February 26, 1999
* Excellent book
Thank you for your timely excerpt of this excellent book ["Iran and
the Rise of Reza Shah"] which covers a crucial, yet hitherto neglected,
period in Iran's 20th. century history. The pre-packed "review"
by Amazon Books is less inpressive and completely misses the main thrust
of the subject.
February 25, 1999
* Ruined my life
You sir have ruined my life. I had lived happily in this country for
many years until I read your viciously perceptive article ["Waht's that smell?"].
Having blessed with a hypersensitive nose like you, I had also been vaguely
aware of some strange odor, but never associated it with anything in particular.
Since I read your article I have become paralyzed: I am constantly aware
of "that smell"; I am unable to interact with people; crowded
rooms and elevators are worse than hell; sex has completely lost its meaning;
and I spend most of my time away from people. The knowledge you gave me
has taken away my blissful ignorance. I wish I had never read your article.
Why are you publishing this trash ["Waht's
that smell?"]? What a waster of web space. Most people I know
had no problems mastering the art of wiping themselves with toilet paper.
Afshin David Youssefyeh
February 24, 1999
* Suspicions confirmed
I am not an Iranian, but I am a Baha'i and I am always concerned for
my brothers and sisters in faith that live there. Thus I find it quite
refreshing and inspiring that your magazine is willing to publish the recent articles
on the Baha'i Faith. Thank you. It goes to show that Iranians are the good
people I've always suspected them to be.
Stephen A. Fuqua
February 23, 1999
* Shock therapy
Mirza was one of very few people in Iran (even to this day) who could
see beyond the dark shadow of beliefs that had been forced upon our people
for generations. He's talking about "ignorance", he's asking
people to resist temptations with an open mind and not for fear. He even
tried to shock people with his use of explicit words, to disclose one of
the most degrading symbols of ignorance in his society.
I have to admit, even though I had read this
poem 20 years ago in Iran, seeing the words written in farsi on my
monitor still shocked me, but how can you not see beyond that? How can
you not keep on reading?
I'm sorry for the people who read this poem and didn't feel respect
for such a great mind. His, was the voice of reason. Not many brave souls
(even in a country known for its heroes) ever came out and made their points
the way Iraj Mirza did in this humorous / controversial work.
* It's rape
Poets and good writers have always been ahead of members of their society
this case, Iraj Mirza might have opened some eyes. But I am sure it
has not be very effective. His
poem is very old to me and I personally have not met any woman with
the mentality he describes.
Today after I read this
poem, although I agreed and admire his points, I did not like his presentation.
I think he must have been one of those men who abused women's character
by creating a fictional situation and sell his explicit language.
I am more comfortable to take it as a piece of satire, obviously exagerated,
to reveal the extreme abuse of women's rights and character in a corupt
male-dominated society. These men plant kharzahreh and expect roses.
Whatever the writer's purpose was, even if 10% represented reality,
I have to say that was the description of rape. It was rape and nothing
February 22, 1999
* Get off your butt
Iranians talk of democracy as if it is some sort
of state of bliss or Nirvana which may one day be achieved [1979
survey]. This is a misunderstanding of democracy.
It also portrays an Iranian characteristic of sitting around complaining
and bickering while waiting for someone or something to come along and
save us from ourselves and our problems, whether it is "another revolution"
that some people have been promising each other for 20 years, or another
Shah, or Khatami, or the much anticipated "rapprochement" with
Democracy is marked by strife and squable and
power-plays and intrigue and jostling - much like things are now, it is
not a state of peaceful bliss, and it doesn't improve on its own. Iranians
would do better to stop waiting for the perfect regime to be handed to
us on a platter, and stop arguing over the past and the "what if's"
- instead get up and make the necessary sacrifices and put in the effort
and the time to do something constructive.
Put your money where your mouth is, go back to
Iran, deal with the daily frustrations, teach a course, invest some money,
build a road, translate a textbook, write a computer program, take responsibility
- that is how things get done. Whining, bickering, self-pity, nostalgia,
trading 20-year old jokes, and a longing for American validation or another
revolution to come along while sitting in L.A.- they don't help anything
February 19, 1999
* Politicized masses
The Iranian revolution had one positive outcome -- it politicized the
survey]. And this will prove be an incredibly important factor in the
future of Iran. It can be noticed a lot with Iranians in Iran, especially
the children of the revolution. They are sharp and tough as hell. The revolution
killed our naivety and this will prove to be a positive fact in the future.
Although the revolution took a wrong turn, or was hijacked in the last
minute (depending on how you look at it), it still was a "people's"
uprising and that is very important. It shook a nation. It made many generations
and social classes question the state.
* People deserve what they asked for
Iranians in Iran deserve everything they asked for [1979
survey]. They were stupid enough to think that anything Islamic would
be the solution or that a democracy would somehow form. Religion and politics
don't mix, that's true, but this should have been realized 20 years ago!!!!
What were Iranians thinking?! Not with their brains of course! ... FULL TEXT
February 18, 1999
* I still remember
Thanks very much for your beautiful photos [Tehran:
Too sweet to be true]. Your photos took me to my childhood. I enjoyed
reading you experience in Tehran. I had similar experiences. I grew up
in Tehran and have been in U.S. for more than 25 years. I still remember
sleeping on the roof, watching the twinkling stars and listening to the
music coming from far distance in hot summer nights. But I am not old enough
to remember camels walking in the streets. Your photos have the smell of
those days. I like to thank you again for sharing your photos.
Dr. Hamid Razi
February 17, 1999
* Seeing Abadan once again
Thank you for Mr. Hamid Arjomand's pictures
of Abadan. They took me back to over 25 years ago when I used to live
there. Seeing the streets of Braim once again, I could still feel the hot
sun on my back, the smell of "sharji" in my nostriles, and the
deafening silence and stillness of a summer afternoon in my ears.
I could once again feel the boredom and anticipation as we waited for
the grown ups to wake up from their "chorts" to take us to Segoosh
swimming pool, just as my kids do today. It was a pleasant trip down memory
Sam K. Tahmassebi
La Jolla, California
February 16, 1999
* Went too far
I never thought that I would ever be writing a letter of complaint to
my absolute favorite website. However, I feel that you simply went too
far when you used the
word "bimbo" to describe the Iranian model Angylina.
I am not sure to what extent you were joking, or if you were serious.
Nevertheless, you should realize that such snide commenting is not only
unneccesary, but at the same time childish. I hate to break it to you that
not all Iranians can grow up to be BMW driving doctors and lawyers from
west LA or Irvine California. I believe that ALL Iranians need to lend
a hand to ALL of their fellow people. To put it succinctly, our community
needs as much unity as possible.
Besides, how could you not like someone who is helping to change the
way most Americans view beauty (blond hair, blue eyes, etc...)? Pamela
Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, and Anna Nicole Smith.......move over! ;-)
I have to admit it is indeed quite hypocritical to name
people when in fact one has probably searched their way into
a site [Angylina], have viewed a fair amount of it and probably even
I neither condone nor endorse her sight, but I believe that such name-callings
do not go in line with the good natured, and often thought-provoking Iranian
website and magazine.
February 15, 1999
* Farsi-speaking tourist
Very funny, sad, and true ["Traffic
immitating life"]. The best way of transport in Iran for people
visiting is public transportation. If you wish to be a big spender you
may raise your hand. Most cab drivers in Tehran understand you are a visitor
and stop by you. You can jump in and give the address. It has been my experience
you can get anywhere but the airport by offereing about 600 tomans. Iran
is a great place to visit but you have to be patient. Remember you are
just a tourist who can speak Farsi.
February 12, 1999
* Like bungee jumping
The article "Traffic
immitating life" brought back memories of my trip to Iran in 1995
(I am American, BTW). The traffic was one of the most frightening things
in Tehran (besides the pollution). Seeing no stoplights and crosswalks,
for all practical purposes, I couldn't at first contemplate how to get
through the mess of cars. Eventually I learned that a pedestrian simply
has to start walking and entrust their life to Allah. Waiting on the curb
is futile; the traffic never ceases and you only end up attracting taxi
There is a certain exhilaration about the traffic though, either as
a pedestrian or a passenger, probably not too different than that experienced
by bungee jumpers or sky divers (hmmm.... I wonder if anyone has thought
about arranging travel packages to Tehran for thrill seekers?).
* Ruling elite not homogenious
The ruling elite of Iran is not homogenious and many people in the high
echelons of power have personal gain in mind rather than the good of the
nation . Mr. Khatami's govenment has many opposing factions and groups
to contend with . One wishes for their survival at this stage. The serious
business of putting the economy right will take a lot more as it will tend
to destroy the power of the few at the top who will not give up their lot
without fight .
Ali Akbar Mahdi 's book (Farhang-e Irani, J'ame'eh-ye Madani, va
Daghdaghe-ye Demokr'asi )which has been posted on The Iranian deals
with all these problems in detail as a book on sociology should do and
it is in so simple a language that one must recommend it to all frustrated
Finally democracy which has been shown to be a major requirement for
social and economical development can not be obtained unless a large group
of people in position of power relinquish their position of authocratic
power and they would only do so if they are threatened . e.g by popular
opinion inside and outside the country, strikes etc. South Africa is an
example and the Iranian govenment is no better or worse.
February 11, 1999
* Church and state don't mix
What you said [about an Islamic republic and democracy]
is perhaps one of the most ignorant and contradictary things I have heard
in my lifetime. Democracy is based on the concept of equality and freedom,
freedom of religon, speech, press etc. None of these freedoms exist in
Iran's government. Forcing everyone to go by the laws of Islam is religious
dictatorship. As an atheist, I have nothing against Islam or any other
religon, or anyone practicing it, as long as they don't impose it on others.
In every religon, there are ideas that are disagreeable and sometimes
backward, and Islam is not an exception. This theocracy has made Iran enemies,
oppressed the people of Iran, and made Iran a third world country, all
as the price of what? Following a religon that not everyone in Iran practices
or takes seriously? On top of everything, it is only logical that church
and state should not merge. They are two totally different things...
February 10, 1999
* Practicing civility
Dear Ms Khalili,
[Regarding your article. "Jonoobe
shahr"] the irony of our land is in its dichotomy, on one hand
we are kind, caring and humane to the point of a fault; on the other hand,
we are uncaring, crude and vicious. I for one hold the belief that we can
call ourselves a civilized society when we can observe a simple act such
as passage of cars in order of their priority, upon arrival at an unmarked
and unguided traffic intersection. Would the first car there at that intersection,
be the first through? Or would it be the most skilled and aggressive driver
that goes first? Would two vehicles arriving simultaneously go head to
head as whom will cross first, or that which is to the right hand side
of the next, go first, followed by that vehicle which was to the left?
We can make ourselves prosperous, we can organize for a purpose and
achieve it, but the welfare of the individual citizen proportionately increases
not by wealth or prosperity, but with administration and practice of a
civilized mode of behavior that would supplant all other rules of interaction
within the society. As such, one wonders if we will ever achieve our dream
of a truly progressive nation?
* Islamic Republic of...
I fully agree with Mr. Shakeri
that an "Islamic Republic" is a "democratic republic"
as long as the two words "of Iran" is not added to the end of
February 9, 1999
* More power to her
It is not nice or appropriate to call other Iranians names just because
we might not agree with what they do. Angylina
is a beautiful Iranian girl who like the majority of Iraninan girls (at
least abroad) likes to model. But unlike the others, not only she has the
guts (and the assets!) to do it but also announces that she is from Iran.
I say more power to her.
Dear Goddess Angylina,
I am as impressed by your letter and your threat to sue The Iranian.
I'm very proud to have been born in the same country as a young, intelligent,
beautiful, kind girl like you. If this thing was a trick to get more visitors
for your adult page, I have to
congratulate you, you did it. If it was not, then I have a few questions
if you don't mind:
- What kind of soup to you serve to the homeless?
- How much do you charge for the soup?
- What have all those "men" done to you?
- Is your father Iranian and your mother German by any chance?
Looking forward to hearing from your attorney.
February 8, 1999
* Mixed feelings
Obviously we Iranians still have mixed feelings
about the revolution ["1979
survey"]: how can a majority believe that
"that peaceful and gradual change is better in the long-run,"
and still be of the opinion that "revolutions are good if they have
good leaders"? Aren't revolutions by definition abrupt, and often
non-peaceful? (Also see Angylina's letter)
* Islam & democracy
[Regarding the 1979
If you guys knew anything about Islam, then you
would realize that an Islamic Republic is very democratic and carries all
the virtues of a "democratic republic." (Also
see Angylina's letter)
February 5, 1999
* Census: Good for all of us
A few weeks ago I received a card in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau
advertising part & full time jobs. I have been thinking about the same
things David Rahni mentions in his letter ["Iranians
in 2000 US census"]. I believe we have to think about the following
- The first step in becoming an official minority group in this county
(& being able to benefit from some of the government's special minority
programs) is to show noticeable numbers in our population through census
- There are assurances that information provided to the census would
not be supplied to the IRS, Immigration, FBI,...(although I am not so sure!)
- If the population of Iranians in the census shows a significant number,
national advertisers would notice and spend money not only on Iranian media
but also on related businesses and services.
- A good size Iranian community will attract the attention of the politicians,
and thus it gives us advantages to ask them for something in return, such
as more relaxed immigration laws, or putting a stop to unfair behavior
towards our parents at the airports when entering the U.S., etc..
I agree with Mr. Rahni that this should be the top agenda for all Iranian
groups in the U.S. (regardless of their religious, political, social, or
cultural affiliation), because the result would benefit us all.
There should be a center (or better a web page) dedicated to this cause
where everyone could find information, solutions or ideas.
* Call her what you want
Boy, I was blue this morning until I found my
way to Angylina's site. She's got a great body. I don't care what you call her.
(Also see Angylina's letter)
February 4, 1999
* I also serve soup to the poor
First off, you have no
right to call me bimbo. You don't know me, what kind of education I
have, or why I do what I do. I don't think you have authorization to use
that picture either! It states on my
page that those pictures are copywrited. I suggest you take it and
the story off your site now before you are sued by myself and the photographer.
I work hard to achieve the goals I have. All my life I have been harrassed
by men like you who have sat on your throne and throw stones at people
all while your living in a glass home. You're the same "men"
who cheat on your wives, make as much money as you can to drive "Mercedes
Benz" while people are starving. At least I take the time and lend
my time to homeless shelters on the soupline and money to animal adoption
services. I live a modest life. I drive no fancy car. I live in a 900-sq
foot rental home and am greatful for the life I am blessed.
Just because someone looks good and takes care of their body and isn't
afraid to show it off doesn't mean that they did anything to get it. I
have NOT compromised myself to get where I am at. I've done this all on
my own, without relying on anyone for help. I'm not afraid to show off
my body and model.
Now, I am warning you to retract that article and remove the picture
or my attourney will contact you within 24 hrs. And you cannot print, show,
or put this letter on your page either.
February 3, 1999
* More oil, less prosperity
we have no oil"], with the exception of one field in the Persian
Gulf, where the reservoir straddles across sovereign borders between Iran
and one of the UAE emirates, there is no other reservoir even close to
other countries' jurisdictions. In the Caspian Sea we may, in future, also
run across a possible similar scenario. Neither case is too significant
and you can always make some kind of arrangements, whereby one or the other
country becomes the operator, and they share the revenues under some well-tried-out
formulae. In the case of the Persian Gulf field, proper protections are
in place already.
Mr. Mirfendreski's article while interesting and thoughtful philosophically,
on purely economic terms, has shortcomings. Considering the competitions
from other sources of energy, whose costs have been steadily decreasing
vs. the increasing trend of exploration and production cost for oil, the
present value of a barrel of oil, say 10 years from now, is really very
little. Reliance on the revenues of oil, however, is bad no matter what
the price, today or tomorrow.
Worldwide a principle seems to hold true, that places rich in non-renewable
natural resources, tend to have lower standards of living. The overseas
examples are many and well known. Even in the United States, this principle
seems true. States like New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma ... with abundant
natural resources fall short of states like Massachusetts, New York ...
with negligible or no natural resources.
* Pump it or lose it
To respond to the question about leaving oil in the ground ["Pretend
we have no oil"], most Iranian reserves are shared. Masjed-e-Soleiman
is shared with Iraq's Northern wells. And there were reports (rumors?)
back in the Shah/Cold War era that Semnan oil fields somehow tapped into
the Soviet Caspian Sea reserves, which explained why Iran and the Soviet
Union had a few production sharing agreements. Unfortunately if your neighbors
are pumping, it's a "pump it or lose it" situation.
February 2, 1999
* Wonderful collection... for kids
Thank you very much for the wonderful collection of pics and songs ["Revolution:
1979-1999"]. Please keep it on line so my kids get educated about
what has gone into this revolution.
Do you know where I can get info on adopting a child from Iran?
February 1, 1999
* Getting down to serious business
I enjoyed your article ["Laleh Khalili's
first concert"] as an informative report
on a special segment of Iranian youth. As an Iranian-American who has been
away from Iran for over twenty years, and all at the same time, very much
interested in the fate of my countrywomen and men, I would like to thank
you for taking the time to eloquently describe an evening of a special
occasion in Tehran.
I was not surprised to read how Iranian youth
are so thirsty for anything Western, and specially American. The confines
of the regime in Iran are only fooling themselves, if they think, by any
means, they are preventing the new generation from the harms and decadence
of Western culture by imposing unreasonable restrictions on them. The forbidden
fruit only looks to be more desirable or so it seems to the vulnerable
and impressionable young!
The present regime in Iran should and will have
to, in order to survive, concentrate its energy and effort on the more
imminently viable issues: like how to rescue the economy and mend the ever
increasing gap of the bridge between the out-of-line hard-liners and the
moderate so-called democrats. And that most definitely requires a whole
lot of effort and energy! So I really do wish they would get down to some
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