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

    This months's index:

* Prostitution:
- Price to be paid

- Free expression
- Alarmed
- Distasteful, but valuable
- More sleaze than reflective

- So low
- So what?
- Most cultures do it
Iran-U.S. soccer:
- All political

- Just a game
- Soccer's healing power?

- Together
- Jealous

- Very well done
- Wonderful moments
- Talking pictures
* Iranian of the century:
- Load of bullocks

- Opinions so obviously Iranian
- Swiss advice
- Not popular, but important
- Just ask in the kucheh
- I am UPSET

- Fair-minded
- Impressed
- No gray area
- Frightening remarks
- Brought down communism

- Really really mad
- Meaningless
- Not 2000 yet
- Reza Shah robbed

- Never progress if...
- Respect for other's opinions
- Human rights violators

- Mossadegh? Why?
- Communist
* Iran Air:
- Joojeh kabab does it
- Selectively polite
- Ethnic slurs

- Who cares?
- Fitzgerald's debt to Khayyam
- Sad joke
- What a land

* Robin Wright:
- Fantasy
- No food for thought

* Christian roots:
- Abandon emotionalism
- More lessons on Christianity's origin
- Blind patriotism

- Too paranoid
- Mithraic roots
- Nice try, Jack

* Nostalgia:
- My neighbor, Googoosh
- Behrouz Vosouqi

- Still attractive
- Still see her

- Shahnz Tehrani & Noushafarin
- Earlier beauties
- No relation

* The Iranian:
- Tacky, sexist

January 31, 2000

* Price to be paid

What is Mr. Mahdi really saying? That by admitting the existence of three unfortunate Iranian prostitutes in Mexico, we're showing that all Iranians are prostitutes? Then what are we promoting by forbidding the publication of such descriptions? That there are NO Iranian prostitutes anywhere in the world? That our race is incapable of producing prostitutes? That Obeyd-e Zakani and Sa'di and many other poets were all liars? That Iraj Mirza and Parvin-e Etessami were spreaders of untruths? Are we not making an ignorant bunch out of ourselves, then?

To me, writing about and publishing the ugly truths about ourselves is a sign of maturity. Let the stone-throwers fling their stones and hurt us. There's a price to be paid for attaining high culture, and someone's got to foot the bill.

Massud Alemi

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* Free expression

In reference to what should and should not be covered by The Iranian It is sad that some of us just don't get it. If The Iranian censured every letter in its own liking, it would not be a medium of free expression and not so many of us would read it.

To me, the most important service of The Iranian is that it is a medium of freedom of expression that is a unique privilege of living in America. As we know this privilege is in process of erosion all over the world including America, because it is taken for granted, not used or abused. As I have indicated in this space before, not only the founders of America but our own centuries-old culture and our true intellectuals and mentors have always recommended tolerance and respect for each other's point of view. This is because we can learn the most by being open, by reading, and debating the opposite issues.

Modern science, genetics engineering and mapping of our genes have further supported the the marvels of creation and the validity of the above teachings the basis of which is individual differences. In fact, observation of spectrum of ideas should not bother us but should be a source of pleasure, and even worship and recognition of a higher power. The botom line is that, now more than ever, we know that although we all share many common traits, we differ in interpretation of the same things and each of us can support the others in our own unique way. Preservaion of the Family of Man, freedom and democracy, depends more than anything on education, dialogue, sharing, caring and appreciation of views in contrast.

Ali A. Parsa

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* Joojeh kabab does it

I am not sure Iran Air's ad for their 50th anniversary was a joke. I rather fly Iran Air to Iran from Europe than fly KLM or Swissair and such, because I feel more comfortable in it . They all are good airlines but Iran Air is a bit better in my opinion. In addition they serve "joojeh kabab" and/or "baaghalaa polo".

Hosain Massiha

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January 28, 2000

* Alarmed

I am alarmed by the disparity between your "feature" pieces. One high and one like this ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]

What can I say? I am not a moralist nor do I oppose freedom of expression. However, I wonder why such a piece should be included in The Iranian? What are the informative, investigative, or literary aspects of this piece qualifying it for publication? How can one generalize about a community by visiting one brothel and talking to three girls?

No serious editor will find this kind of individual observation worthy of publication. Please do not allow The Iranian to be brought to the level of pieces like this.

Akbar Mahdi

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* Distasteful, but valuable

I do understand your concern. This piece ["Nice ladies, amigo?"] does not meet high journalistic standards. But I think it is still interesting as a personal account of an aspect of Iranian life in America which is never officially talked about. Several of my friends have told me about how often Iranians go to the brothels in Tijuana and I have always wondered what goes on there and why. I think this is a social phenomenon that should be noticed.

Of course I would have preferred an article by a professional journalist or a scholar. But I think personal stories can be valuable -- even if they are unprofessional, distasteful or about controversial subjects. Maybe such crude stories will open some eyes and pave the way toward more serious discussions and studies.

And another important point, I think, is that Internet-based publications such as cannot be compared to traditional magazines and newspapers. The Internet is more personal and interactive, and therefore it is not as polished and heavily edited as the print media. That's why I prefer the Internet. It is more real, and being real is not always pretty or tasteful.

Jahanshah Javid

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* More sleaze than reflective

In reply to J. Javid note:

I understand the nature of Internet and the approach you are taking in The Iranian. You have never seen me objecting to all those controversial subjects and diverse pieces you publish. It is fine and they have been a good source of intellectual soul searching among young Iranians on the net. As you know, I have often said in my lectures that if one is to get a glimpse of the Iranian second generation, s/he should look into your magazine regularly.

But my worries about this piece ["Nice ladies, amigo?"] has two aspects, one the piece itself and one its place in The Iranian. As for the piece, I agree with you that it is personal. However, it claims to be reportive but fails to meet the criteria. It is more sleaze than reflective. It is more sloppy than investigative.

As for your Features section, you have pieces from Majid Tehranian, Guive Mirfendereski, Jeremome Clinton, or Yahya Kamalipour, then this one ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. Not that all the pieces should be from academics or even have academic rigor. Not at all. I am not against the kind of issues raised here either.

See, I was in Tijuana about eight weeks earlier than the time this gentleman was there. My sons, my wife, and I went to places no tourist goes. We took the most back roads that one can find. We SAW and learned A LOT about that country. But, can I really write about my touristic, two days observations with the kind of certainty this gentleman has? I dare not.

I know I am a sociologist and will be in deep trouble if I go about generalizing my off time observations like this. I do not expect everyone to be a sociologist either.

I agree with you very much that the issue is worthy of attention and someone should look into it. In that case, you may want to ask a journalist (or someone with an interest in investigative reporting) in that area to do a bit of homework on this issue and write a report. It does not have to be scientific and with the highest level of methodological standards.

Ali Akbar Mahdi
Associate professor of sociology
Ohio Wesleyan University

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* So low

I am very disappointed in the feature article concerning prostitution ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. When I was in Iran I received more respect from men than I am receiving from your publication. I am sorry to see you sink so low.

Please remove my address from you list.


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* So what?

I am so disappointed to read your piece on prostitution, it has nothing to offer ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. it has no valuable information or entertaining content!

Why do you publish this kind of stuff as your main feature? Why don't you concentrate on more important issues? A couple of guys go to a Mexican brothel -- so what? If you want to publish something about this subject at least find the right material.


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* Most cultures do it

This is in response to the letter wirtten by a Mr. Kamran Behzadian ["Nice ladies, amigo?"]. It was interesting that you reported on your curious adventure to Tijuana.

What I found not so interesting was how you misrepresented the title of your report as if the members of the brothel were indeed Iranians. As it turned out it was the Iranian men who most often visited this brothel.

Not that I find anything wrong with this behavior, but your report sounds like we should be ashamed of participating in conduct that takes place in most cultures.

It is the first time that I have visited this site. Could not help but notice how fascinated you are with hookers and pimps. Maybe we could diversify on the subjects a little or we may end up with more brothels down in Mexico catering to Iranians.

Sima Fard
An Iranian woman

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January 27, 2000

* Fantasy

All I want to know is how much was Robin Wright paid to write this ["The last great revolution"].

Was she actually writing about Iran? It seems like she has written about a fantasy land that the Islamic government keeps insisting that it exists but nobody believes them.

Well, now they have found someone that believes in that fantasy.


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* Load of bullocks

The result of your survey is a load of bullocks ["Iranians of the century"]. The Shah of Iran tried to turn Iran into a normal, free country and people like you survey religeous freaks and name some shithead ["Mohammad Mossadegh"] as the Iranian of the century.


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* Abandon emotionalism

I am afraid I have hurt Mr Tabib's feelings more than I intended to, assuming that he is of a more robust stock than is the case ["Blind patriotism"]. My contempt is not for Mr Tabib's person but for his opinion. I am sure he is a valuable member of society who contributes in his own way.

Now to the crux of the argument: there is some talk of patriotism in the opening passage of Mr Tabib's letter. It amuses me that he did not get my point last time. Whether Christmas is of Persian or not has no bearing on my national pride so that his quote, as touching as it may be is superfluous.

As for juxtaposition of my obligation to respond and my perceived harshness, I merely invite him to look up the difference between etiquette and politeness. I also invite Mr Tabib to abandon his emotionalism and speak factually instead of plead for sympathy >>> FULL TEXT

Arash Salardini

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January 26, 2000

* Selectively polite

Since when has it been recorded in the short history of Iranians in America where a guy goes up to an Iranian woman to introduce himself, and gets anything other than a rude, arrogant response? ["Most polite people in the world"]

I should qualify this: since when has it been recorded where a man, NOT driving a BMW or other expensive car, goes up to a good-looking Iranian woman and gets anything other than a rude, arrogant response?

This I want to know. Or MAYBE beautiful Iranian women reserve their haughtiness, arrogance, and complexities only for Iranian men. It's a different story for those fortunate khaareji men who have a decent look about them.

As for Mr. Guillen, all I have to say is that yes, Iranians are very polite people, but only to non-Iranians.

My friend, if you knew Iranian culture any better you'd realize how some Iranians treat their fellow countrymen/women, and it is anything but 'polite' and 'classy'.


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* Sad joke

I read that article on discrimination against Iranians in U.S. border posts, fingerprinting and stuff like that.

Now, this is a new discovery, they would not only make Iranian citizens miserable to get all kinds of U.S. visas but they would also keep a spouse from coming to U.S. to gurantee that his wife would go HOME after graduation.

And this rule does not apply if the husband is the student. YES.. Only WOMEN have to CONVINCE the consular officer that they need to share their moments with their husband. Because it's set by DEFAULT that men do... No questions asked. Equal opportunities...Just another SAD joke.

Raha Zand

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January 25, 2000

* Iran. What a land

Iran. What a land. What a people.I have lived away from it for almost 30 years, but, have visited frequently. I love the country, the people, the desert, the brick walls, the trees, the crows, and the trenches of water that run in every direction.

I am so saddened by the conditions in Iran. The pollution, poverty, dirt, illiteracy, lack of medicine and medical facilities. At a time when the world is accelerating toward technology to better human's living conditions, Iran is holding back the people in the dark ages.

"Internet" is sold by Kilo-Bytes, making it expensive and impractical for many. What do you think would happen if Iranians got educated? Tehran is drowned in its smoke. People are dying at ages of 40 and 50 of heart attacks and strokes due to stress and over-exhaustion by working two jobs >>> FULL TEXT


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* Opinions so obviously Iranian

It is interesting to have seen this survey and the myriad of results ["Iranians of the century"]; as well as the different opinions so obviously Iranian in the fact that they are heated and opinionated!

Being a polisci-major during my undergrad I debated with several Iranian classmates on this very issue about 10-years-ago: "personality cults" versus "media attention" versus "real results" (whether for good or for bad on any particular nation-state, such as Iran) are the real questions when deciding on who is a man-of-prominence deserving the title, "man of the century".

For Iran, it is interesting on the one hand to note that there isn't anyone prominent in the arts or sciences during this turbulent century, unlike the Iran of bygone-eras with names like Abu Ali Sina, for instance >>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Rafaat

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January 24, 2000

* All political

I went to two soccer games -- Iran vs. Ecuador and Iran vs. USA. There was a huge difference. Both in players and audience. However, it was all about politics and our lives in the U.S. We started our lives here because of politics and now we somehow want to sweep our past under the rug so we can justify our lives here and ease our conscience.

The games in general were representative of our dual lives, a paradox of being semi immigrants. One foot here and one foot ready to move. Or maybe now both feet are planted here but our past haunts us. The audience was so determined to be civilized and not to appear political . Was that for the benefit of American brothers or for the Islamic Republic brothers? Did we want to show that we are not terrorists? That we are apolitical soccer-loving immigrants? We were also determined not to put the seal of approval on the Islamic Republic in a obvious way.

Yekee bood..Yekee nabood >>> FULL TEXT

S. Irani

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* Just a game

Let me start by saying that what a well written .....Reflection ["All tied up"]. I never thought one could read SO much into a soccer match. I suppose you can also foretell the weather by the way your bunions act up?

The Iran-USA soccer match was a friendly game. I wasn't there but watched the game on TV. I wish I'd have been there to celebrate it with the other Iranians and Iranian-Americans. My face would have been painted with both the Iranian and US flags AND I would have been waiving one of those double sided flags.

In case you have forgotten, we're NOT living in Iran. This is the USA where one can participate in demonstrations at lunch break, and head back to work afterwards without a stopover at Evin prison. SAVAMA or Passdaran don't have much bearings on our daily lives here. So, even though you feel that the battle for our individuality as Iranians is lost, and we are disillusioned, how have you won this battle?

You should feel rather content, since I know you're not happy, that you can write out your "reflections" and not get hauled into Evin for high tea! Obviously, no nation is without faults. While one brach of the US government/society is trying to extend ties to Iran yet another is building attack/strategy scenarios in case Iran comes in possession of nuclear arms. One hand washes the other. It has been like this in the US for quite an extended period of time.

However sometimes a game is just that.....a game. This was a GOOD game.

Ali S.

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* Fitzgerald's debt to Khayyam

I enjoyed the enthusiasm that emanated from Mr. Kadivar's article "Great Omar" and subtitled "Khayyam's debt to Fitzgerald". I too agree that Fitzgerald's translation is a masterpiece which will remain the very pinnacle of the art of poetic translation.

However, Mr. Kadivar is wrong, for Khayyam owes nothing to Fitzgerald. Khayyam's poetry survived hundreds of years prior to Fitzgerald, and will survive many more. In iran, many are able to recite a few of the Rubaees, but only a few know Fitzgerald. Therefore it is incorrect to suppose that "with no Fitzgerald there would have been no Omar". Despite assertions by some English authors, Fitzgerald's never surpasses the brilliance of the original. And brilliant it is.

Khayyam's poetry is a jewel that will last for as long as there is humanity; Fitzgerald made this jewel available to more humans. It is much more likely that Fitzgerald would have been forgotten had he not been so inspired by the Rubaees, and so one can say that perhaps with no Omar there would have been no Fitzgerald.

Korosh Khalili

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January 21, 2000

* No food for thought

I don't know if you want to expand The Iranian Times at all. How about a cooking/recipe column featuring ethnic Iranian cooking -- by Persian virgins, grandmothers and those who flunked academia. I, for one, would find that far more appealing than what Robin Wright offers ["The last great revolution"]. That kind of food for thought is best offered in journalism schools and by one time poli-sci majors. And what do they teach or learn as a poli-sci major? Give me ghalieh-mahi any day.

Bahman Djavid

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* Soccer's healing power?

I enjoyed reading Dr. Mirfendereski's reflections on the friendly soccer game between Iranian and American teams and its implication for U.S.-Iran relations ["All tied up"]. He pretty much summarizes the nature of problems between Iran and the United States. I agree with his views and find him very articulate on the matter.

In his commentary, he also brings up the subject of the Iranian community in the United States. He is of the opinion that though this game will not do much for improving U.S.-Iran relations, it will influence the way the Iranian community in the U.S. sees and deals with itself. I wonder how? Does he imply that the therapeutic effects of this single game can heal the wounds of the Iranian community in the U.S.? I wish he elaborated on this matter and saved me from guessing.

Akbar Mahdi

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* Ethnic slurs

Alex Vaughn's reference to a "greaseball Mexican," was deeply offensive. Iranians may not be the "politest people in the world," and such generalizations about cultures don't do anyone justice ["Most polite people in the world"]. But surely we can aspire to expressing our views without resorting to ethnic slurs.

Gelareh Asayesh

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January 20, 2000

* Together




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* More lessons on Christianity's origin

Mr Tabib has been busy with his dictionary of late ["Too paranoid"]. He prides himself on his ignorance of the English language. However the only thing he learns from my letter is the meaning of a word that most aptly describes his predicament. He needs to pay more attention.

He opens with "Mr. Salardini I presume was so infuriated by me lack of sensible respect for Persia and anything that proves our supremacy that rushed to my condemnation without carefully reading the few words I had put down." There are three problems with this statement:

1- There is a difference between fury and contempt and Mr Tabib is clearly the target of my latter sentiment.

2- Whether Christmas is or is not of Persian origin is of little consequence to our supremacy or otherwise, our national pride rests on much more than cultural interchange. However humility does not dictate the denial of the truth >>> FULL TEXT

Arash Salardini

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* Blind patriotism

It is interesting that the gentleman [Arash Salardini, "Lessons in Christianity's origin"], who has never personally known me, confesses to harboring "contempt" for me and accuses me of an "inferiority complex." And yet he feels obligated by "the etiquette of correspondence!"

I have touched a nerve, it appears, and it has propelled Mr. Salardini to launch a search for the holy grail of proofs regarding a causal link between Mithraism and Christmas.

I, as a "poorly educated man," would like to assure Mr. Salardini that my years in the poorly educating system (!) of American universities has taught me at least one thing: Dogmatism and blind patriotism is the greatest peril that can fall upon a tribe, nation or group >>> FULL TEXT

Ramin Tabib

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January 19, 2000

* Swiss advice

I'm puzzled about Mustafa Khan's anger for the result of the poll concerning the Iranian of the century. It seems you don't understand the word "poll". A poll is the opinion of a large number of people and is set on the basis of freedom of speach and expression.

I am a citizen of Switzerland and lived quite a long time in Iran (after the revolution, notably). I have seen and experienced all the different problems and upsets in your country but I have seen also the recent fruitful developments towards a modern country. Of course those developments are done only in very small steps but they are gradually increasing. Unfortunately as long as such people like you will express such intolerant thouhgts, all efforts will be in vain.

My country is a democracy since a very long time and it's still doing very well. We learned to accept different opinions and to live with different people. Unfortunately we also have more and more intolerant people affecting the long lasting peace with their crazy and weird behavior.

Dear Mustafa, don't behave in the same extremist way as many people do but try to give your constructive effort to build up your beautiful country into a better future.

Peter Brunold

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* Jealous

Thank you very much for the pictures ["Rosy Sunday"]. You have done a great job for us who couldn't be in Pasadena. I am really jealous of the persons who had the honor of watching the game at close quarters.\

I am very proud of our team -- "teameh-melliyeh-Iran" -- which always gives me and other Iranians such incredible feelings of excitement, joy and pride. Bache-haa moteshakerim!!! Bache-haa moteshakerim!!!

Manijeh Hajizadeh

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* Who cares?

Please spare us from these dopey articles ["Most polite people in the world"]. Who cares if some grease-ball Mexican likes an Iranian girl and what he thinks of us? Is that really improtant now. Do we have to ask every ethnicity and nationality for approval on our behavior or culture or anything?

Alex Vaughn

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January 18, 2000

* Very well done

Thank you for a job so very well done ["Rosy Sunday"]! The football match between Iran and USA was not transmitted here in Europe until it was over. Your photos brought tears of ecstasy and agony. The themes were all good, and the pictures were all perfect. Again, thank you.

K. Gorgin

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* Wonderful moments

Thanks for capturing such wonderful moments ["Rosy Sunday"]! I enjoyed every one of the photos. Keep up the good work!

Faranak Ravon

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* Talking pictures

The pictures are beautiful, exciting and talking ["Rosy Sunday"]. I felt I was there and had a lot of fun looking at the painted faces.


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January 17, 2000


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January 14, 2000

* My neighbor, Googoosh

I don't remember Googoosh in the film "Qesaas". But I was her neighbor when we were kids. We were almost the same age. Back then she was about 11-12 years old and living with her father, stepmother and stepbrother. They had rented an apartment across from our house on Bahar Street, Kouche Saarem, in Tehran.

Googoosh also went to the same elementary school as I did (Dabestan-e Vedadi). By the way our principal from that school now lives in Maryland, where I live.

As kids we were curious and we would go on the roof top to watch Googoosh's house and we could see how she had to do a lot of house work and the stepmother was not nice to her at all.

When I recently asked our principal about Googoosh for an article I was writing, she said that because Googoosh was working at nights and was also bothered by her stepmother, she could not attend school long and could not continue.

For the same reason the school was not that eager to have her as a student either -- She used to sing at night clubs at that age.

Simin Habibian

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* Not popular, but important

The result of the Iranian of the century survey is skewed by emotional tangents. By no means am I a fundementalist or even vaguely religious, but as a historian - I assure you that the Iranian who has most impacted our society, socially, politically and in respect to our future, has been R. Khomeini.

M. Mossadegh is an emotional choice - a man that didn't quite fulfill his legacy. And we all like to dream that had he fulfilled his legacy - we may have avoided the revolution of 1979. Hence, we look at him with much nostalgia.

Like it or not, man of the century doesn't neccessarily have to be the most popular individual - democratically speaking. Khomieni changed Iran like no one before... and that is a fact.

Manou Marzban

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* Just ask in the kucheh

That's great! You have simply showed how BIG is the population of the late Mosasdegh's fans (363 x 0.42 < 160) ["Iranian of the century"].

For sure, you have done your best to get as many votes as possible by sending your questioner to SELECTED people.

However, if you really mind whom the Iranians in GENERAL respect and follow -- and still you don't know-- just go to Iran and ask the people of "koocheh va baazaar".


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January 13, 2000

* I am UPSET

Please take me off your email list. Please. The reason is that I am disappointed that you have chosen Mossadegh as your Iranian of the century. That shows that your magazine is not worth reading.

It's understood that Ayatollah Khomeini is the Iranian of the century -- no doubt . Whether for bad or good, he shook the world. He certainly was the Iranian of the century as well as MAN OF THE CENTURY OF THE WORLD.

I am UPSET . We used to subscribe to your magazine but not any more. Please take me off your email list. My friends are going to do the same.

Mustafa Khan

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* Amazed

I recently read "An American in Iran". I was amazed at how well you understood and appreciated the Iranian culture. But your flawless comprehension of Iranian people, their feelings, and views, was the most impressive.

I am 15 years old, and sitting here with my grandfather who just recently traveled from Iran to America for a knee surgery. We have lived back and forth between Iran and America until I was nine, but finally we were able to "flee" and come to live in the great U.S. permanently.

It has only been a year since my family has settled down and all together again. Through the struggles we went through, I have changed quite a bit. But I will never forget my roots. I actually went back to visit my family last summer, and I felt just as you did. Even though I had lived in this country, everything seemed so unorganized and less than what I had remembered.

I am fascinated that an American is so interested and fond of our culture and country.

Reyhaneh Fathieh

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* Behrouz Vosouqi

In reference to Nostalgia photos:

Behrouz Vosouqi used to live in Los Angeles. He now lives in the San Fransisco Bay Area. Roumor has it that he owns a cafe. Haxamanesh

He became one of the followers of Mr. Angha who has set up his own Khanehghah and Moreed-dom in the San Fransisco Bay Area. Moftaki

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January 12, 2000

* Tacky, sexist

Your "Bucket of Hilary" item [Anyway section of The Iranian Times, Tuesday Jan 11] had under it a note that said "Thanks to ..." I fail to see what there is to be thankful for, either to the person submitting this item, or your publication in choosing to print it.

The same issue that refers to one woman's "small breasts and large thighs," included a letter that described the last sighting of a Miss Iran candidate and informed readers that (Thank God!), she is "still attractive."

I read The Iranian to stay up-to-date about events in Iran, and to experience the ideas and emotions of fellow Iranian expatriates. I'm not interested in reading about how women's bodies measure up, or fail to measure up, to beauty ideals.

Usually when I read The Iranian I find it informative and intellectually stimulating. With this issue, I wasn't sure if I'd stumbled across a fraternity party or a "dowreh" where a woman's weight and how "shekasteh" she's become or not; are debated over tea.

This was tacky. This was puerile. This was sexist. This was not up to your usual standards.

Gelareh Asayesh

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* Fair-minded

I am a young Iranian who has never visited Iran. I was born in Africa. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful magazine because of your fair-mindness and willingness to tackle issues.

I especially want to thank you for choosing Abdul-Baha, the son of the founder of the Bahai faith, among your Iranians of the century. It is only when we learn to respect each other's beliefs that we can as Iranians enter a new century where peace and harmony reigns.

Sahba Sobhani

EDITOR: The choices made for the Iranian of the century were all made by readers, not The Iranian magazine.

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* Impressed

I was impressed and proud when my fellow Iranians recognized the very notable Iranian, Abdul-Baha ["Iranians of the century"]. His contribitions, love, and service to all Iranians as members of a world family really raised the worth and greatness of our wonderful mother country, Iran. Although there is great hesitation in admitance of this, Abdul-Baha lived his life in the true Iranian spirit. Thank you very much.


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* Too paranoid

I couldn't pass on the opportunity to reply to the man who thought me a new word: Asinine ["Mithraic roots of Christianity"]! Mr. Salardini I presume was so infuriated by me lack of sensible respect for Persia and anything that proves our supremacy that he rushed to my condemnation without carefully reading the few words I had put down.

Let me reply to some of his reasons for calling me asinine (and I love this word!).

Mr. Salardini starts with: "The roots of Christmas in Mithraism is well known and not subject to much debate." Well, not until you have me around. That is the whole point of this forum: to debate.

Then he asserts: "Before 12th century the Christian symbol was largely the fish (PX sounds like the Latin word for fish and PX is the reverse of XP i.e Xi Rho that are the first two letter of Christos in Greek). " To this I have no comment! It is too paranoid for even me! ...

... In response to my assertion that we were never the center of the world, Mr. Salardini corrects me that: "Mr. Tabib is obviously unfamiliar with the history of the Achaemenian empire." To which I have to say that: No, I am not unfamiliar, but I am also keenly aware of a 20-something boy-soldier named Alexander of Macedon who attacked the Persian empire with a small army and outwitted the rulers of the world and laid their empire to waste. Does that make Alexander or the Greeks the center of the world and the spring-board of all civilization? Never! Neither can the Persian empire of the old make that claim >>> FULL TEXT

Ramin Tabib

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January 11, 2000

* Mithraic roots of Christianity

I am prompted by the facile and pseudo-intellectual letter of Mr Tabib who being chuffed by his netsearching skills proceeded to aptly demonstrate the common wisdom that little knowledge is more dangerous than none.

The roots of Christmas in Mithraism is well known and not subject to much debate ["Borrowed ideas"]. The Aurelian Mithramas was on the 25th December. The identification of Jesus with Mithras, the central figure in the Mithraic Mysteries was more than coincidence. Mithras (originally Persian Mithra) was also a messianic figure who was to renew life and redeem all with sacrifice. He, like Yima, would slay the primordial bull Gush Urvan whose blood would revitalise all. The symbol of Mithraism was in fact the cross that happily co-incided with the mode of execution of Jesus himself ...

But what I find interesting is all the half truths that Mr Tabib uses to advance his point. Firstly he asserts that all ancient peoples worshipped the sun. True, but the word Mithra and Mithraism were not Egyptian or Celtic or anything else but Persian. He then enumerates a assinine mixture of historical festivals to no effect ...

He requests that " we all accept that we are not the center of the world and never were". Mr Tabib is obviously unfamiliar with the history of the Achaemenian empire. However in all fairness there is one of his assertions that I agree with and that is that Mr Tabib is not "... an expert in Christian traditions, or any tradition for that matter".

Ms Shashaani was largely correct in her article. I find it interesting that even when the West, in a rare instance of honesty, credits us with something however insignificant, there should be an Iranian who refutes it >>> FULL TEXT

Arash Salardini

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* Nice try Jack

Ms. Shashaani ["Borrowed ideas"] argues interestingly that Christmas may have something to do with shab-e yalda and other old Persian traditions of that period of the year. This is a fascinating and enjoyable article and the author obviously knows her subject matter well.

However, I must say that I find the notion of attempting to relate Christmas to the astrological/astronomical basis of shab-e yalda rather far-fetched. Maybe she is right, I am no expert, but sometimes things are just simple coincidences. Would anyone, for example, try to connect the Islamic Republic's day (Farvardin 12) with April's Fool's Day in the West? ...

For example, did the Persians really make much significant contributions to astronomy, as opposed to mainly borrowing concepts from the people that they forcefully brought under their rule, such as Babylonians whose civilization reached its height before it was invaded by the Persians?

Also while the word Magi may have been derived from Mogh (Zoroastrian preacher), the origin of the three wise men is a lot more uncertain than the article suggests. I am puzzled, in particular, how the author claims that they came from the religious city of Qom when this city gained its religious status only many centuries later and in the context of a different religion, namely Islam.

In summary I would thank Ms. Shashaani for her very interesting article but cannot help say nice (and enjoyable) try Jack, but let's not push it, not everything has its origin in old Persian traditions >>> FULL TEXT

Hossein Samiei

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* Still attractive

In reference to 1978 Miss Iran finalists:

Nazila Alasti: She used to be my classmate at Northeastern University in Boston. She got her BS in electrical engineering and went to Cornel University to get her masters. After that I have no clue.

Roya Pegahi: I had seen her in Egypt. Her father was the military attache at the Iranian embassy. Four years ago when I went back to Iran, I got invited to a party at her brother's house. She is married with children. Still very attractive!

Fereshteh Golesorkhi

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* Still see her

In reference to Nostalgia photos:

I know Haleh used to be a commentator in one of the Iranian TV stations down in Los Angeles and she even used to live in the same apartment complex that we lived in (Oakwoods Apartments) in San Fernando Valley where she videod her programs from inside her apartment. Later she moved to a bigger place I heard and you still see her occasionally on TV.


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January 10, 2000

* No gray area

In response to NS's letter:

No one said that Khomeini was LOVED or reveered ["Runner up: Iranian of the century"], although he did change history and therefore -- and unfortunately -- he is an important personality.

The meaning of democracy IS: tolerating, accepting, respecting what someone else is, eats, breathes, thinks, wears, reads, watches, does. The reason why Iran is in this pathetic state is because people don't understand how to be tolerant, accepting, respectful...

If someone IS different, Iranians either worship them or dump on them. There's no happy medium, no grey area. Iranians will ALWAYS be damned because of their hot heads and unwillingness to stop JUDGING. I hope this is clarified a few things.

Banafsheh Zand

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* Frightening remarks

I was astonished to read the comments given about Khomeini being the most influential Iranian ["Runner up: Iranian of the century"]. Some people went as far as saying that the late Ayatollah gave Iran freedom, dignity, and independance. The absurdness of this statement is indicative of what a legacy Khomeini has actually left behind for the Iranian people. It is the apathetic complacency of these remarks that are so frightening.

The reality is that Ruhollah Khomeini was a maniacal patriarch who politicized women and religion. As an emigre Iranian woman who left Iran more than twenty years ago, I can honestly say that these remarks saddened me beyond belief. The only thing that Khomeini did to and for the Iranian people, was to break them mentally, spiritually, physically, and economically.

I distinctly remember the day that he died. My mother and father threw a huge dinner party that evening; we had a party in his honor. I was only about eleven years old than, just young and naive enough to believe that once he died, so would his policies with him. But the legacy continues >>> FULL TEXT


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* Brought down communism

I cannot find anyone else who changed the course of the 20th century as effectively as Ayatollah Khomeni. The West got such a SHOCK by his rise that it took years for it to recover. Khomeini made Zbigniew Brzezinski to conclude that a green "Islamic" belt around the then Soviet Union would contain communism.

Khomeini had this exact picture in mind. This is clear in the letter he wrote to Gorbachev. Only a shot time later, the 20th century, which began its journey with the October Revolution and continued through the Cold War, experienced the shocking collapse of the Soviet Union. This was Khomeini's contribution to the past century.


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* Shahnz Tehrani & Noushafarin

In reference to Nostalgia photos:

Shahnaz Tehrani, is living in Los Angeles and used to be very active. Lately I have not heard or read anything about her, but she always takes part in the Tanin TV show for Noruz. She has lost a lot of weight and looks a little better than she used to.

Also, the singer Noushafarin lives in Los Angeles and was married to the actor, Saeed Raad, who lately has written a play in which he himself & Kambiz Ghorbani (Googoosh's son) play the main characters. When Noushafarin left Iran years ago she lived in India for some time and can speak Indian. She then lived in Canada for a few years before moving to the U.S.

Simin Habibian

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January 7, 2000

* Really really mad

I just read that Iranians have chosen Khomeini for the second Iranian of the century. I cannot believe it... I am really really upset right now. I am mad at those Iranians who are living abroad and having the best fun and do everything they want to do and then they claim that they love Khomeini. Why do they live abroad if they love Khomeini? They have to go back to Iran and live in that country that he has made for Persia ...

People of Iran deserve what they get. They do not deserve a leader who does everything for his country. They do not deserve a leader who is proud of being an Iranian. They deserve poverty, high prices, boring lives, many mollas, no joy, tears, and graves. They deserve to sit there and whatch the development in the Arab countries. They deserve to move to other countries and be called primitive, fundamentalist and terrorist >>> FULL TEXT


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* Meaningless

Regardng your survey of the iranian of the century, you note that the survey was mailed to 16,600 people, of which 363 replied. Please note that your response rate is so low (about 2 percent) that your results are quite likely statistically meaningless and hence of little interest.

Since your surveying technique as I understand it does not make a random sample anyway, you are better off simply making an editorial decision as to the "person of the ...." in your future issues, and then invite people to send in their reactions and their own choices. Major publications like Time magazine have obviously already tuned in to this idea.

Peyman Milanfar

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* Not 2000 yet

Saeid Mahmoudi writes in response to the Iranian of the century >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

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January 6, 2000

* Reza Shah robbed

The Iranian of the century is for sure Reza Shah Kabir. Without him there would have not been country named Iran as we know it.

I highly suggest most Iranians on this site take time and read Iranian history. Prior to the arrival of Reza Shah on the political scene, Iran was a country of eight to 10 million people with a negative population growth due to all sort of diseases, malaise, hunger, etc. Each region had feudal warlords who were running the show for themselves and their foreign masters.

It was Reza Shah who united Iran, restored peace, laid a foundation for modern Iran. Despite his lack of education he emphasized the importance of education, freedom for women, building of infrastructure and so on.

It is sad to see Iranians choosing Mossadegh as the Iranian of the century. While no one can deny Mossadegh's contribution to the country and his effort to nationalize oil, fact of the matter is that he was a second-rate, thick-headed politician who's actions alienated all his supporters in the end, and created an environment of social instability which would have sooner or later thrown the country to the arms of the communists, or would have caused the disintegration of country all together.

Yek Irani Fahmideh

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* Never progress if...

In response to Behrouz Sadigh's letter: Iran will never face true democracy, will never progress and will never attain a civil society unless people can learn to respect and tolerate other's opinions and beliefs.

Glayol Banaie

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* Earlier beauties

Before Zan-e-Rooz picked up the idea of launching the Iran Miss Pageant, another leading women's magazine, named Ettela'at-e-Banovan, carried that idea out successfully in the summer of 1962.

In the beautiful slopes and beaches of the Caspian Sea, Ettela'at selected an 18-year-old beauty named Homa Kafai of Mashad among many contestants.

The girls aspiring to the title had to be beautiful, poised, intelligent, academically bright, and had to represent the ideals and values of the the traditional Iranian society.

Do you have a copy of that particular issue? Or can you gain access to it? It would be worthwhile if you could advertise the need. someone may come up with that beautiful page in Iran's recent past.

Amin Fekrat, Ph.D.

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January 5, 2000

* Respect for other's opinions

In response to Behrouz Sadigh who wrote: "Please remove my name from your mailing and subscription list. I can and will not support a publication who lists a communist ["Mohammad Mossadegh"] as its man of the century. I believe the Shah of Iran was deserving of that title, but since you own the publication and not I, it would be better if I were removed from your listing. "

I would have been happy if our friend presented some evidence as proof of his claim rather than cancelling his subscription just because The Iranian reported a piece of news. It did not appear to me that this was the Times' decision at all.

The first lesson we should learn in this free society is respect for other people's opinion and tolerance for opposing points of view. This intolerance of others is unfornunately the sign of our time. I constantly notice that more and more American readers of newspapers and journals cancel their subscription because they see something in those publications they do not like! >>> FULL TEXT

Ali Parsa

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* Human rights violators

One thing that was not mentioned about these "Men of the Century" and all their accomplices is that they took Iran to a much higher plateau that deserves the highest recognition in the field of Human Rights Violation. But who is interested in that?!

History will tell in time what these people did . To expose a blinded folded nation to light after being in such absolute darkness is bound to lead to mass blindness. Their motto has been, "If we can't see them, they can't see us".

Sohrab Sepehr

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* No relation

Nematollah Aghasi is not Andy Madadian's father. A lot of people make that mistake. Andy is Armenian and has become very well known specially in the Spanish community. The Los Angeles Times and People Magazine had articles about him a couple of times. Because of the rumor, the two met for the first time last year and are planning to have a concert together this year.

Simin Habibian

Editor: The mistake has been corrected. Thanks.

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January 4, 2000

* Mossadegh? Why?

I was truly amazed or, for the lack of better word, disappointed in the selection of the majority of the respondents to the Iranian of the century survey. I would have expected by now most but not all would have figured out what has happened to them in the world of geopolitics since the last world war. Looking back at the real history, as Mr. Mossadegh himself commented to his trusted circle, how easily he was fooled to ally himself with the so-called religious sect (Mr./Ayatollah Kashani, Majles speaker post 1952).

Mr. Mossadegh was the one who made the choice of calling/arranging for the late Shah to get back his throne. At his death bed as he confessed to his mistakes of fighting against the Pahlavi regime, he should have found a way to work with them and defeat the US/UK/France in their own divide and conquer game >>> FULL TEXT

Parviz Zavareh

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* Communist

Please remove my name from your mailing and subscription list. I can and will not support a publication who lists a communist as its man of the century. I believe the Shah of Iran was deserving of that title, but since you own the publication and not I, it would be better if I were removed from your listing.

Behrouz Sadigh

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January 3, 2000


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