>>> Archive
September 2006


Armored goddesses

Saeed Siadat

Running on the edge

Khaled Hosseini’s "The Kite Runner" reveals plight of women in Islamic countries and gives ammunition to Western hawks
Homayoun Abghari

Despite its dramatic portrayal of life in Afghanistan mainly before the communist takeover and less emphatically during and after the Russian occupation, Khaled Hosseini’s novel “The Kite Runner,” which has won vast literary acclaim in the west, and specially here in the United States, is for the most part a depiction of Afghan life and culture through the lens of an American. More specifically speaking, the writer describes life and political events of Afghanistan in a way that can appeal to the American perception of how life must have been, or is, in Afghanistan. Some writers are just lucky to coincide with certain events and political trends. Very few people remember Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his Gulag Archipelago. But Solzhenitsyn won international fame and prestige and even a Noble Peace Prize in the 1970’s simply because he got a free ride – well not quite very free - on the wave of the Cold War that landed him on the shore of great world renown and acknowledgement >>>

Money exchange in Hamadan
Rami Yelda

Hamadan is another dull and overcrowded modern Iranian city. The center of town is the Emam Khomeini meydan with six streets radiating from it. Around the square circulated hordes of horn-blowing Paykans. To the city's credit, visually pleasing old Qajar-era buildings were situated in a circle around the square. On the northeastern corner was an ugly, boxy building, new and white, ruining the whole architectural composition of the square. This was the central bank that I was looking for to change money. In the recent past money had been exchanged illegally on the black market. Now the government has legalized the exchange of foreign currencies and even publishes the official daily rates. In Tehran, I had exchanged money in the street without any difficulties >>>

Getting what you deserve

An educated, successful, and beautiful woman who is ridiculously falling for a "loser" and suffering -- for what?
Sophie Saviour

I am just a simple woman who loves to be treated nice and be pampered from time to time. But for God's sake, as a woman, grown up in that environment, I've come a long way and should have learned one or two things during my journey! Finding excuses for the guy -- thinking that he may have been abused, or hurt badly before, or he may be shy -- is what all women ordinarily do. They even feel sorry for him in case he has some physical issues (you know what I mean). But these are all lame excuses. The same loser, when he sees a sluty girl who doesn't really respect him, and treats him like dirt, changes his attitude! Suddenly Mr. Afsordeh behaves like "Assdollah Mirza"! Boy, it IS funny, isn't it? >>>

Back to (religious) school

New school year in Iran
Jahanshah Rashidian

The new academic year started last week and schools in Iran open for about 15 million school pupils. As expected, the government of Ahmadinejad has planned new measures of islamisation -- Education Ministry announced a ban on male teachers from girl schools. Furthermore, “all students have to take part in the daily ritual in communal halls”, state-run media reported. As reflected in the decisive restriction of Islamic norms, according to state media and forceful calls of Hardliners, Tehran police Chief Brigadier General Morteza Tala’i announced the formation of a new “Youth Police” which will be present in schools across the city. This extra police are in place to mainly enforce measures of gender segregation, against non-Islamic attitudes and especially to threaten school girls who are considered to be “bad hijab”. The idea of definitive gender segregation is the main obsession of the IRI >>>


Ramazan postcards

Photo essay
Amir Normandi

The rasa of nothingness

In the ruins of his conquered lands
Leila Farjami

A bodyguard of lies

U.S. pretexts for war against Iran
Ardeshir Ommani

To build its case for war with Iraq, just as in its current claims against Iran, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But even then, countless principled individuals in position of authority in the U.S. and around the world laid bare the truth that the U.S. ruling class led by the White House had another reason for war: U.S. unconditional control over the oil resources of the Middle East as a crucial stepping stone in its way towards global dominance. In fact, the U.S. government was lying then, and it is lying now about Iran's nuclear weapons' ambitions >>>

The first encounter

Book excerpt: A different interpretation of the Greek-Persian wars
Dmitry V Shlapentokh

This is a history of a man, one of countless billions, who has lived and died on this planet.  This is the history of Themistocles – the history of a politician who lived in Greece 2500 years ago.  He is of importance to us, for it is he who first leads his Greeks against the Persians; it is he who leads the first democracy against the first truly global despotic empire.  Thus, it was a  war not only of personal triumph, but of the triumph of democracy against the regime of despotism.  In the views of Western historians (and it was they who dominated the field), the Greeks could not but be victorious, for democracy and political liberties were viewed to be not just as a goal in itself, not just as the bright future of humanity, but as prerequisite for political might itself.  Therefore, the Greeks’ victory was inevitable, and therefore too, Themistocles’ personal misfortune was to be no more than a personal tragedy.  This work suggests a different interpretation of events >>>

Khiaabaane Third Street

I met him at a party
Sheida Mohamadi


Lightly dark

Naveed Nour's photography
Ali Hosseini

The Shahnameh

Every time one of my Persian American or Persian Canadian friends goes home to Iran for a visit they always ask me what I would like them to bring me back for a present
Brian Appleton

last summer the younger sister of one of my dearest Persian expat friends brought me back a beautiful illustrated copy of the Shahnameh. I had never read it although I had heard references to it for many decades. I made several false starts but now I have finally started reading it in ernest and it is filled with the very sort of rise and fall of individuals, kingdoms, lovers, prosperity and pestilence, war and peace, intrigue and goodness... for generation after generation after generation, which is the very sort of thing I started this essay by talking about it. To read a classic about this gives me hope that humanity will survive and overcome the IRI, the Bush administration and the Zionists... just like we have lived to watch the rise and fall of the USSR in our life times and the independence of Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Ukraine and on and on and on which is still unbelievable to me... as was the reunification of Germany... >>>

A few skeletons in the closet

Let me enumerate some abuses and quote some personal anecdotes about the treatment of minorities in Iran
Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar

For better or for worse, Ms. Nemati’s experience with real or perceived treatment of religious minorities since the Revolution is non-existent. Ms. Nemati clearly points out that she has been living in the US since 1978. Hence, she could not have had any first hand experience. She also does not strike me as someone who cares for or understands data and research. Thus the essence of her article is that she “believes” that there is no systematic abuse of rights of religious minorities in Iran. Let me enumerate some abuses and quote some personal anecdotes. I have to add that based on my personal experience in Iranian school system in 1980s and in military and university system in 1990s, the majority if not all the points raised by Ms. Hakim-Bastanian in "Sad and Shameful" are accurate. I would like to know how Ms. Nemati considers the following as fair treatment of religious minorities >>>

Wars and debts and taxes

Wars have eaten away at our liberty, crippled our economy, intensified our national debt and shamed our image as the "land of the free."
Michael Boldin

Recently, an Associated Press report reaffirmed to me that the leadership of the two major political parties in America are totally in favor of continuing war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The Senate agreed to spend an additional $63 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as lawmakers passed a massive bill that funds the Pentagon. The bill sailed through by a vote of 98-0. I was immediately reminded of a common sense observation by Thomas Paine: "In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes." Interestingly enough, that doesn't sound much different than what we experience today! >>>


Reshteh & Koshkar

Photo essay: A little known but favorite Shomali Ramazan treat
Mohammad Ala


Shot by shot

Photo essay: Iran & Iranians
Alireza Aghakhany

The root of all these causes

To avoid an endless cycle of terrorism you have to address the root abuses
Nema Milaninia

Before I begin let me state that I agree completely with assessments made by the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on “Trends in Global Terrorism.” One thing that struck me, however, was the following conclusion: “Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq “jihad;” (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims-all of which jihadists exploit” I have two points: First, the report ignorantly uses the word “jihad” to define a set of circumstances which counter what Muslims traditionally view to be a jihad >>>

Creating waves

On Forugh Farrokhzad's short documentary "The House is Black"
Jason Price

This essay explores Forugh Farrokhzad’s 1962 lyrical short documentary about a leprosarium in Azerbaijan.  I contend that The House is Black marks an important moment in the history of documentary film, despite its relative obscurity.  In my assessment of Farrokhzad’s film I hope to: (1) offer a comprehensive textual and structural analysis of the film; (2) locate the film in Farrokhzad’s greater, yet tragically abbreviated, body of work; (3) assess the impact of The House is Black on the much talked about “New Wave” of Iranian Cinema; and finally (4) evaluate the film in the broader field of the documentary tradition.  Such an essay, to my surprise, has yet to have been written and widely circulated in the English language >>>

Besides censorship

In her treasury of interviews with the world’s leading writers and filmmakers, Judy Stone devotes a dozen or so chapters to Iranian artists
Ari Siletz

In the year 2000 I went to see Abbas Kiarostami receive the Akira Kurosawa award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The famed director thanked the organizers, then surprised everyone by giving away his prize to veteran Iranian actor Behrooz Vosooghi. Six years later while reading Judy Stone's new book Not Quite a Memoir I was thrilled to see this small yet extraordinary event preserved in writing. For over four decades it seems whenever there has been a quality International film, Judy Stone has been there to create portraits of the artists that created those works of art. In her treasury of interviews with the world’s leading writers and filmmakers, Stone devotes a dozen or so chapters to Iranian artists >>>

Constant conflict

Despite their different histories, no matter who has occupied present day territories of Iran and Iraq, the two nations have always gone to war with each other
Mazi Bahadori

While I was watching TV a few days ago, I turned the channel to CNN and saw, in bold letters printed at the bottom of screen, "Iraq cozying up to Iran". Wolf Blitzer was interviewing President Bush, asking him about the Iraqi Prime Minister's recent trip to Tehran. I didn't think much of it, so I turned to FOX News. About ten minutes later, a commentator asked an analyst on the show if he felt Iran and Iraq were getting too close and too friendly. But these discussions should not come as a surprise. Iran is making the news much more these days and so the networks need to talk about something on their shows. However ridiculous the notion of an Iran-Iraq love fest may be, the media insists on talking about it at every opportunity. Hopefully, the public can sift through this silly idea and see what is truly underneath Iran and Iraq's relationship. Maybe a bit of history will help >>>

Life is ultimately about choice

In response to Parkhash's "Nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami": This unfair "resentment" toward Ms Ansari is in the same class of vituprative comments that were hurled a few years ago at an Iranian singer who did not sing "Khalidj-e Fars" at a concert in Dubai, and at Aghdashlou for portraying a terrorist's wife while pursuing her quest as an actress. Now as it was then, it is nobody's business what a person does with one's money or time or desire to blast off into space. The people who begrudge her pursuit, for whatever reason, should pause for a moment and think that life is ultimately about one's individual choice and the freedom to make it. A person has written to a few of the readers of this site and disclosed that he was her teacher and gave her an inferior grade. He then has the audacity to call 99.99% of the Iranians "kolahbardar" (dishonest) and yet sees nothing wrong in breaching confidentiality of a former student's grade. No wonder we are so fucked up as a nation -- we know best for everyone else! >>> 60 more letters



Geometric haze

Homa Khoshbin

Digeh oon dokhtare 20 saale pish neestam

I'm not the girl from 20 years ago
Masih Mazloum

Fast-forward man

Interview with Jim Muir, who has reported from the Middle East for more than 20 years
Peyvand Khorsandi

The BBC journalist Jim Muir is currently in Baghdad. Before that he was in Scotland, stealing a couple of weeks' rest after reporting the war in Lebanon -- having just come from Iraq. For more than 20 years the Middle East has been his territory. From 1999 to 2004 he reported from Tehran where he successfully trod the tightrope of reporting the truth while not falling foul of the authorities. For many Iranians, his name remains as synonymous with Iran as Mark Tully's is with India. Below he outlines why he still chooses to operate in life -- threatening circumstances -- why he doesn’t eat lamb and his favourite Persian nosh >>>

Thank you mom

Whether your mom is a famous singer or just a house wife remember they have done everything they can to raise us right
Borzoo Yazdanfar

Recently I was blessed with the news that my mother was coming to visit me. I hadn't seen her for almost 2 and a half years. I couldn't Wait any longer the anticipation was killing me. You all know her as ELAHE, well at least anyone who grew up in Iran does, I know her as mom or maman. When I tell people who she is, the first reply is "oh, Elahe she's an icon, I remember her from when I was a little girl..." an so on". And usually I'm thinking (lady you've got to be at least 20 or 30 years older than my mom!), then I had to remember that my mom has been singing for 40 years and I'm 32 and still her little baby boy, so it all makes sense again >>>

How to defuse Moslem anger
Siamack Baniameri

A Catholic co-worker asked what would it take for Moslems to forgive Pope Benedict for the offensive remarks he made about Islam. I told her that I'm not speaking for all Moslems, but watching the Pope getting circumcised live on Al-Jazeera TV performed by the Islamic Republic's ambassador to the Vatican... that will defuse my anger.

I'm scheduled to appear in court for sexual harassment. I'm really angry right now.

Mamal Amirkaie

Khatami on a mission to foment velvet Islamic revolution in America
Alef Refugee


Anzali to Ardabil

Photo essay: Road trip
Maziar Behrooz

Any good journalists left?

(Questions that were not asked from Ahmadinejad)

Last week we witnessed Ahmadinejad's theatrical performance in UN lecturing US and rest of the world on peace, justice, freedom of expression and importance of democracy through democratic referendums. When asked about his comments regarding existence of state of Israel he suggested a referendum in what is known as Palestine to decide the faith of the state of Israel. I listened and read most of the text to Mahmood's interviews with US journalists such as Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams, Mike Wallis and other network anchors, and I'm sad to say that my 80 year old mother, who could barely read and write, could have done a much better job asking president of Iran more serious and relevant questions >>>

True two-face

Iran vs. world community
Sohrab Ferdows

United Nations general assembly came and went while different parts of the world are suffering from violence, poverty and injustice imposed on them mostly by the corrupted systems that falsely represent the people in those regions. The major issue which was brought in the focus of the world in this event, was the problem that world is facing as a result of irresponsible behaviors of Islamic regime in our country, Iran. After wasting so many months through endless negotiations between EU and U.S from one side and Islamic regime of Iran from the other side, and after passing of the deadlines determined by international community, world is yet to see a solution to this matter. Iranian people who are suffering under extreme brutalities of Islamic theocratic regime and paralyzed by deep corruption of the system, have chosen to wait and see how international community deal with these self appointed representatives of god on earth >>>

Suggested apology letter

To my brethren in Islam, I offer my sincere apology to Prophet Mohammad not because I am afraid of street hoodlums, but because it's not nice to talk behind the back of deceased people. To the mobs of thugs who poured onto the streets, rioted, set my effigies on fire, burned down churches, murdered a nun, and showed their true nature I say this: May your parents mourn your expiration for you are essentially two ugly groups: First those of you who are the paid agents of your countries' corrupt dictators, imams, ayatollahs, and muftis; and then those of you who are nothing but a bunch of ignorant idiots who get offended by anything that is not you. You don't even have the brains to understand that you cannot be violent in order to prove that you and your religion are not violent (although I doubt that's your intended message.) So may both groups rot at the bottom of hell's septic tank, and if you go to the paradise, may each one of you be given seventy two virgins that have PMS for eternity >>>

Over and under the veil

An analysis of women’s body image pre and post evolution
Mahnoosh Nik-Ahd

With each historical event, society evolves with some continuity and some change. Camron Michael Amin has said, “Assessing the degrees of continuity and change in any given period is the essential burden of the historian”. The Iranian revolution of 1979, too, brought some change in the status of women, but the objectification of Iranian women’s bodies has maintained its legacy even past the revolution. When discussing Qassim Amin’s The Liberation of Women, Leila Ahmed says that his book is based on the thesis of “changing customs regarding women and changing their costume”. Although the Islamic revolution has made hijab compulsory in Iran since 1979, hijab still does not separate Iranian women from the West. Rather, hijab has been used incognito to embellish the status quo before the revolution and to continue to objectify the bodies of Iranian women >>>

Doing business, Iranian style

Judging by my infrequent encounter with Iranian businesses in Vancouver not much has changed in the way Iranians do business with each other
Asghar Massombagi

When dealing with Iranian businesses you must first throw away all that you have learned about business etiquette in North America. You mustn't ask too many questions lest you offend the other party. You must certainly not ask about the exact cost, time of delivery or condition your merchandize will arrive in. At the beginning doing business resembles a rendezvous with a lover, fraught with all the trepidations, tender gestures and kind suggestions. Once a few years ago at an Iranian notary public recommended by a friend, after the proprietor, an elderly gentleman with a sour puss, had typed and sealed the invitation I was to send to my mother in Iran for her tourist visa application, I asked the man for his fee. He of course responded with the customary "it's not worthy of you." I was tempted to walk out just to see how far the old man would go to collect his fee >>>

A letter to the war kids

Your lukewarm tears are mine, And my butterfly laughter is yours
Ashish Thakur

Bibi Abipoosh

The devastated woman of the Middle East
Pouran Farrokhzad

Emshab yek niloufar beh maah khireh mishavad

A lilly will gaze at the moon tonight
Massoud Vatankhahi

Ay khatoon

Naghmeye khaamooshe bidaaraane eshgh
Habib Shokati

Post-enghelab trees

In this ancient belly dance their bodies curve around the air
Baharak Sedigh


Looking through cathedrals made of numbers, not faith


When the sun shines on your face
Reza Eslami

To all Iranian women

Set me free
Sarah Barzmehri


Gaze at nature

Photo essay
Azadeh Azad

Nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami

Let me make it simple for you: Let's assume that, Anousheh Ansari, is a brilliant, super intelligent, hardworking, ambitious, business guru and possesses all the positive features that you may wish to attribute to her... The fact that every average worker in the country, be it a civil servant, a teacher, or a nurse, must have three jobs in a day to make ends meet may go unnoticed by the Iranian settlers of the United States who left their troubled homeland behind and arrived in the land of opportunity to make their American dreams a reality, but it is adding insult to injury to suggest that Ms Ansari, is in any way representing her homeland by paying an astronomical sum of $20 million to realise her dream of a space adventure. What consolation is that to all the down and out of her impoverished homeland? >>>

Space tourist & the Islamic Republic

On Anousheh Ansari's commercial space travel
Omid Masoudi

Historic ties

More observations on the history of Iranian clergy & their roots in southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala


Boston tea party for Khatami

Photo essay: Anti-Iran, anti-Khatami and anti-war protesters greet Khatami at Harvard
Shahab Nadiyar

Take five

I recently came across an Indo-European Etymological Database containing lots of interesting stuff about word origins. Eat your heart out Guive!
Shahriar Zahedi

All this talk of impending war and doom and gloom and the Pope's all-too-German statements and the President's threats and the Wahhabis' jihadists and the UN addresses and nuclear this and the nuclear that and Fidel's disease and Raul's unease at the podium and the NPT and the IAEA and the coup in Siam, all and all, have really got me down. I say let's take a break. What do you say? I recently came across an Indo-European Etymological Database containing lots of interesting stuff about word origins. Eat your heart out Guive! Browsing through the Proto-Celtic section, I found a number of words eerily similar to Persian. I had always thought that the country names Eye-ran and Eye-rland sounded so close, but comparing the red-faced, red-haired Irish to the olive-skinned, dark-haired Iranians, one fails to notice any other similarity between the two peoples >>>

People without a country

We have relied on ourselves for survival, and this mentality remains as necessary today in diaspora as it did when we were in Iran
Ramond Takhsh

I am an Assyrian from Iran. My parents left Iran in 1979, three years before I was born; and so I have never been there. Assyrians from Iran constituted a small percentage of the Iranian population before 1979: the 1976 census indicated the number at 32,000, although I can tell you this figure is mostly likely an underestimate (most likely, above 40,000). Most Assyrians have left Iran since the establishment of the IRI, leaving the estimated current population at around 10,000 – 15,000... As a people without a country, Assyrians have kept their identity alive for thousands of years through one primary means: the Assyrian Aramaic language. The language is the heart that keeps the Assyrian nation pumping – a lifeline, if you will. Now this is not to say that Assyrians are insulting the Iranian identity by not speaking Farsi, as Ms. Nemmati clearly implies. However, Iranians must remember that tiny ethno-religious minorities like Assyrians have a special need to keep their unique cultural, linguistic, and religious identities in an ocean of Islam >>>


We knew that the best words were the ones that came out of silence
Siamak Vossoughi

We were talking about the things we always talk about, and the whole of it had the effect of making us think about who we were, and about what it was going to mean to keep living in the world we had around us, and we knew it was a world that had a lot of love in it, but things got to a point sometimes when all we could do was sit and be brown together, Iranians and Mexicans, and be glad about that. It was a nice color, it was a lot nicer than anything that deserved bombs or pesticides, we knew that much for sure. We were all used to running around trying to make something out of life that elevated brownness, but it was a good feeling to see how full it was to sit and be who we were together, and it didn't need elevation because there was only one truth >>>


Money buys you love

Photo essay: Top bands play for top company
Arash Mahmoudi

Topless dancer
Siamack Baniameri

I read somewhere that Iranian-American space tourist, Anousheh Ansari, has claimed to be the ambassador of goodwill for Iranian nation in space. Excuse me, but I don't recall voting for her to become my representative in space... If I have a choice to vote for an ambassador that would represent my country in space, I would elect a topless dancer. That's right folks, a topless dancer should be the Iranian ambassador to space. You ask why? I say why not! First off, a topless dancer would have enjoyed a huge discount. I'm sure that cosmonauts Yuri and Boris would have pitched in and picked up the tab just to spend a few days bouncing around with a topless dancer. Additionally, it would have been so much fun to have an Iranian topless dancer in space. Imagine the global confusion... People around the world would have scratched their heads and asked: what in the world are these crazy Iranians up to now? Why can't we figure these people out?  It just would have been so much fun >>>

Letter to Mr. Ganji

Your well-intentioned letter is addressing the people of a nation that are being scared into giving up their liberties in exchange for security
Daniel M Pourkesali

I read with interest your earnest appeal in "Letter to America" posted in Washington Post today. I appreciate and share many of the views you've expressed and the necessary measures needed to ease tensions between Iran and the United States. I also fully understand your lingering bitterness and bias against Iranian government which is a natural reaction to your unjust and gratuitous 6-year long incarceration. What I found perplexing was your total lack of acknowledgement of the human rights violations you so vehemently abhor by the country your letter addresses. If you had an opportunity to keep up with or catch up on world affairs, United States in particular, in the last few years, you would be shocked to learn that those very rights are under attack and flagrantly violated in America today >>>

An Iranian week
Peyvand Khorsandi

This week, Iran’s “humble” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian spaced-out tourist. In a visit to the United States, he repeated his claim that Palestinians did not perpetrate the Holocaust, and that Israel should in fact be occupying Germany. His speech to the United Nations general assembly was met my rapturous applause – by the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Chavez also made a speech, while wielding a copy of Noam Chomsky’s latest book, American Poo. He in turn was met by rapturous applause – by President Ahmadinejad >>>

Imperial assault and tasks for the left

Interviewing Alex Callinicos, member of the Central Committee of Socialist Workers Party and Professor of European Studies at Kings College, London
Ardeshir Mehrdad

This imperialist offensive suffers three main problems. First and most fundamental, it has evoked powerful resistance, above all in Iraq itself, where the US seems to be bogged down in an unwinnable counter-insurgency war. We now see Israel too beginning to face similar difficulties thanks to Hezbollah's very effective defence against the Israel Defence Force’s assault on Lebanon. Secondly, compared to the 1991 Gulf War, the current ‘war on terrorism’ lacks international legitimacy thanks to the Bush administration’s unilateralism and its contempt for human rights (Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram ...). Some commentators, for example Giovanni Arrighi, argue that we are witnessing a broader crisis of US hegemony >>>

Bahsse manteghi!

Islam, Muslims and rational discourse
Sudabeh Siavashan

We're not worthy?

The strategy of the Western countries vis-à-vis Iran is nothing short of nuclear apartheid
Daniel M Pourkesali

The way we perceive things is directly determined by the manner it is packaged and then repeated over and over until we accept them as truth both at cognizant and unconscious level. I sighted the following familiar example often in the news: "Iran refuses to suspend its uranium enrichment activity, which can produce among other things, the material for atomic bombs. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for generating electricity but the West believes Iran wants to make nuclear weapons." This should've been self evident but apparently our friend did not find anything wrong with the way it is worded which intentionally manipulates the mind and creates an impression on the part of the unsuspecting public that Uranium enrichment is an unlawful act associated only with producing atomic bombs >>>


History's burden

Photo essay: Concentration Camp Vught
Sasan Seifikar

Concentration Camp Vught is a national monument and important part of Dutch recent history. It was the only official SS concentration camp outside Germany and its annexed areas. The camp was built by Nazi-Germany in 1942 and opened in 1943. Camp Vught was actually a transit camp for the Jews, from where they were deported to extermination camps and their deaths. 30,000 Jews were held in prison in camp Vught and then transported to the East. The conditions in Camp Vught were so bad that many Jews died here, these included children >>>

Tehran Nights

Bandari meets Jazz, Rock...
Babak Khiavchi

Pedram Derakhshani and Saeed Shanbehzadeh collaborate on this album to create an amazing fusion of Bandari music from Southern Iran with modern Disco, Funk, and Rock music. Recorded in Teheran and mixed in Paris by legendary sound engineer Dominique Blanc-Francard (Pink Floyd, David Bowie, etc), the album blends Iranian traditional instruments and electronic sounds >>>

Losing to Ahmadinejad. That hurts.
Nema Milaninia

Ahmadinjead's popularity (and yes I do see him becoming more popular around the world) is more due to Bush's incompetence and inability then his own policy. The fact is, no one trusts Bush and no one trusts the American government. This administration has made mistake after mistake after mistake. It has lied to go to war which has benefitted largely only those large corporations which secure projects in Iraq (i.e. cronies close to the administration). It seeks to completely revert and roll-back generations of human rights standards. It stands hostage to a slight minority which has fundamentalist religious objectives equal to any terrorist group which espouses radical ideals about Islam. It has abused the notion of democracy and human rights and employed double standards in their implementation >>>


Shahrnush Parsipur's novel reveals ongoing tension between
rationalism and mysticism, tradition and modernity, male and female, East and West

Excerpt from Touba and the Meaning of Night (2006, The Feminist Press) by Shahrnush Parsipur, translated by Havva Houshmand and Kamran Talattof. From a distinctly Iranian perspective, Touba reveals ongoing tension between rationalism and mysticism, tradition and modernity, male and female, East and West. Speaking in an idiom unique to its author and indicative of a new tradition in Persian women’s writing, the epic also defies Western stereotypes of Iranian Women and Western expectations of Iranian literary form >>>

Let there be light

Respecting other people's rights and distinct values, or the ideology of enlightenment
Ben Madadi

Many peoples all around the world are, and have been, living tragedies. Emancipated and free peoples make up a very small number compared to those who live sorrowful lives. One of the peoples who live tragic lives, is the Iranian people. It's no surprise for the Iranians as they have been doing this for all their history. Iranians have recently, ie in their modern history, been taught to be proud of a very distant past when they had supposedly been living much more dignified lives. That is just a manipulative sham as Iranians, as a people, have never been either free or truly proud or dignified. They have only been bigger or smaller tyrants with sometimes more and sometimes less success in their ambitious conquests >>>

Short of religious wars

While Pope John Paul II focused on communism, his successor is more concerned about political Islam
Jahanshah Rashidian

Although the Pope reflects some animosity in the West to whatever is Islamic, clearly he is aware of the delicacy of the issue. He was not reflecting the judgment of most western people over the depth of crimes committed by Islamists. Benedict is careful not to mention about many crimes of political Islam, including many thousand executions of the IRI. As a religious leader of his stature, he knows that religious crimes are not only due to Islam, but also to the past Christianity. Benedict XVI is a defender of traditional Catholic values and has always emphasized their importance in the survival of Western civilisation. For Europeans, especially for his compatriot Germans, he is considered to be a right-wing conservative and even a fundamentalist Pope. His controversial Nazi background shows his conscious ideological background -- the pontiff was voluntarily enrolled in the Hitler Youth in 1941 when the Catholic Church was still approving Nazi ideology >>>


Half way to Palang Chal

Photo essay: Hiking north of Tehran
Maziar Behrooz

Jaaye paaye eshgh

Introduction & and MP3s from Fereidoun Farahandouz's poetry album
Mandana Zandian

Fereidoun Farahandouz, whose deep melodic voice filled millions of livingrooms as a popular anchor on Iranian TV in the 1970s, has released two poetry albums: "Sedaaye Eshgh" (The voice of love) & "Faryaad dar Baad" (Cry in the wind) >>>

To dream the impossible dream...
Ramin Zamini

As a child in Tehran, I too often lay awake dreaming not specifically of space travel, (thanks to Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey I had become all too bored with it by age 12) but after girls, I dreamt of coffee. I would lay awake dreaming of the aroma, the beans, seasoned, blended, aged and roasted just right. I would hang out at Armenian coffee shops on Elizabeth Blvd., and I would tell my childhood friends, that "... just you watch! One day I will buy a cup of coffee! Just you watch!" And so when my Daddy told me to, I came to the US and college and worked, mostly at high tech firms, that unlike some, did not land me a proverbial lottery ticket, but in fact often failed miserably, often resulting in brutal layoffs. But my dream and I never faltered, and the dream to one-day buy that perfect cup of coffee stuck with me, and I persevered >>>

Proving the Pope right

Muslims wear their religion on their sleeves and the slightest contrary wind disturbs its cozy sanctified perch
Amil Imani

No sooner the Muslims learned of this comment than, once again, rage engulfed them. They became indignant, hysterical and ready to war. Not long ago, there was the report, published by a rag seeking to boost its sacking circulation, that American military personnel have flushed the Quran down the toilet: A physical impossibility that turned out to be baseless, upon investigation. Yet, Muslim Street bellowed with anger, attacks on non-Muslims and their properties were unleashed and lives were lost in the violence. Before long, we had the imbroglio of the Danish cartoons insulting Muhammad, as the Muslim saw it. Embassies were torched, boycotts were enacted and all kinds of threats were hurled at the tiny nation for one of its newspapers printing cartoons that Muslims felt were offensive >>>

Mazerat-khaahiye Pop

Pope's apology will not solve Islam's problem
Ali Salari


Peace jammers

Photo essay: Shirin Ebadi and co-Nobel Peace laureates work with youth and pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody
Pantea Beigi

Denver, Colorado -- Many believe that the times we are living in today are indeed the out cry of human injustice at its worst.  Perhaps they are right and perhaps global poverty, global warming, lack of human security and many more are at their worst.  But I can promise that none walked out the Magness Arena at Denver University with such feeling tonight >>>

Cheapening of the word

None of this religious row should be earth-shattering for anyone, Christian or Muslim
Maziar Shirazi

Both Christianity and Islam have been invoked as the justification for millions of deaths and uncountable lifelong subjugations of peoples throughout history.  Both religious institutions have profited financially and grown in terms of geography and population from killing, intimidating, raping, taxing, and subjugating others, and today flourish over lands and peoples who at one point in history, if they wanted to continue to live as equals or at all, were forced to accept Deus or Allah (often times they had to switch from one to the other).  These two faiths would not be as widespread or as culturally significant as they are today if it wasn’t for the heinous crimes that were committed in their names throughout history. Am I saying that Christianity and Islam are bad?  No.  I’m just saying that Christianity does not have a clean slate, and neither does Islam; nor does Judaism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, or any other longstanding, government-backed, institutionalized religion, for that matter.  I’ll stand by my word on that >>>


Persepolis & more

Photo essay: Trip to Iran
Pendar Yousefi

All of us

One only needs to click through the pages of iranian.com to see that we really are a remarkable people
Lance Raheem

Iranian.com should celebrate its good-fortune to count amonst its many talented contributors: intellectuals, philosophers, business leaders, comedians, columnists, health-gurus, religious fanatics, religious apologists' monarchists, republicans, communists, romantics, soft and not-so-soft pornographers, entertainers of every kind, and just regular people, young and old. While we may not like every article published or agree with every opinion expressed we are truly blessed as a community to have access to a site in which so many diverse ideas can be expressed >>>

It's good to be a woman (in the USA)
Faramarz Fateh

Yesterday as I was browsing through the new Nordstrom catalogue, I noticed that the first 47 pages were dedicated to women, a few to children and the last 6 pages to men. It got me thinking. Most everything, with the exception of male entertainment such as topless dancing establishments, ARE really for benefit of women. If a woman has bad skin, there are 100s of products to heal and conceal the "bad" skin. If a man has bad skin, well, he is shit out of luck. If a woman is short, she can wear 4" heels; can you imagine a guy wearing 4" heels? I agree that 99% of guys probably don't want to wear heels, but what if a guy did? >>>


A love for making

Shadi Khadivi

Ancient history today
Khodadad Rezakhani

From now on, anyone with an interest in Ancient Iranian history and knowledge of Persian can take advantage of a new and freely available web-based peer reviewed journal. The Bulletin of Ancient Iranian History (BAIH) is the first Persian language, academically reviewed publisher of articles and book reviews about various aspects of Ancient Iranian history and culture. The second issue of the Bulletin has just been released and contains several articles on various aspects of history and archaeology, as well as excellent book reviews and list of recently published articles about Ancient Iranian history. The Bulletin is the result of a joint venture of some of the prominent scholars of Iranian history both inside and outside Iran and is available free of charge on the internet. For those who might prefer reading their journals in print, all of the Bulletin's articles can also be accessed as printer-ready PDF format >>>

Sorry man, that's poker

Money or mom & dad?
Manouchehr Mehrparvar

I couldn't help but to write and tell you about the incident that took place at the Commerce Casino just south of Los Angeles last week. I had gone there to play poker and since I was in middle of a bad luck storm, I stood up and started walking around to try to run out my bad luck... Seat 8 was a very young looking Iranian guy; in his mid 20s. He had the iPod thing going on; listening to the music as he was intensly watching every move of every player. He looked liked a very "pedar sookhteh" kinda of a guy, but nice pedar sookhteh. Interestingly enough, he also had close to $10,000 in chips as well. I thought to myself, where did this guy get all this money? >>>

Good for everybody

Interview with Hamid Taqvaee: Human beings have the same values everywhere in the world
Maryam Namazie

Hamid Taqvaee: If you have a look at the political situation of our era, it seems that there are mainly two forces that actually determine everything in the political arena in the Middle East, the west and even the world. These two forces are the USA and its allies on the one hand and Islamic terrorism on the other. But the fact is that it is not only these two. What we are saying is that neither of these two forces actually represents people. Even people living in Islamist societies, and I can say especially those people, are not represented by political Islam, or by Islamic governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Third Camp addresses that force which represents the majority of people of the world – a majority which has no interest in the war between these two poles of Islamic and US-led terrorism. They reap no benefits from their war >>>

Haakemiyate "bar hagh"

State authority & legitimacy in Iranian history
Esmail Nooriala

Persian Girls

Excerpt: latest book
Nahid Rachlin

Weeks went by and I didn’t get any letters from Maryam, even though I wrote to her weekly, sometimes daily. The only news I had about her was through bits and pieces I heard exchanged between Mohtaram and Father. Maryam’s depression wove like a dark thread through their conversation. I was lying on my bed crying when Pari knocked on the door and came in. “Come with me, I want to show you my room,” she said, putting her arm around me. I dried my eyes and followed her. Her room was between mine and Manijeh’s, along a row that included our brothers’ and parents’ bedrooms. “I still remember when Aziz took you away,” she said. “I was almost five then but the memory stayed with me because I missed you. Poor Aunt Maryam to have lost you, but I’m happy to have gained you back.” >>>


Facing the past

Photo essay: "Iranian Weekend" at London's Victoria & Albert Museum
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

Musaddiq’s conception of constitutionalism

Based on his arguments before the court that tried him in 1953
Keyvan Tabari

September 17 (26 of Shahrivar) is when the deposition of Mohammad Musaddiq began for his trial after his overthrow in the year 1953. In the current centennial year of the 1906 Iranian Constitution, at the Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies in London, I presented a summary of the attached paper on Musaddiq's conception of constitutionalism. I submit it herewith for publication in Iranian.com as an appropriate contemporary forum most accessible to interested readers and hospitable to interactive response. This piece reflects the perspective of a lawyer on constitutional issues involved in treating the legacy of a singular person about whom nearly all have opinions. Controversies surrounding the life and myth of Musaddiq only highlight his immense significance, especially for secular liberal opposition in Iran >>>

Story behind the pictures

Over dinner he told me that in the early 1970s he and a friend took a Land Rover and traveled all the way from London, thru Iran then Afghanistan into India down to Bangalore!
Dario Margeli

This summer I took a one week vacation and went to Portugal. It's a country I really recommend. While I was taking pictures, I asked a guy if he could take my picture so I can remmided myself that I have been to such a beautiful place. The guy turned out to be a Canadian painter called William. We became friends and talked about work in the high tech industry which is what he used to do and I still do! Over dinner he told me that in the early 1970s he and a friend took a Land Rover and traveled all the way from London, thru Iran then Afghanistan into India down to Bangalore! Talk about balls! He said Iranians where very nice to him. Near Rasht, the Land Rover broke down and the villagers came and helped them >>>

Longing to touch the untouchable

On Sadegh Hedayat's "The Blind Owl"
Shadi Gholizadeh

Kafka furtively writes, hunched over in an almost madman’s frenzy, the role of Abgrund in Die Brücke. What better way to convey the intensity he feels than to cast his protagonist literally as a bridge- how else could he exhibit her fragility, her need to be used? Munch almost falls over himself as he grabs for the red paint- red for the halo of the Madonna-yes, red- a bright gaudy red, and she is stripped, naked, but how else could he have possibly shown the raw sexuality of a virgin, how else could he have made them understand? Hedayat is lying down as he imagines her, the object of his narrator’s affection, being killed-twice-, slashed and cut and stored away-twice- or maybe three times, he still has not decided, for how else could he express what her presence has caused him and how much unbearably more her death will cause? >>>

To goat or not to goat

The recent  appearance of Adam Gadahn, a young California man in turban and long beard alongside Dr. Ayman al-Zawaheri, the second banana of Al-Qaida, and Adam's invitation to all Americans to convert to Islam or perish evoked some very deep thoughts in me. What makes Adam 's situation special is the intriguing similarities between him and some of the most important names in human history.  According to the media, this white boy convert to Islam grew up in his parent's home in Riverside, California where his father raises goats for a living.  This means that Adam, from the beginning and during the formative years of early childhood and eventually during the tumultuous teen years has always been in the company of goats spending countless days with them up on Riverside county mountains.  Freudian psychology informs us that such intimate co-existence creates a very especial bonding between man and goat >>>


Europe meets the Orient

Ali Golkar

Bullhorn moment

And the Neo-Con agenda
Daniel M Pourkesali

On the fifth anniversary of the terrible events on 9/11/2001, the airwaves are filled with coverage of ceremonies and memorials honoring those who perished as a result of these horrific and heinous attacks as well as speeches by our leaders and countless analysis by the so called experts using this day to instill fear in the heart of the masses and promote their idea of "War on Terror" as a way to keep us safe from another attack. Those who dare to question the effectiveness of this policy are immediately discredited and the fact that we have not experienced a similar attack on American soil in the past 5 years is used to justify the adoption of that strategy. So the question we must ask ourselves is this: Are we really safer as a result of assuming that hostile posture? >>>

Fame, fortune & false hopes

Anousheh Ansari is not a role model for having paid the $10 million to go to space
Azam Nemati

It always saddens me to see female members of the younger generation when they come across as airheads focusing on insignificant matters considering the opportunities they have to make a difference by all the learning opportunities available to them in the West... Either this writer [see: "Rocket on Anousheh"] is not surrounded by highly educated and compassionate Iranians or she is isolated because you talk to anyone with average intelligence and they will tell you Mrs. Ansari is not a role model for having paid the $10 million to be on the list of people wanting to go to space. Those opinions are from people of all nationalities which I hear from. That kind of money can empower many people to be a valuable member of the society and make a difference. Mrs. Ansari's ambitions to make a name for herself and boost her ego. God forbid she would quote an Iranian because we have shortage of valuable quotes from our brilliant pats and present people >>>


Boston in full bloom

Photo essay: Labor Day weekend in Boston
Farah Ravon

Mac friendly

Nazanine Moshiri, newscaster, ITN, London
Peyvand Khorsandi

“Has my friend checked your bag?” the old security guard says. “Yes,” I reply. His colleague, a young Asian chap wearing shades, has indeed perfunctorily inspected one pocket of my laptop holder, not the one where the bomb is. A software quirk means the interview with ITN newscaster Nazanine Moshiri takes place on my mobile phone. (She has one too – identical. “They’re great,” she says.) >>>

New life, through translation

Interview with The Translation Project's Niloufar Talebi
Bruce Bahmani

Why is it that when it comes to Iranian culture or anything Iranian or Persian we are always on the teaching end of the stick? It seems like the world has amnesia, and we are constantly explaining how Iranian/Persian art and culture has contributed to this or that. For once I would like to go up to an average American and have them know something about us. Since that isn't going to happen anytime soon, we have to go on. In that tradition of bringing our culture to the west, enter Niloufar Talebi, the one woman Force du Perse of Iranian Contemporary Poetry (Sher-e-No). Her goal is to bring Contemporary Poetry to a global audience through a series of translation projects, which have been accompanied by an array of multi-media events, such as live theatrical performances of the poems and their rendition into short videos like music videos for the poems, which have shown at film festivals and will air on television in the future >>>


Dream dunes

Photo essay: Sand sculpting
Azadeh Azad

Zood baash digeh!

Men who do "too little too late" to woo their women
Sophie Saviour

What's wrong with guys on the West Coast (or perhaps the whole of North America ??... I am not sure as I haven't dated all of them yet!) that they don't recognize when the time is right, or the fact that they should make an effort or make a "move" sometimes! They normally do it when it's too late and the girl is already frustrated. Well, of course if they still do it properly, there is a chance! But no way! They do too little too late. That combination is deadly; like "nooshdAroo ba'd az marge SohrAb." I used to go out with this Canadian guy (born and raised in Canada vs. me, being born and raised in Iran and moved here after 30!), and it happened! We met in a professional program at the university and somehow everything clicked >>>

Rocket on Anousheh
Saman Ahmadi

My mom, who lives about 90 miles from me, recently had the satellite that receives the Iranian channels installed. I visit her on some weekends and channel-surfed through the 1001 Persian language stations a couple weeks ago... We pride ourselves on the 2,500-year heritage of a culture that has produced great art and science and this is what we show the world we can do with freedom? I will be walking a little taller next week when Anousheh Ansari roars into space on a Russian craft. I lived in Dallas when she and her husband ran Telecom Technologies – one of my friends worked there. In the her interview with The New Times, she said that “[a] guiding principle of her life... is a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi: ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ ” >>>

Shot in the dark
Guive Mirfendereski

A friend was wondering a day ago if the word "sex" has anything to do with the word "seegheh," that very familiar notion in Shi'ite Islam, which means to contract girls, women and gum-job grannies for carnal purposes of a determined or indeterminate duration. The friend signed off his inquiry by saying, that his conjuration represented a "shot in the dark." First, a word about seegheh! Presumably the child born from such "union" is legit and that is all that the institution tries to protect. Oh, yes, as long as the chick is seegheh, her family cannot get indignant and rip off the horny bastard. Because one cannot be seegheh to more than one person, this established the monopoly of the male over the object of his affection, depriving other males from vying for her -- legally!! >>>

Parvandeye akhlaaghi

Accused of immoral crimes, falsely
Masih Mazloum


Persian pinic

Photo essay: "Iranian Weekend" in London
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

Nobody survives

From September 11 to Operation Iran Secularization
Cyrus Mossaddegh

Let's assume the up-coming negotiations over Iran's nuclear energy program totally breaks down and nothing is agreed to and everybody goes home angry and fed up. Or, as they say in Texas, "All bets are off." And so Condi and Rummy are given orders by Cheney to get the ball rolling on Operation Iran Secularization. Accusations that Iran is behind attacks against Americans in Iraq escalate, but this time backed up with "solid evidence": such as photographs, capture of "spies", video confessions, and communication intercepts. A Murdoch owned newspaper reports that a platoon of American GI's taking it easy in peaceful northern Iraq, are captured and being held by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran denies it. Kurds suspect Israeli agents are behind the deception >>>

Insults my intelligence

In response to Guive Mirfendereski's "No thank you": Mr. Khatami, the intellectual man of Islamic Republic, simply insults my intelligence. Today, this man has the audacity to go around the world to give speeches so that human kind learn from his lessons. It is funny to me that he could not even change the outfit of a mullah, and make him dress like a CEO of 21 century so at least his cape doesn’t get in the way when searching for his sit on an airplane. Khatami is superficial. Even if he was a real intellectual he does not have the valor to make any significant changes to shia Islam to bring it forward to 21 century. All and all, he just makes cosmetic changes just like his version of cape, turbans and beards and mustache >>> 100 or so more letters


Do we really need nuclear technology?

And why such secrecy and lack of transparency if Iran's intentions are peaceful?
G. Rahmanian

Pay closer attention to the threatening tone of the Iranian leaders and the warmongering rhetoric coming out of Iran. What is being said these days about wiping out Israel and conquering "Ghods" may be dismissed as insubstantial slogans by most Iranians, but the rest of the concerned world is certainly disturbed by the use of such language. They find these statements alarming. They see a nuclear Iran as a danger to its neighbors and other countries in the region. And they do not see this kind of rhetoric as independent of the mentality to possess and use nuclear weapons. These are plausible threats that are rooted in the history of Iran after 1979, which began with the idea to export the "Islamic Revolution." >>>

Denied potential

Winning a Nobel prize is the last thing on mind of a person whose country has been attacked and exploited, either ideologically or physically, by internal and external forces for centuries
Dokhtar Shirazi

Surely, based on the statistics that you have provided the Jewish population have made higher academic achievements than Muslims, but if one closely examines the data, one would realize that most of the achievements have been made after World War II, when most of the Jewish population had migrated to America, Australia or western European countries and as such have had the opportunity to flourish their talents and abilities in peaceful and “democratic” countries, free from conflict, poverty and other impediments that prevent a person, being a Jew, Christian or Muslim, from fully realizing their true potentials. That does not mean Muslims are less capable and/or have a genetically predisposition gene for being violent. Contrary to the Jewish population, most Muslims do not live in peaceful countries, as they have live in extreme poverty and other horrific situations which leave little or no room for flourishing one’s true potentials, let alone winning a Nobel prize! >>>

Five years later

Finding the perpetrators should be formulated according to our democratic values, not to those which violate them
Ali Akbar Mahdi

Surely, this event has amounted to a lot more than what we thought it would be at the time, and day by day it gains meanings and significance far beyond our imagination. It has certainly turned our sense of certainty into an extraordinary sense of uncertainty, and likewise, our security into insecurity. As tragic as this event has been, it would be more tragic if in our attempt to contain its effects we lost the sight of its causes, or worse, to use that event for partisan political gains and narrow ideological agendas -- be it at home or abroad. Yet, a closer look at what happened and how we reacted to it reveals much more about our inability to grapple with forces and realities that led to those chaotic events, than our ability to use overwhelming military power. September 11 has certainly changed the world, but more so ourselves >>>


Love fest

Photo essay: Mehregan festival in Southern California
Mohamad Navab

Welcome to America
Siamack Baniameri

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami was slapped with a lawsuit by a group of Iranian Jews in Los Angles and received his court order to appear in Manhattan federal court while attending a dinner party at the Council for American Islamic Relations... for the first time, Khatami was exposed to real America. On Friday Khatami got firsthand education on what America is really all about. Mr. ex-president learned three important lessons. Firstly: Jews are the most organized, powerful and influential religious minority in the US -- don't fuck with them. Secondly: nobody is above the law in this country and anybody's mother can be sued. Thirdly: before attending a dinner party, check to see who's picking up the tab >>>

Disrupting life

That's all the terrorists want. They can't do more than that.
Ben Madadi

Behind any act of human aggression there is always an act of injustice. Although mass aggression shall not be legitimised, it is a sign of not just evil intentions by the aggressor but also of some sort of injustice toward the aggressor. There may be isolated cases of individuals with psychological problems inclined toward aggression toward others, but when there is a case of a large number of people who are willing to inflict pain on others and risk their own lives or existing resources or possibilities, then there is much more to them than just some psychological disorder >>>

From 30 to 63 in five years

Reflections on 9/11
Peyvand Khorsandi

The life of a magazine sub-editor rarely gets more exciting than a plane crashing into a building. Drama in our job is usually a missing semi-colon or full-point spotted too late, or a misspelled contributor’s name, the closest subs come to terrorism. But on September 11 2001 we were all huddled around the TV on the news editor’s desk. The images of destruction in New York were so powerful that even in Farringdon, London you expected smoke to billow from around the next corner. My boss and I sat back at our desks. He mumbled something about Cambodia and how “America can’t just do what it wants and expect the third world to sit back”. (Although, to be fair no Cambodians were among the terrorists.) >>>


Face to face

Masoumeh Mozaffari

The good Indian

Chronicles of Fredrick D. Sauma, Part 4
Farid Parsa

After Maria told me that she was having an affair with a fellow student I thought it was going to be a while before I could go out with any one again. But all my lamentation and heartache diminished considerably when I met Jo one night at the local pub. We found ourselves at the same table discussing religion while drinking and smoking with other foreigners. She said she was fed up with the organized religions and considered herself a follower of Meher Baba. Then she turned toward me and said, 'Did you know Meher Baba was a Zoroastrian and his parents had migrated to India from Yazd?' I said I had no idea who Meher Baba was, let alone his pedigree. Albeit, I was fascinated and loved to find out more about him >>>

Nine years ago

How did I, that shy, insecure, unambitious girl, get here?
Arezou Raeisghasem

I had a best friend in high school. She was very outgoing, loved to party and meet new people, and very ambitious. Studying was her escape from life and she had big dreams.  I was a good student but too busy to have big dreams. I was occupied with fighting ghosts, blocking out the world. My friend always had to drag me to parties and most the time she wasn’t successful. I kept to myself and my little dreams. I was a homebody and I isolated myself because I thought I wasn’t good enough... One day my friend said to me, “Ten years from now, I will be a successful career women working in a big city somewhere. You will be a suburban housewife with three kids and I’ll come and visit you and be like an aunt to your kids.” At the time, I completely agreed with her. That is what I wanted, that is what I expected >>>

Kaashteem, dero kardeem

Memoirs of a "government servant" in the 1960s and 70s
Houshang Pirnazar

Freshen up

Here we got at most two hundred thousands people who believe rest of the 6 billion people on this planet are dead wrong! I am speaking of Zoroastrians [See NY TImes: "Zoroastrians Keep the Faith, and Keep Dwindling"]. They are so convinced of their righteousness that the main headache they have is how to avoid inter marriages in order not to dilute their sect. I mean give me a break! Now, I am not saying these are bad people or anything like that. Most likely they are very decent people with good moral values but again after few thousands years they have to freshen up >>>

Slap in the face

Khatami’s visit proves that the Bush administration continues ignoring concerns about the steady deterioration of human rights in Iran
Jahanshah Rashidian

Khatami is regarded by some western media as Iran's first reformist president. The focus of his presedency was however on the rule of law and democracy in the framework of the IRI’s Islamic Constitution. In actuality, Khatami’s presidency was the continuation of the IRI’s totalitarian system with repeated acts of terrors: violence and repression against the values of democracy, maiming of peaceful student demonsterations of Tehran University, closure of over 20 reformist newspapers, systematic assaults against Iranians like, “bad veiled” women, religious minorities and all the freedom-loving people of Iran are just a few samples during his presidency. His claims of reform was in fact an attempt in making up a democratic face for his brutal political Islam >>>

THIS is beauty

Far from “breaking my spirit”, Sadegh Hedayat's "Blind Owl" woke me up
Shadi Gholizadeh

My last day in Iran, she shoved a thin paper package into my hand and whispered “read it. THIS is beauty” before she walked back to her library. I held the package close and while sitting in Tehran’s dingy airport staring at a group of unshaven, smarmy men hungrily grasping the eight-foot-tall modelesque blonde KLM flight attendants (a fundamentalist Iranian man’s wet dream) for photos they would probably eagerly flaunt for years, I opened it hoping to find an underground Euro fashion magazine, but instead pulled out a slim paperback entitled “The Blind Owl”.  Damn. Now, THAT, was a letdown if there ever was one. I laughed at the strangeness of my cousin and threw the book to my mom asking her why the hell anyone would read a book about an owl, and a blind one at that >>>

Keraayeh-neshine otaaghake zire shirvaani

The girl in the attic room
Samin Baghcheban

Mazhab zodaaee va hokoomat

Words, religion & the state
Esmail Nooriala

Neoliberal Ahmadinejad

Neoliberal policies introduced during Ahmadinjead's presidency are far more wide-ranging and ruthless than anything Khatami or Rafsanjani could have envisaged
Yassamine Mather

1988 marked the beginning of the onslaught of neoliberal capital, albeit with an Islamic face. It was the beginning of a new era, where IMF loans dictated levels of privatisation, where mass unemployment, casualisation and the denial of basic workers’ rights became the order of the day and the contradictory yet cosy coexistence of global capital and shia islam became a reality. It saw the introduction of devastating neoliberal economic policies that are as valid today as they were during the presidencies of Hashemi Rafsanjani or Mohammad Khatami >>>


Trip for two

Photo essay: Trip to Turkey
Hooman Tavakolian

Pulling up the curtain

The regime in Iran has been and still is (secretly) in bed with the United States
Jalil Bahar

The key in politics is to see what people are doing not saying. In the United States especially, there is a keen political tradition of saying one thing forcefully and then quietly doing the opposite. US rhetoric and subsequent actions on Iran have followed the same pattern. The regime in Iran has been accused of everything under the sun – yet strangely life goes on unimpeded for the regime… day after day, year after year, decade after decade. The Mullahs have ruled for longer than the former Shah – and achieved every single goal they have set out for themselves. They have been very successful. In our interconnected global economy no one can succeed without approval and assistance of the United States. Yes, the Mullah’s have ruled through covert US government support. They are in bed with each other. How could this be? >>>


Bent out of shape

Paintings & sculptures
Shahla Aghapour

Pacifism might save Iranians

If the Iranian people recognize the power of self-liberation through enlightenment and goal directed pacifism, they might not need to go through the bitter experience of Iraqis
Kamal H. Artin

The behavior of some Iranian leaders, who lack the capacity for change, might remind the terminators of Saddam and treat them the same way as the next candidate; I hope this does not become necessary. However, change is inevitable and creation of a livable and lovable Union of Iranian Democratic States is the dream of many of those who escaped from the hell or still are burning in it! Meanwhile considering that passive movements such as Gandhi's could be as successful as eliminating monsters with war, I will argue that instead of expecting change from outside, Iran has the potential to be transformed to a civic society through three goal directed passive methods within its current borders >>>

Axis of Kabob

I have been thinking maybe our national obsession with kabob has not been in vain after all

I work for a junkyard / storage lot / towing company with a bunch of employees matching the rough nature and environment of the work. One of us is a six foot five tall, 280 pound, longhaired Harley Davidson riding beast of a man with a pair of handle bar mustaches who, in tribute to Johnny Cash's "Big John," we call Big Bad John. Fittingly, he is almost always silent, with a face devoid of any emotions even remotely resembling compassion. In short, he makes our own Shaaboun Bee-mokh look like Mother Teresa. Sometime ago, I decided to confront this man regarding some work related issue >>>

Uncle Hossein

Hossein Derakhshan is part of a generation of idiot savants who have the audacity to refer to themselves as human rights activists
Samira Mohyeddin

"Thanks to the work of the reformists who governed the country until 2005, Iran has passed the stage of state terror." - Hossein Derakhshan. Would Hossein dare make such a statement to the son of Zahra Kazemi, who was indiscriminately raped, tortured, and murdered while in Evin prison? Would he have the audacity to make such statements to the family of Akbar Mohammadi who died in Evin just last month? Or to the family of 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi who was hung in the Iranian town of Neka for "engaging in acts incompatible with chastity". Or to the family members of the thousands of prisoners of conscience who have perished in the jails of the Iran of the Islamic Republic over the past twenty-seven years? Judging by the bilge spewed by Hossein in the past and present, he probably would >>>

No thank you
Guive Mirfendereski

A few days ago I received an e-mail from an Iranian studies foundation inviting me to attend an evening with the former president of the IRI, Mr. Khatami. The invitation requested an R.S.V.P. by a date certain. I have ignored the invitation. Today, I received another e-mail from another source wanting to know where to send for me an invitation to attend Mr. Khatami’s “speech.” I am assuming that the invitation is for his shindig at Harvard. I declined this invitation in as polite a way as I know how. The person at the other end then wrote back, asking “May I ask why?” >>>


Four MP3s from "First Step"
Khelaf Khelafian

Raaze katibeh

To archaeologists in Tangeh Bolaghi
Shokooh Mirzadegi


Rooze nojoom va solh

Photo essay: "Astronomy & Peace Day" at Tehran's Shafagh Park
Samineh Baghcheban

Looking quite... continental

I buttoned up and looked at myself in front of the mirror again. Since moving to Belgium I had let my hair grow. And I mean grow
Siamack Salari

I forgot. It had completely escaped my distracted mind. My mum could actually see me live on the laptop. “Nana aakh-e adam-e 41 saale angosht to damaaghesh meekoneh?” This is the wonder of SKYPE technology coupled with a webcam so my mum can see and speak to us across the English channel in Brussels where we now live. I nonchalantly pulled my index finger from my nose hoping nothing had stuck to the end of it. I then placed my hand behind my back >>>

The plumber

No sex and the city
Peyvand Khorsandi

Archibald Norris, my next-door neighbour, had told me to expect a surprise. Knowing Archie, I thought this meant the Polish plumber he’d recommended might invite me to a book festival. At seven thirty am on Tuesday, however, a woman, one Anna Karasiewicz, turned up at my doorstep. There I was, with morning breath and stuff in my eyes... observing a goddess. “Shall I come in?” she said. She was wearing a khaki shirt with sleeves rolled up, and combat pants. In one hand she held an enormous toolbox. “So, you have a sink problem,” she said, stepping inside >>>

I confess

... that I identify with an ever-increasing group of Iranians who work towards the downfall of the clerical regime as their foremost national responsibility
Reza Bayegan

If Mr Jahanbegloo’s attempt to put an end to the rule of the mullahs is a crime, then this crime is universal amongst all those Iranians who love their country and care for its future. Accordingly, it occurred to me to write my own confession and I would also like to suggest to my dear compatriots to sit down and make a disclosure of their political stance right now so if and when the time comes for their Evinization, they have one less thing to worry about. Moreover, as we all know, the overwhelming atmosphere of that infamous penitentiary is not conducive to expressing one’s true convictions and beliefs. One is exposed to a kind of hospitality there that makes one confess to non-existent wrongdoings out of obligation to one’s host >>>

The courage to change

Jahanbegloo admits his mistake in indirectly helping the Bush administration in its plans for regime change in Iran through fomenting internal unrest and instability
Hossein Derakhshan

All Iranian activists and researchers are vulnerable these days to being dragged out of their "normal" activities and inveigled into joining various projects and organisations with a not-so-hidden political agenda: to prepare the way for the infamous strategy of regime change - in either of its forms, as military attack or velvet-style revolution - that the Bush administration has pursued towards Iran since 9/11. Ramin Jahanbegloo's interview mentions the economic aspect of the position of secular scholars like him. He complains that the Islamic Republic has left such people no choice but to either leave the country or work for foreign organisations in Iran. Jahanbegloo points out that he has never been a politician. But his love for his country and the wonderful potential of an enthusiastic, lively and rapidly changing young society, convinced him that he could wield a positive, educative influence >>>


Beauty & the Beast

Helena Shin Dashtgol

Game over

Iran 12  - International Community 0
Guive Mirfendereski

August 31 marked the end of regulation time and as its last fugitive moments ticked away first in Tehran and then in New York the Iran Atom Cup drew to its close. At the closing ceremonies, Mighty Mouse Ahmadinejad of Iran stood triumphant on the stand in Rezaieh (named after Reza Shah from the earlier Urumiyeh, now again Urumiyeh) and then Makou, with a huge golden replica of a bull’s testes hanging from his neck. In New York, John “the Shaggy Dog” Bolton, with the big fat Iranian bilakh firmly ensconced in his rectum, bobbed and weaved in front of reporters and explained some kind of new foreign policy of an also-ran. After months of American kaka-diplomacy over the Iranian nuclear issue, Mr. Bolton has boiled it down to one proposition – there will be sanctions imposed against Iran, either by the UN or by the US (and its lackeys). Unilateralism – is what the US does best: it takes its ball and goes and plays by itself. Ciao, baby >>>

Pop Islam

Iran's Islamist and pop cultures seems to mingle by loosing themeselves into each other
Anna Mahjar Barducci

The avenues of Teheran have changed their colours. Soon after the Islamic revolution in 1979, led by Khomeini, only the austere black was allowed to decorate the streets of the Iranian capital. Since then, the colours of the revolution have developped. Blinding yellow and fluorescent pink flags wave now in the alleys of Teheran. The colours that used to be part of the profane along the last 27 years have now been incorporated into the holy, with the exception of the rigorous dark women dresses. The revolution overwhelmed the Iranian reality, without being able anymore to cleave the profane from the holy. In this way, the appearace of the Iranian republic has been changed to trasform everything into a product of the ayatollah’s regimes. However, this evolutionary process gave birth to a new pop-Islamic revolution, which influences religious ceremonies too >>>

Words bad! Bombs good!

These groups don’t care what Khatami says; they don't want him to be heard
Qumars Bolourchian

Former President Mohammad Khatami’s visit to the US has aroused serious anger among the neocons, the congress hawks and the AIPAC likudniks. Joining the circus is that aging army of Iranian “freedom fighters,” using their over-hyped 1970’s “expertise” to help America “understand” Iran in 2006. And no, I’m not just talking about the MEK. Just yesterday, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney declared he would not be providing any security to Khatami for his Harvard speech to show his disgust with the State Department’s decision to grant Khatami a Visa. Romney said Khatami’s Harvard speech, a speech which he hasn’t heard or seen, will be “propaganda.” And I guess this propaganda-to-be is so bad that in Romney’s view Khatami deserves to be beaten or assassinated for it >>>


What remains

Photo essay: Road trip to Western Iran
Fathali Ghahremani Ghajar

Rights trump culture & religion

Cultural relativism is not only a prescription for inaction and passivity in the face of the oppression of millions of people struggling and resisting in the Middle East and here in the west but is in fact racist in and of itself
Maryam Namazie

Cultural relativism and its more seemingly palatable multiculturalism have lowered standards and redefined values to such depths that not only are all cultures and beliefs deemed equally valid, they seem to have taken on personas of their own blurring the distinction between individuals and beliefs (whether theirs or imputed). As a result, concepts such as rights, equality, respect and tolerance, which were initially raised vis-à-vis the individual, are now more and more applicable to culture and religion and often take precedence over real live human beings. This is why any criticism and ridiculing of or opposition to beliefs, cultures, religions, gods and prophets are being deemed racism, disrespecting, inciting hatred and even violence against those deemed believers >>>


Bare beauty

Photo essay: Iran landscap, people & animals
Riccardo Zipoli

Getting carried away

Apocalyptic assumptions about Ahmadinejad
Meir Javedanfar

The questions which must be asked are: does the world think that Ahmadinejad is so ignorant that he would choose such an obvious date to start world war? Also, despite all his bravado, has the world come to believe that Ahmadinejad is now the de facto ruler of Iran? The answer to both questions is a resounding no. Yes Ahmadinejad is very conservative, and yes he does hold power in a number of extremely influential arenas in Iran's government, but no, he doesn't do everything as he pleases. He doesn't just wake up in the morning and just there and then decide on his own to threaten Israel with annihilation. Nor does he single-handedly decide on any day of his liking to send the price of oil shooting up by hinting that oil supplies could be cut if sanctions are imposed against Iran >>>

Eteraaf-girie makhmali

IRI's sisnister staging of Ramin Jahanbegloo's "Velvet Confessions"
Massoud Noghrekar


New CD by one of the hottest Iranian rap bands

Trust issues

Threats of surgical air strikes and the limited use of nuclear bombs against Iran will not be seen as promoting global peace or fighting terrorism
Mehrdad Emadi

The escalating pace of conflict in this latest round of conflict between Israel, the more radical Palestinian factions, and Hezbollah has once more focused world opinion on the apparent impasse in the Middle East. However, it may be a grave mistake to assume that the present crisis was created by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by the Hezbollah or the firing of the Syrian-Iranian short range missiles into Northern Israel. The recent kidnappings were the trigger mechanism that the Israeli government needed to set in motion the next phase of its strategic policy >>>

Flags of dissent

Confronting fascism with fabric
Guive Mirfendereski

This has been the summer of flags. Flags have been everywhere and in most places they have been flying or burning as the sign of protest. The efforts by the American rightwing nuts and fascists to criminalize the burning of the American flag once again flagged in the Congress and so this quintessentially American form of protest lives on everywhere! From Cairo to the Philippines, no one could care less about American sensitivity when throngs of ugly-ass jihadists from one end of the world to the other set fire to Old Glory and/or the Star of David for a few moments of pyromaniacal joy and free expression of rage. Ironically, if this form of expression ever involved their own national flag they would be taken to the shed and flogged! >>>

Drowning in Ethiopia
Tala Dowlatshahi

In the Amhara region of Ethiopia, Gennette, who is twenty-five years old, sits idly waiting for wheat to arrive to help feed her and her one year old. They are stranded at a local flood victim camp where they have lived for the past two weeks. Her son Tegachew is tired and cries often. The Woreta camp, just one hour north of Addis by plane, has been a centre of refuge for rice farmers and local cattlers whose roots lie in villages like Shaga, where women like Gennette's great grandmothers also worked as farmers. Her husband stayed on to save the cattle, leaving her to take care of herself and her baby on her own. "I am tired. It is difficult to sleep here and my baby is not happy. He misses his father. I also lost my cousin. I liked her very much and we played together as children," Gennette tells me >>>

Is everyone a spy?

Islamic Republic's all too predictable labling of critics & dissidents
Fariba Amini

After four months of imprisonment in Evin, Ramin Jahanbegloo was finally released, paying a hefty bail and confessing to obscure charges. He looked thin and yet he had to go to ISNA to give an interview stating that he was not mistreated by his interrogators... Almost all the opponents of the regime are arrested and confined on false charges, forced to confess under duress and then later are either made to appear before Television cameras and to confess to “crimes” they were never involved in or released after confessions and paying heavy bail. Ramin is only the lastest victim of this vicious attempt by rulers of the Islamic Regime to discredit its opponents in the eyes of the Iranian populace >>>

Why mess with a superpower?
Ben Madadi

Why is it that the Iranian regime seems so anti-American these days? Because of a lack of serious argument for this it is funny that there is a wide-spread conspiracy theory in Iran that the regime itself is actually an American plantation. The argumentation for this conspiracy theory is extremely weak but it looks as rational as the opposition to America by the Iranian regime... A rational being would think that if the Iranian regime desires to survive then it must not hassle too much with the superpower, because it is very clear that the only external force that could destroy the regime of Iran is none but America. So why oppose this external force, instead of appeasing it? It looks mind-boggling because there isn't one single chance in the whole world that if America seriously decided to invade Iran the Iranian regime could survive >>>


This big Earth

Photo essay: Panoramic pictures
Asghar Riahi

Part 5/Last: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iranian clergy's historic ties to shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

Deeply dismayed

How can one promote justice and at the same time honor a person like Khatami?
Siavash Abghari

The Honorable Rev. Peterson, Washington DC.: We learned that you are hosting a speech by Mohammad Khatami, former president and one of the high-ranking officials of the Islamic regime in Iran since it inception in 1979. We are deeply dismayed that the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation which promotes justice, transparency, accountability and empowerment of women has invited and is honoring this man who is anti-woman, corrupt and responsible for murder of so many innocent people! >>>


Mossel Dag

Photo essay: "Mussels Day" Dutch food festival
Fariba Mobargheie



Visiting Khavaran Cemetery in Tehran on anniversary
of 1988 massacre of political prisoners

No sex and the city

Sixty pounds for a bottle of grapes and this is what you get
Peyvand Khorsandi

Marina told her friends I write a column.
“Who do you write for?” said Stephanie.
“Agriculture Week,” I said.
Agriculture Week?” said Elspeth.
“Yes, farming, combine harvesters, pesticides.”
“Cool,” she said, unconvincingly.
“Are there other magazines you’d like to work for?” said Marina, diplomatically.
“I wouldn’t mind Vogue or Tatler,” I said. “But neither has a farming section.” >>>

Dar emtedaade shab

"I have to become a Christian RIGHT NOW!," Rashid insisted
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

Dar zendegiye shomaa, maa kojaa gharaar daareem?

When one generation is not as idealitic as the next
Masih Mazloum

Let's talk about nuclear power

An American gets on a plane and finds himself seated next to an Iranian . He immediately turns to him and makes his move. "You know," says the American "I've heard flights will go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger. So let's talk." The Iranian who had just opened his book closes it slowly and says to the American guy, "What would you like to discuss?" "Oh, I don't know" says the guy, smiling "how about nuclear power?" "OK," says the Iranian, "that could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow and a deer all eat the same stuff... grass. Yet the deer excretes little pellets, the cow turns out a flat patty and the horse produces muffins of dried poop. Why do you suppose that is?" The American guy is dumbfounded. Finally he replies "I haven't the slightest idea." "So tell me," says the Iranian, "how is it you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?"

Rooze nojoom va solh

Passing through childrenin Tehran's Shafagh Park celebrating "Astronomyh & Peace Day"
Samineh Baghcheban

Nuclear IQ

Which country is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Daniel M Pourkesali

So if you haven't figured it out by now uranium enrichment is a central tenet guaranteed by article IV of the treaty as an "inalienable right" granted to all non-nuclear states. It is the process that produces the fuel to run a nuclear reactor in order to produce electricity which is conveniently dismissed as "among other things" in the news example sited above. It is also the carrot without which there is no incentive for countries to join the NPT as they would be accepting an apartheid system that rewards nuclear states without any practical benefits for the non-nuclear members. The right to utilize nuclear technology without developing nuclear weapons is vital for the treaty to remain credible and enforceable >>>

A night in Brooklyn

Short story
Roozbeh Shirazi

Friday afternoon, another mystery Iranian email was sent out, this time from a 'Shireen:' "Salam beh hamegi! Because some of us can't make it tonight, we have postponed the Am Café event. But! I would like to invite those of you who can to come to my apartment in Fort Greene so that we can meet one another and also have some fun! Negar and I will have some munchies for you. We don't drink (alcohol), but you can bring something for yourself and to share also! Take the A/C to Hoyt-Schermerhorn or catch the G there and get off at the Clinton-Washington stop. Call me when you get there! CU soon, Shireen" Behrang rolled his eyes and hit 'delete >>>


Wrapped in time

Photo essay: Iran
Mahnaz Ganji

Steer clear, or else

Both Ramin Jahangeloo's detention and his later interview were meant to send a message to Iranian intellectuals
Rasool Nafisi

The Iranian intellectual Ramin Jahanbegloo, detained at Tehran airport on 27 April 2006 and held for more than four months in prison, was released on bail on 30 August. The authorities first escorted him to his home with a box of sweets (a customary Iranian celebration of a happy event), and he then visited the Iranian student news agency (Isna) for an "interview" where he explained the reason for his arrest... Both Ramin's detention and his later interview were meant to send a message to Iranian intellectuals; steer clear of politics, and stop attending seminars and conferences in the western countries or writing for journals published there. This approach is in line with a recent order by the ministry of Islamic guidance that bans Iranians from giving interviews with broadcasters outside Iran >>>

Deferred dreams
Elahe Amani

The summer of 2006 marks the 18th anniversary of one of the most hideous waves of executions in Iran’s history. Let us not forget the crimes against humanity that took away and silenced thousands of the brave souls and bright young people in Iran. No one knows the exact number of political prisoners who have been executed since 1979.   But, the first decade of 1979-1989, and specifically during the summer of 1981 and 1988, Iran had one of the worst periods of human rights violations. What would happen to our collective "Deferred Dreams" for respect to human rights and human dignity? Will it explode as Langston Hughes’ poetry reminds us? >>>

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