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Opinion

MAY 2006
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TALKS
Lion vs. Eagle

Kianosh Saadati

Now that Condoleezza Rice has officially offered talks with Tehran, many people would think this offer will resolve issues after 26 years of deadlock between the two countries. But it is just the beginning! Hours after Rice's press conference, Tehran refused conditional talks for a very simple reason. If they suspend uranium enrichment they have opened up the door for the eagle to dominate. The mullahs perfectly know that uranium enrichment and the nuclear crisis are the only playing cards in this game. The moment the Lion (Iran) backs down, Tehran will not have any card to play. Simply an unconditional check and mate!! >>>

PALESTINE-ISRAEL
Let them solve their own problem

Let Arabs and Israelis resolve a conflict which has had little to do with Iran’s interests
Azita Pakravan

Let Arabs and Israelis resolve a conflict which has had little to do with Iran’s interests. If my fellow Iranians did some soul searching, I am sure that they would realize that their concern is plain hypocrisy, and in fact it most often masks their anti-Semitism and the hatred of Jewish people. Listening to them talk about Israel and the Jews makes one think that they have been brainwashed by the likes of Ahmadinejad. Any self-respecting human being cannot avoid condemning the Israeli government for its brutal treatment of Palestinians and the denial of their human and national rights. Moreover, the power of Israel and the Jewish lobby on American policy in the Middle East (with its disastrous consequences for the region) is also well-documented. However, as Iranians and human beings, we have to condemn violence and hatred in any form shape or place >>>

IRAN-U.S.
Possible futures

The mêlée of US-Iranian relations
Eskandar Sadeghi

Although it seems that a dialogue without intermediary has for the time being been put aside due to the explicit resistance of both parties, direct talks between the US and Iran could bear significant fruit. Firstly, speaking strictly in terms of US interests, it could provide greater stability for the fledgling Iraqi government, security guarantees for the US's ally Israel, through the solicitation of security guarantees and possible recognition. I'm not pulling this out of thin air. A copy of a 2003 Iranian proposal for Iranian-Israeli peace was obtained by the Inter Press Service from Trita Parsi, a specialist on Iranian foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies -- the report entailed recognition of Israel which would also necessarily incorporate the cessation of funding for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah etc... Moreover, pressure would be applied in order to bridge the transition to a total renunciation of violence by these parties >>>

PERSIAN
I am Persian because

Iran today represents decadence, destruction and decay
Tina Ehrami

"Where are you from?" My co-worker asked me a couple of days ago. "From Persia", I answered. "Uhm, that doesn't exist anymore, does it?" Was his response. I hesitated whether I had the energy to explain the source of my answer "Persia" instead of "Iran". I decided that I would explain it once again in my life and this time try to keep it short and simple. "Well no, the Persian Empire as Persia refers to, does not exist. But it is the association with that empire that I prefer than the theocratic, Islamic Republic that it has now become." That explanation usually asks for an understanding and paradoxically confused expression and nodding. This time I did not get that same old response though >>>

IRAN
Great, in spite of

A great nation, in spite of our government
Tahereh Aghdassifar

"Are we really a great nation?", Kianosh Saadati asked. It's not necessarily a silly question to be brushed off quickly by rabid nationalists who don't feel a need to even justify their immediate growls of "yes." I must admit, it did catch me off guard when I first read it, "of course we are" I thought to myself without questioning why I felt this way. The question, in itself, is quite valid, but unfortunately the reasons presented as to why we may not be "a great nation" are not quite as compelling. Attacking such issues as disorganization and driving habits are not going to outweigh the contributions that Iran has indeed made throughout history. Italy is notorious for the driving habits of its citizens, as is Turkey; do we then discount the remarkable contributions both nations have made to the world because of erratic traffic behavior? Again, I do not believe such silly issues really give merit to the idea that we may not be a "great nation." >>>

WAR
Please don't

I ask President Bush now; please do not attack Iran with any sort of weapon
Alborz Yazdi

Dear President George W. Bush, When I first though of the idea, it did not scare me, for as any person would think, “it would never happen to me...” But while eating lunch today, the reality of this matter struck me in the face. I am an eleven year old Iranian-American boy in the 5th grade. In a few days, I will be leaving my home on vacation to Iran for the first time with my mother and sister. Yes, Iran, the country causing a new controversy throughout the world. Throughout the midst of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the question has pondered in the minds of many: Will they strike Iran? In my head this blur of terror and fear has inquired me too. And the most terrible idea is if it is hit with nuclear weapons of mass destruction >>>

POINT
Kodaam mardom? Kodaam hokoomat?

USA & democracy
Homayoun Abghari

KURDISTAN
Fighting words

I am thankful that I have online dialogue and not a real face to face confrontation with such angry individuals
Kamal H. Artin

Some angry commentators threaten with retaliation and call free thinkers traitors. It is unlikely that they know that real traitors are those who leave their abusive home country to enjoy the comfort of a democratic host country yet remain critical of the latter to defend the former. I am wondering how safe it is, for one who does not share the threats of angry individuals with the authorities; the authorities in democratic world at least provide security for all and not a preferred group. Free thinkers choose a home where they can feel at home, and the free world is their home regardless of borders! I am wondering if events such as 911 or assassinations of migrant intellectuals in European cities would have happened, if people would have notified suspicious, angry, and threatening individuals to the authorities of the free world >>>

POINT
He's no dummy

Iran's Ahmadinejad is not unhinged
Amil Imani

The world is captivated by the sudden rise of a relatively unknown to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for his torrent of outrageous statements and claims. He has, thus, in a short time acquired great many appellations. He is viewed as zealot, fascist, fanatic, anti-Semitic, lunatic and more. One prominent Western columnist called him "unhinged." All these labels aim, in part, to dismiss the man as an aberration. As someone who is in urgent need of psychological help, a person out of touch with reality who represents nothing of substance. Once again the West is misreading and misjudging the people and the events in the Middle East, due to the fact that it views things through its own prism. Looking at the man through the Western spectacles, he indeed appears to be all of the above and more. Yet Ahmadinejad is far from unhinged. As a matter of fact he is firmly hinged to a set of beliefs that dictate his views of the world and how he should deal with it from his position of power >>>

SEX
Let there be light

Visitng 'Sex sites,' hardcore puritan nations come out unclothed
Iqbal Latif

Ideological legislation restricts the freedom to access sites considered as bad for the faithul in countries like Iran, Saudi and Pakistan. This legislation of 'human attitudes‚ more often than not leads to exactly the opposite effect. Even Adam, everyone‚s biological father, slipped when he was enticed to eat the forbidden fruit by our common mother, Eve. It is coded in 'human genetics‚ that this intelligent being is designed to do more of what is prohibited. Google report produced ample evidence of that closet mentality. Google found that of the top 10 countries - searching for sex-related sites - six were Muslim, with Pakistan on the top. The other Muslim countries are Egypt at number 2, Iran at 4, Morocco at 5, Saudi Arabia at 7 and Turkey at 8. Non-Muslim states are Vietnam at 3, India at 6, Philippines at 9 and Poland at 10 >>>

IRANIANS
Are we really a great nation?

Kianosh Saadati

Like many other Iranians, I have always been asking myself: Are we really a great nation?? We have (or at least been told to have!) 2500 years of glorious history with numerous achievements in Art, Culture and sometimes science and technology. We Iranians always portray ourselves in front of foreigners as a nation with great or sometimes greatest history in human history. But how many of these claims are really true?? You do not need to be a historian, a politician or a journalist to be aware of discrepancies and problems facing Iranians inside the country and abroad. Iranians inside the country are facing many economic, political and cultural difficulties. A nation with 2500 years of history still does not know what to wear in its own country without facing prosecution. It does not obey even the simplest traffic rules properly and it even can not stand in a simple line when it wants to buy a piece of bread or attending the bank without violating other people's rights >>>

DRESS CODE
Dirty tricks

Ali Dadpay

The Islamic Dress Code is NOT even a law yet. It forces a certain standard on dress and to be honest conservatives have played their hand very intelligently. They brought a group of people, who constitute a minority in Iran, to Majlis. They were opposing the current situation and fashions in Iran last month, then conservative leading MPs left the Majlis session to give guarantees to these concerned citizens, whose opinion apparently is not shared by the youth and a large group of people. Then Majlis started to ratify a new law to safeguard Islamic values in the society, based on its members understanding of them, which many oppose. There is nowhere in this law such additions forcing minorities to wear colored ribbons, there is not even such an intention. Actually this law is meant to make life difficult for the Muslim majority (98%) and the youth not the minorities >>>

OIL
Don't be crude

Farid Moghadassi

When the demand is as high for a non-renewable resource like oil as it is now, a supplier has the luxury of exploiting the situation to plan for a better future. Imagine a major oil supplier, for example Iran, making it a national policy to, within a decade, not export a single drop of crude oil. All petroleum exports must be processed and refined before export. Refining oil is about as big a business as extraction. Moreover, it is an industry, employing significant number of laborers, traders, brokers, etc. This would be the next logical step for any oil producing nation which has already naturalized its natural resources, and has an independent, forward thinking government.

JESUS
So what is the big deal?

Riding the subway pondering the impact of "The Da Vinci Code"
Roozbeh Shirazi

This year, Larry Brown's departure from the New York Knicks to coaching purgatory seems imminent, cherry print Louis Vuitton bags are favored, everyone has an iPod, and the book of choice without a question is The Da Vinci Code. It's kind of impossible to resist reading it, with all the hype that it has received and the movie being released a few days ago. I myself read it a few months ago, and though not brilliantly written, I enjoyed the book very much. True or false, creatively controversial or cheaply low-brow, The Da Vinci Code is a big deal -- I realized it on the subway today as I looked at the riders on each side of me reading the book while I read an article about the novel in the New Yorker, while all of us sat under a ceiling panel advertising the movie on the subway >>>

COUNTERPOINT
Please elaborate

On Democracy and Freedom
Omid Farda Manesh

After reading Guive's prose, my mind at beginning endured numbness from our international law lecturer's punch lines such as "Zeki", "No shit", "what kashk, what mast", "tavalod, tavalod, tavalodat mobarak, n-bareh!", "Either shit happens or doesn't happen", "dandan aryeh", "kabob", "Ajab", "O, no? Watch me", "Good luck", and so on. With BA, PhD, MALD, MA, JD and possibly more in his backpack, I sensed abnormality of not finding dependable political elaboration of concerned issues, and then, I wrestled to find a center of gravity to respond objectively. However, it was futile and ineffectual. As I revisited his text, his intention became visible more as self served and egoistic >>>

BUSH
How unpopular is he?

Pedram Moallemian

I think most of us read the poll results on the falling approval rating of this administration with little or no interest. The latest results put 'W' and company at 29% (if you are pessimistic) and 31% (for the highly motivated supporters.) Many will probably look at that and just shrug their shoulders at how could close to a third of the populace still remain in such deep comma. But the truth is a bit more complicated. To add some perspective to these numbers, a look at recent 40 year history may offer some help: President Carter's approval rating sank to a low of 28% during the debacle surrounding hostages in Iran. As the only other recent President with less favorable numbers during their term in the office, Nixon held a 23% approval rating at the height of Watergate Scandal >>>

VIEW
What do we really need?

Fighting before they destroy us
Amir Nasiri

The whole situation over Iran's nuclear ambition and access to technology has overtaken the main news for the past few months. On one side there are a group of people (neo cons) who want to take military actions against Iran and destroy the military and nuclear sites then there are others (European countries) who believe diplomacy is the way to go. But then you have the Iranian government who adamantly is persisting on its right to nuclear technology and is using the pretext of NPT as well as the rights of Iranian people to such a technology. However; I would like to argue here that despite I am not for a military strike against Iran, but I am 100% for the removal of the Iranian government and the regime and I will discuss in this article how one can take such an action against one of the vicious and cruel regimes of 21st century >>>

POLITICS
To free Iran

Iranian democratic movement
Jahanshah Rashidian

I cannot propose an extensive definition of an Iranian democratic movement that would certainly be presumptuous; such a movement is a big aspiration of all freedom-loving Iranians. It must be called and discussed by all Iranian democrats. Unfortunately, it neither has a place in political life of Iranian society nor has a name in our collective memory. Long apathy of international community and lack of an Iranian democratic movement have permitted the IRI to further oppress the Iranian citizens, many of the people have turned against the IRI as a system of political repression and brutality. Corruption and economic mismanagement by the IRI have provided fertile ground for a democratic political movement based on secular and unconditional democracy >>>

ISRAEL
Recruiting Mohammad Attas of the world

Afshin D.

I would agree that when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the present Iranian government may often times play the "kasseh-ye daghttar az ash" (More Catholic than the Pope). However the rhetoric that has been going around between Iran and Israel of late goes both ways. Israel for some reason has carte blanche to do as it pleases, violating all UN resolutions, and not signing the NPT, and it also makes veiled threats of nuclear annihilation every now and then. And yes, the US is in the unfortunate predicament of having to defend such rhetoric by adding a few idiotic comments of its own. Much like a parent would when their child misbehaves. This is precisely the kind of nonsense that recruits the Mohammad Attas of the world >>>

WAR
Yes I will die for Iran

Bardia

I was born in Abadan. As the matter of fact my life changed on my 10th birthday, 21 September 1980 when Iraq started bombing my city. All I know is that if the U.S. decides to invade iran, I will be in a plane to Iran in a couple of days. I've been in the U.S. 21 years but I will go back to defend my country. I have no doubt about this at all. Politics aside. I will fight to death for my country. I am sick of Iranians that live outside Iran and want a regime change inside Iran. Let me tell you something: A lot of things are much better since that dictator, Shah the Butcher, left. Sure there are something that are not allowed nowadays. You can't be half-naked walking the streets like here in America, and they don't have sex and violence on TV for kids. But Iranians are doing everything they want behind closed doors. What if there was a regime change and those asshole Mojahedeen that are ten times worse than the Taliban came to power? Ahmadinejad might be a crazy bastard, but I give him credit for having balls and telling the Israelis, British and the U.S., to piss off. Damesh Garm. Yes I will die for Iran.

COUNTERPOINT
What democracy, what freedom?

Yeah, how about plagiarizing the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution while you are at it?
Guive Mirfendereski

The exhortations in the piece "Unsettled" lack rationality and foundation. Here are examples of some of the statements that pass supposedly for enlightened polemics. Notice how the title seeks democracy and freedom for Iran. Here is a redundancy, if I ever saw one. You folks, need to make up your mind, one or the other, you cannot afford both. Pure freedom is the antithesis of democracy, which is based on rules and obligations. The end result of all the is that one day Iran will be democratic, free and independent. Query: Democratic, meaning what? Freedom from what or whom? Independence from what or whom? Throwing around these words as if they are supposed to mean the same thing to everyone is nonsensical. To admit that they may mean different things to different people means that the polemicist would rather define them, as he/she knows that by defining terms one also controls the debate >>>

WAR
Why Iran wants war

Ahmadinejad & Co. starring in Armageddon
Slater Bakhtavar

"The Iranian nation will wipe the strain of regret on the foreheads of those who want to bring about injustice", President Ahmadinejad scorned at a recent rally in the province of Zanjan. Iran "will cut off the hands of any aggressor", any attack would be met with a response that is double-fold including suicide attacks across Europe and the United States, he warned. "Israel should be wiped off the map", the predominately Jewish nation "cannot survive" and is headed "towards extinction" quipped the fanatical President. If one were to listen to his rhetoric alone, even the most astute political intellectuals would think Iran is a nation equipped with the most dangerous military arsenal capable of challenging any nation. But Iran's rhetoric has little to do with their outdated and dismal military, their fledging economy or their detested government. The root of the government's fiery tone may be traced to their Shi'te ideology messianic belief in a mysterious, mystical twelfth imam who ventured into hiding over a thousand years ago >>>

EXTREMISM
End the madness

Divided with extremism
Sohrab Ferdows

The Persian proverb of "bringing a head instead of a hat" is well known to Iranian people. This is in fact reflecting one of the biggest issues that we as a nation, have had for a very long time ensuing in creation of numerous problems for us throughout the history. It seems to be a historical issue which, even though we could get away with it at some points but, running into difficult and obnoxious situations have always been a greater possibility. The events in year 1978 and beginning of 1979 could count for one of these occasions in which, we lost control over our extreme emotions and became a tool in implementing aliens plans with a little domestic icing on the cake! >>>

DEMOCRACY
Unsettled

Democracy and freedom for Iran
Omid Farda Manesh

A century matured wish of millions of Iranians in Iran and aboard has been for a true democratic and free Iran. Could a confluence of major events this year conspire in bringing nearer the everlasting democracy and freedom in our country into fulfillment? Let me start by echoing pundits that Iran is the key to stability in the Middle East. And since it has always been a regional leader, the peace, democratic movement, and stability in Iran will spread outward swiftly into other neighboring countries. Apropos, it is well documented that Iranians historically were among the guardians of civilization and human rights >>>

PACIFISM
Let us imagine

Pacifism in the Middle East
Behnam Sadeghi

Here I will criticize the widely held notion that violence is justified in self-defense.  Another conventional claim is that in a conflict, violence can be directed at military personnel or official/strategic assets of a state (or non-state actor).  Yet I would argue that such violence is typically reprehensible just as targeting ordinary civilians is.  My arguments are intended to apply to typical conflicts (i.e. not exceptional ones; thus the use of force would have been justified to prevent the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide).  I will use the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a case in point >>>

NUCLEAR
Not the first time

Eric Jerpe

In his May 16 Washington Post article, Kissinger mentions "... Iran's disregard of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty" and declares "Iran has refused to agree to international control over its uranium enrichment program, in the absence of which no control over a weapons program is meaningful." ... This is not the first time Kissinger has accused the other signatory of violating a treaty without specifying which clause(s) they have violated. Shortly after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Kissinger declared that the North Vietnamese regime had violated "every single clause of the Paris Peace Accords [of 1973]." >>>

CULTURE
Culture of lying

Iranians lie just as a simple way of talking
Ben Madadi

Cultural differences between Iranians and Europeans, or Americans, are not just about how people sit, drink or shake hands. There are some things that are less of a celebration of diversity but more of a huge difference in thinking and perception. These differences are not just for the Iranians, though they usually wish to see themselves far different from others in the Middle East. The whole Middle East has some characteristics of its own that cannot easily reconcile with Western modern values. I may be considered one-sided, and actually on the wrong side, but I am trying to view my home culture critically to see where there may be issues worth re-considering >>>

POINT
Mozaakereh va manaafe' melli

Ahmadinejad, Bush & democracy
Homayoun Abghari

VIEW
Mad in Iran vs Made in Iran

A Mickey Mouse that rants regularly is very handy. And that is why we have such a buffoon in charge in Iran
Ali Mostofi

It is really quite ironic to finally see an American admit to "Thinking Outside the Iran Box" (Jim Hoagland in the Washington Post). Blimey, for how long have all of us, who live outside US, have said about the US's two-faced policies with the mullahs. All the US Treasury Department has to do, is to act on the info it has, and bingo the mullahs are out. A list of all the companies that do business with the US and Iran is readily available. All the US Treasury needs to do is to give a warning to those companies about doing business with the Islamists in Iran. But let's just go back to the moment when the Shahanshah left Iran. He was deemed to be a threat to the world, because he was developing his military too quickly to the future. At that time Israel and the Arabs thought just like now, that the nuclear technology will get out of hand >>>

POLITICS
Who do you trust?

Iranian opposition forces
Jahanshah Rashidian

Since 27 years, there is in Iran one of the most barbaric regimes of the recent history. But what is wrong? Many people around the world amazingly raise this question. Where is that force that once swept away the Shah’s regime, one of the strongest dictators of the region? This article tries to present the conditions of the Iranian opposition groups as they are represented through their political history and their positions vis-à-vis the democracy, secularism and radicalism, which are the main elements of union or division. These three characters are today the necessary conditions of an Iranian democratic opposition to confront the plague of the IRI. The radicalism is a tactical character to avoid any possible approach to the IRI or to factions within the regime. The secularism and democracy are the constant characters of a viable democratic movement in Iran >>>

IRAN-U.S.
Mahmoud on a mission

Ahmadinejad’s grand gestures of defiance and brinkmanship
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The letter by President Ahmadinejad to President Bush generated a lot of speculations both inside Iran and in the outside world. It was the first time that a leader of the Islamic Republic had directly written to the leader of the “Great Satan”, and used polite terminologies in addressing them. At home, the reformists welcomed it as a breakthrough in the long-standing estrangement between the two governments, while the conservative press hailed it as a grand gesture on par with letters sent out some fourteen centuries ago by the Prophet Mohammad to leaders of the then empires inviting them to the bosoms of Islam. The latter group knew more about the Islamic President than the formers, and their judgements must be nearer to the truth. Ahmadinejad seems to be on a Messianic mission to save the world >>>

REPLY
Paasokh yek shaaer

Replying to Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush
Mirza Agha Asgar (Mani)

TV
One-sided BS

Saeed S

Did you watch the show "Iran: The Next Iraq?"  on the History Channel? It was some of the most one-sided propaganda BS I have ever seen! Especially coming from a such a well respected program provider. They basically were talking as if these suspicions/allegations were actual facts. It was amazing! They did not even have a person from the other side of the debate! The scary part is I was able to see that almost every word was BS, but to the average American who may not have ever studied about Iran, or anyone else who sees and believes that the programs on the History Channel as accurate and honest will be so misled by this show. If you can find a way to watch it and if you agree with my evaluation of the program could get the word out to try to get the History Channel yank it and apologize. Or at the very least discredit them and their program.

NUCLEAR
Hysterical

Bush administration continues to pursue an aggressive media strategy against Iran
Daniel M Pourkesali

Since the beginning of this new manufactured crisis, the so called mainstream media has done everything in its power to conceal the facts and spin the details in a way that advances the warmongers objectives. No doubt the propaganda is working as evident by the results of a recent Time /Bloomberg pole that found bout half of those surveyed support military action if Iran continues its nuclear activity. This is reminiscent of the polling done prior to Iraq invasion when about the same percentage gullibly bought the Saddam/911 connection and the WMD he was ready to unleash on us lest we acted >>>

IRAN-U.S.
Why do they hate us?

Interview with Stephen Kinzer, author of "Overthrow" and "All the Shah's Men"
Fariba Amini

Stephen Kinzer is well known in the Iranian community. His book All the Shah’s Men which described the 1953 coup d’etat in Iran reads like a spy novel and won praise both in Iran and the US. Stephen received hundreds of emails and letters from people all over the world including a man who was only a little boy in Philadelphia when Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh went to the Liberty Bell, offering the Iranian nation's friendship for America. That little boy had delivered a bouquet of flowers to the then Prime Minister of Iran. A long time correspondence with the New York Times, he has now left the Times to teach journalism at Northwestern University in Illinois. He was the Times bureau chief in Istanbul, covered wars in Nicaragua, Guatemala as well as Serbia. Now, S. Kinzer is out with a new book, Overthrow: America’s century of regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq >>>

REPLY
Paasokh beh naameh

Replying to Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush
Ali Salari

HUMAN RIGHTS
Saving Nazanin

Former Miss World Canada struggles to save 18-year-old Iranian woman from execution
Darius Kadivar

Afshin-Jam, considers Nazanin to be the real victim rather than the criminal in this case, and is determined to help save the young teenager's life, and is using her own International fame to draw attention to the teenager's predicament. If nothing else, it seems to spur on the determination of Afshin-Jam, a former Warrant Officer First Class of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and a Political Science Student. To raise awareness to this case, she has launched an online petition to support this cause. However, it is very likely that the Iranian Judiciary will carry out the death sentence. This makes Afshin-Jam's petition all the more important and her struggle to save her compatriot all the more urgent >>>

NUCLEAR
Third camp

Iranians and the nuclear issue
Mehdi Amini

Ever since the escalation of tension between Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and the west over Iran’s nuclear program I have tried to follow this issue among the Iranian community abroad. Since the revolution of 1979 not one topic has become as controversial among the Iranian Diaspora as the subject of Iran’s nuclear activities. This paper tries to look at both sides of this issue and propose a third option that can help us to come up with a viable solution out of it. On this issue I have come up with two different views. On one side, are the Iranians of different political ideology who are against the IRI and the other side are those who see this purely from a nationalistic point of view. >>>

IRAN-U.S.
War must be avoided

Time for substantive Iran-US talks
Farhang Jahanpour

On 8th May the Iranian government's spokesman revealed that the Iranian president had sent a letter to President George Bush suggesting new ways of resolving the differences between the two countries. US officials have summarily dismissed it as 'rambling' and not addressing the nuclear standoff. They have also indicated that they do not intend to respond to the letter. However, the very fact that the hard-line Iranian president who had declared only a short time ago that there was no need to talk to the United States has decided to take this unusual step is of enormous significance, at least as a reflection of Iran's internal politics. This is the first time in more than a quarter century since the Islamic revolution that the Iranians have broken the taboo of directly communicating to US officials >>>

LIFE
Two steps for Farivars & Nazanin

Kia Atri

It is not every day that the cause of a fellow Iranian (or fellow Iranians) is championed by those close to or holding the reins of power. There is however a British politician who has chosen to put honour and principal before position and expediency: Claire Short... The Farivar family are in the UK requesting asylum. The UK government wants to deport them. The Right Honourable Claire Short MP has championed her cause. Please sign the petition to both encourage her and keep the cause of an Iranian family alive. If signing that petition killed off two minutes of your time kill another two minutes by signing another to high light the case of the young Nazanin who defended herself against rapists and was condemned to death for having killed one of her assailants. She has had a stay of execution but is not out of the woods yet. Yes this is classic Islamic Republic and you can do something about it as Miss Afshar-Jam did >>>

IRAN-U.S.
My letter to Ahmadinejad

A letter I would have written on behalf of President Bush
Nema Milaninia

As many of you know, Ahmadinejad has recently sent a letter to President Bush discussing, amongst other things, the occupation of Palestine, nuclear technology, the war in Iraq, all of which with references to the teachings of Christ and Moses. Just by reading the letter it is clear that its message objective was not intended for reapproachment. I'm not even sure if it was intended to sincerely guide Bush. Thus, one is left with two alternative objectives: 1) its either intended to mock the US president and point out inconsistencies in his policy and faith, or 2) intended to articulate Ahmadinejad's policy position to the Western word, by which the letter was simply intended to fan the media. I'm intended to believe in the latter position then the former, although both objectives clearly could have been in mind. That being put aside, here's a letter I would have written on behalf of President Bush: Dear President Ahmadinejad >>>

STADIUM
Women can go to stadiums. Not!

Ahmadinejad needs to play women against hardliners and hardliners against women
Ali Dadpay

In the midst of the nuclear agenda, hardening the regulations regarding the veil and collecting satellite dishes from residential areas, President Ahmadinejad announced that women must be welcome in stadiums and sports events. He ordered one of his deputies to make necessary arrangements. Clergies, traditionalists and radicals alike, opposed such policies in most determine language. The most interesting part was the reaction of radical faction of Iran's Parliament (Majlis). Some of its members openly told the residents of Qom that their Fatwas are not law, and won't be obliging until becoming so. Loftier heads had been lost expressing such thoughts in the past. More surprisingly the radical faction of the house is constituted by those who are there because of the support of the same clergies they defied for one brief moment. At the end of the day, President caved in. There won't be any women in stadium for a while. Another episode in the Presidency of Dr. Ahmadinejad is over. But why? >>>

PATRIOTISM
Living up to the Bill of Rights

The word "Patriotism" that may move most Americans may not move me, but this little episode on a TV show did
Hamid Bakhsheshi

I wasn't born in America, so I feel as if either I missed the flag waving and the pledge of legion, and everything else that goes with it, or I was saved from the propaganda that goes with it and some brain-washing that comes with it. I never really did understand all this "we're number 1", "The greatest power", or rhetoric like it. I'm not arguing the validity of it, I just don't relate. So, it gets to be a bit difficult to digest words like freedom and spreading democracy, especially since we hear it in the president's speech eight or nine times in three sentences. A few days ago I walked into my wife's home office and heard words coming out of this guy's mouth that stopped me with hunger to listen to. She had received it as an attachment in an email and it was closing arguments in a court session from an episode of Boston Legal. Now I haven't watched any of the weekly shows, but this bit really got me interested >>>

RESPECT
Making fun of Islam & Muslims

Damon Taghavi

Let's imagine these scenarios:
- The New York Times publishes an ad defamating homosexuals.
- The Atlanta Journal prints an article mocking African-Americans.
- The Wall Street Journal prints a notice that Jewish buisness men/women are stingy.
Now imagine the reaction. Furthermore, imagine everything you have believed in your entire life -- and all things you were told were pure, just, and right -- was now being desecrated by someone you believe to be impure and possibly an enemy of your faith. Point of the matter is to envision ourselves in both perspectives. Now who is to blame? People who've reacted to intolerance or idiots who have as much right to freedom of speech as do Nazi enthusiasts. I ask you not as nationalists but as humanists to respect the beliefs of the people of the world no matter your political views, creed, race or any other divider of men and women on earth. Not so much about freedom of speech but about the respect of peoples. If you dare to disregard other belief systems based on your education, please do re-evaluate that education.

NEPAL
Long live the king!

You have to be a perfect ignoramus or an astoundingly grand idiot to assert that Maoists in Nepal wish to impose a democratic republic
Alidad Vassigh

I do believe the media manipulate people, though probably there is no grand plot. Check the images from Nepal, and you will see the usual riff-raff in the street, and doubtless members of the middle class (in scenes reminiscent of events almost 30 years ago in an ill-fated country not a million miles from Nepal), shouting and waving red flags with the hammer-and-sickle. These are the democracy protesters, and no news agency or website mentions any communist agitators and sympathizers among them. An AP or Reuters report explained recently in the background verbiage that concludes every report that Nepal's government has for years been fighting against Maoist rebels who want to replace the monarchy with a "democratic republic." >>>

QUESTION
Marketable art

Parsa Pezeshki

It is quite a widespread notion: the incontestable reign of money in our world. Time is money; money is power; money is the root of all evil, money corrupts... and so the trite sayings carry on. The continuous recurrence of such sayings, though, does not detract from their truthfulness. Indeed, the reign of currency, as we know it today, ought to be dethroned. Contemporarily, in light of dominant materialistic values, money decides the direction of travel in most journeys of life. Nevertheless, what has just been said is merely the exterior; money's extensive influence is rather obvious to most >>>

PETITION
Validating Washington's baseless claims

Daniel M Pourkesali

Dear Directors of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, As concerned citizens of the world while appreciating CPD's effort drafting a statement opposing a war against Iran, we regretfully decline to sign it due to several contradictory remarks and overall misleading language of this announcement. Notwithstanding, however, if the language of text is changed to accommodate our concerns, we would campaign for its universal acceptance. Your statement begins correctly exposing the hostile intents of the U.S. administration by "manufacturing a climate of fear in order to prepare public opinion for another act of aggression, this time against Iran", yet in the very next sentence -- "three years ago it was the specter of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction; today it's the Iranian nuclear bomb", the word alleged is missing with regard to Iranian activities... The rest of your statement is a diatribe of numerous accusations against the current regime which infringes in an area totally outside your jurisdiction. >>>

IRAN-U.S.
Only Bush can go to Iran

It is time for a new approach to Iran
Hamid Bahadori

The current U.S. policy in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions has only one unavoidable outcome: Iran having a nuclear weapons much sooner than most would like to believe. Unfortunately, that’s the good news! The bad news is that in pursuing this bizarre policy, the process itself will yield more serious long-term threats to the U.S. national interests than Iran’s nuclear bombs. Most political “pundits”, including some in the current administration, appear amazingly ignorant to history’s tectonic forces. Their concept of world history barely stretches back past World War I, and the new paradigms of “globalization” exhilarate them into a Utopian vision of world peace through a universally shared shopping experience at Wal-Mart while watching MTV on big screens >>>

RELIGION
Rasmiyat dar Mesr

On Kayhan's response to the official recognition of the Bahai faith in Egypt
Kavian S. Milani

LETTERS
Will it take a Chernobyl-type accident?

In the Wed. May 3 BBC article by Frances Harrison, "Iranian author arrested in Tehran," linked right here on iranian.com, there is an important point that is brought up by Akbar Ganji. The last paragraph of the article reads: "[Mr. Ganji] questioned why in Iran there is no real debate on the nuclear issue, saying every where else in the world civil society groups protest against nuclear power plans, but in Iran everyone lines up to defend them." This is a classic example of "hameh raa aab bordeh, ma raa khaab." Will it take a Chernobyl-type accident to convince people that nuclear power is a bad idea? Can't we, and our civil society groups, find a saner cause to rally around? >>> More

GOD
Man-made and backward

All institutionalized religions are
Jeff Omail

I guess Brother Thomas is itching for a reply here. In this case, let me tell you that your non-sense and inhumane letter to Iranian.com once again points to continual clash between reason and religion in the modern world. Your raised issues attest to this fact that the mankind can not anticipate to survive the existing religion differences indefinitely. As it appears, WMD are and soon will be in control of vicious religious zealots. Where not science has pioneered, these self-believed heads have "clandestinely" mastered "communication" with their insane and brutal "GOD". Their Gods share many similar traits, however, the most common one is the intolerance. Their mission is to deliver death sentence to "infidel" humans on earth with no fear. Heaven is reward.

WORLD CUP
No rights, no sports

It's the IRI in the World Cup, not Iran
Jahanshah Rashidian

An international sport boycott of the IRI must be debated over the drastic record of human rights of the IRI, not because of the Ahmadinejad’s views. Ban of apartheid in sport was a correct means for sensibilities world opinion against that anti-human regime. The same ban can principally also be decided for the similar reasons on the anti-human IRI. Although there are some calls in Germany, demanding a ban of Iran for being a huge terrorist supporter, the German government, by chanting its virtues, has so far not taken a position on that or on the permanent violations of human rights in Iran. Regarding many similarities between the apartheid and the IRI, the German government should expressly answer the question that what the reasons are that the IRI has not been banned from the WC and why the IRI’s crimes are unnoticed.

OPINION
Dancing to Western music

Open letter to Iran's Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi
Rostam Pourzal

Apparently you do not realize, Ms. Ebadi, that in the country that leads this pack, the United States, no third political party has been allowed by the two majors to emerge in at least a century. Do you know that no candidate of any persuasion stands any chance of being nominated for a national office (and most other elected positions) unless the super wealthy class here greases his/her campaign wheels with cash? You have rightfully complained elsewhere that the theocratic hierarchy limits political competition in Iran. Does it not bother you then what happens to the aspirations of tens of millions of Americans whose spokespersons rarely win a seat unless they compromise their fidelity to their average constituents?

NAME
Searching for Suri

A more comprehensive explanation of the meaning of "Suri" in the Persian language
Kaveh T.

I found the comments, and also disagreements on the meaning of Suri in the Persian language interesting, and thought that this might shed some light on this topic. Since I realize that this discussion initially arose, apparently, by Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise's remarks about the meaning of the name for their newly born daughter Suri, I have written this for them as well. For the purpose of, as the saying goes, getting to the point and not making this explanation lengthy and boring, I shall refrain from explaining the real or most likely, plausible historic roots and also ancient affiliations to this word (as specifically related to its meaning and usage for celebration, and also to the color red).

SHORTS
I pray for more earthquakes

Brother Thomas

Regarding your web site, in which you have solicited donations for survivors of the earthquake in Iran, you need to understand the earthquake was part of God's plan. First, let us admit that Muhammad himself was an infidel who rejected Jesus as the Son of God. Second, your people have consistently used the excuse of "jihad" to kill innocent people throughout the world. All people are God's children, and all killing is unjust; when we kill our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are, in fact, killing Jesus himself all over again. As Muslims reject Christianity, the frequent earthquake in Iran are God's retribution for your infidelity to Him. I feel sorry for the innocents but, let's face it: if any nation deserves it, it is yours. In all honesty, I pray for more earthquakes, plagues, starvation, and sickness to befall your nation: maybe then you will stop threatening the rest of the world with your idiotic behavior and rejection of the Son of God. Shalom, my brother. Order of Franciscans of the Lax Observance, Texas Catholic Worker, Round Rock, Texas.

IRAN-U.S.
Fear is the real enemy

Fear always wins, and in our case too, fear is winning again
Behrouz Bahmani

The inability of the most sophisticated military and clandestine information gathering organization in the world to somehow be incapable of hunting down and bringing to justice, the man or men behind 911 becomes somewhat plausible, if not all the more convenient. If fear is the valid intention, having a real boogeyman has its advantages. Now, around this time, the typical cowardly Iranian in me says that I've made my point and I can end this article right here. Our character as faint of heart Iranians seems to allow us to easily criticize the US, whether we live inside or outside of it. Our unique observational skills it seems is always conveniently pointed outward, never willing to consider the stains, skidmarks, and soil of our own land and laundry. So I attempt to purge myself of this sin in this piece. Forgive me if I don't get it right, it is a new page for me. Maybe for you as well.

SHORTS
Threat? Prove it.

Guive Mirfendereski

In order to prescribe the UN Charter's Chapter 7 sanctions against Iran, the Security Council needs to determine that Iran is a threat to international peace and security. If Iran is a threat to international peace and security, then how does it follow that causing a wider war from the Oxus to the Mediterranean necessarily will address the international concern over peace and security!? It will be unfortunate -- if not a dereliction of duty -- if the Security Council should bypass the requirements of Chapter 6 of the Charter, which demands of the Member States to resolve their differences peacefully.

SHORTS
Airing out dirty laundry

Asghar Massombagi

It doesn't take a brilliant strategist to figure out that a smaller weaker Iran with preferably smaller share of its vast oil reserves is easier to control and deal with for the military-industrial-petroleum complex headquartered in the White House. Breaking up and reconfiguring nations is an old power game. And yet, airing out dirty laundry is the best way to assure the long term health of any community. Collective amnesia never helped any group. Old wounds sooner or later surface and contaminate everyone involved; just look at the Balkans... It's silly to think that the past twenty-seven years somehow has been a national nightmare brought upon by a foreign virus. That said, the majority Shia has suffered the most as a result of the current regime. The majority of those executed, imprisoned and forced into exile have been in fact the so-called Persian Shia Iranians. And yet, no one can ask an Iranian Jew or Armenian or Bahai to shut her mouth and not talk about their experiences.

KURDISTAN
The blame game

Anti-US stance is only music to the ears of those who prefer status quo and reign of brutal tyrants in the Middle East
Kamal Artin

Since Southern Kurdistan is becoming an establishment, its leaders and supporters have become the target of usual criticism by intellectuals. However, at times, such criticism has gone too far, similar to expecting a baby to walk before she or he learns to crawl. As an example a respectable Kurdish intellectual blamed a US leader for the unpredictable chaos in Baghdad and compared him to a fascist, although the criticized leader for whatever reason had been courageous enough to end the reign of a malicious dictator such as Saddam. I can not support everything that the US stands for, but an anti US attitude to the extent of calling its leaders fascists and ignoring the true fascists in the Middle East is as biased as the attitude of Stalin or Ayatollahs. Clearly not everything that shines in the US is golden nor are the US leaders any saints; however, compared to some Western leaders who might have traits of self centeredness and narcissism, most Middle Eastern tyrants have psychopathic traits.

RIGHTS
Black census

Counting minorities is an omen of bad prospects and evil designs ahead
Iqbal Latif

Asma Jilani Jahangir, born 1952, Lahore, is a Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions. The name of Asma Jehangir, human rights activist, commands respect, admiration and affection in the Indian sub-continent comprising India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. According to her, the new wave of Bahai persecution in Iran is a gross infringement of UN Declaration of Human rights. The Special Rapporteur made public a confidential and official letter sent on 29 October 2005 by the chairman of the command headquarters of Iran's armed forces to several Iranian government agencies stating that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has instructed the command headquarters to identify and monitor, in a highly confidential manner, members of the Bahai faith in Iran.

LETTERS
You're not so rational either

On Rod Liddle's Sunday Times piece, "We may have to bomb Iran": Dear Rod Liddle, There is something worse than living in a world where Iran has nuclear weapons: one where ill-informed and illiterate columnists prescribe war as a cure in international relations as casually as a GP might headache tablets. Iran's president is not a particularly rational man. Nor, judging by your impatience to bomb the Iranian people, and the intellectual poverty of your arguments -- shrouded by your shockingly jokey tone -- are you. Please, read a few books about a country before you recommend bombing it. And these are countries, Mr Liddle, with people, with histories, not clusters of nuisance coons as you might think >>> More

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mage.com

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

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