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Down to Coke and Diket Coke
Pedram Moallemian

I often get asked if I am a "Democrat". Not the type that believes in the concept of democracy, but meaning someone who supports the Democratic Party in U.S. It is natural, I suppose, for people to hear or read my low opinion of the Bush administration and automatically assume that I must be supporting the only other party represented in the country's power structure. Well, the answer is a resounding "MAYBE"! Please, let me explain. If by "Democrat", they are suggesting I would support the other half of this one directional monster, that is not me. If they mean I would support a moderate Democrat to replace a fanatical Republican, then the answer is yes >>>

Did Iran over-play its hand?

Israeli goal was also to remind Iranian president and his backers that Israel will spare no efforts when its interests and security are threatened

While the news of all out war between Israel and Hezbollah has dominated the news media for the past few weeks, Iran's refusal to respond to 5+1 western incentive package to tame its nuclear technology continues. I might be very naïve in Middle East politics, but one can not help but to notice a suspiciously close timing between the Hezbollah's latest provocation of Israel on one hand and capturing of Israeli soldiers by Hamas militants in Gaza on the other, all the while that western countries demanding that Iran must respond to the incentive package before the end of July or face sanctions. It is possible that Iranian rulers emboldened with current US failure in IRAQ and increase power of Iraqi Shiites, thought they could teach US and its western allies a lesson as well as a reality check through their proxies in Lebanon and Palestine >>>

Purging Persian

Guive Mirfendereski

When we were growing up (not that we are now fully grown up), we used to make fun by assigning to some unsuspecting ethnicity or region of Iran the equivalent of a common word. One that I recall easily was the word balkon, mostly believed to be from the French balcon meaning "balcony." The fun was to say that the Rashti called it abestan divar, the "pregnant wall." There was no second meaning to describe the section of a theater. While Mighty Mouse Ahmadinejad and his Farsi police excise the term balkon from Farsi, they need to pause and pose the question "What if a foreign-sounding word is really of Farsi/Persian origin?" One case in point is balkon itself. I happen to think that the foreign balcon comes from the Farsi bala-khaneh (also used in Ottoman Turkish), which means the upper level of the house >>>


Professional Journalism in Palestine
Hossein Shahidi

The paper that I shall present is focused on Palestinian journalists, especially those working for the local media, who cover one of the world's defining confrontations, with blurred boundaries between foreign and domestic news, and overlapping military, political, economic and religious themes. The paper was written before the recent escalation of the fighting in Gaza and the outbreak of war on Lebanon. But I believe the main points of it are still valid and the conclusion perhaps even more so >>>

Terribly wrong

Ben Madadi

George W Bush is saying that he is envisaging a radical change in the Middle East so that another September 11 would not take place. This is also why his administration is defending Israel in its hard action in Lebanon, so that another rogue element, Hezbollah, would be removed. The intention seems noble, to bring democracy to the Middle East. But Mr Bush is in a huge miscalculation, a similar one to the miscalculation that brought down the Roman Empire. Mr Bush, and many American politicians, see the Middle East as grumpy and week, as not necessarily a possible serious threat >>>

Neither expansionism nor extremism

It is a shame for the Twenty First Century to bear witness to the return of barbarism and violence
Ali M. Aliabadi

The Muslim world is for the most part guilty of having unelected and corrupt governments which have kept the majority of the population in poverty, illiteracy, and with no say in their own political destiny.  In addition, the Muslim world has been plagued with a religiously and culturally closed mindset, political corruption, economic decay, and a freedom deficit. Some Muslims need to be more open minded, embrace religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue, consider modernity as the reality of change and an opportunity as opposed to a threat, and realize that the West is not an enemy nor is it monolithic; rather, it encompasses many cultures with their own unique characteristics >>>

Wake up call

War waged by Israel in Lebanon is prelude to war on Iran
Abbas Edalat, Foaad Khosmood, Shahram Mostarshed, Daniel Pourkesali, Rostam Pourzal, Nader Sadeghi, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

The anti-Iran propaganda over Lebanon is now combined with the three year long campaign by the US in the international community, International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council which accuses Iran of developing a covert nuclear weapons program... Iran has always insisted that it will not relinquish its rights for a civilian nuclear technology and will refuse to comply with the US demand  for suspension of its enrichment programme. These two irreconcilable positions will lead to major international crisis and with the Israel-US-UK entrenched positions can only be resolved through a military confrontation >>>


Meet Farah Karimi

Photo essay: Dutch member of parliament wants to promote human rights through the media
Jahanshah Javid

Imam Ganji

It is time that we wake up, that we learn to omit our mistakes by not hearing of any person, organisation or group with the word “Islam” attached to it
Jahanshah Rashidian

Ganji recently launched a hunger strike in front of the UN for the release of political prisoners in Iran, mainly three IRI’s detainees. One of them, Akbar Moussavi Khoeini is a Ganji friend and a former IRI’s insider with a black record of involvement in the IRI’s repressive organs. Needless to mention, tens of thousands of political prisoners in Iran, who are not ITR’s former insiders, are not in the centre of Ganji’s campaign. They suffer from inhuman conditions in IRI’s political prisons and some of them are waiting for their execution. In the current atmosphere of hatred against the IRI, any annoyer, even a former IRI’s insider, who has courage to annoy the regime, is bound to win sympathy among Iranians. This is particularly effective when the annoyer can skilfully exploit the lack of any radical and democratic movement in Iran >>>

Engine of hatred

Farid Parsa

The already beleaguered world can do without the violence that Israel and Hezbollah are dishing out to each other. Israel is a classic case of democracy that has grown paranoid. People in Israel will vote for any government that would kill women and children, not to shield them against real, immenent attacks, but anxiety and panic attacks. Hezabollah on the other hand is feeding their engine of hatred by pointing the finger at Israel's atrocities, as another proof of their disregard for innocent Moslem lives.  Hezabollah insists that they are in Lebanon because people want them to be there. They only go along with democratic processes when it suites their purposes but in reality they have very little respect for democracy in general. Hezbollah is a religious movement that cannot stand on its own two feet unless it finds an object of its hatred first, and Jews are only one of such groups that they hate.

The vulgar American

Random thoughts on bad manners 
Guive Mirfendereski

I am deeply disappointed in President Bush’s manners. He was already ugly enough as a rude caricature of a wannabe statesman. Now this week he revealed aspects of himself that frankly are not becoming of a prodigy belonging to a self-styled class of American aristocracy. The video of the president’s statesmanlike shit-shat with the English Prime Minister Tony Blair is being replayed in the US for the use of the four letter word “shit.” But the tape tells a longer tale. First, the preppie and Yale-educated son of a statesman is shown calling Tony Blair over with a jovial “Yo, Blair,” as if he was calling his lackey (may be so!). The then clears shows the president chewing his food with his mouth open -- a disgusting and crude table manner even in the most backward parts of this planet >>>

No winners

Jews have neither accepted colonisation nor been good colonisers
Ben Madadi

When it's about Israel everyone has an opinion. If you ask the Arabs, you get almost unanimously angry faces, and when you ask the Europeans most of them do not have a positive opinion about Israel. Some poll a few years ago in Europe showed that most Europeans thought Israel was the greatest threat to world security, ranking higher than Iran or North Korea. It's interesting that so many Iranians in the diaspora are actually pro-Israel rather than pro Muslim Arabs. People side with or against Israel mostly because of personal prejudice and ideological or political partisanship. Iranians who live in Iran are mostly anti-Israel. This doesn't necessarily mean they are in favour of Israel's annihilation. They simply don't care much about Israel >>>

Iran's Lebanese blunder

If anything, the Middle East is shutting its doors in the face of Iran
Meir Javedanfar

The current conflict, which almost certainly took part with Iran's agreement, is not wielding many positive results for Iran. Iran intended to use the current conflict as a tool to bolster its deterrence image. The kidnappings which were followed by Katyusha missile attacks were meant to send a message to Jerusalem. This message meant to say “stop threatening us, and forget about attacking our nuclear installations, because we could cause you severe pain”. Instead, by initiating the attack, Iran gave Israel a pretext to attack its military capability in Lebanon, and to cause damage to it. This bolstered Israel's deterrence at the expense of Iran and Hezbollah's >>>

Mizrahi-Palestinian tragedy

Mizrhaim provides the demographic majority on whose civic docility the Eurocentric Israeli regime rests
Reuven Abarjel & Smadar Lavie

And now here we are, in front of the Israeli screen, bombarded by the TV discourse of experts. The channels are broadcasting live from the studios and the battlefields. Commercial interludes are part of the show. The majority of experts are Ashkenazi (European Jewish) males by default. They are flanked by a handful of Mizrahi men (Oriental Jews who immigrated to Israel mainly from the Arab World).  These men climbed the public service ladder within the nationalist hegemonic confines. Together, they are Israel’s knowledge mercenaries. Through the tube -- Israel’s tribal campfire -- they dictate the national agenda >>>

The bigots at work

No sovereign nation can exist with unsafe boundaries and missiles in the hands of uncontrolled militia 20 miles south of Haifa
Iqbal Latif

Hezbollah conscience and Hamas's political pragmatism should take lessons from 1948, 1967 and 1973. All wars have only helped in making Israel a bigger and stronger nation and left them to live in squalid conditions. Palestinians and Lebanese do not deserve it. And what does Iran have to do with it? Iran is only using the Palestinians and the Shiites in Southern Lebanon for harboring their own agenda in the Persian Gulf. If Iran thinks it can get away with this kind of irresponsible attitude just across the border in the South of Lebanon, then it is wrong. This kind of aggression has not paid before and it will not pay now. These are the kinds of self-defeating aims that Arab warriors, like Saddam, claimed as a great victory, which is nothing but opiate-induced slogans >>>

And the winner is...

Ben Madadi

Some do actually gain from other's misery. And it's not just about cynical feelings but factual material gains. The current war in the Middle East, involving Israel and Lebanon, has had one curious, often overlooked consequence. It may or may not have been a conspiracy but the outcome clearly shows one single obvious winner and a lot one obvious losers. The winner is no other than the Iranian regime. It's said that the Iranian regime sponsors Hezbollah with about $100 million a year. This is while ordinary Iranians have so few jobs and Iran as a whole lacks many basic investments >>>

Moral and humanitarian disaster

Criticism of Israel (often deliberately conflated with anti-Semitism) remains of the most visible 'red lines' of American political discourse
Siamak Kiarostami

Due to my education, I hated what had happened to the Jews, and felt a great deal of compassion for them. In a lot of ways, I still do. Only Israel, much like a Shakespearean character, suffers from a fatal flaw that I believe will be its undoing in the end; it seems determined to maintain its 'victim' status at any cost, even by victimizing others. I never was able to compartmentalize my empathy for the Jewish people and turn a blind eye to everything Israel has done in its brutal and dehumanizing 39-year occupation of Palestinian land. And it is precisely this track record, what appears to be an almost suicidal bent to Israeli actions that continues to erode the sympathy and understanding that I have had toward that country >>>

Really real reality

The ones who have the bombs and war materiel stored in private residences, schools, and yes, even mosques, are the Hezbollah
Kaveh Nouraee

I recall the time when if an Iranian was called an Arab, that was a faux pas equivalent to calling a black person a nigger. My, how times have changed. Now it has become fashionable to kiss Arab ass. Have any of you forgotten how the Arabs invaded our land and shoved their backwards ideology down the throats of our ancestors, who drank it up like chai straight from the samovar, before asking for another glass? Has anyone forgotten how Iran is still paying the price of what the Arabs did to us even today, and every single day since February 1979? In the Iran-Iraq war, who invaded our land? Arabs. Who, besides that piece of rat shit Khomeini and his flunkies killed innocent Iranian men, women, children and BABIES in that war? Arabs. Al-Qaeda? Arabs >>>

Different agenda

Mehdi Amini

In response to Hossein Derakhshan's blog entry, "Is Ganji joining Sazgara?": Akbar Ganji has been accused of being an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran while at the same time accused of working with the neo-cons seeking a “regime change” with the help of the American Administration. That is remarkable. He must be a fantastic Charlatan that has fooled us all with the exception of those labeling these accusations. And the accusers must have formidable sources that are knowledgeable about the true nature of Ganji’s trip abroad. There is only one problem. These sources have two opposite information! >>>

Jonbeshe roshanfekri

Iranian intellectuals: Challenges & opportunities
Ali Salari

Calm amid the storm

Middle East expert Hossein Shahidi responds to six questions about Israel’s conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah and the prospect of war with Iran

Peyvand Khorsandi: President Bush said: “This [the Israeli onslaught against Lebanon] started because Hezbollah decided to capture two Israeli soldiers and fire hundreds of rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon. That’s the cause of the crisis.” Do you agree?
Hossein Shahidi: The question is not whether I agree or not, but whether the parties to the conflict do. According to BBC news reports, which have been my main source of information, Hezbollah’s capture of the two Israeli soldiers was preceded by a steady escalation of tension along the Lebanese-Israeli border over several months and was followed by Israeli attacks on Lebanon. There then came Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on Israel, which in turn were followed by Israeli air, sea and artillery attacks across Lebanon >>>

Vilifying Iran

Attacking Iran will not stop the violence in Lebanon
William O. Beeman

Blaming Iran for the horrific violence between Israel and the Arabs of Lebanon and Palestine is a popular stance in the world today. But such finger-pointing will do nothing to stop the destruction going on in the region. Paradoxically, however, Iran could play a role in bringing about peace. Iran makes a convenient scapegoat. It has no defenders. Americans and Europeans are already furious with Tehran over the development of Iran's nuclear program. The Sunni states in the region -- principally Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt -- are worried about growing Iranian power as Shiite forces throughout the region grow in influence. The Sunnis are uncomfortable defending the Shiite community in Lebanon, and are quite happy to have Iran bear the blame for the war >>>

Iran 4 - International Community (still) 0

The first loser in the Lebanon Crisis is the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty itself
Guive Mirfendereski

The Iranians strategists decided that a G-8 Summit should not be a place where the hands of the regime should be set in hana or wrapped in walnut skin -- that is to say to be tainted with a color that does not wash off easily. “You want something to talk about at G-8?,” they asked rhetorically in Tehran, “We will give you something to talk about.” But what? I have been noticing for a while that North Korea and Iran have been in this silent partnership of mischief. Every time pressure has built on one to do something with respect to its nuclear program, the other has acted as a distraction, to get the attention of the “international community” off the other... And with respect to the firestorm that Hezbollah seems to have provoked and Israel ignited across Lebanon, there are real losers >>>

Facing reality

Faramarz Fateh

Let's face it, us Iranians know everything there is about anything. Politics, medicine, soccer, history, technology, business; you name it, we spew opinions out faster than a 15 year old virgin boy reaches happy ending at his first sexual experience. So, with that, I will spew out my humble opinions about whats going on in Lebanon: Israel is the 51st State of the United States of America. U.S.A. is ruled by Wall Street and like it or not, Wall Street is ruled by the Jews. Therefore, Jews rule the United States. My wife hates these statements, but what the heck, I can manage sleeping on the sofa a few nights >>>

I have only one wish

That tomorrow I can press on the bottom and let Fairuz’s music play knowing that peace is brought back
Charlotte Najafi

Unfortunately, there is now war again in Lebanon ... they have to stay at home, schools are closed, tourists are leaving the country and some historical sites are getting damaged, lives of innocents are taken and many others are going to be left behind with pain, sorrow and empty pockets and bank-accounts! If they have a job or have the insurance of keeping that what they have gotten now! How do we have to respond to this? I have respect for both folks, for both Lebanese and Israelis, they both have the right to have a better life and to enable their children to go to schools, to find jobs, to go on holiday and to show the world who they are and what they are. Let’s pray for the peace, not accusing anyone of being good or evil >>>

Omidvaari va negaraani

I don't want my faith in Ganji to go up in smoke
Homayoun Abghari

Middle East peace made easy

The only real attack the Israelis or Americans could take to end the violence in the Middle East would be a precise decapitation of the Iranian top leadership
Jerry Quill

The Mullahs' biggest threat is not the Americans or the Israelis. It's the Iranian people. Unlike liberals in America, the Iranian leaders clearly understand that America is winning the war in Iraq and that the fulfillment of the Bush doctrine will very likely result in the Iranian people giving the Mullahs a free ride on a Mussolini swing set. What the Mullahs most desperately need is an attack by Israel. Nuclear weapons are worthless to them as the Iranian people are dragging them to their execution but an Israeli attack on Iran's nuke sites would unite the people behind the regime >>>

Crime against humanity

Auctioning off Iran's ancient artifacts
Mohammad Ala

The decision by U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning allowing the sale of ancient Iranian artifacts which are in possession of the University of Chicago to settle a lawsuit by American survivors of a bombing in Israel in 1997 will establish a precedent which will further damage the image of the United States and will lead to more litigation by survivors of Western financed bombings and assassinations from around the world... A country’s cultural heritage should be preserved for the benefit of all people, not treated as a commodity to be traded.  While sympathy must go out to victims and their families, dispersing the resources amongst the survivors will not bring the victims back, nor come near to compensating them for their loss.  It would be a travesty to deny the people of other countries access to the antiquities of Iran by giving them to private individuals >>>

End of childhood

Ali Dadpay

Since the first Iranian blog by Salman Jariri and the manual to write blogs in Farsi by Hossein Derakhshan, many have chosen to write and use weblogs as tribunes to express their thoughts and ideas. Even a larger number of young and old writers have made it their personal online diaries... Today there is no doubt that weblogs have failed to substitute traditional channels such as daily papers. Their succes is elsewhere. They have opened a new way of communication, and keep a larger number of people connected with each other and each other's intellectual evolution. They also provide them by an easy and inexpensive way of communicating their ideas and experience >>>


The republican prince

Video clips: Interview with Amir Abbas Fakhravar
Jahanshah Javid

On the last day of the hunger strike in New York with Akbar Ganji Sunday, someone pointed out Amir Abbas Fakhravar. I had read differing views on his effort to overthrow the Islamic Republic. I decided to interview him and hear his own words >>>

Trapping Iran

Israel knows that Iran is trapped because it has to support Hezbollah
H. Saftar

I am somewhat surprised by the number of people who without any hesitation accept the media reports that Iran and Syria are behind all of this. I suppose to find an answer to this you really have to see who will benefit? Yes there is no denying that Iran founded, funds and backs Hezbollah. However Iran’s track record since the revolution shows that far from taking risks they have always took calculated actions. But what would Iran gain from this? The nuclear file is under the shadow of the UNSC and Iran knows that the more its image becomes hostile in the West, the less it can bargain when it comes to negotiating >>>

God's assassins

The Lebanese Hezbollah and the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran
Masoud Kazemzadeh

The fundamentalist regime does not deny its financial and strategic support and alliance with the Lebanese Hezbollah, but it regards it to be a guerrilla organization and not a terrorist organization. Imad Mugniyah, however, who had been residing in Iran, reportedly quietly left Iran after 9/11. The fundamentalist regime has denied that its agents have engaged in terrorism, although in many Western European courts, its agents have been arrested and convicted and imprisoned for assassination of Iranian dissidents. The regime has also used its proxy, the Lebanese Hezbollah, in assassinations in Europe >>>

Feeding the fire

Leila Farjami

As following the news on Israel’s attack against the Civilians of Lebanon (unarmed men, women, and children) and not particularly the Hezbollah!, like the rest of you, I wonder what they are attempting to accomplish. There’s absolutely no justification for the invasive and murderous acts of Israel (occupied Palestine, actually), but I could not help perceiving this catastrophe as an ancient psychological predicament: the victims have turned into victimizers >>>

From Gandhi to Ganji

Ari Siletz

Starting today there will be a 3-day worldwide hunger strike to protest the Islamic Republic's crackdowns against Iranians who insist on their human rights. The hunger strike has been organized around the feisty investigative journalist Akbar Ganji who nearly died last year after a prison hunger strike lasting several weeks. A hunger strike is a powerful political tool. The tactic was used by the pre-Christian Irish as an effective way of demanding justice. There would be tremendous loss of prestige and therefore power for a lord who allowed a plaintiff to die of hunger at his gate. Gandhi used the tactic against the British, winning independence for India, and the IRA used it effectively to win sympathy for its cause. Ironically Bobby Sands street in Iran is named after an IRA activist who died during a hunger strike in a British prison >>>

Eight soldiers equal dozens of civilians


Despites all the odds, through ups and downs I have always believed in one thing, that life or god or whatever you want to name it, is just. The idea of justice is not a system of belief but it has been my last link to this nasty, horrific, stinky life. On the nights when I was in jail, being punched and kicked, starved and sleep depraved, and being humiliated worse than an animal, I was holding a candle in the dark corner of my heart that was shedding light on two words, Justice Prevails! And in order to see its glorious occurrence I collected all my power to stay on course to see it happens. Now that I am getting older and am looking back at all the thick and thin days of my life and all the days and years that I've been waiting for the justice, I am asking, Justice Prevails? >>>

Don't shoot the messenger(s)

Or why it's a good thing to read and listen carefully before you speak and write
Persis Karim

Because I already responded directly to attacks on me and my book, I will try to address the most central issue I feel has been avoided in both these commentaries about me and the book. Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been represents what I believe is a literary movement that addresses and grows out of women's need to represent themselves and their experiences in a time and place where too often others represent women in the most simplistic and reductionist fashion (that includes agents of power such as governments, media, and various forms of censorial/political pressure from the community itself)... This LITERARY (emphasis here on the literary) collection is a tribute to these writers and their struggle and journey to claim a voice that speaks for themselves as women of Iranian heritage >>>

Faashizme Irani

Anti-Islamic fascism, inspired in the West, will do us no good
Djafar Madani

Viva Oriana!

Why is Fallaci against Islam and Muslims? It’s because she sees the threat of Islamic fundamentalism as a revival of the Fascism that she grew up fighting
Ali Sina

Azar Majedi says Fallaci’s opposition to Islamic immigration betrays her fight against Nazi-Fascism. “It seems to me that the hate against Islam has pushed you towards Christianity” says Majedi to Fallaci and berates her for visiting Pope “asking him to take a stronger stance against Islamism”. Majedi finds this “puzzling” and wonders “how does an atheist in hate of one religion take refuge in another?” Here is where Majedi reveals her dogmatic mindset. Who said an atheist must hate all religions or any religion for that matter? I do not believe in the existence of any deity that intervenes in the human affairs and is endowed with human attributes as most religions portray him, and yet I am reluctant to call myself an atheist because I do not want to be put in the same category of dogmatic materialists like Ms. Majedi >>>

Where they have been

I find the attack against more than fifty innocent writers and shaming someone based on a comment during an interview unfair and unprofessional
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Anyone who knows the first thing about publishing industry in this day and age, also knows that money is in publishing romance, chick-lit and mystery, but it certainly is not in an anthology by Iranian women! So perhaps Ms. Siavashan should reconsider her implication that the editor has “sold out to sell a book.” For many of these young writers, this book is their début and hopefully a key to open other doors. How harmful it would be if anyone attempted to spoil that chance; and how ironic that such harm should come from none other than a female Iranian-American writer >>>

On the next flight to Tehran?

Captured Israeli soldiers
Meir Javedanfar

It is very unlikely that Israeli soldiers abducted in Lebanon will be sent to Iran immediately. According to Yossi Melman, Ha'aretz expert on intelligence matters “there is no need to send the soldiers to Iran. The Iranian intelligence organisation can easily send interrogators to Lebanon, who can sit in during the interrogation sessions, or actively participate in them. This has been done before, and can easily be done again”. Furthermore, if Hezbollah hands the soldiers to Iran, it will look like a complete Iranian puppet to the Lebanese people. This will damage Hezbollah's on going efforts to portray itself as a genuine Lebanese organisation >>>

Tavahomash yaa khodash?

When it comes to Israel, we prefer fantasy over fact
Mahmoud Sadri

Palestinians treated same way as Native-Americans

Daniel Pourkesali

The plight of Palestinians in the past 60 years eerily parallels that of America's native population and their treatment at the hands of the European settlers. I recommend the book titled "A Century of Dishonor" as a must read for everyone . It is one of the best documented accounts written by Helen Hunt Jackson published in 1888, which clearly captures some essential elements of what occured -- forced removals, killings, and callous disregard for the natives as well as a pattern of exaggeration and one-sided indictment that has persisted to this day >>>

Self-righteous lashing with no facts

Ari Siletz

In her web article, "Selling out to sell a book," Sudabeh Siavashan criticizes an interview she has not heard. This interview is about a book she has not read. By this author's own statement her opinions are based on what she calls a "very short and I believe very useful [website] piece." Armed with this hearsay she has launched an attack on the wrong coordinates, inflicting collateral damage to the reputations and careers of innocent Iranian writers and poets... For Siavashan it would be good practice in intellectual integrity to read a book before lashing out against it. After she has mastered this exercise in fairness, she is welcome to join the rest of us in our human rights concerns >>>

Vive la France d’immigrés

Long live France of immigrants!
Jahanshah Rashidian

Even after the undeserved defeat against Italy, the crowd enthusiastic celebrated all the night on Champs-Élysées. The cheers, the cries, the honking of horns, the waving of French flags, the car flags all prove the country's biggest public fest. The tri-colour of French flag has now become an entire symbol, it symbolises “non au racisme”, no to racism. The victory belongs also to the French coach “le sélectionneur national”, team selector, Raymond Domenech who selected the national team based on their performance on the field. Such a proud victory is of course a political defeat for all the extreme Rights in Europe.  From the National Front, in France, to the German neo-Nazi of NPD party or Ahmadinejad’s friends, they all started a dirty campaign for an all-white national team. Their followers in stadium even were mocking the origins of non-white players >>>

Billionaire's dilemma

"Anybody who dies rich, dies disgraced."
Iqbal Latif

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, the richest of the rich, symbolize this ethic -- they are busy giving away most of their fortune while they are still alive. This is the most intricate of acts and most splendid, men typically in no way leave their holdings; the way Gates and Buffett washed their hands off theirs, signals an end to an epoch of charges of corporate greed and manipulation. Antitrust and illegal practices of Microsoft are now a distant past. As far as Microsoft becomes big to be a tool of help to the poor at large, no crime of monopoly and antitrust will ever stick. Rather, being a billionaire now is complex business; it is how much one gives away that matters and no more what one has >>>

Cradle or graveyard of The Empire?

Iran is the next step in the U.S. empire's reorganization of the Middle East
Ardeshir Mehrdad

No, the abysmal failures in Iraq have not dissuaded Washington from embarking on yet another adventure. George W. Bush and his warmongering allies are preparing themselves for another major incident in the Middle East. This time Iran is the main challenge in the establishment of the New world order and a direct target. The 'Nuclear Crisis' is artificial. The 'war against terror' is total deceit. The fig leaf of 'freedom and democracy' has not fooled anyone. The globe devouring monster is adamant that it can use 'the end of history' to plough the earth. It is determined to make the new century, a new American Century and it has set up its first camp right next to Middle Eastern oil fields. Overwhelmed by illusions of victory, this superpower has no qualms to burn down whatever is left of the countries of this region. What can be done to confront this monster? Can one restrain it from engulfing on yet another disastrous adventure in the Middle East? >>>

Selling out to sell a book

A selective approach to voices of the diaspora
Sudabeh Siavashan

It is known to anyone who can read Persian (and actually takes the time to read Persian newspapers) that Said Mortazavi is responsible for the closing of more than 100 periodicals in Iran and the imprisonment of many real intellectuals who attempted to make their voices heard. In fact many of these intellectuals are now residing abroad and it is so strange that the editor of Let Me Tell You Where I've Been has decided to ignore those who have been in the Islamic republic's prison and have told us about their horrifying experiences. Aren't they part of the diaspora? And of course it is not just about Mortazavi and only about the editor of this collection. Hakimian is absolutely correct in considering this editor and her interview only one example of a larger phenomenon but I think she is too easy on them! >>>

Simply a stunner

The proper etiquette of meeting Shahrnush Parsipur in the United States
Golbarg Bashi

The English translation of the novel Touba and the Meaning of Night ( by the pre-eminent Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur was recently released by a major US publishing house in New York. One no longer needs to have an Iranian passport or an Iranian visa to get onboard Parsipur’s imaginative boat... At the conclusion of the Feminist Press reception, I arranged to see Parsipur for lunch on the following day so I could interview her, and she gracefully agreed. At about noon time the following day, and over my husband’s outstanding Baqali Polo, we sat down and reminisced about Touba, Mahdokht, Zarrin, Mones, Farrokh-Laqa and most importantly Shahrnush... >>>


Islamic totalitarianism

Book excerpt
Chahla Chafiq

Ettehaad beyne democracy khaahaan, chegooneh?

How to unite democratic forces?
Ali Salari

Keep looking

Amir Abbas Fakhravar will liberate no one
Pedram Moallemian

So, let’s see if I have it correct; Amir Abbas Fakhravar (Siavash) is a “student” leader who has caused all sorts of devastation on the carcass of the failing regime in Iran and as such has been jailed a few times. Okay, I’ll buy that. This year, in the midst of serving his latest sentence (he received 8 years in November of 2002), he unexpectedly appears in Dubai, apparently after being on the run for 10 months and finally escaping the country in fear of an imminent assassination. Hmmm. Twenty four short hours after his arrival, he is greeted in UAE by Prince of Darkness, Richard “Ahmed Chalabi is the natural successor to Saddam Hussein” Perle himself. Amir Abbas is then whisked away to DC, where he suddenly has an office at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) to “plead to US to ‘liberate’ Iran” and is the guest of honor at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) luncheon >>>

Anti-Islamism does not justify racism

An Open Letter to Oriana Fallaci
Azar Majedi

It seems to me that the hate against Islam has pushed you towards Christianity. You have even visited the Pope asking him to take a stronger stance against Islamism. This I find puzzling. How does an atheist in hate of one religion take refuge in another? Your hate against Islamism and political Islam finds expression in Euro centrism. Your disapproval for multiculturalism and cultural relativism has led you to defend “western culture”, instead of universal rights and secular, humanitarian and libertarian values. As a young girl growing in Iran, under the rule of Islam, I read western philosophers and writers to educate myself with enlightened principles and values regarding equality, freedom and women’s rights. I chose the libertarian and egalitarian side of Western culture, and I am bewildered why, you an atheist, a fighter against fascism, had to resort to Euro centrism and racism in order to defend Western culture >>>

From Guinea worms to jellyfish

Goodbye to all that Iranian ‘opposition’
Reza Bayegan

As soon as the U.S. administration seems to be talking tough to the mullahs, these Iranians smell the aroma of their dream food coming from the Pentagon kitchen and begin salivating. They crawl out of their holes, bounce on their feet and jockey for the best seats on the gravy train. They want the choicest dishes of the banquet and there is no time to dally. In their headlong rush however, they end up trampling over each other and getting crushed in the stampede. When the smell from the kitchen subsides and their hopes wane, bloodied and exhausted they crawl back to their holes nursing their wounds and biding their time for the next opportunity >>>

Pretending nothing happened

The courage and determination of Iranian women participating in the June 12 protest for equal rights went far beyond what was suggested in article

Dear Editors of to Monthly Review, In a recent posting on [ &] your web site, Rostam Pourzal uses an anonymous email by a ‘witness’ in Tehran to deny the extent of the repression of women demonstrators by vigilante Islamic police on 12 June  2006. Pourzal tries to portray president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a ‘popular’, ‘radical’ figure, and tries to underestimate, justify and excuse the brutal, repressive nature of the Islamic regime in Iran; in doing so he makes various assumptions and claims that we will deal with in a another posting.  However as far as the events of 12 June in Tehran are concerned, contrary to the claims of the anonymous ‘observer’, the extent and intensity of the  brutal attack on the peaceful women’s demonstration was far worse than that portrayed by the BBC and the international media >>>

It's not worth so much humiliation

The Palestinain conflict
Ben Madadi

When one does something wrong, and the outcome is unsatisfactory, there are two options: do it again, or find out what you did wrong and change the way you did it. Here comes the unanimous flaw of the Arabs: They're continuing to do the same thing all over again, being humiliated again and again. They are persistent though. Some day they're probably going to make it, either annihilate Israel, or find some other formula to take the long-awaited revenge. How long it may take? Well, as long as there are Arabs out there, there will definitely be Jews. But maybe there can be a smart way >>>

From revolution to dissent

Iranian intellectuals
Ramin Jahanbegloo

It is a fact, the reformist and neo-conservative intellectuals do not dominate the entire Iranian public sphere. Next to them, one can consider a new generation of Iranian intellectuals who do not attempt to promulgate any ideologies and yet they undermine the main concepts of the established order. This generation is mainly characterized by the secular post-revolutionary intellectuals who are in their thirties and forties and who can be referred to as the “dialogical intellectuals” (in contrast with the ideological intellectuals of the early 1980s). In other words, for this new generation of Iranian intellectuals, the concept and the practice of dialogue provides an ontological umbrella for all the political and cultural meanings and understandings >>>

If you act like sheep

Sit down and educate yourself on just exactly what is a democratic society
Cyrus Mossadegh

If the current individuals holding power in Iran continue their muddled, fumbling, incoherent, and utterly incompetent approach to negotiating with Western powers over Iran's nuclear energy program, then the likelihood that Iran ends up in a military confrontation with America is greatly increased and therefore sufficient reason for Iranians to demand the removal of the current regime >>>

Negaahi beh "Ravaabete Iran va Amrika"

A new book on Iran-US relations published by the Iranian Foreign Ministry
Hassan Behgar

Looting Iran

What the University of Chicago has in its possession is part and parcel of a heritage that belongs to the Iranian people
Niki Akhavan

In 2004, scholars at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute began taking significant steps towards renewing their relationship to their counterparts in Iran. For the first time since close cooperation between Iran and the University ended in 1979, the Institute returned a number of the ancient tablets to the Iranian Cultural Organization as a “good faith” gesture made in the hope of negotiating agreements for new excavations and joint training and publication programs. If Strachman succeeds in forcing the sale of the remaining artifacts, the reconciliation between the University and Iran will not be the only relationship that will be undermined. Iranians from a range of backgrounds, be they staunch supporters or sworn enemies of their current government, are increasingly becoming aware of the double standards, misrepresentations, and unjust maneuverings around domestic and international laws that seem to be at play when it comes to Iran >>>

Only in Berkeley

Neshat Rezai

Berkeley was the first city to ban Styrofoam and to start curbside recycling.  Moreover, Berkeley also took the lead in calling for the government to divest from South Africa during Apartheid era.  Berkeley was the first city to desegregate its public schools without a court order. Berkeley is the only city with an edible schoolyard project.  Berkeley is often associated with the Free Speech Movement of the 60's... And NOW: Berkeley is the first city to put a resolution on the ballot calling for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to be impeached!!! ONLY IN BERKELEY!!! (If you live in Berkeley, make sure you vote!!)

The worst of the West

Iran's immitation of WESTERN behavior deserves criticism
Rostam Pourzal

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Iran must really adore the American model of state conduct. Contrary to popular perceptions, the decision-makers in Tehran agree with their nemesis, Akbar Ganji, who recently told the Voice of America that the West was "the cradle of civilization". Two recent moves by Iran are especially noteworthy. First the police in Tehran try to imitate the beating of women in Turkey on the International Women's Day, 2005. Turkey is the closest ally of the US and Israel in all of Middle East and North Africa and its security apparatus is modeled after and integrated with Washington's war on terrorism. Now comes evidence that the Iranian leadership is inspired by America's disrespect for the United Nations, too >>>

The Ganji phenomenon

Ganji must now use the international tribune to clearly outline his position about Khomeini and Political Islam
Jahanshah Rashidian

Ganji’s pompous Manifesto, which is a big number for him, is a collection of other thinkers. It dose not separate Ganji from his Islamist past. He had better off express his own ideas about Khomeini, Political Islam and the legitimacy of any form of Islamic regime instead of borrowing ideas from other thinkers. While Ganji boasts about the philosophy and values of human rights, his extensive quotations from Khomeini, his belief in his legitimacy and his long silence on the abominable crimes committed under and with direct order of Khomeini all remain as the little secrets of Ganji-phenomenon. These questions raise many looming questions about Ganji’s past and his political aims >>>

Here's your chance, Your Majesty

Reza Pahlavi is perhaps the best candidate to fight against a U.S. court ruling permitting the sale of Persian archaeological pieces on loan to the University of Chicago

While a mass petition drive may have been effective in persuading the National Geographic Society to change its position with respect to the Persian Gulf’s historic name, it will not move the Supreme Court of the United States toward a successful outcome in the case of Persian archeological pieces loaned to the University of Chicago. This by no means is intended to be a rain on the petition organizers’ parade; but if the objective is the preservation of the pieces, then a more effective strategy has to be formulated >>>

Alarming precedent

Daniel Pourkesali

The decision by U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning to allow liquidation of ancient Persian artifacts on loan to University of Chicago in order to settle a lawsuit by American survivors of a bombing in Israel will establish an alarming precedent which will further damage U.S. image and open a flood gate of litigation by survivors of American financed bombings around the globe. First of all if Iran is legally responsible for any hostile action taken by Hamas then the reverse is also true. And we all know when it comes to killing civilians indiscriminately, nobody does is better than the U.S.  and the Israelis >>>

They belong to the people

Nima Kasraie

Dear President Bush,

I urge you to step in and save the priceless treasures of the Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago and Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History from being given away to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Iran's government. In reality, those treasures are not the property of any government, but belong to the people. They are an irreplaceable cultural patrimony, irreplaceable as a scholarly resoure for understanding world history and heritage, and NOT a commercial item. Please step in and stop this unique world heritage from being given away by District Judge Blanche Manning's ruling.

>>> Archive


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Book of the day

The Persian Garden
Echoes of Paradise
By Mehdi Khansari, M. Reza Moghtader, Minouch Yavari
>>> Excerpt

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