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February 2000 Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    This months's index:

* Elections:
- Political maturity

- Milking the masses
- Question those in power
- Take a risk for Iran
- Insightful
- Airy
- Jumping the gun
- Things have changed

- Redirect energy
* Egypt:
- Little support for revolution in Cairo
- Dynamic woman
- Is that freedom?!

* Laleh Khalili:
- All my emotions
- Available?

- Hope to see the movie
- Air & aroma
Community School:
- Little corner of paradise

* Andy:
- Beyond stupid
- Love can be...

* Wine:
- Saheb ekhtiyar

- Mistaken identity
- Even better Shiraz
- Revealing

- Taboo
- Touch of humor

- Rated T (trash)
- Necessary and timely
- Hoping for a better piece
- Amazing
- Trashy
* President:
- Deltang o beegharaar
- Kiss the hands
- Ridle
- Knows nothing, obviously

- Iranians not European
* Identity:
- Changing Persians
- Attached to Australia

* Naderpour:
- He will be missed
Gina Nahai:
- Enjoyed Moonlight

* Abadan:
- Hotel
- Khayli ham modeh
- Saw it in Cinema Asia
- It was sweet
- Oh, how heavy...!
The Iranian:
- Big, big, big award
- Encouraged in ghorbat

- Best of
- Modifying compound words
- Another lonely guy
- Old habits

- Worries in Austria
- Private insults
- Iranian outside Iran

- Born in Australia, 100% Iranian
- Not worth it

- Is there a solution?
- CIA dad
- Frankly, I'm jealous!
- Ahura Mazada has no equal

February 29, 2000

* Kiss the hands

Thank you very much for publishing Ms. Amimi's paintings ["Hand me a pillow"]. It was high time for our painters to come out of their restrictive shell and express themselves freely.

The works of Ms. Amini is a breath of fresh air much like what our late Forough Farrokhzad brought to our poetry. The only thing I can say is that I wish I could kiss the hands that worked on these paintings. What marvelous, refreshing, thought provoking works of art.

I wish Ms. Amini well and The Iranian, which provides us with the opportunity to discover highly talented compatriots.

Hodjabr Hakimi

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* Deltang o beegharaar

Mr. President,

man 13 saal-e pish vatan raa tark kardam. Az roozi ke shomaa President shodid kheili doost daashatam keh biyaam beh vatan, amaa hanooz ehsaas raahti nadaaram ["Dialogue among ourselves"].

omidavaaram keh shomaa va melat betavaanid keh emkaan-e bargasht bataa-ye iraaniaan khaarej az vatan raa raaht-tar konid keh maa in tars raa az del biroon konim va pedar va maadar va saayer khaanevaadeh raa bebinim chon man 11 saalam bood keh aamadm khaarej vali hich-jaa vatan nemisheh.

hameh-ye iraaniaan vatan raa doost daaram va aarezoie movafaghiat. bebakhshid agar faarsi khoob naneveshtam.

deltang o beegharaar az U.S.A I hope you win again.

Pezhman Kayedan

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February 28, 2000

* Political maturity

In reply to Jafar D.'s letter:

Your point is well taken. I agree full-heartedly that Iranians should always strive for improvement and should never settle for anything but the highest standard of governance. But, the fact is that there is no perfection in democracy. Democracy is an ideal and a philosophy toward which we strive. We all know that there are different forms and different degrees of democracy around the world--all with room for improvement.

That said, my reference to "democracy arriving" was regarding the level of political maturity among Iranians here, which is absolutely astounding ["The ballot box"]. I was not referring here to the system or the current political process, which continues to have deep and fundamental flaws >>> FULL TEXT

Dokhi Fassihian

Go to tp

* Milking the masses

In reply to Jafar D.'s letter:

As an ever cynical Iranian I always wonder how did Mohammad Khatami ever receive the blessing from those who decide who can be a candidate for elections. Same goes for all those 6000 or so candidates who ran for the sixth Majlis. To me they all belong to the same family and the fact they have been vetted by the Council of Guardians clearly indicates that even the so-called reformists are nothing but a farce ["The ballot box"]...

How can [Khomeini's] successors be pardoned and forgiven for all the cruelties they committed over the past 21 years? Why are the Iranian people happy with superficial "freedoms"? Who is Mohammad Reza Khatami and who is Ali Reza Nouri [who were elected to the Majlis from Tehran]? Are they of a different fabric than their brothers? Are they really Iranian?

I suppose some may say , Who cares what happened in the past? It seems to me that Iranians as a nation always forget the fact that the past provides guidance for the future... [The clergy] have been milking the nation for over 20 years and keep milking it. Rafsanjani's family has become pretty fat and now it's Khatami's family's turn. Is this what the masses of Iran want or it is what the elite of Iran, those who have always been reaping the benefits by milking the masses, want? >>> FULL TEXT

J. Entesari

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February 25, 2000

* Question those in power

In reply to Mehdi Kianpour's letter:

I received several letters regarding the one I wrote to President Khatami ["Dialogue among ourselves"], but I wish to respond personally to you because you raise very interesting points, present a chance to respond openly to someone in Iran, and allow me to go more in-depth on something I feel very strongly for.

I think your argument is best summed up in "why don't you accept the risk?" I entirely agree with you. In some ways, it is a risk I would be ready to take today, if I had a plane ticket.

However, my friend, for many reasons, the decision is not entirely mine. I am NOT afraid to go to Iran, I am not worried about what may happen and ultimately I know someday I will be in Iran, and hopefully not only as a tourist -- I wish to help build something there. Going to Iran to me is as inevitable as dying -- one day it will happen. The question is when and under what conditions?...

Why don't I accept the risk and just go? Risking is not abandoning reason -- it is a calculated decision one makes aware of factors affecting the outcome of that decision. I have done my research and have determined right now something indeed will happen if I go. Don't question my judgment, question the ones who run Iran and why such policies remain in place and why no official assurances are given. That is exactly why I wrote to the president, because I want to put this issue on the table >>> FULL TEXT

Roozbeh Shirazi

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* Changing Persians

Ms. Ghadrboland's points about identity in lieu of Ms. Hosseini's commentary is a very valid counter-argument to the position brought up originally about the very complex issue of identity.

A person being of a mixed-European/Iranian/Asian/Jewish/African or what ever-hyphenated "American" has many positive and conversely negative elements to it, as she pointed out. However the definitions of "citizenship" versus "nationality" as opposed to "ethnicity" seems to denote more clear definitions of belonging to one group simply based on birth or parentage or ancestral origin. Whereas the issue of "culture" being an outgrowth of "environmental history" including ancestry is more or less fluid.

What was considered an "accultured" person of a particular ethnic group, such as Persians, has continued to change definitions right before our eyes in this past century. For instance, my experience as essentially an American visiting family & friends in Iran was very unique in that I was able to see many facets of that culture being treated as a part of the country, essentially as an "ovrseas Iranian" which hardly any non-Iranian foreigner would have been able to >>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Raafat

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February 24, 2000

* Take a risk for Iran

Reading Rooabeh Shirazi's letter to our dear President Khatami ["Dialogue among ourselves"], first I thought why someone who has such great emotions toward Iran can not come here and see his motherland. Reading forward I realized that there is no official limitation for entering Iran and the main reason they don't try to come is that simply they fear from difficulties they may face in Iran. This is not only appear from Mr. Shirazi's letter but also from many other emails and letters I've seen in The Iranian Times...

I partly understand them saying we feel unsafe and I know they think they may face some difficulties in Iran because Iran's future is still vague and unknown to them. But I have just a simple request from you all; and it's that if you really love Iran, if you want to walk the streets of Iran, if you want to meet your family face to face, accept the risk of coming to Iran >>> FULL TEXT

Mehdi Kianpour
Sharif University student

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* Iranians not European

In reply to Michael Chessman's note to The Iranian:

This morning I had occassion to paruse your website; though concise and somewhat informative in an Anglophile fashion, I find your racial "concerns," shall we say, racist?

Iranians are by no means European, sir, nor do I personally as an Iranian wish to be. I'm a pure Aryan; the product of the silk route and proud of it. I am the quintessential fruit of all the cultures of the east and then some.

Sir, the Iranian people have had a rough time of it in the last 20 years; we've experienced harsh and acrimonious treatment througout the world. In other words we've tasted racism first hand. And speaking for myself, I don't see how you feel it appropriate to "sell" your wares here!

Banafsheh Zand

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February 23, 2000

* Insightful

I wish to congratulate the The Iranian for publishing the articles by Laleh Khalili and Rasool Nafisi, who offered two equally insightful pieces on the Islamic Republic's parliamentary elections.

Ms. Khalili's comparison of Iran's majlis race and the U.S. Republican primary in South Carolina is elegantly written and witty ["So alike"]. Although I think that she overstates the point that "we are all the same," I applaud her for underscoring our common humanity and long for more authors with the courage to stake out such bold positions.

Dr. Nafisi's essay ["Road to vicotry"] also resonates with me, for -- even at the risk of appearing cynical -- he reminds readers that President Khatami and his newly elected pro-reform allies in the parliament have a long road to hoe before Iranians can enjoy both the method and substance of democracy.

Another lucid piece that cautions readers not to become swept up by the appearance of change because the reality of enacting reforms requires the citizenry's patience and participation.

Haleh Vaziri

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* Airy

Laleh Khalili's piece ["So alike"] was a bit airy, but points well-taken.

Richard Sinkfield

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* Not worth it

I read your artical on "Persian work ethics" in Iran, and I agree with it completely. But one thing that has always made me mad as hell is the idea that we're lazy in Iran but work hard here in America, Canada, England or any other foreign country.

I've seen that in so many places, that Iranians who might work 10 hours a day somewhere else are all lazy bums here. Because they think "this damned country isn't worth it". Go Figure.


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February 22, 2000

* Jumping the gun

It's true that recent events in Iran bring some sense of optimism, but to say that "democracy has finally arrived", is in my humble opinion premature and naive ["The ballot box"].

While 1,500 students still are in prisons and the people who threw them off the third floor of their dorms are running around free, while no one has yet truly been implicated for the serial murders of 1998 with the exception of some imaginary dude, Said Emami, while it was only weeks ago when we had a German guy in prison for the crime of having sex with somebody, while ancient allegations and rhetoric of CIA and FBI's relationships with Saeed Emami and his wife can be publicly mentioned by government officials, while those responsible for mass executions of thousands of Iranians and the destruction of Iranian economy still walk around freely, it's hard to truly speak about democracy.

Democracy's first rule, is a pluralistic government. Did anyone who officially rejected the notion of Velayate Faghih participate in this election? Did any party with the exception of those within the framework of Islamic Republic participate in this election? does democracy in Iran mean working within the frameworks of IRI? Isn't there anyone out there who could represent thousands of Iranians who are not per se religious? >>> FULL TEXT

Jafar D.

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* Ridle

Having just finnished reading The Physician, I wholeheartedly agree with Bruce Bahmani's review ["Adventures in old Persia"]. I also would highly recommend this book to those that have no fear for the truth. An ancient proverb states: "When the truth is inconvenient, Ignorance is considered a licence to sack, pillage & rape the community".

My recommendation of this book to a Jewish friend was framed as mystic referrence to page 600. I told her that if a Jewish Rabbi were to first read this page, then read the whole novel, a massive riddle would pop in their face.

After I read the book, I went back to page 600. From the text, I visualized a "Pet Octopus" named "Panda" -- dropped it into my mind to go fishing. When "Panda" rattled my cage to come out, I said: "OK Panda! Spit your ink out on the page! Let's see what you have to say: "A Riddle, 3 by 3 ..." was the distillation from this novel.

It should be understood that riddles have a very serious and profound purpose: To reason, not only on the short terms of a generation, but also on God's timeline. For we are their children! If you would like to recieve a copy of this riddle please respond by email.

James M. King, Jr.

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February 21, 2000

* He will be missed

We wanted to inform you of the recent death of Nader Naderpour, a well-known comtemporary poet and writer. Mr. Naderpour was a well-known member of our community and held many poetry sessions at UCLA. His poetry and words have touched us all and have served as true inspiration for many.

His work covered many subjects making him admirable to a wide audience of Iranians and non-Iranians. His will truly be missed and his work will continue to serve educational and inspirational purposes to all who encounter any of his pieces. We give our condolences to his family and wish them all the best.

Sanam Ansari and
Parasto Saadat

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* Is there a solution?

I am a sixteen year old student in Seattle, Washington. And, "beh omid khoda", I will go to college next year in New York or Washington D.C.

My family and I have visited Iran eight or nine times since we first came here in 1985. Until this past summer, Iran was heaven to me. All my cousins and family would surround me when I visited. We would go to Shomaal and eat balaal kabaab shodeh by the Caspian or play takhteh in my uncle's comfortable villa. And of course, my girl cousins and I would go on our daily pesar-bazai adventures : )

But this year, I experienced a different side of Iran. My cousins and a couple of our friends were walking in the street when we were confronted by the Komiteh. They harrassed us for almost an hour, threatening that the minibus was on its way to take us to the Kalantaari. At one point, I started crying, which was even more humiliating >>> FULL TEXT

Kianoush N.

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* Enjoyed Moonlight

I enjoyed reading [Gina Nahai's "Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith"]. I would like to know more about the author's interest in Magical Realism.


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February 18, 2000

* Things have changed

My principal Khanoom Momen iat Dr. Valyollah Nasr High School ordered me in her office and asked me to take part in the Zan-e Rooz competition for Ms. Intelligence (Dokhtar-e hoosh va daanaaee) competition...

I took part in the match and won third place. It was not bad: I won a motorbike and a sewing machine. A good woman must know how to ride a motorbike and sew clothes for her kids and husband (ha ha!, it was the 70t's - old style feminism).

One year later, I took the university entrance exam and was in the university (National University of Iran). Some months later, the revolution came along and the universities were closed. I left Iran for Austri.a. I finished my studies, got a good job, married an understanding sensible husband and we have a sweet four-year-old daughter.

Last summer as I was in Iran, I went to Shahanshahi Park and visited two of my friends from high school. It was not the park of my childhood and I had nothing to talk about with my friends. Things have changed; we have changed.

One of my friends told me: you were not here in the past twenty years and "you can not understand what it was like during the war and all the other things" >>> FULL TEXT

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* Redirect energy

The unfulfilled expectations of the revolution, heartbreaks due to the continued injustice in Iran, and succumbing to the daily pressure of the Western mass media are taking their tolls, again. It's the season for bashing anything Iran-related!

Have you changed a lot and want to pursue other venues in personal growth? cool! Not wanting to assist Iran, when she most needs it, isn't dishonorable. But, please spare the rest of us with over-intellectualizing the virtuosity of "rootlessness," "degar-disi," and the like.

Comfortable in the West and admiring many of its contributions to the civilization, I still loooooooove Iran, despite her imperfections. My heart doesn't belong to her ONLY when all's well!

Redirect a bit of your energy from developing cute sarcasms about the cultural pit falls toward care and action benefiting Iran and good things, beyond literary tributes, will ensue.

K Khadivi

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* Abadan Hotel

I found that picture of the Abadan Hotel most interesting ["Abadan 1999"]. I was wondering if there are any other pictures of the hotel on the Internet. I was working there in 1966-67 and we stayed in the buildings directly behind the hotel. All our meals were in the hotel.

Ron Styles

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February 17, 2000

* Khayli ham modeh

Reading the articles in Iranian papers, one can not miss the fact that using verses from Quran, or other Arabic phrases without its translation, has become very fashionable. Using Arabic words even though the Persian versions of them exist, is an indication of one's knowledge of the religion and consequently is a score for the author. The tune of writings very much resembles molla-speech on the manbar.

Also Iranians who live abroad, like yours truly, are hard at work to forget even the colloquial day to day Persian, never mind the proper version of it. In my last visit to Iran, I had a discussion with one of the university professors. During our discussion, I apologized for using too many English terms in our Persian conversation. And the person's respond was " Negaraan nabaash, khayli ham mode-h" >>> FULL TEXT


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* Saheb ekhtiyar

This is a reply to the gentleman who said that in my article ["High spirits"] I was confusing Iranians with Indians for using the word "sahib" which is really "saheb" like "saheb ekhtiyar" or "sahebkhaneh", etc. That was how the story was quoted by Dr Wills who had spent a few years in India. Mu apologies for any misunderstandings.

Cyrus Kadivar

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* Dynamic woman

Thanks for information about Bahieh Khamsi's photographs of Equator ["Red orange black blue"]. I had a short stop in the Washington DC area, and had a chance to view her photographs and the team of her work. What a dynamic young Iranian women.

There is a lots of hope for all of us with these future mothers. I was proud and exited to see a young Iranian dedicating one year of her life doing humanitarian work in Ecuador.

Thanks Bahieh. Keep up the great work.

Hormoz Hormozi

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February 16, 2000

* Saw it in Cinema Asia

Yes. Of course! "Mashine-Mashti Mamdal" was made in 1974 directed by Agha Reza Fazeli With: Reza Fazeli, Mansour Sepehrnia, Noush Afarin, and Mastaneh Jazayeri.

I saw this film in Cinema Asia in Tehran. We were laughing because it had been made to be the Iranian-Version of A Crazy, Crazy, Crazy, World (The classic American comedy, made in the early 60's)! Of course, honar nazd Iranian ast o bas !

Reza Fazeli had a very adventurous life, moved abroad many times, played in co-productions in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Pakistan ("Mamor e 008 dar Karachi !) made a lot of bad film and played in a very good film directed by Kimiaie alonge with Saeed Rad, called "Safar Sang". Married few times, among them with Nancy Kovac, American beauty of early60's. Later he immigrated to the UK, was seen in a video with Manouchehr Vosough and Sarkoub.Who can tell me about his whereabout today ? Will pay Yugouslavian Dinars in cash!

Noush Afarin Khanoum is very active in California. Sepehrnia is seen in supermarkets in Westwood ! Any more information?

Soroush Motahari

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* Big, big, big award

I just want to tell you that you need a big big big award for the work that you are doing [on The Iranian]. I am proud of you. Future will show what an amazing job you are doing. I am very impressed.

Hamid Rahmanian

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* Encouraged in ghorbat

I am very happy because I have seen your excellent network of Iranians living abroad. When I read The Iranian magazine or see an Iranian site I feel encouraged in "ghorbat". I hope you work better and better and Iran & Iranaians will have a dialogue with the people of the world.

Alireza Tavakoli

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February 15, 2000

* Iranian outside Iran

In response to Mr. Vaezi letter, "We are American":

let me start by saying that you are certainly entitled to your views, and you have the right to raise your children anyway you see fit. You may have arrived in this country as a teenager or adult twenty- two years ago.

I, however, was born on American soil twenty-two years ago. I never lived in Iran, and I have not visited in almost ten years. Nevertheless, like Maryam Hosseini ["American? Yeah right"], if someone on the street were to ask me where I was from, I would proudly say Iran. While having grown up in this country may have given me a certain viewpoint, I do not consider myself an "Iranian-American." I am an Iranian living outside my homeland >>> FULL TEXT

Saba Ghadrboland

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* Is that freedom?!

In the name of God.

I think we, Iranian women, have greater problems than our "cover". I hear everywhere, most of the time, that Iranian women are forced to "cover" themselves. This if far from the fact. Our real problem is lack of knowledge and awareness among majority of women.

Can we say that women in improved countries have less problems because they show their bodies freely? Is that freedom?! Is that progress?! Definitely not. Our women have no "complex" for showing their bodies. I hope we can stay in our real path towards the humanity, social justice and revolution.


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* All my emotions

Wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your article [Laleh Khalili's "Absence"]. You summarized all my emotions and sentiment. Wish you all the very best in your life. I hope you will keep writing these articles and keep us entertained.

Afsoon Poozeshi

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February 14, 2000

* Little support for revolution in Cairo



Cyrus Kadivar

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* Best of

If you ever decide to compile a "best of" collection and publish it under a title like, "essays from the revolution's children," you will have to include Ms. Kalaam's piece ["For getting without forgetting"].

Ramin Abhari

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* Modifying compound words

This is just a reminder. Modifying compound words that come after the noun are not supposed to be hyphenated. Thus, in the clause " CNN's Christian Amanpour, who is half--Iranian," the modifying words should not be hyphenated since they come after the noun Amanpour (half Iranian would be accurate).

Of course you could say "the half--Iranian Amanpour," and the hyphen could be justified. Second, apositives (words that explain or clarify other words) need to be set off by commas. Thus, in the clause "and her husband State Department James Rubin were at the Iran--USA soccer match," you need two commas to avoid confusion--one after husband and another after Rubin.

I sincerely hope that you won't find these assertions bold or irrelevant, and I'd like to commend the kind of work that you do -- despite the fact that you did not publish my article.


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February 11, 2000

* Little corner of paradise

The old faces from community school are like ghosts; dear old friends whose names one has perhaps forgotten but whose faces are forever engraved in our minds eye.

I attended that great school. Indeed, my best friends today, though scattered around the globe, remain those friends with whom the union was made on that great campus whose founders shared in the same vision; the great promise of bringing the peoples of different nations together with the promise of peace, love and unity.

I have searched the globe in the hope of finding this place which once was in the small little corners of paradise, in an old Tehran neighborhood called Khyaabaan-e Jaleh >>> FULL TEXT

Haleh A.

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* Available?

Is the novel, Conspiracy at Desert One, available for sale ? I couldent fiend it in the book store! Would love to get my hands on a copy, when available.


REPLY: This novel has not yet been published. It is exclusive to The Iranian.

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* Beyond stupid

Your commentary on Andy is beyond stupid.

You wrote: "Truth is that I had never heard his music before -- except for 15 second video clips on Iranian TV stations now and then. My impression was that he's the worst of Iranian music in exile -- silly, devoid of any musical value and good for that certain LA crowd. And dude, what's up with that headband? I only heard two songs. Based on that, I still would not rank Andy close to Ebi or Daryoush."

Obviously there is a complete lack of intelligence. Furthermore, you are unable to distinguish between the traditional poetic singers Ebi and Daryoush, New Age, Rock, and fast paced music that younger Iranians love as well.

The Iranian is none-other than the typical Hezboallah trying to sound intelligent.

Tom Nouri

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February 10, 2000

* Hope to see the movie

To Bernace Charles for his novel "Conspiracy at Desert One":

I have read the two chapters of your book, posted in The Iranian, love your work ["Conspiracy at Desert One""].

I am a half American, half Iranian, and can really relate to the story line. I will be purchasing your novel (hope to see the movie one day).

James W. Young

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* Air & aroma

To Bernace Charles for his novel "Conspiracy at Desert One":

You have definitely mastered the art of describing the air and aroma of the country, maybe a lot more touching than most nostalgic Iranian writers who appear in The Iranian.


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* Mistaken identity

It was a very interesting story regarding the history of wine by Mr. Cyrus Kadivar ["High spirits"]. However, the author had mistaken Iranians with Indians. Iranians did not refer to the British or any other Wsesterner as "sahib."

Masoud Neshat

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February 9, 2000

* Love can be...

It seems human love when practised selflessly by lovers is a beautiful and noble thing. However, in reality as daily experience reveals, human love can be full of pain, contradictory, full of struggle and sometimes with regret. The conditional aspect of love refers to the fact that human love can be creative or destructive, enlightened or ignorant, universal or limited, and material or spiritual.

These diverse, opposite qualities of love are due to the qualities of the object of the person's love. In other words, if the object of human love is beauty, knowledge, or life, love is manifested in its most beautiful, enlightened and creative manner. If the object of the person's love is untruth, cruelty, and materialism, then falsehood and destruction are the outcome >>> FULL TEXT

Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi

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* Even better Shiraz

The Australian Shirazes are indeed quite fabulous ["High spirits"] BUT there is a Napa Valley (California) vinyard called EXP that produces the most amazing Shiraz, Cabernet and Granache blends that'll knock your socks off! But if the Australian is your taste then try Penfolds Vinyards' Shiraz Bin 128 - Also superb!

Banafsheh Zand

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* It was sweet

Last Sunday (February 6) I had the opportunity to see the final match of the wrestling wolrd cup 2000 competition held at the Patriot Center in the campus of George Mason University in FairFax,Virginia.

I must confess that I have never seen any wrestling matches in person. But as a child in Iran , I saw many great wrestling matches on TV and flet the excitement and the sheer tension between the Iranian, Russian and American wrestlers.

I was very happy to see national team of Iran compete for the title of the world champions in this year's event. The Iranian team included young and technically skilled wrestlers >>> FULL TEXT

Amir Sadjadi

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February 8, 2000

* Old habits

In reference to Amin Naraghi's letter:

Here's an article about the new politico, Joerg Haider, who seems to be charming the pants off of the ever 3rd Reich loving Austrians. Old habits unfortunately die hard.

Banafsheh Zand

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* Oh, how heavy...!

In reference to NN's letter:

I agree with your comments about the piece on the politeness of Iranians ["Most polite people in the world"]. By Western standards, many Iranians would rate as quite impolite. For example, many do not show a lot of respect for other people's time and schedule. Punctuality and attention to timeliness is not one of our better characteristics.

Another example: The other day I ran into a Persian friend of mine from college days and the first two sentences she produced where "Oh, how heavy you've become!" and "How much did you pay for your new car?" The same woman asked me last year if I had divorced my American wife yet?

Now, by American standards, these types of questions are considered most uncalled for and very rude, but are common conversation pieces even in Iranian modern/urban societies! So, it may be that one should consider the frame of reference or the base set of values when judging a society for things like politeness and morality in general. My two cents.

Ben Bagheri
Dallas, Texas

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* Another lonely guy

I'm here in Austin Texas, another lonley guy from Tehran. Just wanted to say thank you for the nice site you have provided for all Iranians in every corner of this country or other lands .

Ramin Maghsoud

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February 7, 2000

* Worries about Austria

For the first time since World War II, a government composed by far-right politicians has come to power in Austria (member of the European Community). This party is well-known around Europe by its xenophobic declarations, sometimes using Nazi's slogans.

We know that a large Iranian community lives in Austria (50, 000 to 80 000 ). As an Iranian living in Europe I have a bad feeling about the future and the conditions of our compatriots living in Austria. Furthermore Iranians who live in Austria are among the middle-class and have only recently arrived in this country. It would be interesting to see comments from Iranians about this subject.

Amin Naraghi

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* Attached to Australia

In reply to Shahab:

Although I became an Australian citizen, I have not lost my identity and in case you did not know, Australia is amongst nations that accepts dual nationals. I did not have to denounce my Iranian identity. In fact, in Australia, no one is a real Australian, except aboriginals. Here, everyone is a migrant, one way or another.

I hope you will eventually realize that not everyone thinks the same, not everybody acts the same and not everyone feels the same. Just because your dad and mum did not become Australian citizens, it does not apply to many other people who were not in the same situation.

Just having an Australian passport, does not mean a change of identity. Besides, who knows? Maybe, some jerk took away my Iranian passport and advised the authorities not to issue me another one!

I love my country of birth. But the fact is that I was forced to leave. Now I feel responsible toward my new country as it has given me a new beginning.

I am emotionally attached to Australia; I have spent my youth here and I will probably get old here. My children have spent their childhood here too and they will be here as an adult. They are being praised in school and the community for speaking two languages and for being familiar with two cultures. And no one wants them to forget about their culture or identity.

Yazdaneh Amiryazdani

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* Private insults

In response to Hamid Taghavi

The best way to combat these naysayers is also to print their stuff iberally. That is why I would like The Iranian print some of the private insults that we endure. we make public statements and get literally harassed by these people, who also inlcude, every now and then, veiled threats.

Maybe we should rethink the private feedback icon at the bottom of the articles: if anyone has something to say they can write directly to and then the editor can decide if it merits further publication.

Guive Mirfendereski

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February 4, 2000

* Revealing

This Internet revolution has helped shorten some people's fuses and given them a way to shoot their mouths off quickly, without putting too much rational thinking behind their rapid firebacks, with seeming impunity. Some have been conditioned in typically low quality chatrooms and newsgroups, which collectively have the cognitive value of a broomstick. In those newsgroups and chatrooms the prevailing mindset seems to be how much you can type without waking up your brain, how loud you can yell to compensate for the lack of substance behind your say, and to what ridiculous extents you can take arguments that go on ad-infinitum.

From time to time you can see the same mindset creeping into You can see it in how people react to articles, how they feel entitled to debasing and insulting authors of those articles or the publisher of the magazine and whole groups of people of a belief system in the process. Their protestations amount to something to the effect of "I didn't agree with your viewpoint therefore your mother is a whore" or "I didn't like the article that you published, therefore you're a sag Bahai." >>> FULL TEXT

Hamid Taghavi

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* Taboo

I would like to comment on your sexual adeventure in Tijuana ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. This article offended many Iranians for many reasons, namely because we Iranians, like others from Eastern and Muslim countries, consider sex outside marriage a taboo. For many Iranians, sex must be done WHITHIN marriage.

And in Iran you have boys and girls who fall in love or they are physically attracted to each other but they cannot have sex because society can't in anyway accept sexual relations whitout getting married.

And as an Iranian boy who grew up in Iran, I know about sexual needs and sexual hunger. Maybe many Mexican prostitutes know Iranians, but believe me, many prostitutes in Dubai and Istanbul know Iranians very well also.


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* Touch of humor

For god's sake, give me a break. What the hell is wrong with a story about a little whorehouse where some of our countymen hang out ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. Not being a night club or a bar person, I found the story very refreshing with a touch of humor.

M. Asadi

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* Rated T (trash)

I am outraged with the letters expressing discontents to the article "Nice ladies, amigo?". For those people who are not happy because the article has no literary value I must say that, the author never claimed he was writing a masterpiece, or an investigative report. He was simply talking about his personal experience ...

I have a recommendation: maybe it is time that The Iranian starts using some sort of rating and warning system. I am not suggesting that you can't criticize an idea or the style of an article. I am suggesting, STOP saying "I Don't Like It, Take It Out". I am sick and tired of reading these types of comments over and over again. It is sickening to hear this from people who ran away from laws like that >>> FULL TEXT

Davood M.

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February 3, 2000

* Necessary and timely

In reply to Ali Akbar Mahdi

I can appreciate your reservations about informative, investigative, or literary merits of this article (for a few seconds only!) ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. Then I'll have to object to your very "intellectually fulfilling" opinion on the grounds that the report in question is about a very REAL and HAPPENING Tehrangeles fact of life!

It is so true that it was time for someone to put a pen to paper! The same thing is happening in a couple of Mexican "fun-towns" across Texas borders! Of course, there are only about an estimated 70-80 thousand Iranian-Americans in Texas (mostly in Houston and then in Dallas) but the Iranian wives in Texas may want to start paying attention!

The next past due article has to be about opium consumption by Iranian males in America!

Since the sentence "hey khaashar, your seemingly happy shohar visits Mexican prostitutes across the border every other weekend!" couldn't be spray-painted on the backyard fences all over Los Angeles and Orange County, then it had to be brought forward in an article. This sounds about as necessary and timely as any literary and artistic work that fits in the current trends of a society (or community in case of Iranians in USA).

B. Bagheri

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* Hoping for a better piece

In reply to B. Bagheri (above)

All I can say in response to your comment is to repeat what I said to another gentleman who thought I was "abhorrently offended" by this piece. Here is what I wrote to him:

"Please read my comments carefully. I am not offended by the subject or the fact that Iranian men buy sex on the other side of the border. Iranian men do many more things and everyone is free to let others know about what they do. Nor did I object to publication of this gentleman's view about his trip. My objection was to the POOR quality of this piece. Read my two comments carefully. Any magazine is free to cover any subject it deems appropriate. However, magazines, like schools, set standards for themselves and try to maintain those standards. The Iranian is not a SOAP magazine. It could have covered this issue with a better piece, not one with an "Akh Joon" ending."

Hope this explains where I come from. I believe it is a very interesting subject and you, or someone who knows and cares about these issues, should write a piece on the case of Texas too. My hope is that whoever does this, does it right and does not limit his observations to ONE BAR and three girls and a taxi driver.

For a generalized observation to be valid, one has to have more than a few cases. S/he should be careful to avoid "sensationalism" of the topic and write about "facts." Studies show that when it comes to sex, there is a tendency for both exaggeration and denial, depending on who is talking and what is being talked about.

Ali Akbar Mahdi
Associate professor of sociology
Ohio Wesleyan University

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* Born in Australia, 100% Iranian

I am an Iranian guy who was born and lives in Sydney, Australia. I am 21 years old. Firstly I like to congradulate you on becoming an Aussie ["Proud Australian"] but I really don't understand why you did this because to me that's like taking your identity away and forgetting who you are!

My dad came to Australia from Iran in 1972 and still to this day he has not become an Aussie and still has his Iranain passport this is the same for my mum and they both are very proud of thier culture and the fact that they are Iranians.

As I say, I was born in Australia and I consider myself 100% Iranian and I am proud to be Iranian. I think we have the greatest culture in the world! Why you would become an Aussie is above my head I really don't understand!


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February 2, 2000

* Amazing

I am surprised at all the fuss over this article ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. Is it because it touches on the subject of prostitution? Is it because it involves some "fat, bald headed Iranian men?"Or is it because it was not scholarly?

I agree that as far as the subject or the "literary value" goes, it does not compare with many articles published in The Iranian. however, it was an amuzing piece. While not all Iranian men frequent brothels, many do; as men from all other cultures do. Iranian men also go to Dubai, and anywhere else that offers sex for sale, incluing locations within Iran. Have we forgotten, that there were times when women could not wait for taxi cabs in many respectable areas of Tehran without being harrassed?

I think Mr. Mahdi is being a bit of a "molla loghati". We all know that this article was written just for the fun of it. We all know that The Iranian is not a refereed journal, it is merely a forum. This article did not mean to and will not change anyone's view about prostitutes or prostitution; about women; about Iranian men; or about Mexico and Mexican people.

It is upsetting to ask for one's name to be removed from a list just because of one written piece -- it is denying oneself from a feast of good writings and information. Please get real, so to speak.

Shahin Shoar

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* Trashy

You should seriously think twice about putting trashy articles in your magazine ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. You are not the National Enquirer. If you enjoy these articles, maybe you should start another magazine specifically with this kind of material, but it just doesn't suit The Iranian.

Iran Javid

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* CIA dad

I enjoyed your reading about your experiences in Iran. Very focused and I thought your writing was awesome. I was there in 1961 and was born there while my dad was in service for the army. I also returned in 76-78 to live there a second time while he worked for the CIA as engineer for our listening stations on the Caspian. I graduated from the American high school and we have reunions etc.

Dave Brown
Knoxville, Tennessee

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February 1, 2000

* Frankly, I'm jealous!

This is a letter I wrote to an Iranian Jew in reply to a topic called "Why do Iranians hate Jews?"

Dear Moshe,

I enjoyed reading about Isfahan and the brief history of the Iranian Jewish community. When it comes to discrimination against minorities (Jews in particular) in Iran, I agree with you 100%. Often the unkown or a mystery creates prejudice. And often the unknown is translated into hatred. As they say, not knowing is the greatest fear. I think in regards to the Jewish community there are many unkowns for some of us non-Jewish Iranians which can be translated into an "anti-semitic" outlook. I hope by writing this letter I can express our sense of confusion with the Jewish community. I also hope that in writing you this letter, you won't confuse my questioning or curiosity with "prejudice" or an "anti-Semitic" attitude.

The majority of Muslim Iranians don't like minorities. They are called "najes". In fact some consider them "smelly"! Sounds funny, but it's true. For instance, when my mother was growing up in the province of Azarbaijan, she was told not to go out alone cause the Jews will kidnap her! That was some 50 to 55 years ago >>> FULL TEXT

Saghi Zarinkalk

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* Ahura Mazada has no equal

Please do not refer to Meher Yazad as God in any form, for the Yazads hold a very unique place in Zarthushtras religion, they cannot be called gods, for this word suggests the independent divine beings of a pagan pantheon, the origin of most of the yazatas as pagan divinities and their position still as being worthy of worship in their own right makes them more than the angels with which their monotheism's have bridged the gulf between man and divinity.

As for Meher Yazad, with whom the sun was linked, like the other Ahuras, was a lesser created being, according to th revelations. They are SERVANTS of the lord, like all the other Yazads, to whom veneration should be duly accorded.

Ahura Mazda's creation of the Amesha Spentas and the Yazads being compared to the lighting of a torch from a torch. All these Yazads were part of the creation of Ahura Mazda, brought into being to help him oppose the forces of evil owing him utter loyalty and obedience.

This, to sum up, is the monotheism of Iran, that in the beginning Ahura Mazda alone existed as a being worthy of worship -- the sole Yazata the only uncreated God, wholly wise, just and good, for after bringing into being his divine helpers (Yazads) he proceeded through them to fashion the world and all that is good in it, as a further means of confounding evil and and bringing it to nothingness in the end.

Feroz Dinshah

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