The Iranian Times

Thursday December 23, 1999 / Dey 2, 1378, No. 874

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Flower delivery in Iran

Iranian books



Borrowed ideas
Persian roots of Christian traditions

By Ramona Shashaani
December 23, 1999
The Iranian

A while ago, I was invited to give a talk at a Christmas party about the Persian tradition of celebrating the winter solstice on December 21st. In order to speak intelligently to a spiritually and psychologically keen audience, I set out to research the subject. I was scrambling to find resource material when my day was saved by our list co-moderator, Peter Bridge, who provided me with more references than I had hoped to find in my attempt to unravel the historical, symbolic and mythic bases behind the Persian people's celebration of this festive occasion.

What I did not expect to find, however, was a fascinating history of how Christmas may have its origins in the ancient Persian Mithraic tradition of worshipping Mithra or Mehr, the sun-god or god of love. With the approaching winter solstice, I thought it might be appropriate share this history with you >>> GO TO FEATURE


Questions for this man?
Online interview

Early in January, Kamal Karrazi, the Iranian Foreign Minister will be visiting the UK in an effort to improve Iran-UK relations...

IranMania has arranged online interviews with the Iranian Ambassador to Britain, Gholamreza Ansari, and Britain's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Peter Haines. Got any questions? >>> GO HERE



Mariam Naficy [co-founder of] brings enthusiasm for developing new consumer and retail concepts, particularly businesses at the intersection of the consumer and technology.

Previously, she was Director of Marketing at a Southwestern restaurant chain, where she helped drive the company's fast growth into a $20 million business >>> GO HERE

Thanks to Ramin Tabib

More Letters

* Voter anger

Masoud Neshat writes: I truly appreciate the fact that The Iranian Times is providing a forum for the Iranian community around the world in general, and the United States in particular, to voice their opinion and protect their legitimate interests and rights.

A vivid example is allowing people to learn about and petition regarding the discriminatory practices of finger printing and photographing Iranians upon arrival in the U.S.

Well, let's go back to the origin of this practice. It was enacted in 1995 by the Clinton Administration (and I am non-partisan) when it declared Iran as a country supporting terrorism... I believe that the Iranian community living in the U.S. should make it known and absolutely clear that they will not support any politician or administration adhering to this racist and discriminatory practice >>> FULL TEXT

* Stop telling us what we should be

Amin Naraghi writes: Your letter "Allah knows best" is the very example of narrow-minded people who live in the past. I and many young Iranian boys and girls who grew up during the revolution feel under pressure from people like you because you want us to be as you think we should be.

Fortunately we have found a very good way to deal with people like you and the fascist hezbollahis: WE IGNORE YOU. But I cannot guarantee what would happen if you loose power in Iran. The gap is wide and the hatred deep.

I left Iran 11 years ago. I used to think Islam meant fascism. But I met other Muslims in France and I realize that you can read and interpret the Koran as you want. If your are intolerant you will be like the Taliban.

The main problem is that you always refer to Islam's golden age that ended centuries ago! Be what you are but stop telling us what we should be!

* Politics: Urban development conference, Iran

There is going to be an international investment forum on housing and urban development projects (ConBuild 2000) in Iran in May 2000. This is a unique opportuinity for Iranians abroad to participate in the building of their homeland. You can contact us through the following: tel: (+98) 21 879-2376 fax: (+98) 21 877-8527 email: >>> DETAILS AT


Books of the Week

* Saaniyeh-yeh aakhar (1999)
Y2K issues in Iran
By Dr. Ali Parandeh

* Barandeh-haa ham baazandeh-and (1999)
A memoir by a former mayor of Tehran, with photos
By Ahmad Nafisi

* Jazireh sargardaani (2nd edition, 1998)
By Simin Daneshvar

* Mumia va assal (1996)
By Shahriar Mandanipour

* Mehr-e giaah (1998)
ByAmir Hassan Cheheltan

See more Iranian books for sale


Video of the Week

Through the olive trees

This is Abbas Kiarostami's most romantic film (English subtitles). It is the third part of a trilogy set in northern Iran. For other Kiarostami videos, click here.

Video Store

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More news

Supreme court upholds death sentence for militiaman's killer

TEHRAN, Dec 23 (AFP) - Iran's supreme court has upheld the death sentence imposed on a young man found guilty of the stabbing death of a volunteer Islamic Basiji militiaman, newspapers reported Thursday. The pro-government Iran daily said the court upheld the sentence on Morteza Amini-Moghadem, who was convicted of ambushing 22-year-old Hadi Mohebi and knifing him to death in his father's shop >>> FULL TEXT

Foreign Minister to visit Britain, Egypt, Ireland and Turkey: paper

TEHRAN, Dec 23 (AFP) - Iran's foreign minister will make a major tour abroad next month to Britain, Egypt, Ireland and Turkey, the daily Iran News reported on Thursday. Kamal Kharazi will kick off the tour January 17 with a stop in Turkey, said the paper, which is considered close to the foreign ministry >>> FULL TEXT

Nouri seeks quashing of dissent conviction

TEHRAN, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Leading Iranian reformer Abdollah Nouri has demanded the quashing of a five-year jail sentence passed on him by a clerical court on dissent charges, newspapers reported on Thursday. Nouri, a popular Shi'ite Moslem cleric close to President Mohammad Khatami, made the request in a letter to Prosecutor General Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadaei >>> FULL TEXT

Conservative slams TV broadcast of Rafsanjani comments

TEHRAN, Dec 23 (AFP) - A conservative candidate for Iran's legislative elections said Thursday the television broadcast of a news conference by former prime minister Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also a candidate, was illegal >>> FULL TEXT

Iran frees jailed German businessman on bail

TEHRAN, Dec 23 (Reuters) - A German businessman once held on death row in Iran for illicit sex with a Moslem woman left prison in Tehran on Thursday after being released on bail pending a new trial, security officials said >>> FULL TEXT

Iranian opposition criticises Russian intervention in Chechnya

TEHRAN, Dec 23 (AFP) - The tolerated opposition Iran Freedom Movement (IFM) on Thursday denounced the Russian army's intervention in Chechnya and asked the United Nations to halt the shedding of Muslim Chechen blood >>> FULL TEXT

Russia to speed up construction of Iranian nuclear station

MOSCOW, Dec 23 (AFP) - Russia will next year speed up construction work on the controversial Iranian power station at Bushehr, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov told AFP Thursday. "Next year the volume of work is going to increase threefold," Adamov said after talks with Iranian representatives >>> FULL TEXT

Peugeot and Iran Khodro sign big car production agreement

PARIS, Dec 23 (AFP) - French car manufacturer Peugeot and the Iranian company Iran Khodro have signed an agreement for the production in Iran of up to 120,000 Peugeot 206 cars per year, the two companies said here on Thursday. The agreement had been signed in Paris late on Wednesday, they said.

Top ten

Tehran (Hamshahri) - This season's top boxoffice hit was "Siavash" directed by Saman Moqaddam. It earned 200 million tomans (about $260,000). The second and third highest ticket sales were for "Dohtari baa kafsh-haaye kataani" and "Sheydaa". Here's are top ten >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN


Tehran (Hamshahri) - A detailed look at the performance of Iranian films in the past three months >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN


Tehran (Hamshahri) - Some 20,000 documents pertaining to Kurdish history have been organized by the Cultural Heritage Foundation. This is just phase one >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN


Tehran (Hamshahri) - Jalal Talebi who coached Iran in the 2-1 victory over the U.S. in World Cup 98, has high hopes for the second match up on January 16 >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Can't do it

Tehran (Iran Varzeshi) - Amir Khadem, one of Iran's best free style wrestlers, says he cannot compete in two international wrestling events one after the other -- another sign that the Takhti games may be postponed >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN


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The Web


Iranian community

Startec Global Communications Corp. has launched its new Iranian virtual community, the second in a series of nine planned ethnic portals offered under the name eStart.

Beyond Iran


Adbusters' Culture Jammer's Headquarters - allows culture jammers to learn about, and take steps to stop, the marketing pollutants in our mental environment.

More web sites

Quote Unquote

Loyal opposition

If one is loyal to the Islamic system but is critical of some of its actions, how should he express his views without being accused of committing a crime?

-- Abdollah Nouri
December 23, 1999

Photo of the Day



Musician of the Week

Maryam Heydarzadeh

Music artists index