The Iranian Times

Monday, November 9, 1998 / Aban 18, 1377, No. 601

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Shahin & Sepehr


    Baba Taher

    Cover story

    If Mahdi doesn't come
    A reformer's guide to engagement

    By Siamak Namazi

    Our parents had it tough at our age. They lived under the despotic rule of the Shah and had to decide whether to risk their elitist position and fight for changes in the society they lived. We have inherited a challenge that is even more daunting. We are not even sure which society we belong to, and yet our motherland remains far from exercising the democratic values we espouse. Even those of us, like myself, who have decided that Iran is where our attention and love is most needed, remain confused as to what to do and how.

    I have been driving myself to nonplus grappling with this quagmire: While I want to focus my intellect and love in making Iran a better place, I fear success as much as I do defeat. After all, if I do manage to instigate change for the better, have I not also fortified a draconian system, granting it a longer life? But then how am I to remain a disengaged and silent witness to the wide range of intolerable problems in my motherland? What if I contribute to changes that do not reflect the wants and desires of the Iranian people living inside the country? How do I even know what they are thinking and what they need?

    What follows is a silhouette of my personal plan to work around this "dammed if I do, dammed if I don't" state. It represents a process that has slowly brewed throughout the years in my mind and by no means stands above critique. In fact, one of the main reasons for writing this piece is to call on others to contribute to shaping these thoughts and to work with me towards improving what I have called "A Reformer's Guide to Engagement."... GO TO FEATURE


9 November 1998, Volume 1, Number 1

You have before you the first issue of the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Iran Report. Prepared on the basis of materials gathered for and by RFE/RL's new Farsi Service, this report -- which will appear every two weeks -- will seek to provide an analytic perspective on events and trends inside Iran and across the Persian Gulf region. We look forward to hearing from you.... CLICK HERE


SETI: Capturing aliens - on you computer

Forwarded by Payman Arabshahi

A new project is to be launched in April 1999 to harness the power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a screensaver program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. There's a small but captivating possibility that your computer will detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth... DEATILS HERE

More Letters

* Tarof is a virus

Simin Habibian writes: My family is from Azarbaijan and I was raised in Tehran (I don't know if I would be considered bacheh Tehroon or not!) and my husband's family is from Shiraz. I have not seen much difference regarding tarof ["War, Iranian style"]. This is an epidemic; it's a virus that has spread all over... FULL TEXT

* Minorities: Not an Iranian problem

Khodadad Rezakhani writes: The fact is, in Iran, we have never had the problem of race prior to this. In your article ["Forgiving Salm and Tur"], you point to Persian Iranians several times, and then talk about "Indo-Europeans" and what they are. Well, do you know, or do you not know what they are? How excatly do you define this unusual being called a Persian Iranian? Is he a fictional being or is he real? You refer to "ethnic minorities" of Iran, Kurds, Baluchs, Turks, Qashqayis. Have you ever studied them? How are they ethnic minorities? Do they have different physical characteristics? Or is their blood of a different color than your given Persian Iranian?... FULL TEXT

* Shahnameh: Ghaem Maghami in Palo Alto

Stanford's Persian Student Association (PSA) and Persian Center Proudly Present: "An Evening with Saeed Ghaem Maghami on Shahnameh."

Saeed Ghaem Maghami, after years of research and work with the masters of the Persian literature, presents his masterful narration of the Shahnameh, one of the greatest works in Persian Poetry by Hakim Abolghassem Ferdowsi.

Date: Friday, November 20, 1998
Place: Stanford University, Tresidder Memorial Union, Palo Alto, California
Time: 7:00 PM Admission: $10 (General), Free (Students)
Information: (408) 295-1240, (408) 260-2838

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New Food of Life:
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By Najmieh Khalili Batmanglij

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More news

Rial falls to historic low on infaltion

TEHRAN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The Iranian rial fell to historic lows on Monday, losing 2.8 percent against the dollar since late October on inflation fears and concerns that the latest Iraq crisis could lead to open conflict. Businessmen said the U.S. dollar fetched as much as 7,050 rials on Tehran's illegal but active black market, compared to about 6,850 rials in late October ... FULL TEXT

MP calls for $10 barrel oil price in budget

TEHRAN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Iran should base its 1999-2000 state budget on an oil price of $10 per barrel, $2 less than in the current budget, an Iranian member of parliament said in remarks published on Monday. ``It would be realistic to set the price of each barrel (of crude) at about $10 in the budget bill so that we do not face a budget deficit,'' Reza Abdollahi, told the daily Abrar... FULL TEXT

Crossed out: Abedazdeh, Azizi, Esteeli

Tehran, (Hamshahri) -- The Iranian national soccer team in the upcoming Asian games will not include goalie Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh or strikers Khodadad Azizi and Hamid Esteeli... FULL TEXT

U.S. firms lay groundwork for Iran oil investment

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Smooth-talking American oil executives, eager to pounce on lucrative deals in oil and gas giant Iran, are busy handing out business cards in Tehran. Officials from major U.S. energy companies, who are barred by their government from dealing with Iran, are using oil conferences instead of boardrooms to explore future opportunities in the Islamic republic, which is hungry for foreign investment... FULL TEXT

Iran works on law to protect local software

TEHRAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Iran's parliament on Sunday gave initial approval to a law protecting the intellectual property of software developers in the country. In a session broadcast live on state radio, deputies passed the outline of the government bill which would ban the illegal copying of computer programmes registered by Iranian developers ... FULL TEXT

Forest fires rage for fourth day

TEHRAN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Forest fires raged for a fourth day in northwestern Iran on Monday, threatening one of the country's main nature reserves, Iranian television reported. It said firefighters have been unable to control the blaze which has destroyed dozens of hectares (acres) of the 150,000-hectare (370,000-acre) Arasbaran forest since Thursday... FULL TEXT

Girl wins 3rd place in world chess championships

Tehran, (HAMSHAHRI) - Atousa Pour-Kashian has won third place in the under 10-year-old world chess championships... FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

$ Rate

The dollar now offered at up to 700-705 tomans

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

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Qajar founder

A brief essay on Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar in Persian. Remember that this page is divided horizontally. To read the whole story, you need to use the right-to-left arrow. Another gem from the center for the study of contemporary Iranian history in Tehran.

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Quote Unquote


So long as we sit idly by waiting for the situation in Iran to improve on its own, we are but an apathetic group awaiting Mahdi's appearance in one form or the other. We have to get involved and engage in the process of change for the better.

Siamak Namazi
"If Mahdi doesn't come"
The Iranian
Nov 9, 1998

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