The Iranian Times

Thursday September 2, 1999 / Shahrivar 11, 1378, No. 798

Sehaty Foreign Exchange



Culture of Karbala
Wondering why we are so uncompromising?

By Asghar Massombagi
September 2, 1999
The Iranian

Much has been made of the recent student demonstrations in Tehran (See latest photos taken by an eyewitness). The future impact of these events and the nature of the participating groups remains to be clarified. However the least one can say is that precedent has been set and the first crevice in the steel armor of the theocracy has appeared...

Violent resolution of political crises is of course as old as time and certainly not exclusive to Iran. However every society contains its own specific cultural and psychological constructs. Let's take, for example, that most important of events in Shi'ite mythology and the central moment in its formation: the incident of Karbala ... GO TO FEATURE


Offending articles

The following are op-ed pieces (in Persian) against the death penalty were published by Neshat newspaper. In an indirect reference, Ayatollah Khamenei said those who question Islamic laws are punishable by death:

* Hossein Baqerzadeh: "Is state violence permissable?" (Persian)
* Emadedin Baqi: "Execution and Islamic retribution (qesas)" (Persian)
* Neshat's explanation for publishing the opinion pieces (Persian)
* Khamenei's warning (English)


* BBC Persian service feature on the contrversy, including:
- Sadeq Saba's analysis
- Interview with human rights activist Hossein Baqerzadeh


Thanks to Mehdi Sharif


Kosuf-e saabeq

The solar eclipse is not called "kosuf" in Persian anymore, at least not in Iran ... GO HERE

More Letters

* Insulting you-know-who

Vahid Pourghadiri writes: First of all I must commend you on the quality of your work. It is truly refreshing to see writing of quality and content within a liberal framework where everyone gets the opportunity to contribute. However, dAyi Hamid's article on Iranian women ["Loving an Iranian girl"] is demeaning and insulting to all of us. Even though I love satire and have enjoyed his sometimes controversial quotes, I believe he has gone too far in his generalisations ...

Hypocrisy has always exsisted in our society, but that covers men as equal, if not more than, women. the Iranian girls residing overseas are subject to the same social forces and influences that the average non-Iranian girls. They should not be expected to behave much differently. But they actually do. I believe they can maintain their head way up high if compared to the average Iranian man. I still would never marry one again, since I still consider most of them a pain in the you-know-what. But that's another story.

I therefore hope that as a very well-read publication, you are more selective in your choice of articles. The implications with which Hamid's article is riddled with is not much different to other insulting and socially unacceptable behaviour as anti-Semitism, anti-Bahai or racial prejudice which are not allowed easy publication in any democracy ... FULL TEXT

* Very ordinbary

L. Matt writes: The "Modern khaastegaari" story was very flat; nothing special happened, in my opinion. The writer does not have a purpose or conclusion except other than sharing her experience which was very oridinary.

* Lecture: Iran : Reform or Stagnation?, Chicago

September 21, 1999: Iran at a Crossroads: Reform or Stagnation? with Shireen T. Hunter director of the Islamic Studies Program Center for Strategic & International Studies. Time: 5:30 p.m. Cash bar, light hors d'oeuvres 6:00 p.m. Lecture and discussion. Place: The Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago. $15 member/$25 nonmember ... DEATILS HERE

Books of the Week

* Do gharib (1998)
Letters from two friends in Iran and abroad
By Farideh Golbou

* Yek ruz maandeh beh eid-e paak (1998)
By Zoya Pirzad

* Istgaah-e aabshaar (1999)
Back when we were just kids...
By Parviz Davaie

* Talkhaak (1998)
Love story, best selling novel
By Nasser Karami

See more Iranian books for sale


Video of the Week

Life and Nothing More
(Zendegi va digar hich)

Abbas Kiarostami's film investigates the aftermath of a devastating 1990 earthquake which killed thousands of people in northern Iran. In many ways the most beautiful and powerful Iranian film. Directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Farsi with English subtitles.

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More news

Judiciary issues warning against moderate press

TEHRAN, Sep 2 (AFP) - Iran's conservative-dominated judiciary on Thursday issued a warning against any attempts by the moderate press to breach the pillars of the Islamic revolution. In a statement broadcast on radio, the judiciary vigorously backed Wednesday's remarks by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said "apostate" journalists opposing the country's eye-for-an-eye laws were liable to the death penalty ... FULL TEXT

Wheat groups urge Clinton to give Iran farm credit

WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Groups representing American wheat farmers on Thursday joined the chorus of lawmakers and farm groups urging the White House to extend export credits to Iran to boost U.S. agricultural sales ... FULL TEXT

Students File Lawsuits Against Police Over Hostel Raid

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Iran's military is investigating a lawsuit filed by 15 students claiming they were beaten by policemen during a raid on their dormitory in July, a newspaper reported Thursday ... FULL TEXT

Council of Experts meeting next week

TEHRAN, Sep 2 (AFP) - Iran's powerful Council of Experts, charged with appointing and revoking the Islamic republic's supreme leader, will hold a rare meeting next week, press reports said Thursday

MKO says its base in Iraq attacked

BAGHDAD, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The Iranian opposition Mujahideen Khaliq, based in Iraq, said on Thursday Iran had attacked one of its bases inside Iraq, but reported no casualties ... FULL TEXT

IRGC to Remain Along Afghan Border, Commander

TEHRAN (AFP) - The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said the elite force will remain along the Afghan border as long as the Taliban are in power in Kabul, newspapers reported yesterday. ... FULL TEXT

Freed hostages say well-treated by Iranian captors

TEHRAN, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Four Europeans freed after being held hostage by drug traffickers in southern Iran said on Wednesday they had not been mistreated during most of their two-week captivity. ... FULL TEXT

Foreign, homemade models on show at Iran's first car fair

TEHRAN, Sept 2 (AFP) - French, South Korean and Iranian-made cars were on display along with vintage American automobiles Thursday as Iran's first international automobile fair opened its doors in Tehran ... FULL TEXT

Iran signs Caspian exploration deal with local firm

TEHRAN, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Iran on Tuesday signed contracts valued tentatively at a total $50 million with the local Petro Iran Development Company (PEDCO) for oil and gas exploration in the Caspian Sea, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported ... FULL TEXT

Iranian cinema honors Khachikian

Tehran (Neshat) -- Samuel Khachikian was honored for 45 years of service to Iranian cinema. Many of today's top directors were his students ... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Mojabi: No wonder artists aren't happy

Tehran (Neshat) -- Javad Mojabi laments the "disrespect" towards artists in Iran ... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Mahdavi-Kia practices

Tehran (Neshat) -- Mehdi Mahdavi-Kia got leave from his German team to join the national soccer team practicing for next week's match against Japan ... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Iran vs. Japan

Tehran (Neshat) -- Exact time and date of next week's soccer match between Iran and Japan ... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN


Persian Service

For the latest news, interviews and features on Iranian current affairs ... LISTEN HERE

$ Rate

Updated September 1

Buying: 880-900 tomans per dollar

Selling: 906 tomans per dollar

Source: Sehaty Exchange (U.S.) Tel: 602-595-0777

Mention this code for a better rate: FA 37 B

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Quote Unquote

Over and over

Until Iranian political psychology comes to exorcise the spectrum of Karbala and accepts the possibility of another model it is mired to repeat the narrative over and over again.

-- Asghar Massombagi
"Culture of Karbala"
The Iranian
September 2, 1999

Photo of the Day

Ali Daei: One against three


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