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Opinion

SEPTEMBER 2006
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VIEW
Back to (religious) school

New school year in Iran
Jahanshah Rashidian

The new academic year started last week and schools in Iran open for about 15 million school pupils. As expected, the government of Ahmadinejad has planned new measures of islamisation -- Education Ministry announced a ban on male teachers from girl schools. Furthermore, “all students have to take part in the daily ritual in communal halls”, state-run media reported. As reflected in the decisive restriction of Islamic norms, according to state media and forceful calls of Hardliners, Tehran police Chief Brigadier General Morteza Tala’i announced the formation of a new “Youth Police” which will be present in schools across the city. This extra police are in place to mainly enforce measures of gender segregation, against non-Islamic attitudes and especially to threaten school girls who are considered to be “bad hijab”. The idea of definitive gender segregation is the main obsession of the IRI >>>

AGGRESSION
A bodyguard of lies

U.S. pretexts for war against Iran
Ardeshir Ommani

To build its case for war with Iraq, just as in its current claims against Iran, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But even then, countless principled individuals in position of authority in the U.S. and around the world laid bare the truth that the U.S. ruling class led by the White House had another reason for war: U.S. unconditional control over the oil resources of the Middle East as a crucial stepping stone in its way towards global dominance. In fact, the U.S. government was lying then, and it is lying now about Iran's nuclear weapons' ambitions >>>

AMERICA
Wars and debts and taxes

Wars have eaten away at our liberty, crippled our economy, intensified our national debt and shamed our image as the "land of the free."
Michael Boldin

Recently, an Associated Press report reaffirmed to me that the leadership of the two major political parties in America are totally in favor of continuing war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The Senate agreed to spend an additional $63 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as lawmakers passed a massive bill that funds the Pentagon. The bill sailed through by a vote of 98-0. I was immediately reminded of a common sense observation by Thomas Paine: "In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes." Interestingly enough, that doesn't sound much different than what we experience today! >>>

TERRORISM
The root of all these causes

To avoid an endless cycle of terrorism you have to address the root abuses
Nema Milaninia

Before I begin let me state that I agree completely with assessments made by the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on “Trends in Global Terrorism.” One thing that struck me, however, was the following conclusion: “Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq “jihad;” (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims-all of which jihadists exploit” I have two points: First, the report ignorantly uses the word “jihad” to define a set of circumstances which counter what Muslims traditionally view to be a jihad >>>

IRAN-IRAQ
Constant conflict

Despite their different histories, no matter who has occupied present day territories of Iran and Iraq, the two nations have always gone to war with each other
Mazi Bahadori

While I was watching TV a few days ago, I turned the channel to CNN and saw, in bold letters printed at the bottom of screen, "Iraq cozying up to Iran". Wolf Blitzer was interviewing President Bush, asking him about the Iraqi Prime Minister's recent trip to Tehran. I didn't think much of it, so I turned to FOX News. About ten minutes later, a commentator asked an analyst on the show if he felt Iran and Iraq were getting too close and too friendly. But these discussions should not come as a surprise. Iran is making the news much more these days and so the networks need to talk about something on their shows. However ridiculous the notion of an Iran-Iraq love fest may be, the media insists on talking about it at every opportunity. Hopefully, the public can sift through this silly idea and see what is truly underneath Iran and Iraq's relationship. Maybe a bit of history will help >>>

VIEW
True two-face

Iran vs. world community
Sohrab Ferdows

United Nations general assembly came and went while different parts of the world are suffering from violence, poverty and injustice imposed on them mostly by the corrupted systems that falsely represent the people in those regions. The major issue which was brought in the focus of the world in this event, was the problem that world is facing as a result of irresponsible behaviors of Islamic regime in our country, Iran. After wasting so many months through endless negotiations between EU and U.S from one side and Islamic regime of Iran from the other side, and after passing of the deadlines determined by international community, world is yet to see a solution to this matter. Iranian people who are suffering under extreme brutalities of Islamic theocratic regime and paralyzed by deep corruption of the system, have chosen to wait and see how international community deal with these self appointed representatives of god on earth >>>

KALAAFEH
Doing business, Iranian style

Judging by my infrequent encounter with Iranian businesses in Vancouver not much has changed in the way Iranians do business with each other
Asghar Massombagi

When dealing with Iranian businesses you must first throw away all that you have learned about business etiquette in North America. You mustn't ask too many questions lest you offend the other party. You must certainly not ask about the exact cost, time of delivery or condition your merchandize will arrive in. At the beginning doing business resembles a rendezvous with a lover, fraught with all the trepidations, tender gestures and kind suggestions. Once a few years ago at an Iranian notary public recommended by a friend, after the proprietor, an elderly gentleman with a sour puss, had typed and sealed the invitation I was to send to my mother in Iran for her tourist visa application, I asked the man for his fee. He of course responded with the customary "it's not worthy of you." I was tempted to walk out just to see how far the old man would go to collect his fee >>>

MEDIA
Any good journalists left?

(Questions that were not asked from Ahmadinejad)
Morib

Last week we witnessed Ahmadinejad's theatrical performance in UN lecturing US and rest of the world on peace, justice, freedom of expression and importance of democracy through democratic referendums. When asked about his comments regarding existence of state of Israel he suggested a referendum in what is known as Palestine to decide the faith of the state of Israel. I listened and read most of the text to Mahmood's interviews with US journalists such as Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams, Mike Wallis and other network anchors, and I'm sad to say that my 80 year old mother, who could barely read and write, could have done a much better job asking president of Iran more serious and relevant questions >>>

PROFILE
Fast-forward man

Interview with Jim Muir, who has reported from the Middle East for more than 20 years
Peyvand Khorsandi

The BBC journalist Jim Muir is currently in Baghdad. Before that he was in Scotland, stealing a couple of weeks' rest after reporting the war in Lebanon -- having just come from Iraq. For more than 20 years the Middle East has been his territory. From 1999 to 2004 he reported from Tehran where he successfully trod the tightrope of reporting the truth while not falling foul of the authorities. For many Iranians, his name remains as synonymous with Iran as Mark Tully's is with India. Below he outlines why he still chooses to operate in life -- threatening circumstances -- why he doesn’t eat lamb and his favourite Persian nosh >>>

SPACE
Nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami
Parkhash

Let me make it simple for you: Let's assume that, Anousheh Ansari, is a brilliant, super intelligent, hardworking, ambitious, business guru and possesses all the positive features that you may wish to attribute to her... The fact that every average worker in the country, be it a civil servant, a teacher, or a nurse, must have three jobs in a day to make ends meet may go unnoticed by the Iranian settlers of the United States who left their troubled homeland behind and arrived in the land of opportunity to make their American dreams a reality, but it is adding insult to injury to suggest that Ms Ansari, is in any way representing her homeland by paying an astronomical sum of $20 million to realise her dream of a space adventure. What consolation is that to all the down and out of her impoverished homeland? >>>

STUNT
Space tourist & the Islamic Republic

On Anousheh Ansari's commercial space travel
Omid Masoudi

ROOTS
Take five

I recently came across an Indo-European Etymological Database containing lots of interesting stuff about word origins. Eat your heart out Guive!
Shahriar Zahedi

All this talk of impending war and doom and gloom and the Pope's all-too-German statements and the President's threats and the Wahhabis' jihadists and the UN addresses and nuclear this and the nuclear that and Fidel's disease and Raul's unease at the podium and the NPT and the IAEA and the coup in Siam, all and all, have really got me down. I say let's take a break. What do you say? I recently came across an Indo-European Etymological Database containing lots of interesting stuff about word origins. Eat your heart out Guive! Browsing through the Proto-Celtic section, I found a number of words eerily similar to Persian. I had always thought that the country names Eye-ran and Eye-rland sounded so close, but comparing the red-faced, red-haired Irish to the olive-skinned, dark-haired Iranians, one fails to notice any other similarity between the two peoples >>>

COUNTERPOINT
Letter to Mr. Ganji

Your well-intentioned letter is addressing the people of a nation that are being scared into giving up their liberties in exchange for security
Daniel M Pourkesali

I read with interest your earnest appeal in "Letter to America" posted in Washington Post today. I appreciate and share many of the views you've expressed and the necessary measures needed to ease tensions between Iran and the United States. I also fully understand your lingering bitterness and bias against Iranian government which is a natural reaction to your unjust and gratuitous 6-year long incarceration. What I found perplexing was your total lack of acknowledgement of the human rights violations you so vehemently abhor by the country your letter addresses. If you had an opportunity to keep up with or catch up on world affairs, United States in particular, in the last few years, you would be shocked to learn that those very rights are under attack and flagrantly violated in America today >>>

MIDDLE EAST
Imperial assault and tasks for the left

Interviewing Alex Callinicos, member of the Central Committee of Socialist Workers Party and Professor of European Studies at Kings College, London
Ardeshir Mehrdad

This imperialist offensive suffers three main problems. First and most fundamental, it has evoked powerful resistance, above all in Iraq itself, where the US seems to be bogged down in an unwinnable counter-insurgency war. We now see Israel too beginning to face similar difficulties thanks to Hezbollah's very effective defence against the Israel Defence Force’s assault on Lebanon. Secondly, compared to the 1991 Gulf War, the current ‘war on terrorism’ lacks international legitimacy thanks to the Bush administration’s unilateralism and its contempt for human rights (Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram ...). Some commentators, for example Giovanni Arrighi, argue that we are witnessing a broader crisis of US hegemony >>>

REACTION
Bahsse manteghi!

Islam, Muslims and rational discourse
Sudabeh Siavashan

NUCLEAR
We're not worthy?

The strategy of the Western countries vis-à-vis Iran is nothing short of nuclear apartheid
Daniel M Pourkesali

The way we perceive things is directly determined by the manner it is packaged and then repeated over and over until we accept them as truth both at cognizant and unconscious level. I sighted the following familiar example often in the news: "Iran refuses to suspend its uranium enrichment activity, which can produce among other things, the material for atomic bombs. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for generating electricity but the West believes Iran wants to make nuclear weapons." This should've been self evident but apparently our friend did not find anything wrong with the way it is worded which intentionally manipulates the mind and creates an impression on the part of the unsuspecting public that Uranium enrichment is an unlawful act associated only with producing atomic bombs >>>

BUSH
Losing to Ahmadinejad. That hurts.
Nema Milaninia

Ahmadinjead's popularity (and yes I do see him becoming more popular around the world) is more due to Bush's incompetence and inability then his own policy. The fact is, no one trusts Bush and no one trusts the American government. This administration has made mistake after mistake after mistake. It has lied to go to war which has benefitted largely only those large corporations which secure projects in Iraq (i.e. cronies close to the administration). It seeks to completely revert and roll-back generations of human rights standards. It stands hostage to a slight minority which has fundamentalist religious objectives equal to any terrorist group which espouses radical ideals about Islam. It has abused the notion of democracy and human rights and employed double standards in their implementation >>>

IDEAS
Let there be light

Respecting other people's rights and distinct values, or the ideology of enlightenment
Ben Madadi

Many peoples all around the world are, and have been, living tragedies. Emancipated and free peoples make up a very small number compared to those who live sorrowful lives. One of the peoples who live tragic lives, is the Iranian people. It's no surprise for the Iranians as they have been doing this for all their history. Iranians have recently, ie in their modern history, been taught to be proud of a very distant past when they had supposedly been living much more dignified lives. That is just a manipulative sham as Iranians, as a people, have never been either free or truly proud or dignified. They have only been bigger or smaller tyrants with sometimes more and sometimes less success in their ambitious conquests >>>

VIEW
Short of religious wars

While Pope John Paul II focused on communism, his successor is more concerned about political Islam
Jahanshah Rashidian

Although the Pope reflects some animosity in the West to whatever is Islamic, clearly he is aware of the delicacy of the issue. He was not reflecting the judgment of most western people over the depth of crimes committed by Islamists. Benedict is careful not to mention about many crimes of political Islam, including many thousand executions of the IRI. As a religious leader of his stature, he knows that religious crimes are not only due to Islam, but also to the past Christianity. Benedict XVI is a defender of traditional Catholic values and has always emphasized their importance in the survival of Western civilisation. For Europeans, especially for his compatriot Germans, he is considered to be a right-wing conservative and even a fundamentalist Pope. His controversial Nazi background shows his conscious ideological background -- the pontiff was voluntarily enrolled in the Hitler Youth in 1941 when the Catholic Church was still approving Nazi ideology >>>

 

RELIGION
Proving the Pope right

Muslims wear their religion on their sleeves and the slightest contrary wind disturbs its cozy sanctified perch
Amil Imani

No sooner the Muslims learned of this comment than, once again, rage engulfed them. They became indignant, hysterical and ready to war. Not long ago, there was the report, published by a rag seeking to boost its sacking circulation, that American military personnel have flushed the Quran down the toilet: A physical impossibility that turned out to be baseless, upon investigation. Yet, Muslim Street bellowed with anger, attacks on non-Muslims and their properties were unleashed and lives were lost in the violence. Before long, we had the imbroglio of the Danish cartoons insulting Muhammad, as the Muslim saw it. Embassies were torched, boycotts were enacted and all kinds of threats were hurled at the tiny nation for one of its newspapers printing cartoons that Muslims felt were offensive >>>

RELIGION
Mazerat-khaahiye Pop

Pope's apology will not solve Islam's problem
Ali Salari

VIEW
Cheapening of the word

None of this religious row should be earth-shattering for anyone, Christian or Muslim
Maziar Shirazi

Both Christianity and Islam have been invoked as the justification for millions of deaths and uncountable lifelong subjugations of peoples throughout history.  Both religious institutions have profited financially and grown in terms of geography and population from killing, intimidating, raping, taxing, and subjugating others, and today flourish over lands and peoples who at one point in history, if they wanted to continue to live as equals or at all, were forced to accept Deus or Allah (often times they had to switch from one to the other).  These two faiths would not be as widespread or as culturally significant as they are today if it wasn’t for the heinous crimes that were committed in their names throughout history. Am I saying that Christianity and Islam are bad?  No.  I’m just saying that Christianity does not have a clean slate, and neither does Islam; nor does Judaism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, or any other longstanding, government-backed, institutionalized religion, for that matter.  I’ll stand by my word on that >>>

MIRROR
All of us

One only needs to click through the pages of iranian.com to see that we really are a remarkable people
Lance Raheem

Iranian.com should celebrate its good-fortune to count amonst its many talented contributors: intellectuals, philosophers, business leaders, comedians, columnists, health-gurus, religious fanatics, religious apologists' monarchists, republicans, communists, romantics, soft and not-so-soft pornographers, entertainers of every kind, and just regular people, young and old. While we may not like every article published or agree with every opinion expressed we are truly blessed as a community to have access to a site in which so many diverse ideas can be expressed >>>

WOMEN
It's good to be a woman (in the USA)
Faramarz Fateh

Yesterday as I was browsing through the new Nordstrom catalogue, I noticed that the first 47 pages were dedicated to women, a few to children and the last 6 pages to men. It got me thinking. Most everything, with the exception of male entertainment such as topless dancing establishments, ARE really for benefit of women. If a woman has bad skin, there are 100s of products to heal and conceal the "bad" skin. If a man has bad skin, well, he is shit out of luck. If a woman is short, she can wear 4" heels; can you imagine a guy wearing 4" heels? I agree that 99% of guys probably don't want to wear heels, but what if a guy did? >>>

WOMEN
It's good to be a woman (in the USA)
Faramarz Fateh

Yesterday as I was browsing through the new Nordstrom catalogue, I noticed that the first 47 pages were dedicated to women, a few to children and the last 6 pages to men. It got me thinking. Most everything, with the exception of male entertainment such as topless dancing establishments, ARE really for benefit of women. If a woman has bad skin, there are 100s of products to heal and conceal the "bad" skin. If a man has bad skin, well, he is shit out of luck. If a woman is short, she can wear 4" heels; can you imagine a guy wearing 4" heels? I agree that 99% of guys probably don't want to wear heels, but what if a guy did? >>>

THIRD CAMP
Good for everybody

Interview with Hamid Taqvaee: Human beings have the same values everywhere in the world
Maryam Namazie

Hamid Taqvaee: If you have a look at the political situation of our era, it seems that there are mainly two forces that actually determine everything in the political arena in the Middle East, the west and even the world. These two forces are the USA and its allies on the one hand and Islamic terrorism on the other. But the fact is that it is not only these two. What we are saying is that neither of these two forces actually represents people. Even people living in Islamist societies, and I can say especially those people, are not represented by political Islam, or by Islamic governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Third Camp addresses that force which represents the majority of people of the world – a majority which has no interest in the war between these two poles of Islamic and US-led terrorism. They reap no benefits from their war >>>

LEGITIMACY
Haakemiyate "bar hagh"

State authority & legitimacy in Iranian history
Esmail Nooriala

IDEAS
Musaddiq’s conception of constitutionalism

Based on his arguments before the court that tried him in 1953
Keyvan Tabari

September 17 (26 of Shahrivar) is when the deposition of Mohammad Musaddiq began for his trial after his overthrow in the year 1953. In the current centennial year of the 1906 Iranian Constitution, at the Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies in London, I presented a summary of the attached paper on Musaddiq's conception of constitutionalism. I submit it herewith for publication in Iranian.com as an appropriate contemporary forum most accessible to interested readers and hospitable to interactive response. This piece reflects the perspective of a lawyer on constitutional issues involved in treating the legacy of a singular person about whom nearly all have opinions. Controversies surrounding the life and myth of Musaddiq only highlight his immense significance, especially for secular liberal opposition in Iran >>>

IDEAS
Musaddiq’s conception of constitutionalism

Based on his arguments before the court that tried him in 1953
Keyvan Tabari

September 17 (26 of Shahrivar) is when the deposition of Mohammad Musaddiq began for his trial after his overthrow in the year 1953. In the current centennial year of the 1906 Iranian Constitution, at the Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies in London, I presented a summary of the attached paper on Musaddiq's conception of constitutionalism. I submit it herewith for publication in Iranian.com as an appropriate contemporary forum most accessible to interested readers and hospitable to interactive response. This piece reflects the perspective of a lawyer on constitutional issues involved in treating the legacy of a singular person about whom nearly all have opinions. Controversies surrounding the life and myth of Musaddiq only highlight his immense significance, especially for secular liberal opposition in Iran >>>

9/11
Bullhorn moment

And the Neo-Con agenda
Daniel M Pourkesali

On the fifth anniversary of the terrible events on 9/11/2001, the airwaves are filled with coverage of ceremonies and memorials honoring those who perished as a result of these horrific and heinous attacks as well as speeches by our leaders and countless analysis by the so called experts using this day to instill fear in the heart of the masses and promote their idea of "War on Terror" as a way to keep us safe from another attack. Those who dare to question the effectiveness of this policy are immediately discredited and the fact that we have not experienced a similar attack on American soil in the past 5 years is used to justify the adoption of that strategy. So the question we must ask ourselves is this: Are we really safer as a result of assuming that hostile posture? >>>

ROLE MODEL
Fame, fortune & false hopes

Anousheh Ansari is not a role model for having paid the $10 million to go to space
Azam Nemati

It always saddens me to see female members of the younger generation when they come across as airheads focusing on insignificant matters considering the opportunities they have to make a difference by all the learning opportunities available to them in the West... Either this writer [see: "Rocket on Anousheh"] is not surrounded by highly educated and compassionate Iranians or she is isolated because you talk to anyone with average intelligence and they will tell you Mrs. Ansari is not a role model for having paid the $10 million to be on the list of people wanting to go to space. Those opinions are from people of all nationalities which I hear from. That kind of money can empower many people to be a valuable member of the society and make a difference. Mrs. Ansari's ambitions to make a name for herself and boost her ego. God forbid she would quote an Iranian because we have shortage of valuable quotes from our brilliant pats and present people >>>

CHANGE
Rocket on Anousheh
Saman Ahmadi

My mom, who lives about 90 miles from me, recently had the satellite that receives the Iranian channels installed. I visit her on some weekends and channel-surfed through the 1001 Persian language stations a couple weeks ago... We pride ourselves on the 2,500-year heritage of a culture that has produced great art and science and this is what we show the world we can do with freedom? I will be walking a little taller next week when Anousheh Ansari roars into space on a Russian craft. I lived in Dallas when she and her husband ran Telecom Technologies – one of my friends worked there. In the her interview with The New Times, she said that “[a] guiding principle of her life... is a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi: ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ ” >>>

SEEGHEH
Shot in the dark
Guive Mirfendereski

A friend was wondering a day ago if the word "sex" has anything to do with the word "seegheh," that very familiar notion in Shi'ite Islam, which means to contract girls, women and gum-job grannies for carnal purposes of a determined or indeterminate duration. The friend signed off his inquiry by saying, that his conjuration represented a "shot in the dark." First, a word about seegheh! Presumably the child born from such "union" is legit and that is all that the institution tries to protect. Oh, yes, as long as the chick is seegheh, her family cannot get indignant and rip off the horny bastard. Because one cannot be seegheh to more than one person, this established the monopoly of the male over the object of his affection, depriving other males from vying for her -- legally!! >>>

PREDICTION
Nobody survives

From September 11 to Operation Iran Secularization
Cyrus Mossaddegh

Let's assume the up-coming negotiations over Iran's nuclear energy program totally breaks down and nothing is agreed to and everybody goes home angry and fed up. Or, as they say in Texas, "All bets are off." And so Condi and Rummy are given orders by Cheney to get the ball rolling on Operation Iran Secularization. Accusations that Iran is behind attacks against Americans in Iraq escalate, but this time backed up with "solid evidence": such as photographs, capture of "spies", video confessions, and communication intercepts. A Murdoch owned newspaper reports that a platoon of American GI's taking it easy in peaceful northern Iraq, are captured and being held by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran denies it. Kurds suspect Israeli agents are behind the deception >>>

NUCLEAR
Do we really need nuclear technology?

And why such secrecy and lack of transparency if Iran's intentions are peaceful?
G. Rahmanian

Pay closer attention to the threatening tone of the Iranian leaders and the warmongering rhetoric coming out of Iran. What is being said these days about wiping out Israel and conquering "Ghods" may be dismissed as insubstantial slogans by most Iranians, but the rest of the concerned world is certainly disturbed by the use of such language. They find these statements alarming. They see a nuclear Iran as a danger to its neighbors and other countries in the region. And they do not see this kind of rhetoric as independent of the mentality to possess and use nuclear weapons. These are plausible threats that are rooted in the history of Iran after 1979, which began with the idea to export the "Islamic Revolution." >>>

PERSPECTIVE
Denied potential

Winning a Nobel prize is the last thing on mind of a person whose country has been attacked and exploited, either ideologically or physically, by internal and external forces for centuries
Dokhtar Shirazi

Surely, based on the statistics that you have provided the Jewish population have made higher academic achievements than Muslims, but if one closely examines the data, one would realize that most of the achievements have been made after World War II, when most of the Jewish population had migrated to America, Australia or western European countries and as such have had the opportunity to flourish their talents and abilities in peaceful and “democratic” countries, free from conflict, poverty and other impediments that prevent a person, being a Jew, Christian or Muslim, from fully realizing their true potentials. That does not mean Muslims are less capable and/or have a genetically predisposition gene for being violent. Contrary to the Jewish population, most Muslims do not live in peaceful countries, as they have live in extreme poverty and other horrific situations which leave little or no room for flourishing one’s true potentials, let alone winning a Nobel prize! >>>

9/11
Five years later

Finding the perpetrators should be formulated according to our democratic values, not to those which violate them
Ali Akbar Mahdi

Surely, this event has amounted to a lot more than what we thought it would be at the time, and day by day it gains meanings and significance far beyond our imagination. It has certainly turned our sense of certainty into an extraordinary sense of uncertainty, and likewise, our security into insecurity. As tragic as this event has been, it would be more tragic if in our attempt to contain its effects we lost the sight of its causes, or worse, to use that event for partisan political gains and narrow ideological agendas -- be it at home or abroad. Yet, a closer look at what happened and how we reacted to it reveals much more about our inability to grapple with forces and realities that led to those chaotic events, than our ability to use overwhelming military power. September 11 has certainly changed the world, but more so ourselves >>>

9/11
Disrupting life

That's all the terrorists want. They can't do more than that.
Ben Madadi

Behind any act of human aggression there is always an act of injustice. Although mass aggression shall not be legitimised, it is a sign of not just evil intentions by the aggressor but also of some sort of injustice toward the aggressor. There may be isolated cases of individuals with psychological problems inclined toward aggression toward others, but when there is a case of a large number of people who are willing to inflict pain on others and risk their own lives or existing resources or possibilities, then there is much more to them than just some psychological disorder >>>

ZOROATRIANS
Freshen up
Arash

Here we got at most two hundred thousands people who believe rest of the 6 billion people on this planet are dead wrong! I am speaking of Zoroastrians [See NY TImes: "Zoroastrians Keep the Faith, and Keep Dwindling"]. They are so convinced of their righteousness that the main headache they have is how to avoid inter marriages in order not to dilute their sect. I mean give me a break! Now, I am not saying these are bad people or anything like that. Most likely they are very decent people with good moral values but again after few thousands years they have to freshen up >>>

VIEW
Slap in the face

Khatami’s visit proves that the Bush administration continues ignoring concerns about the steady deterioration of human rights in Iran
Jahanshah Rashidian

Khatami is regarded by some western media as Iran's first reformist president. The focus of his presedency was however on the rule of law and democracy in the framework of the IRI’s Islamic Constitution. In actuality, Khatami’s presidency was the continuation of the IRI’s totalitarian system with repeated acts of terrors: violence and repression against the values of democracy, maiming of peaceful student demonsterations of Tehran University, closure of over 20 reformist newspapers, systematic assaults against Iranians like, “bad veiled” women, religious minorities and all the freedom-loving people of Iran are just a few samples during his presidency. His claims of reform was in fact an attempt in making up a democratic face for his brutal political Islam >>>

SECULARISM
Mazhab zodaaee va hokoomat

Words, religion & the state
Esmail Nooriala

VIEW
Neoliberal Ahmadinejad

Neoliberal policies introduced during Ahmadinjead's presidency are far more wide-ranging and ruthless than anything Khatami or Rafsanjani could have envisaged
Yassamine Mather

1988 marked the beginning of the onslaught of neoliberal capital, albeit with an Islamic face. It was the beginning of a new era, where IMF loans dictated levels of privatisation, where mass unemployment, casualisation and the denial of basic workers’ rights became the order of the day and the contradictory yet cosy coexistence of global capital and shia islam became a reality. It saw the introduction of devastating neoliberal economic policies that are as valid today as they were during the presidencies of Hashemi Rafsanjani or Mohammad Khatami >>>

CONSPIRACY
Pulling up the curtain

The regime in Iran has been and still is (secretly) in bed with the United States
Jalil Bahar

The key in politics is to see what people are doing not saying. In the United States especially, there is a keen political tradition of saying one thing forcefully and then quietly doing the opposite. US rhetoric and subsequent actions on Iran have followed the same pattern. The regime in Iran has been accused of everything under the sun – yet strangely life goes on unimpeded for the regime… day after day, year after year, decade after decade. The Mullahs have ruled for longer than the former Shah – and achieved every single goal they have set out for themselves. They have been very successful. In our interconnected global economy no one can succeed without approval and assistance of the United States. Yes, the Mullah’s have ruled through covert US government support. They are in bed with each other. How could this be? >>>

IDEAS
Pacifism might save Iranians

If the Iranian people recognize the power of self-liberation through enlightenment and goal directed pacifism, they might not need to go through the bitter experience of Iraqis
Kamal H. Artin

The behavior of some Iranian leaders, who lack the capacity for change, might remind the terminators of Saddam and treat them the same way as the next candidate; I hope this does not become necessary. However, change is inevitable and creation of a livable and lovable Union of Iranian Democratic States is the dream of many of those who escaped from the hell or still are burning in it! Meanwhile considering that passive movements such as Gandhi's could be as successful as eliminating monsters with war, I will argue that instead of expecting change from outside, Iran has the potential to be transformed to a civic society through three goal directed passive methods within its current borders >>>

RIGHTS
Uncle Hossein

Hossein Derakhshan is part of a generation of idiot savants who have the audacity to refer to themselves as human rights activists
Samira Mohyeddin

"Thanks to the work of the reformists who governed the country until 2005, Iran has passed the stage of state terror." - Hossein Derakhshan. Would Hossein dare make such a statement to the son of Zahra Kazemi, who was indiscriminately raped, tortured, and murdered while in Evin prison? Would he have the audacity to make such statements to the family of Akbar Mohammadi who died in Evin just last month? Or to the family of 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi who was hung in the Iranian town of Neka for "engaging in acts incompatible with chastity". Or to the family members of the thousands of prisoners of conscience who have perished in the jails of the Iran of the Islamic Republic over the past twenty-seven years? Judging by the bilge spewed by Hossein in the past and present, he probably would >>>

KHATAMI
No thank you
Guive Mirfendereski

A few days ago I received an e-mail from an Iranian studies foundation inviting me to attend an evening with the former president of the IRI, Mr. Khatami. The invitation requested an R.S.V.P. by a date certain. I have ignored the invitation. Today, I received another e-mail from another source wanting to know where to send for me an invitation to attend Mr. Khatami’s “speech.” I am assuming that the invitation is for his shindig at Harvard. I declined this invitation in as polite a way as I know how. The person at the other end then wrote back, asking “May I ask why?” >>>

RESPONSIBILITY
I confess

... that I identify with an ever-increasing group of Iranians who work towards the downfall of the clerical regime as their foremost national responsibility
Reza Bayegan

If Mr Jahanbegloo’s attempt to put an end to the rule of the mullahs is a crime, then this crime is universal amongst all those Iranians who love their country and care for its future. Accordingly, it occurred to me to write my own confession and I would also like to suggest to my dear compatriots to sit down and make a disclosure of their political stance right now so if and when the time comes for their Evinization, they have one less thing to worry about. Moreover, as we all know, the overwhelming atmosphere of that infamous penitentiary is not conducive to expressing one’s true convictions and beliefs. One is exposed to a kind of hospitality there that makes one confess to non-existent wrongdoings out of obligation to one’s host >>>

REPENTANCE
The courage to change

Jahanbegloo admits his mistake in indirectly helping the Bush administration in its plans for regime change in Iran through fomenting internal unrest and instability
Hossein Derakhshan

All Iranian activists and researchers are vulnerable these days to being dragged out of their "normal" activities and inveigled into joining various projects and organisations with a not-so-hidden political agenda: to prepare the way for the infamous strategy of regime change - in either of its forms, as military attack or velvet-style revolution - that the Bush administration has pursued towards Iran since 9/11. Ramin Jahanbegloo's interview mentions the economic aspect of the position of secular scholars like him. He complains that the Islamic Republic has left such people no choice but to either leave the country or work for foreign organisations in Iran. Jahanbegloo points out that he has never been a politician. But his love for his country and the wonderful potential of an enthusiastic, lively and rapidly changing young society, convinced him that he could wield a positive, educative influence >>>

NUCLEAR
Game over

Iran 12  - International Community 0
Guive Mirfendereski

August 31 marked the end of regulation time and as its last fugitive moments ticked away first in Tehran and then in New York the Iran Atom Cup drew to its close. At the closing ceremonies, Mighty Mouse Ahmadinejad of Iran stood triumphant on the stand in Rezaieh (named after Reza Shah from the earlier Urumiyeh, now again Urumiyeh) and then Makou, with a huge golden replica of a bull’s testes hanging from his neck. In New York, John “the Shaggy Dog” Bolton, with the big fat Iranian bilakh firmly ensconced in his rectum, bobbed and weaved in front of reporters and explained some kind of new foreign policy of an also-ran. After months of American kaka-diplomacy over the Iranian nuclear issue, Mr. Bolton has boiled it down to one proposition – there will be sanctions imposed against Iran, either by the UN or by the US (and its lackeys). Unilateralism – is what the US does best: it takes its ball and goes and plays by itself. Ciao, baby >>>

REVOLUTION
Pop Islam

Iran's Islamist and pop cultures seems to mingle by loosing themeselves into each other
Anna Mahjar Barducci

The avenues of Teheran have changed their colours. Soon after the Islamic revolution in 1979, led by Khomeini, only the austere black was allowed to decorate the streets of the Iranian capital. Since then, the colours of the revolution have developped. Blinding yellow and fluorescent pink flags wave now in the alleys of Teheran. The colours that used to be part of the profane along the last 27 years have now been incorporated into the holy, with the exception of the rigorous dark women dresses. The revolution overwhelmed the Iranian reality, without being able anymore to cleave the profane from the holy. In this way, the appearace of the Iranian republic has been changed to trasform everything into a product of the ayatollah’s regimes. However, this evolutionary process gave birth to a new pop-Islamic revolution, which influences religious ceremonies too >>>

DEBATE
Words bad! Bombs good!

These groups don’t care what Khatami says; they don't want him to be heard
Qumars Bolourchian

Former President Mohammad Khatami’s visit to the US has aroused serious anger among the neocons, the congress hawks and the AIPAC likudniks. Joining the circus is that aging army of Iranian “freedom fighters,” using their over-hyped 1970’s “expertise” to help America “understand” Iran in 2006. And no, I’m not just talking about the MEK. Just yesterday, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney declared he would not be providing any security to Khatami for his Harvard speech to show his disgust with the State Department’s decision to grant Khatami a Visa. Romney said Khatami’s Harvard speech, a speech which he hasn’t heard or seen, will be “propaganda.” And I guess this propaganda-to-be is so bad that in Romney’s view Khatami deserves to be beaten or assassinated for it >>>

RELATIVISM
Rights trump culture & religion

Cultural relativism is not only a prescription for inaction and passivity in the face of the oppression of millions of people struggling and resisting in the Middle East and here in the west but is in fact racist in and of itself
Maryam Namazie

Cultural relativism and its more seemingly palatable multiculturalism have lowered standards and redefined values to such depths that not only are all cultures and beliefs deemed equally valid, they seem to have taken on personas of their own blurring the distinction between individuals and beliefs (whether theirs or imputed). As a result, concepts such as rights, equality, respect and tolerance, which were initially raised vis-à-vis the individual, are now more and more applicable to culture and religion and often take precedence over real live human beings. This is why any criticism and ridiculing of or opposition to beliefs, cultures, religions, gods and prophets are being deemed racism, disrespecting, inciting hatred and even violence against those deemed believers >>>

ASSUMPTIONS
Getting carried away

Apocalyptic assumptions about Ahmadinejad
Meir Javedanfar

The questions which must be asked are: does the world think that Ahmadinejad is so ignorant that he would choose such an obvious date to start world war? Also, despite all his bravado, has the world come to believe that Ahmadinejad is now the de facto ruler of Iran? The answer to both questions is a resounding no. Yes Ahmadinejad is very conservative, and yes he does hold power in a number of extremely influential arenas in Iran's government, but no, he doesn't do everything as he pleases. He doesn't just wake up in the morning and just there and then decide on his own to threaten Israel with annihilation. Nor does he single-handedly decide on any day of his liking to send the price of oil shooting up by hinting that oil supplies could be cut if sanctions are imposed against Iran >>>

INTIMIDATION
Eteraaf-girie makhmali

IRI's sisnister staging of Ramin Jahanbegloo's "Velvet Confessions"
Massoud Noghrekar

MIDDLE EAST
Trust issues

Threats of surgical air strikes and the limited use of nuclear bombs against Iran will not be seen as promoting global peace or fighting terrorism
Mehrdad Emadi

The escalating pace of conflict in this latest round of conflict between Israel, the more radical Palestinian factions, and Hezbollah has once more focused world opinion on the apparent impasse in the Middle East. However, it may be a grave mistake to assume that the present crisis was created by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by the Hezbollah or the firing of the Syrian-Iranian short range missiles into Northern Israel. The recent kidnappings were the trigger mechanism that the Israeli government needed to set in motion the next phase of its strategic policy >>>

MIDDLE EAST
Flags of dissent

Confronting fascism with fabric
Guive Mirfendereski

This has been the summer of flags. Flags have been everywhere and in most places they have been flying or burning as the sign of protest. The efforts by the American rightwing nuts and fascists to criminalize the burning of the American flag once again flagged in the Congress and so this quintessentially American form of protest lives on everywhere! From Cairo to the Philippines, no one could care less about American sensitivity when throngs of ugly-ass jihadists from one end of the world to the other set fire to Old Glory and/or the Star of David for a few moments of pyromaniacal joy and free expression of rage. Ironically, if this form of expression ever involved their own national flag they would be taken to the shed and flogged! >>>

DISSENT
Is everyone a spy?

Islamic Republic's all too predictable labling of critics & dissidents
Fariba Amini

After four months of imprisonment in Evin, Ramin Jahanbegloo was finally released, paying a hefty bail and confessing to obscure charges. He looked thin and yet he had to go to ISNA to give an interview stating that he was not mistreated by his interrogators... Almost all the opponents of the regime are arrested and confined on false charges, forced to confess under duress and then later are either made to appear before Television cameras and to confess to “crimes” they were never involved in or released after confessions and paying heavy bail. Ramin is only the lastest victim of this vicious attempt by rulers of the Islamic Regime to discredit its opponents in the eyes of the Iranian populace >>>

IRAN-U.S.
Why mess with a superpower?
Ben Madadi

Why is it that the Iranian regime seems so anti-American these days? Because of a lack of serious argument for this it is funny that there is a wide-spread conspiracy theory in Iran that the regime itself is actually an American plantation. The argumentation for this conspiracy theory is extremely weak but it looks as rational as the opposition to America by the Iranian regime... A rational being would think that if the Iranian regime desires to survive then it must not hassle too much with the superpower, because it is very clear that the only external force that could destroy the regime of Iran is none but America. So why oppose this external force, instead of appeasing it? It looks mind-boggling because there isn't one single chance in the whole world that if America seriously decided to invade Iran the Iranian regime could survive >>>

KHATAMI
Deeply dismayed

How can one promote justice and at the same time honor a person like Khatami?
Siavash Abghari

The Honorable Rev. Peterson, Washington DC.: We learned that you are hosting a speech by Mohammad Khatami, former president and one of the high-ranking officials of the Islamic regime in Iran since it inception in 1979. We are deeply dismayed that the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation which promotes justice, transparency, accountability and empowerment of women has invited and is honoring this man who is anti-woman, corrupt and responsible for murder of so many innocent people! >>>

POINT
Nuclear IQ

Which country is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Daniel M Pourkesali

So if you haven't figured it out by now uranium enrichment is a central tenet guaranteed by article IV of the treaty as an "inalienable right" granted to all non-nuclear states. It is the process that produces the fuel to run a nuclear reactor in order to produce electricity which is conveniently dismissed as "among other things" in the news example sited above. It is also the carrot without which there is no incentive for countries to join the NPT as they would be accepting an apartheid system that rewards nuclear states without any practical benefits for the non-nuclear members. The right to utilize nuclear technology without developing nuclear weapons is vital for the treaty to remain credible and enforceable >>>

INTELLECTUALS
Steer clear, or else

Both Ramin Jahangeloo's detention and his later interview were meant to send a message to Iranian intellectuals
Rasool Nafisi

The Iranian intellectual Ramin Jahanbegloo, detained at Tehran airport on 27 April 2006 and held for more than four months in prison, was released on bail on 30 August. The authorities first escorted him to his home with a box of sweets (a customary Iranian celebration of a happy event), and he then visited the Iranian student news agency (Isna) for an "interview" where he explained the reason for his arrest... Both Ramin's detention and his later interview were meant to send a message to Iranian intellectuals; steer clear of politics, and stop attending seminars and conferences in the western countries or writing for journals published there. This approach is in line with a recent order by the ministry of Islamic guidance that bans Iranians from giving interviews with broadcasters outside Iran >>>

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

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