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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

July 19-23, 1999 / Tir 28-1 Mordad, 1378


* Arabs:
- Stereo-typing


* Religion:
- Religion prevents unity

- Moderate, practicing Muslim
* The Iranian:
- Admirable
- Their turn
- Amazing American politicians

- The way it was
- Twin demons
- Amazing American politicians

- The way it was
- Twin demons
- Khatami only hope

- Last desperate stab
- Worse than a dog

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July 23, 1999

* Stereo-typing

Allow me to express my utmost disappointment in the unfortunate remarks cointained in the poem "History of Iran"which clearly crosses the logical and moral (if not legal) borders of discrimination and negative stereo-typing.

Iranians, one of the primary victims of the same type of prejudice in the west, should choose to become the new flag bearers of equality and the forerunners of an end to such practices. Although it is very common within our culture to abuse and stereo-type other nationalities and cultures, one expects that our intellectuals and media such as the new electronic form of it (The Iranian), stay away from the kind of conduct that in the short and long term will be harmful to our own community.

After all, if we start stereo-typing other cultures and races ("Cuz when Arabs invaded, not too many fought. They handed our country to men who were no wizards. For fine dining experience, they mostly ate lizards.") then we are opening the doors and in fact approving stereo-typing of ourselves by those who consider us "no wizards" or "violent" or "terrorist" or ...

Pedram Moallemian
Director (CIRCLE)
Canadian Iranian Centre for Liberty & Equality\
Suite #105 120 Sheppard Ave.
East Toronto, ON M2N 3A4
Tel (416) 218-0552
Fax (416) 218-0556

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July 22, 1999

* Their turn

As a member of the Iranian diasporic community I am thrilled as to the recent events that have gone on in Iran. Although I personally feel that Khatami himself is first and foremost still a Muslim cleric, he is probably the country's only hope.

I am waiting for the day when there will be no Islamic state in Iran. A day when we can actually rid ourselves of the Arab influence in our country. Islam invaded Iran, and although we mostly contribute imperialism to the English, Islam has it's own imperialism and Iran is a perfect example of that.

The clerical government would like to see an end to Noruz celebrations as well, because it is not an Islamic holiday.

I urge all members of the diasporic Iranian/Persian community to do whatever they can to show their support for the people of Iran who want change; the clerical government has run Iran into the ground and the same people that were chanting "Down with the Shah" have realized that they have implemented monsters in his place.


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* Religion prevents unity

In response to the moderate, practicing Muslim I must say I disagree on the fact that we can't teach culture without religion. Religion is one of the many things that keeps Iranians from being united, and that is one of the biggest problems in Iranian society today.

I have no problem with religion and do not seek to detract from it. But if Iranian culture is to be preserved, we must look to other aspects of our society as well. As an Iranian agnostic, I am fiercely proud of my culture and the accomplishments and history of our country and people.

I was not raised to believe in Allah, or Ahura Mazda, or Baha U'ollah. Rather, instead of being a servant of Islam or what have you, I listened to the stories of our founding forefathers like Cyrus and Darius, in addition to our heroes, from Rostam to Ferdowsi to Takhti.

If anything, we need to start teaching the more unbiased parts of our culture, that don't focus on a specific religion or belief. We need to put our prejudices aside and simply be proud of being Iranian.

Q tip

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July 21, 1999

* Moderate, practicing Muslim

I enjoyed reading "After all, I am Iranian" and found it refreshing that people my age are learning about Iranian culture and traditions. However, if I may add my own opinion, being Iranian does not only center around one's customs, traditions, or even language.

I have great respect for those Iranians who are Jewish and Christian. They have kept their respective faiths. I have had a chance to attended to Iranian-Jewish celebrations and learn more about the Jewish faith. They are proud of who they are and are happy to share their religion to others who want to be educated.

As a moderate, practicing Muslim, I find it utterly shameful that we Iranian Muslims cannot be proud of our faith. We don't need to be extremist or even yield to one dogma. As a moderate Muslim, I wear my hijab in the masjid, AND THAT''S IT. I am like a typical American girl outside and enjoy the freedoms of being the first born Iranian-American in this great country.

Yet, I feel that as a Iranian-American, we have become too shallow, only observing our culture and forgetting about religion. There are many Iranian-Americans Muslims that don't know a thing about their faith and believe themselves to be Christian or even agnostic. It is sad when one comes across these individuals.

That is why I stress that it is important for Iranians, whether Jewish, Christian, Zorastrian or Muslim to teach their children about religion and culture together. For example, Iranians gave the Islamic world many great scientific, artistic, and cultural traditions that have helped shape our traditions. You cannot teach culture without religion.

In closing, I want to thank Ms. Jalalipour for her essay. Your a smart, intelligent young lady that has a great future ahead of you.


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* Admirable


Soma's reports from Tehran are great and being special the The Iranian Times is excellent. Putting out the "Extra"s are very timely and the stance of The Iranian Times in relation to recent events has been clear and admirable. Your role, nowadays, is more important than ever and I'm glad for you and my favorite publication.


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July 20, 1999

* Amazing American politicians

I agree with Ramin Abhari (The Iranian Times, July 19). We should support Khatami. In its issue of July 8, the Washington Post saw it fit to stage yet another attack on Khatami ('More Mullah than Moderate' by 'a former CIA specialist'). I wrote a letter of protest to the editor which was not published.

There seems to be a confluence of interests among some right-wing politicians in the congress, the Israeli government (although that might be changing), the MKO and hard-liners in Iran to put an end to Khatami's courageous initiatives.

It is truly amazing that, in the U.S., the MKO can manage to present itself as a serious alternative to the exisitng Iranian regime and claim the backing of more than a hundred American congreessmen.

I know American politicians are not the shrewdest people on earth when it come to foreign policy and history. But they wield enormous power. So do such mainstream media players sucb as the Washington Post.

Do we want the future of our homeland be dictated by the most vociferous, once again? Have we learned anything from history? I don't know what to do or how to do it. But at least we can devote some time and effort to thinking about it.

Afshin Afshari
San Jose, California

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* The way it was

I think it is about time that Iranians stood up against oppression and unjust laws. Although, I think that what happened was not enough. I was born in Tehran and now live in Virginia.

I would like to see the day when Iran returns to the way it was under the Shah, so that there will be peace, and that maybe, just maybe, we could all go back and relive our lost lives.

Yashar Basseri

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* Twin demons

I have spent enough time in Iran recently to grasp the following: The twin demons affecting this very interesting country are the 4% per annum population growth from early in the Islamic Republic's tenure and the lack of water resources.

These two impediments to growth are, of course, intertwined. The Iranian dovernment must effectively deal with them - and stop looking for external scapegoats.

Raoul Tschebull

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July 19, 1999

* Khatami only hope

I can't help thinking that another opportunity for forwarding the cause of liberalization in Iran was lost last week ["Now what?"]. The roughing of peaceful student protestors and trashing of their dormatories, was a big embarassment for the hard-line establishment. It could have had led to a major purge, having followed the assassination of writers few months earlier.

Now with the rioting and Mojahedeen Khalq's statements of support, it would be masterful if Khatami could prevent this from becoming a major setback. Why doesn't the opposition realize that they have no leadership and that Khatami is the only hope for Iran out of this darkness?

Ramin Abhari

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* Last desperate stab

Political science data advisable for democratization in Eastern Europe and South America strongly suggest that the success of a democratic transition is linked to the involvement of soft-liners (Mohammad Khatami) in the authoritarian regime.

Lynn Karl and Phillippe Schmitter (1991) found that when authoritarian regimes conducted their own democratization they were much more likely to succeed. However, even when the regime itself is conducting the democratization it can be subject to internal coups. Hard-liners often take one last desperate stab at reasserting themselves (e.g. USSR--Genady Yeniev vs. Mikhail Gorbachev).

However, if Khatami's power base is stable, it is already too late for a hard-liner coup to succeed. It seems that the real threat to Iran's democratization process are the students and Iran's neighbors. The Karl and Schmitter (1991) data suggests that if the protesters take over the reform process a future Iranian democratic regime's actual chances for success will be diminished.

As for Iran's neighbors, Mark Gasiorowski (1995) ["Now what?"] found a direct link between the number of democratic neighbors a democratizing regime has and its chances of success. Iran is in real trouble in this regard! Talk about an island in a sea of dictatorships.

Roy Casagranda

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* Worse than a dog

You guys are worse than a dog. Long live the Islamic revolution.

Salah Jafar

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