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May 2000 index

Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    This months's index:

* The Iranian:
- Most interesting

- Annoying ads
- Bad taste
- Enzevaa
* Jews:
- Free Iranian Jews

- The Jews owe Iranians
- Identify with Arabs or Israel?
- Questionable

- Islam not to blame
- Coordinated Zionist plot?
- Thoroughly enjoyable

- Intelligent and passionate
- I am not a sheep
- Year of destiny

- Refresher course in history
- Don't know what...
- If the Shah was in power

- Loyalty to God, King, and Country
- Don't distort my words
- Revolutions made by idealists
- Pie in the sky
- Wouldn't the Shah ban 16 newspapers?
- Superpowers shape our destiny
- Solidarity & strikes
- Democracy from a theocracy?
- Filmmakers as role models

* Reform:
- Giving reformists a boost, from abroad
- Free expression, without getting beaten

- Ban on discussion
- Newspaper ban is right
- Helllllo freedom!

* April Fools:
- Albright in Tehran!
* Laleh Khalili:
- Brought tears
- I speak Persian

- Pinglish
* Mossadegh:
- Candle in the wind

* DAyi Hamid:
- Chee, deevounam?
- Let's not forget
- Stalinist tone

* Nabavi:
- Cheech Nabavi
- Intelligent and passionate
- There IS purity left in this world
- Journey to Shomal
- Main point

- Funnier, if...
Drunk driving:
- Lucky dog

- Drunk down under
* Islam in America:
- Noble Drew Ali

* Berkeley:
- Huh?
- Keep personal life out of reporting

June 2, 2000

* Golden bridge

in reference to the upcoming 1000th issue of The Iranian Times, I would also like to join others who have congratulated you for the monumental goal you pursued rather single- handedly leading to such remarkable success. A hundred sincere congratulations.

If I had enough to afford it, I would have awarded you with a small symbolic golden bridge. You really did a great service by building a firm and friendly bridge between all Iranian generations on this side of the water.

Amir Shirazi

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* Other side of the story

After reading eceperts from Tara Bahrampour's book "To See and See Again", I was wondering why someone doesn't talk to the family and people that knew Betty Mahmoody [author of "Not Without My Daughter"] when she supposedly was in Iran with her husband ...

I think Dr. Mahmoody was probably tired of her attitude and was going to ship her back to the U.S. and who could blame him? Of course he wanted to keep his daughter, he loved her, but Betty Mahmoody left the country without permission according to what she wants everyone to believe and soooooo I wanted to know if Dr. Mahmoody put out a warrant for her arrest over there in Iran for kidnapping his daughter and taking her out of the country of Iran. I really wish someone would go there and find out the truth then write a book about it and sell it in the U.S. too so people can read his side of the story too! >>> FULL TEXT

East Syracuse

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June 1, 2000

* Not so simple

I'm way too busy to write a detailed reply to Farzaneh Roudi's piece ["Numbers don't lie"]. It is amazing how many of our intellectuals try so hard to "make sense" of something so complicated and multi-dimensional with a short and easy answer often with attention to one or two aspects.

There's no question that the "reform movement" ( I don't necessary agree with that term either ) has benefited greatly from the support it gets from the youth, but there are so many other angles and twists to this phenomenon that trying to establish clues or reasons behind it with such simple explanations in 100-200 words is a injustice. I Honestly wish it was as simple as she put it, but it just aint.


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* One thousand Times

In a few days you will publish your 1000th edition of The Iranian Times. Any celebrations or special programs? Send us some interesting back issues, like the first edition or... Either way I would like to be the first to congratulate you for wasting your time and your life for the benefit of the rest of us.

Masoud Modaress

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May 31, 2000

* I speak Persian

I have been wondering for years why Iranians and now Americans too refer to our language as "Farsi" using an Iranian word instead of its English translation which is Persian ["Eenjoori beneveeseem?"]. When speaking English, we say Germans speak German (not Deutsch), French speak French (not Francais) and Spanish speak Spanish (not Espagnol). Then we have Persians speaking Farsi.

I cannot understand how the Iranian word Farsi crept into English, when they still call pesteh: pistachio; karvan: caravan; padjamak: pyjama. When speaking English we use the English translation or equivalents, when speaking Persian we shall use the word Farsi. Several novels which I have read lately by Iranian women writers written in English all refer to our language as Farsi, and they are written in English >>> FULL TEXT

Pargol Saati

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* Brought tears

Although I am not Iranian, the three excerpts that I have read of your journey back to Iran ["Absence"]; of the love of an Iranian man, and the journey that got you back to them, bought tears to my eyes. I too am of mixed heritage (half Arab, half Spanish), born and raised in New York.

Suprisingly enough, I too avoided the gold wearing, scotch drinking, Middle Eastern Mercedes driving doctor like the plague. I am now engaged to a Canadian Iranian. It was only when I saw what a magical place he made the world seem did I have the courage to return to my own roots. Thank you for expressing what I had to find out the hard way.

Maha Fahmy

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May 30, 2000

    * Free Iranian Jews

    Free the Iranian Jews accused of false charges ["Ups and (mostly) down"]. The world is watching. I am an American Catholic and I lost all respect for Iranian and Moslem values after I saw how these innocent Jews were persecuted. Shame on you. Shame on you.

Soar For You

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* The Jews owe Iranians

Indeed the Jews owe their lives to Iranians for all times ["Ups and (mostly) down"]. The ten tribes of Israel were all destroyed at the hands of the Assyrians. The remaining two tribes of Judae were also imprisoned in Babylon and would eventually have been destroyed by Babylonians. It was Cyrus the Great who liberated the Jews from Babylon and even gave them money to return to Jerusalem and build their temples.

Iran has been a safe haven not only for Jews but also for Armenians who fled the Turkish massacre. The Iranian people have been more generous and kind than all the other people in the Middle East. The few Jews in Syria live under house arrest.

I simply cannot understand why these people recently have malignant dispositions towards Iranians. It's most probably that they feel Iran slowly might beocme a powerful country and since the Jews are hysterically paranoid people they cannot tolerate that there might possibly be even a slight threat emanating from Iran.

If they have suffered in Iran after the revolution they have not been the only ones. Again let it be said loud and clear that Jews owe us their lives, their children' lives and their childrens' children's lives for all eternity whether they like it or not.

Mohammad Ali Yamini

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May 29, 2000


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May 26, 2000

* Pinglish

Before I go into the pros and cons of EuroFarsi, I would like to mention that I had given this topic some thought in the past and also done some research on the matter ["Eenjoori beneveeseem?"]. I would also like to point out that I was born in London, I am fluent in Persian/Farsi but I can read and write to a very basic level and this I learnt mostly at home as a child.

Recently I visited Iran after four years. On my return to the UK, I kept in touch with my cousins through email. My cousins can read/write and speak basic English from what they learn at their private lessons although it would be difficult and time consuming for them to write in English everytime. We adopted our own method of writing to each other which we call 'Pinglish'! (Persian English)...

We cannot change and should not change what has evolved through years and years of history. We cannot adopt IPA for several reasons. The main one is that it would be difficult to begin re-educating the entire population of Iran, then again if Turkey did it, we surely can too, anyway most children now learn English at school..

Those living abroad or born abroad will be able to communicate with other persians there and in Iran. Recently I had difficulty applying for an Iranian passport as the Iranian Embassy in London required me to fill out the application forms in Farsi. If we adopt this phonetic alphabet, then people like me will no longer have these problems >>> FULL TEXT

Sima Elli

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* Most interesting

I would like to take the opportunity to complement you on this most interesting and informative website. I am a student in England, and currently in the process of creating a study into the revolution and the events in Iran during the late 1970's. Your site provided has me with much needed information, pictures and biographies of key individuals. Once again I would like to thank you very much for your help!

Russ Colven

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May 25, 2000

* Candle in the wind

For the majority of our planet's freedom-loving people a sad but hopeful fact is that democracy is not an eternal flame, but a candle in the wind. Thanks to a few "special" people, some of these candles resemble the comical birthday candles which are blown out but then suddenly ignite as if by magic.

That "magic" is the ideas, emotions, words and deeds of the likes of Dr. Mossadegh ["Iranian of the century"]. It lies in the hearts and minds of people, often dormant for years, as it waits for the winds of oppression to calm and give it at least a fighting chance for survival. But it never dies >>> FULL TEXT


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* Chee, deevounam?

As an Iranian who came to the U.S. at the age of 1 1/2, I don't remember much of Iran. I'm 17 years old, and haven't been back, and at the rate of things, I don't think I'll be going back unless I want to be in the sarbaazi. Chee, deevounam?

Either way, I have managed to maintain some sense of Iranian culture, even in the U.S., and I find your mini-stories ["dAyi Hamid index"] to be quite interesting and comical, and I can still relate to them. Well, that's pretty much it, so thank you for your time, and your stories.

Behrooz Tavakkol

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May 24, 2000

* Year of destiny

I have just returned from my second journey to Iran in three years. The latest amusing yet ominous saying amongst the Tehranis is 'For every akhoond there is a tree '.

With unemployment realistically over 35% and the poverty rate similar to that of the obscure third world African countries, the Iranian people have finally realized that they are indeed in a depression.

The consensus amongst the people is that the sixth parliament will directly move to reverse many of the laws passed by the fifth parliament and further move towards eliminating the present unelected institutions and judiciary system within the government, thus forcing the ruling akhoonds to shut down the new parliament, leaving no choice for the people but to secure their rights through another major upheaval. Clearly this year shall be a year of destiny for Iran as was 1357 >>> FULL TEXT

Kambiz Ameli

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* Thoroughly enjoyable

I have thoroughly enjoyed Reza Ordoubadian's stories in your publication ["The up-start woman"]. I especially look forward to reading more stories of his family or fictionalized family.

Jeff Sandvig

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* Let's not forget

I saw the Farzaneh Taiedi's picture in the Nostalgia section (one of my favorie sections in this site). Let's remember and never forget the fact that she had a role as an actress in the movie "Not without my daughter". I want all the Iranians to remember how "khaaen beh vatan" a person can be.

Faramarz Kaviani

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May 23, 2000

    * Refresher course in history

Reference to Mrs. Pahlavi's letter:

First paragraph: false.

Second Paragraph, false: Political and economical deterioration threathened Iran in 1953 because the profit of countries such as Great Britain, the U.S and others was threathend due to the nationalization of the oil industry and the movemet that Dr. Mossadegh had started toward a democratic government. So instead we got the Shah's dictaorship, which naturally protected the interests of those countries particularily the U.S.

Third paragraph, false: When the Shah fled Iran before the coup, the majorty of Iranians didn't care if he returned or not . It was the will of the U.S. which didn't think Dr. Mossadegh was going to be a good serven. So they planned and implemented the 28th of Mordad coup >>> FULL TEXT

F. Rafat

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* Annoying ads

You have given in to lust for money. You should at least leave the front page of your site free from annoying and flashing advertisement. It has reduced the prestige and the importance of your site.

Iradj Forootan

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May 22, 2000

* Identify with Arabs or Israel?

I enjoyed reading Massoumeh Price's review of Judaism in Iran ["Ups and (mostly) downs"]. I always thought it very interesting that Iranians (Elamites, Medes, Persians, etc.) are one of the few ancient people portrayed as "good guys" in the Old Testament.

Clearly religion plays an important role when identifying with one side vs the other, and hence Islamic Iran's support for anti-Israeli causes among Moslem Arabs. But had Saddam Hussein not invaded Kuwait and fallen from his Arab Nationalist glory (and international support), would we Iranians still be identifying more with the Arabs who, with very few exceptions, all supported his atrocities against Iran? Or would we be identifying more with Israel who, like Iran, was on the target list of Iraq's growing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons? I guess we will never know-- but it's worth thinking about.

Ramin Abhari

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* Questionable

The article by Ms. Massoume Price creates a considerable amount of room for questions ["Ups and (mostly) downs"]. Of course Ms. Price did put a lot of effort in preparing this article which has informative qualities to it, however the emphasis or lack there-of on presenting history from a, as it seems , fair point of view leads me to believe that the article deserves the attention for additional follow-ups in opinions, the facts, and one's view towards a people's history (in this case, people of the Jewish faith in Iran).

Kaveh Tashakori

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May 19, 2000

* Don't know what you're talking about, sir

Letter to U.S. Senator Jesse Helms:

I am an American resident of Iranian origin. I am writing to you in regard to your comments on the World Bank loans to Iran. I am not completely in favor of the Iranian government. But I think that U.S. policy and intervention in my country has been quite hostile, leading toward a crippled economy. These policies and interventions include the 1953 CIA backed coup, the support for the Shah's oppresive regime, support for Iraq during an 8-year war that killed and wounded millions of youth on both sides, and now sanctions.

Tell me sir, with all these actions, don't you think that Iran's economy has been severly damaged as a result? And don't you think that basic health care and sewage, which have suffered directly, is a right of the Iranian people, not to mention everywhere in the world? Therefore I find your comments completely insensitive, irresponsible, and ignorant, with all due respect >>> FULL TEXT

Yashar Mameghan

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* If the Shah was in power

This is a reply to questions raised by Sahar Nahrvar's letter. She wrote:

"Yes it was better when the Shah was around."

In what way was it better? There was freedom on a superficial level only and nothing like what you expect from an even slightly democratic system.

"But still, one wonders, would the Shah not have closed down 16 opposition publications?"

Would he have closed them? The question should be, would such publications be allowed in the first place? Would they have received permission to press and criticise whoever they want? I think the answer is a resounding NO. The control over all media was suffocating and the prisons were full of those even slightly daring to criticise >>> FULL TEXT

Peyman A.

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May 18, 2000

* Stalinist tone

Dr Ali Reza Nourizadeh is probably one of the few rare journalists to have witnessed the dramatic upheavals that shook Iran in 1978-79 from close range. He is a hardworking man with a mature view of his country's current political processus.

I am always appalled by the strong Stalinist tone of some of the more radical so-called Leftist press ["Hezb-e Kargari Iran commentary"]. They seem to indulge in a plethora of accusations and personal mud slinging that always lowers the democratic framework practiced in most civilised socities>>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Kadivar

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* Intelligent and passionate

Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate and enjoy the fiction of Dr. Ordoubadian ["The up-star woman"]. His narratives are very interesting - intelligently and passionately presented - and his powers of description are extremely strong. He is able to evoke a time and place in a way that pulls the reader into the story.

I look forward to seeing more of his work on your site.

Jane Porter

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May 17, 2000

* I am not a sheep

I found the story intriguing ["The up-star woman"], not so much for the way it ended, but for the spirit of questioning. For the realization that as a person, and as a woman, we do have as intelligent a mind as anyone, and should utilize our powers to investigate truth.

This story envisioned the sad reality that some people tend to follow blindly, like a flock of sheep. They elevate a person into thinking himself superior, and they feed this vanity by accepting themselves as ignorant souls, which will not attain a higher station..

The story depicts beautifully that it needs daring to stand up, to open the eyes, and to say:

"I am not a sheep.
I am as intelligent a being as any one creation of God can be.
I am equal,
I question truth and reality with my own wisdom,
Not with yours..."

Neda Kamranpour

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* Bad taste

I find your cover picture in bad taste and insulting to those who are forced to wear the chador and those who do it because they like to (like my 75-year-old grandmother). What do you accomplish by pictures like these?

Mohammad Taslim

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May 16, 2000

    * Loyalty to God, King, and Country

In response to Sahar Nahrvar's letter to Empress Farah, I respect her right to ask a question and it was done in a "democratic" fashion but with some ambiguous remarks.

The modern Imperial Iranian Armed Forces was a creation of the Pahlavi state which ruled our country for half a century. The 1906 Constitution made the Shah the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. All military personnel swore an oath of loyalty to the King and one would expect that insulting the Shah within that framework would be a grave offence for it would question the loyalty and dedication of an officer to his God, King and Country. Even in the democratic republics a four star general who insults the President runs a risk of a court hearing and in the UK any officer insulting HM Queen Elizabeth would also run into serious trouble. I find it hard to understand why Sahar Nahrvar's father went into the army in the first place >>> FULL TEXT

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* Cheech Nabavi

Is it just me, or did everyone notice Ebrahim Nabavi ["No way back"]looks a lot like "Cheech Marin" of "Cheech and Chong". No wonder he's a satirist! Roll him a joint and he will be an Iranian Cheech!

Mrsynaky Irani

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    * Enzevaa

    Salaam, man az Iran baraayeh shomaa mail miferstam. omidvaaram keh hamegi khoob baashid va az inkeh in site raa raah andaazi kardid tabrik migooyam va tashkor mikonam va omidvaaram keh harcheh bishtar betavaanid dar moa'refi-ye Iran aziz movafagh baashid taa az in enzevaa kami biroon biyaaeem. baa aarzooyeh iraani behtar va aazadi bishtar, khodaa negahdaar.

    Farzad Kermani

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May 15, 2000

* Islam not to blame

Massoume Price is a little too eager to blame Islam for all the injustices against Iranian Jews and other minorities during the past 1,400 years ["Ups and (mostly) downs"]. The problem is not Islam. The primary problem is people who represent Islam. The problem is power.

Judaism cannot be blamed for what Israel does to Palestinians. Just as Christianity was not at fault for what the Nazis did to the Jews. And Hinduism is not to blame for what Hindus have done to Muslims in India, or Islam for what Muslims have done to Hindus in Pakistan. And Protestant Christianity cannot be considered the reason why Catholics have been oppressed in Northern Ireland. And Christianity cannot be held responsible for atrocities against Muslims in Kosovo or Bosnia. And Christianity was not the force behind the near extermination of Native Americans. It was the excuse.

It is interesting that Zoroastrian Iran -- as Ms. Price has noted -- was at times tolerant and at other times intolerant towards non-Zoroastrians. Iran under Islam has also had a mixed past in its relationship with minorities. Why? Did the ruling religion change? Or did rulers change their interpretation of religion for their benefit?

Religions extremists carry out their evil deeds in the name of God. But I would not blame God.

Roxana Oskouie

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* Don't distort my words

In response to K. Hoseini: I had earlier told another person that I did not mean that the war was created by the mollas, I simply said it was spurred on in unneccesary ways, such as the emplyment of children, which in any event or stage of war is a crime against your own. The war was started by Saddam Hussein over issues of control over the Shatt Al Arab, control of Khuzestan, and various other reasons, but mainly because the U.S. was playing a heavy role in acting through Hussein...

You champion Khomeini so easily because he didn't actually pick up a gun himself, but spoke through his suboordinates and told them to carry out the deeds. This even brings me back to my point about the war, in which he created an extremely persuasive sentiment to prolong the war for religious reasons and not for self defense, and you are blind if you cannot see that...

Don't distort my words. I wasn't in Iran for reasons totally unrelated to the revolution, and it was only a matter of returning that has held me back. So don't give me these smug asshole remarks about me deserting my country. Some of our situations are different from yours. I guess you left later than those who initially left because of the oven temperature, huh? A real patriot to stay in your country >>> FULL TEXT

Maziar Shirazi

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* Revolutions made by idealists

I write to respond to K. Hoseini--who rightfully has written her thoughts on the matter. I agree that we are all entitled to our opinion and to agree or disagree with the opinions of others. However, I do NOT agree with calling passion and idealism "pie in the sky", nor can I tolerate your twisting of an argument made by Maziar Shirazi into what you call verbose, ignorant, and it insinuating a false sense of nationalism. The fact that you do call someone else's passion "pie in the sky" speaks rather loudly as to who left or would leave "when the kitchen got hot."... Maziar wrote that letter in response to someone who defended closing the mouthpiece of the people and the people who did it--are you opposed to that? ...

I suggest that instead of satisfying you own ego with the trifling response you wrote attacking someone who cares about these issues, you might want to think what it is that you are saying. And rather than tear people down to your level of defeat and pessimism, you might want to encourage idealism from young Iranians in this country and especially in Iran. Sorry if this was too verbose for you--but let me leave it at this: Revolutions are not started by the cynical and embittered, they are in fact started by people who have "pie in the sky" passions >>> FULL TEXT

Roozbeh Shirazi

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May 12, 2000

* Pie in the sky

I read with some amusement the rantings of Maziar Shirazi, who, in his fired-up mode, could be hard to match for not only verbosity, but outright ignorance. I also find it ironic he should call himself 'a real Iranian' when it is so obvious that he was the first to flee the kitchen when it got too hot!...

What is going on now is people are saying that the constitution, incidentally for Shirazi's information, ratified by Khomeini, should be the rule of law, and not self-styled militias who impose their own brand of justice at every corner. The people are saying certain things should be relegated to the public domain, and others to the private. Which brings me on to my final point, which is, incidentally, the clincher in Professor Shirazi's splendid argument.

"There are no limits to freedom", he says. Ha ha. If that were so I would encourage Shirazi to walk into the White House and kiss Clinton. Or even better yet, blow up the White House. Or kill someone who didn't give you a seat on the bus. Or drive on the wrong side of the road. Or don't pay tax. The possibilities are endless.

Were it not for the very real fact that the existence of a state is in itself proof there are indeed limits to freedom. When an individual is a citizen of that state, she or he agrees to forfeit total freedoms in return for protection from, and benefits from that state. In Iran this was overblown, which the government itself is now admitting, and is under pressure to change. To say such a ridiculous statement only proves that Mr. Shirazi has a pie in the sky dream about an Iran that exists and can only exist in his dreams >>> FULL TEXT

K. Hoseini (Ms.)

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* Main point

What you've written is a master paint of what we see very often on TV showing cops stopping drivers for one reason or another ["Beh salaamati"]. It is a great tragedy, for drivers and others involved, to die due to drunk driving. Nevertheless, it shows, as you've depicted, how satisfying it might be for the one on the long side of the stick to be in control of the one on the short end and this seems to be one of the main roots of problems in human relations.

Hasan Alizadeh

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* Funnier, if...

Damet garm!!! I was laughing my head off as I read your story about the police stopping you for swerving ["Beh salaamati"]. Here in England, the police would just ask you to do the breath test without all the American formality.

It's a pity this did not happen to you in Iran. The story would have even been funnier!

-- "Hello mester. You vere esverving, you crossed red light, you are drunk!!! Oh oh. Very bad, you vill go to jail. Now vat you vant to do??"
-- " I thought you said I was off to jail"
- "vell der is a vay to avoid jail"
--" Oh I see. Okay. In that case here are my driving documents. Be carefull -- there is something in there that I think might be yours."

Policeman takes couple of "hezaree" notes, gives you a military salute and you are off!!!


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May 11, 2000


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May 10, 2000

* Wouldn't the Shah ban 16 newspapers?

After reading Ms. Farah Pahlavi's letter about the 1953 coup I would like to urge her to explain to me one thing: She speaks of freedom -- I would like to know what does she exactly mean by this word...

Yes it was better when the Shah was around. But still, one wonders, would the Shah not have closed down 16 opposition publications? Were the courts in that time any better than they are now? Would fewer student demonstrators have died if the Shah was the one giving the orders? Let's ask questions without any taarof. Let's find answers >>> FULL TEXT

Sahar Nahrvar

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* Journey to Shomal

I recently took my American wife to see the new Majid Majidi movie Color of Heaven. I was in awe of the scenery and the beauty of the northern part of Iran. I have not been back to Iran since 1985 and well, I have to admit, I had forgotten how brilliant the scenery was.

I was very moved by the combination of the story line and the setting. Shomal. I wanted to show some pictures of shomal to my wife, so I looked it up in Goggle's search engine and this story came up ["Shomal: The pleasant reality"].

I can close my eyes and actually join Mr. Shaffer in his journey through Chalous to Ramsar. It's a great reminder of how one should always appreciate what he has; you never know when you'll be losing it. Great story.

Koorosh Khashayar

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May 9, 2000

    * Superpowers shape our destiny

    I think your article explains well some of the recent problems in Iran ["Reform in retreat"]. However, the past and present reality shows that unlike what you have stated ("Great Britain or the U.S. have little to do with what is happening in Iran"), the superpowers have always played a detrimental role in shaping Iranian destiny, even though in theory, we all say that only Iranians can shape their destiny.


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* Solidarity & strikes

In the three point options for the people of Iran in your leader, no mention was made of solidarity , mass organization and strikes ["Reform in retreat"]. Often the best way to change things fairly peacefully is to organize, and force the ruling classes to relent through mass strikes.

I have two memories of such movements. In 1976 the Junior Doctors in England staged a country wide strike to improve the health service and after a period of three months we won most of the concessions that we wanted from the Heath government.

Later in 1986 we did the same in Tehran and to begin with we had them pretty scared but through lack of initiative and organization we did not succeed. If we had managed to keep going for a few more days and brought out other professional and blue collar workers then we would have succeeded.

Dr. Jim

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May 8, 2000

* Democracy from a theocracy?

In response to Abdy Hashemi's "Final destination: Democracy":

I am a 21-year-old university student in the United States. My immediate family escaped the wrath of the mollas and their disgusting government. Why are you supporting the current regime? Do you honestly believe that a democracy will develop from a theocracy? It seems to me that you are so biased that you neglect the facts.

During Mr. Khatami's time as president, there have been over 250 documented cases of public executions (AmnestyInternational). Your tone implies that you dislike monarchies. Yet, Iran has a "Supreme Leader" right now, with broad veto power which renders the president powerless.

People cannot afford any decent standard of living (except the agents of the regime). The youth of Iran are sick and tired of what is going on in their country. When the students demanded their constitutionally-guaranteed rights, they were attacked and murdered.

If it were not for the young people that were born after the revolution, I would say that the people of Iran are getting what they deserve. I wish there was a way for the people to change the current government without violence, but it may be inevitable. I am sure that you can provide some facts to back up your claims.

Ilosh Azar

P.S. Quit slamming the Pahlavis with propaganda. It is about time Iranians relied on the truth to make up their minds.

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* There IS purity left in this world

Is the sole purpose in anyone looking for a certain type of mate based on one criteria? For instance, the issue of chastity? Certainly not. But it is a starting point ["Real Iranian girls?"]. It is also the projecting of Ms. Shahmanesh's self-loathing psyche,which makes evident in her statement,"...he needs to believe there is some purity that is left in the world" which leaves me to believe how truly innocent and righteous are even the worst-girls in Iran compared to the likes of her and her comrades-in-degredation and corruption.

This is a reminder to all of us to take heed of the type of sick and perverted mindset that can develop and destroy marriages and which can find no purity in the world. This is depth of moral decay when a young woman cannot see any purity in anthing or anywhere in the entire world! May God bless our grandfather's generation of men who knew right from wrong and up from down!>>> FULL TEXT

Cyrus Raafat

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May 5, 2000

* Free expression, without getting beaten

In response to Murtaza Sarwary:

It is so easy for you, living in Canada, halfway around the world from Iran, to tell Iranians in Iran and worldwide that a bunch of insolent students are trying to destroy all of what Khomeini and his regime fought for in the Iran/Iraq war and in the struggle to put Islam in government. Maybe it's because you never had a bit of exposure with the war and what went on that you see things the way you do.

First of all, besides the fact that most Iranians only consider themselves Muslims and don't really practice that much and that many Iranians are also of different faiths, which makes a single-religion government totally unrepresentative of the people, you forget that these newspapers are not trying to destroy Islam; they focus instead on gaining the right to speak out without getting beaten, being able to express ourselves freely in any form, as our poets continued to do even after Islam >>> FULL TEXT

Maziar Shirazi

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* Filmmakers as role models

In response to Banafsheh Zand:

Thank you for your response and your respect to an Iranian artist which was my general idea too. But needless to say, I have to diagree...

When somone rights a book or makes a movie, we are dealing with direct ideas presented by the composer. How can the artist be exempt from ideas that he himself is more or less presenting?

To make my point clearer, let's forget about Mehrjoui, whom I still respect a lot, and consider another example. Let's consider a teacher who is telling children in school to be honest, peaceful and not to be jealous. Do you expect that teacher to follow his own words or not? Is this too much ask? I don't think so >>> FULL TEXT

Faramarz Kaviani

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May 4, 2000

* Coordinated Zionist plot?

I am really saddened by all this barrage of very divisive articles and propaganda by our fellow Iranian jewish so-called vocal groups.

I am confused as to what their ulterior motives are. Is it truly coming from them or is it another cohesive and coordinated plot by their international Zionist handlers? ...

Historically, Iran/Persia has been a safe haven for Jews for centuries and centuries. It was the Persians who freed the Jewish slaves from Babylon. It was the Ashkanians of northern Iran who helped the Jews and their leader Antagon to defeat the Romans hence the creation of Israel first time or second time around. I believethe present Israel is the third time...

Granted all's not well in Iran today but it's not just the Jews who are having problems exclusively. I understand that you are all sympathetic to Israel but you don't have to over do it at the expense of the rest of us. Iran has some serious issues with Israel, mostly justified. As citizens of Iran, you need to take under consideration all angles at this time.


Saaviz Afshar

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* Giving reformists a boost, from abroad

Rasool Nafisi's article ["Reform in retreat"]is well written and comprehensive. But ... It is about time that [the U.S. and Europe] abandon their naive policies and look at Iran realistically, and there are many among the expatriate Iranian community that can help... On the part of Iranian people and the reformists, PURE reliance on internal factors and the law results in the advantage of the conservatives >>> FULL TEXT

Mohammad Azadpur

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May 3, 2000

* Ban on discussion

In response to your letter's section "Newspaper ban is right" by Mr. Murtaza Sarwary, I would kindly disagree.

What the newspapers did was a service to the people and helped educate everybody and find religious solutions to problems and changes in a modern world. Religious beliefs have always been questioned and adapted over time to comply with new necessities. That has been the streangth of Shia Islam.

What is happening now in Iran is not only trying to ban ordinary people and journalists from discussing religion, but also closing the tradition of "Ijtehad" among our religious scholars >>> FULL TEXT

Mamad Rastgoo

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* Lucky dog

I held my breath while reading your piece. ["Beh salaamati"] Thank God you got away with it. You don't even know how badly they treat you if you are over the limit. Suffice to say that they will not let you even pee or burp before being tested again in the station. They treat like a criminal, and it is very costly too. The reason you were below the limit is the duration of time in which you had your beers. Lucky lucky dog!


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* Drunk down under

Here in Australia, police just stop you, givesyou a breath test, and fine you if you have exceeded the limit ["Beh salaamati"] . The limit here is actually 0.5. None of this bull crap talk ("Why did you lie?"), physical tests, or intimidating behavior will occur.

Yazdaneh Amiryazdani

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* Noble Drew Ali

Your comment about Moorish Science ["Islam in America"] being a "combination on eastern philosophies and religions, Christianity, anti-white racism, and metaphysics," is incorrect, what I do suggest is that you actually read the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America >>> FULL TEXT

C.E. Lewis

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May 2, 2000

    * Newspaper ban is right

    I'm an Iranian living in Canada. I was born in Zanjan, Iran, and lived most of my life. In response to the 16 newpaper closures in Iran, I would like to say that the Islamic government of Iran is doing the right thing ["Three steps back"].

    These journalists have questioned Islamic law in Iran and its the duty of the Islamic Republic to protect Islam by any means whatsoever. We gave 1,000,000 martyrs in the Jihad against Saddam to protect Islam and the Iranian people.

    Khomeini told us to be careful when he's gone and the enemies will try to start a war in Iran and against Islam. And now these stupid students want more democracy! May Islam prevail forever in beautiful Iran.

    Murtaza Sarwary

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* Helllllo freedom!

Mummy Joon told me: Whoever you call or write to, you should start and end by saying: SALAAM BAR AAZAADI, DOROOD BAR MATBOOAAT!!! ["Three steps back"]

So, this is an order from your 92 (or may be 93) year old grandma. SALAAM BAR AAZAADI, DOROOD BAR MATBOOAAT...

B. J.

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* Huh?

Excuse me, what was that? ["Sunny day in Berkeley"]

Arya Namdar

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May 1, 2000

* Keep personal life out of reporting

I am an Iranian businessman living in Europe and USA and I am ashamed of Ms. Christian Amanpour for the pictures of Iran that she showed the world.

After 20 years of being closed to the world she takes the CNN cameras to the ugliest parts of Tehran and shows crumbled houses with domesticated animals in the yard.

The least she could have done was to show a balanced picture of Tehran with some of the nicer and cleaner neighborhoods in north Tehran. I don't give a damn about the home she grew up in and her personal memory.

She should keep her personal life out of her reporting. I am ashamed of Amanpour and don't think she is anything special at all. she is a shame to Iranians, just like the mollas.

M. Sarafraz

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* Albright in Tehran!

Today, I had a two-hour show on Radio Sedaye Iran (KRSI), and performed a Persian version of Mrs. Albright's April Fools interview ["Albright in Tehran"] along with my friend and colleague, Ziba. She played the role of Albright, and me the interviewer.

It was fantastic, and at least three times, we gave full credit to The Iranian with mentions of the Web site and everything. It was really fun reading it, and we received quite a few compliments from listeners.

And you know something? At the time, one of our anchormen had really believed the story and mentioned it quite seriously as a first hand report in his radio talk show!

Farrokh Javid

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