May 2005


Meeting a stranger, an Iranian refugee, at Gothenburg's Brunns Park
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

The seven street lights

"Keyvan youre going to get mugged tonight, it will definately be TONIGHT when youre walking home, so heres what you have to do..."

I have lived in North Philly and now I live in south central LA. Two of the worst crime areas of the country. Ive walked these streets many many times before, not thinking or caring of the consequences. I have never taken any kind of percaution, never pre-empting the possibility of something ever going wrong... except the other night. When I went out last Friday, as I was leaving in the daylight hours, I had this overwhelming feeling... as if God was telling me...

Short on facts long on ridicule

Correcting accusations against Mojahedin Khalgh, hands down the largest opposition group
Ernest Friar

I consider myself a communist, am not Iranian, but defend the Mojahedin Khalgh Organization based on its actions. The fact that they set up an army with women and men fighting side by side testifies to the fact that they're not only friends of the Iranian people but also all oppressed people everywhere. The Iranian left opposition in exile is very fragmented. Most of these groups spend most of their energy criticizing and attacking other groups, instead of attacking the Iranian regime. I've had personal run-ins with these groups and have been very disheartened at the level of disunity and infighting among them, much of which unfortunately is levelled against the MKO.

Done & buried

Saka tombs in Iran
Guive Mirfendereski

The Saka were a part of the Iranian scene form pre-Achaemenian through Parthian times. They inhabited primarily in west-central, north-central and east-central regions of ancient Iran. Therefore, if they died where they once had lived, some Saka legacy should be found in the form of burial grounds in these regions. This logic and other factors led the archeologist Roman Ghirshman to conjecture that the remains of a treasure discovered by two peasants near Sakkiz in 1940’s came from a tomb or cache belonging to the Saka leader Partatua or his son Madyes.

Befarmaa eenam democracy

Cartoons: Presidential candidates

The American president

The multifaceted Rafsanjani family has converted Iranian wealth into billions-dollar investments in the United States, Canada and Europe
Farhat Quam Maquami

Rafsanjani came into power in a secretive pact with General Huyser in which in lieu of the American assistance to dismantle the Shah's regime, which did not fit in with the American new strategy of fighting Communism. The monarchy was replaced with an Islamic Republic and that is how a bunch second rate businessmen and pistachio farmers became billion-dollar conglomerates and millionaire mullahs draining Iran and devastating its economy. Rafsanjani is what is wrong with Iran and Iran would take another step backward with him as president again.

Completing the pyramid

All branches of the IRI will soon be in conservative hands, making a showdown with the people more imminent
David Etebari

The election of the new president of the Islamic Republic in Iran is near. To understand the nature of this election one must have a comprehension of the constitution of the Islamic Republic. A constitutional system that is based on the typical power pyramid of any dictatorship and in this case the worse kind: religious.

530 days later

Photo essay: Bam
Arshia Kiani

Simin Ghadiri

Children's music from 1977
Compiled by Kaveh Dashti


Photo essay: Ala Ebtekar's illustrations
Jahanshah Javid

Tehran 1381

From "Payaambari neshasteh bar kondeyeh baloot"
Amid Sadeghi-Nasab

Bahaar taa zemestaan

Season's end
Mitra Emamjomeh

Parandegaan-e khafiyeh

Death is only a bird...
Leila Farjami

Chand rubai-ye azad

A few free rubais
Ali Zarrin

Yellow traffic lights

Like a rare-winged, Amazon bottled glow worm; fugitive from “another earth”
Arash Daneshzadeh


I would re-live every lie to be here
Baharak Sedigh

The sun rises

Forough Farrokhzad
Translated by Ali sadri


Aftaab raa baa ayeneh baayad hampaymaan saakht
Cyrus Omoomian

Of past and present

Photo essay: Iranian-American art in San Francisco Bay Area
Jahanshah Javid

Dentist's office

Brush your teeth, or else Michael Bolton will kill you
Maziar Shirazi

My eyes hurt. My mouth is dry. And there are two heads looking down the gaping hole in my mouth, staring with intent, yet familiar and calm concentration, picking at me with intimacy. I can't help feeling that these two, who are whiter and friendlier than me, are my parents. Who on Earth could handle a close personal situation as hilarious as this with a straight face?


I can't hold on to the glorious past when the present is rotting before my eyes
Lobat Asadi

Coming from Iran, I will be the first to admit it's a tough place to visit, even for me -- an Iranian citizen! I want to go to a place and have the option of five-star luxuries, not three-star roach-infested "luxury hotel" that robs tourists. I am no snob, but this is a part of what makes a country attractive to the visitor, no matter where they come from. The world has changed and there's no going back. We must always look forward and expect more customer service, more technology, more advancement and more education. If a country isn't moving in that direction clearly there is something wrong!

The love frown

Remember the men & children of war
Siamak Vossoughi

See that place with the overhanging trees and the clean-smelling air and the children running toward it, he thought. It's the same world as Iraq. It's the same world as the place far away from Iraq where they are making decisions about it, where they might be making decisions about your country next. It's the same world. That's all you need to know. It's the same world and anything that happens here is connected to the rest of it in ways that you don't even have to understand, just believe in.  Remember the children around you, as sick and as sad as you might feel. They're the only ones you can do anything about just now.

The other religious nuts

Are we to exchange one theocracy for another?
Rosa Faiz

The People’s Mojahedin of Iran has of late been receiving increasing coverage by the Western and especially the US mainstream press, who quote them copiously, ala Ahmed Chalabi, as “opposition sources.” Since any aggressive move to be made against Iran by the US will likely include this opposition grouping in some form or shape, some of us leftist opposition members feel obliged to present a dissuasive picture of this organization to our good friends in the US left, so as to prevent the good folks from taking the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, in their current incarnation, as any friend of the Iranian people.

Rock the vote

The silent majority needs to roar to life and jump in and mix it up
Lance Raheem

Walk-a-thons, referendums, talk of invasions or sanctions are not going to free Iran - that is clear. If every eligible Iranian voter and even those too young too vote will pick up a rock on Election Day and violently hurl it at anyone participating in the process that would be a wonderful. The only thing better would be if the intended target were actually hit.  Next, pick up a ball bat and knock the hell out of  a mullah, a Revolutionary Guardsman or a Basiji thug. Start throwing fire bombs at schools, government buildings and police stations. If chain-swinging Islamic thugs on motorcycles appear, get your own chains and swing back. Who knows, maybe you'll hit one hard enough to kill him! 

Grand design

Graphic design
Parsua Bashi

Jomhoorikhaahaan va entekhaabaat

Iranian republicans & presidential elections
Hassan Behgar

Strip tease-e ajooz

On Akbar Ganji's hunger strike
Sayeh Saidi Sirjani


Three songs and an instrumental from the 1970s
Milad Sfandiary

They're everywhere

Central Asian travel diary -- Part 3
Shahriar Zahedi

I can't stress enough how decrepit Dushanbe Airport is. Everything seems to be falling apart. It appears as though 70 years of Soviet brotherhood has produced nothing for this nation except bastardize their language and impose on them the archaic Cyrillic Alphabet. The flight to Khujand takes about 50 minutes. As we land, the great Sir Darya is on our right side. I now realize why the Tajik word for river is "darya". The river is huge.

What's up, Tech?

Tourang Birangi

Around NYC

Photo essay: New York
Abdolreza Mazaheri

Two worlds

My "dual life" as a stand-up comic and over-educated secretary
Tissa Hami

I have two Ivy League degrees and I'm a part-time secretary. It's something I try not to focus on, but it's hard to ignore. I tell myself I've made a good decision for the time being, taking a lesser job to devote more time to comedy and writing. I think of the prestigious, well-paying jobs I had on Wall Street, and though I had no taste for them, at least I could justify my career choices. Now the odds are stacked wildly against me, and the knowledge that everything could unravel tomorrow gnaws at me. You're only as good as your last show, goes the saying among comedians.

Moin is the man

The popular accusation that a reformist president would be ineffective and powerless should be put to rest
Qumars Bolourchian

Iranian democrats must support Moin. Without a boycott he would likely win, and with an engaged constituency he can be constantly lobbied to pressure the hard-liners for greater freedom and participation. In addition, his election would undermine the "regime change" crowd in Washington and Los Angeles. It is not a hopeless situation. Iranians will only lose if they give up and resign themselves to the hard-liners. Either way, externally, care must be taken to distinguish the desire of the majority Iranians for peaceful change from the few who would welcome Western intervention.

The Saka legacy

... in ancient Iran
Guive Mirfendereski

The Iranian-speaking Central Asiatic horsemen who stormed the Median Kingdom from southern Russia in the 7th century were known to the Achaemenians as the Saka. The inscriptions of Darius I the Great at Bisotun, Susa, Parsa (Persepolis) and Egypt, as well as the records of other Achaemenian kings, provide a rich textual and graphic depiction of the people who counted perhaps more than any other group in multiple satrapies of the world’s first and only two world empires -- the second arguably being Alexander the Great’s. The tall pointed caps that the Saka donned set them distinctly apart from all others in the realm.

Peace & health

Khaghaz-e Akhbar
Bidjan Assadipour

Whatever you say, Pamela

Photo essay: Save the chickens
Nader Davoodi

We're not impressed

People and things I'm sick and tired of
Siamack Baniameri

I'm sick and tired of Iranian women who write about their childhood memories. Okay, okay, we get it: you were born in Iran, things were good at first, then it became bad, then you moved abroad and you were confused and then you found a boyfriend and your parents made your life a living hell. Who cares? It's overdone. Write about something else. We are bored.

Ready... set... go nowhere

Presidential candidates line-up for a race nobody cares about
Najmeh Fakhraie

When the Guardian Council declared the names of the six notorious candidates, the silence was deafening. Even the taxi drivers were too bitter to mention it. Students just walked around shaking their heads. The news was not shocking -- we all knew it was coming. We even knew of the letter that would follow asking the Guardian Council to reconsider their vote. But none of that really matters now.

Stay away from this show

A plea from a victim of the Islamic Republic's election deception

I remember eight years ago when I went out of my way to encourage everybody to take part in the elections and vote for Khatami. I had heated discussions with my dad, who never trusted the IRI, and persuaded him to vote. I remember how I gave him hope and told him not to wait for any super power to interfere in our national affairs. I asked him to take the power of his vote in his own hand and try to change things with the limited means still available. Now I feel invaded, betrayed and deceived.

Satanic bathroom

Holy books in a unholy space
Omid Parsi

Bearing my share of personal guilt and responsibility for the soaring rage regarding the desecration of the holy Koran, I have decided to come clean and hereby formally apologize to all our Muslim brethren, begging their forgiveness for having kept a copy of the holy Koran among the stack of books and magazines in my bathroom. I can only say that I did so out of sheer negligence and ignorance, though I fully understand that there is no excuse for what I have done and whatever I say can neither ease my sentence nor be of solace to our ragingly pure-hearted and zealous Muslim brothers and sisters.

Having a cake and not eating it too

Abstinence programs and sexual education?
Maziar Shirazi

Conservative Christian beliefs have become a stark presence in government policy since the rise of the Bush administration in 2000. 'Faith-based initiatives,' which comprise the base of Christian influence in politics, have become the hallmark of Republican policy in the social sphere, with increased federal grants and funding making the social and educational programs run by these organizations economically attractive options in communities across America.

Shokooh's couch

Social phobia
Shokooh Miry

Anonymous writes: I am hoping you can tell me about social phobia. This past year, I have had to visit the emergency room nearly once a month after having attacks. These panic attacks come on whenever I face very crowded and busy social situations, especially weddings or similar large parties. My heart beats fast, I sweat, and I feel dizzy. It’s awful.

Eteraaf-naameye dokhtaraan-e bad

Yes, I'm no Cinderella
Leila Farjami

Arzaani-ye tow

We had enough walls; we needed a window, Mr. Khatami
Mandana Zandian

Peaceful departure

with a dream in my head
a smile on my face
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani


How to read or write
Sasan Seifikar

Ghobaar-e sokoot

You and me
Alireza Zarrin

Adios Corazon

I'll embrace your bronze hued chest tone
Michelle Javid Fulton

Paasokh beh javaab

Ongoing debate on Bahais in Iran
Tahmineh Parsanejad


Evolving Iranian homosexual lexicon
Jahangir Shirazi

Face saving for all

Iran's nuclear ambitions and democracy
Pirouz Azadi

The lingering issue of possible nuclear proliferation in Iran continues to consume an immense amount of foreign policy initiatives of the west and as reflected by the media. The United States, which has seemingly made strides to exert its leverage against Iran through its European allies, namely, Britain, France and Germany, remains in the dire hope of forcing the Iranian regime to give up all its nuclear ambitions for almost no substantive return.

Water to a tree

I have to do everything I can to learn more about my culture
Solmaz Separy

I know my new-found curiosity in Iran partly has to do with my parents. I have grown up listening to their stories of life in Iran, both in the pre-revolutionary context and the post-revolutionary context. I listen to their stories attentively and envy what they have experienced, and at the same time, I do not want to be unthankful for the freedom and way of life they have provided for me here in Canada.

Foucault's revolution

French philosopher's views on the 1979 revolution
Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson

Long before most other commentators, Foucault understood that Iran was witnessing a singular kind of revolution. Early on, he predicted that this revolution would not follow the model of other modern revolutions. He wrote that it was organized around a sharply different concept, which he called “political spirituality.” Foucault recognized the enormous power of the new discourse of militant Islam, not just for Iran, but for the world... At a more general level, Foucault remained insensitive toward the diverse ways in which power affected women, as against men.

A knack with a view

I looked in the mirror the person opposite was not really fit for work
Peyvand Khorsandi

I went to the toilet. If you work in an office the toilet is not only a toilet, but pretty much the only place you can spend quality time on your own. A place to compose your thoughts and, come three o'clock, to re-energise, do yoga. It is also a place, if you are really desperate, to lean on a cubicle wall and have a power nap. I can't imagine doing that at home, how strange that would be: feel a bit tired, not lie on couch or bed, but hit the loo for some peace instead.

The color of your heart

Ethnic melting pot?
Baharak Sedigh

In the past, absolute and powerful racism was part of the scenery, but today there is a more subtle kind that we live with, one that blends in and becomes part of the environment for us all. In today's world, as long as our prejudice is not manifested clearly or outwardly, then no eyebrows are raised. No one ever thinks twice that the Dianes, Margarets, and the first generation immigrant families, like mine, would generally never mingle, really be friends, or have each other's cell phone numbers. That kind of pure integration still remains a rarity, and its lack within our culture still the norm.

Responses to state terror

Reflections on Iran’s prison system during the Montazeri years
Maziar Behrooz

During 1981-1988, a reemergence of factionalism and the role played by Khomeini’s heir apparent, Grand Ayatollah Hosein Ali Montazeri, had a significant consequence for the lives of thousands of prisoners. This paper discusses the role of factionalism and that of Montazeri during this period and examines improvements, if any, in prison conditions during Montazeri’s tenure, as well as the calamities prisoners faced after his removal.

Long ago

Interview with Barbara Waller, widow of Operation AJAX man in 1953
Fariba Amini

Barbara Waller: I must say that the young will have to overcome the old. They should be allowed to lead normal lives. The things they put on their heads. That is not good. I don’t know what they [Bush Administration] are doing about it. I don’t think that is the best way to handle it. I guess we are afraid of the bomb.

The artist and the craftsman

Post-revolutionary Iranian classical music
Susanne Kamalieh

Let's face it: the pre-revolutionary music won't make it in today's Iran. Try listening to it; other than some nostalgic value, it sounds old and out of place. The innovations that Shajarian and others bring to Persian music are hard to get used to for those of us who have enjoyed Golha for a large part of our lives. But it would be a crying shame to miss the enormous energy and the new vitality that we find in the post-revolutionary Iranian music.


Photo essay: Traditional Iranian gym
Mehraneh Atashi

The good teachings

Monotheism & equality of the sexes, and conversion of faith in Zoroastrianism
Maneck Bhujwala

Women were allowed to tend to the home fire when they were not in their period, but priesthood was restricted to males also due to purity requirements which could be violated if unpredicted menstruation were to occur during ritual prayer in the temple (which had higher purity requirements). As far as the unequal hardship for women for preserving purity, we should also recognize that God has made some differences that give extra hardship to women in child bearing that men do not have, but we do not say that God is unjust for doing so.

The world is watching

Interview with presidential candidate, Hooshang Amirahmadi
Arash Salehi

If Iran’s June presidential elections do not generate enthusiasm or produce an acceptable president, Washington most likely will adopt a policy of explicit regime change, and Israel and a few other states in the region will enthusiastically support it. If this happens, the “Iraqicization” of Iran will begin. This means certain steps to include UN-sponsored multilateral sanctions, surgical military strikes, support for the destabilizing opposition, and even further military confrontation. It can take years for a conflict of this type to conclude, and in the meantime, Iran will be destroyed.

Qafiyeh cho tang ayad

Love, marriage & writers' block
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

Our heroes are our heretics

The saga of 'missing' Noble prizes within nations of Islam
Iqbal Latif

Muslims have not come out of emptiness; they incorporate values of spirit and civilisations of that of Pharaohs, Hellenistic and Zoroaster; it is a combination of all these that helped a great era of renaissance that was nipped in the bud. The spirit of Greek science, literature and philosophy fell into the hands of Muslims.

Man ahl-e Tajrisham

Photo essay: North Tehran
Aref Erfani

Enough of the majority

With the elections just around the corner, I only hope that the Iranians of 2005 have learned from the Iranians of 1979
Mazi Bahadori

Lately, I've argued with a lot of people about the Iranian Revolution, Iranian politics and the current state of affairs in Iran. Most of these folks support the Islamic Republic with every ounce of their body. No matter how hard they are pushed on their ideas, they will not bend. But when the debate gets heated, they almost always fall back on their cherished catch phrase: "But the majority of Iranians wanted an Islamic Republic."


The potheads of ancient Iran
Guive Mirfendereski

The weight of the evidence has suggested that “hom” was an opiate, mixed with milk. This is certainly true of the Avestan practice of mixing hom with milk. It is tantalizing to suggest that perhaps the Homavarka were the first Zoroastrians, a possibility that has excellent geographical probability in light of the opinion that Zoroastrianism originated in northeastern part of ancient Iran and western Central Asia.

Country #1 has natural resources that Country #2 doesn't

To make a "predator" happy, a "prey" can offer nothing but "its flesh."
M. Ghajar

Nuclear proliferation is hot as has always been. This time, it is Iran which incidentally has the capability to be self-content in this technology: Iran has the ores. What remains is acquiring (or developing) the technology. The issue of nuclear technology for Iran in our times is comparable to the issue of oil technology some 60 years ago and movement of nationalization of petroleum which forced a national oil company. The success of Jebhe-ye Melli, and Mossaddegh, temporarily brought us the economic decline of 1951-1953 as a result of boycott of Iran's oil by Britons followed by the Americans.

Farewell Hawaii pono

This microcosm of the Asia-Pacific world should focus on peace studies as its major mission
Majid Tehranian

It has been a great pleasure to live among the beautiful people of Hawaii. It also has been a privilege to teach at the Manoa campus of the University of Hawaii (UH). My reflections have focused on what this university can do with its unique potential to better contribute to the people of Hawaii. Its multicultural population resembles the region. Its unique Aloha culture has created an atmosphere of unity in diversity. That is exactly what the world needs today. We desperately need dialogue instead of a clash among the world’s civilizations.

Chasing the devil

There is a passage somewhere in every religious text book from the Bible to the Koran that mentions something about going to war for your religious cause
Raman Kia

Halfway through his set, Adam Green (with whom we are on tour), turns to the audience and says, "We are going to bring Judaism back to Toronto." Unsure about how much more Moses and Kabalah Toronto needs I am disinclined to listen to the rest of his rant and I turn to his road manager who is sitting by me and ask, "Where are you guys off to after America?" "Germany. Adam is huge in Germany, like the cover of Rolling Stone huge," she replied.

Heech revisited

Nothingness being what it is for us Persians: tangible, a real thing
Goli Farrell

I like my Persian compatriots' long standing love affair with nothingness. And I say "Persian" to include a literary/linguistic country from Samarqand, Bokhara, Herat, to Balkh, Dushanbe, Ashqabad, Konia, Baku, Ganja... from Tehran all the way to TehrAngeles... rather than a country with political borders. We love nothingness and all its paraphernalia with a passion. After all what is Persian poetry, our most cherished national pass-time, but elaborate, polished, worked on nothingness?

Jashn-e zanaaneh

Khaghaz-e Akhbar
Bidjan Assadipour

The power of Solmaz

What's your name again?
Solmaz B

It was when we moved to a small mining town in Ontario that I started  detesting my name. Growing up as Solmaz in a town of Jennifers, Melanies and Melissas was hard. Even more arduous when you already looked and felt different than the rest of the kids who were not used to seeing different ethnicities other than their own. I wondered why my parents would purposely want to torture me. Did they think that we would be staying in Tabriz forever?  How I wished to be named Jessica or Jennifer. Something simpler, something a little more ... well ... English.

If only I knew

Had the child of then known what the woman of today knows, she would have spoken up. Glad I didn't.
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

The first issue that came to mind was a lifetime's struggle to be the top student -- shagerd avval. The struggle still comes back to haunt me in my nightmares in the shape of a thick book hours before an important exam and with no time left to study. My family seemed to miss the point that perhaps I was not the best in my class. Many students could have achieved better marks without as much effort as I put in. But before I knew it, I had become the family's favorite racehorse and, no matter how hard I needed to work at it, there was a trophy that had to be earned and I needed to be the first to reach the finish line.

Wet Kabol

Putting my hand outside my bedroom window to feel the rain and decided that tonight is this country's rebirth
Roozbeh Shirazi

By choice I am much more of a pedestrian this time, walking through alleys and passages of Shahr Naw, seeing, smelling, and hearing life at the speed it occurs rather than from the hasty and homogenizing speed of a car seat. For a foreigner in Kabul, the increasing amenities, paranoid security restrictions, hired cars, and air-conditioned offices have made it much easier to ignore one's surroundings, and can lull one into a disconnected complacency.

Mesopotamian Federation

Why shouldn't the free world accept an interim alternative for Mesopotamia to have a loose federation of six republics?
Kamal H. Artin

This "brave new world" and capitalism may have an ugly side, but one of its reasonable ideals is to create an atmosphere for individuals to have opportunities to do their best in a free market economy! I am wondering why such an ideal that is legitimate for individuals should be illegitimate for societies. I am wondering why the perceived taboo of territorial integrity should not be broken, so that the suppressed groups of poly-ethnic countries could run their own affairs and flourish as equal and independent nations.

Separation of god & science

Especially on gender issues and sexual equality, religious schools contradict society's achievements
Azar Majedi

I don't believe children have any religious needs. When it is talked about children's religious needs, it actually means their parents' need to indoctrinate their children. "Children have no religion"; they happen to be born in a family with a particular religion. I believe there should be no official religious teachings to children. Once they become of age, then they can decide whether they like to pursue a particular faith or not. I strongly believe that religious teaching to children is indoctrination, like exposing them to any particular ideology. Therefore, it must be banned. It is fine to teach them the history of ideas, the history of religion but teaching religion as such should be prohibited.

Old births, new deaths

i stand sorrounded by the skeletons of past truths
Rahill Jamalifard

Anarchy across eyelids

Invigorated to witness forbidden aspects and clues
Aamir Aziz

The Persian Boy

Rising and falling / To the rhythm / Of mirrored / Desire
Setareh Sabety

Navaazesh-e jaari-ye rood

15 poems from "Alef mesl-e baaraan"
Habib Shokati

Ode to nothingness

Or "The Love Song of Tehran University"
Goli Farrell


Close your eyes and smell the stench
Azadeh Zohrabi

To be or not to be an ass

Houman Mortazavi

They're everywhere

Central Asian travel diary -- Part 2
Shahriar Zahedi

The flight takes about 3 hours and we land in Dushanbe at around 3:30 local time. The passengers get out of their seats as soon as the plane starts to taxi. A shouting match erupts in Tajik and Russian between the crew and the passengers. Reminds me of Iran Air flights of yesteryears to New York, where the flight attendant would resort to shouting "haaj aaghaa beshin!" As we disembark onto the tarmac, some passengers, oblivious to the jet fuel all around us, light up their cigarettes. I distance myself from the potential explosions.

West Asian

From "Middle East" to Near West then to Middle West then to "Far East" and now to Far West in search of a centre
Vida Kashizadeh

The concept of the Near / Middle and Far East assumes the West as the centre; otherwise we would be calling Germany Near West, UK Middle West and America Far West (her eyes were getting gradually wider). Then I suggested that the correct and a non Eurocentric classification for the different parts of Asia would be simply East Asia / Central Asia and West Asia. And that I didn't see why the classification of some areas as Asia Minor could not be used again as it was in olden days. (And Egypt being part of North Africa anyway).

Khoshaa vaght-e ghabaa-ye may-forooshaan

I'm sick of your religion, from Soroush to...
Sayeh Saidi Sirjani

The Adventures of Blue Boy

(for my daughter, Sabrina)
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

In a big farm house cozily nestled near a christal blue lake, Blue Boy lived with his parents, his little sister Rachel, his China sea turtle, Sami, who slept below his bed and sometimes kept the lights on too long reading newspaper with his old magnifier he had salvaged from the bottom of the lake, and, in the barn some two hundred feet away, were his two horses, Silverpony and Silverita, mom and daughter, and, last but by no means least, the mousie, better known as the household's real troublemaker.

Expensive speech

The limits of free speech
Mohammad Ala

In recent times, violent speech has become a significant issue. It has grown significantly, largely because of the Internet. Some people use the Internet as a way to spread their views, thoughts, or hatred. Offending a person in everyday life is not uncommon, but when it is communicated to the world via the Internet, it becomes much more reprehensible. This is not a recent controversy and certainly will not go away anytime soon. When false accusations are made, free speech can be harmful.

Jan-e Azarbaijan

Photo essay: Iran's Azarbaijan Province & Astara
Fereydoun Safizadeh

* Astara & Lavandeville * Yam * Lake Urmieh & mullberries * I-Naali-Toumanians House * Ahar * Khoi * Tabriz houses * Tabriz * Tabriz potter * Sahand ski slopes * Ardabil-Sar'eyn-Sabalan


Special way to communicate with a special friend
Hamid Bakhsheshi

As kids we hung around a lot. I followed him everywhere. Those days Boomehen was very rural. No running water, no electricity and the nearest shop was a few miles away. Abbas loved bubble gum and whenever I went to visit, I had boxes of all types of gum for him and any neat candy I could think of. His face would light up and thank me by giving me an army like salute and with the same motion putting the same hand on his heart as sign of appreciation. When in Boomehen, we were inseparable. We went to the fields to cut wheat, feed the cattle and sheep, bring water, and mostly play.

Getting it straight

Life & politics
Hamid Boroumand

So let me get this straight...if my son - following in my footsteps - loots the National Iranian Oil Company, or if I beat up and hurl a bunch of university students off their dormitory roofs all while I shout religious slogans...then I get moved to the top of the list of Iranian presidential candidates?!?!? Very very very strange this Iranian politics.

Equal? Please...

Zoroastrian women have not always been on equal footing with men
Maziar Shirazi

A big misconception that many Zarthushtis and others hold today is that Zoroastrianism was a religion that championed gender equality. Although it is true that women may have had an equal or better standing in comparison with the Abrahamic religions, to say that genders were equal is not accurate, and there are various characteristics and institutions of the faith that can be pointed to in order to dispel this myth. First, in religious texts, women are portrayed as morally weaker than men and more susceptible to the influences of Ahriman and his cohorts; the female divinities (Anahita, Spenta Armaiti) also play less crucial a role than Mithra and other male divinities in combating evil spirits.

Band and Vand -- Reappraisal

Mountain majesties of Iran
Guive Mirfendereski

Part 4 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
The case of Nahavand demonstrates clearly, as a general rule, the suffix “avand” or “vand” in Iranian place-names cannot always explain itself as a “vessel” or a suffix of attribution to a clan or tribe. In view of the findings of this essay, it is proposed here that the Iranian Academy of Sciences (Farhangestan-e Ulum) re-evaluate the significance of “avand” and “vand” as a locative suffix denoting a “settlement with a mountain character.” Furthermore, the meaning of “band” should be revised in the Persian lexicon to give the word a stature equal to “kuh,” mountain.

Safar beh sarzamin-e maadari

I won't marry off my daughter to a pale-skinned European
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

Searching for Hasan

Asylum speakers news, a radio sketch show in progress
Peyvand Khorsandi

Part 3 Part 1 Part 2
SAM: Aghh! It’s freezing.
JIMI: Well, if we get caught we’ll say we’re snowmen.
SAM: If we get caught count yourself lucky we’ll be warm.
JIMI: With Turkish cops. Have you seen Midnight Express?

Nuke mullahs

A nuclear future may be inevitable, tyranny is not
Jalil Bahar

No one admits it in the U.S. media, but focusing on whether or not Iran is, or will be, can be, or should be a 'nuclear club' country is simply misplaced. It's simply inevitable. The issue, quite frankly is not Iran's nuclear future. The real issue is that somehow, the mullahs might cheat and instead of using their enrichment process to produce low-grade fuel for the plants, they might use it to produce high-grade fuel for bombs. This really is an indirect way of saying that no one has faith in Iran's government. Yes, it's the regime... stupid!

Someone else's problem

Social and cultural aspects of the AIDS epidemic
Maziar Shirazi

This piece incorporates experiences from working with AIDS prevention/awareness NGO in Brazil, as well as my research into the social and cultural aspects of illness in the context of the AIDS pandemic. I hope all will enjoy reading this. For those who are unaquainted with the social side of the virus, hopefully you will find this an interesting lesson.

On the edge

Asylum speakers news, a radio sketch show in progress
Peyvand Khorsandi

PRESENTER: And now the news.
An Iranian asylum seeker has been arrested in Newton Stewart, south-west Scotland, after he was spotted swimming in the River Cree dressed as a salmon.

The riddle of Abvand

Mountain majesties of Iran, Part 2
Guive Mirfendereski

What I refuse to live with any longer is the explanation that in the name Mount Damavand, “avand” meant “vessel” and “dam” was “steam,” so Damavand signified “vessel of steam,” no doubt an apt name for a volcanic mountain. While this is a convenient interpretation, it is incorrect. If Damavand was a vessel of steam, I ask, what is “Al” in the name of the majestic Mount Alvand (also Arvand) that overlooks Hamadan? And what is the significance of “avand” in Nahavand, a city-district in the Malayer region of Kermanshahan in west-central Iran?


Equality of men and women in Zarathushtra’s original teachings is well recognized
Dina G. McIntyre

Several days ago, I read an article on Iranian.com by Vida Kashizadeh in which she made the statement: “in Zoroastrianism man is created by Ahura Mazda and woman (also snakes, lizards and frogs) by Ahriman.”  I have studied Zarathushtra’s teachings in the Gathas (which are his own words) for more than 20 years, and, to a lesser extent, I have studied the later Zoroastrian texts as well. But I have never come across any Zoroastrian text which states that woman is created by Ahriman (Satan).

Free Mary Jane

Photo essay: Toronto Marijuana March
Nader Davoodi

A woman for all seasons

In memory of Farrokhrou Parsa
Ardavan Bahrami

On May 8th 1980, the Islamic Republic executed a woman whose only crime was educating her compatriots and setting an example for so many who gained their rightful place in our society. She was to face the firing squad for having provided the opportunity so that Iranians could study, train and therefore, render their expertise for the betterment of our people’s lives and society. None of the above however, were stated on Dr. Farrokhrou Parsa’s sentence nor appeared on her death certificate. She was condemned to death like thousand of others on the charges of “spreading vice on earth and fighting God.”

So could we

Virginity and the incredible pragmatism of the Iranian woman
Shahla Azizi

When I was a teenager I made a bet with my cousin that I would lose my virginity before him. I remember we were sitting in our garden in Tehran, under the walnut tree, by the swimming pool. It was the seventies, I was around fourteen, and my cousin, who was my best friend and confidant, was a year older. I had not yet lived in the West but I did attend the American-style Community School.

They're everywhere

Central Asian travel diary -- Part 1
Shahriar Zahedi

The flight from Shanghai to Urumqi takes about 6 hours. It's probably one of the longest domestic flights in China, from the Chinese Pacific Coast to the westernmost provincial capital. The China Southern crew are pleasant and constantly at the service of the passengers. The food, however, is not very good. They have chicken and pork, and by the time it gets to me, all the birds have flown away and I'm stuck with the flesh of the swine.


For Iran
Mojgan Mazkoori

You were told

Grandpa turned to me and said...
Shoja Adel


Waiting, alone...

Forever Corazon

Where endless floating hearts fluttered by
Michelle Javid Fulton

Naameh-ee baraa-ye vatan

A letter to home
Mandana Zandian


From our hearts to theirs
Sheema Kalbasi & Ron Hudson

Away with the dominant winds

The key is lost somewhere in the innocence of desire

Selseleh maraateb

Khiyaalbaafaan-e behesht
Vida Kashizadeh

Disturbed dream

One thousand interpretations
Farah Afshari

On might

Let the kingdom belong to the ones who want it most
Jam Hamidi

Eshgh-e maadaram

Mother's love
Alireza Tarighian

Saal-haaye ashegh

Years in love
Shahrokh S. Foumani


I now have seen behind your eyes
Baharak Sedigh


Missing you
Aram Gharib

Hall of Mirrors

Photo essay: Golestan Palace, Tehran
Aref Erfani

From Ardebil to Ardeville

The mystery of the names of Ardebil & Birjand
Guive Mirfendereski

It is the season to roll up the sleeves and commune with the yellow clayish mud that passes for cultivable soil in my garden. I am a few weeks away from installing the vegetable patch but the hoeing has begun in earnest to break the winter’s crust and prepare the beds. My shovel grown old and rusty sits idle on this April morning as the sky pisses away on the tulips and crocuses. This is also the season that I blend the sublime with the ridiculous, from the philosopher’s admonition to cultivate our garden, ways and souls, to the courageous people of southeast Khorasan who fought with shovels (bil) and how the “bil” in Ardebil is related to the Latin “ville.” Let me explain.

Accelerating freedom

Interview with filmmaker Mahvash Sheikholeslami
Farid Parsa

I started my interview with the intention of talking about her current documentary "Murder, Murderer". But it became a general discussion about the plight of women in Iran. Sheikholeslami's films have won awards in Iran and international festivals.


For young Iranians on the prowl, the Internet is the ultimate veil
Kelly Niknejad

Soon after Iranian.com launched in September 1995, Iranians from all over the world flocked to the general-interest site to share stories of exile and nostalgia, to pontificate on the latest headlines and ayatollahs. Iranian.com -- and the World Wide Web -- also paved the way for Iranians from the Beverly Hills to the Islamic Republic of Iran to come out and express their sexuality.

Shahram K

Top of the charts
Pop music

Cheh farhang o jaame'eyeh madani?

Culture & civil society: An assessment of the Khatami era
Hassan Behgar

Pretty hairy

I have not removed any of my body hair in three and a half years
Tahereh Aghdassifar

The fact is, yeah, we, as Persian women, do tend to have more body hair than our Caucasian counterparts, but that's no reason to remove it! Why does it seem like we're in a constant struggle to look like Caucasian women? I see too many Persians dyeing their hair blonde and zapping off their eyebrows with painful laser treatments. What for? Because one day a kid walked up to you in the third grade and asked why you had hair on your legs when the other girls didn't? Because it just seemed like the right thing to do? Since... all the other girls did it, right?

What's up, Tech?

Google's satellite maps, web page counters, Persian word processors
Tourang Birangi

A few weeks ago I wrote about Keyhole where satellite images of any place on Earth can be displayed. Now Google has come up with a nice feature to their map where the satellite images of the location you are looking for is displayed along with directions.

Heart of the puzzle

Discovering the hidden reasons to why we are where we are
Nilufar Hakhamanesh

This is somewhat how I felt when I was in Iran. As a curious girl I was put off by others imposing their will and views on me. I got in trouble evey now and then for questioning what I was being fed in Iran. I wanted to breath my own air. So when I was coming aboard I developed this sense of running away as far as possible from the Iran I knew (the Iran I grew up in). I was hardcore in going at the culture and ethos I was landing on. However this feeling didn't last long; it was just a short-term amusement because of my ignorance of Western culture and, most importantly, of my own culture.

Ms. June

Islamic erotica and other paintings
Makan "Max" Emadi

Love is Stainless

Seven poems in Persian & English
Majid Naficy

Preserving purity

To descendants of Zarthushtis, hijacking of their religion by new converts is a matter of serious concern
Maneck Bhujwala

Contrary to the author Vida Kashizadeh's aspersions... the matter of women being isolated during their menstrual cycle was not because women were considered a creation of Ahriman (the Devil) as the author imagines, but it was practiced for reasons of preserving cleanliness and purity for religious and practical reasons... A reason why Zarthushtis of India and Iran who have migrated to America, England, etc., discourage conversions, is that new converts from the Iranian Muslim and other communities tend to change the religious practices radically...

Persian romance

Part 5: His face was covered in teenage pimples even though he was thirty-five
Payam Ghamsari

Just as Fatima was thinking about Ade she saw an instant message pop on her MSN, it was Amin her virtual boyfriend from Iran. Amin was sitting alone in his dim cold room with only the radiation and florescent light of his PC to keep him warm and help him see. His face was covered in teenage pimples even though he was thirty-five. He had dark circles around his eyes from too many late night multiplayer games on the internet. His thick black hair was greasy and matted, with a small bald patch on top. His hands were covered in blue ink from his Bic pen and the sandwich of Salad Oliveh that his mother made for him with the crusts cut off.

My uncle's declaration

I hoped there wouldn't be a time when outside forces would be trying to get me to choose between being American and being Iranian
Siamak Vossoughi

I felt like taking a long walk when I heard my uncle say that if the United States were to invade our country next after Iraq, that he would go and fight them there himself. I felt like taking a long walk and thinking about America and Americans and how if one of them had happened to be walking by as he had said it, they might conclude that he was a terrorist, and the thing that made me sad was that even though I didn't want anybody invading anybody and I didn't want anybody having to fight against anybody invading anybody, there was still a lot of beauty in a sixty-two-year-old man saying that he would go and fight against any invaders himself, and I figured that American wouldn't see any of it.

Forest without leaves

Abbas Kiarostami installation in London
Nima Mina

Gatha Group

Gatha prayers with melody -- and in a different way
Feraydoon Demehri

Originally, a group of seven Zarathushtis got together on Peer-i Sabz memorial day at Shannon Falls of Vancouver in June 1997 and performed some Gatha prayers with melody and in a different way . The presence of  Gatha Group was officially announced on Ashu Zarathushtra's birthday, 6th Farvardin 3737 Z, 26th March 1999.


Best described as dirge/doom metal
O'meed Entezari

I've been working on this project for two straight years and am happy to say that I've completed a few great tracks of some of the most unusual music ever! The band's name is "Erethe" and the music could best be described as dirge/doom metal, but in some ways it crosses the boundaries of traditional metal with much more emphasis on structure and melody.

I pray

To be with V and the boys... and visit my homeland
Siamack Salari

I shut myself in my room and called the embassy. After a few attempts a laid back voice answered. I politely explained that I had written in, needed a visa, was Iranian by parentage, etc. He replied that without a birth certificate I would never be able to visit Iran again. Never? I repeated breathlessly. Never, he assured me. But I am Iranian, we are speaking Iranian. I need proof, he replied.

All we do is talk

Iran will soon be free?... You know what? I don't believe it anymore
Lance Raheem

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone speak of the about the next revolution that is just around the corner, yet has never seemed to materialize, I would be a millionaire. I could count the grains of sand in a desert more easily than I could count the number of time I've heard adults say that Iran will "soon be free", or "next year Iran will be free", or "freedom for our nation is on the horizon".  I have heard these things my whole life and you know what? I don't believe it anymore. I refuse to hold my breath waiting for a revolution that seems to be as improbable as pulling a rabbit from a hat. 

Fine lines

Saeed Siadat

Goudar gourmet

Roast pork from northern Iran
Guive Mirfendereski

According to the Russian traveler Gregorii Melgunof, the Goudar lived in most of the villages of Kuhsar and Fenderesk districts; they were neither town-dwellers nor villagers, but rather pastoral, roaming in every direction. They made a living as laborers and guardians of the plains. The Goudar were shunned by those who came into contact with them in the villages; they had no religion and ate pig meat. They possessed no rule or custom for marriage. They settled their disputes by recourse to a third among them as arbiter. The Goudar were famous for shooting and they hunted tigers and leopards.

California stories

No other state can claim to be so cosmopolitan and none is multilingual
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Many parts of this country enjoy transient guests of all nationalities. But those who come to California put down roots, as if the good earth helps them to settle down. Indeed, the cultural mix in California reminds me of a garden where most flowers enjoy strong roots that extend across the globe. Yes, the sunshine and the ocean are breathtaking, but there’s a lot more to the beauty of this sunshiny state.

Comfort zone

How can my non-Iranian girlfriend not like Persian carpets? I'm offended
Amir Nooriala

I personally have no Iranian artefacts in the house. Ghalyoon (water-pipe / hookah) are not strictly an Iranian-only thing. I don’t like ghalam-doons (pen-holders), or framed khat (Iranian calligraphy). I don’t really like Iranian music (sorry Shahrzad) or poetry (sorry Dad). I am also not a huge fan of Iranian carpets, but neither is my girlfriend. For some reason though, her not liking the carpets -- now that’s a whole different story. How could she not like them! “Why don’t you like them?”, “My name is Amir, they are part of my culture” and “My family will be offended if we get a non-Iranian carpet”. All comments I have made.

Samadiyat-e Sayyad

Parviz Sayyad's book and statement in defense of Salman Rushdie
Ramin Kamran

Cosmo mix

World music
Dance Dance Dance

Ridley's Crusade

Clash of civilizations in Ridley Scott's latest epic, "Kingdom of Heaven"
Darius Kadivar

Ridley Scott strikes again by setting his next film Kingdom of Heaven in Medieval Europe and Palestine at the time of the Crusades. The challenge of adapting the Crusades to the Big screen has been on Scott's agenda for more than 20 years. Originally the rights to the story were bought by Arnold Schwarzenegger who was to produce and star in the film after gaining fame with successful medieval vehicles in the 1980's based on the Conan the Barbarian franchise. Production was postponed however and Schwarzenegger finally abandoned the rights of the original screenplay to Scott.

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