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    July 2000

    Letters are posted here a week after they appear in The Iranian Times.


* Iran-U.S.:
- Urgent: Anti-Iran amendment

- Sherman's disservice
- Stop bitching

Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    This months's index:

* Shamlou:
- What is happening to us?

- Immortal Shamlou
- Urgent: Anti-Iran amendment

- Sherman's disservice
- Stop bitching
- I only wished
- Not fair
- Double standards
- No Israeli tool
- Beating around the bush
- Pressuring IRI will force concessions

- Sanctions will make things worse
- Cosmetic concessions
- I love the simplicity
- Need web site on Iranian film
- Part of Persian music

* Tribal:
- The last khan

* Politics:
- We can only try

- Two roads
- Babolsar square
- Feeling Googoosh

* Afghans:
- Refugees, unemployment, crime...
- Please, please, please
- The press & the government

* Exile:
- I worship you
The Iranian:
- Not very pleasant

- More respect
- Totally addicted
* Community:
- Sticking together
* Diaspora:
- Not new

* Homosexuality:
- Gay rights not discussed
- Iran not armpit of universe

- Not without my...
- Herbalist Hashishin

* Iran:
- Tears & joy

* dAyi Hamid:
- Witty gems

- I like your work. A lot
- Get a grip
- Reality of life

- Khejaalat bekesh
- What a surprise!

* Women:
- Useless fashion

- Depriving women of dignity:
- Know what you're talking about
- I assure you

- Typical Iranian male behavior?
- Persian Super Race

- Obsession with greatness
* Students:
- Marginal issues

- Roots unexposed
- Serious omissions
- Need a revolution
* Sex:
- Complete outrage
- Why is it disturbing?
- Loyalty to one's breed

- We'll never know
* Internet:
- Online radio, at a cost

July 31, 2000

* Urgent: Anti-Iran amendment

Congressman Peter Deutsch of Florida introduced an amendment Friday to the Treasury/Postal Appropriations Bill re-imposing the food and carpets sanctions, so the issue is still quite alive. I understand Charles Schumer of NY may introduce a similar amendment on the Senate side.

We were successful in postponing Sherman's proposal but they rerouted their efforts through other states! This time it is an amendment (amendments to the appropriations bills can easily be passed (in fact, must) before November. It is urgent for everyone to call their offices ASAP and fax short letters to them as well >>> FULL TEXT

Mozhgan Mojab

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* Sherman's disservice

As an American, I am often confused by many of the articles and/or letters from Iranians that I see on Iran content web sites ["Dumb and dumber"]. I fully understand the outcry that the reprehensible comments made by California Congressman Brad Sherman has provoked; his unconsidered condemnation of an entire country and its people is ludicrous. His statements have inflamed the anti-western passions of fundamentalists, as well as the terrorism-paranoia felt by many uninformed Americans. He does a disservice to both sides, and is everything that Americans do not wish their politicians to be >>> FULL TEXT

M.L. Knowles

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* Stop bitching

I keep reading about the efforts by some congressmen (Brad Sherman, Democrat-California) and senators to reverse the lifting the partial sanction in retaliation for 13 Jews in Iran. I can't help wondering why there is so much bitching while it seems like there is no one who wants to do something realistic about Iranian-Americans RIGHTS in this country?

Either "some" of you guys, just walked out of the boat!! Or you don't understand this country's "political processes"? Or you are in a deep sleep! Here are few blunt lessons about the political realities in U.S that works! >>> FULL TEXT

Daniel Zangeneh

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July 27, 2000

* Not very pleasant

It wasn't very pleasant to see a man's foot holding down a chicken. They say that the way a country treats its animals reflects on the way it treats its people. Example - China!! - human rights issues?

I was disappointed to see this picture as I respect the Persian culture and have many Persian friends for the last 20 years.

I don't understand the meaning of the picture or to what use it can have?

Laurie K.
Independent Sr. Director & New Consultant Trainer
The Pampered Chef

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* Iran not armpit of universe

Dear Kelley,

I'm glad you wrote and I'm sorry that you were exposed to the harshness of "Not Without My Daughter"!

I saw the movie with my (then) girlfriend, Susan, back when it first came out! We didn't know what type of message or image it contained about Iran but I literally held my head down and ran out of the theater.

Susan and I got married in 1996 and she (who is a blonde native of Texas, USA) went to Iran with me for a visit in the Summer of 1997. Susan loved her treatment in Iran by my family and everyone else who came in contact with her, but she can comment to you directly about that.

We now have an adorable 7 month old baby boy who proudly carries the "Iranian-American" ethnic designation and we fully intend to make sure that he learns the Persian language, visits Iran and stays in touch with his father's cultural roots! >>> FULL TEXT

Ben Bagheri

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* Useless fashion

I looked at Farhad's fashion designs. It's nice but where do you think you could wear these clothes?

Sherry Sadigh

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July 26, 2000

* Gay rights not discussed

Thanks for publishing the article [from Rah-e Kargar] written by Mr. Babak Moshtagh on homosexual rights in Iran. Homosexuality is a topic that is not discussed much in the Iranian community. We need more education and discussion on this issue.

Homan LA
Iranian gay and lesbian rights group

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* More respect

Please consider changing the front-page photo of The Iranian (the foot and the chicken) with something that represents our culture better. I was commented by some Americans on this. Please represent our culture with more respect.

Arthur Aunch

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* Witty gems

How could I have missed all his witty gems until this morning? I thoroughly enjoyed his spot-on observations and relished the delivery: damet garm, dAyi Hamid.

However, I notice that his last missive is dated September 1999. Where is he now? Maybe the "Two Stripes" were not a false alarm after all and he is in some supermarket, contemplating the benefits of Pampers versus Own Brand of nappies, and wishing those stretch marks would just disappear. Or, have I simply missed his latest?

By the way, I saw this quote in the paper yesterday: "Do not follow where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Interpret it as you wish!

Narguess Farzad

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July 25, 2000

* What is happening to us?

It's a sad day today (July 24, 2000). It is enough to take a look at any on-line newspaper to find out why. The headlines say: Ahmad Shamlou died, Bakhtegan lake in Fars province dried out.

These are just non-political news which are supposd to help reduce the pressures of every day life.

It seems that our country is loosing everything at the same time, Freedom left us long time ago and now our natural and cultural resources are going too. What is happening to us?

Neda X

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* I only wished

Excellent opening article about the Sherman sanction proposal ["Dumb and dumber"]. I only wished more Iranian and Iraninan-Americans were aware of the efforts you have been putting forth to increase our lobbying force.

Professor Bijan Saadatmand

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* Not without my...

My name is Kelly. I'm a 15 year old female from New Jersey. I was watching a movie called Not Without My Daughter tonight and it seriously made me cry! It's based on a true stroy which made it even worse.

I suggest that you watch this movie. It's about a American women who is married to a Iranian man. They have a daughter named Matop and the father finally convinces his wife and daughter to go to Iran for a visit. But he lies. It's not a visit. It's to stay!

They suffer in Iran for nearly a year after being beaten and all. They re-unite (without the husband) in America on Feb. 9th 1986, after a long suffering journey home. Anyone who has information on Betty and Matop or even their email addresses (I wish to talk to them!) or anything please write to me.


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July 24, 2000

* Immortal Shamlou

The news is that Shamlou is dead, like any other human who has or will ever be on the face of this earth. The truth is that Shamlou was just born into immortality and joined the ranks of Hafez, Rumi, and Saadi ["Shamlu"].

Kiumarss Nasseri

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* Not new

The piece on the IRI's attempts to lure expatriates back to the motherland for whatever service or investment is not new to the Iranian society ["Come back (and be quiet)"].

Only back in the early 1970's the Pahlavi kingship sought also to prevent the flight of brains or brain drain (faraar-e maghzhaa) and it courted the notable Iranians living abroad. One such person who was rumoured to have been coaxed to return to the motherland was Professor Reza, who upon return lingered about for the longest of time until the regime was sufficiently embarased to post him abroad as the Iranian representative to UNESCO>>> FULL TEXT

Guive Mirfendereski

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* Herbalist Hashishin

I read the article: "Separating the killers from the heroes" (by Guy Dinmore, Financial Times, July 15, 2000). Just a short note: The common and popular understanding as presented by Mr. Guy Dinmore in his article, is that the Ismailis with the leadership of Hassan Sabbah were known as "Hashashin" due to their useage of Hashish.

From what I have read it seems that this religious community were trying to live their life away from the atrocities as imposed by the Arab Caliphs in Iran, hence their living in a mountaintop community, in seclusion.

The word Hashashin at the time meant: the "Herbalists". Herbal medicine has ancient roots in Iran and it is known that in this community the cultivation of different herbs for medicinal purposes was practiced (including Hashish, amongst all the other herbs). Herbal medicine is used to this day in Iran alongside modern medicine.

Kaveh Tashakori

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July 21, 2000

* Not fair

The new sanctions proposed by Congressman Sherman are not fair ["Dumb and dumber", "Due process"]! It is a depressing scene when we have the November Elections in front of us. Who are we to vote for? It seems like the members of both parties (Democrats and Republicans) are competing with each other on punishing Iranians! It is not fair!

Why should 70 million people be punished for the decision of a minority (hardliners) in Iran? Hardliners in Iran are losing their credibility and their influence not because of sanctions against Iran but because of the reform movement's non-violent, civilized approach towards starting political chang in Iran.

Mr. Sherman's approach toward implimentation of political change in Iran is similar to Iranian hardliners' methods, meaning harsh punishment toward opponents. His action will result in the weakening of Iranian reform movement, worsening of social economic conditions in Iran and starting new anti-Iranian sentiments in the U.S.

I always thought Democrats were more progressive than Republicans! how can I defend a party that initiates such actions? Mr. Sherman, as a Democrat and a congressman, should look after the interests of all Iranian-American and not just Jewish ones.


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* I assure you

I assure you that this is not typical Iranian male behavior ["Typical Iranian male behavior?"]. You answered your own question when you said he is "a very immature young man who happens to be Iranian."

Zara Houshmand
(A very mature Iranian-American woman)

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* I like your work. A lot

So this chic that I consider way more "irooni" than myself has attached two links. The first was about learning to love Iranian men ["Loving an Iranian man"], and the second was for your article about Iranian women ["Loving an Iranian girl"]. I clicked on the first one first (duh! logically), and I almost trashed the email after reading most of the article, but for some odd reason, I clicked your link. It was well worth it >>> FULL TEXT

Amelia Adhami

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July 20, 2000

* Double standards

Mr. Pollack,

Your letter was sincere and interesting; however, it did not deal with the double standards and inconsistencies in treating human rights violations in Israel and Iran. Over the years Palestinians born in Palestine (now called Israel) have not been able to go and see their place of birth or check their old properties. However, any Jew, anywhere in the world (ie, Brooklyn) can automatically become Israeli citizen. This is one moral issue that over the years has not received Mr. Sherman and his colleauges' attention in the House. Too convenient.

In my view, The Iranian editorial ["Dumb and dumber"] is critical of the Iranian government for its violations of human rights and "due process." ; at least they are consistent in their approach. Mr. Sherman and colleagues have a selective and elastic standard of human rights. They are not concerned with the Iranian journalists or activists in jail in Iran; or for that matter the Lebanese jailed by the Israelis in their own country. Please try to understand that sanctions hurt all of Iran. Your loyalty and commitment to Israel, no matter what, is admirable.

Later in July a very interesting book is coming out called:"Holocaust Industry" by Norman Finklestein. In that book we learn all about Sherman-like dubious gestures.

Wendy Vanstone

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* Typical Iranian male behavior?

A young American woman gave birth to a baby boy. The boy's father is Iranian and in America on a work visa. The baby is five weeks old and the young man fathering the child has not made a single attempt to see his son and stalling getting the paper work needed done for child support payments. Is this typical Iranian male behavior?

Damn sad if it is. How can such behavior improve any one's understanding of the Iranian people. The young woman was pretty much referred to as a tramp by an Iranian aunt when she was told of the child which the father wanted hidden away or aborted. Is typical Iranian male behavior to always blame the female?

I have been a second father to the young woman and know her very well. A tramp or promiscuous young woman . . . is the last thing she is. She simply got involved with a very immature young man who happens to be Iranian and in this country on a work visa. I have spoken with an INS Information Officer, a California State Child Welfare Officer, and a lawyer.

Does this seem fair to simply hold the young man responsible? I fear he is heading down a long, dark road over this. He is aware that I have become involved with the issue but fails to receive any call from myself or be receptive to speaking with me. Again, I am this girl's acting father due to her's having passed away several years past.

Bernace Charles

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* Depriving women of dignity

Your caption under Farhad's fashion show reads, "A model wears a wedding dress part of Iranian fashion designer Farhad's 2000/2001 fall-winter high-fashion collection that was unveiled." It SHOULD have read "Overrated designer responsible for depriving women of dignity and self-respect-PURDAH with a TWIST", or "Does that wedding veil come with a dress?"

Really, is it necessary to give exposure to every person who is on the one hand lucky enough to be born Iranian but on the other unfortunate not to inherit the taste and refinement for which that culture is renown?

Such designs are uninspired and stupid attempts to be on the "cutting edge" by being shocking perhaps. If it were shocking it would have been interesting, but it was instead banally minimalistic past the point of both reason and beauty, and therefore unforgiveable.

Shireen A.

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July 19, 2000

* No Israeli tool

Allow me to suggest that the anger expressed in your editorial concerning sanctions against Iran to be proposed by Rep. Brad Sherman (Democrat-California) ["Dumb and dumber"] is misdirected, and has produced a caricature of a political process that is neither quite so sinister or cynical as you seem to believe.

You attribute Rep. Sherman's move to his attentiveness to "outraged Jewish constituents and powerful pro-Israel lobbyists." But it is not clear to me why the hidden hand of Israel must be invoked here>>> FULL TEXT

Josh Pollack
Baltimore, MD

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* Beating around the bush

I was completely baffled by your editorial about the new sanction proposed by Mr. Sherman ["Dumb and dumber"]! What are you saying? What is your position? Are you for it? Are you against it? Are you with thousands of Iranian Americans who are actively condemning Mr. Sherman's action? What is your position?

There is no time to beat around the bush anymore; you are either supporting the new changes that are happening in Iran or you are a passive observer.

All I see in your commentary is negativity, resignation and passivism. Your article is mentioning the obvious! What do you propose we should do?

San Jose, CA

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July 18, 2000

* Reality of life

Dear compatriot,

By shutting your eyes and ears to the reality of life, you only cheat yourself. As a Persian, I want to see, hear & know what is going on with our people. Even prostitution is a fact of life.

Has prostitution ever left humanity entirely? Which religion or ism is able to stop it?

So be fair and accept the reality. Above all do not impose your personal views on others.


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* Tears & joy

I have had the privilege of traveling across my homeland during my years there. These pictures ["Envy"] brought tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It also brought joy that someone has captured such moments I have imagined in my heart and mind.

Zohreh Zarnegar

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* Get a grip

I'm sorry , but you are one ugly man and perhaps that is the reason why they make up other excuses to not want to be with you ["Loving an Iranian girl"]! And who the hell would want to go with a guy that is already married or engaged or even ugly! Get a grip on yourself and wake up to the way you really are!

Central Queensland University,

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July 17, 2000

* Pressuring IRI will force further concessions

Open letterr from the Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran, Los Angeles (July 14, 2000) See opposing letter

Dear Congressman Brad Sherman,

You have always been a staunch supporter of Human Rights in Iran, advocating democracy and opposing the atrocities of the present dictatorship.

It has come to our attention that a certain Iranian individual has sent you a letter opposing your current efforts on behalf of the innocent Iranian Jews and Human Rights in Iran, and has been circulating it on the Internet. We would like to reconfirm our gratitude for your leading position in the House of Representatives on the above issues and remind all concerned of certain current facts about Iran >>> FULL TEXT

Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran

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* A tad racist

Mr Reza Vatandust sounds like 'Daei Jan Napoleon': he says the "the mortal enemy of the Persian race" is England. How amusingly out-dated!

I am an Azeri-Iranian living on the soil of the "mortal enemy" in London. I am sorry to disappoint you Mr Vatandust, but for a "Vatandust" you sound a tad racist >>> FULL TEXT

Katy Jarrah-Layegh

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* Khejaalat bekesh

You are the publisher of an Iranian family paper and you promote a damn PROSTITUTE in your paper? What are you made of? Shit!!!

Even in other countries they don't promote their prostitutes!! But you have to do that! Is that the ideal Iranian woman? Maybe you'd like women in your family to be like Jasmine (or they probably are!!), but I'm sure the very damn majority of Iranians don't look up to such ideas held high by idiots like MA (who seems to have suggested the site).

Boro kami khejaalat bekesh va beh mardomet fekr kon! You piece of crap!

Al Amin

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July 14, 2000

* We can only try

I have been reading a lot of articles about the reform and democracy that is sweeping Iran. Almost everyting seems to be about superficial freedoms. I would like to emphasize that those who are risking their lives are more concerned about real change that would:

A) Improve the economic situation

B) Bring about more and better jobs

C) Eliminate crime

D) Educate people to understand and learn tolerate and diversity

E) Bring better relations will all countries

F) Give freedom to a responsbile press to guard over freedom and point the finger at corrupt politicians by any means

G) Allow peaceful transition from one political party to the next when people change their mind, and

H) Make sure all segments of society are positively affected by the laws (especially the disabled).

We would like to see all the benefits that exist in other countries around the world without their negatives. But I am not sure if this is possible in a short time. We have so much to overcome; centuries of abuse and tyranny. We can only try.

Mahmoud Shafiabady

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* What a surprise!

Hhhm. Interesting "articles"? I went to the link in the Anyway section on Thursday expecting to read an article on a Persian fitness instructor. You know, like I thought here's an article on a Persian woman who is not a doctor, engineer, or lawyer, but look how she still enjoys her job. You know, just an interesting story.

Hhhm. I was a little surprised because it's a link to a London Escort service where for money, this Persian princess can be purchased! What a surprise!

N. Prissygrl

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* Persian Super Race

The Persians from Iran, are a splendid, gentle, clever, charismatic, powerful, noble race of people who have been running the show for almost 7000 years.

It's Iran that sets the terms not the West. Westerners merely react to the policies set by Iran. Because, very simply, we the Persians are natural politicians. We are better than the mortal enemy of the Persian race (England ), in politics. The day will come when we shall command unadulterated respect once more.

God bless the Persian Super Race.

Reza Vatandoust

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July 13, 2000

* Sanctions will make things worse

Dear Congressman Brad Sherman,

It has come to my attention through the large Iranian-American community of Southern California that you are about to introduce a bill that reverses the partial lifting of economic sanctions against Iran, as adopted by the State Department in March...

The simple fact is that hardliners within Iran survive on a motto of anti-American rhetoric and place the blame of all of the country's ills on the United States. More importantly, they use these slogans to muffle the voices of reform, reason, and moderation by accusing them of being American agents and enemies of Islam.

Therefore, any reinstatement of sanctions against Iran, will not only not make the smallest difference in the condition of the ten Iranian Jews, but it will probably make it worse for them in addition to hurting Iran's movement towards democracy >>> FULL TEXT

Danny K

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* Sticking together

Yourt Daryaa Kenaar club is an applaudable task. We, the Iranians, have gone through a lot during the past twenty years.

We have seen a lot of bad things happen to our people and we have always stuck together because our culture taught us so.

Life here in the U.S. or for those who call Europe home has not been easy. Minorities of all backgrounds stick together here and voice their opinions. But what about us?!

Just look at the Ellian Gonzalez case! There are thousands of people being deported everyday from the U.S. and nobody gives a damn.

I applaud you for taking the first step in getting our people to start communicating together.

A.B. Morawej

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* Totally addicted

I am totally addicted to The Iranian Times. It is the only thing I look forward to when I am driving to work at 6:20 in the morning. Thank you.

Samila B.

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July 12, 2000

* Obsession with greatness

What is this Iranian obsession with Great Males, Great Leaders, your Favorite Fantastic Person of the Milllenium and all that ["Iranian of the Century"]. Not only is it worrying and slightly infantile, historically. It's done much more harm than good.

Tirdad Zolghadri

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* Feeling Googoosh

I have spent the day listening to Googoosh's music while writing. Not knowing Persian or Farsi it is amazing how a person can feel the emotion expressed in her voice. This has all been a good learning experience for me.

Charles Roberson

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* Know what you're talking about

I just thought I would send you an email and compliment you for your funny article ["Those (pesky) Persian women"]. I know exactly what you're talking about. I live in San Jose, California. There is a very big Persian community here and it's even worse because everyone knows each other.I wish there was an article talking about attitudes of younger Persian women like yourself. That would be very interesting.

Don Hashari

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July 11, 2000

* Two roads

I found this literary piece a stark reminder of individuals in Iran, who, I can say, "just don't get it" or just do not want to get it ["Generational gap"].

Judging by my experiences in Tehran, on vacation, I can say the "new generation" of Iran is falling into the culturally indoctrinated spiral of the pre-revolutionary generation. That is to say, in this glorious period of reform in the Islamic Republic, there are over-eager youngsters who are missing the point completely.

I am have never been to judge from clothes or musical preference, but disrespect to a religious intermediary of any faith (regardless of the fact that one may have a reason to or not) is unpermissable. More specifically, I fear that Iran may go into two directions at this ideological junction we are at >>> FULL TEXT

Arya Abedin

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* I love the simplicity

Looking through The Iranian Arts section I saw your wonderful art work which I found unbelievably refreshing and unique ["Solitude"]. I love the simplicity of your drawings and the nature of your designs. They are contemporary and very pleasing to look at.

I myself am an amateur artist who works in more or less the same style, and have been looking to decorate my home with the same kinds of designs.

Perception of an art piece is always different depending who looks at it, and it should always be what looks good to it's creator >>> FULL TEXT

Babak Motamedi

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* Need web site on Iranian film

I would like to draw your attention on what I believe is absolutely important for the cultural preservation of Iranian film and television programs especially those belonging to the pre-revolutionary era. films like "Atash bedooneh dood" or "Deliraneh tangestaan", "Sultaneh Saheb Garaan" or the "Cow", "Daiejan Napoleon" and many others.

I think it is important to be able to create web pages on the filmography of those years which could include film stills, interviews as well as the stories that took place behind the scenes >>> FULL TEXT

Dariush Kadivar

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July 10, 2000

* Part of Persian music

I was viewing your website and I noticed that you do not include the Persian lyricists in your Music section. The likes of Leila Kasra, Iradj Janati Attaie, Ardalan Sarfaraz, Masood Amini, Amir Farrokh Tajalli, Homa Mir Afshar, etc.

If this is an oversight, well, please do pay attention and if not, then please have a category for the Persian song writers, as they are as much part of the texture of Persian music and artist society as anyone else in your category.


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* The last khan

Few days ago I heard the news that the last khan in our family has died. This might surprise many of you. We come from the Chahar-Mahal Bakhtiari. For those Iranians who are not familiar with their country, it is situated in south west of Iran and it is relatively close to Isfahan .

Chahar-Mahal Bakhtiari is located by the Zagroos mountain and it has the most beautiful virgin scenery in the country.

Well getting back to Agha Khan, he was, after my father, one of the most well known people in the region. He was powerful, loved and respected by the people. And his real name was truly Agha Khan.

My father and him were cousins and used to get together and talk for hours about the land they loved so much and their children's future abroad.

I had the pleasure of knowing Agha Khan. He reminded me of my father and therefore he had a special place in my heart. I shall miss the last khan in our town.

Ferial Mosharaf Ol Molk

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* Babolsar square

Babolsar has got a new statue in middle of the city. This is a statue of Balal Habashi. Everybody in Babolsar is laughing about it. They say we didn't have enough muezzins and they brought us a new one.

The first statue in the famous square in Babolsar was of Reza Shah. Then it was replaced with name of Allah on a cloth. Then there was a portrait of Khomeini. And now Balal Habashi has replaced all of them ["Babolsar zoo"].

What or who will be next?


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July 7, 2000

* Why is it disturbing?

I don't dispute that Jews can be spies ["Let's face it"]. Jews, as well as Moslems and Christians have spied in Iranian history at times and spying is never justifiable. But, what is disturbing about the trial of Jews in Iran is whether they can get a fair hearing.

Most people blame Iran's current system of justice as unfair and unjust and even dictatorial. But, the problem goes beyond the justice system. The legal and justice system in Iran is only a reflection of a culture that tends to see in people such absolutes as good or bad, right or wrong, angel or evil. The natural consequence of such a polarized thinking is to see no options other than elimination, punishment, and execution >>> FULL TEXT

Poopak Taati
Washington DC

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* Loyalty to one's breed

Mr. Moallemian comes across as a politician desperate for votes ["Let's face it"]. His categorical support for the now-convicted spies in Iran can not be interpreted otherwise...

On the other hand we as Iranians have been so quick to please our adversaries, with attitudes similar to Mr. Moallemian with lies and half truths, that we are not even given the benefit of the doubt if we accuse certain people of spying. I consider this a shame for all Iranians. Maybe he should learn from them a thing or two about loyalty to one's breed and nationality >>> FULL TEXT

Amir Khosrow Dafari
Seattle, Washington

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* Refugees, unemployment, crime and prostitution

In the recent accusative and truly narrow-minded views expressed about Afghan refugees, geopolitics and demographic realities that are all tied into the economic and political interests of Iran, are being ignored...

And let me tell you, if the Iranian girls who are prostituting themselves off of streets in Tehran are doing so because Afghan women can underbid them in the job market, they deserve a break, or if the Iranian addict is smoking Taliban-grown opium because he can't find a labor job cause some worthless, unscrupulous Pashtoo can only rob his house, then you need a reality check -- maybe you could understand to empathize with your own compatriots in peril.

And, finally, why do I have to see these Arab-Iraqis picnicking in some parks as so-called "refugees" in Tehran when I travel there?? I don't care who they are; they should be put on buses and shipped to the border and let Saddam have them, and if he won't take them then put them on a boat and send them to Kuwait. After all, those rich Arabs can always use more "kolfats and nokars"! >>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Raafat

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* Please, please, please

Please, please, please give me a break ["Joan of Arc"]. Let's look at everything the way they are. I like Googoosh, her music and also those great days that Googoosh type of music was a part of that. I also strongly believe everyone's personal life is abolutely his or her own business.

But comparing Googoosh with all those different issues she had in her personal life before the revoultion to "Joan of Arc" also know as "Virgin of Orlean" is a little too much.

If you really think our country needs a Joan of Arc there are a lot in our rich history, from Azarmidokht to Parvin Etesaami and all the unknown female soldires of this country who had fought and are still fighting to keep this nation honored and alive.

Googoosh is a great singer and good for us that she is back singing. Nothing more!

F. Kaviani

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July 6, 2000

* Marginal issues

Thank you Mr. Jamshidian ["Serious omissions"] for taking time to react to my article ["Wake-up call"] on the student movement in Iran. You have raised several concerns to which I would like to respond.

1. Let me begin by saying that the article is about the student movement and not Soroush or Khatami. An assessment of these individuals' politics and performance deserves a separate examination. This article was written for a scholarly journal, thus had to focus on the topic and avoid any issues marginal to that topic. One of requirements of journal articles is to stay focused on the main topic and within the page limit given by the editor. Thus, it was not my task to deal with Soroush and Khatami, and activities of all groups>>> FULL TEXT

Ali Akbar Mahdi

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* Roots unexposed

In full agrrement with Mr. Jamshidian ["Serious omissions"] and with the necessary thanks for your article ["Wake-up call"], I just wanted to remind you that with such an approach you have not exposed some of the main roots of the problems faced by the Iranian student movement.

Anyone familiar with Iran -- and here I'm not talking about the foreign observers or investors' auditors -- knows about Mr. Khatami's silence, inaction and finaly official approval of the crackdown on students who faced a tragedy.

For sure, it would have been better to mention these roots and to avoid such ommissions in any following articles. Only a global look and a detailed analysis can shed light on the spirit of the student movement.

On behalf of Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran
Goli Afshar

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* The press & the government

I wanted to thank Azadeh Hamehdoni for her fine article on the contemporary Iranian press ["Red ink"] but also to quibble with the second paragraph of the background section.

Of course, all periods in history are unique but they may also have analagous precedents. There were other times besides "'October 15 to November 6'" fo 1978 when Iranian journalists enjoyed relative freedom from censorship: the 1940's following the abdication of Reza Shah and in the wake of the Constiutional Revolution of 1905-6. Also, from the late 19th Century through the early 1930's there was a vibrant and influential expatriate Persian-language press (which was free from Iranian censorship if not always Ottoman, British or other European censors)...

I do not mean to suggest that politics and censorship are not a vital part of the history of the Iranian press, but there is a bit more to it than that. The central role and faith in the power of the press in Iran today derives from over a 150 years of history in which the press has played a crucial role in politics, culture and economics -- sometimes despite the power of the state and sometimes supported by that same power >>> FULL TEXT

Camron Michael Amin

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* I worship you

In reference to "Good news" in the Anyway section, I visited South Korea in 1983. When I contacted the Iranian embassy in Seoul to get some paperwork straightened out, the clerk was practically shocked to see and hear from another Iranian. According to him, at the time a total of 13 Iranians lived in South Korea and he knew every one of them by first name. "Six belong to the same family and the rest are scattered all over the peninsula" he said.

Later he confided that almost all were there to purchase military and other supplies for Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war. Even the "embassy" itself was nothing more than a purchasing office, inadequately equipped to handle my passport problem.

Seveteen years later, I see "Pastor Oh" has three Farsi-speaking churches running in South Korea>>> FULL TEXT

Pedram Moallemian

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July 5, 2000

* Serious omissions

There are some serious omissions that undermine the objectivity if not authenticity of your article "Wake-up call".

You say "In 1991, Abdolkarim Soroush complained of lack of intellectual and ideological creativity and activism among Muslim students in universities," without mentioning that he was himself THE chief architect and executioner of "the cultural revolution," granted full mandate from Khomeini. Crucially, you fail to mention that not only Khamanei but also Khatami ordered the ban and the crack down on the student demonstration - in fact Khatami used very harsh words like they will be crushed, as they indeed were in the two days that followed >>> FULL TEXT

Farshid Jamshidian

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* Need a revolution

I read Dr Jim's letter ["Solidarity & strikes"] with some dismay. He compares Iran with Poland and the UK. The UK has a parliamentary democracy and the British have a very advanced respect for other people's opinion. Whereas the Iranian mentality is to supress anyone that has a differing opinion.

The Iranian people will not achieve anything of real significance through reform and strikes. Whatever it becomes under reform, it will still be the Islamic Republic of Iran. What we need is a revolution and please don't say "who's gonna be leading it?" That will become clear when the time is right, maybe next year, maybe in 10 years time.


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* Complete outrage

What the hell is happening to Iranian morals? You print such an outrageous article [in the Boxing ring section "Aazaadi-ye jensi va as-haab-e kahf"] about sexual freedom in Iran from a down to earth idiot who prabably hasn't had a proper family and as Iranians put it "maloom-e posht-e kodaam booteh amal oomadeh".

This is a matter which doesn't have anyhting to do with politics but lies deep within Iranian culture. You can clearlyy see, for example, what a dump the U.S. has turned into (from the social aspect) and you're trying to play the same prank on Iran?

This is a complete outrage, and you share responsibility for printing such crap.


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July 4, 2000


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July 3, 2000

* We'll never know

I write concerning the recent article by Mr. Moallemian ["Let's face it"] and the reply by Mr. Rismani ["Can't a Jew ever be a spy?"]

The original article makes several valid points, which I will not repeat, and makes a strong and accurate case for true justice. The comments in the follow-up letter by Mr. Rismani, however, deserve comment.

The writer asks, rhetorically, whether a Jew can ever be a spy. The answer is clearly yes. However, in this particular case, we likely will never know the answer as the detailed accusations have not been made public, the trial has been behind closed doors, the defense attorney's hands have been tied in various ways including limited access to the defendants, the "confessions" have been made under suspect circumstances, etc. On top of all this, the same person has acted as investigator, prosecutor, and judge. No reasonable person can expect that such a set-up would have justice or truth as its outcome >>> FULL TEXT

I. I. Rahmim

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* Cosmetic concessions

I would recommend that Mr. Yektafar ["Tried Baba Karam?"] and others interested in the development of Iran-US relations to read the book "At the highest places". This book co-authored by Strobe Talbot, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, covers the development of US-Soviet relatons during the Gorbachev Administration. One can not, should not, carry the parallels too far, but the following two similarities I believe are important:

- Gorbachev, like Khatami, promoted glasnost and perestroika,
- The motivation for the policy changes were the utter bankrupcy of previous policies and the hard economic times this failure brought about.
- Gorbachev did not want to preserve the communist idealogy, and Khatami does not want to maintain the theocracy.

It is clearly outlined in the book that the U.S. did not want to give any concessions to Moscow because the Soviets, under internal pressures, had to do what the American policy makers were looking for any way. So they resorted to cosmetic gestures so as to not make Gorbachev seem to be always on the giving end. The relaxation of pistachio imports to the U.S. is of similar nature.


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* Online radio, at a cost

Dear Mr. Paley,

Some months ago, through a link provided by the on-line news magazine THE IRANIAN TIMES I read the story about your station in a LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Dana Calvo, and I must say that on behalf of my Iranian friends and relatives in Southern California I was pleased to hear of your endeavor, and not the least bit surprised by your success and popularity as evidenced in the article. Your web page gives further proof of your growth in the intervening months since the article was published.

It is noted from the KIRN-AM web page that your company requires an annual payment of US$60 for access to the streaming broadcast of your radio station content, KIRN-AM, over the web...

While most of your fellow public airwaves colleagues are doing this without charge, your requirement for payment may generate some unwelcome scrutiny and either litigation under current laws and regulations, or possible future legislation and administrative rulings. There can be varying (and evolving) interpretations of the concept of the broadcast license as a public trust. We'll see >>> FULL TEXT

Bill Phillipson
Woodway, TX

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