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Sept 22-25, 1998 / Shahrivar 31 - Mehr 3, 1377


* Press ban: Kafka meets Beckett
* The Iranian: Comprehensive


* Women: Not ALL Iranian women selfish
* Iraj Mirza:
- Kayf kardam

- Frankly, he's wrong
* Iran/U.S.: Iran's frozen assets in U.S.

* Revolution: Iran is dead
* Afghanistan: Taleban a threat to mankind, but...

* Women: No happier than chadoris

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Sept 25, 1998

* Kafka meets Beckett

These very funny and astute cartoons ["Not funny"] reveal an absurd and hallucinatory aspect of life in the republic which can only be described as Kafka meets Beckett.

It reminds one of all those surrealist and strange works of art coming out of the Eastern bloc in the sixties and seventies which exposed regimes which were found on an illusion and did their damnedest to protect it; they claimed they lived in utopia and simply ordered everyone to close their eyes to the slim oozing out of every crack and crevice of the society.

It seems to me that questioning the veracity of the state television is the most basic principal of a democracy and banning a newspaper for this makes a mockery of the old excuse of "democracy is fine but to a certain point." It is that "certain point" that ends up shutting down newspapers and banning books.

Asghar Massombagi

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* Comprehensive

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for providing Iranians around the world with such a comprehensive site (news and data). My family and I enjoy your site very much.

Homayon J.

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Sept 24, 1998

* Not ALL Iranian women selfish

I am a 21-year-old female, half-Persian and half-American. I agree on many points of your opinion and disagree on others ["I'm NOT a rug"]. I tell people that I am Persian, not because I am ashamed of where I was born and raised for half of my life, but because I think it sounds beautiful (Iranina/Persian its all the same).

I do not know many Persians here in the U.S. All of my life I have done as I have pleased; my parents have not agreed with many of the choices that I have made, but this is my life and I am not a puppet. I have always hated biology, chemistry etc.; I have attended three different colleges and still do not know what major I would like to go into.

I do care about the way I look (by the way there is nothing wrong with that, just as long as it is not to the extreme); I care about the way I look because I feel more self confident when I am dressed well, my hair is fixed, and my makeup is just right. I do not fix myself up for others, I really do not care what people think of me. If a person does not like me for who I am inside and outside then they are not worth knowing.

I believe that it is great that you are trying make people stop to think of who they are and what they are doing. However I believe that you are also closed minded, you just labeled all Iranian females as selfish, disrespectful, degrading people with low self esteem, and I did not appreciate being labeled as such.


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* Kayf kardam

Good job ["Iraj Mirza poem"]... Kayf kardam... Dast-e shomaa dard nakoneh... Keep-up the good work...

Rod Jalali

Sept 23, 1998

* Iran's frozen assets in U.S.

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Shedding inhibitions," I see many Iranians, even in the U.S., talk of Iran's assets in the U.S. The Algerian Declarations that led to the release of the U.S. diplomats in Iran (after 444 days in captivity), contain the mechanism for the release of Iran's frozen assets in the U.S. (among other subjects).

Having worked with the special organization that continues to implement that mechanism (arbitration at The Hague, suits in the U.S., in Iran and other forums), I would like to hear what these "assets" are. What is the source for this claim. I hope it is not Mr Rafsanjani's messages to reporters.

I think one should note that the head of the organization in Iran that pursues this issue, Dr Jahromi, has not said anything about such assets. Maybe Mr. Mirfenderski can help me understand this.

Hamid N.

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* Frankly, he's wrong

Reading the Iraj Mirza poem brought up some mixed feelings for me and my friends. In some ways this poem might sound funny and cute but in some other ways harsh and arrogant. The poet simply admits that he allows himself to be manipulative, deceiving, and seductive to get to what he wants and meanwhile he's making a point!?

Oh yes, he takes advantage and trashes the woman because she's sticking to backward beliefs. Note that her beliefs are not so backward to her or any one else who has grown up with these beliefs and has never been exposed to any different ones.

Who is he blaming here? And what is he trying to suggest through his poem? Like that's going to help the woman to start thinking any differently! Like that's going to teach her a lesson! About what? That she shouldn't trust and believe any man ever again?

Frankly, Iraj Mirza didn't have to be so full of his own thoughts to the point of forcing himself (or his ideas and beliefs) on his target to make a point!

Zohreh Hosseini

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Sept 22, 1998

* Iran is dead

Yes, I have a story about the revolution which destroyed our homeland ["Revolution: 1979- 1999"]! I remember our house being burned down by "revolutionaries. " I remember crying as loyalist soldiers took us to the airport in the middle of the night. I remember the party my parents had two weeks before; women and men in Western dress, making toasts to "Shah-e aziz....begoo taa khoon berizam!" and saying that the revolution will never be victorious.

We lost everything we had, our family lost its status, home, most lost their lives because they loved Iran, because they were loyal to our beloved Shahanshah. My own grandmother was murdered for refusing to wear the chador, my father's brother was beaten to death for refusing to put the picture of the Shah down in his office, my father has memories of fanatical doctors killing young wounded soldiers loyal to Iran.

I was four-years old and the images are in my mind as if it was yesterday, everything we had was lost. I lost my identity, my country. I was not a politician, only a child.. If the revolution is so glorious why did so many leave Iran? If Islamic values are so wonderful why are most Iranian girls only interested in finding a rich husband? Whatever happened to modesty? Why were innocent people killed for loving Iran? Why were we forced to leave our home because we wanted what was best for the people?

The revolution was a satanic alliance of the U.S. and the Soviet Union to overthrow a regime which revolutionized the Middle East! Under the Shah we had everything; we became human. It was the fanatics and foreigners who took us back to the dark ages.

PLEASE look at both sides of the story. History is always written by the victor whether it be right or wrong. Perhaps everyone who supports the bloody revolution should take a look at the hypocracy within themselves, claiming to support a popular uprising when so many people died for nothing but a return to the dark ages and a culture based on barbaric Arabic ideals. IRAN IS DEAD.

Reza Indra Velayati

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* Taleban a threat to mankind, but...

As a non-Iranian (German) I am not in a position to give advice to what the Iranians should do or not do with the Taleban threat ["Afghan survey"]. But,

1. A war won't bring complete victory for Iran, and definitely brings only good wishes from the Western countries, but no help in that war,
2. Every war is a waste of lives and resources; it may not exactly be something that Iran needs to become more strong and satisfied (it is the same as in Germany: both countries need three things in first place: jobs, jobs and jobs),
3. aAwar means, that the Iranians would be united against an enemy, but is this enemy really trying to harm Iran itself? and
4. All the critics of Iran will love to see Iran having its Vietnam. Poor soldiers.

In my opinion the Taleban are a threat to mankind. They are the worst religious barbarians the earth has seen, since the Christians in the dark ages. But it would be wise not to launch a major war against them. Since the iranian army is a proper army and the Taleban will evade any open battle, the Iranian army can only loose.

There is no honor to gain, just dead young Iranian soldiers and the poor Afghan civilians dying. The only thing Iran can do is divert the Taleban from their backers in Pakistan, but this will be almost impossible. We will see the Taleban for quite a while.

Klaus Wichmann

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Sept 11, 1998

    * Need to speak out against Taleban atrocities

    I would like to thank Laleh Khalili for a beautifully written diatribe against war ["We don't need this"]. Her concern and her arguments against what appear to be impending hostilities between Iran and Afghanistan are well founded, and compassionately expressed. I am in the process of applying for Iranian citizenship on the basis of my marriage to an Iranian, and it deeply concerns me that my adopted country might go to war for any reason.

    However, I take exception as a citizen of the world when she says that we should not speak out against the brand of "Islam" as practiced by the Taleban. I don't like hypocrisy and I trust others to see it when I do, but I see irony as a lesson, and when the Iranian government speaks out against the Taleban I believe there are many lessons in the making.

    As a humanitarian, I believe that conscience has no boundaries. She says herself "I will be damned if I stay silent" and she speaks with commendable conviction and strength, she also writes from a position of privilege. She and I, if we lived in Afghanistan today, could not do what we do, could not be who we are, could not express ourselves this way. We would, quite literally be damned if we did not remain silent. To have rights, I must grasp my uncomfortable responsibility and bear witness for those who have none.

    Where there is suffering of any kind we should speak out and do everything within our powers to alleviate it. Like Laleh Khalili, I do not believe that we can achieve our goals with aggression. Unlike her, I believe that we all (Iranian government included) have the right to speak out against injustice whenever and wherever we come across it.

    The people of Afghanistan, and in particular the women, deserve our compassion and to hear our voices raised against the oppression under which they live. I was horrified at the Amnesty International report that the Iranian diplomats were murdered and left in the building without proper burial. I have also been horrified by the Amnesty

    International reports where ordinary Afghanis have been shown mutilated and tortured in the name of Islam. It is our sad task to bear witness to these tragedies, and a burden of our freedom to speak out loudly against them.

    By speaking out against these atrocities, we give the youth, our conscience, the opportunity to take full part in the future we insist on building for them. If their voices can be heard, they will not need to raise their fists. Only when we are denied the power of free speech, do we feel that we must we find other means to act.

    The people of Iran have a tremendous gift to share with the outside world. They have been through revolution and war while in the West we have, for the most part, experienced peace and prosperity. We have become soft to the notion of war, and cynical enough to suggest it as an economic solution. But true pacifism is a hatred of war. I would relish the irony of a country thought to only solve its problems through violence, finding a solution to the current crisis through firm diplomatic dialogue and a sense of compassion. While others use more conventional weapons, we need to remember that an eye for an eye still makes the whole world blind.

    I believe there is a will for peace, and a reason for peace and that should give us hope. But we must continue to bear witness and encourage others to do the same lest we are the ones who are branded privileged hypocrites. I look forward to reading more from Laleh Khalili and I do not think it is a coincidence that the first real political commentary I have read about Iran in The Iranian; (other than the news section) has been written by a woman.

    Not in silence,

    Galina Minou Aghamiri

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* Lessons from Hitler's Germany

There is little doubt that a war in the region would not be to the benifit of any nation particularly Iran. However it is important to put some of the movements into historical perspective. British Prime Minister Chamberlin chose diplomatic routes in dealing with Hitler's Germany. He believed sacrificing another nation's sovereignty in order to protect the peace was the most appropriate option.

Iran should not engage in full-scale military strike against the Taliban because it will engulf the region in war. However, just as the U.S., it must reserve the right to protect its citizens and support the opposition forces.

Iranian missiles could easily be used in the form of limited strikes to pound Taliban strongholds and achieve political and strategic goals as well. The primary aim should be to warn the Taliban that any future "misbehavior" would not be tolerated and to give the opposition some breathing space.

Rostam Farhadieh

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* Don't be so emotional

This sort of attitude is why Iran is such a screwed up place ["We don't need this"].

Laleh Khalili writes: "And my heart bleeds. I awoke in a cold sweat last night, terror drowning me, my lungs crushed by distress. I enumerated in my head all those things that would cause me that much anxiety, and among them all, the only insurmountable burden was the thought of Iran going to war. I felt utterly helpless, utterly terrified."

What?! Stop being so damn emotional and extreme on every issue. There are real geopolitical reasons why the Iranian government is acting this way toward Afghanistan (and believe it or not, the diplomats are the tip of the iceberg). Let's try to be more rational in our next attempt at a political statement.

(No name)

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* Khalili's reply: I do not condone injustices

Dear Ms. Aghamiri,

Thank you infinitely for your kind words. I just wanted to clarify a small point. I do not condone the injustices committed by the Taleban in Afghanistan. But I also believe that in that war (as in many others) there are no "good" or "just" sides. Rapes, murders, massacres, mutilations, and barbarism are committed by all.

The reason I don't find the Iranian government's protests agaisnt the Taleban valid is because I think it has more to do with Shi'a-Sunni schism and geopolitics rather than any particular discomfort at the manner in which the Taleban choose to interpret the Qoran. But thanks again for your comments and I am happy to say that as Iranians we are that much richer for having someone like you among us.

Laleh Khalili

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