>>> Archive
May 2007

Persian Mafia

"Miti Joon" and two other tracks

Penthouse with a view

Photo essay: My place back home
Ramin Ordibehesht

Sister cities

Photo essay: Shiraz and Isfahan
MohammadReza Khaneghahi


Interview with a former prisoner
Maryam Maktoob

Kianoosh Sanjari: I was a student at the University of Tehran. The first time [I was arrested] was for being involved in a demonstration. I wasn’t a political activist at the time. I was 17 years old and in my second year of university studying graphic design. I was being charged for supposedly being involved in a demonstration that was against the Iranian government. I was beaten up really badly before being taken to Tehran’s Evin Prison. The officials blindfolded us and threw us into police vans to and from the different destinations.  Soon after, we were transferred to a place called Tohid for interrogation. We were taken secretly in and out of facilities blindfolded so we wouldn’t know where we were going. The officials would often play psychological games with us so we would lose our sense of direction >>>

Republic of intimidation

If the unity of Iran can only be achieved through fear, intimidation, force and censorship, then we will never start our path toward a free society
Ben Madadi

Having written articles being critical of a few aspects of the Iranian society I had become used to getting e-mails, insulting me, but also naming me an Israeli (a Jew more specifically) who wants to divide Iran. Then I made it clear that I was not a Jew but an Iranian Turk, then I received e-mails, insulting me, but also naming me a pan-Turkist, and Torke khar (donkey Turk), who wants to divide Iran. I am indeed a Torke khar to a quite large number of those Iranians who are devout believers in what I do not believe. What I do not conceive though is how some articles can divide a country? How some articles can divide a nation? What fragile a country can that be? >>>

Hypocrites as well as stupid

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Stupid is what stupid does": I like Guive's total disrespect for Iranian hypocrisy. You only need to look at what the regime's Satellite TV output in recent years to realise how important it has been for it to gain respectability among the Iranians Diaspora by getting them to go back for visits. I thought it remarkably restrained of Guive. He forgot to mention all the ladies travelling to Iran to get cheap and excellent plastic surgery with their dual passports. Little do they realise or perhaps wilfully chose to ignore that the expertise and skill learnt by our surgeons was gained during and as a direct result of the damned war with Iraq. It is no good denying that by getting people to go back is seen as legetimizing IRI. You cannot be just a little pregnant no matter how much lie to yourself >>>

Hypocrites as well as stupid

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Stupid is what stupid does": I like Guive's total disrespect for Iranian hypocrisy. You only need to look at what the regime's Satellite TV output in recent years to realise how important it has been for it to gain respectability among the Iranians Diaspora by getting them to go back for visits. I thought it remarkably restrained of Guive. He forgot to mention all the ladies travelling to Iran to get cheap and excellent plastic surgery with their dual passports. Little do they realise or perhaps wilfully chose to ignore that the expertise and skill learnt by our surgeons was gained during and as a direct result of the damned war with Iraq. It is no good denying that by getting people to go back is seen as legetimizing IRI. You cannot be just a little pregnant no matter how much lie to yourself >>>

Closer to home

Photo essay: Yemen
Alireza Doostdar

Neocons wish come true

Statement on behalf of Kian Tajbakhsh and other Iranian academics
arrested in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The repressive policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran towards its own citizens has once again targeted innocent academics engaged in sustaining a modicum of normative relationship between Iranians and the outside world.  While the unconscionable arrest of Ms. Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has received a well-deserved and widespread attention in the United States, that of a prominent Iranian social scientist, Kian Tajbaksh, among other Iranian academics, has scarce been noted... The systematic abuse of human and civil rights of Iranian citizens can only exacerbate Iran’s international isolation and play into the hands of warmongers in the United States >>>


God and the devil having a drink
Ava Koohbor

Finding wisdom

For every soul it is as different as the rain drops that fall from the sky
Niloofar Nafici

Nadaarad barandaazy e narm, sood!

Regime change
Mohammad Ali Esfahani


This is a thieves' world
Jam Hamidi

Roozi keh beh to aashegh shodam

The day I fell in love with you
Homayoun Abghari

Aung San Suu Kyi

Following your path
Sasan Seifikar

Do not tempt me

I have no one else to trust except my pain
Cameron Batmanghlich

Rain dance

Photo essay: Scotland's Highland Games
Azadeh Azad

Cheraa Nehzate Azadi saaket ast?

Why has the Freedom Movement been silent towards suppression of women's activists
Hassan Behgar

While Ahmadinejad dreams of martyrdom
Tina Ehrami

According to the American press the United States have started a secret destabilization program against Iran. The fact that this program is out in the press however no longer makes it a secret program. In this program they have found a strong partnership with Israel and several Sunni countries. Their aim is to destroy the Iranian regime by attacking their oil industry and increasing tensions between the authorities in Tehran and different ethnical minorities >>>

Meet Mahmoud Saborjian

The Presidency is having its impact on Ahmadinejad's physical posture
Meir Javedanfar

The short, sudden twitch on his shoulders are becoming more visible and frequent. They usually erupt when he is addressing large crowds. Maybe its because he is excited, or because he is nervous. No one can be sure. Yet, he turns into a completely different person when he is giving TV interviews, especially to foreign reporters. Suddenly, the twitches disappear. It's as if he is in a trance. In such circumstances, he is a postcard picture of a confident Pasdar (Revolutionary Guard). I use to have a teacher like him at school. He too was a Pasdar. Friendly, and at times nervous. But when we used to ask him to recount his war stories, it was as if someone flipped a switch. His eyes would shine, his back would straighten, and his voice would boom with confidence. The same happens to Ahmadinejad >>>

Pages of my diary

Sktech book
Nahid Navab

Jaayezehee baraaye hameh

Marjane Satrapi's award at Cannes is a victory for all
Mahasti Shahrokhi

What Condi should say to Iran

Best to steer clear of any moral arguments. Especially ones you can't defend.
Afraidtouse Myrealname

Here's what Condi ought to do, if she meets with her Iranian counterparts: Shake all of their hands with the cameras rolling. This will establish you as the one with power. Even if they pull away, smile even more broadly and turn to the cameras and joke that you 'don''t bite'. Reach in further and grab their hands in both of yours. If they run away, chase them around the table if you have to. Force them to acknowledge the ridiculousness of their anti-woman proposition. Apologize for the US led overthrow of Mossadegh, and correct the impression the US tried to portray about him at that time. Admit that Mossadegh was not in fact a communist. Declare Mossadegh a genuine hero of the Iranian people. Doing this will take some of the wind out of their sails >>>

Staying alive

Interview with an Iranian transgender
Arsham Parsi

Everyone is trying to elucidate/preach that this is not right as it's interfering with God. They will start ranting about how you are making a mistake as you are really a boy. A sick society which made you ill in the first place is now pointing at you and calling you sick. And after that, it will just leave you alone without giving you the help you need. Out of all these pressures that are applied, several consequences might emerge. You might run away from your home and family, which itself will result in to two possibilities. You either have to become a prostitute and the consequences of that are you getting stabbed, raped, becoming infected by Aids or consequences similar to these. The second possibility is that using the money that you get from prostitution, you will be able to get the sex operation sooner. One has a lot of problems being in this dual state >>>

New revolution

Iranian Rap bringing social change
Bita Ria

Popular Music is heavily criticised by the Frankfurt School of thought with one of its famous theorists Theodor Adorno regarding it as being produced by monopoly organisations who brainwash individuals into thinking that popular music provides them with pseudo-individualisation.  I have selected Iranian Rap music to critique Adorno's theory in relation to the way in which modern contemporary society understands mass and popular culture. The Iranian revolution had its roots in Marxism however in modern society a post modern approach will prevail as Iranian youth bring much needed social change through a progressive revolution. They will use popular music genres such as Rap music to send their messages for change >>>

Psychedelic darvish

In Haale's music, the calloused fingers that Jimmy Hendrix planted alongside Farrokhzad's ink-stained hands have sprouted
Ari Siletz

Before Haale Gafori, no singer had made me dig up my collection of Forough Farrokhzad poems to find the verse where the poet plants her ink-stained hands in the garden. Yes, Shahram Nazeri, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Khatereh Parvaneh occasionally send me scampering to the bookshelf for a familiar masnavi or ghazal, but flipping through Forough after a concert is new. Finally, after years of putting up with that stubborn staccatoed synthesizer beat in Persian restaurants, a new kind of Iranian-Western theme has arrived that does not trigger a Pavlovian response to order the koobideh. Haale, the thirty-something Iranian singing talent is from New York, touring California. Her audience, like her music, is developing fast. These days her mystic compositions are making headway with spiritually curious Americans who delight in Eastern exotica >>>

One day I will return
Darren Marchant

NEW ZEALAND -- Late in 2004 I had the great pleasure of spending a wonderful month in your country. Most of this time was spent down around the cities of Bam and Kerman. What a wonderful place and what fantastic people. I made friends there that I shall miss, maybe for the rest of my life. I was exposed to a part of your country that my peirs can only wonder at when I recall the memories of a time to distant >>>

Story of a life

Photo essay: “Movements in Adagio” – 25 years of photography by Naveed Nour
Michel Lumière

At this stage of his artistic career Naveed had found color and his love for Impressionism combined with more than 25 years of photography created a new style that we have never seen before. One of his “paintings” had Degas written all over it while some were just a strong representation of form and color, nevertheless having you wonder about the context of it, and sure enough, just like his earlier black and white photographs, each painting was a telling a story of life >>>

Common denominator
Daniel M Pourkesal

Recent detention of several Iranian-Americans with ties to various think tanks here in the United States by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence comes at a time when the negative publicity has emboldened those pressing for forceful regime change and will undoubtedly strengthen the Western case for passing yet another set of debilitating sanctions against Iran for refusing to give up its legal right to Uranium enrichment at the U.N. Security Council. Whether those detained are guilty of the serious charges leveled against them is beyond the scope of this writing. Latest reports seem to indicate that the arrests were probably unwarranted. But in order to do an objective analysis and make any sense of this latest episode, one has to consider the entire chain of contributing factors >>>

What's in it for ordinary Iranians?

Relations between Islamic Republic and United States
Sohrab Ferdows

Once again talks about negotiation between Islamic government of Iran and American leadership have become a hot topic in both countries. Leaders of Islamic Republic, as always, are issuing all kinds of mixed messages through promises of helping Americans in Iraq and willingness to negotiate and also repeating same old rhetoric on issues like nuclear activities and presence of American troops in Persian Gulf region. From the other side, American policy makers have been tangled in a power struggle since last congressional election which has greatly influenced their ability to deal with non domestic issues. Leaders of Islamic regime in Iran appear to believe that this divide among elements in American leadership is in their interest and openly try to capitalize on that in order to find a support in American government for trouble free extension of their system >>>

When oil and water mix

Bush & Co. hope to provoke a strong reaction from Iran in an attempt to justify a military attack
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

The relationship between war and resources is nothing new. “One drop of oil,” said Georges Clemenceau, the Prime Minister of France in the second half of World War I, “is worth one drop of blood of our soldiers.” Today, the U.S. policy makers seem to think that one drop of oil is worth one drop of blood of soldiers and the slaughter of thousands of Arab and Muslim lives. However, to cover their racist ambitions, they disguise their greed as ‘war on terror’ or ‘democratization’. Knowing that by controlling the world's energy resources in conjunction with the superiority of the U.S. military, the United States would be able to intimidate and coerce the world more effectively, oil policy--wars or covert actions -- have become the overriding determinant of the American foreign policy >>>

Pirooziyeh mohoomparasti

Predominance of non-sense
Homayoun Abghari

Impossible boundaries

I'm not a fan of the great Persia or believe in Aryan purity and superiority. Therefore I must be a Jew?
Ben Madadi

It has long been a common practice among many countries, nations or peoples, to create divine boundaries, crossing which would constitute alienation, disgrace, humiliation, profanation and so on. The scope of these divinities have usually (but not always) been to protect an unnatural and normally unsustainable ideology or creed feeding and sustaining a well-established and organised clique. Examples are aplenty, especially among religions, but also among various other big-promising ideologies. These ideologies (religions and so on) feed on the ignorance, fear and, of course, the lack of education of the masses. Uneducated and ignorant masses form the best possible political and judiciary protection against outside threats, whatever they may be. Such ideologies need divinities, as mentioned earlier, without which their true faces would surface >>>

Heaven's gate

Digital graphics
Farhad Nabipour

Role model

Leyla Pazooki

Dialogue only buys them time

I am opposed to dialogue with the regime because I find it unconscionable
Sheema Kalbasi

I have received e-mails some of which expressing their desire for a dialogue with the Iranian regime as a just cause. I am opposed to such dialogue on several grounds. The supporters of dialogue between the US and the regime have never shown, articulated, or even tried to articulate how such dialogue would benefit the Iranian people. Attempts of this kind have been at best limited to vague references to change in countries where the US had diplomatic presence. Moreover, the crimes committed by the regime make any such dialogue unconscionable in my opinion. I am opposed to dialogue with the regime because I find it incapable of addressing the fundamental issues that underlie the Iranian normalcy crisis in the past 28 years >>>

Takaamole yek ahmagh

Evolution of a fool
Leila Farjami

My war

Bunkers around another bitter night
Arash Daneshzadeh

Rooze taabooti

Yek she're khoob baa sedaaye Shamloo kayf meedahad
Habib Shokati

Eshgh beekhe reeshe saahebesheh

To aahangi o man taaram
Shahireh Sharif

Bloodbath in slaughterhouse

When the queen of seduction challenges the retired womanizer
Farhad Zaltash


Akharin lahzeh
Nassir Mashkouri

Cheshaatoon ghashang mibineh

Photo essay: Tehran
H. Homayoun

Dar pahnaaye khiaabaan

Maashine siaah rooye zamin deraaz keshideh bood
Afshin Babazadeh

British Plan B

Creating a Benazir Bhoutto for the next round of fooling a nation
Jeesh Daram

There have been a lot of discussions in recent years about Iranians abroad visiting their homeland. This prompted me to put down a few possible reasons that entice some expatriates to take such trips despite the risks and conditions in Iran. Here are a few thoughts and you might want to add yours to the list at no charge: * To find out if there any small apartments available in northern part of Tehran that would be a good investment, so as soon as the regime changes they flip it and pocket the money. * To search, find and marry a zero-mile-virgin (dokhtareh sefre kilometer) and bring her to USA to do house chores and be a sex slave >>>

Uninterrupted mind

Dabashi may very well be Iran’s first truly globally-minded (and celebrated) modern-day philosopher
Babak Khan

Last night I had the opportunity to sit at a talk by the Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi. The talk was organized by an Iranian community organization in Virginia. Dabashi was in DC to launch his most recent book, Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema, and had also accepted an invitation by the Iranian-American community to come and give a talk in Persian. The event was in a humble elementary school and there was a good turn out. Dabashi who was there with his family, was cheerful and generous with his time. It was the first time I saw him in person -- having read some of his Op-eds, his Theology of Discontent (a mighty book on the Iranian Revolution of 1979), his work on Iranian cinema and his recent book Iran: A People Interrupted >>>

Vietnam syndrome

U.S. imperialist wars of aggression-by-choice continue unabated
Reza Fiyouzat

While traveling around Vietnam, you come across different kinds of western tourists. One staple of such a species is the American ex-military person. They usually display a proprietary disposition toward Vietnam which is inexplicable and shows itself in what they say and how they say it. In cultural studies, one would probably say the attitude is indicative of a not-so-subtle Orientalism mixed with a disturbing cocktail of ignorance-innocence plus a patronizing tone painfully visible to a lesser person, such as myself, from the Third World. One such ex-military person was encountered in a café in Sapa, a northern Vietnamese small town, with beautiful mountainous surroundings and lots of great trekking opportunities, going through spectacular scenes of terrace farming of rice and other farmed goods >>>

Take my books, please

Photo essay
Jahanshah Javid

You have totally blown this one

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Stupid is what stupid does": As usual , not an ounce of respect was given to your audience. I guess that must be the thrill and joy of writing for iranian.com for you. You must be so proud of the "painful" decision you have made, in fact so consumed by it, that you have totally forgotten, So adamantely, that even though such high profile people should not think of taking such a trip, yet they have to, do i hear you putting your arrogance aside and bother to ask why?, because they have fathers and mothers they have to attend to. DO you have any loved ones in iran? >>> More [Letters -- Part 1 Part 2]

The trickster hero

Introduction to "Rostam: Tales of Love & War from Persia's Book of Kings"
Dick Daivs

Rostam is the greatest hero of pre-Islamic Persian legend, and he and his exploits dominate the first half of our principal source for such material, the Shahnameh, the magnificent compendium of verse narratives concerned with pre-Islamic Iran that was written down by the poet Ferdowsi at the end of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh centuries c.e. As befits an ancient hero he is a larger-than-life figure: he lives for over five hundred years, he undergoes seven trials of strength, cunning, and endurance that put him in the same company as Hercules and his labors, he defeats and kills not only innumerable human enemies but also dragons and demons, he serves as the pre-eminent champion of no less than five Persian monarchs and lives through much of the reigns of two more >>>

Seer torshieh haft saaleh
Layla Khamoushian

I love Seer Torshi or Pickled Garlic. I have mentioned it before, it's because it reminds me of Shomal. Recently, I decided to look up how to make my very own jar of Seer Torshi. Excitedly, I opened my new Persian cookbook, New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij, to page 259 where the recipe for Seer Torshi is. I reviewed the list of simple magic ingredients, and of course, given the gourmet nature of the recipes, I noticed an added ingredient: my very own favorite little barberries or zereshk, which are supposed to be placed in the middle of a garlic clove. Wow, can you believe the combination of garlic and zereshk? She is a genius >>>

My Identity

Cherishing our lives in America, while on many occasions successfully managing to hold on to our Iranian heritage, language, culture, and all
Nazy Kaviani

I was born in Amirieh neighborhood of Tehran. Before my first birthday, my parents moved us into a huge villa style house in suburban Tehran. I grew up in that suburb of Tehran, attended schools nearby and eventually went to Kharazmi High School from which I graduated. I was a typical Tehrani girl who knew the city like the back of her hand, and was nimble in moving from one point to another, claiming the big, beautiful, ugly Tehran as her hometown. My parents had come to Tehran from Hamadan in the 1930’s when they had been very young, and had later married and given birth to all my brothers and sisters in Tehran. Our contact with Hamadan had been very limited and infrequent, limited for the most part to some relatives of my father’s visits to Tehran >>>

Escalating intimidation

Statement by scholars of Iran and the Middle East protesting detention of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari by the Iranian government
Persian text

The arbitrary detention and confinement of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, a prominent Iranian-American scholar and the director of the Middle East program at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., is the latest distressing episode in an ongoing crackdown by the Islamic Republic against those who, directly or indirectly, strive to bolster the foundations of civil society and promote human rights in Iran. Over the past year-and-a-half, this onslaught has targeted prominent women's rights activists, leaders of non-governmental organizations, student and teacher associations, and labor unions. In recent weeks, scores of women's rights activists have been harassed, physically attacked and detained for no greater a crime than peaceful demonstrations and circulating petitions calling for the elimination of discriminatory laws and practices >>>

Civil engineer to civic service
Baran Elahi

San Francisco Bay Area Iranians take great pride in once again seeing a distinguished and well qualified individual being appointed to an important position within the city government. In March 2006, Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Iranian born Dr. Fred (Fariborz) Abadi as his new Director of Public Works for the city of San Francisco, making him the first Iranian ever holding this position. Dr. Abadi has over 20 years of experience in public works administration. Prior to his position in San Francisco he was the Deputy Director of Public Works in Minneapolis >>>

Fantastic balance

Alireza Jodey

Stupid is what stupid does

Guive Mirfendereski

Many years ago, in the early 1990s, the perennial flaring up of the hemorrhoids in Iran-UAE relations provided me with an opportunity to visit Iran after decades of being away. As proposed by the Iranian Mission at United Nations, I should have gone to Iran and participated in a conference about the status of the Tonbs and Abu Musa islands, a subject about which I knew a thing or two. As one watermelon too many were being placed under my arm, to puff me up and make me feel important, I came very close to accepting the IRI’s invitation to return to post-revolutionary Iran. I did not for the simple reason that this lot who rule the country cannot be trusted with one’s personal circumstance >>>

Stains of blood on their faces…

For the brave Iranian police
Parniyan Golafra


The Chinese barber
Tahmineh Katouzi

The tale of two cousins

True, non-fictional, accounts of the lives of two women living in Iran
Ramin Takloo-Bighash

Act I: R. was born in Khuzestaan, and then moved to Karaj when she was twelve. When she was in high-school, she took an IQ test on which she did so brilliantly that the school principal personally contacted the family to tell them about the exceptional potential of the by now 14 year old R. She went to college to study physics. This is when her family started pressuring her to get married. She fell in love with a poet/philosopher. The guy went to her house to ask for her hand in marriage. She agreed, and her parents were out of their skins. By now she was a sophomore in college. As soon as they got married, she was pressured by her husband’s family to have a child. The husband was on his family’s side. She gives in >>>

Persimmon's seed

I realized that the tree died just about a month before Dad did
Hamid Bakhsheshi

When I visited the house couple of years ago, there was a huge persimmon tree in the middle of the yard, Dad's pride and joy.  Along with this tree there were numerous other trees, couple of apple trees, a pear tree, grape tree, and a few hundred plants and flower bushes. I felt like Tarzan every time I entered the yard. But the persimmon tree overshadowed everything else. It was huge. I went home again this past September. My father passed away. As much as I hated going to the house in the country, I did. He was buried in that village and we all went to the house after the funeral. House looked silent and empty despite the fact that there were hundreds of people there. I walked towards the middle of the yard and as I felt the void of my father, I noticed that the persimmon tree is gone >>>

Khodi va gheyre khodi

The concept of "other" and democracy
Esmail Nooriala

Gift to Western hardliners
Noam Chomsky

I would like to join Human Rights Watch, the Middle East Studies Association, and the International Society for Iranian Studies in strenuously condemning the persecution and now imprisonment of Haleh Esfandiari. These actions are deplorable in themselves, and also are a gift to Western hardliners who are trying to organize support for military action against Iran.  Now is a time for diplomacy, negotiations, and relaxation of tensions, in accordance with the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans and Iranians, as recent polls reveal.  The intolerable treatment of this highly respected scholar and human rights activist severely undermines the efforts of those who are seeking peace, justice, and freedom in the region and the world.

Culture of death

Photo essay: "Walls of Martyrdom" symposium in Cambridge
Jahanshah Javid

Peaceful resolution

How to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis
Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Kazem Alamdari

By suppressing its critics and the independent media in Iran, the IRI has succeeded in identifying its nuclear project with Iranian national pride and interest. For the most part, it mobilized the people to rally behind the government. The IRI did not find anything else as popular as the nuclear project to inspire the support of the people. However, this mood is changing as people become disillusioned about Ahmadinejad’s campaign promises to improve the lot of the poor promises, but enlarging the tension with the West. These facts also have widened the gap between the ruling factions. Thus it is up to the West to win the people’s hearts and minds in Iran >>>

Letter to a young filmmaker

Introduction to new book on Iranian cinema
Hamid Dabashi

You must be the most persistent little rebel roaming the streets of Tehran, planting seeds of fear in the hearts of all the reigning and potential tyrants of our homeland! I must tell you, I find myself in something of a quandary. We see each other once in a blue moon somewhere on this planet, and as soon as our conversations begin to build momentum, we must depart and travel in two opposite directions; usually you fly east and I west -- except of course the time I flew to Tehran after an absence of twenty years. You were born a year after the Iranian revolution of 1979. You are the walking embodiment of all its hopes and aspirations, the fragile target of all its terrors and tribulations. You are not just a young Iranian. To me, you are the embodiment of an era, the symbol of a nation in defiance and despair >>>

Golstan dar Stanford

Ebrahim Golestan's talk at Stanford University
Firoozeh Khatibi

Tehran nights

Part 3: "Look, it's not like I do hardcore drugs, I only smoke the pot."
Sanaz Khalaj

"Let dem in Roya. Stop squeezing dat von's cheeks and let her go so she can come and give her grandmother some love too." Shrieked my grandmother again from down the hall. She just shrieks when she talks. I think it's a reaction to my grandfather's declining hearing ability. This time though, her voice was followed by her body and she was moving at a swift pace. "Yes, Mamani." Roya Said as she linked her arm under Rob's. "Come on Rob. I'll show you to your room so you can wash up." She said all fidgety >>>

Becoming Bobby and Sally

Since they found "Babak" and "Solmaz" too difficult to pronounce, they suggested that they should change their name to something more "American"
Heresh Rezavandi

Being a regular reader of Iranian.com and having a wide circle of Iranian friends from all corners of our world of diaspora, I've come to a conclusion about at least half of Iranian-Americans; they are embarrassed about being Iranian (this is a hereditary disease we have in making up statistics on the spot when we try and emphasis a point, e.g. "In Iran 80% of the people wish to flee to the West", we're all guilty of it, including you "Bobby" (Babak) and "Sally" (Solmaz). Bobby and Sally are the typical Eye-Ranian Americans from Orange County who love to invite the Johnsons next door to celebrate Thanksgiving >>>

Providing legal care
Nema Milaninia

As members of our community it is our responsibility to not only look out for each other, but to also create awareness on significant issues concerning legal rights and entitlements. Often neglected are the legal rights and responsibility of our Iranian Seniors. As such, the Northern California Chapter of the Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA) is happy to present “Senior Citizen Day!” We want to ensure that older Iranians receive critical information in areas such as consumer protection, public benefits, resident’s rights, guardianship, estate planning, social security, Medicare and Medicaid, and abuse and neglect >>>

Road to peace

Photo essay: Iranians on world cycling tour
Miles for Peace

Home of the brave

Photo essay: Constitutional House Museum in Tabriz
Homa Nasab

Modern, but medieval

I feel that the word contrast pretty much embodies Iran

So I decided to start a blog for anyone who wants to see what I'm up to in Iran because most of you probably have no clue what it's like here. Honestly, I had no clue either. Iran is incredibly complex. It will be hard to write about this country without political observations and implications, but I will try because I don't particularly want to go to prison. So, I guess my first observations are that the traffic is insane, the women are beautiful, the city is filthy, and the Alburz mountains rise up abover Tehran like a grand old king surveying his land. This city is enormous. When I saw it from the sky before I landed, I couldnt believe how sprawling it was. The traffic is literally the worst in the world and there are almost no rules or regulations and even the few there are are hardly followed >>>

Paving the ground for disaster

University of Cambridge lecture on US-Iran standoff
Shirin Saeidi

The Persian Society hosted a lecture by Professor Abbas Edalat, founder of CASMII and Professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College, titled “Mutual Respect: The Paradigm Shift Required to Resolve the U.S.-Iran Standoff” at Trinity College, Cambridge. Edalat argued that, as in the run-up to the illegal and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US neo-conservatives, with the highly active and effective support of the Israeli lobby, are intent on using a number of accusations, including an alleged covert nuclear weapon programme in Iran, to impose wider sanctions on the country to pave the ground for a military intervention in Iran. Their agenda is to instigate a regime change and replace the defiant Islamic Republic with a puppet regime in Iran in order to control the energy resources of the country >>>

In honor of my beloved
Solmaz Ziad

Last Saturday, I ran the 14 mile Malibu Creek Trail Run, and it was the most exhilarating experience I have been through. After the race, I vowed to complete the Nike Women's full marathon, which will be held in San Francisco in October. I will be running this 26.2 mile marathon in honor of my beloved mother in law, who lost her battle with Lymphoma on December 5, 2006. Currently I am raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a participant in their Team In Training and I'm asking you to help by making a contribution. Each donation helps accelerate cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma and brings hope to the patients and families who are on the front lines of the battle against these diseases >>>

Poke at your own peril

Ali, 2500BC

Ghahr nakon

If torture is grounds for disengagement, well... that’s too easy... what about US and UK and their behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Tinoush Moulaei

There are many Iranians dead set on opposing any dialogue with IRI.  I think it’s great that they voice their opinion, but if you disagree with them, you better make yourself heard.  There are two striking aspects of the anti-dialogue view point.  I’m using ‘anti-dialogue’ for the lack of a better term, not to suggest that they hate dialogue. First, there is the notion that dialogue with IRI will give more legitimacy to IRI, as was suggested by Manesh.  That could perhaps be true, but even if dialogue adds more legitimacy to IRI, what’s the difference for the average Iranian living in Iran?  Last week, I saw a video showing an IRI policeman kicking a girl into a police car.  Would it make a difference if the policeman kicking the girl is working for a more or less legitimate regime?  The IRI has been there for over a quarter of century.  Has it made a difference to the IRI leaders whether they are viewed internationally as legitimate!? >>>

Jesus Jerry

Photo essay: On the death of American evangelist Jerry Falwell
Ben Bagheri

Engaging with a ruthless regime
Sheema Kalbasi

The difference between some one like Haleh Esfandiari and I, Sheema Kalbasi, is that I see the Iranian regime as a group of people who have committed and continue to commit horrendous crimes against humanity. People like Dr. Esfandiari -- who I hope will return to the U.S. safe and sound especially since Keyhan has accused her of apostasy-- do support a dialogue with the Iranian regime. I like to know why Ms. Esfandiari's husband is devastated over his wife's arrest and why he doesn't try to engage in a dialogue with the Iranian regime? Why Shaul Bakhash goes on BBC to confirm that Esfandiari is still a Muslim? After all Ms. Esfandiari and people like her insist on engaging in a dialogue with the Iranian regime >>>

Pulpit mentality

Iranian media can break out of its endemic paralysis
Babak Yektafar

Recently I wrote an article to mark the 100th edition of the on line Farsi/Persian language publication, Washington Prism. This publication, of which I am the Editor-in-Chief, is a project of an independent, non-profit Washington D.C. based Think-Tank called World Security Institute. Although I am not much for such sentimentalities as marking anniversaries, I thought it important to write about the challenges facing an independent Farsi/Persian language publication operating within a highly political realm of a highly politicized community. Unfortunately I have come to realize that more than often the rationale behind this politicization is not a product of sound analytical expertise, but that of perceptions contingent on personal feelings towards the current ruling government of Iran >>>

Some kind of honeymoon

Photo essay: Iran trip
Bahram Maravandi

Oon shab keh baaroon aamad

Sitting restlessly at the police station
Tahmineh Katouzi

How to build a community

Lesson 1: The benevolent tyrant
Bruce Bahmani

Every year around the end of NoRooz, the Diaspora Iranian community, energized and exhausted by 2 weeks of new year revelry starting with the trial by fire of Chahar-Shanbeh-Soori, and ending in the dance-bandari-in-the-park of Sizdah-Bedar, gets the itch, to do some kind of community service. From this fleeting energy, oft emerges, like the Simorgh herself, what I call the "Benevolent Tyrant". The Benevolent Tyrant is one who having been re-born by an overdose of Persian heritage, takes it upon him or her self to save us all. Mostly by sheer caffeinated will >>>

Interrupted love

I miss the simplicity of the whole country uniting, even for a brief moment, on the joyful occasion of a soccer win
Parissa Sohie

This past Friday night, we went to see "Offside" with a few of our friends.  If you haven't heard of it, it's an Iranian movie about female fans wanting to get into the football (soccer to any American readers) stadium to watch the games.  While this is not a controversial issue in most parts of the world, there is a social and political battle going on in Iran, where women are banned from entering the stadium. The movie was good.  It was funny, and I thought it did a good job of showing the absurdities of life with contradictory and illogical laws.  But I liked it -- and disliked it -- for a different reason. The closing scenes of the movie show people celebrating freely, happily--openly >>>

Hiding behind America

Blair had the courage to confront terrorism and not fear it, though he got it wholly wrong on Iraq
Ben Madadi

The British Empire is now nothing like the lion it used to be. It is more just like a pussycat who may actually fear the Persian pussycat on occasion! One century ago it would have been unimaginable for Britain to tolerate the capture of its troops by Iran, even if the troops (sailors etc) would have been guilty of the most heinous crimes. Times have changed drastically. Britain is now used for public-relations at occasions by America to show that there are allies out there, and the British monarchy has accepted its new role as a serious tourist attraction. This change also goes for Blair. Too many people in the world know who is the prime minister of Britain. The only motives are historical accidents; some sort of popular inertia, the English language, and the seat it holds at the UN Security Council >>>

Far away from Qom

Photo essay: Mazandaran & Tabarestan
Fariba Mobargheie

Illusion of power

Women and SUVs
Shahriar Zahedi

My neighbor lady, Linda, is a petite woman barely 5 feet tall. A few inches shorter and she would be considered 'clinically vertically challenged'. She drives a big-ass SUV; a Chevy Suburban. To get into the car, she leaves the right foot on the ground and places the left on the threshold and with great effort, catapults herself behind the wheel. Once inside the car, the seat is adjusted with her chest just a few inches from the steering wheel. Since the car does operate, I suppose her feet do reach the pedals too. What really compels short people, especially short women, to drive these humongous machines? Is it merely compensation for their diminutive statures, or is there more to it? >>>


U.S. talks with Iran will further legitimize IRI

The Bush administration is about to start negotiating with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not only that, they will negotiate from a position of weakness and will give IRI everything they ask for. Everything. Why? Because they have no other choice. Absolutely none. The disaster of war in Iraq threatens not only the Bush presidency, but the survival of the Republican Party. If this administration were the kind of people who could stand up, admit to mistakes, and sacrifice themselves for the good of the country to salvage a solution, then there might've been some hope. But, they clearly are not. Instead, they will go begging the IRI to help them save face >>>

Endless untruths

Reply to Kayhan’s unfounded report on Haleh Esfandiari
Shaul Bakhash
(Persian text)

On page one of the issue of Kayhan of 22 Ordibehesht,/5 May, 2007 a long article appeared under the title of “Documented Report by Kayhan:  Who is Haleh Esfandiari”. Although it is described as “documented,” this article is full of errors, lies and deliberate distortions. The writer does not even seem able to get the simplest facts right. A partial account of these inaccuracies follows: * It is untrue that Haleh Esfandiari and Shaul Bakhash worked for Israeli spy agencies; It is a lie that either Haleh Esfandiari or Shaul Bakhash is a Mossad spy  It remains a lie no matter how many times Kayhan repeats it in its article. * Shaul Bakhash was not the editor of Kayhan International in the 1340s and 1350s. * Volume 17 of the Documents of the Nest of Spies does not say Shaul Bakhash is a good journalist “for America.”  It just says he is a good journalist. * Haleh Esfandiari and Shaul Bakhash are not Zionists >>>

Would you care if he was ugly?
Tina Ehrami

In Iran, where many people are imprisoned, forgotten in some dark corner of Evin prison. might never be honoured with a petition campaign to rescue them from their harsh treatment. Political activists get beaten and murdered and nobody would ever know. Not because we don't care, but because the person in question is well, not good looking enough! He or she obviously didn't attract our attention when we saw him or her on the news one day. But if say he had blue or green eyes, dark shiny hair and pretty lips, we would have remembered him or her for sure. We would feel so sorry for the poor pretty person that we would do anything just to help >>>

Thank You Mr. Pourzal
Qumars Bolourchian

On Saturday Voice of America's Persian service proved itself once again to be the stooge of the Israeli and right-wing American warmongers that pay its salary. I listened to a man, whom I had never heard of before, Mr. Rostam Pourzal, make an extremely thoughtful, simple and uncontroversial case against hurting Iranian civilians with war or with sanctions. For this simple message he was singled-out and repeatedly and viciously attacked by the host and the other guests. The host made it clear, he was biased against Mr. Pourzal and he went out of his way to throw in damaging comments like suggesting that Pourzal represents the Islamic Republic >>>

Iranians reinstalled
Fredun Hojabri

Dear ACS Members, I am pleased to inform you that the American Chemical Society (ACS) has announced the reversal of their decision and reinstalled dropped Iranian members [See: "No crime and punishment"]. On behalf the 'Committee to reinstall the dropped Iranian ACS members', I would like to thank you for writing to CS, and expessing your support of Academic Freedom and the The Constituion & Rules of ACS. Our special thanks to other Organizations, like APS, who stood firm and advised ACS of their own interpretation of U. S. Laws in this regard.

Modern man

Photo essay: Ebrahim Golestan in conversation with Abbas Milani
Jahanshah Javid

Gel naame parandehee bood

Mud is a bird's name
Leila Farjami

The art of remembering

An Open Letter to Secretary Rice
Mohammad Kamaali

There was news that you are visiting an art gallery in Washington where Iranian artists are exhibiting their works. I'm sure the Iranian people would've welcomed this visit, had it not been in the context of the current hostilities of your government towards Iran. Cultural exchange programmes are one of the best ways to build closer relationships between the ordinary people of our two countries. But you, you are no ordinary citizen. You represent a government which has a history in my country. Our problems with you did not start in an art gallery and will not end there >>>

The grand delusion

Deluded by the threats and promises of Islam, Muslims, poor or rich, vie with one another in furthering the violent cause of Allah
Amil Imani

"We are our beliefs," it is said. Beliefs steer people in life. Some beliefs are harmless, some are the motive force for good, and yet others are delusional, misguided, and even outright dangerous. Every version of the belief called "Islam" ranges from the delusional to the dangerous. Islam is a Grand Delusion, birthed by Muhammad's hallucination he relayed to his first wife and employer, Khadija. greatly frightened, he told Khadija that he was visited by jinn (devil) in the Hira cave. Khadija comforted the distraught man by assuring him that the episode was Allah's way of choosing him as his messenger. Muhammad believed his rich wife-employer who was 15 years his senior and the delusion became a belief -- Islam >>>

Her father's portrait

Short story
Azadeh Azad

Homa opened the door of the house to her father. He was standing at the threshold, a bouquet of white narcissi in his hand, smiling. Homa's mother took her apron off, tidied her fluffy black hair, and rushed softly along the corridor towards him. Father came in and locked the door tight. It was March twenty first, 1960, in tranquillized Tehran of Imperial Iran, and Homa was eleven. "Let's not fight on New Year's Day, this first day of spring. It brings bad luck for the rest of the year." Father handed the spring flowers to mother. He didn't offer them to her alone. They were meant for the entire household. "Gosh, they smell wonderful! Early messengers of the spring! Aren't they lovely?" mother asked Homa without talking to her daughter, her entire nose into the flowers >>>

Wrong animals in the cage
Faramarz Fateh

Last few weeks, for one reason or another, I have been reading about or seeing pictures of variety of animals in cages in zoos. From giraffs and hippos, to small monkeys. Why do we even have zoos in the 21st century? We take a lion, supposedly the king of the wild, and confine it to a 12x8 cage for year after year after year. Or, in case of a place like sea world, we take a 4 ton whale who is supposed to swim in limitless oceans and confine it to a man made pool the ends of which can be reached by the whale in less than 5 seconds >>>

Effective to a fault

When a person uses violence she/he loses a piece of themselves. When societies do they lose a whole lot more.
Tinoush Moulaei

It was quiet a challenge to grasp the point in the opinion piece by Jeesh Daram, which advocates public defecation as a mean to achieve political change. Interesting idea ... if you smoke rock! Hopefully, it was either a satirical or abstract notion whose meaning is lost on me. Using defecation to solve a political impasse is as effective as using a political speech to release constipation. But, there is at least one point in that piece worth considering. It’s unclear what the reasoning behind Jeesh’s idea is, but he’s correct about the futility of using violence for political aims. The truth is that violence works. It’s an effective and powerful tool. But >>>

Seculars vs. Seyyeds

Seyyeds need US Democrats against real Iranians
Ali Mostofi

Ask any Iranian, "why did the mullahs manage to kick out the Shah?," and they will give you one word, "Carter". Here is a link, to a very right wing summary of the current state of affairs surrounding Iran. For many years, the US right wing supported Iran, as a bastion against the Soviet Union. But once the US left wing got elected, the world changed big time. Even when the Seyyeds went mad, the exodus of Iranians pleased the world no end. USA and Canada, got millions of top notch Iranians and their wealth. Proxy trading with Seyyeds became widespread. So do you wonder why things are not changing in present day Iran? Well most of our top notch people are not in Iran, and are doing business outside. But do you ever wonder what really keeps fueling the Seyyeds paranoia? >>>

Beauty grows on trees

Photo essay
Shahireh Sharif

Euro Iranology

Iranian studies in Europe
Katarzyna Javaheri

Iranian Studies is a widely used term. However some other terms in common use are: Iranology, Iranistics, and Persian studies. It is an interdisciplinary field working not only on Iran as a country but also on the whole Iranian cultural region. It means on the Greater Iran (modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, western Pakistan, part of Caucasus, Kurdish regions like Syria and Turkey) and the other land inhabited by Iranian peoples now and in the past (for example Persians, Baluchis, Kurds, Gilanis, Hazara, Lurs, Pashtuns, Ossetians, Parthians, Scythians). Iranian Studies consists of history, geography, linguistic, literature, art and culture of Iran and the other countries of Iranian cultural region >>>

Free Esfandiari
International Society for Iranian Studies

We are deeply troubled by the news of the arrest and detention of the internationally distinguished and respected Iranian-born academic Dr. Haleh Esfandiari in Tehran on May 8. Dr. Esfandiari is currently the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., a publicly - and privately-funded nonpartisan research institution devoted to the promotion of national and international dialogue. Dr. Esfandiari’s numerous publications have ranged in topic from women’s rights in Iran to the conditions of Palestinian refugees and she has been a staunch advocate of pursuing peaceful dialogue between Tehran and Washington in resolving their diplomatic standoff >>>

Same old story

A snake, fear can crawl inside the dark corners of one’s soul and hide where least suspected
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

My first lesson in maintaining peace came at the young age of ten, when Father advised me of the advantages of keeping my mouth shut. Growing up with an imperialist Khan for a father, and pro-Mossaddegh older siblings, I had witnessed passionate debates that invariably ended with my father’s rage. As the years went by, I faced even more restrictions both at home, and out in public. In time, the taboo subjects, the banned books, and hushed voices multiplied to a point where rumor had it that one out of three on the street was a SAVAK informer. Fear of being found out, of someone knowing what one thought, said, or did, grew and grew until I reached a stage when I wished my own shadow would stop following me >>>

Because I love Istanbul and tulips

Photo essay: Istanbul tulip festival
Fariba Mobargheie

From the basement to the big stage

Photo essay: Kiosk practice sessions & concert with Abjeez
Shadi Yousefian

Rock on Shahin Jan!

Judging from this concert, it appears that our great national humiliation and shame may well be over
Bruce Bahmani

Iranians in poncey city black leather jackets spilled out off the sidewalk at the ticket window. A small desk manned by SFSU student volunteers in bright white Beyond Persia t-shirts, checked people off the VIP list, and wristband tightly attached, let them in one by one. The bands, as important as the moment, were none other than bad boys Kiosk and bad girls Abjeez. Flown in from all parts East and West, Canada and Sweden, for a moment in time that now begs proper recording. Unusual for an Iranian concert where only one headliner is soup du-jour, but completely di-rigeur for those about to Rock. Hard >>>

Snowing on the news

In a reenactment of the post-Katrina fiasco, Bush's front man deflects criticism
Tinoush Moulaei

What worries me about Subtropical Storm Andrea’s early arrival has more to do with two other big stories that occurred in the past week. The first story was the tornado that wiped out Greensburg, Kansas last week. The pictures were devastating, block after block of jumbled houses and cars. What followed was also devastating. The Kansas National Guard was not able to respond quickly. According to the Kansas Governor, the slow response of the state’s National Guard was due to the fact that half of their equipment and many of their trained personnel are currently in Iraq. Sounds like a reasonable conclusion to me. But, not to the White House press secretary, Tony Snow >>>

Dumping on the regime

On civil disobedience
Jeesh Daram

If Iranians want to bring down that callous British-appointed government of Iran they must first do what is unprecedented in any country in the world. We cannot do what Gandhi advocated in India -- peaceful resistance or Dr. King advocated in the south for civil rights. Those tactics will not dismantle the grip of the British in Iran. Arm struggle against the regime is not a practical approach so we have to use an alternative weapon that we all possess and can inflict emotional damages to the regime's image, and is environmentally less catastrophic than say using Molotov cocktail. We Iranians are an innovative nation (case in point we invented Sheism that alienated us from the entire Muslim world) and today I suggest we do something that would bring that government down fast and expediently >>>

Who? Me?

Who is accused of being a "threat to civil security?"
Parvin Ardalan

The severe crackdown against the women’s movement came about after the June 12th protest in 2005, where the women’s movement for the first time, demonstrated its relative strength. Of course, prior to this event, independent women’s rights activists and organizations faced numerous obstacles with respect to carrying out their work, which were imposed by other governmental groups and bodies. Additionally, a special section within the Ministry of Information and Security charged with oversight and control of of NGOs had been created. But the concept of the women’s movement, and its demands, was new for the security forces, and as such time was needed to identify the issues and activists within the sector and to begin implementing strategies of control >>>

The image of the new enemy

Photo essay: Taraneh Hemami's "Most Wanted" art exhibit
Jahanshah Javid

Yes she Cannes
Darius Kadivar

Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling illustrated books -- Persepolis -- are now brought to screen as an animated Feature starring Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroiani for the voice overs. The French produced movie to be distributed by Sony Pictures in the United States is now running for the Palme d’Or (the most prestigious film Award in the World with the American Oscars) in the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival that will be celebrating its 60th anniversary and the head of the jury will be director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons) >>>

My Lover's Glance

"Negahe-Yar-e Man" (My Lover's Glance) with vocals by Anvar
Composed and arranged by Sepehr Haddad

We can change

Exploring the tolerance of change
Tina Ehrami

According to the theory of Charles Darwin, creatures, animals and humans have changed during the past tens of thousands of years due to change in weather and living conditions. This thought is inherent to the evolution theory. We all change. The ability to change in order to cope with external conditions is what one could call a survival mechanism. Those who change, knowingly or unknowingly, have better chances at living a longer and healthier life. Within this set of ideas, change is always for the good. Those who change, become happier people. Thus, the ability to change should be seen as a virtue, a gift or a talent >>>

Houshang Pirnazar

When your best friend’s father dies
Fariba Amini

When someone you know from your childhood dies, how do you deal with the grief? How do you console your friend and her loved ones? It is hard. I knew the Pirnazar family from Iran. Maryam is my childhood friend, my best friend who has always been there for me in good and bad times. The whole family is like my own. I remember when as teenagers we would get together at their house in Youssef Abad. Mr. Pirnazar, or Houshang Khan as we called him, was a literary man who was an accomplished translator. Among the works he rendered into Persian were the plays of Bertolt Brecht, including the Three Penny Opera. He also translated works by Maxim Gorki, Mark Twaine, Will Durant, and Machiavelli >>>

Ham is OK

So much work for the other world but never learned to live life here
Sasan Seifikar

"I have just the pill for you"

This pill helps you sleep; That pill makes you numb
Sara Rahai

Nothing less of good

Piety and truth we try to find yet tell ourselves thousands of lies
Niloofar Nafici

Takalomi Khaamoosh

Daryaab maraa
Shahireh Sharif

Coming to Canada

Bahram Dabiri

Annual visit

Photo essay: Trip to Iran
Ben Bagheri

Bad example

Imagine "Iranian terrorists" attacking the US as an analogy for the body's immune response
Maziar Shirazi

There is a book that has been in national circulation at a number of academic institutions at least since 2003, entitled How the Immune System Works (2nd edition). It came across my attention a few months ago when a friend using it to study for our microbiology exam pointed out that the book uses "Iranian terrorists" attacking the US as an analogy for the body's immune response. Needless to say, I was upset at what I felt to be an insulting and callous treatment of my background, especially in a book where there was absolutely no need to associate a particular nationality with terrorism to make a point about cytokines and antigen presenting cells >>>

Let's be fair

To those people who think religious extremism is confined to Islam and Muslims, I say think again
Bruce Roshanravan

it is only fair to say that, not all the people in this world are crazy warmongers and radical fascists. In fact the in any society quiet majority are those who want a peaceful life without any conflict with their neighbours. But unfortunately norm is not very exciting or appealing and that's why the people with most extreme views are the ones who make all the noise and get all the attention. This is the same everywhere from Washington to Moscow, from London to Baghdad and from Tel-Aviv to Tehran. All it takes is a few extremist idiots of the same conviction with a significant amount of money and political resources in their disposal and vela, you have got the recipe for disaster >>>

Iran's comeback kid
Meir Javedanfar

Mohsen Rezaie, the current deputy head of the Expediency Council, and the owner of Baztab is a very shrewd Iranian politician. In fact, when it comes to former IRGC commanders turned politician, he is one of the most able. During the 2005 elections, in which he was initially participating, he soon realized that he had no chance. Therefore rather than embarrass himself, he pulled out, even though it was not an easy decision. After all, he was the former head of IRGC. Other contenders such as Larijani, Ahmadinejad and Ghalibaf had served under him in the IRGC, and were junior to him in the political arena too >>>

My brother’s keeper

Iran & Afghan immigrants
Abbas Bakhtiar

The biggest problem with the Iranian government refugee/immigration policy has been that of not having one. It is quite clear that Iran is and will continue to be a magnet for Afghans. The government knows that refugees or immigrants will not voluntarily return to a country where there is no infrastructure, housing, education, healthcare or jobs for them. The successive Iranian governments have done very little in planning for integration of these refugees into the Iranian society. The government can not deny that the country has benefited greatly from this cheap labour pool. It also can not deny that the majority of Afghans in Iran are law abiding, hardworking people. The government has done very little in changing the negative image of these people. At times it has even

Rock n Roll is HERE to stay

Photo essay: Abjeez & Kiosk's historic concert in San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

Young at heart

On Abjeez/Kiosk San Francisco concert
Monda Tajbakhsh-Sbolci

The concert by Abjeez and Kiosk bands in San Francisco was one that would make any Iranican mother happy and proud. My teenage daughter finally found herself some role models she could comfortably identify with, not through any computer-related accomplishments but by one of the most relevant of mediums, closest to a young person's heart: music. Abjeez's energetic blend of ska and rock with Persian fusion (especially through their lyrics and physical nuances) did wonders for a half Iranian teenager's identity crisis, who never before related to the Iranian pop (out of L.A. or Iran ) or had a hard time connecting with Shajarian or Parissa >>>

What a time it was, it was...

Raging battles inside people who have experienced the phenomenon of divorce
Nazy Kaviani

I believe the worst thing about a divorce or a break-up is not leaving a familiar face, a familiar space, or losing things in the process.  I believe it is losing the hope and optimism we had when we were first united with our lover.  No feeling in the world compares with the wonderful sense of private and personal accomplishment we feel when after thinking, feeling, wondering, hoping, trying, failing, trying again, and winning the heart of someone we found special, we are united with that person >>>

Valleys of love

Women poets, past & present
Ali Alizadeh

My final evaluation of this exciting new anthology -- The Seven Valleys of Love: The Bilingual Anthology of Women Poets from the Middle Ages Persia to the Present Time Iran, edited by Sheema Kalbasi -- concerns what -- at least for today's mainstream Western readers -- may constitute the book's most noticeable characteristic: its representation of work by poets from Iran, that terminally demonized/dehumanized 'axis of Evil' nation that has seemingly been at war with the West since the Battle of Marathon between ancient Greeks and Persians in 490 BCE. It is my belief that by exposing the journey of Iran's women poets through 'the Seven Valleys of Love' Ms Kalbasi has depicted and emphasized the humanity and dignity of one of world's most misunderstood peoples, and has made a significant contribution to facilitating a cross-cultural dialogue in place of a nefarious 'Clash of Civilizations' >>>

Legalize oldest profession

While having sex for money in front of a camera is legal, why should it be illegal without a camera?
Mahdiyeh Javid

Prostitution is referred to as the world’s oldest profession. Although in every society the attitudes towards this profession varies greatly and ranges from tolerance to execution of the sex workers, a review of American history reveals that the criminalization of prostitution in the U.S. was adopted to protect victims of the so called “white-slavery.” At least for the last centaury, prostitution in the U.S. has been largely equated to sexual slavery. It is the position of this paper that the association of prostitution with sexual slavery is ethically wrong and has resulted in the depravation of liberty of those who choose sex work as a profession >>>

Conversations with my dog

Which America am I living in?
Jalil Mortazavi

For those of us who speak English as a second language, learning never ends. But I have been fortunate enough to have Dorabelle as a coach. Dorabelle and I have a special relationship. She helps me with English and I provide her with her favorite cookie. Our relationship began a long time ago when I asked Dorobelle how to punctuate the following sentence: "Woman without her man is nothing". Dorabelle replied, "That all depends who your audience is." Me: "What difference does that make?"  >>>

Aggressive nationalism

The strong resurgence of nationalism among the Persians of Iran, and also other Iranian groups, especially the Turks (Azerbaijani Turks) is a very bad sign for our country
Ben Madadi

Today an Iranian can write almost anything bad he wants about Islam, and most Iranians (especially those who can read English) would not care at all, though if one writes anything less than nice and pretty about the great Persian rulers of two millennia ago, or the Aryan purity of the Iranians, then he/she must expect plenty of not-so-nice responses. And this is just a strengthening of an ideological aggression that is the natural course of events as we can see, though definitely in a very bad direction. The direction that also pushed Nationalist Serbs to the abyss of Yugoslavia, let alone the most gruesome of all, the events of the second World War >>>

All in God's name

It's important that I put my religion in a book
Jerry Quill

I've been reflecting on my life lately and I must say I'm a little disappointed. As a youth I thought I could have it all... I could rule the universe, but now that I'm older my dreams seem to be slipping away. So I figured I better get off my ass and come up with something drastic if I'm going to be... well, ruler of the universe. So here's my idea, let me know what you think. I'm going to start my own religion. I'm going to tell anybody who will listen that an Angel has been coming to me in my sleep and giving me orders directly from God. I'll make up some Godly sounding proclamations and throw in some thees and thous for good measure >>>

Sarkozy’s nightmare
Shirin Vazin

I had a funny dream a couple of nights ago. Following closely France’s presidential elections I dreamt that Sarkozy is an Iranian woman, French by birth and therefore eligible to be a presidential candidate. Well, the dream was droll. As a young girl I lived in Paris in a dorm named Maison Sainte-Genevieve in Rue du Cardinale Lemoine. It was1981 and Francois Mitterrand who became later the first socialist president of France and Valery Giscard d’Estaing ran for presidency >>>

I’ve come a LONG way, baby

I did the happy dance every time I thought no one was looking
Parissa Sohie

In the Spring of 2000, I was accepted as a graduate student at Arizona State University. I was so happy. I had a plan, I had interests and I had big hopes. As I tend to do, I threw myself into my new program with such enthusiasm and excitement, that I ignored/forgot some essential bits of reality. For example, I ignored the fact that I had no programming background, no interest in programming per se, and that the program I was entering was heavily emphasizing programming and technology. I also ignored the fact that the millionaires that had popped up around the dotcom bubble were beginning to lose their millions  >>>

If I was an Iranian

What if students in colleges all over Iran and US were asked to communicate directly with each other by standing in each others space-what would they say?
Elham Atashi

History travels fast in the landscape of time. What if we could intercept it, not with the echoes of guns or the drums of war but with voices that question and yearn for understanding that could bring us closer to each other? What would those voices say, what would they echo? What if we could awaken history to talk to us, so we could question it? What if we break absolutism of history, by adding layers of voices to break the silence of history that lay in words in books? What if students in colleges all over Iran and US were asked to communicate directly with each other by standing in each others space-what would they say? Would their fears, emotions, worries differ? Would they be similar? What color is love in Iran? Is it different to the one in the US? >>>

Where have all the honey bees gone?
Sepehr Haddad

I attended a seminar yesterday on a topic that has been of interest to me since a few months back when I first heard that there has been an unprecedented decrease in the number of honey bees, not only here in the US, but also in other parts of the world. Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is the name of the phenomenon that describes the massive die-off affecting an entire beehive or bee colony. The die-offs have also been termed Vanishing Bee Syndrome and Disappearing Disease. It was originally limited to colonies of the Western honey bee here in the United States but European beekeepers have recently claimed to be observing a similar phenomenon in Spain, Switzerland, Poland, and Germany >>>

No business is good business

California one step closer to divestment in Iran
Lisa Daftari

The California State Assembly Judiciary Committee has unanimously passed an assembly bill that will prohibit the investing of retirement funds in companies that do business in Iran. This round’s passage of the bill was a large victory for Anderson and added to the popularity the bill has gained in recent weeks with strong bi-partisan support. The bill also had the backing of over 30 grass roots organizations, taxpayer groups, Jewish and Iranian-American groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California, the Jewish Federations of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Reza Pahlavi, who all wrote letters to the Assemblyman expressing their support  >>>

Real Deal - real Devil

France has always been the crucible of social experiments for the better. But that could be about to stop for a long time

Wednesday's one and only debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal before the final round of elections, was a reminder of how the two candidates perceived the rebellions of May 1968. For the past two weeks, Sarkozy's stance has been "let's turn the page of May 68 which has brought us a society with no values and no moral compass". Ségolène instead has said; "when I hear Nicolas Sarkozy say that we have to liquidate May 68, I think it is a very violent language, and he whom discovers in the end of this campaign the blue collars in front of the cameras, he should remember that May 68 was also 11 millions of workers in strike, who have opened the path for the unions to be present in the core of any enterprise >>>

Institute for War & Reporting presents

Mianeh aims to fully respect and support the identity, national sovereignty and the constitution of the Islamic Republic throughout
Alan Davis

To mark World Press Freedom Day, a unique, independent initiative to promote dialogue, debate and understanding among Iranians and between Iran and the international community has just been launched by the Institute for War & Reporting (IWPR), the media development network headquartered in London. The Farsi- and English-language website Mianeh (middle or neutral) aims to be an open space for ideas, news and debate where writers inside Iran can reach out to each other as well as to international audiences. The website (www.mianeh.net) launches with a first package of 10 stories examining international, nuclear and regional issues as well as exploring Internet filtering, censorship and the role of the student movement >>>

The brown book

photo essay: Phonebook
Jahanshah Javid

Fool us once Goli, shame on us
Minou Akhavan

Goli Ameri is back! After having run a disastrous campaign in 2004, where she raised $2,188,078 yet only managed to capture a mere 38 percent of the vote against the unpopular Democratic incumbent, David Wu, the Iranian-American wanna-be politician is in the hot waters again because of her affiliation with Senator McCain. Currently, Ameri sits on Senator McCain's fundraising committee. Her responsibilities there are to raise money for the very same Presidential candidate that openly sings about bombing Iran. Mrs. Ameri is entitled to her opinion. In fact, in many ways, she is a role-model; unlike other Iranian-Americans, she is actively pursuing her political goals through whatever means possible. The problem is that her goals are those of a small minority of neoconservative warmongers who believe that the US's problems in the Middle East stem from a failure to use enough military force >>>

The way it was

Tehran American School & community before the 1979 revolution
Bruce Bahmani

One of the many problems with the media's occasionally generous portrayal of Iran is they simply pick what they know or have heard, think it’s good enough and then proceed to run with it. Recently a friend forwarded me a piece published in the Washington Post about a high school reunion of Americans who lived in Iran in 1962. The article puts forth how Iran was in 1962. 1962? Why 1962? Is that the best we have to offer? How quaint 1962 era Iran was? Here’s the article, see for yourself. I sometimes wonder if the blatant demonization of Persia as in the recent 300 film debacle, and the more subtle "backwater" depiction as done here, are not part of a conspiracy to hit at us from all sides, both the harsh approach (300) and through the appearance of feigned kindness >>>

Reason not force

The questions we should be asking about the Iraq war
Yahya R. Kamalipour

Why is America in the Middle East? Why is America killing tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, Afghanis, Muslims, and Palestinians? Why is America continuing to support oppressive regimes, while trumpeting democracy? Why is America poised to start another war with Iran? Why is America not practicing what it preaches? Why is the American administration contradictory in its words and actions? Why is America often dismissive of the international covenants and treaties? And why is America acting as the police or the lone ranger of the world? Whether we like it or not, these are some of the key questions repeatedly posed by people around the globe, particularly in the Middle East and Muslim world >>>

Hope & courage

It is well past time that people start fighting back
Lance Raheem

My views on the struggle of Iranian women for justice and equality are no secret. Like millions of others, I feel absolute shame and revulsion in the knowledge that the women of Iran have, by and large, had to struggle alone to break the legal and social chains with which the Islamic Republic has enslaved them. Whether peacefully protesting for equality under the law, or being viciously harassed about their sartorial choices as in the past few days, they have been the victims, in all too many cases, of extreme brutality meted out by government thugs >>>

How do you defend securalism?
Amir Rostam Begli Beigie

Pardon my French but where the f**k does EU get off thinking they can dictate to the Turkish Army and how do they allow themselves to interfere in their affairs? What business is it of theirs to tell the Turkish Army not to interfere in politics? It seems that the collation of the past colonialists cannot help but maintain its idiotic attitude towards developing countries. It is patronizing and the Turkish Army is treating it with the contempt it deserves. The Army has made it clear that secularism in Turkey is not up for negotiation. To me EU has been slapped in the face for their interference by demonstrations in Tukey in favour of secularism and against creeping Islamification >>>

Abdicating authority to the mob

An amicus brief to the Iranian Supreme Court
Ari Siletz

The Iranian Supreme Court recently overturned the murder convictions of 6 Basij vigilantes who executed a young couple, Reza Nejadmalayeri and Shohreh Nikpour, on grounds that the couple's behavior was unIslamic. Since a last appeal to undo this decision is still possible, here is a plea to the full membership body of Iran's Supreme Court to consider the political and economic consequences of its final verdict. In 1875 the United States Supreme Court decision, United States v. Cruikshank overturned the murder convictions of a band of white vigilantes who had participated in the lynching of several black men. The Cruikshank case and the Nejadmalayeri case are connected in ways that go beyond the de facto sanctioning of lynch mob >>>

A day in Camden Town

Photo essay
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

The Anti-Islamic "Islamic Republic of Iran"

An “Islamic” state may never potentially exist since the participation of humans will always “taint” the divine will of God
Nema Milaninia

It is difficult to be Muslim in our community in main part because they have been blamed for what the Iranian government is and has done. Because it considers itself an “Islamic” government, many Iranians in the Diaspora utilize the atrocious acts of the Iranian government to demonize Iranian Muslims or Islam generally. How many times have you heard or read an Iranian complaining about how the “Arabs” brought the “foreign religion” and destroyed our beautiful culture, as if to reject the contributions and identity of Iranian Muslims? In fact, you will find more prejudice, ignorance and racism in Iranian chartrooms, like activistchat.com, than anywhere else. And yet it is perfectly permissible to be anti-Islamic, despite the fact that we all agree that it is absolutely horrendous to be anti-Semitic, anti-Bahai, or anti-Christian >>>

Seh nafar & Aghaye Badbiyar

Two poems
Leila Farjami

Mashooghe man

My lover is a Coleman
Sheida Mohammadi

On the Booksellers' Street of Baghdad

I saw Mutanabbi returning from Persia
Majid Naficy


Three and a half pairs of lifeless legs
Mostafa Rahbar

Didaare to, Noroozi, Enkaar

Three short poems
Laleh Irani

Baraaye Anna

Afshin Tajian

Blurred identity

In 1985 my mind was far away from Iran
Sasan Seifikar

Taraavoshaate afkaare paleed

On Hossein Hajiagha's cartoons
Shahin Bamdad

Current events
Siamak Vossoughi

Ha ha, he thought. And it seemed like all the comedy he had ever known in his life was bringing him to this moment, to a moment when he would be standing before a group of American kids, whose American-ness was something he had been in himself, at least at school, when he had been the one cutting out an article from an American newspaper, bringing it to school as the teacher had asked, and using it to announce that he was as connected to the world as anybody. Those articles had shone with possibility, even as they had brought the truth of suffering into the world >>>

Discovering small things

Photo essay: SF Japan Town cherry blossom festival
Talieh Shahrokhi

Gher bedeh

Spontaneous dancing after dinner
Siamack Salari

Uncle Sam wants you bad

Preventing the militarization of our schools
Payam Shahfari

As a student at California State University, Fullerton, I along with many other students, have become alert and disturbed by the extent to which the presence of Army Recruiters has increased on our campus, and more so to the lack of resistance against such activities. Since the passing of the Solomon Amendment in 1996 and the No Child Left Behind Act, the U.S. Military has been given complete access to public education campuses regardless of opposition from school administrators and local communities.  The government has simply left two options for public schools; either, allow for the presence of military recruiters on campus, or have all federal funding cut. As we see it, there is only one way to terminate the presence of the military from campus grounds; to have them leave on their own due to lack of recruits >>>

No crime and punishment

American Chemical Society should repeal unjust expulsions and reinstate Iranian members
Fredun Hojabri et al

Dear Members of the American Chemical Society: On behalf of the Iranian academic community and the Iranian American Professional Associations we are writing you to ask your assistance in reversing the unilateral decision of the Board of ACS to terminate the membership of chemists living in select countries, mainly in Iran, and mostly university professors. We are Iranian Americans adhering to moral and ethical values. We would like to offer our strong support to our colleagues in Iran who need our help, not punishment motivated by irrelevant and unjustified intentions >>>

Time to switch
Saied Ghaffari

I've been a Mac user all my life and love it. I love hearing that 50% of people that buy a Mac today are called "switchers" - people who had Windows and switch to the Mac. One thing I noticed was that a major scare for many switchers is, "how am I going to learn how to use the Mac because I've heard it takes a couple weeks, at least?" Well, my company, "It's About Time" Products, decided to create a product to help people with the switch. It's called, It's About Time to learn the Switch to Mac. Its the only learning tool that reminds switchers of their lives in Windows, then teaches them the equivalent on the Mac. The best part is, it's completely interactive, so after you see Saied, me the instructor, show you how to do something, you try it right on screen and are told if you did it right >>>

Gol va khaar

Sivand dam inauguration and its tragic consequences
Shokooh Mirzadegi


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