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June 2007

No crime is sacred
Camron Amin
June 27, 2007

Mr. Ershaghi's has written an elegant and lawyerly defense of the Islamic Republic and has reminded us of the accomplishments and insights of one of the most gifted scholars in Iranian Studies: Hamid Algar.

I would point out that it is not necessary to belittle the efforts of other Iranian, Iranian-American or American Iran specialists to achieve these ends. Indeed, it seems to be a particularly provocative stance when four of us are being detained in Iran without any evidence of wrongdoing -- even by the standards of the Islamic Republic.

Furthermore, as talented as Hamid Algar is, he defended not only the goals and ideals of the Islamic Revolution, but also its ruthless suppression of opposition in the 1980's. As a young undergraduate attending a guest lecture he gave at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was taken a back by his claim that meaningful opposition to the revolution had simply "fallen by the wayside." It was as if he could not or would not distinguish between losing an election and being prevented from standing for election, or, between killing a militant in a street battle and rounding up people only suspected of sympathizing with one of the many parties deemed unacceptable by the government.

While he is quite right that many Iranians accept the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, there is no consensus on what that should mean. Of the choices allowed them, Iranians elected Ahmadinezhad in 2005. They had done the same for Khatami -- twice. This suggests that the "masses" are not as ideologically constant or homogeneous as Mr. Ershaghi would imply -- even for those who "work hard and play by the rules" of the Islamic Republic.

In his zeal to press his case, I submit that Mr. Ershaqi has made the same mistake as Hamid Algar. The ends, however noble and relatable they may be, do not justify the means. I wish him the best of luck in his career in international business law. I suspect his stance towards half-breed academics like me will provide him many opportunities to prosper in the Persian Gulf, his Western academic credentials notwithstanding. Comment

Camron Michael Amin is professor of history at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Troubled history
Nahal Zamani
June 27, 2007

The recent arrests of Ali Shakeri, Kian Tajbakhsh, Haleh Esfandiari, the barring of Parnaz Azima to leave Iran have been present in articles and discussions within the Iranian community. But the average American still has a limited understanding of the relationship between Iran and the United States -- these arrests, though unfortunate, may just be the tool with which Americans can finally bridge this gap.

Tension between Iran and the United States is nothing new; here are some brief highlights...

+ The US funded a coup d'etat in 53 based on the UK's pleading, and a nationalist minister was prompty replaced by a American friendly Shah. In the late seventies, following intense anger about Western influences from both the Marxists and the Islamists, the Iranian Revolution occured. Crazy shit ensued.
+ The US sends Saddam Hussein chemical weapons to be used on Iranians during the Iraq-Iran war
+ The blowing up of an Iranian passenger jet
+ The Lockerbie incident, partially blamed on Iran by the US.
+ Iran = Axis of Evil, according to Bushie
+ The holding of 5 Iranian officials by US govt officials in Iraq
+ The recent capture of British navy soldiers who had allegedly entered Iranian waters
+ Oh, and that that whole nuclear thang...

The US govt is dramatically increasing their budget to bring democracy and liberty to Iran, naturally upsetting Iranian officials. So the jerks who run Iran get really pissed at the jerks who run the United States, and they start engaging in these arrests of the other, trying to wittingly paw over a really serious issue.

The Iranian govt sees these Iranian-Americans as puppets for the American goverment -- fearing a people's uprising, they attempt to squelch the revolution. This party uses words to describe the Americans like corrupt, western imperialists, christian fundamentalists, immoral, racist, stubborn, ignorant, and waging a psychological war. The American govt sees the Iranians as crazy Islamists, and start yelling words back like Al Qaida, terrorist, nuclear bomb, and sand nigger.

It's hard to find good articles that actually explore the issues between Iran and the United States in western media, so I was thoroughly surprised by a recent article in the NYTIMES Sunday Magazine. I was so entrenched within Negar Azimi's article, the "Hard Realities of Soft Power" that the rice I was boiling was burned black by the time I smelled it 30 minutes later.

Azimi, a Harvard grad student, is the senior editor of Bidoun, an artsy, socio-political magazine that covers the Mid East. Azimi talks about the $75 million that the US govt is spending to pump democracy into Iran (pun intended).

The United States has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to promoting democracy in Iran. But for Iranian democrats and America alike, the effort may be more trouble than it's worth. Comment


The new culture
Laleh Larijani
June 26, 2007

The new reality of life in Iran is finding it in you to be part of the High-Rise culture.  Everywhere you look you’ll find buildings.  The beautiful districts of Darband and Koohestan which were once places of retreat and summer gardens are now literally transformed into what seems like a landscape fit for a downtown metropolis.  Tehran is transforming daily and rising from the ashes  are concrete and stones.  The half-finished buildings are the new  wonders of this city.  This is the booming business of Tehran.  There is big money to be made in construction and everyone and their dog wants a piece of the pie!   Spaces are cramped, elevators are full and landlords are living the good life!  But in reality its an epidemic that is taking people by surprise.  People are filtering into these buildings without much knowledge of what high-rise living entails. 

Since Tehran is situated in an enclosed valley surrounded by mountains, the demand for space has caused the city to crawl into  mountain ranges.  Many of the roads that lead to these parts of town are still narrow and not paved properly.  As such traffic moves in single files through many of these parts.  Stressed drivers are the decorative pieces of this reality and people everywhere complain about their tight spaces and overwhelming traffic.  High-rises have taken over the city and the housing market is booming! At an average of one to two thousand American dollars per square meter of living space,  its hard to imagine not being a satisfied owner.  But the dreams of  owning a property soon come to fruition in the reality of more and more concrete vistas, and construction noise!   Its the new culture--Being on top of the world in a concrete jungle. Comment

Tehran-View from Gheytarieh District --
There is literally no where left to go:

Maybe we will listen to Rumi
Nahid Shafiei
June 26, 2007

There was a picture and some comments on the "Iranian of the Day" section about losing people you love and not having the chance to tell them how much you loved them. At one time or another in our lives we have all been estranged from our parents, siblings, friends, and other relatives. But it is never too late to call them and make up with them and tell them how much you love them. Life is too short and we should do this before they die because then it will be too late. Mowlana Jalal-al din Rumi talks about this subject so beautifully in a poem. We Iranians love our poets and maybe we will listen to him. I am attaching the poem in Persian:


We had our guards down
Masoud Arefi
June 24, 2007

As a high school student in Tehran, I thought we were living the dream life in the early 70's, with many of us not even knowing it. Our biggest fear was often the plight of our favorite football team, and only moments of fear was facing dad after a bad report card from school. We were the hippies of the Middle-East living the "love thy neighbor" life, singing the best of songs about love and life, ours and the best from the rest of the world, and we had our guards down! Our dreams all involved driving up the yellow brick road, to wealth, leisure, and happiness, all materialistically justified and feasible, especially since we were witnessing thousands of Indian physicians, South Korean engineers, Pilipino nurses,... coming to Iran chasing the similar dreams.

We lived in the middle of the Islamic World, almost fully recovered from the disaster and genocide that had stricken our country and culture centuries earlier in the name of the all mighty, with our guards down! We were smart enough to recognize the faults and defaults in communism, the red beast, too busy fending it off, and totally unaware of the black beast which was out to consume our poor, less educated and less privileged. Well we lost the country, mostly because our youth of the 70's were trained to be peaceful law obeying technocrats, scientists, and entrepreneurs - constantly reminded to stay off politics, hence we had our guards down!!

And now, several millions of us are in USA. An appreciative bunch who try to salvage what may be left of the good times, chasing the American dream with loyalty to America and respect to what has been achieved doing what we can to make it even better, bringing our own special flavors to the melting pot. As one Iranian, I certainly believe our Persian culture will eventually boost the American way of life, but even if we fail, we will certainly be damned to stay idly aside to see us lose yet another country, to the same black beast, the Islamic fundamentalism. This time we will not be caught, with our guards down!!

Having said all that, as an Iranian, I can't help but to look around me in America to see who has his guards down, and I see many. I see Americans actively helping the black beast without even knowing it. I also see greed and politics constantly get in the way of patriots who refuse to look the other way.

God bless all moral free thinking humans, who believe it earning a living rather than taking from others. Comment

Three awards and one man of distinction
Peyvand Khorsandi
June 22, 2007

Last October Mohammed Khatami – a man who has yet to be investigated in connection with human rights abuses and murders that occurred under his watch both as president of Iran and during his tenure as head of the country’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance – travelled to the University of St Andrews in Scotland to accept an honorary degree for his efforts in promoting “dialogue between faiths”.

(Surely an insult to the women stoned by his government and the writers and political dissidents it has killed.)

The National Union of Students said that it was “appalled” and issued a demand for Khatami to use his influence to secure the release of Ahmad Batebi, the pro-democracy demonstrator imprisoned for his role in the student protests of 1999, before any honour was bestowed.

The NUS, like many, regarded St Andrews’ move as an endorsement of Iran’s criminal theocracy by a UK institution. So perhaps we can forgive the poor old mullahs for being slightly baffled now that another British institution – the monarchy, no less – has given Salman Rushdie a knighthood. (He’s been made a ‘Sir’ as Iranians say.)

Quite what the UK government is playing at is unclear, but so curious is the tango between these two nations that we shouldn’t be surprised if in the next few months President Ahmadinejad himself flies to Scotland to pick up a tartan turban and a bottle of scotch for the Supreme Leader – with some deep-fried Mars bars and a kilt thrown (and if we’re lucky, a headbutt).

Or perhaps the University of St Andrews will come to its senses and follow the example of Edinburgh University, which decided last week to strip Robert Mugabe of the honorary degree it awarded him in 1984. (Hopefully, 23 years hence Khatami will not be the leader of Zimbabwe.)

As for Sir Salman, if only he had the gumption and wisdom to follow the example of the fashion entrepreneur Joseph Corre (pictured) – and son of the designer Katherine Hamnett – who turned down his MBE, rubber-stamped as it was by Downing Street.

He wrote in The Independent yesterday: “I couldn’t accept an honour from a dishonest man. And Tony Blair is a dishonest man… Mr Blair has caused many miserable deaths, and tortures.”

Too bad that – unlike this honourable businessman – the world’s Bush-friendly Sir Salmans are not willing to swim upstream. Comment

See Peyvand Khorsandi's standup comedy in London from Friday June 29 to Monday July 2 (last two nights with SHAPPI KHORSANDI in preview of her Edinburgh show).

Vast right-wing conspiracy
Asghar Massombagi
June 21, 2007

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is hard at work drumming up another fake crisis in spite of the "don't worry, be happy" sentiment of some.

The latest lunacy comes courtesy of the ultra-conservative media outlet NewsMax Media. notorious for its out and out lying and planting false stories against its perceived enemies from Hillary Clinton to U2, has just initiated a national poll asking its brain-dead consumers (reader seems too dignified a term) to vote on whether or not to bomb Iran if it doesn't stop its "nuclear weapons program."

The poll is apparently inspired by Senator Joe Lieberman of New York. The increasingly isolated and wacko ex-Democrat who seems to be moving increasingly somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, has called for bombing of Iran.

Of course there is no use reminding the dyslexic "American people" that there is no such thing as Iran's nuclear weapons program (the premise of the said lunatic poll), a claim that even the Bush Administration has not made, and that Iranians are years away from producing weapons grade uranium and that Iran has no incentive to initiate a nuclear attack on anyone, an attack that would surely spell the annihilation of the entire country subjected to a counter-attack.

And although subject of several occupations and foreign invasions (the last one being by the US's then ally, Saddam Hussein) Iran under any regime has not invaded any country for the past 150 years. This is after all the same American public a majority of whom believe 9/11 was planned and executed by Saddam Hussein. Comment

He is a man of peace
Mehdi Amini
June 21, 2007

Nearly two months has passed since the arrest of our friend and colleague, Ali Shakeri (M, 59). Ali went to Iran to visit his ailing mother who passed away days after seeing him. Ali was using his basic right as stated in the 13th Article of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states:” Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

We who know him are still bewildered as to why he was arrested? He is a man of peace. How could that be a crime? He is a man against hatred. How could that be a crime? He is a man for dialogue. How could that be a crime? We still don’t know. But what we know is that his wife and children are anxious to see him back in their arm safe.

I often talked to him and he was outrageous as to the possibility of someone attacking his country. Although he was a critique of the status queue, yet he did not want to see his nation destroyed.

Let us also not forget the 3 others who are in the same condition. Scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh as well as journalist Parinaz Azima. I am sure their families are as anxious to see them safe as I am. They have been all arrested on “Security related charges.” A label that I still do not understand. Security against whom and for what I ask myself? Is inviting a few guests to a program a crime? And a security related charge at that? I still don’t understand. What crime is it to think differently? I do not know.

I wake up every morning hoping to hear on the radio or read on the Net on good news. But there are none. I say to myself, what can I do to make their families happier but I can’t come up with one. I hope this letter does the job. Comment

I have lost a part of my humanity
Azarin A. Sadegh
June 20, 2007

Today I saw this video and I am beyond mad... I can't work. I can't think... I have lost a part of my humanity.

This is "Romeo and Juliet" story of 21st century. Who is going to act like our era's Shakespeare to tell their tragedy? What should be the question this time? "To be or not to be?" I am not sure. What if we choose "to be", but refuse to see the simple reality of the world? It is almost like not being, not being human.

Each of us, to declare our humanity, should watch this video, even if it is unbearable, to see the true image of the same people that free countries are trying to save by their democracy and freedom of speech. These are the same people whose leaders pay millions of dollars to murder an extraordinary writer for committing the sin of imagination and creativity, the same people who stone women and men who dare to love. The same people who cannot tolerate a cartoon, a book, a thinking brain, a loving heart. The same people god created as its own image.

The question of our time should be: "To see or not to see!"

Maybe by watching the agony of a 17 years old girl, and watching these barbarian collective acts in the name of religion and god, we would finally do something. Because if we don't do anything, we would turn into one of those stones killing that girl. Comment

You have your view, so do others
Siavash Ardalan
June 19, 2007

Thanks to Bita Ria [see: "Swearing rappers"] for taking the time to reflect on that program. I was going to write you an email next week anyway telling you how much I was impressed with your performance in that discussion and with how you managed to set the agenda and raise awareness on the patriarchal aspects of rap lyrics for all those who were listening.

Bita, it is not in my place to lecture you on the ethics of debating. Just because someone doesnt agree with your analysis, it does not mean that you must question their expertise. You have your view on Persian rap, which I happen to share, but so do others. I really dont know what you expected in that discussion short of allowing you to repeat your opinions over and over after every single comment others made. If I did not feel you have something to say I would have not invited you.

As for Behzad Blour, he is an expert, not because he is my colleague but because he is in daily contact with rappers and knows them personally and their work inside out (not that your research makes you less of an expert). Experts disagree and because they dont have similar views, one does not question the other's knowledge.

I think in addition to equipping yourself with a powerful discourse, which you commendably have, you also need to work on your toleration levels and try to grasp what a popular debate is all about rather than lashing out at forums that ironically provided you with the platform to express your opinions. Comment

Siavash Ardalan produces and presents Rooze Haftom variety program for the BBC Persian Service.

10 women of Shiraz
Jian Khodadad
June 19, 2007

June 18th marked the anniversary of the hanging of the 10 Bahai women in Shiraz (June 18, 1983). I wanted to remember and honor each of these individuals, one of whom, Mona Mahmudinizhad was only 17 years old. I know that there are many Iranians -- from a diverse array of religious and philosophical belief systems -- that have been inspired by the remarkable qualities of these Iranian women:

* Nusrat Yalda'i (Age 54)
* Izzat Ishraqi (Age 50)
* Roya Ishraqi (Age 23)
* Zarrin Muqimi (Age 28)
* Tahirih Siyavushi (Age 32)
* Shirin Dalvand (Age 25)
* Akhtar Sabet (Age 24)
* Mashid Nurimand (Age 28)
* Simin Sabiri (Age 25)
* Mona Mahmudinizhad (Age 17)

In Canada, in the 1980s, shortly after the killing of these women in Shiraz, there was a well-known musician, Doug Cameron, that released an album track dedicated to Mona. I am including the link to this video.

Mona was known for her great joy, optimism, and dedication to educating children. Comment

A human catastrophe in the making
Nazy Kaviani
June 18, 2007

A human catastrophe of the most devastating dimensions is taking place in Sistan and Baluchestan provinces of Iran. Earlier this month, Gono, a tropical storm hit Oman and swept through Sistan & Baluchestan, creating floods and havoc, destroying roads, restricting transportation into and out of the area, disrupting daily life, leaving the area vulnerable to diseases.

In the wake of Gono, 350,000 people are now threatened with Malaria and Cholera, as well as other diseases and disasters. Drinking water is at best available for only 30% of the population. Management of emergency assistance has always been a problem in Iran, judging from the horrific conditions of earthquake victims of recent time.

With the disappearance and obstruction of roads in the area, however, even the slow emergency assistance cannot reach the region to be of use. Dissemination of news about the tragedy has also been scant and weak, as the state-owned Iranian radio and television (IRIB) have mostly kept quiet about the extent and depth of the disaster, and the imminence of more complications, escalating by the minute. In fact many people inside Iran are not aware of the details and proportions of this unfolding tragedy.

Independent journalists have started a spontaneous campaign to raise awareness about the calamity and to ask other Iranian journalists and webloggers all over the world to raise disseminate news about this, a tragedy that if unmanaged is threatening all of Iran with the spread of Cholera and Malaria. Please read the related material and spread the news. More information about how to help is being researched and will follow soon.



Nader Iranpour
June 18, 2007

Oh Imam

Oh Imam we thought we were right and you were wrong

You said Shah must go

We thought you were wrong

You said neither east nor west

We thought you were wrong

You said we will be independent

We thought you were wrong

You said the revolution is Islamic

We thought you were wrong

You said destroy SAVAK

We thought you were wrong

You said Israel is cancer

We thought you were wrong

You said Sadam was evil

We thought you were wrong

You said “ Amrika heech ghalati nemitavanad bokonad”.

We thought you were wrong

Oh Imam, now we know, after all these years, you were right and we were wrong.

Golbarge khoshkideh
Shoja Adel
June 17, 2007

Saied Taheri
June 17, 2007

To my brother
Baharak Sedigh
June 17, 2007

i pray that the wishes of my heart
sit on your eyelashes at night

may the midnight breeze outside your door
always sing you soft lullabies

may the sun the air the moon
guide your soul from dream to dream

and may the hands of fate handle your heart
with tenderness unheard unseen

may my love follow your steps
like the shadow of spring on the winter of life

and may your soul forever know
my love shall be untouched even by time
even by time

June 1, 2006-7:47 am

Is dealing with Iranians good or bad?
Faramarz Fateh
June 15, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- This pertains to Iranians in the U.S. more so that anywhere else. How many times have you heard a family member, friend or just some Iranian man or woman you know say "agha moamele ba Irooni jamaat nabayad kard" or "man taa oonjayee ke mitoonam baa Irooni jamaat kar nemikonam"?

Last night, at my cousin's home, someone started complaining about his Iranian real estate agent and how she had screwed up everything during the sale of his home. He was barely finished with his story that another guy started complaining about his Iranian tile setter and how he had broken his promise for finishing his kitchen time after time. The recurring theme was do not deal with Iranians.

The interesting thing was that everyone in that particular dinner party was singing high praises about Mexicans. One lady who was a loan broker was saying she only works with Mexicans because they are the least problem. Another guy who was a personal injury lawyer said the exact same thing; that basically Mexicans are more honest, more generous, more trusting and basically more pleasant people to work with; as clients, customers, contractors etc.

The stories of the Iranian physician who is a general practice guy in the Valley were the best and funniest. If half of what he was saying is true, I'd hang a sign outside my office which would read "we do not accept Iranian patients".

My personal experience has been the same except for some really rich Mexicans we came across in an Island called Coronado near San Diego. I guess too much money can spoil anyone.

As I was trying to sleep last night, I started wondering if this was true of other cultures. Do Mexicans prefer working with Iranians, or do Koreans dislike working with other Koreans.

My wife thinks that its the same for other cultures because we expect more when we deal with one of our own. I am not sure if I agree with her 100%.

What do YOU think? Comment

Very very average
Sahba Aminikia
June 11, 2007

I wasn't about writing anything about this musical issue since I personally believe that non-serious music as a genre does not need any form of criticism and basically what have been written till now have been absolutely non-artistic, commercial and based on very personal experiences.

But it 's very strange that some people as this band's fans are making such a big deal out these guys which if somebody haven't heard their music will assume the musical geniuses of all time have risen up. Of course this goes to our artistic taste culture which can not be moderate about different levels of art creation. Either someone is a mother-born star or he is the worst piece of trash ever.

Despite many Persian musicians I as an all time music student think that generally non-serious music composition does not need any form of knowledge and education which obviously needs no further explanation because this genre of music is not based on ,any kind of better to say, academic roots. In my opinion this form of music primarily originates from two important factors which are "small signs of musical creativity" and "lyrics".

So let's consider (based on my poor logic) that every band or musician who could have become a big hit either had had a creative music or great lyrics. From a musical aspect Kiosk can not even get judged because its melodies basically don't exist, no special harmony texture and very minimal toward polyphony. No special sound effect, no virtuosity and no exceptional orchestration. Arash Sobhani's voice is a typical impression of the late 70's band lead singer Mark Knofler and even the music follows dire straits stereotypes.

Lyrics can be the only positive point in his work but personally I don't appreciate lyrics which are talking about a social or political issue and end nowhere and have no point because IT IS EASY to create such lyrics which are mostly aimlessly sarcastic and they are basically persian ladies magnet which shows the guy has both the sense of humor and the awareness toward his homeland's social environment.

Maybe that's the main reason for our attitude toward arts! Attracting other's attention to our unique characters! Maybe that's why either we are a dentist or a technician or an architect we have another part of character which is a musician, a director, a journalist, a movie critic, a photographer, a cook, a composer, a painter, an actor, a sculptor, a music critic, a writer, a historian, a poet and a professional dancer.

I didn't go to their for the live performance because had an exam same day and also it was not worth $40 for a night of clubbing and getting drunk till you won't be able to hear any music.

The most amazing part is that some fans are calling their music "original" which whether shows these fans musical memories goes back to prehistoric era or they have problems understanding the word "Orginal".

The album "Eshghe Sorat" can not be heard more than once and trust after the first song it's ok to turn off the player because there is nothing more to listen to. They all look the same to me!

So let's face it! Don't want to say it's a piece of trash but they are only a very very average Persian soft rock band which have a long long way to go and don't even deserve the name "musical phenomenon". Comment

That's some network
Qumars Bolourchian
June 11,2007

I have to commend Voice of America for another wonderful show they put together last Sunday. "Mize Gerdi ba Shoma" featured the groundbreaking work of distinguished author,scholar and investigative journalist,Mr. Hassan Daioleslam who illuminated for the rest of the world the inner-workings of the IRI-lobbyists in Washington,DC.

What? You thought just because Iran is a member of the Axis of Evil,and there's no diplomatic relations with the US,that there wouldn't be any state-sponsored lobbying (like the Israeli lobby,as Mr. Daioleslam points out) here in the US Congress?

You're mistaken my friend! As I learned on Sunday's program,even though these lobbyists can't legally talk to Congress,or engage in any actual lobbying,they are lobbying nevertheless by spreading Iranian propaganda against the U.S.

Point-by-point,Mr. Daioleslam offered irrefutable evidence exposing Mr. Hooshang Amirahmadi,Mr. Trita Parsi,IAC,NIAC and other such "peace" groups for their work on behalf of the Islamic Republic. He talked about the money,the drugs,Elvis Presly and connections to the global mafia.

I'm telling you,when you see the list of overwhelming evidence painstakingly produced by Mr. Daioleslam,there will be no doubt whatsoever who Amirahmadi really is. Unlike his public persona as an Iranian professor and philanthropist,he's revealed to be an Islamist agent,exactly like his Swedish friend Trita Parsi,Congressman Bob Ney and Senator John Kerry.

Daioleslam probably endangered his own life by obtaining this data. He meticulously combed Google,New York Times online and two public websites. He gathered all the pieces in one place and translated it to Farsi and then he sent that to all his influential. The evidence is overwhelming and leads to one inescapable conclusion: If someone disapproves of war or sanctions toward Iran,that means they are on the IRI payroll.

But don't mistake this by thinking that it means the Mullahs don't want war! That's what they want you to think! Logic tells us that war is bad for Iranian people,therefore IRI wants it. It has been Mr. Daioleslam,Mr. Farahanipour and other distinguished VOA guests that are trying to save poor Iranians the horrors of war by promoting sanctions instead. So if it is actually looking for a fight,why does the IRI pay all its oil money to these people and have them lobby Congress against war? Simple. To confuse you! Your mental state is THAT important to the Mullahs in Iran.

Of course these IRI agents are fighting back trying to silence the brave Daioleslam but his in-depth expose speaks for itself. Appearing in such distinguished bastions of objective journalism as "Front Page Magazine" and "The Intellectual Conservative",these pieces have shaken the entire US establishment. I consider myself lucky enough to have read all of them in both languages.

Now that I heard the final piece of the puzzle on the VOA program,I'm beginning to connect the dots and join Mr. Dailoleslam in understanding what's really going on. That's why I present to you,the readers,the following graphic I created after a seemingly divine inspiration prompted by Hassan Daioleslam -- an angel from the heavens:


Meeting Dr. Varjavand
Shirin Vazin
June 11,2007

It was summer 1995 when a German TV team from ARTE,a cultural German/French Channel,came to Iran to make a part of a documentary they were producing about Orient. They had a German-speaking tour leader. One day,when they were supposed to meet Dr. Varjavand,I was appointed to be the TV team interpreter. It was early morning when we went to Dr. Varjavand’s house in Tehran's Gisha neighborhood. We were all warmly greeted and tea and sweets were served. Dr. Varjavand was waiting for us at his office downstairs. I was excited to see him for the first time. He was rather short,wearing a beige colored suit with a tie. After many years I was surprised to see a man in a tie in Iran.

The team prepared for the interview. Dr. Varjavand sat at his desk. The director,Hajo Bergmann,asked him if the interview could be held in French. Dr. Varjavand preferred not to,since he said he hasn’t talked French for a long time. Therefore I had to assist the interview with my Farsi-German translation. First he told me to tell the TV team about Zartosht,whose picture was behind him. During the interview subjects such as Chogha Zanbil and Shahr-e Sookhteh were covered. Sometimes I had to interrupt him for precise interpretation. When the interview was over and we were about to leave,he took my hand and congratulated me for being able to transfer Iranian culture to the West.

It was the most delightful compliment I had ever heard in my life.

May he rest in peace. Comment

Even exchange
Siamack Baniameri
June 8,2007

In retaliation for recent arrests of Iranian-Americans by the Islamic Republic government,I recommend that the US government consider arresting a number of Iranian-Americans as well. That way the two governments can have a prisoner exchange program. To make this exchange even,the US government should arrest Iranian-Americans who are visiting their ailing parents in the US. Comment

Ron Paul
Toofan Hosseinnezhad
June 7,2007

If there ever was a moment for Iranian women in the US to use their God like social skills to spread a political message,it would be now. If there ever was a second those Iranian uber internet geeks should help someone with a political campaign who has little money,it would be now. If there ever was a moment for the Iranian lobby in the US to start moving their asses,donating money politically instead of having nose jobs or expensive space flights,and doing something about the fate of their own blood left in Iran,it would definitely be now!

Which politician should you give a hand too which is drawing more and more voters both from the Democratic wing,and the Republican side? Ron Paul. At the last GOP debate,all candidates happily showed their barbarism in-front of a blood thirsty crowd that using Nuclear Weapons on Iran as a first strike is perfectly alright (all options are on the table). All except one candidate opposed and I'll quote:

"Are we really considering nuking an ancient civilization that has never attacked our country and poses no credible threat to us?"

I read more about this man who I had never heard about before,and it shocked me. For the first time in decades,a GOP politician is having balls of steel and saying "Well we should treat other nations the way we want to be treated". I could quote him in a full book to be honest,but I leave it for the reader to go to his page and check out his interviews and political message.

Why him and not a democratic candidate? Well for one the democratic party doesn't hide the fact that they would run the same line Bush has on Iran,simply because their money is currently flowing in from AIPAC,a jewish lobby organization who would eat little children literally as long as its in the "best interest of Israel".

Well to bad for us,the best interest for Israel now adays seems to be using nuclear weapons on our country and putting sanctions and pressure on us so that young people have less time fighting a government they don't like and more time trying to get their daily bread between the security crackdowns (I know,the logic doesn't seem clear to me neither).

Ron voted no to the Iraq war,told Bush in a speech that he should not bomb Iran in congress and has been true to his own political standings and the issues he has voted on. Not even the democrats can brag about that.

I'm not a political activist or a writer. Hell I don't even live in the US. I don't care if you support the Regime in Iran or not,because both sides (both reformists and religious nut-cases) will lose if the next American president puts more sanctions on Iran which will end in a bombing campaign to make Iran the bad sequel of Afghanistan/Iraq. That's the grim,sad and real truth.

The Iranians in the US should seriously learn from AIPAC,and start moving; No Humanitarian-sanctions/War On Iran,and endorse candidates like Dr. Paul in every means possible. Comment

North-South divide
Peyvand Khorsandi
June 6,2007

It's pelage season in Iran. The well-to-do of Tehran take time off and head to the segregated beaches of the north. Men armed with binoculars line up to hire speed boats to gawp at the women's section from a distance. "The problem is," says Arghavan,a 25-year-old graphic designer,who came to London four months go,"that you can't get rid of segregation overnight. Can you imagine how those men would react without a curtain separating the genders?"

So,what do to?

"Well," she says laughing,"you'd have to wipe the slate clean of a whole generation and start with a society which from the outset allowed men and women to share a beach just like here."

She adds: "Relations between men and women can be normal,if only the state would leave them alone."

Arghavan and her brother,she says,were recently stopped in the street and had to prove they were siblings. "If we couldn't," she says,"things could get much bigger." A woman's father,she said,would have to tell a court he was aware of who she was with. And if the father refused to do this?
"No father would refuse," she says. "But if he did the girl could be stoned."

I was recently cornered by a post-grad student in the US who said that actually,things are far better for women in Iran that we in the West were led to believe. "When was the last time you went back," she said,implying that I did not know the reality on the ground. Are things really okay?

"It depends which family you're visiting when you go there,their economic situation," she says. "In [the wealthy] north of Tehran you might see lifestyles you won't see the like of here in the West," she says. "But venture out into poorer areas and the villages and meet a 25-year-old woman who was forced into marriage aged 15 and it's a different story." Comment

Peyvand Khorsandi stand-up comedy show in London,June 29 through July 2. Visit his blog Soul Bean Café.

Not so secret
Omeed Kashani
June 6,2007

So here we have them -- the Iranian-American neo-conservatives who have been pushing for US sponsored regime-change in Iran. They were all speaking at the neo-conservative secret meeting on Iran in Bahamas last weekend. Together with a long list of Israeli and American neo-conservatives,there were four Iranian American participants -- all favorite darlings of the Israeli and American far-right: Ladan Archie,Rob Sobhani and Abbas Milani. Here is the participation list.

Ladan Archie is a protégé of the now-defamed World Bank President and the architect of the Iraq war,Paul Wolfowitz. She recently made the news by authoring a report accusing the Persian Service of the VOA of being pro-Islamic Republic! Apparently,the propaganda wasn’t propagandistic enough!

Rob Sobhani -- Reza Pahlavi’s future foreign minister as he likes to be known -- ran an unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid a few years ago. After 9/11,he was a frequent guest on Fox “News” calling for US-sponsored regime change in Iran. At the same time,as the head of an Energy consultant firm close to the government of Azerbaijan,he published articles praising Azerbaijan when the Azeri president died and his son took over. Is that the neocon vision of democracy?

Abbas Milani is the grumpy,former leftist turned-professor-turned-neocon who has been endowed with a chair at the neo-con stronghold Hoover Institute at Stanford.

Now when most neo-cons are losing their jobs (Rumsfeld,Wolfowitz) or going to jail (Scooter Libby),it will be interesting to see what will happen to the Iranian-Americans amongst them. The least one could expect of them would be that they come clean and reveal the secret counsels they have been giving to the Bush crowd. Comment

Editor's note: Karim Sadjadpour was falsely mentioned in this piece as a participant. The mistake has been corrected.

Good hair day
Siamack Baniameri
June 3,2007

I was extremely proud to be watching the Iranian National Soccer Team play against Mexico on Saturday. Even though the depleted Iranian team was no match for Mexico's mediocrity,but what made me most proud were the awesome,perky,lavish and bouncy hairdos of the Iranian players. We have to admit that our national team had a good hair day.

I especially enjoyed Iranian footballers' fake tumbles and Hollywood-style dives while maintaining a perfect hair posture. The most delightful part of the match was watching the National players master the art of fixing hairdos immediately after a header or avoiding contact all together for the fear of sending a few strings of long hair from one side to the other.

True that our B team was a few steps behind Mexico's C team,but we have to hand it to our players for recognizing the fact that it's not important how you play the game so long as your hair makes you look like top European strikers. Comment

As good as sex
Faramarz Fateh
June 1,2007

LOS ANGELES -- Hello. My name is Faramarz and I am a chelo kabab addict.

Let's face it,for a lot of middle aged Iranian men,chelo kabab ranks as high up there as sex. If we are not deprived of sex for too long and we are asked to choose between a soltani at Rafi's place and sex,it will not be an easy decision for us. Especially those of us who have been married for a while.

Now thats been clarified,what the hell has happened to price of chelo kabab in the U.S.?

Three weeks ago we went to a chelo kababi in Irvine. The name has 2 syllabels and starts with Dar. Our bill for 5 people came to $270. Mind you,we did not have any booz. Our food consisted of tahdig and maste moosir for appetizers,a couple soltanis,a couple jooje kababs and tea and zoolubia bamieh for dessert. I though this was outrageous. That is until we had lunch at a chelo kababi in San Diego this past weekend.

Six of us went to lunch at a place with a 2 syllabel name which ended in borz. We ate a bit more than we did at the place in Irvine but the bill was as outrageous; $210 without any booz again. Now,the place in Irvine is in an expensive shopping center with rents that top $7 per square feet. This place in San Diego was in a semi run down shopping center next to a Jack in the Box. I am sure the rent there is not more than $2.5 a square foot.

Whats up with price of chelo kabab?! I remember just a few years ago koobideh lunch was $4.99 and barg was $9.99. Chelo kabab has even outpaced gasoline and real estate.

I am asking all Iranian men in California to boycott chelo kabab for 33 days. Ok,3 days.
Lets see if the prices come down. Comment

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