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July 3-7, 2000 / Tir 13-17, 1379


* Jews:
- Why is it disturbing?
- Loyalty to one's breed
- Refugees, unemployment, crime and prostitution
- Please, please, please


* Press:
- The press & the government

* Exile:
- I worship you
- Marginal issues

- Roots unexposed
- Serious omissions
- Need a revolution
* Sex:
- Complete outrage
- We'll never know

* Iran-U.S.:
- Cosmetic concessions

* Internet:
- Online radio, at a cost

email us

July 7, 2000

* Why is it disturbing?

I don't dispute that Jews can be spies ["Let's face it"]. Jews, as well as Moslems and Christians have spied in Iranian history at times and spying is never justifiable. But, what is disturbing about the trial of Jews in Iran is whether they can get a fair hearing.

Most people blame Iran's current system of justice as unfair and unjust and even dictatorial. But, the problem goes beyond the justice system. The legal and justice system in Iran is only a reflection of a culture that tends to see in people such absolutes as good or bad, right or wrong, angel or evil. The natural consequence of such a polarized thinking is to see no options other than elimination, punishment, and execution >>> FULL TEXT

Poopak Taati
Washington DC

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* Loyalty to one's breed

Mr. Moallemian comes across as a politician desperate for votes ["Let's face it"]. His categorical support for the now-convicted spies in Iran can not be interpreted otherwise...

On the other hand we as Iranians have been so quick to please our adversaries, with attitudes similar to Mr. Moallemian with lies and half truths, that we are not even given the benefit of the doubt if we accuse certain people of spying. I consider this a shame for all Iranians. Maybe he should learn from them a thing or two about loyalty to one's breed and nationality >>> FULL TEXT

Amir Khosrow Dafari
Seattle, Washington

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* Refugees, unemployment, crime and prostitution

In the recent accusative and truly narrow-minded views expressed about Afghan refugees, geopolitics and demographic realities that are all tied into the economic and political interests of Iran, are being ignored...

And let me tell you, if the Iranian girls who are prostituting themselves off of streets in Tehran are doing so because Afghan women can underbid them in the job market, they deserve a break, or if the Iranian addict is smoking Taliban-grown opium because he can't find a labor job cause some worthless, unscrupulous Pashtoo can only rob his house, then you need a reality check -- maybe you could understand to empathize with your own compatriots in peril.

And, finally, why do I have to see these Arab-Iraqis picnicking in some parks as so-called "refugees" in Tehran when I travel there?? I don't care who they are; they should be put on buses and shipped to the border and let Saddam have them, and if he won't take them then put them on a boat and send them to Kuwait. After all, those rich Arabs can always use more "kolfats and nokars"! >>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Raafat

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* Please, please, please

Please, please, please give me a break ["Joan of Arc"]. Let's look at everything the way they are. I like Googoosh, her music and also those great days that Googoosh type of music was a part of that. I also strongly believe everyone's personal life is abolutely his or her own business.

But comparing Googoosh with all those different issues she had in her personal life before the revoultion to "Joan of Arc" also know as "Virgin of Orlean" is a little too much.

If you really think our country needs a Joan of Arc there are a lot in our rich history, from Azarmidokht to Parvin Etesaami and all the unknown female soldires of this country who had fought and are still fighting to keep this nation honored and alive.

Googoosh is a great singer and good for us that she is back singing. Nothing more!

F. Kaviani

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July 6, 2000

* Marginal issues

Thank you Mr. Jamshidian ["Serious omissions"] for taking time to react to my article ["Wake-up call"] on the student movement in Iran. You have raised several concerns to which I would like to respond.

1. Let me begin by saying that the article is about the student movement and not Soroush or Khatami. An assessment of these individuals' politics and performance deserves a separate examination. This article was written for a scholarly journal, thus had to focus on the topic and avoid any issues marginal to that topic. One of requirements of journal articles is to stay focused on the main topic and within the page limit given by the editor. Thus, it was not my task to deal with Soroush and Khatami, and activities of all groups>>> FULL TEXT

Ali Akbar Mahdi

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* Roots unexposed

In full agrrement with Mr. Jamshidian ["Serious omissions"] and with the necessary thanks for your article ["Wake-up call"], I just wanted to remind you that with such an approach you have not exposed some of the main roots of the problems faced by the Iranian student movement.

Anyone familiar with Iran -- and here I'm not talking about the foreign observers or investors' auditors -- knows about Mr. Khatami's silence, inaction and finaly official approval of the crackdown on students who faced a tragedy.

For sure, it would have been better to mention these roots and to avoid such ommissions in any following articles. Only a global look and a detailed analysis can shed light on the spirit of the student movement.

On behalf of Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran
Goli Afshar

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* The press & the government

I wanted to thank Azadeh Hamehdoni for her fine article on the contemporary Iranian press ["Red ink"] but also to quibble with the second paragraph of the background section.

Of course, all periods in history are unique but they may also have analagous precedents. There were other times besides "'October 15 to November 6'" fo 1978 when Iranian journalists enjoyed relative freedom from censorship: the 1940's following the abdication of Reza Shah and in the wake of the Constiutional Revolution of 1905-6. Also, from the late 19th Century through the early 1930's there was a vibrant and influential expatriate Persian-language press (which was free from Iranian censorship if not always Ottoman, British or other European censors)...

I do not mean to suggest that politics and censorship are not a vital part of the history of the Iranian press, but there is a bit more to it than that. The central role and faith in the power of the press in Iran today derives from over a 150 years of history in which the press has played a crucial role in politics, culture and economics -- sometimes despite the power of the state and sometimes supported by that same power >>> FULL TEXT

Camron Michael Amin

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* I worship you

In reference to "Good news" in the Anyway section, I visited South Korea in 1983. When I contacted the Iranian embassy in Seoul to get some paperwork straightened out, the clerk was practically shocked to see and hear from another Iranian. According to him, at the time a total of 13 Iranians lived in South Korea and he knew every one of them by first name. "Six belong to the same family and the rest are scattered all over the peninsula" he said.

Later he confided that almost all were there to purchase military and other supplies for Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war. Even the "embassy" itself was nothing more than a purchasing office, inadequately equipped to handle my passport problem.

Seveteen years later, I see "Pastor Oh" has three Farsi-speaking churches running in South Korea>>> FULL TEXT

Pedram Moallemian

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July 5, 2000

* Serious omissions

There are some serious omissions that undermine the objectivity if not authenticity of your article "Wake-up call".

You say "In 1991, Abdolkarim Soroush complained of lack of intellectual and ideological creativity and activism among Muslim students in universities," without mentioning that he was himself THE chief architect and executioner of "the cultural revolution," granted full mandate from Khomeini. Crucially, you fail to mention that not only Khamanei but also Khatami ordered the ban and the crack down on the student demonstration - in fact Khatami used very harsh words like they will be crushed, as they indeed were in the two days that followed >>> FULL TEXT

Farshid Jamshidian

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* Need a revolution

I read Dr Jim's letter ["Solidarity & strikes"] with some dismay. He compares Iran with Poland and the UK. The UK has a parliamentary democracy and the British have a very advanced respect for other people's opinion. Whereas the Iranian mentality is to supress anyone that has a differing opinion.

The Iranian people will not achieve anything of real significance through reform and strikes. Whatever it becomes under reform, it will still be the Islamic Republic of Iran. What we need is a revolution and please don't say "who's gonna be leading it?" That will become clear when the time is right, maybe next year, maybe in 10 years time.


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* Complete outrage

What the hell is happening to Iranian morals? You print such an outrageous article [in the Boxing ring section "Aazaadi-ye jensi va as-haab-e kahf"] about sexual freedom in Iran from a down to earth idiot who prabably hasn't had a proper family and as Iranians put it "maloom-e posht-e kodaam booteh amal oomadeh".

This is a matter which doesn't have anyhting to do with politics but lies deep within Iranian culture. You can clearlyy see, for example, what a dump the U.S. has turned into (from the social aspect) and you're trying to play the same prank on Iran?

This is a complete outrage, and you share responsibility for printing such crap.


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July 4, 2000


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July 3, 2000

* We'll never know
Cosmetic concessions
Online radio, at a cost

I write concerning the recent article by Mr. Moallemian ["Let's face it"] and the reply by Mr. Rismani ["Can't a Jew ever be a spy?"]

The original article makes several valid points, which I will not repeat, and makes a strong and accurate case for true justice. The comments in the follow-up letter by Mr. Rismani, however, deserve comment.

The writer asks, rhetorically, whether a Jew can ever be a spy. The answer is clearly yes. However, in this particular case, we likely will never know the answer as the detailed accusations have not been made public, the trial has been behind closed doors, the defense attorney's hands have been tied in various ways including limited access to the defendants, the "confessions" have been made under suspect circumstances, etc. On top of all this, the same person has acted as investigator, prosecutor, and judge. No reasonable person can expect that such a set-up would have justice or truth as its outcome >>> FULL TEXT

I. I. Rahmim

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* Cosmetic concessions

I would recommend that Mr. Yektafar ["Tried Baba Karam?"] and others interested in the development of Iran-US relations to read the book "At the highest places". This book co-authored by Strobe Talbot, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, covers the development of US-Soviet relatons during the Gorbachev Administration. One can not, should not, carry the parallels too far, but the following two similarities I believe are important:

- Gorbachev, like Khatami, promoted glasnost and perestroika,
- The motivation for the policy changes were the utter bankrupcy of previous policies and the hard economic times this failure brought about.
- Gorbachev did not want to preserve the communist idealogy, and Khatami does not want to maintain the theocracy.

It is clearly outlined in the book that the U.S. did not want to give any concessions to Moscow because the Soviets, under internal pressures, had to do what the American policy makers were looking for any way. So they resorted to cosmetic gestures so as to not make Gorbachev seem to be always on the giving end. The relaxation of pistachio imports to the U.S. is of similar nature.


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* Online radio, at a cost

Dear Mr. Paley,

Some months ago, through a link provided by the on-line news magazine THE IRANIAN TIMES I read the story about your station in a LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Dana Calvo, and I must say that on behalf of my Iranian friends and relatives in Southern California I was pleased to hear of your endeavor, and not the least bit surprised by your success and popularity as evidenced in the article. Your web page gives further proof of your growth in the intervening months since the article was published.

It is noted from the KIRN-AM web page that your company requires an annual payment of US$60 for access to the streaming broadcast of your radio station content, KIRN-AM, over the web...

While most of your fellow public airwaves colleagues are doing this without charge, your requirement for payment may generate some unwelcome scrutiny and either litigation under current laws and regulations, or possible future legislation and administrative rulings. There can be varying (and evolving) interpretations of the concept of the broadcast license as a public trust. We'll see >>> FULL TEXT

Bill Phillipson
Woodway, TX

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