldest regions in the world, "paradise".

Hamid Bakhsheshi

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Imagine what this would do to you

In response to Babak Nassirian's "Living history":

Excellent photographs, I have not been home for 30 years you can imagine what this would do to you. Thanks for sharing these good work.

Dara

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>>> More January 2007 letters: Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4
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