>>> Archive
November 2006

The Hypothetical
Shahriar Zahedi

Some nights, just before falling asleep, my mind begins to wonder and I find myself in a realm I call "the Domain of the Hypothetical". Questions starting with 'What if' flood my semi-conscious brain and I incessantly look for answers to them. This cerebral give-and-take frequently yields thought-products that, in all fairness, could only be categorized as utter nonsense. There are rare times, however, that the randomness of the process, coupled with the sheer number of the ideas floating around in my head, produce a thing or two that a generous disposition may consider mildly humorous. The other day, I was reading Nietzsche during my lunch break >>>


Baked in history

Photo essay: Sight-seeing in Yazd
Babak Nassirian


Good thoughts

Photo essay: Yazd's 70-year-old Zoroastrian temple
Babak Nassirian

Addicted to war

President Bush has reverted to discredited rhetoric of the days immediately after 9/11. Isn't this pathetic?
Ardeshir Ommani

Can the American sophisticated and gigantic war machine neutralize the Iraqi resistance movement, Sunni or Shiia, impose U.S. will on the people of that country through the medium of the puppet regime ruling from inside the "green zone" and take possession of the country's oil and other natural resources? That question sharply divides the warlords today in Washington as to the plans for domination. And there are many of them tossed about by those in officialdom, by the retired generals at the paid-service of the corporate media and the former servants of imperialism and today's honorary members of the corporate boards with entitlement to gilded paychecks from the disproportionately over-grown bank accounts of the oil and arms industries >>>

Start with respect

U.S. foreign policy toward Iran
Majid Behrouzi

Carrot and stick “diplomacy” is clearly a crude and unproductive way of getting the desired results. Moreover, to those citizens of the world who follow the world events and have a sense of justice, especially to the ones living in developing countries, the carrot and stick "diplomacy" appears as an unfair and predatory way of engaging in world affairs. Furthermore, the carrot and stick “diplomacy” is immoral in that it violates the dignity of the nations which find themselves at the receiving end of this "diplomacy". Lastly, it is immoral in that it is a prerogative, exclusively, of the most powerful nations. Only they can exercise it because they can carry and lift big sticks. Smaller and less powerful nations, especially in the South and the East, cannot exercise this option over more powerful nations. And because of the inegalitarian nature of such diplomacy, these nations resent being subjected to it >>>

Khaavare Miyaaneh dar miyaane khoon

US and UK seeking help from Iran and Syria? God help us!
Hossein Mirmobiny

Why don't YOU do it?
David Etebari

In a new effort to gain popularity among Arabs and Muslims, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written another letter, this one to the American people! I have never believed in giving credit to a sermon from a thief against theft, a killer against murder, or a dictator against dictatorship... I think you get the idea. It really doesn't matter what Mahmoud asks others to do in their countries when he and his spiritual leader Khamenei don't do the same in Iran. Why are they not so concerned about their own people as they are about Iraqis and Palestinians? Isn't Mahmoud supposedly elected to handle affairs of Iranians? Where in his 5-page letter did he even bother to discuss the fate, present and future, of Iranians and Iran? Is he the president of USA, Iraq and Palestine -- or Iran? >>>


Virginia fall

Photo essay: Autumn in Alexandria, Huntley Meadow Park, Virginia
Morteza Loghmani


After the rain

Photo essay: Canada's west coast
Sophie Saviour


October surprise

Photo essay: Iran people & places
Farah Ravon

The Good Revolution

Why the Islamic Republic is good for Iran
Faraz Jamshid

Many Iranians, both inside and outside of Iran, view the Islamic Republic as an obstacle to Iran's greatness. They believe that the fascist Islamic government should be removed so that freedom, peace, and democracy can spread. They believe that the concept of a theocracy (or more specifically, the velayet-e-faqih) has been thoroughly discredited by history and view the Islamic government as a throwback to medieval ways of thinking. In short, they would like to see Iran take its place as one of the civilized nations of the world, and they believe that the first step is to adopt their institutions. These critics are right in many ways, but they are wrong in one very crucial way. Democracy is not a magic elixir that can cure all of a society's problems. In fact, history has shown us that democracy without the proper ingredients often leads to disaster >>>

Blind visionaries

From Anti-monarchists of yesterday to today's anti-Islamists
Areyo Barzan

Over the past few years I have several collisions with the anti Islamists who were writing a shear load of none sense on the net and on this site. Most of these anti-Islamic self-declared experts do not even have a clue about what they are opposing and did not even bother to study the religion in order to find the fact for themselves, and funny enough they call the rest of us ignorant. The odd thing is that whenever I have engaged in a debate with these people and tried to point them into the flaws in their arguments I have been accused of not accepting my personal responsibility while they on the other hand had shamelessly washed their hand of theirs and shift all the blame to a religion >>>

Keep your cool

We need to stop expecting or assuming that education, wealth or family rank rules people's behavior
Azam Nemati

A while back we went on a cruise (we had the name of all who we had agreed to be with us) and somehow a group of Iranians (3 people) we had never seen or met were on that cruise (evening cruise) so while in the area which we had reserved for dancing, I politely told one of the men in a white expensive Italian suit to please put out his cigarette since this was indoors and this was a non-smoking area. I went on the dance floor and a little over an hour later came back to take napkin out of my white jacket. You guessed it! The beautiful and expensive jacket was drenched in orange color soda! I did not have to be a rocket scientist to know the rat had done it but I could not prove it so I let it be. I had no regrets for having spoken my mind even though it cost me >>>

Wrong penalty

FIFA vs Iran
Arash Mahmoudi

Soccer is not big just in Iran, its safe to say that it’s big everywhere but in the U.S. and for many countries soccer games are as important as any other national event. FIFA’s accusation about Iran may be true, but it is not an isolated event. If you look at most countries, being the in charge of the soccer federation is not the most stable job, but it has the most exposure nation wide (remember we are not talking about U.S). To be in charge of a soccer federation, you have to have very good connections and some back ground related to soccer. In fact in most countries the head if the soccer federation has very close ties with political figures and other high end people >>>


Stroke of genius

Photo essay: Kashan
Afshin Deyhim


Hidden treasures

Photo essay: Kerman
Afshin Deyhim

French dance

Napoleon mon amour, Part 12: What I know is that I met the person whom surely god had sent to keep me from being hurt by my dear absent lover

Now, in these parties you have to be careful not to offend anyone. All the men are there with their wives. If I was there with a husband then I would flirt but being the only single woman there made it dangerous to do so. I am not the flirtatious type. Mostly because I feel too over-weight to be attractive enough to engage in that kind of thing but also because I am capable of just simple camaraderie. Something a lot of women are incapable of -- some women flirt even with their female friends. As if flirting is the only way they know how to communicate. That night, the vodka, the beautiful weather, and the fact that my beloved lover was with his woman made me slightly more prone to adventure. Some time after everyone had shown up, a French couple walked in. The man was tall and handsome but the woman was even better >>>

Modern maiden

Stop blaming premarital sex for your broken homes
Hiedeh Farmani

I am a married woman living in conservative Iran, where women are expected to keep their hymens intact for wedlock and many among more traditional families still have to get their virginity verified by a doctor before tying the knot -- to guarantee the future groom has not been sold damaged goods. Yet, marriages fail and divorce rates are ramping up. Many of those wandering about in family courts were good old blushing virgins when they married. So what went wrong? Men's drug addiction and unemployment are said to be the main reasons but there are studies and statistics showing adultery as well as sexual incompatibility and dissatisfaction are also -- if not equally -- playing important roles. Reluctant to lift our heads out of the sand, we still perpetuate and promote "values" of honor and chastity, chanting into young women's ears to keep away from sex, putting a halo over an orifice >>>

Support WHAT exactly!?
Rana Rabei

Let me cut to the point: What other school organization do you know of that gets a $500 check from a trendy lounge in the US capital to funnel in a young crowd of alcoholics to their venue on a Thursday night, in the last 2 weeks of the school semester? Other than the Iranian Student Organization, I have no idea. A friend of mine who's an officer in this organization confronted me the other day, “You haven't supported us once this semester!” And I thought to myself, support WHAT exactly!? To me it seems like this “cultural” organization continues to exist because it provides students with a legitimate family-friendly excuse for wasting time >>>

Tasleem yaa eestaadegi?

Resisting or surrendering to domestic violence?
Shokooh Mirzadegi

Shureshian-e armankhah

Mossadegh and the Tudeh Party
Maziar Behrooz


Stopping moments from running away

Photo essay: What my eyes see
Shiva Tadayoni


Sign of the odd times

Photo essay: Signs around Iran
Niki Akhavan

Oonee keh beh maa nareedeh bood...

UCLA police, Patrick Swaze and me
Cameron Milani

After a few failed attempts to raise my earnings to a dollar or two above the U.S. minimum wage, and pulling all kinds of strings through my powerful friends, Hassan the Aashpaz, Reza the Panchargeer, and Fazee Rashtee's older brother Hamdollah (who preferred to be called, Jonothan) , the "Night Manager" at a local nightclub, I was finally offered the big one, the job that would set me aside from all those minimum-wage earning losers: Bouncer at a local night club. As good as it sounded, I had my reservations. "I don't want to be a doorman like Hamdollah haa," I told Fazee Rashtee. "Ehh, I told you baabaa, besh nagoo 'doorman', shaakee meesheh!". Then he cracked and said, "and you need to call him 'Jonathan' there." Well. He was nice enough to put a good word for me. Those positions were hard to come by. Lights, sound, disco, wild women (plenty of action, I assumed), cool guys, and the best part, $8.25, every hour, in my pocket. I started thinking: "Bah bah,... Haajeet deegeh raft daakheleh aadamhesaabee haa!" American dream is finally coming true for your 'pilgram'! >>>

Iranian Hillbillies

Nobody can teach these guys anything
Sean Amour

The scene is the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the most classy and upscale hotels in Scottsdale where adults and romantic couples dress up to go there on weekend nights. On Friday and Saturday nights after 9:00 p.m, a fantastic band (called Mosaico) plays Flamenco music accompanied by very professional Flamenco dancers. This is definitely a sophisticated place for people who are well dressed and over 21. Suddenly, this group of Iranian families show up, comprising 4 couples, each having 3 or 4 kids aged between 4 to 7 -- all dressed in expensive kids outfits. First of all, these ten kids start running around inside and outside the bar, screaming and chasing each other. The Iranian parents are busy ordering drinks at the bar (not any Vodka, but Grey Goose, and bottles of French Champaign) -- totally oblivious to their kids' behavior. The Iranian guys are wearing shorts and sneakers (albeit the expensive brands), while everyone else in the bar is wearing evening attire and shoes >>>

I have boycotted Iran

... and all those who travel to Iran are traitors
Amir Nasiri

Almost 30 years have past and Iran is still ruled by a theocratic and fascist government. And nothing has changed since the revolution, or maybe I should say that things have gotten worse: Overcrowded prisons (mainly political prisoners, not drug dealers or rapists), over-population, pollution, inflation, unemployment and poverty are all facets of the Islamic revolution. I was asked by a friend why don't you visit Iran my reply to him was I have boycotted Iran and all those who travel to Iran are traitors. Yes I have not visited Iran for almost 22 years. My grandfathers had passed away and my grandmother just recently passed away and although I would love to go to visit their graves and say my prayer, I refuse to go. I will not buy products made by the Islamic Republic of Iran and I refuse to own an Iranian satellite dish that carried the Islamic Republic's TV programs >>>


The mention of your name

Photo essay: Iran book project
Reza Khatir


Cutting loose

Latest watercolors
Maryam Hashemi


... and more

Iranian Beauty, the book
Nader Farzan

We have started a book project for charity. Iranian Beauty will be a coffee table book featuring our photography of beautiful Iranian-American females and all the proceeds will be donated to a charity in Iran benefiting children (we are still doing our research to find the best, legitimate charity.) We've been accepting applications for the last week now and the response has been very positive! You can learn more at our website, iranianbeauty.com. We would greatly appreciate it if you could support us any way possible. Please check out our website and let us know what you think.

Tashkilaate daaneshnaameh

Encyclopaedia Iranica and politics (2)
Massoud Noghrekar


The meaning of night

Photo essay: International Festival in Celebration of Freedom of Expression
Mandana Zandian

Az tars haa va shahaamat haa

Fear & courage
Leila Farjami

Liquid suffering

What is it about these tears?
Setareh Sabety

Women are women

Clearly, a rights-based discussion can’t begin with Islam but has to begin with the woman and her rights
Maryam Namazie

It is crucial to speak about the rights of ‘Muslim’ women, go beyond the issue of the veil, and talk about secularism, particularly in light of the political Islamic movement’s assault on women and their rights, but restricting the debate in this way is seriously flawed. Firstly, the so-called grouping of Muslim women is a constructed one. Out of the innumerable characteristics women have, why focus on their beliefs? Doing so, implies that religion informs the rights of all those labelled as Muslim (including very often people like myself - an atheist). This is not usually the case. More importantly, why must women’s rights issues be discussed within the framework of religion or for that matter, with regard to the beliefs -- real or imputed - of the woman whose rights are being discussed? Generally, this is not how rights are examined. For example, do we discuss domestic violence vis-à-vis Christian women or in the context of Christianity? >>>

Quest for silence

The attack against academics of Middle East origin
Shirin Saeidi

A recent article in The Indianapolis Star titled “Middle East Academics Disregard the Quest for Balance” by Pierre M. Atlas, assistant professor of political science and director of the Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian College discusses the academic quest for “fair and balanced” scholarship and argues that “Middle East academics” fall short of satisfying this academic requirement because in their discussions of the Israeli/US/Palestinian conflict, “Middle East scholars” do not present a “balanced and fair” depiction of the actual situation. Atlas argues that during the 40th annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association, scholars from Lebanon argued that the Israeli invasion this past summer can be categorized as “aggression” and Hizbollah’s reaction as “resistance” (never mind that most of the world saw it this way too). This position is flawed for endless reasons, so bear with me as I try to decipher it for those so blinded by their nationalism and religious extremism that they openly articulate derogatory statements >>>

Getting personal
Mahnaz Azad

I have read Dr. Noghrekar's original and followup articles about Iranica in akhbar-rooz, and have to say that I am surprised and sad. Surprised, because I have great respect for him, and didn't expect to see such a biased and weak argument from him. Sad, because once again he shows that our so called intellectuals haven't made any progress in moving beyond their old dogmatic and ideological thinking. Iranica is one of the most valuable cultural and literary efforts of Iranians, and like any other work of this magnitude, surely is not infallible, and has errors and problems in its articles. Legitimate and constructive critiques could only help make it better. However, Dr. Noghrekar apparently hasn't found any problem with its integrity, and hasn't been able to find any bias with its content (or else he would say it loud and clear!). As it is a tradition among us Iranians (and unfortunately our most educated intellectuals are no exception), his attacks are personal in nature, and towards the people who have chosen to support this project, not their work >>>

Estefaadeye siaasi

Opening a critical discussion about Encyclopaedia Iranica
Esmail Nooriala


First love

Photo essay: Scenes from Tehran and Chalous Road
Sanaz Kahlaj

Expression under repression
Tina Ehrami

A group of 21 Iranian journalists were arrested and interrogated by the Iranian authorities earlier this week after returning from a seminar they attended in Hilversum and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The non-profit organization Communication for Development (CFD) confirmed this message. According to this organization, the journalists were asked personal questions which had no relation whatsoever with a serious investigation. The CFD is concerned that authorities in Iran abuse their power to thwart journalists.  I personally hope that these journalists will not be sabotaged in their professional activities by the authorities >>>


The question of mortality

Photo essay: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Directed and conceived by George Charbak
Photos by Jahanshah Javid

Iranica bitaraf?

Encyclopaedia Iranica and politics
Massoud Noghrekar

UC Abu Ghraib
Eski Sepehr

UC Abu Ghraib in Los Angeles like its sister facility in Iraq is home to Middle Easterners of different shades some of whom resemble Mostafa Tabatabainejad, but there are of course notable differences in management policies at the two facilities. Eventhough at UC Abu Ghraib the men and women in uniform still prefer applying high voltage electric shock as the principle tool of their security work, the torture dungeons have been done away with altogether. This new openness has advanced the cause of Democracy to no end and will no doubt be emulated in future Democracy projects. Another notable difference is that at UC Abu Ghraib the work of the highly professional security personnel is carried out in plain sight of anyone who can watch a torture and humiliation session without getting dizzy >>>

Iranian guilt
Ari Siletz

The Iranian community's outrage at the mistreatment of Mostafa Tabatabainejad by UCLA police has led us into doing a bit of soul-searching. Would we have felt just as indignant if the victim of this assault had been Chinese or African American? The honest answer for some of us is "no." We are humbler than to assume we are saintly beings whose empathy embraces all of humanity with equal zeal. Yet this is no reason for moral despair. The fact that our reach of compassion strengthens with emotional nearness is actually very useful in promoting justice in the world. As long as everyone defends what is within his or her natural emotional reach, all of humanity is covered. In this "zone defense" scenario, if we do not look after other Iranians, we are not doing our job protecting the little patch of justice with which we have been entrusted >>>

1,764,000 dollar Virgin
Bruce Bahmani

You've wished upon a star, tried to find the man in the moon, and secretly still want to be an astronaut (remember when you were 8 years old?). Now, for the first time, the heavens are truly within reach, when you charter Virgin Galactic for the journey into space. It may sound like science fiction, but it's very real indeed. The Burton Rutan-designed SpaceShipOne has already completed three space missions and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first private space flight. Now, funded by Virgin, Rutan is building a larger, commercial version of SpaceShipOne exclusively for Virgin Galactic. Like Sir Richard Branson's previous adventures, this one is being planned, designed, tested, and executed down to the last detail to ensure its safety and success >>>

Only need to be fluent in English
Asoka Ranaweera

Founded in 1963, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, Maryland, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to helping adults in Montgomery County learn to speak, read, write and understand English. In our English as a second language program (read, write and speak) approximately 24 of our foreign born students are from Iran. As of today we have more than 300 students waiting to be matched with a tutor. The waiting list includes many Iranian students. In order to address this critical shortfall I am turning to your organization for advice and suggestions on how we could reach out to potential Iranian-American volunteer tutors from within the community. If at all possible perhaps we could discuss a joint-outreach approach and/or strategy? >>>


Thinking of you

Photo essay: For children killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Aidin Fathalizadeh


Looking at 3000 years

Photo essay: Choghazanbi temple, c 1250 BC
Behnam Eskandari

Alliance of civilizations

Participatory planning helps communities not only deal with globalization and other international challenges that impact their development
Jason Yossef Ben-Meir

I suggest that fully incorporating local community participation in the identification and management of development projects throughout the Muslim world, an approach strongly consistent with the Millennium Development Goals and the recommendations of the Alliance Group, will significantly decrease the divide with the West. Before I explain how, I will begin by stating, just as the Alliance report does (as well as the 2003 Report of the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World), that without a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the horrible violence in Iraq and the intensifying violence in Afghanistan, efforts to bridge the divide "are likely to meet with only limited success." Participation in community development involves men and women of villages, neighborhoods and regions together defining their priorities for projects (in education, health, economic development, environment, etc.) and a plan of action to achieve them >>>

Feel her fear
Sophie Saviour

In the last couple of days everyone is talking about the UCLA student and I am thinking of Zahra Amir-Ebrahimi, the woman in Iran who is being abused in many dimensions and perhaps without any support! Imagine the case: 1) an abusive boyfriend who has already fled to Dubai , 2) a government and police system that will definitely kill her -- in her soul and heart, if not literally. And 3) family and friends and radical Moslems who will criticize her for corrupting their image! It breaks my heart and I assure you that Zahra would prefer to be tasered like Mostafa Tabatabainejad 10 times more than being in this situation! Many of you may not know what the meaning of "being trapped" in Iran is. The Spanish inquisition type courtrooms and jails. No matter what the reason, "siaasi" or "akhlaaghi" (political or moral), they have a way to make you feel you want to die. Verrry inhuman techniques: dirty, nasty and cruel! >>>

Maslaeye aghvaam

Ethnic minorities and separaticism in Iran
Hassan Behgar

Pesare bacheh akhoond

On the child preacher
Hossein Mirmobiny


Testament to tolerance

Photo essay: Visiting Georgia
Rudi Matthee

I recently took a trip to the remarkable country of Georgia, invited to participate in a conference at the Institute of Iranian Studies in Tbilisi. Located at the eastern tip of the Black Sea, Georgia also lies at the fault line of a number of civilizations and empires that over time have dominated and influenced it. These include pre-Islamic Iran and its Zoroastrian faith, Islam in the form of the Arab invasion, Iranian control during the Safavid period, and Turkish overlordship of the western half in Ottoman times, and more recently, the Russians, first in the form of the Tsarist Empire and later in the form of the Soviet Union >>>

In memory of Robert Altman
Niki Tehranchi

Reading various obituaries on Robert Altman since yesterday, an item frequently mentioned is that despite a prolific career, he never won an Oscar (except for the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award last year). Since my feelings about award shows can best be summed up by Woody Allen ("What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler"), to me, the fact that Altman was left out of the Oscar race only adds to his prestige. He joins the ranks of Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, and leaves those coveted directing statues to Mel Gibson and Barry Levinson. Robert Altman, for me, is one of the true Hollywood rebels. How he did not become a phony and instead, he maintained an ironic distance and poignant self-awareness throughout his career is totally amazing >>>


Fending off invaders

Photo essay: Beheshte Zahra cemetery
Afshin Deyhim

Let's get a grip
Faramarz Fateh

The question is why would a young man such as Mostafa Tabatabinejad (if this is his name) make such a big deal about the police's request. Why not get up and leave with a few friends, get the name of the officers and complain to the university? Someone could have as easily recorded the incident on video and submitted it to the proper authorities overseeing the campus cops with the complaint report. This kid's behavior was illogical, improper, uncivilized, suspect and with motives. Or, the kid suffers from depression or other psychological issue. Or maybe he has anger management issues. Who knows. I don't know what motive(s) but I am sure we'll find out soon enough. Worse than this kid's behavior is the behavior of us Iranians living here in the U.S. Why are we outraged about this matter? As someone else had written in her letter, would any of us given it a damn if the kid was Chinese? or Arab, or >>>


Twinkle, twinkle
Photo essay: Galaxies, nebulas and...
Behyar Bakhshandeh

The art of compromise
A fresh look at U.S.-Iran relations

Zia E. Ahari

So far, the US has resisted bilateral discussions, which is the most logical solution for international conflicts and was used so successfully during the Cold War. Several elements have encouraged and sometimes worked quite hard to produce this outcome. This is obviously an incorrect approach and is harmful for both countries. The remedy is for the US to know the country better and change the tactics that have been unsuccessful so far. The following are the reason why two countries should resume talking, without mediators. This will help to figure out a way to find a solution for the grievances that produces the gulf in between. The past history shows that there are no mediators that do not have agendas of their own and do not benefit from fishing in the muddy waters >>>

How not to make a sex video
Siamack Baniameri

I eagerly watched the sex video which has caused quite a bit of havoc in Iranian sex-deprived society, especially among the younger generation. The home movie, supposedly showing TV soap actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi and her lover, has created such turmoil that the notorious Judge Mortazavi has personally volunteered to investigate. As an avid porn watcher who spends almost all his paycheck subscribing to porn websites and magazines, I was extremely disappointed with the quality of acting in the home movie, featuring Amir Ebrahimi and her male companion. The unprofessional setup and amateurish techniques made this home movie almost unbearable to watch >>>


Come rain, come shine
Photo essay: Trip to the Caspian sea

Farah Ravon

A gift-wrapped stab
What does come as a surprise is how hospitable most Iranians were toward a man who had done them grave damage

Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Ted Koppel strikes again, that's all I could think about last night. But the truth is, I can't blame him for my sleepless nights. He is an American journalist, and a pretty good one at that. I'm sure it was never his intention to hurt a nation, but rather this was his poor attempt at showing that what a great interviewer such as Mike Wallace can do, Ted can do better. Watching his program on the Discovery Channel last night, I was reminded of a lesson I learned about journalism at one of my UCSD classes. Our teacher was elaborating on what he considered irresponsible journalism and telling us how much of what gets announced, or is published, has nothing to do with the actual news, which is precisely what sells tabloids >>>

Scream (louder)
I watched the videos of the demonstrations hoping to finally see some anger towards this blatant abuse of power by UCLA police. I was disappointed.
Setareh Sabety

I cannot say what I felt more: anger or sorrow or shock. Los Angeles where Iranians feel more at home than in Islamic Tehran. Or used to anyway. Los Angeles where so many successful Iranians pay taxes. UCLA where so many fellow compatriots have studied and taught since at least fifty years ago is the last place you would expect something like this. If this took place in Texas maybe, or Alabama, but in UCLA? For heaven's sake where are we safe any more? Who the hell authorizes the use of Taser guns (does the name come from the manufacturer?) on students who have no IDs? I remember always losing or forgetting mine when I was a student at Boston University and no one even bothered to question me. What kind of a police state has this land of liberty, where we all came to live free of theocrats, autocrats and dictators, become? And what do we do about it? >>>

Tasing is not an equivalent response to a problematic student

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law": It's not about playing the race card. So what if the kid had a little attitude? Nothing justifies how he was treated by campus oficers! I would have told those thugs to get their hands off of me too if they tried to push me out of the room. The problem here is that the student was leaving in the first place and he got abused even tho he was complying! I don't care what lame, stupid, campus law this student broke; tasing is not an equivalent response to a problematic student (if he even was problematic. More than likely he's just like any other student and has a bit of an attitude and wants to move at his own pace. Good for him!) >>> Tons of letters


Leaving Iraq in broken pieces
Maybe I'm wrong, but it's probably best to partition Iraq and leave

Ben Madadi

Iraq has been a closed issue for me for a while. I guess it's about the same for the US administration. I doubt they really believe that Iraq will become peaceful any time soon, and definitely not under US supervision, or occupation, as they say in the Muslim world. They simply don't know how to exit. George Bush is going to be remembered not as a great leader, but rather as one of the worst ones, one who started an invasion and left, defeated, having done almost nothing, and having lost thousands of US service men and women, and tens of thousands wounded. That's beside tens of billions of dollars wasted. Now it's easy to look and criticise. I myself had no idea about what was going to happen, and I was naive enough to wish for a democratic Iraq that could some day be a model for my own country, Iran. I see how wishful thinking it all was >>>

Something good
Ayneh.org bringing awareness on drug addiction and other social issues facing Iran and Iranians

Navid Firoozi

Do you know that if you were to look up the latest statistical report on social issues in Iran, it would state that close to 2 million people are drug addicts? Now do you know that this figure is an absolute fabrication and guestimate based on IRI's, shall we say, less than reputable/ factual reporting tactics and methodology? The truth of the matter is that no one could come up with a number for how many people have been affected by this epidemic which for a high percentage of users is the direct result of poverty and other issues facing our people ... It was the one hour conversation I had with "Ali", my cab driver on the way to Mehrabad airport to see a friend off ... For some reason, Ali decided to open up to me while sitting in the hellish traffic of Tehran >>>

Our touchstone
Most of us were neither born in Iran, nor have we ever lived there

Lance Raheem

There are innumerable English proverbs, adages and idiomatic expressions which revolve around the concept of home. A few of these include: "a man's home is his castle", "charity begins at home", "men make houses-women make homes", "there is no place like home", "the chickens have come home to roost", and "till the cows come home." Perhaps, the proverb that best applies for many of the Iranian-Americans who left Iran prior to the revolution is "home is where the heart is." For those of us who are the second-generation children and third-generation grandchildren of those early immigrant/refugees to North America, Europe and other parts of the world this proverb simply doesn't apply >>>


What I saw in Tajrish
Photo essay: Shopping in North Terhan


Siyaasat-zadegi dar noandishiye dini
Contemporary Islamic thinkers want to protect the Islamic Republic as a shield against secularism

Esmail Nooriala

When I turned 34

Sheema Kalbasi


Bruised Bruins
Photo essay & Video clips (1) (2): UCLA protest against tasing

Maral Farsi

Civil disobedience deserved a civilized reaction
Ardavan M.T.

Some of your readers have condemned the UCLA student, Mr. Tabatabaienejad's, behavior in failing to obey the police officers' orders and deemed it inappropriate.However, it should be noted that his actions, inappropriate or not, would legally qualify as a civil disobedience. On the contrary, it's the reaction from the officers which was excessive and disproportionate, for the following two reasons: 1) A non-violent civil disobedience deserves a non-violent civilized response. The officers could have charged Mr. Tabatabaienejad with disobedience and given him a court notice. The issue then could have taken its legal course in the court of law, where in a civilized society such incidences should be dealt with >>>

Overwhelmingly xenophobic
Ari Siletz

On reading the news of an Iranian-American student being tasered by UCLA campus police, I checked the yahoo message board for public reaction... A few voices on the message board do condemn the use of excessive force by the UCLA police, but the tone of the discussion is overwhelmingly xenophobic. As an educated minority, Iranian-Americans understand the urgency of spending more effort on community outreach and on the education of the general American public about ourselves. On the other hand, we also understand that if this humiliation of an Iranian-American student goes unchallenged, it will weaken our position in American society, inviting more such incidents. A collective response is appropriate >>>

Happy anniversary, Dr. Ghajar
Fathali Ghahremani

As you may know the Brain Trauma Foundation-BTF (braintrauma.org) was established to educate doctors and emergency personnel in the proper protocols for the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Dr. Jamshid Ghajar founded the organization twenty years ago and through his personal diligence and sacrifices it has become a success, helping the medical community develop the correct protocols for treating brain injury (see attachment). I think it is appropriate for all of us to support his dedication. It would be great, if at this time, through our support of BTF, we would show our appreciation of the work that Jamshid is doing every single day to save lives and, even more important, preserving the quality of life of patients. A contribution (tax deductible in the United States) to BTF will show that we are aware of his efforts to make the world a better place for all of us. His work let's each an everyone of us feel proud and stand a bit taller >>>

Not so fast Argentina
The murky case against
Shirin Saeidi

The arrest warrants issued by Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral for a number of former Iranian officials allegedly involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community Centre (AMIA) has been lauded by the White House. However, the reports surrounding this issue have circumvented the history of US and Argentine relations. Furthermore, the case is presented in absolute terms, while in reality, it is engulfed with controversy and inconsistencies. In 1967, in a bloodless coup, the military replaced Isabelita Peron as leaders of Argentina. A military junta was formed, consisting of the commanders of the three armed services and headed by General Jorge Rafael Videla, commander and chief of the army. The Videla government imposed a "Dirty War" in Argentina to silence the "internal enemy," in essence, an all-out war was undertaken against political and non-political citizens >>>


War on tasing
Photo essay: UCLA protest at taser use against Iranian-American student

Mohamad Navab


Distant screams
Photo essay: Santa Monica Pier war memorial

Shirin B.


Photo essay: "Goat grabbing" is the national sport of Afghanistan

Pouria Lotfi

Make Iran an offer it can't refuse
First, the UN will ask the IAEA to design an industrial-scale enrichment facility for Iran

Dan Badger

When Iran rejected Russia's proposal to provide an "assured" supply of power reactor fuel from Russia, this did not undermine Iran's credibility, even in Russia's eyes. Perhaps this was because Russia realizes that it is perceived as a not-very-reliable energy supplier to neighbours with whom political issues arise... To provide a real test of Iran's intentions, the offer must go further. It should be based on the President Ahmadinejad made in his UN speech a year ago: an industrial-scale, international enrichment consortium, based in Iran, to supply fuel to Iranian power-plants. Of course it would be foolish to embrace Ahmadinejad's proposal in a manner that allows Iran to abscond with our nuclear know-how, throw us out of the country, and use what they have learned to build a bomb. Here is how this can be avoided: >>>


Excessive force
Video: Iranian student taserd at UCLA library

Kourosh A.

You broke the law
Ron Ghana

Here we go again. A punk student disregard and disopeyed campus police and got tased and now probably will sue the school for some doe. I am sick and tired of people blaming thers and not wanting to take responsibility for their own actions. Campus police repeatedly asked him to leave the library or he will be tased. When you are a student in any university you are obligated to follow the rules (this include Iranian students). Campus police asked you to show your ID, no luck; campus police asked you to leave the libray or be tased, no luck. Oh well now that YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LAW and they have tased you and removed you, it's time to start crying and bringing up the race card and excessive force. Mostafa you are a disgrace to our community, enough said >>>

Sack UCLA cops
Kaveh Nouraee

After seeing the video where Mostafa Tabatabainejad is getting tasered by UCLA campus police in the computer lab, my blood began to boil. I am the first one who would stand up and declare in no uncertain terms, that the safety and well-being of all students and faculty on any school campus are of paramount importance. However, when the very people who are supposed to "keep the peace" are the ones students need protection from, that's where enough is enough >>>


Dip, position, press
Printmaking, paintings and watercolors

Sandra Sonbol Banava

Love child of Peter Sellers and Andy Kaufman
Niki Tehranchi

The hit film Borat is more than just a great comedy (and definitely my favorite comedy of all times), it has become a cultural phenomenon. Usually, catch phrases are the domain of TV shows like Seinfeld but nowadays, it is not unusual to overhear people of all races, classes, and age act out entire scenes from the film, whether it is the fictional songs of Korki Kochek, or one of Borat's famous "high fives." ... Borat can hardly be described by comparison to any previous characters in film or literature. There has been no one like him, at least with this mainstream success and worldwide appeal. Sasha Baron Cohen can at best be considered the love child of Peter Sellers and Andy Kaufman. That is not to say that he mimics these classic actors, only that they paved the way for him, and he has of course taken their satirical outlook to heights previously unseen >>>

Thanks to Shah Isma'il
A book on the advent and the evolution of Shiism

Ranin Kazemi

I have chosen to bring this title to this forum's readers' and writers' attention because I believe the on-going discussions here about aspects of contemporary Iran, as well as the social and political life of Iranians outside the country would benefit from some of the points raised in this book (and by extension from further interest in historical Shi'ism). The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam is a study of the role of Shi'ism in Iran's social and political life from its beginnings to the late nineteenth century. It focuses on social action and social change brought about by such forces as charisma and reason. These are, of course, Weberian concepts, but they are studied here in the light of new findings. Shi'ism, as a world religion, is considered "a source of motivation" for social action and a force for social change >>>

The "basher" and the "immortal"
On Anousheh Ansari's space travel and her critics

Mahsa Meshki

I like to say, that in exercising her passion, Ansari has exercised godliness and perhaps attained it. One only needs to read her blog to sense the childish enthusiasm that imbues her words as she shares her space travel experience. I like to say, if Ansari could have explored space without paying a hefty sum of money, she would have done so; that unfortunately, the price tag of following our dreams is often hefty. I like to say, she is non-partisan, just a curious soul following her dreams. I like to say, the contribution she is making to furthering humanity's vision beyond the boundaries of our earth will have a profound shift in our consciousness beyond what our limited vision allows us to see at this time. I like to say, we each have a song and surmounting the world's hunger problems should be left to someone other than Ansari. Finally, I like to ask, why we burden Ansari with solving the world's hunger problems when she never acceded to such responsibility? >>>

Screw the Sexual Revolution
It deeply saddens me that many in second-generation of Iranian women in the West have adopted such a "ce la vie" attitude about sexual relationships outside the bounds of marriage

Jim S.

Few men in the world would desire a wife who has been intimate with another man. Unfortunately, Western men have no choice but to ignore women's past sexual indiscretions if they hope to marry and have families. If you think that Western men are just more tolerant and accepting of female premarital intimacies, let me assure you that we are not. Western men are no different from Iranian men in wanting a wife who has not been deflowered by another. Western men want their wives to come to their marriage bed as innocent and pure as the day they were born, but this is not a realistic option or ambition any longer for Western men while it still is for many Iranian men. Whether you like it or not, this is the way it is, the way it always has been and the way it always will be >>>


Poker night
Photo essay: Playing poker in Albany, California

Jahanshah Javid


Western heels
Photo essay: Ads, signs & symbols in Tehran

Wee wee training
My first time trying to get my boys to pee into urinals

Siamack Salari

It was Varinder's (she's my wife) idea to leave me at Nando's - a chicken restaurant - with the twins while she zipped around the shops in Bluewater shopping centre (Kent in the UK). The idea was that in the time my three-year-old sons and I would take to tuck into corn on the cob, roast chicken, fries and rice, Varinder would have found the leather boots she was looking for. And that's how I came to realise that I was still incapable of looking after them single headedly - unlike my wife. Lunch was painless, they ate all of the corn and some of the chicken. They drew pictures on the colouring sets they had been given when we were shown to our table and they made conversation about their school (Madam), grand parents (maman jan) and doing a wee-wee >>>

It won't even make the news
I lifted my head ... the man shooting was around 6 feet from me. Shooting away. Israeli secret service ... dressed up like an Arab

An eyewitness acount from a Palestinian visiting Ramallah

I was driving down the main street. A taxi driver cut me off. I rolled down the window and cursed at him. We pulled over and Emily and Mohammed jumped out to buy kanafa. Then we continued, dropping off Mohammed at his car ... which he had left in the center of town. We agreed to meet at Mohammed's place down the street. I was alone in the front seat. Emily and Carolyn in the back. Suddenly there was a van directly in front of our car. He veered a bit towards our car. I slowed down, wondering how I was going to pass him. And then he emerged from his window ... pointing an M-16 across the street and spraying bullets. The three of us hit the floor of the car. All around us ... shooting, shooting, shooting. So close. So close >>>

Persians & Trojans
I applaud those women and men who take precaution and practice safe sex

Sanaz Raji

Let's face it, people have sex. The problem isn't sex, it is how people handle it and of course, being Iranian, whether living in Iran or in the diaspora, it is our culture and the fact that we have a real problem with being open about our sexuality. I have no problem with virginity; I applaud those who decide to wait until marriage. However, not everyone decides to wait -- many have sexual relations before marriage and this is also another reality. Instead of instructing women and men to not have sex or chastising those women and men who are open about their sexuality, I'd rather see Iranian men and women better educated about safe sex and are healthy about their sexuality >>>

Change course
We have to learn that alienation of other countries is the underlying cause of terrorism that has necessitated the so called "War on Terror"

Ali A. Parsa

While it is important to learn from those terrible mistakes, it is more important to cease the moment and congratulate the American public for their victory in the midterm elections. The loss of patience of erstwhile non-voting and apathetic but decent, generous and forgiving Americans and their record turnout in the elections was an indication of the fact that they no longer wanted to subscribe to "stay the course" policies and archaic and un-informed decision making in a dynamic country and a dynamic world! I congratulate my fellow Democrats and myself for this victory after running a website against extremists in America for the past six years. I am thankful that these rulers failed to take America back to the dark ages >>>


Frozen in time
Photo essay: Kashan and Abyaneh

Farah Ravon

Learning to love L.A.
Could this be the secret that attracted Iranians to this city?

Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Most Iranians who live outside of California, view LA as a whole different planet, one that they'd rather stay away from. Even some Californians consider the city a last choice for residence. With its overwhelming number of Iranian emigrants, a visitor can expect a few encounters with them and they are not always pleasant. After all, we tend to take our good as well as our bad wherever we go, and it's too bad that pleasant memories are easily forgotten while a bad experience tends to linger for some time. Before becoming a California resident, my experience of LA was that of any tourist's. It began with a trip to Disney Land and a tour of the Universal Studios, perhaps a walk in front of the Chinese Theater, and finally window-shopping on the magnificent Rodeo Drive while dreaming of winning the lotto to actually shop in some of those stores. To me, LA meant limited human contact and few acquaintances. Ironically, most of our friends who happened to live in and around LA shared some of our negative sentiments >>>

Not that special
Persia and Persians before and after Islam

Ben Madadi

Because of various historical manipulations, especially for the past 70 years or so, ever since Reza Khan started his plan of modernising Iran, Iranians have often led to believe "facts" about their country which have lacked consistency and objectivity. That would be nothing unusual for a Middle-Eastern dictatorship, but there is no reason why we couldn't see things differently, other than what various dictators would want us to see. What has been presented to Iranians, by official historical and scientific manipulation and especially through textbooks at schools, has been that Iran was a grand empire, a force for good (with some minor and unimportant and irrelevant exceptions) that for more than 2,500 years strived for civilisation and human excellence >>>

Stop preaching what you wouldn't do

In response to Fariba Moghadam's "Beh jorme sangdeli": May be you should send your "maghaleh bashar doosti" to the irresponsible governments of those countries that they neglect their duties and deny their citizens of their basic rights and protections. Leave this lady alone. She is not obligated to help anybody even if they deserve it. I bet if you had her money, you wouldn't have the guts to do what you are preaching to others. Typical Iranian hypocrisy >>> More letters (Part 2) (Part 1)


Photo essay: Abyaneh village

Afshin Deyhim

Since 2001 when I visited Iran for the first time after 17 years, I've been back twice. Unlike many that go back to visit family, I spent the majority of my time traveling about. Enclosed are pictures I took in Abyaneh. Abyaneh is a village between Kashan and Natanz in Esfahan province. The village is probably one of the oldest surviving villages in Iran. On the outskirts of the village there are remnants of an old Sassanid era fort. Aside from its historic value, Abyaneh is also known for its red colored soil and clay houses, as well as the flowery dresses the local women wear >>>

Would you like us to call all of you Arabs?

On Sasan Afsoosi's "Made in India": A lot pictures are showing Pakistani restaurants, shops, and people yet you named the slide show as "Made in India photo essay: Indian community in Toronoto, Canada." In my dealings with people from Iran, I have found that many of them do not make the distinction between the various South Asian people. You need to be cognizant of the fact that the various South Asians are as proud of their Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi identities as the Middle Easterners are of their Persian, Arab, and Turkish ones. Lumping all of us together as Indians is as offensive to us as it would be to you if we were to call all of you Arabs >>> More letters


For sale
Photo essay: Advertising in London

Parima Shahin Moghaddam

Skirting Shakespeare's Ashland
This corner of Oregon is fast becoming a new Mecca for the food groupies from all over

Keyvan Tabari

Some 25 years ago, just after noon of a warm summer day, we stood in line to buy tickets for that night's performance at the Elizabethan theater in Ashland. I struck up a conversation with a young man who was standing behind me. He told me that he was traversing the Pacific Trail from Canada and was expecting to arrive in Mexico City just before Thanksgiving. He had come down for one night in Ashland to take in a Shakespeare play. In those days, I also did much more hiking than going to the Bard's feasts. The memory of that glorious night, however, has attracted me to this jewel of a city in Southern Oregon every summer since. The old theater has been renovated; it has lost some of its nostalgic charm for us old timers in return for more comfort. It resembles even less the recreated Old Globe in London >>>

May peace be upon you
Holding Islam to account

Amil Imani

Islam has spawned many sects that are master practitioners of the art of double standards. As far as Muslims are concerned what is good for Muslims is not good for the non-Muslims; and, what is bad for Muslims is good for non-Muslims. What complicates matters is that there is no way of knowing which of the dozens of at-each-other's-throat sects is the legitimate Islam. As sooner as Muhammad died his religion of peace became a house of internal war: jockeying for power and leadership started, sects formed and splintered into sub-sects, and bloodletting began in earnest. The internal infighting in Islam is presently playing in full color -- in red -- most dramatically, in the Iraqi theater. Shiite raid Sunni civilians, slaughter them like sheep, and toss their bodies like trash in the streets or the rivers. The Sunnis return the favor with just as much viciousness and savagery. Question: if this is the way these Muslims treat each other, how would they deal with the infidels, when they have the chance? >>>


One night stand
Photo essay: London stop-over

Farah Ravon

The choice is all yours
China/ Dubai model or Taliben/Hamas model?

Iqbal Latif

Two clear models of economic prosperity have emerged, one a 'China/ Dubai Model' that encourages economic pluralism and ensures prosperity of its masses , careful cohabitation with counter ideologies and eschews cultural alienation in name of orthodoxy other is the old self-destruct model that believes in uninterrupted struggle against hegemony, incessant hostilities of belief named 'heavenly battles' being fought on this bastardly earth. Today a progressive nation needs to be sensitively connected to the world; unity in diversity is the name of the game. All war charred nations where genocides are systematic are nations where dogma is strong and care of its populace a worthless second. When a nation state decides that heavenly rewards overtake earthly existence than rationality and logic is replaced by fanaticism. The inane voyage of disintegration and self-flagellation begins >>>

The other side of the War Party
U.S. Left's unwarranted giddiness over election gains

Daniel Patrick Welch

Giddy as Mikado schoolgirls, Democrats and their allies on the left are positively gushing over their election gains of November 7. In the US' two-party duopoly, voters are restricted to shifting power from one side to the other to voice their dissatisfaction with government. And, to be fair, voters did their part, kicking out congressmen, senators and governors from coast to coast. But hopes that this shift will lead to real changes in policy are, as Cosmo Kramer might say, "kooky talk." Everybody can enjoy the sight of a bully getting whooped, and the drubbing last Tuesday did indeed provide some emotional solace for those who thought Bush and his cronies could get away with anything at all. Still, this moment of schadenfreude gives way to more fundamental questions as it becomes clear that the torch has been passed from one side of the War Party to the other >>>

Akhoond sangeye roshde farhangi
Our culture ensures Akhoonds will be with us for a long time

Esmail Nooriala

Bullying Beirut
U.S. threatens Lebanon's soverignty

Ardeshir Ommani

Determined to retain the fractious, ineffectual and to some extent parasitic structure of the state, the White House, through its spokesman Tony Snow on November 2, 2006 said that any attempt by Hezbollah to mobilize the Lebanese for the purpose of pressing Beirut's U.S.-backed faction of the government to agree with Nasrallah's plan for a "national unity" cabinet would be considered by the U.S. government as a violation of Lebanese sovereignty. Look who's talking about respect for sovereignty of other nations: an empire that tramples on the rights of the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and Haiti, to mention just a few. Furthermore, to deflect world public attention from its policy of interference in the domestic affairs of Lebanon and its plans of intervention, Tony Snow pointed his finger in other directions and said that "The Syrian and Iranian governments, Hezbollah and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically-elected government." >>>

California dreamin'
Faramarz Fateh

A couple of nights ago, my friends and I -- let's call them Ahmad and Ali Reza -- went out to eat some Italian food. We have had our quota of Chelo Kabab and Chinese for the week so we decided on pasta. As we were waiting to be seated, Ahmad's cousin walked in with a bunch of his friends. Naturally we asked them to join us because one of the girls in their group was just drop dead gorgeous. It turned out that all these young girls and guys were grad students in UCLA. The discussion somehow ended up being about divorce >>>

The right to be left alone
Tina Ehrami

You and I are losing bits of our privacy everyday. Do we really need to be confronted with that much of our private lives when we personally do not choose to give it away voluntarily? The internet has made it possible to communicate more and more anonymously. Everyone can take your personal information and abuse it for their own sick purposes. A few days ago I read about this famous Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi whose personal sex video has been circulating on the internet! I really feel sorry for this poor woman. The thought of everyone-including your family- seeing you in such a position must be devastating >>>

Three tracks from Babak Mirzakhani's "Khaab" CD

Babak Khiavchi

Born in 1971 in Tehran, Babak Mirzakhani is a self-taught guitarist who first picked up the guitar in 1990. In 1996 started his university studies in Theater in which he performed as an actor, wrote music for student plays, directed two plays, and graduated with a B.A in 2000. After graduation he has acted as assistant director in several movies, and from 2002 has focused his efforts and music compositions on a theater troupe created by his collegue Jalal Tehrani. As of 2006 he has written scores for 7 plays and 3 movies, and was nominated for best soundtrack for the play "Hey Big Man Don't Cry" from the Fajr Art Festival >>>


Pray we would be safe
Nasser Palangi exhibit: "Women During the Iran and Iraq War"

Sanaz Fotouhi



L. Zarei

Zane edaami...
She changed her email address and tried to pose as another person

Masih Mazloum

Axis of Excellence
Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein's downfall in the same week


The good medicine which can cure disease usualy has nasty side effects which people have to bear in order to return to their healthy state. The Bush administration is like a bad medicine with pleasant side effects especially from an Iranian point of view, and by Iranian I don't mean the Islamic republic, rather the nation as whole, or as a friend of mine has so eloquently put it "the Axis of Excellence". The Taliban were thrown out of power, be it only officially as a bad treatment of the pain caused to the Americans on September 11th, with as side effect the reopening of schools to Afghan girls >>>


Lost city
Photo essay: Cambodia's ancient civilization at Angkor

Shahriar Nayeri

The last invasion
The argument that Iran historically has had friendly relations with its neighbors is ludicrous


I wonder if Daniel M. Pourkesali knows the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif. If he doesn't, they should definitely be introduced to each other, because Pourkesali claims "Iran has not attacked any of its neighbors in the last 250 years", and Zarif says, "for 250 years Iran has not invaded any country". "Attack", "invasion", "any neighbors", "any country", "Iran", "Persia", I don't care about the subtleties of words, I decided to learn about this last invasion. 250 years ago coincides with Zand Dynasty (1747-1787). Many territories of Persia, which was previously captured by the Ottoman Empire, were taken back by some kind of conflict, but relatively a peaceful era. In 1763 Karim Khan had allowed the British to establish a base and trading post in Bushehr, which opened the country to the British East India Company >>>

Sharing vs. tearing
Confessions of an Iranian narcissist

Shirin Saeidi

Aside from flabbergasting Iranian neo-conservatives aligned with the Bush administration and their sympathizers and apologists, Dr. Hamid Dabashi's recent article on Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran published in Al-Ahram Weekly fueled dialogue among Iranians in the Diaspora regarding their role and responsibilities as Iranian nationals living abroad. Through our action or inaction, and despite our religious, political, cultural, and social views, Dr. Dabashi reminded us, we have become a significantly influential factor in Iranian politics. And although he was not present at a discussion on "Iranian-American Identity" at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia a few weeks ago, Dr. Dabashi's premise in the Al-Ahram article was at the forefront of my thought >>>

A child has no religion
We should tear out all romantic falsification surrounding the veil

Azar Majedi

The question of the veil has become a heated debate in the British media. In this debate some fundamental principles seem to be at stake: Individual freedom to practice one's religion, freedom of choice, freedom of clothing and discrimination against a particular community, that is, the so-called Moslem community. Islamists and some human rights activists maintain that the so-called Moslem community is being stigmatized and have been under racist attack since September 11th. They argue that the latest attempts to ban burke or the nighab is a violation of individual freedom and another racist attack on Moslems. Let's examine these issues closer. Two events following one another brought up the question of the Islamic veil in the British media: Jack Straw's comment on the women wearing the nighab and the case of Aishah Azmi, a 24 year old support teacher, who was ordered to take off her full veil, including the nighab >>>

Nazri and Neocons
Azam Nemati

I had been looking forward to this day for 6 years. You should have seen the Republicans in my state lined up in a parking lot on both side to try and intimidate the voters. I stopped and shouted, "Don't you even go there. I am Iranian and will never vote Republican as long as I live here." They said "have a good day!" I even did the Persian Nazr and promised God if he intervenes and the Neocons get ousted, I will begin to exercise and lose weight >>>

Today is a good day
Bruce Bahmani

Like the first rat leaving the sinking ship, Donald Rumsfeld, the Robert McNamara of his time, resigned in total and utter shame today. He even looks like McNamara these days. I say shame, because I refuse to let him leave with even one scrap of the honor we are being sold by President Bush. And before he gest one, let me be the first to curse the medal he is about to receive for his "service". Of course, at the very moment when it is precisely too late to admit you were wrong, too late to admit you were warned by everyoen that you were wrong, the natural cowards way out of all this, is to quit and simply and try to quietly slink away from the very problems he hath wrought! Talk about cutting and running! >>>

It has been a wonderful experience
Kourosh Hangafarin, Mayoral Candidate, Imperial Beach California

Dear Friends, First of all, let me thank you for your support throughout the past few months. It has been a wonderful experience for me personally. Without your support none of this would have been possible. I believe that we were victorious in our campaign. We were able to discuss the serious issues and challenges we face as a community. We were able to challenge those who have failed to take real action and provide real solutions to these very real problems we face. And most importantly, we were able to engage in a conversation with the community about the future of our children and our city. Below are the election results >>>

Thanks to American Muslims
The importance of the immigrant Muslim vote in Virginia

Stetson Al Rigal

It was like being a kid again, I was waiting for the bending of time and space so Tuesday would come instantly. All day at work I kept looking at the clock waiting and waiting for the seconds to become minutes and the minutes to become hours, all in anticipation of Tuesday's election results. I did not care if the Republicans lost the House. I did not care if the Republicans lost the Senate. My only concern, desire and hope was for God to intervene in the course of history and produce a victory for James Webb and a defeat for George "I made up the word Maccaca" Allen. More on the historic Webb win later... Webb's narrow victory is historic not only in sending a message that Virginia is no longer the lackey of the Conservative Right, it is historic in that it signifies the importance of the Muslim vote in Virginia -- by Muslim I am referring to immigrant Muslim, indigenous Muslims and second/third Generation Muslims. For those of you that are repelled by the word Muslim, it also includes Iranians (secular or not) >>>


Beauty that can't be beat
Photo essay: Isfahan

Saba Parsa

Start with a discussion about peace
Ali Mostofi

With most of the vote in, it seems that with the conservative Democrats taking charge of the House, ironically George W Bush will actually have agreement in certain areas like immigration. The only real challenge to GWB will be San Fransiconian politics of Liberal Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Iranians will need her help to fight for women's rights in Iran. As the most Liberal Democrat she will have to keep the sanity of United States in the challenging times ahead. Go Nancy.... hit GWB hard! But alas, and ironically she has the most conservative bunch of Democrats she has had to deal with. So Centre Politics is King, and the moderates are now in charge. Extremism is off the table, unless it is provoked by some incident like 9/11 >>>

Edaamash nakonid
Killing Saddam Hussein is wrong -- and not in Iraq's intrerest

Ali Salari

15 minutes of dignity: Priceless!
Omid Parsi

NEW YORK -- Lately, as anyone deeply familar with the Iranian spirit could have predicted, there has been an outburst of passion from assorted commentators - literate ones too, amazingly - condemning Ms. Ansari's space travel and her ensuing "15 minutes of fame" as vane and extravagant. Indeed how could anyone spend twenty million or so "beezaboon" US$$ to fulfill a childish whim of spending a night in a cold space capsule?! What is more troubling to me however is the fact that it never ocurred to our big-hearted but small-minded Ansari-bashers that maybe the recognition she has received might somehow uplift all Iranians. After all, in case some of us have not realized, lately the world's general perception of Iranians is not something we could be all too proud of >>>

Unwavering fairness
Reza Bayegan

Unfortunately I never got to meet Shahla Samii. My contact with her was through e-mail and in connection with a political campaign waged by a few individuals who were hoping against hope and were using whatever last resources at their disposal to speak up against tyranny and injustice in their homeland. Shahla Samii was outstanding within this group for her sharp intelligence and her unwavering fairness of judgment. She never took a stance for the sake of pleasing this or that source of power or without first carefully and meticulously evaluating the merits and demerits of the case at hand. I remember her advising her friends 'Always speak with conviction, never sway from your principles' >>>


How things have always been
Photo essay: After being outside of Iran for quite some time, upon returning I found some things to be completely new and at times shocking and others quite old and familiar

G. Ali

What a strange people. They're still the same bastards. It's incredible. Lots of things in Iran have improved, but not people. They still have no regard for each others' rights. They're so porroo (does anyone have an English equivalent for this?) they put the Qazvini pumice stone to shame. They still rob you blind if they find the chance. They still stab you in the back just for the hell of it. They still lie like there's no tomorrow. And at the same time the same people can be their own exact opposite. They can give you favorite nation status without expecting anything in return >>>


It's that easy
Photo essay: Voting in U.S. elections

Jahanshah Javid

Prevent this disaster
International Committee to Save Pasargad

It is almost two years that thousands of people interested in the historical and cultural heritages of human kind have pleaded for your help to save a large part of archeologically unique sites of Iran, recognized as a part of human heritage, from complete destruction by the flooding of a Dam called Sivand. These threatened areas are comprised of Bolaghi Gorge, Pasargad Plains and the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great, the author of the first Human rights charter. According to reports prepared by excavators, geologists, environmentalists, archeologists and historians, all published inside Iran, flooding the Sivand Dam will not only destroy all the historical treasures of this area but it will also jeopardize the environment and agriculture of a vast region in Iran's Fars province >>>

The Neocon agenda
Daniel Pourkesali

Learning and memory are critical characteristics of human intelligence pervading all aspects of our interactions with each other and the world we live in. Unfortunately that does not seem to apply to most of the dumbed and numbed down American population today. As Mr. Bush and the rest of the politicians hail the late Iraqi leader's death sentence as a victory for the "new and democratic Iraq", no one seems to recall that crimes against Iraqis for which the butcher of Baghdad is being tried and convicted for, were carried out with full complacency of the west at a time when Mr. Hussein was considered a friend and ally of the very same powers who turned against him and brought such horrendous death and destruction on his nation that made his monstrous atrocities pale in comparison >>>

We want an apology
Firoozeh Derakhshani

1- Why is it absolutely necessary to get a word of apology from Saddam in the name of humanity? 2- Why do we Iranians demand Saddam confess to the injustice he committed when he deployed chemical weapons against the people of Iran? 3- Why is it necessary for Saddam to tell the court of justice who exactly armed him with chemical weapons and actualized such acts of cruelty against humanity? As an Iranian woman writer I have demanded the replies to the same issues since 1983 in Geneva at the United Nations Commission & Sub commission on Human Rights. The western diplomats turned a sour face when I distributed pictures or pamphlets with the chemical weapon victims brought to the Swiss hospitals >>>

Not just another international award
WAALM organizers putting community above themselves

Howard Lee

This is a tale of four Iranian doctors. There's an Iranian shopkeeper in here too, but that would have made the title too long. Of course, the tale isn't so much about the doctors (or the shopkeeper for that matter) as it is about you. Yes, you. The first pair of doctors: This story was told to me by my wife who witnessed the event. In a large hospital ñ it doesn't matter in which of Iran's cities - a child is crying with pain. He had just had his tonsils removed. The child's father does his best to calm the boy without success. So he asks the two male doctors what can be done to ease the child's pain. The doctors take in the father's clothes and thick accent, and mentally mark him down as a 'dehati'. "Bring ice cream!" they say >>>


Paintings: Models in artist's studio

Saeed Siadat

A class apart
Fereydoun Hoveyda belonged to a generation of Iranian Intellectuals and art lovers who were to pave the road for some of today's brilliant Iranian artists

Darius Kadivar

Much will be said and written about the Hoveyda brothers in History books as well as on their moral and political legacy that was nurtured by brotherhood love that transcended the tragic death of elder Amir Abbas in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979... I had the honor of corresponding with him several times to talk about art and his experience in films. I have to say that I came across a man who despite the great ups and downs of life came across as not only brilliant but also a man of taste with a great sense of humor. Of all his articles and books he wrote I should say that I was mostly intrigued by those that were related to films >>>

Striking a chord
For decades men in America, including Iranian-American men, have been suffering in silence
Lance Raheem

There was a time when the virtue of masculinity was celebrated in society. There was a time when men weren't ashamed to look like men, to talk like men, to act like men... .to be men. Now, in today's Emasculate Conception culture, what do you find? If a man wants to be accepted by women today, he has to be feminized, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and to some extent, even, physically. Ten years ago no one on planet earth had ever heard of a metrosexual. Now you find them everywhere. While they aren't gay, there is still something that is very unsettling about how effeminate they behave. Am I the only one who thinks it's unnatural that straight men woul want to have a facial and a pedicure, or would want to wear male eyeliner? These poor souls are not only more interested in shopping at pretty-boy boutiques than sitting down to watch a good fight on TV, they are more interested in a good sale at the mall than their sisters, mothers or wives are. North America has turned into a continent of sissies and it's turning Iranian-American men into a bunch of sissies, too >>>

In the name of your god
Payam Ghassemlou

It scares me to know what you can do in the name of your god. Throughout human history, you have committed so many atrocities in the name of your god like hanging gays in public, stoning lesbians to death, shaming AIDS patients, blowing yourself up in a crowded bus, crashing airplanes into buildings, bombing refuge camps, invading countries and stealing their oil reserves. You can even rape children, torture prisoners, commit hate crimes, pollute the oceans, and experiment on animals for your research in the name of your god... A cure or healing for our collective maladies needs to include teachings of leaders like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King . When Gandhi was working toward India's liberation, he never said I hate England; instead, he loved and advocated for independence. Dr. King never advocated hatred for white people; rather, he expressed equality for all people >>>

Azam shot into space
Faramarz Fateh

Flordia, Dec. 18, 2010 (Iranian News Network) -- To celebrate the first decade of the new millennium, Iranian Americans paid $6 million to the Russian Space Agency to send Azam Nemati permanently to Space Station III, which has been in orbit since last year. Half of the expense was donated by Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist. Nemati is a 60-year-old Iraian woman who has been suffering from various psychological issues since she was a teenager. One example is her view on how she looks >>>

Engineering error
Kayvan Mobini

Why we are born through the pain of a woman and then die in pain and turn into dust? Wouldn't it have been more realistic and better if we were born from dust as an old person with children, carried through life to get a clock for the retirement, a few more years and we would be younger finding ourselves married and going through its ups and downs just to reach the honeymoon period at the end of it, and before you know it a few more years and we would become single, enjoying the freedom of roaming and planting our seeds all over the garden, then a few more years and we would be teenagers enjoying the drugs and the booze with expenses paid by our parents, a little more in time and would be children, playful and away from hardship of life, some time more in time and we would be babies suckling mothers breast and after that we would go out into nothingness in a big ORGASM, wouldn't that have been more enjoyable and more realistic than the way we are now!? >>>


Miss you
Photo essay: London's Neal Street

Parima Shahin Moghaddam

International man
A. Jayranpour

Fereydoun Hoveyda, the former Ambassador and permanent representative of Iran to the United Nations died at his home in Virginia on November 3, 2006 at the age of 82. As a young Iranian diplomat, he was involved in the preparatory work for the San Francisco Conference that adopted the Charter of the U.N. (1945) In 1947 and 1948 he participated in the drafting and voting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was the last living signer of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights... As an artist Hoveyda, in his many shows in the U.S., developed a new technique of "papiers collÈs," leaving a very narrow white space between papers. In the words of Andy Warhol, "Hoveyda combines his literary sensitivity, his cinematic instinct, and his international experience, to create images that are beautiful, perceptive, and funny." >>>

Music across the globe
Shayan Italia

My name is Shayan Italia and I am the artist/songwriter of the forthcoming album DELIVERANCE. I also happen to be a Zoroastrian. I am pleased to mention that I have now signed a worldwide digital distribution deal to have the album distributed ONLINE in over 25 countries as of July 23rd 2006. In light of the above I wish to make all Zoroastrians across the globe aware of the same... I really want to get Zoroastrians across the world to be a part of this unique project. If you can help in any way spread the word, i.e. recommend the music, or contemplate writing about this project so that other Zoroastrians may read about it, I would be most grateful >>>

Your smile
Learning how to feel

Tahereh Tavous

I have been living in your sterile, white world for a month now. As I am sitting across from you, waiting for them to wheel you in, I cannot tell if you are smiling back at my sorry attempt at feigned happiness or frowning, because the yellow hospital mask is a shroud over your mouth. I can feel the tears again so I have to stop. Think. Think. THINK. Come on- think of something happy. Something beautiful. Colorful, real thoughts to distract from the white sterility that surrounds us. I don't have to, because I see the corners of your eyes crinkle into a smile. Your smile. The same one from when we were little girls years ago. Your smile always makes me smile, and again you save me >>>

Een ferekaanse beechaareh raa rahaa konid
The ultimate Googoosh fan


Vote out the Petropublics
Cyrus Mossaddegh

It is absolutely critical that normally Republican voting Iranian-Americans change their voting habit on Tuesday and play a part in keeping in check the power of the Petropublics. Why? Because your vote has a direct bearing on Iran's future. What has happened to Iraq can easily happen to Iran. If you think regime change through military force is the correct path, then you are a stooge of the Petropublics, and are betraying fellow Iranians, especially those that support non-violent paths. What are my reasons for stating the above? My reasons are based on a great deal of supporting documents that Republicans almost never read as they are too busy listening to Rush Limbaugh and fellow cretins like him. If you are prepared to get informed then there is a very good chance you will arrive at the conclusion that military force is not the right solution, and based on this conclusion it is necessary that you not vote for Republicans on Tuesday, or at least sit this election out >>>

Dine elaahi
Ajab lotfi beh maa kardi

Abdolreza Heydari

Are you a snake?
The scratched barks of trees are my rain-soaked letter

Partow Nooriala

Baaziye kooseh va rishe pahn
Islamic strategist Saeed Hajjarian's secular claims

Esmail Nooriala

Ready, and able?
Ahmadinejad: More than missiles and manoeuvres
Meir Javedanfar

"Mishavad va mitavanim". It is possible and we can do it. That was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election slogan. It had a positive ring to it. Many of his young supporters liked it, because it sounded optimistic. A 'can do' attitude was what many were looking for, because Iranians were tired of geriatric Ayatollahs who were much better at creating problems than solving them. The recent manoeuvres in Iran bear the hallmarks of not just Iran's defensive doctrine, but also Ahmadinejad's personality. Ahmadinejad considers himself as very calm and confident. When presented with a challenge or a problem, he doesn't just bark back. He prefers to present his answer in a very cool and controlled manner. This has been visible during many of his interviews. The famous Mike Wallace interview is a prime example. Even though it was Wallace who was presenting the tough and sometimes provocative questions, it was him who got flustered and lost his cool, not Ahmadinejad >>>


Last summer
Photo essay: My trip to Iran

Ben Bagheri

Money doesn't buy you brains
Let little Anousheh have her purchased 15 minutes of fame until she can buy her way to another venture

Azam Nemati

It is amazing that some Iranian housewives who are uneducated and being supported by the husband think the rest of us are jealous of Ansari. I have no idea why we would be jealous because she is not prettier or smarter or even more attractive than most of us. As for her money, we are not jealous because we know she comes from a family with money. We want all our fellow Iranians to be well off but we also hope that they have hearts to use their excess money to make a difference in the world. I have a bet with my friends (and I am right 99% of the time) that Ansari was very unattractive and boring as a teen-ager she still seems quite boring and lacks wit and charm >>>

Competing with skunks
Skunk spray is not only incredibly stinky, it's also notoriously difficult to get rid of

Sophie Saviour

I live in the heart of downtown but still pretty close to wildlife. That's what I like best about the city I live in: wild animals freely walking down the street and feeling safe without anyone trapping, hurting or eating them. At least not yet! Being close to the wild has its own wild sides though. Last week I noticed a very foul and persistent smell which kept me awake for quite a while. The next night, the same smell filled my place around mid-night. It was really difficult to sleep and I was unable to find the source of it. A couple of nights later, while walking home around mid-night, I noticed a beautiful creature with a white stripe on its back >>>

Prior to the capture of Babylon
Evidence that King Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther was Cyrus II

Darren Thompson

Most theologians believe that the name Ahaseurus refers to Xerxes and the rationale for this conclusion is as follows . Ahasuerus in the ancient Hebrew language would look like Akhashverosh. The original Persian name for Xerxes would look like Khshayarsh. These scholars argue that Khsharyarsh can be converted to Akhashverosh in two steps. First add an "a" in front of "Kh" and between "Kh" and "sh" to make the word more pronounceable then replace the "y" with "ve". According to scholars his greek name, Xerxes, evolved in the following manner: Khshayarsh=Khshersh= Kserks+es=Xerxes. Allow me to suggest a more alternative explanation that I believe is more straight forward >>>


Born again
Photo essay: Halloween in Toronto, Canada

Sadaf Kiani


Turning up the volume
Photo essay: Intergalactic Iranian Music Festival, Zaandam, Holland


Eternity has past
She had the respect of everyone because she respected everyone


An eternity has past, time stopped, started and became irrelevant. Suddenly things are not the same anymore, a dyke has broken, a bridge has failed, an unsinkable ship has slipped beneath the waves; what was terra firma is now a swamp. Wednesday morning nine o'clock the phone rings. I'm on my way out of the apartment to my office, thinking a line of poetry that I can't quite get right. I know who to ask, it is my mom, she know the rest of the line so why should a I worry. She always knows the poetry, in fact we have had long discussions about poets and what is attributed to one is accurate or not. Kind of esoteric stuff that goes on in literature classes but with less intensity. That's the word, intensity, discussions with mom are always intense, she has her world view and she stands by it >>>

So I ask you; Where is the outrage? Where is the dissent? This is U.S. of A! Isn't it!!?


This is a story about a fictional character. Fictional only because I don't know his name. Fictional because although I am sure of his existence, as I am sure we can not be the only living presence in the universe, I do not know of his precise whereabouts or the exact details of his life. But I can tell you that he exists and like the rest of us lived a normal life, based on whatever standards that is considered normal wherever you happen to be. There are billions of people around the world with each having their own personal story. Stories that mostly go untold; just or unjust. This is his story. I can tell it >>>

Heading toward failure
Excitement over Anousheh Ansari's space travel has overshadowed the fact that 20 million dollars could have saved many people on earth

Ben Madadi

I was just watching a video on YouTube. The reason I went to see the video was first because I heard about it, and second, because I've so long been thinking about what is going on in Iraq that it was necessary for me to make a better analysis. It was a video, insurgent video, showing how snipers were shooting down American soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers seemed so unable to do anything, it was so much hunting-style. It was really disturbing. Unfortunately I do not understand Arabic so I did not get the whole point of the propaganda. There is so much video like this out there. More than three years after the invasion of Iraq and the bloodshed is getting worse >>>


From Shiraz to Belgrade
Photo essay: Impressions from my recent trips to Iran, Switzerland and Serbia

Shirin Vazin

Spiritual friction

Several months ago, one of our neighbours invited us to join them for an informal class or series of classes on spirituality and virtues along with socialization, breaking bread etc. My neighbours are Iranian Bahais, very nice but generally boring people, so I thought. Because I was busy with playing poker most nights, my wife and kids started going to these classes without me. I noticed that every Tuesday night, all of them make sure they are home on time so they can go to these classes called 'Ruhi Institute" on time. My boys are 13 and 16. So, being the normal Iranian dad, I thought they are going to these classes because a) there were cute girls there or b) the food was good. But why was my wife also so crazy about these classes?! I was hoping she is not going because of good looking men >>>

Beh jorme sangdeli
Excitement over Anousheh Ansari's space travel has overshadowed the fact that 20 million dollars could have saved many people on earth

Fariba Moghadam

Proliferation of misinformation
Hate is not something "they" have and "we" don't

Nima Kasraie

I think hardly anyone nowadays would disagree that The United States does not ever go to war unless the idea of war is successfully sold to the public. But since when has Journalism become a tool for selling war to the public? Since when has the mainstream media been integrated into a platform for justifying pre-emptive attacks on other countries? What foul stupidity has befallen the infowaves of this great nation of America? Up until recent times, we had the likes of Daniel Pipes and Amir Taheri constantly trying to demonize Iran and Iranians in every possible way so as to prevent any infinitesimally minute possibility of a diplomatic detente between Tehran and Washington. But now, here we are in 2006, with no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, and the Gods of War are once again gearing up to sell yet another war to the American public, this time against Iran >>>

By far the most comprehensive study of Sarbadar history

Ranin Kazemi

This book is a major contribution to the scholarship on the forty-five-year history of the Sarbadar dynasty. The dynasty came to power in fourteenth-century Khurasan when the Ilkhanid government of northeastern Iran, after the death of 'Abu Sa'id, had disintegrated into several local domains. In this book, John Smith goes through a variety of literary and numismatic sources, compiles their relevant historical facts, and reconstructs the political development of the period (736-82/1336-81). In so doing, he provides a critical analysis of the primary literature, develops methods to overcome their inconsistencies, and produces a chronology as well as a coherent account of different episodes in Sarbadar history >>>

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