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Godfather's grapes

Photo essay: Francis Ford Coppola's winery, Napa Valley, California
Jahanshah Javid

Light is born

Happy Yalda or Yuletide
Ali Mostofi

Iranian Cosmologists, Astronomers, Astrologers, were responsible for creating observatories, and following the change in the amount of light every day. They created a calendar that connected the change in daylight to the seasons. Astrologically they created what is called the Horoscope. In present day Iran the calendar is an Astrological calendar. It has withstood the test of time, and the people of Iran have four celebrations to commemorate the interplay of Light and Darkness. The Yin Yang of time, to make it clear to the Chinese folk who buy all that oil from Iran, is called the Ohrmazd-Ahriman dialectic. These are the Twin Forces that show up in all realms of Life >>>

To tree or not to tree...
Shahriar Zahedi

Every year around this time a debate flares up among the Iranian Diaspora as to whether we should display Christmas trees in our houses. The issue is discussed ad-nauseam on talk-radio shows and at parties and gatherings. Everyone has their own opinion about this potentially touchy subject. Some favor doing "as Romans do" and advocate displaying the biggest tree befitting the confines of their domiciles. Others consider this an outright act of sacrilege and remind their Moslem brethren (and sistren) that we, as Moslems, should not honor these ridiculous rites of the infidels. I think the displaying of a Christmas tree should not have any bearing on whether one considers Jesus as one's lord and savior or even believes in the Holly Ghost and the Trinity. (What is the Trinity, anyway? Is monotheism in peril?) >>>

Maybe we desrve it
Faramarz Fateh

Anyway, as usual after discussing the LA real estate market and how much money folani had made or lost, the inevitable political discussion got started. Someone said that we should ALL buy the new book by President Jimmy Carter because for the first time in history, someone famous in U.S. politics has dared to write the truth about the Jews and Israel. And maybe now the Israeli apartheid can be stopped and the Jews can be put in their place and may be now the Palestinians can have their rightful country. What?!! Stop the presses!!!! What is this guy talking about and why a few of these men I know and respect are all of a sudden praising Jimmy Carter?! Let me remind ya'll of a few facts: 1) Jimmy Carter was the cause for the demise of the Pahlavi regime and return of the pile of scum called Khomeini back to Iran. As much as I disliked the Shah, I won't trade a gram of crap from that era for the entire Islamic Republic of Iran >>>

Layla Khamoushian

There is something about them, all of them... the entire act of polishing and shining people's old shoes... all day long, day after day just amazes me. Then there is the whole key making situation. Who in the world came up with the idea that a shoe repair guy should also make keys? I mean, maybe they (not sure who) thought it was so demeaning to just make keys that you also had to shine shoes to feel better about yourself? Just want to know if anyone else has ever questioned the relationship between keys and shoes? The Kaffash on M Ave: the little old man who was missing a couple of front teeth and his shop was as small as my closet. His Persian radio so loud, you could hear it on the sidewalk. He was a character. All you could think of was "how in the world this guy got to America?" >>>


Doing the world a favor

Photo essay: Decided on getting a vasectomy
Jahanshah Javid

Gift of Magi

How to celebrate Christmas with our Christian neighbors
Mahmoud Sadri

There is a portion of the Iranian Diaspora community that is not sure what to make of Christmas. So it haphazardly, half-heartedly, ignores or celebrates it. The nagging concern is how this holiday relates to all that is Iranian, Middle Eastern, or Islamic. Do Iranians lose a part of their identity and heritage by partaking of the festivities alien to their traditional or sacred calendar? In the meanwhile, neighbors, co workers, and – the toughest part – children continue to ask questions. Whether they take Christmas as a holy-day (a religious occasion) or a holiday (a social ritual), Iranians have reason enough to celebrate it and to add their own story, making it more festive for grownups and more fun for children. Here is the scoop: Iranians enter the Christmas picture four times: three times as Iranians and a fourth time as Muslims. I’ll explain but, first, a few words on the origin and nature of Christmas >>>

It's Christmas
Hila Sharif

I worked last Christmas Eve. I was a server a pretty family oriented restaurant (with the best food and staff ever.) I had about five tables at once that night. When you are a lazy sh*t like me that is more than enough. One of those tables was made up of two married couples who looked like they were in their mid to late fourties. They weren't necessarily rude, but very unreceptive and quiet. The next table I got was a single dude by himself who looked like he was in his mid twenties. This guy ordered himself a salad, a nice big steak with potatoes and cheesecake to follow. I remember thinking that it was adorable watching him go all out for his Christmas Eve dinner all by himself. I also totally dug his leather jacket and dirty construction boots - he was a man's man >>>


Glowing forest

Photo essay: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Ray Rafizadeh

We are indestructible
Jewish Irani

Ahmaghinejad and his hateful clan have opened a 2-day so-called conference on Holocaust denial, in Tehran. Of course, they are selling it as an academic conference to some 67 foreign researchers (read anti-Semites) from 30 countries. In the name of the six million who were perished Al Kidush Ha-shem; sanctifying the Almighty's name, I tell you Mr. Ahmaghinejad that there have been many others before you who tried to hurt the Jewish people, but they themselves were wiped off the map. Take your ancient countryman for example Mr. Haman who like you had such sinister dreams. What happened to him? He was hanged on the very same gallows that he built to kill Mordechai the Jew >>>

Niosha's dual crusade

Bringing Persian dance to the masses
Behrouz Bahmani

With all the negativity surrounding Iranians and Iran these days, there is little that is obviously optimistic. Who we really are is often masked by those desperate to drag us into their bitter feuds and hostile intentions. So it is wonderful when a truly inspiring story comes along. Niosha Nafei is a Bay Area Iranian Community icon. But before I get to that let me tell you what she does. Niosha Dance Academy (NDA) has been teaching young and older students, various traditional classical, and modern Persian Dance since 1991 >>>

Clearing my closets
Fereshteh Saheli

I was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago.  I was aware of my tumors a good year before that and did absolutely nothing about them.  I never went to a doctor, never sought help of any sort much to the dismay of childhood friends who found me out during one incredibly glorious vacation recently.  I tried to explain my thoughts ... I have packed so very much in my first thirty years of life than most people do in their whole.  Not even touching on the next 15, I tried my best to tell them I’ve had enough.  I could happily pass on now.  I really can!  Enough pain, enough joy, enough fun, enough bitter, enough sweet, enough laughter, enough sadness, enough any and all.  None would hear of it >>>

Anar dreams

It’s very possible that I have held the biggest pomegranate arils known to man in the palm of my right hand, in my head
Maziar Shirazi

Did you ever have a powerfully real dream that was a 50/50 combination of the fantastic and the mundane? The following dream actually did happen, although I added a sentence at the end to tie it all together. I was sleeping around three or four in the afternoon today, and in my head, I went to the refrigerator to get something to eat. I had just opened the fridge door when, to my surprise, something in a plastic bag fell from a shelf to the floor with a heavy thud. I picked it up and saw the Wholesome Choice logo on the bag, recognizing it as the one pomegranate left from my last minute food pickup in Irvine, California, some two weeks ago. To my dismay, upon removing the pomegranate from the bag, I saw that it had flattened on one spot, I’m guessing from the fall. What's more, its skin was white or pink in many areas, and had large folds running obliquely around it, like the torso of an obese person... how strange >>>

Deck the halls with Hengameh

With Las Vegas, it seems Iranians have really gone above and beyond the now commercial holiday spirit

Growing up in America, I held a deep affection for Christmas. Here was a holiday that meant vacation, presents and candy. People were cheerful and decorated their houses with tiny lights to welcome a jolly man bearing presents in the night. It was like Halloween on LSD! As I grew up, and attended catholic school, I understood what all the celebration was really about. Like most things, as time got on, it wasn't as cool anymore. When my grandmother came to visit us when I was in 7th grade, I made sure to show her the White House Christmas tree and buy her candy canes. And like most visitors from Iran, she was eager to see the usual hot spots like Tyson's Corner and Georgetown. The sales were wild and so were the Christmas shoppers >>>

Azam's secrets

What to give a middle-aged woman for Christmas
Azam Nemati

I want to help out the brothers and make the task less stressful since many of you are so clueless and have no imagination when it comes to buying gifts for us for any occasion. I am the kindhearted big sister who wants you to shine and let’s remember this is not about me but having heard all the complaints, I want to make it simple despite the myth that women are complicated. First of all, there are two groups of women.  The first are those who truly value anything that shows thoughtfulness as corny as it sounds.  The second group belongs to the “rich housewife” club. That is someone with 9th grade education (or high school if she is younger) who is married to someone with money and her status among the rest of the housewives is determined by the handbag she carries, the make up she wears and the car she drives and of course all is paid from the pocket of bothers like you who like being the “agha” >>>

Friends spread around the world

Maybe it is the distance that is making me feel this way
Hamid Bakhsheshi

The little clock on the corner of the computer says 12:16 AM. I'm fighting tears after saying good bye to two dear friends. But then again, having tears in my eyes is nothing new for me these days. I was on line, reading the news, watching the news on TV, at the same time, when Koroush comes on line saying, "Hamid, what are you doing?" Surprised that he's still awake, he told me he couldn't sleep. Moments later he tells me that Mori is on line too, can we conference? I set it up, since he said he is not up to speed with "these things". Mori comes on and the three of us start chatting >>>

Forum for improvment

Defining an agenda on paper is far easier than implementing it in real life. To implement it in real life, friendships have to be formed and cliques must disappear
Nezam Rabonik

Promoting the mission statement listed above, is an extremely difficult task. Before progress can be made where members (and officers) of ISF stubbornly work towards promoting the Iranian culture, an over-haul of the organization must be made. I made the suggestion to Rana Rabei -- to create a new Iranian organization at UMD -- because I don't believe it's within ISF's power to promote the agenda as defined. HOWEVER, Nazanin's words have given me new hope and perhaps in the future, we as old officers and members of ISF can work with ISF's current officers and members to formulate a plan to create an organization that can promote the above agenda. Before we embark on this, however, we have to realize the social dynamics at ISF and the difficulties in bringing students of different walks to follow the same agenda >>>


Intelligent punch

Video clips and photo essay: Peyvand Khorsandi stand up comedy in Sacramento
Jahanshah Javid


Thanksgiving Polo

Photo essay: Thanksgiving at Berkeley's Persian Center
Talieh Shahrokhi

Professor Pervert
Rana Rabei

Amongst my many campus jobs, I work in lab. My job description entails a lot of media making, autoclaving, and some downtime in between. One day last summer, I was waiting in the hallway outside the autoclave room, where I saw a blackboard and naturally proceeded to erase its content and do some figure sketching. I had no idea my drawing would become the center of an unsolved mystery case ... Last week, I was walking with a co-worker past the chalk board where my life-size drawing of two curvaceous women still stands, when I casually commented on how I thought it was peculiar that no one has erased the board yet. This put my colleague in a momentary state of shock then she bursted out in laughter. Once we had walked far enough from the crime scene, and she got the laughs out of her system, she told me the story >>>


Shades of white

Photo essay
Azadeh Azad


Peyvand Times

Photo essay: 48 hours with Peyvand Khorsandi
Jahanshah Javid

Don't blow off a challenge

Iranian Students Foundation parties are at the expense of the culture it was founded to promote

A few years earlier, I had to type the ISF constitution for the University of Maryland, as an officer. I remember typing a very clear sentence concerning the goal of ISF: to promote the Iranian culture within and without the Iranian community. To me, that means as officers of ISF, you are responsible for promoting Iranian culture - not to be concerned with large-scale parties. It's easy to gather a large group of people and that isn't necessarily commendable. Besides repeatedly offering dinner and dancing and even sometimes a singer at your events, how is all your hard work remembered? By consistently seeing the attendance of 200-300 Iranians at your events, you have so-far proven that there are lots of Iranians in Maryland. Don't be afraid of a challenge or criticism, or worse, a "boring" culturally oriented event >>>

Have a problem with our agenda?

Run for office or start your own group
Nezam Rabonik

One cannot overlook the many friendships and cultural exchanges that are created because of the Iranian Students' Foundation (ISF) of the University of Maryland. In addition, as far as I have seen, very few entities have been able to fortify the Iranian community in the DC area as ISF does. For Chahar Shanbeh Souri last year, we were able to bring over 5000 Iranians together!!!! In fact, all events sponsored by ISF are typically sold out, with attendance in the 200-500 range for each event. This is no small feat. And I agree, while the group does not sponsor enough cultural, political, and weighty Iran-related events, it still fulfills a niche that the community needs -- bringing people together. For this reason, this group is successful and a huge plus for our community >>>


Home away from home

Photo essay: Phase one of the expedition in appreciation of Manchetser
Shahireh S

The renewed virgin
Rana Rabei

If I were to ask a Persian man to paint me a picture of their ideal girl, I have a feeling it would be something like this: Young, good looking, hard working, smart, and inexperienced. If it seems like I'm drawing stereotypes at this point, you're probably right, I am. But after being the subject of interest of a number of Persian men looking to train me into their running mate in the race that is marriage, it's hard to rule out the repeating pattern of educated and accomplished Iranian men looking for a wife 10 years younger than them. The burning question remains, what has led to this hypocrisy? Other than the fact that most of us are gifted with the vestigial biases of our parents' generation, I would like to point out a particular social phenomenon that has led to the mass development of the stereotypical Persian man. To illustrate my case, I would like to call 'the renewed virgin' to the stand >>>

The Hypothetical
Shahriar Zahedi

Some nights, just before falling asleep, my mind begins to wonder and I find myself in a realm I call "the Domain of the Hypothetical". Questions starting with 'What if' flood my semi-conscious brain and I incessantly look for answers to them. This cerebral give-and-take frequently yields thought-products that, in all fairness, could only be categorized as utter nonsense. There are rare times, however, that the randomness of the process, coupled with the sheer number of the ideas floating around in my head, produce a thing or two that a generous disposition may consider mildly humorous. The other day, I was reading Nietzsche during my lunch break >>>


Virginia fall

Photo essay: Autumn in Alexandria, Huntley Meadow Park, Virginia
Morteza Loghmani


After the rain

Photo essay: Canada's west coast
Sophie Saviour

Keep your cool

We need to stop expecting or assuming that education, wealth or family rank rules people's behavior
Azam Nemati

A while back we went on a cruise (we had the name of all who we had agreed to be with us) and somehow a group of Iranians (3 people) we had never seen or met were on that cruise (evening cruise) so while in the area which we had reserved for dancing, I politely told one of the men in a white expensive Italian suit to please put out his cigarette since this was indoors and this was a non-smoking area. I went on the dance floor and a little over an hour later came back to take napkin out of my white jacket. You guessed it! The beautiful and expensive jacket was drenched in orange color soda! I did not have to be a rocket scientist to know the rat had done it but I could not prove it so I let it be. I had no regrets for having spoken my mind even though it cost me >>>

Modern maiden

Stop blaming premarital sex for your broken homes
Hiedeh Farmani

I am a married woman living in conservative Iran, where women are expected to keep their hymens intact for wedlock and many among more traditional families still have to get their virginity verified by a doctor before tying the knot -- to guarantee the future groom has not been sold damaged goods. Yet, marriages fail and divorce rates are ramping up. Many of those wandering about in family courts were good old blushing virgins when they married. So what went wrong? Men's drug addiction and unemployment are said to be the main reasons but there are studies and statistics showing adultery as well as sexual incompatibility and dissatisfaction are also -- if not equally -- playing important roles. Reluctant to lift our heads out of the sand, we still perpetuate and promote "values" of honor and chastity, chanting into young women's ears to keep away from sex, putting a halo over an orifice >>>

Support WHAT exactly!?
Rana Rabei

Let me cut to the point: What other school organization do you know of that gets a $500 check from a trendy lounge in the US capital to funnel in a young crowd of alcoholics to their venue on a Thursday night, in the last 2 weeks of the school semester? Other than the Iranian Student Organization, I have no idea. A friend of mine who's an officer in this organization confronted me the other day, “You haven't supported us once this semester!” And I thought to myself, support WHAT exactly!? To me it seems like this “cultural” organization continues to exist because it provides students with a legitimate family-friendly excuse for wasting time >>>

Oonee keh beh maa nareedeh bood...

UCLA police, Patrick Swaze and me
Cameron Milani

After a few failed attempts to raise my earnings to a dollar or two above the U.S. minimum wage, and pulling all kinds of strings through my powerful friends, Hassan the Aashpaz, Reza the Panchargeer, and Fazee Rashtee's older brother Hamdollah (who preferred to be called, Jonothan) , the "Night Manager" at a local nightclub, I was finally offered the big one, the job that would set me aside from all those minimum-wage earning losers: Bouncer at a local night club. As good as it sounded, I had my reservations. "I don't want to be a doorman like Hamdollah haa," I told Fazee Rashtee. "Ehh, I told you baabaa, besh nagoo 'doorman', shaakee meesheh!". Then he cracked and said, "and you need to call him 'Jonathan' there." Well. He was nice enough to put a good word for me. Those positions were hard to come by. Lights, sound, disco, wild women (plenty of action, I assumed), cool guys, and the best part, $8.25, every hour, in my pocket. I started thinking: "Bah bah,... Haajeet deegeh raft daakheleh aadamhesaabee haa!" American dream is finally coming true for your 'pilgram'! >>>

Iranian Hillbillies

Nobody can teach these guys anything
Sean Amour

The scene is the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the most classy and upscale hotels in Scottsdale where adults and romantic couples dress up to go there on weekend nights. On Friday and Saturday nights after 9:00 p.m, a fantastic band (called Mosaico) plays Flamenco music accompanied by very professional Flamenco dancers. This is definitely a sophisticated place for people who are well dressed and over 21. Suddenly, this group of Iranian families show up, comprising 4 couples, each having 3 or 4 kids aged between 4 to 7 -- all dressed in expensive kids outfits. First of all, these ten kids start running around inside and outside the bar, screaming and chasing each other. The Iranian parents are busy ordering drinks at the bar (not any Vodka, but Grey Goose, and bottles of French Champaign) -- totally oblivious to their kids' behavior. The Iranian guys are wearing shorts and sneakers (albeit the expensive brands), while everyone else in the bar is wearing evening attire and shoes >>>

I have boycotted Iran

... and all those who travel to Iran are traitors
Amir Nasiri

Almost 30 years have past and Iran is still ruled by a theocratic and fascist government. And nothing has changed since the revolution, or maybe I should say that things have gotten worse: Overcrowded prisons (mainly political prisoners, not drug dealers or rapists), over-population, pollution, inflation, unemployment and poverty are all facets of the Islamic revolution. I was asked by a friend why don't you visit Iran my reply to him was I have boycotted Iran and all those who travel to Iran are traitors. Yes I have not visited Iran for almost 22 years. My grandfathers had passed away and my grandmother just recently passed away and although I would love to go to visit their graves and say my prayer, I refuse to go. I will not buy products made by the Islamic Republic of Iran and I refuse to own an Iranian satellite dish that carried the Islamic Republic's TV programs >>>

Iranian Beauty, the book
Nader Farzan

We have started a book project for charity. Iranian Beauty will be a coffee table book featuring our photography of beautiful Iranian-American females and all the proceeds will be donated to a charity in Iran benefiting children (we are still doing our research to find the best, legitimate charity.) We've been accepting applications for the last week now and the response has been very positive! You can learn more at our website, We would greatly appreciate it if you could support us any way possible. Please check out our website and let us know what you think.


The meaning of night

Photo essay: International Festival in Celebration of Freedom of Expression
Mandana Zandian

Iranica bitaraf?

Encyclopaedia Iranica and politics
Massoud Noghrekar

UC Abu Ghraib
Eski Sepehr

UC Abu Ghraib in Los Angeles like its sister facility in Iraq is home to Middle Easterners of different shades some of whom resemble Mostafa Tabatabainejad, but there are of course notable differences in management policies at the two facilities. Eventhough at UC Abu Ghraib the men and women in uniform still prefer applying high voltage electric shock as the principle tool of their security work, the torture dungeons have been done away with altogether. This new openness has advanced the cause of Democracy to no end and will no doubt be emulated in future Democracy projects. Another notable difference is that at UC Abu Ghraib the work of the highly professional security personnel is carried out in plain sight of anyone who can watch a torture and humiliation session without getting dizzy >>>

Iranian guilt
Ari Siletz

The Iranian community's outrage at the mistreatment of Mostafa Tabatabainejad by UCLA police has led us into doing a bit of soul-searching. Would we have felt just as indignant if the victim of this assault had been Chinese or African American? The honest answer for some of us is "no." We are humbler than to assume we are saintly beings whose empathy embraces all of humanity with equal zeal. Yet this is no reason for moral despair. The fact that our reach of compassion strengthens with emotional nearness is actually very useful in promoting justice in the world. As long as everyone defends what is within his or her natural emotional reach, all of humanity is covered. In this "zone defense" scenario, if we do not look after other Iranians, we are not doing our job protecting the little patch of justice with which we have been entrusted >>>

1,764,000 dollar Virgin
Bruce Bahmani

You've wished upon a star, tried to find the man in the moon, and secretly still want to be an astronaut (remember when you were 8 years old?). Now, for the first time, the heavens are truly within reach, when you charter Virgin Galactic for the journey into space. It may sound like science fiction, but it's very real indeed. The Burton Rutan-designed SpaceShipOne has already completed three space missions and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first private space flight. Now, funded by Virgin, Rutan is building a larger, commercial version of SpaceShipOne exclusively for Virgin Galactic. Like Sir Richard Branson's previous adventures, this one is being planned, designed, tested, and executed down to the last detail to ensure its safety and success >>>


Thinking of you

Photo essay: For children killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Aidin Fathalizadeh

Our touchstone
Most of us were neither born in Iran, nor have we ever lived there

Lance Raheem

There are innumerable English proverbs, adages and idiomatic expressions which revolve around the concept of home. A few of these include: "a man's home is his castle", "charity begins at home", "men make houses-women make homes", "there is no place like home", "the chickens have come home to roost", and "till the cows come home." Perhaps, the proverb that best applies for many of the Iranian-Americans who left Iran prior to the revolution is "home is where the heart is." For those of us who are the second-generation children and third-generation grandchildren of those early immigrant/refugees to North America, Europe and other parts of the world this proverb simply doesn't apply >>>


Bruised Bruins
Photo essay & Video clips (1) (2): UCLA protest against tasing

Maral Farsi

Happy anniversary, Dr. Ghajar
Fathali Ghahremani

As you may know the Brain Trauma Foundation-BTF ( was established to educate doctors and emergency personnel in the proper protocols for the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Dr. Jamshid Ghajar founded the organization twenty years ago and through his personal diligence and sacrifices it has become a success, helping the medical community develop the correct protocols for treating brain injury (see attachment). I think it is appropriate for all of us to support his dedication. It would be great, if at this time, through our support of BTF, we would show our appreciation of the work that Jamshid is doing every single day to save lives and, even more important, preserving the quality of life of patients. A contribution (tax deductible in the United States) to BTF will show that we are aware of his efforts to make the world a better place for all of us. His work let's each an everyone of us feel proud and stand a bit taller >>>

The "basher" and the "immortal"
On Anousheh Ansari's space travel and her critics

Mahsa Meshki

I like to say, that in exercising her passion, Ansari has exercised godliness and perhaps attained it. One only needs to read her blog to sense the childish enthusiasm that imbues her words as she shares her space travel experience. I like to say, if Ansari could have explored space without paying a hefty sum of money, she would have done so; that unfortunately, the price tag of following our dreams is often hefty. I like to say, she is non-partisan, just a curious soul following her dreams. I like to say, the contribution she is making to furthering humanity's vision beyond the boundaries of our earth will have a profound shift in our consciousness beyond what our limited vision allows us to see at this time. I like to say, we each have a song and surmounting the world's hunger problems should be left to someone other than Ansari. Finally, I like to ask, why we burden Ansari with solving the world's hunger problems when she never acceded to such responsibility? >>>

Screw the Sexual Revolution
It deeply saddens me that many in second-generation of Iranian women in the West have adopted such a "ce la vie" attitude about sexual relationships outside the bounds of marriage

Jim S.

Few men in the world would desire a wife who has been intimate with another man. Unfortunately, Western men have no choice but to ignore women's past sexual indiscretions if they hope to marry and have families. If you think that Western men are just more tolerant and accepting of female premarital intimacies, let me assure you that we are not. Western men are no different from Iranian men in wanting a wife who has not been deflowered by another. Western men want their wives to come to their marriage bed as innocent and pure as the day they were born, but this is not a realistic option or ambition any longer for Western men while it still is for many Iranian men. Whether you like it or not, this is the way it is, the way it always has been and the way it always will be >>>


Poker night
Photo essay: Playing poker in Albany, California

Jahanshah Javid

Wee wee training
My first time trying to get my boys to pee into urinals

Siamack Salari

It was Varinder's (she's my wife) idea to leave me at Nando's - a chicken restaurant - with the twins while she zipped around the shops in Bluewater shopping centre (Kent in the UK). The idea was that in the time my three-year-old sons and I would take to tuck into corn on the cob, roast chicken, fries and rice, Varinder would have found the leather boots she was looking for. And that's how I came to realise that I was still incapable of looking after them single headedly - unlike my wife. Lunch was painless, they ate all of the corn and some of the chicken. They drew pictures on the colouring sets they had been given when we were shown to our table and they made conversation about their school (Madam), grand parents (maman jan) and doing a wee-wee >>>

Persians & Trojans
I applaud those women and men who take precaution and practice safe sex

Sanaz Raji

Let's face it, people have sex. The problem isn't sex, it is how people handle it and of course, being Iranian, whether living in Iran or in the diaspora, it is our culture and the fact that we have a real problem with being open about our sexuality. I have no problem with virginity; I applaud those who decide to wait until marriage. However, not everyone decides to wait -- many have sexual relations before marriage and this is also another reality. Instead of instructing women and men to not have sex or chastising those women and men who are open about their sexuality, I'd rather see Iranian men and women better educated about safe sex and are healthy about their sexuality >>>

Learning to love L.A.
Could this be the secret that attracted Iranians to this city?

Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Most Iranians who live outside of California, view LA as a whole different planet, one that they'd rather stay away from. Even some Californians consider the city a last choice for residence. With its overwhelming number of Iranian emigrants, a visitor can expect a few encounters with them and they are not always pleasant. After all, we tend to take our good as well as our bad wherever we go, and it's too bad that pleasant memories are easily forgotten while a bad experience tends to linger for some time. Before becoming a California resident, my experience of LA was that of any tourist's. It began with a trip to Disney Land and a tour of the Universal Studios, perhaps a walk in front of the Chinese Theater, and finally window-shopping on the magnificent Rodeo Drive while dreaming of winning the lotto to actually shop in some of those stores. To me, LA meant limited human contact and few acquaintances. Ironically, most of our friends who happened to live in and around LA shared some of our negative sentiments >>>

Sharing vs. tearing
Confessions of an Iranian narcissist

Shirin Saeidi

Aside from flabbergasting Iranian neo-conservatives aligned with the Bush administration and their sympathizers and apologists, Dr. Hamid Dabashi's recent article on Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran published in Al-Ahram Weekly fueled dialogue among Iranians in the Diaspora regarding their role and responsibilities as Iranian nationals living abroad. Through our action or inaction, and despite our religious, political, cultural, and social views, Dr. Dabashi reminded us, we have become a significantly influential factor in Iranian politics. And although he was not present at a discussion on "Iranian-American Identity" at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia a few weeks ago, Dr. Dabashi's premise in the Al-Ahram article was at the forefront of my thought >>>

Nazri and Neocons
Azam Nemati

I had been looking forward to this day for 6 years. You should have seen the Republicans in my state lined up in a parking lot on both side to try and intimidate the voters. I stopped and shouted, "Don't you even go there. I am Iranian and will never vote Republican as long as I live here." They said "have a good day!" I even did the Persian Nazr and promised God if he intervenes and the Neocons get ousted, I will begin to exercise and lose weight >>>

Today is a good day
Bruce Bahmani

Like the first rat leaving the sinking ship, Donald Rumsfeld, the Robert McNamara of his time, resigned in total and utter shame today. He even looks like McNamara these days. I say shame, because I refuse to let him leave with even one scrap of the honor we are being sold by President Bush. And before he gest one, let me be the first to curse the medal he is about to receive for his "service". Of course, at the very moment when it is precisely too late to admit you were wrong, too late to admit you were warned by everyoen that you were wrong, the natural cowards way out of all this, is to quit and simply and try to quietly slink away from the very problems he hath wrought! Talk about cutting and running! >>>

Thanks to American Muslims
The importance of the immigrant Muslim vote in Virginia

Stetson Al Rigal

It was like being a kid again, I was waiting for the bending of time and space so Tuesday would come instantly. All day at work I kept looking at the clock waiting and waiting for the seconds to become minutes and the minutes to become hours, all in anticipation of Tuesday's election results. I did not care if the Republicans lost the House. I did not care if the Republicans lost the Senate. My only concern, desire and hope was for God to intervene in the course of history and produce a victory for James Webb and a defeat for George "I made up the word Maccaca" Allen. More on the historic Webb win later... Webb's narrow victory is historic not only in sending a message that Virginia is no longer the lackey of the Conservative Right, it is historic in that it signifies the importance of the Muslim vote in Virginia -- by Muslim I am referring to immigrant Muslim, indigenous Muslims and second/third Generation Muslims. For those of you that are repelled by the word Muslim, it also includes Iranians (secular or not) >>>

Unwavering fairness
Reza Bayegan

Unfortunately I never got to meet Shahla Samii. My contact with her was through e-mail and in connection with a political campaign waged by a few individuals who were hoping against hope and were using whatever last resources at their disposal to speak up against tyranny and injustice in their homeland. Shahla Samii was outstanding within this group for her sharp intelligence and her unwavering fairness of judgment. She never took a stance for the sake of pleasing this or that source of power or without first carefully and meticulously evaluating the merits and demerits of the case at hand. I remember her advising her friends 'Always speak with conviction, never sway from your principles' >>>

15 minutes of dignity: Priceless!
Omid Parsi

NEW YORK -- Lately, as anyone deeply familar with the Iranian spirit could have predicted, there has been an outburst of passion from assorted commentators - literate ones too, amazingly - condemning Ms. Ansari's space travel and her ensuing "15 minutes of fame" as vane and extravagant. Indeed how could anyone spend twenty million or so "beezaboon" US$$ to fulfill a childish whim of spending a night in a cold space capsule?! What is more troubling to me however is the fact that it never ocurred to our big-hearted but small-minded Ansari-bashers that maybe the recognition she has received might somehow uplift all Iranians. After all, in case some of us have not realized, lately the world's general perception of Iranians is not something we could be all too proud of >>>


How things have always been
Photo essay: After being outside of Iran for quite some time, upon returning I found some things to be completely new and at times shocking and others quite old and familiar

G. Ali

What a strange people. They're still the same bastards. It's incredible. Lots of things in Iran have improved, but not people. They still have no regard for each others' rights. They're so porroo (does anyone have an English equivalent for this?) they put the Qazvini pumice stone to shame. They still rob you blind if they find the chance. They still stab you in the back just for the hell of it. They still lie like there's no tomorrow. And at the same time the same people can be their own exact opposite. They can give you favorite nation status without expecting anything in return >>>


It's that easy
Photo essay: Voting in U.S. elections

Jahanshah Javid

Prevent this disaster
International Committee to Save Pasargad

It is almost two years that thousands of people interested in the historical and cultural heritages of human kind have pleaded for your help to save a large part of archeologically unique sites of Iran, recognized as a part of human heritage, from complete destruction by the flooding of a Dam called Sivand. These threatened areas are comprised of Bolaghi Gorge, Pasargad Plains and the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great, the author of the first Human rights charter. According to reports prepared by excavators, geologists, environmentalists, archeologists and historians, all published inside Iran, flooding the Sivand Dam will not only destroy all the historical treasures of this area but it will also jeopardize the environment and agriculture of a vast region in Iran's Fars province >>>

We want an apology
Firoozeh Derakhshani

1- Why is it absolutely necessary to get a word of apology from Saddam in the name of humanity? 2- Why do we Iranians demand Saddam confess to the injustice he committed when he deployed chemical weapons against the people of Iran? 3- Why is it necessary for Saddam to tell the court of justice who exactly armed him with chemical weapons and actualized such acts of cruelty against humanity? As an Iranian woman writer I have demanded the replies to the same issues since 1983 in Geneva at the United Nations Commission & Sub commission on Human Rights. The western diplomats turned a sour face when I distributed pictures or pamphlets with the chemical weapon victims brought to the Swiss hospitals >>>

A class apart
Fereydoun Hoveyda belonged to a generation of Iranian Intellectuals and art lovers who were to pave the road for some of today's brilliant Iranian artists

Darius Kadivar

Much will be said and written about the Hoveyda brothers in History books as well as on their moral and political legacy that was nurtured by brotherhood love that transcended the tragic death of elder Amir Abbas in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979... I had the honor of corresponding with him several times to talk about art and his experience in films. I have to say that I came across a man who despite the great ups and downs of life came across as not only brilliant but also a man of taste with a great sense of humor. Of all his articles and books he wrote I should say that I was mostly intrigued by those that were related to films >>>

Striking a chord
For decades men in America, including Iranian-American men, have been suffering in silence
Lance Raheem

There was a time when the virtue of masculinity was celebrated in society. There was a time when men weren't ashamed to look like men, to talk like men, to act like men... .to be men. Now, in today's Emasculate Conception culture, what do you find? If a man wants to be accepted by women today, he has to be feminized, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and to some extent, even, physically. Ten years ago no one on planet earth had ever heard of a metrosexual. Now you find them everywhere. While they aren't gay, there is still something that is very unsettling about how effeminate they behave. Am I the only one who thinks it's unnatural that straight men woul want to have a facial and a pedicure, or would want to wear male eyeliner? These poor souls are not only more interested in shopping at pretty-boy boutiques than sitting down to watch a good fight on TV, they are more interested in a good sale at the mall than their sisters, mothers or wives are. North America has turned into a continent of sissies and it's turning Iranian-American men into a bunch of sissies, too >>>


Miss you
Photo essay: London's Neal Street

Parima Shahin Moghaddam

International man
A. Jayranpour

Fereydoun Hoveyda, the former Ambassador and permanent representative of Iran to the United Nations died at his home in Virginia on November 3, 2006 at the age of 82. As a young Iranian diplomat, he was involved in the preparatory work for the San Francisco Conference that adopted the Charter of the U.N. (1945) In 1947 and 1948 he participated in the drafting and voting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was the last living signer of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights... As an artist Hoveyda, in his many shows in the U.S., developed a new technique of "papiers collÈs," leaving a very narrow white space between papers. In the words of Andy Warhol, "Hoveyda combines his literary sensitivity, his cinematic instinct, and his international experience, to create images that are beautiful, perceptive, and funny." >>>

Vote out the Petropublics
Cyrus Mossaddegh

It is absolutely critical that normally Republican voting Iranian-Americans change their voting habit on Tuesday and play a part in keeping in check the power of the Petropublics. Why? Because your vote has a direct bearing on Iran's future. What has happened to Iraq can easily happen to Iran. If you think regime change through military force is the correct path, then you are a stooge of the Petropublics, and are betraying fellow Iranians, especially those that support non-violent paths. What are my reasons for stating the above? My reasons are based on a great deal of supporting documents that Republicans almost never read as they are too busy listening to Rush Limbaugh and fellow cretins like him. If you are prepared to get informed then there is a very good chance you will arrive at the conclusion that military force is not the right solution, and based on this conclusion it is necessary that you not vote for Republicans on Tuesday, or at least sit this election out >>>

Money doesn't buy you brains
Let little Anousheh have her purchased 15 minutes of fame until she can buy her way to another venture

Azam Nemati

It is amazing that some Iranian housewives who are uneducated and being supported by the husband think the rest of us are jealous of Ansari. I have no idea why we would be jealous because she is not prettier or smarter or even more attractive than most of us. As for her money, we are not jealous because we know she comes from a family with money. We want all our fellow Iranians to be well off but we also hope that they have hearts to use their excess money to make a difference in the world. I have a bet with my friends (and I am right 99% of the time) that Ansari was very unattractive and boring as a teen-ager she still seems quite boring and lacks wit and charm >>>

Competing with skunks
Skunk spray is not only incredibly stinky, it's also notoriously difficult to get rid of

Sophie Saviour

I live in the heart of downtown but still pretty close to wildlife. That's what I like best about the city I live in: wild animals freely walking down the street and feeling safe without anyone trapping, hurting or eating them. At least not yet! Being close to the wild has its own wild sides though. Last week I noticed a very foul and persistent smell which kept me awake for quite a while. The next night, the same smell filled my place around mid-night. It was really difficult to sleep and I was unable to find the source of it. A couple of nights later, while walking home around mid-night, I noticed a beautiful creature with a white stripe on its back >>>


Born again
Photo essay: Halloween in Toronto, Canada

Sadaf Kiani


Turning up the volume
Photo essay: Intergalactic Iranian Music Festival, Zaandam, Holland


Eternity has past
She had the respect of everyone because she respected everyone


An eternity has past, time stopped, started and became irrelevant. Suddenly things are not the same anymore, a dyke has broken, a bridge has failed, an unsinkable ship has slipped beneath the waves; what was terra firma is now a swamp. Wednesday morning nine o'clock the phone rings. I'm on my way out of the apartment to my office, thinking a line of poetry that I can't quite get right. I know who to ask, it is my mom, she know the rest of the line so why should a I worry. She always knows the poetry, in fact we have had long discussions about poets and what is attributed to one is accurate or not. Kind of esoteric stuff that goes on in literature classes but with less intensity. That's the word, intensity, discussions with mom are always intense, she has her world view and she stands by it >>>

So I ask you; Where is the outrage? Where is the dissent? This is U.S. of A! Isn't it!!?


This is a story about a fictional character. Fictional only because I don't know his name. Fictional because although I am sure of his existence, as I am sure we can not be the only living presence in the universe, I do not know of his precise whereabouts or the exact details of his life. But I can tell you that he exists and like the rest of us lived a normal life, based on whatever standards that is considered normal wherever you happen to be. There are billions of people around the world with each having their own personal story. Stories that mostly go untold; just or unjust. This is his story. I can tell it >>>


From Shiraz to Belgrade
Photo essay: Impressions from my recent trips to Iran, Switzerland and Serbia

Shirin Vazin

Spiritual friction

Several months ago, one of our neighbours invited us to join them for an informal class or series of classes on spirituality and virtues along with socialization, breaking bread etc. My neighbours are Iranian Bahais, very nice but generally boring people, so I thought. Because I was busy with playing poker most nights, my wife and kids started going to these classes without me. I noticed that every Tuesday night, all of them make sure they are home on time so they can go to these classes called 'Ruhi Institute" on time. My boys are 13 and 16. So, being the normal Iranian dad, I thought they are going to these classes because a) there were cute girls there or b) the food was good. But why was my wife also so crazy about these classes?! I was hoping she is not going because of good looking men >>>

Beh jorme sangdeli
Excitement over Anousheh Ansari's space travel has overshadowed the fact that 20 million dollars could have saved many people on earth

Fariba Moghadam


That's what I love about Europe

Photo essay: Prince's Day royal parade in the Netherlands
Fariba Mobargheie

Hanooz delam faraar mikhaahad

The Middle East has all the ingredients to be just as progressive as Europe. So what's the problem?
Nahid Husseini


That time of the year

Photo essay: Autumn in Canada's west coast
Sophie Saviour

Short visit, long impact

Majid Saeedi

The Knowledge Diffusion Network is a non-for-profit organization which aims to promote collaboration of Iranian academics living abroad with the scientific community in Iran. Currently, we organize scientific seminars for those Iranian academics who go to Iran for a short visit. So far we have organized more than 65 talks in Iran. You can find more about us in our website, Most of our quality speakers are going to Iran during Christmas vacation and we would like to spread the word >>>


Just rubbish

Photo essay: In the streets of London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

The 70's are back

From bell bottoms to war and a crook in the White House
Hamid Bakhsheshi

I wasn’t in a good mood tonight.  Besides the fact that the wife and I had some “words”, if you would, I just wasn’t chipper.  I felt that the news for these past few days have been rather disturbing.  So, when Reza got the wind of it and asked to go to the hookah place, I didn’t hesitate much and agreed. We were both deeply disappointed in what is going on in the Middle East.  We both agreed that once the oil dries up in the region, everything will settle down and there will be peace. I realized then that the 1970’s have really made a come back.  I mean it isn’t just in the bell bottom pants and long hair and beards any more, the whole decade is back.  I did thank “W” for the war he created in Iraq to make this decade feel a bit more like the 70’s.  You know, Vietnam War?  >>>

Going Dutch

My ideal Iranian man is not
Charlotte Najafi

Iranian men were not able to appreciate me or even accept the fact that I did know more and better and had more experience on travelling and being a so called "donya dideh". Or, they forced me to accept their point of view's of how life is or they just ignored me or the worse, they wanted me just because I am 1.80cm, slender and pretty and in many ways not like an average Iranian woman! (I mean just the flesh and blood was important to them but not the whole package!), I am sure you understand what I mean. Anyways, I gave up and began to live my own life, without a man and rejecting their helping hands or even the family and friends well-meant suggestions or what ever! Till I met a Dutch! A younger Dutch man, good looking, educated and self-disciplined with a good back-ground. (Not able to speak more than 2 languages but with a good job and still in process of becoming a successful and professional man) >>>


American portrait

Iranian-American artist Sara Rahbar
Neda Sarmast

Sultan of my heart

Monika Jalili and Noorsaaz's remembrance of things past...
Darius Kadivar

There is something extremely moving to listen to the Classically trained Soprano born in New York who seems to naturally bring to our ears familiar rhythms and sounds that through her lips seem to take a new rejuvenated resonance. This is particularly true for the English version of the song based on the music score Sultan of My Heart which could be used as a music score to any classic Romantic Hollywood Film of the Golden Ages and yet is actually that of one of the greatest romantic films of Pre-Revolution Iranian Cinema starring the charismatic Film Star Fardin, certainly the Burt Lancaster of Iranian Cinema and the beautiful Azar Shiva >>>

Save sex for marriage
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

I have read several articles and responses from different people on the issue of morality. And the question that comes to my mind is what is wrong with waiting till you find the person you want to be married to? Then giving it all to him or her. Why do young men and women have to have sex before they are married? What, do they have to taste it first before they buy it or something? I don't understand this. When I married my husband I was a virgin. I am proud of the fact that I was and that I could give this to my husband. Is it so wrong to want your significant other to be that way? In today's world I would think we would try harder to be conservative in what we do with our bodies considering all of the diseases that are rampant. But what I see it seems that we are on a self-destructive course. Not so much immoral, even though I do not agree I do not judge, but self-damaging. As a woman, I know I can do anything my male counter-parts do -- but do I really want to? >>>


Putting themselves on the map

Photo essay: Iranian music festival in Holland
Babak Andishmand

Shab-haaye ehyaa

Spending the holy days in Tehran, reluctantly
Shahriar Zahedi

Shame on happiness

Misery was whispered to us on a regular basis back when we were babies
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

We grew up worshipping Hedayat because he brought us that close to our death wish, and we enjoyed Bozorg Alavi because of the deep sorrow passed to us through his novel, Her Eyes. Okay, we did have a good laugh with My Uncle Napoleon, but that was Pezeshkzad and you have to admit, not too many of our writers are that funny. True as it may be that Iranians have seen too many ups and downs to be happy-go-lucky people, it is equally true that we wouldn’t know happiness if it slapped us in the face. The bottom line is that it is culturally unacceptable for an Iranian to be utterly happy >>>

What's new pussycat?

What makes the world go 'round? Class struggle, battle between light and darkness, God and Satan, power of love, or according to my redneck neighbor, the desire to get and consume another six-pack of beer? One can believe that any one of these forces or motives is what makes humans tick. I, on the other hand, after in-depth examining of human condition, have come to the conclusion that the thing that moves, shakes, and makes human destiny and history is the cat. Yes, cat, that is scientifically known as "Pussituos Felinuos." >>>

Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen!

Some men AND women quite simply ENJOY the bittersweet cat and mouse game
Dokhtar Shirazi

Despite being a female, and without attempting to be a traitor to my own kind, I have to confess that I too, have made similar observations. As a soon to be admitted lawyer working in a male dominated industry and being one of only three females working in a commercial litigation law firm, inevitably, I have spent a lot of time closely observing the male species and on many occasions I have come this close to beg those pussy whipped males, to order their bitches to shove it where the sun don’t shine! Ok, as an example, picture this. My boss, being a highly respected, self-assured, egoistic, know-it-all middle age litigant, is bossed around by this foxy, blond lass -- AKA the wife -- who thinks she has the right to run the show for him. Let me rephrase that >>>

Cleaning up politics

Iran's political opposition: a birth of a new era or another political miscarriage?
Tina Ehrami

The new generation of Iranian political activists, that mainly consists of students in Iran and a very small amount of young individuals living abroad. These are mostly children of the political refugees who left Iran during the past thirty years. This new generation can be characterized by a strong sense of urgency, lack of a network and a lack of knowledge of political history. Some are organized in student organizations and some express their involvement under a less political colored umbrella such as human rights activism and urge for democracy and more individual freedom. They are passionate, motivated and in need of guidance >>>

Bozorg-daasht e Kurosh

Untimely skepticism about Cyrus Day
Esmail Nooriala

Fifteen minutes a day

Get informed and do your part in putting a stop to this madness
Cyrus Mossaddegh

It is vital all Iranians become informed about what is going on. I know many of you live very busy lives and spending more than fifteen minutes a day on news gathering is more than a luxury. The site is set up in such a way that you can gather a great deal of information quickly. I started Iran Information Agency because I kept coming across articles that were scattered all over the Internet but where related to one central issue; war and Iran, and nobody was organizing it onto one site. First I gathered the articles on my hard disk and after five years of doing this I decided to place it on a blog and the trigger for this was the Israel-Hezbollah war. I am certain that if the war had turned out differently Iran would have ended up being under a great deal of pressure; certainly far more pressure then it is under now >>>

Over the years, the two women developed a special bond
Afdhere Jama

The Marais district of Paris is full of people some would not really expect in the heart of Paris, like Iranian lesbians. A traditional neighborhood of Jews, Le Marais is now famous as the “gay” neighborhood of Paris. Many of the gay restaurants, clubs and other happenings are found here. But it is because of the atmosphere of this district that attracts them, say the locals. A 37-year-old Iranian lesbian named Parvaneh is visiting a young (man and woman) couple who live in a tiny studio on rue Sainte Croix de Bretonnerie. They also happen to be Iranians. But “they are not gay,” Parvaneh assures me, “they are young, educated and open minded. And last summer I met them at a rally outside of Paris for Maryam Rajavi. We have become very close since, and I’m here today because I’m in search of moral support.” >>>

Profound blindness

Male domination and the gazing Narcissist
Leila Farjami

A couple of recent Iranian male writers of have graciously voiced their concerns about the rising number of Iranian women claiming their rights as equal partners. Of course, no narcissist wants to lose his position in a power/control game; however, a narcissist always acts to his own detriment. Take the myth of Narcissus for instance: a beautiful man gazing at his own celestial image in the reflecting waters, frozen, immobile, eternally unaware of all other possibilities within himself. This is the death of the human soul: the rigidity and inflexibility of the mind >>>

Birthday party

Haj-khanum takes handfuls of bon-bons from the bowl in front of her and throws them at the crowd
Hiedeh Farmani

The vocalist opens her gig with a tribute to the arched eyebrows of the beloved accompanied by four 'daf' players all dressed in green beating hard on sheep skin, urging the audience to clap along. It is the birth anniversary of Abol-Fazl, a Shiite saint and brother of the revered Imam Hussein -- my mother-in-law's 'moloodi' that I have to attend every year. The place is packed with women sitting on the floor -- the lucky ones got there earlier and occupied the chairs around the room. The fashionably late haj-khanum singer sure has a way with the crowd, eliciting 'kel' and 'salavat' and taking them door to door to ask favors and blessing of all good Shiite saints >>>

Erfan as I see it
Arash Sayedi

I sit here today and pen my thoughts because of the disappointment of seeing such an all encompassing notion as Erfan be reduced to its parts in many circles by academics, theologians and the common souls alike. This reductionism is perhaps the ultimate irony placed on an Erfan that strives to paint a picture of the whole. It is rather like the story of the three blind men at the circus, explaining what an elephant looks like, having each felt one part of it. So what is Erfan? The explanation I have come to love is this: Imagine a piece of paper with a large circle drawn on it with a title that says 'The World' >>>

Go back to your cave

If you abuse your wife and think you can get away with it, think again

Any idiot can go out there and make a child, but it takes a man to raise a child. It takes a man to get up in the morning, whether he likes it or not, and go to work and bring food to his family. With the kind of language Sima Shirazi uses, it won’t be very long that he would loose any kind of job he may have. Let’s see how long he would last in a work place when he calls one of his co-workers a derogatory name. There are laws in place to protect the people against someone like Sima Shirazi. You guys out there who are saying Sima Shirazi is right, think intelligently, this country is not Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). You cannot be disrespectful to your wife, and think you can slap her around and then divorce her, and take other wives. The laws in most of the States, especially in California, are geared up to protect the children and the women >>>


The safari stories

Photo essay: Africa, the realm of visual sensation
Keyvan Tabari

I was sitting in the plane on the tarmac of the Dar es-Salaam airport that was to take me out of Africa. The security check here was based on redundancy, and the numerous inspections of our luggage had been exhausting. I felt drained. The first announcement from the crew came on the speakers in the clipped accent of the British Airways crew: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to spray the cabin.” Strapped in the seat belt, my mind wandered >>>

I'm the boss

Khoda made women to please us and NOT the other way around
Sima Shirazi

Sometimes a man has got to take a stand for one of his buddies. It's one thing to be pussy whipped at home, but to be disrespected when you're out in front of your friends is a completely different story. You've got to keep your bitch in line because if you don't one of your friends might just do it for you and tell her to shut her big fucking mouth. Goddamn, you know how Iranian women bitch. It's enough to make a man climb a clock tower somewhere and start shooting innocent fucking strangers. One thing is for sure; the men who treat their women like Persian princesses, the men who adore and pamper their wives, the men who make jackasses-out-of-themselves being romantic fools are the ones who become pussy whipped the fastest. Men who treat their wives like shit with the occasional pimp slap on the ass, now and again, and men who treat their girlfriend like a fifty dollar whoe, are the ones who get the most respect, the most sex and the most of whatever they want from their bitches, Persian or not! >>>

Khandan Golmast

I spent two long years working at a shelter for battered women. While the women who walked through the doors came from all walks of life, all races, socioeconomic classes, ages, appearances - they shared one unmistakable quality that perhaps only those seasoned in work with abuse and rape victims can recognize: they enter the shelter doors with heads down but as they race their necks, their faces reveal eyes that burn - this is not poeticism but the only way I can describe this very particular look. There is a contradictory nature to their pain which makes it all the more real and haunting. It is one of immense sadness and at the same time rooted anger. A settled submissiveness cavorts with an equally entrenched rage. Years of abuse and in many cases rape- the absolute violation of a woman in every cruel sense - manifest into a silent scream residing in the eyes of these women >>>

Dar jostejuye ayneye mehraeen

The significance of Mehregan
Esmail Nooriala

Please join me
Taghi Amirani

I'm running the New York Marathon on November 5th. Getting into the NY Marathon is very very hard, but those lovely people at the UK charity Shelter offered me a guaranteed place in return for raising money for them. Shelter is a great charity doing amazing vital work for the homeless and people with bad inadequate housing. What they do is very close to my heart and your donation will mean a lot to them, to the people they help and to me. So please take a moment and visit my fundraising page and help me keep my promise to Shelter. It's really easy - you can donate online by credit or debit card. All donations are secure and sent electronically to Shelter. If you are a UK taxpayer, Justgiving will automatically reclaim 28% Gift Aid on your behalf, so your donation is worth even more. Please join me in supporting Shelter and a fabulous cause.

An American and an Iranian

The America and the Iran inside him were good friends
Siamak Vossoughi

America is the man he wanted to be when he read books - able to joke with an American woman, to dream in an American twilight, to look around at the people of America and tell them something that showed that he knew how hard they were trying, that he was paying attention to it. He was paying attention to even the parts of America that were nowhere to be found at home. Iran is the man he wanted to be when he listened to his father talk with his friends - able to make even sarcasm sound sincere, to talk of pain as though it were nothing more than pain and even to laugh about it sometimes, to value one another's presence in a room as the beginning of a new and good country. Being around one another was enough because of what everybody came into the room with >>>

What has happened to Iranian men?
Faramarz Fateh

Los Angeles -- Most of us agree that majority of men in Iran enjoy a so called higher station in the "mard salar" society of Iran. For example, women can't go on a trip without their husband's permission. The men (fathers) get custody of children in case of divorce. Women can't get bank loans without a male cosigner. The list goes on. Believe me, I am the first to disagree with this situation as I fully support equal rights for the sexes. But, I am amazed as to what has happened to Iranian men here in the U.S. We have become a bunch of "zan zaleels" and "zan shaheeds". I look around me, and most men I know are under total control of their wives >>>


Those days are just memories now
Sepideh Vahidi

I come from the heart of a family who lives in a welcoming house in an old parish, with water streams flowing in its small alleys, watering the trees to keep my childhood memories green -- forever. This is my beloved land, which is surrounded by high mountains. Beyond the mountains towards the sun is the forest and beyond the forest is the Caspian Sea; a never-ending blue. Towards the south sits the desert, spreading out its feverish solidness, so wide, with a burning breeze that turns and twists to repeat my cradle lullabies for eternity >>>

From Ali to Cyrus

What's in a name?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Names were originally invented for one purpose: identification. It started with the use of simple sounds and words, but in time, the subject became so complicated that today, sometimes a manual is needed to explain what – or whom – some names refer to or why they were chosen to begin with. Iranians, thanks to our poetic background, have proven to be quite creative with names.  Long before psychiatry suggested the influence of given names on people’s personality, we gave our babies names that sounded more like wishful thinking. Our daughters were named after flowers, stars or the best possible characteristics and we gifted them with fairy-like faces, the beauty of the moon and other lovely metaphors >>>

First Iranian Flash Gordon

Iranians respond to Anousheh Ansari's weblog
Peyvand Khorsandi

Khanoumeh ansari, az taraf-e hameyeh zan hayeh eerani khastam begam ke ma eftekhar meekonim shoma avaleen zan-e eerani hastid ke be Kazakhstan rafteed. Man chandeen bar khastam beravam Kazakhstan vali har chi hesabesho kardam, deedam khabari neest oonja. Hala ke shoma rafteen omidvaram man ham yek rooz pool dar besham beram. -- Morvarid, Mazandaran >>>


More Mehr

Photo essay: Capturing all the excitement at the Orange County Mehregan event
Talieh Shahrokhi


Reshteh & Koshkar

Photo essay: A little known but favorite Shomali Ramazan treat
Mohammad Ala

Thank you mom

Whether your mom is a famous singer or just a house wife remember they have done everything they can to raise us right
Borzoo Yazdanfar

Recently I was blessed with the news that my mother was coming to visit me. I hadn't seen her for almost 2 and a half years. I couldn't Wait any longer the anticipation was killing me. You all know her as ELAHE, well at least anyone who grew up in Iran does, I know her as mom or maman. When I tell people who she is, the first reply is "oh, Elahe she's an icon, I remember her from when I was a little girl..." an so on". And usually I'm thinking (lady you've got to be at least 20 or 30 years older than my mom!), then I had to remember that my mom has been singing for 40 years and I'm 32 and still her little baby boy, so it all makes sense again >>>

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 >>>


Boston tea party for Khatami

Photo essay: Anti-Iran, anti-Khatami and anti-war protesters greet Khatami at Harvard
Shahab Nadiyar

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 >>>

An Iranian week
Peyvand Khorsandi

This week, Iran’s “humble” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian spaced-out tourist. In a visit to the United States, he repeated his claim that Palestinians did not perpetrate the Holocaust, and that Israel should in fact be occupying Germany. His speech to the United Nations general assembly was met my rapturous applause – by the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Chavez also made a speech, while wielding a copy of Noam Chomsky’s latest book, American Poo. He in turn was met by rapturous applause – by President Ahmadinejad >>>


Peace jammers

Photo essay: Shirin Ebadi and co-Nobel Peace laureates work with youth and pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody
Pantea Beigi

Denver, Colorado -- Many believe that the times we are living in today are indeed the out cry of human injustice at its worst.  Perhaps they are right and perhaps global poverty, global warming, lack of human security and many more are at their worst.  But I can promise that none walked out the Magness Arena at Denver University with such feeling tonight >>>

All of us

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

Sorry man, that's poker

Money or mom & dad?
Manouchehr Mehrparvar

I couldn't help but to write and tell you about the incident that took place at the Commerce Casino just south of Los Angeles last week. I had gone there to play poker and since I was in middle of a bad luck storm, I stood up and started walking around to try to run out my bad luck... Seat 8 was a very young looking Iranian guy; in his mid 20s. He had the iPod thing going on; listening to the music as he was intensly watching every move of every player. He looked liked a very "pedar sookhteh" kinda of a guy, but nice pedar sookhteh. Interestingly enough, he also had close to $10,000 in chips as well. I thought to myself, where did this guy get all this money? >>>


Facing the past

Photo essay: "Iranian Weekend" at London's Victoria & Albert Museum
Parima Shahin Moghaddam


Boston in full bloom

Photo essay: Labor Day weekend in Boston
Farah Ravon

Mac friendly

Nazanine Moshiri, newscaster, ITN, London
Peyvand Khorsandi

“Has my friend checked your bag?” the old security guard says. “Yes,” I reply. His colleague, a young Asian chap wearing shades, has indeed perfunctorily inspected one pocket of my laptop holder, not the one where the bomb is. A software quirk means the interview with ITN newscaster Nazanine Moshiri takes place on my mobile phone. (She has one too – identical. “They’re great,” she says.) >>>

New life, through translation

Interview with The Translation Project's Niloufar Talebi
Bruce Bahmani

Why is it that when it comes to Iranian culture or anything Iranian or Persian we are always on the teaching end of the stick? It seems like the world has amnesia, and we are constantly explaining how Iranian/Persian art and culture has contributed to this or that. For once I would like to go up to an average American and have them know something about us. Since that isn't going to happen anytime soon, we have to go on. In that tradition of bringing our culture to the west, enter Niloufar Talebi, the one woman Force du Perse of Iranian Contemporary Poetry (Sher-e-No). Her goal is to bring Contemporary Poetry to a global audience through a series of translation projects, which have been accompanied by an array of multi-media events, such as live theatrical performances of the poems and their rendition into short videos like music videos for the poems, which have shown at film festivals and will air on television in the future >>>

Zood baash digeh!

Men who do "too little too late" to woo their women
Sophie Saviour

What's wrong with guys on the West Coast (or perhaps the whole of North America ??... I am not sure as I haven't dated all of them yet!) that they don't recognize when the time is right, or the fact that they should make an effort or make a "move" sometimes! They normally do it when it's too late and the girl is already frustrated. Well, of course if they still do it properly, there is a chance! But no way! They do too little too late. That combination is deadly; like "nooshdAroo ba'd az marge SohrAb." I used to go out with this Canadian guy (born and raised in Canada vs. me, being born and raised in Iran and moved here after 30!), and it happened! We met in a professional program at the university and somehow everything clicked >>>

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.’ ” >>>


Love fest

Photo essay: Mehregan festival in Southern California
Mohamad Navab

From 30 to 63 in five years

Reflections on 9/11
Peyvand Khorsandi

The life of a magazine sub-editor rarely gets more exciting than a plane crashing into a building. Drama in our job is usually a missing semi-colon or full-point spotted too late, or a misspelled contributor’s name, the closest subs come to terrorism. But on September 11 2001 we were all huddled around the TV on the news editor’s desk. The images of destruction in New York were so powerful that even in Farringdon, London you expected smoke to billow from around the next corner. My boss and I sat back at our desks. He mumbled something about Cambodia and how “America can’t just do what it wants and expect the third world to sit back”. (Although, to be fair no Cambodians were among the terrorists.) >>>

Nine years ago

How did I, that shy, insecure, unambitious girl, get here?
Arezou Raeisghasem

I had a best friend in high school. She was very outgoing, loved to party and meet new people, and very ambitious. Studying was her escape from life and she had big dreams.  I was a good student but too busy to have big dreams. I was occupied with fighting ghosts, blocking out the world. My friend always had to drag me to parties and most the time she wasn’t successful. I kept to myself and my little dreams. I was a homebody and I isolated myself because I thought I wasn’t good enough... One day my friend said to me, “Ten years from now, I will be a successful career women working in a big city somewhere. You will be a suburban housewife with three kids and I’ll come and visit you and be like an aunt to your kids.” At the time, I completely agreed with her. That is what I wanted, that is what I expected >>>

THIS is beauty

Far from “breaking my spirit”, Sadegh Hedayat's "Blind Owl" woke me up
Shadi Gholizadeh

My last day in Iran, she shoved a thin paper package into my hand and whispered “read it. THIS is beauty” before she walked back to her library. I held the package close and while sitting in Tehran’s dingy airport staring at a group of unshaven, smarmy men hungrily grasping the eight-foot-tall modelesque blonde KLM flight attendants (a fundamentalist Iranian man’s wet dream) for photos they would probably eagerly flaunt for years, I opened it hoping to find an underground Euro fashion magazine, but instead pulled out a slim paperback entitled “The Blind Owl”.  Damn. Now, THAT, was a letdown if there ever was one. I laughed at the strangeness of my cousin and threw the book to my mom asking her why the hell anyone would read a book about an owl, and a blind one at that >>>

Looking quite... continental

I buttoned up and looked at myself in front of the mirror again. Since moving to Belgium I had let my hair grow. And I mean grow
Siamack Salari

I forgot. It had completely escaped my distracted mind. My mum could actually see me live on the laptop. “Nana aakh-e adam-e 41 saale angosht to damaaghesh meekoneh?” This is the wonder of SKYPE technology coupled with a webcam so my mum can see and speak to us across the English channel in Brussels where we now live. I nonchalantly pulled my index finger from my nose hoping nothing had stuck to the end of it. I then placed my hand behind my back >>>

Rooze nojoom va solh

Passing through childrenin Tehran's Shafagh Park celebrating "Astronomyh & Peace Day"
Samineh Baghcheban

A night in Brooklyn

Short story
Roozbeh Shirazi

Friday afternoon, another mystery Iranian email was sent out, this time from a 'Shireen:' "Salam beh hamegi! Because some of us can't make it tonight, we have postponed the Am Café event. But! I would like to invite those of you who can to come to my apartment in Fort Greene so that we can meet one another and also have some fun! Negar and I will have some munchies for you. We don't drink (alcohol), but you can bring something for yourself and to share also! Take the A/C to Hoyt-Schermerhorn or catch the G there and get off at the Clinton-Washington stop. Call me when you get there! CU soon, Shireen" Behrang rolled his eyes and hit 'delete >>>

Post Iran depression
Shahireh Sharif

As part of an annual ritual this is exactly what I go through after coming back from Iran, having been there for my vacation. A severe punishment to endure particularly for such a petty crime! Talking to others it amazes me how frequently other people can relate to this. For a "silent killer", it is happening to too many of us too often. Ironically, for most of us the quality of the time spent in Iran does not have such a huge impact on experiencing post Iran depression. It seems that coming back is particularly difficult for those of us who have most of our relatives back home even if we have experienced a relatively hard time in Iran (of course, there are exceptional circumstances where this is not the case) >>>

Doctor You

Training U.S. citizens and permanent resident International Medical Graduates for U.S. residency
Jahanshah Javid

Since the year 2000, a Georgia based company co-founded by Dr. Pedram Mizani (Family Medicine) has been making a significant difference: Graduate Medical Consultants Group (GMC) has been an avid supporter of educating International Medical Graduates before they enter U.S. residency programs under controlled teaching environments in the U.S. hospitals. As a result, GMCGroup has supervised more than 19,000 medical student clinical rotation weeks in affiliation with U.S. teaching institutions and participating U.S. physicians. Here's an email interview with Dr. Mizani >>>

Players & losers

There's still so much more that needs to be said but I'm done thinking & talking and BEING with Iranian guys, til I find one that can truly be called a MAN

I'm not going to hurt your head with complicated words & long paragraphs (not TOO long anyway).The only reason I decided to write this artice was to get this off my chest... & offend some Iranian guys. I know there's a lot of articles on Iranian guys and how much they suck. But that's only because they always piss us Persian girls (and everyone else I think) off and do the most stupid things. After spending 10 years outside of Iran, I have dated guys from other countries and even though you can find some real dumbasses & idiots & lowlives in them, I've never seen any that are worse than our own pretty (hairy) Persian guys. I hate to diss people from my own land but it's really getting to me and I need my voice to be HEARD... or at least my article to be read >>>

What I know now!

Saeideh Mohajer

The significance of our friendships with others only grows. Why, then, do we have fewer and fewer friends? When is it too late to make new friends? By friends I don't mean your boyfriend's best friends girlfriend who you hang out with every Saturday night because your boyfriend wants to hang with his buddy and you by default have to make nice with his girlfriend, just so you could spend time with your guy. By friend, I mean real friends. The kind of friend who sat with you through third period study hall, so that you can cry on her shoulder about the guy who didn't call you when he said he would. By friends I mean the friend you made your first day on residence when you didn't know anyone and were terrified of life at your new school, or the ones you made in University when you were pulling all-nighters >>>

Ghormeh sabzi on the plane

An airplane security incident

An incident happened to a friend of mine about three weeks ago that might have forever changed the way the world travels. He was returning to USA from a trip to Iran, and he had brought back two sealed plastic containers with him in his carry-on baggage, one with polo, and one with ghormeh sabzi. The containers remained intact in the first leg of his trip from Iran to Europe, but after all the pushing and shoving he had to do to qualify his carry-on baggage as a carry-on bag, and the force he had to exert on it to fit it into the overhead consoles the container of the ghormeh sabzi had begun to leak >>>

Apology not accepted
Kobra Maleki

In response to Hiedeh Farmani's "Belated apology": Hiedeh, I knew it was you. All these years I had to through the humiliation of evrybody thinking I had peed in class. Every time I saw one of our classmates I had to be reminded that they think I was the one who peed in the classroom. How do you dare writing this story with my name now and publishing it for so many readers? Your apology is not accepted. As far as I am concerned, it's a false apology just to attract more attention to yourself. Who do you think you are accepting me for a higher level English course and thinking that this will erase your sin? I don't need your pity thank you very much. Because of your 'ebtekar', now I can't even speak English and I had to leave the course. You always were 'toodar' and 'moozi' and now I know that you will always remain 'badjens' too. That is why I never liked you. You proved it again with what you have done. You are a very arrogant person. The day will come that other people will look down on you and you will see how it feels. I hope our paths will never cross again.

Make her breakfast

More advice to Iranian men
Azam Nemati

I have been observing our men and women behavior since I was very young. Although I agree that most Iranians did not know how to be a couple, I disagree that nowadays they do not. I do not mean to be biased but I am so impressed that some of the Iranian housewives who can not read English do watch Iranian relationship experts and read articles in Farsi about improving their relationship skills. Let's remember that our society for the most part wanted women to be mothers, wives and obedient (which meant follow husband's instruction no matter how stupid). The last one was considered great quality. I believe one can be a great mother, lover and partner if the man has enough confidence to see that an equal partner makes life a lot easier and more enjoyable >>>

A bridge too far

It had everything! Good guys versus bad guys, tons of explosions, and even tanks
Shahrokh Nikfar

Going to the movies seems like such a simple thing to do nowadays. All I have to do is to call up a couple of friends, decide on a movie and off we go. But back when I was a 12-year-old kid in Iran, going to the movies was a rare luxury for me. You see my dad was 62 years old and my mom was 39 when I was born. So by the time I was approaching my teenage years, they were both too old and tired to even want to leave the house, let alone go to a movie. In fact, I wasn't aware of my dad ever having gone to a movie. He seemed very happy and content with staying home drinking tea and reading his books, and my mom loved to visit the neighbors and cook for the family. And no matter how much I begged or whined at my parents to take me to a movie, they never gave in >>>

The great library

– a dialogue
Peyvand Khorsandi

-- I’m sorry which way is your ancient Persian?
-- Shhhh. There are people studying.
-- Yes, but all I want to know is which way.
-- Please be quiet.
-- Well instead of telling me to be quiet why don’t you point me?
-- Very well. But you must promise that once you are there you will not talk >>>

How did Jews do it?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Reza Vessal-Shirazi

Dear Hassan, The Jewish people will be celebrating the 5,767th year on this earth! Who would have believed this possible? If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long he probably would have been astounded. Imagine, the Jews did this without beheading anyone, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, without flying airplanes into skyscrapers, and without bombing the train or bus station in Spain and London >>>

Turtle on the airplane

A brief perspective of a Young Iranian-American's journey from Tehran to Amsterdam
Farhaneh Sharghi-Dolatabai

Tehran - Wearing my light teal manteau and pink with gold and black scarf draped upon my head I stood in Mehrabad's Airport parking lot at 3:30 am wondering where my uncle had gone to get a cart for our luggage. I was still a bit dazed by the fervent pace at which we were leaving Tehran. Just a few hours earlier we were dining with most of my mothers' family members, as we had done the night before. Now we were heading back, back to the US, back home to Dallas. Many of the questions my family had asked of my brother and I were if there was any chance of us coming back to live in Iran, permanently. "No" I responded "it would just be impossible." "Why?" they lamented "We've missed watching you grow up. Don't you miss us? Don't you want to be closer to your family?" I replied "Yes, of course I do." My roots will always be there with them. I had, have, and will always love them. Regardless, tonight I was about to rediscover why I just cannot live in Iran >>>

First week of medical school

This doctor shit is still hard
Maziar Shirazi

I should be studying right now. But it’s been a long week and I’m tired, so I’m sprawled out in a room with a blasting AC unit and no furniture -- my room -- and decompressing. Steely Dan is playing over the sound of the AC, and I am typing with hands that smell of formaldehyde and will continue to do so until the end of the semester. The first week of medical school is almost over. I finished off the MCAT and thought I would be getting on with my life, but that wasn’t even half the battle. The summer that followed, I applied to some 12 schools, a tedious and drawn-out process that alternated between being totally enraging and -- in retrospect -- humbling >>>

Knowledge droppings

By Omar Khayyam, Knowledge Dropper
The Badder Brigade

Now we’re gonna do some analysis.  What is this big deal about Hossein anyway?  Yazid schooled his ass.  Hossein was like, “I’m thirsty, please give me some water.”  And Yazid went Sir Chop-a-Lot on his ass.  I would argue that the big Hoser (much like his followers) was not all that.  So he got his head chopped off -- but truth be told, anyone can go to Karbala these days and get decapitated, know what I’m sayin’?  Ain’t no thang.  They’re choppin’ heads over there like it’s going out of style.  Dude ... maybe if he had actually done something besides getting killed like a biiiatch, he’d get more respect from the rest of the Muslims.  But if you guys want to worship him, it’s cool -- but it’s not special, ok?  Wanna talk about some Real struggle?  You ever try to find a 900 square foot, two bedroom apartment with no broker’s fee in the tri-state area at the end of the summer?  Apartment jihad -- now THAT is some gangster shit >>>

3 events, 3 implications

Same shit, different day...
Bruce Bahmani

This week 3 events occurred that separately could have each had implications, yet as usual, they ultimately only amplified that nothing will ever change until free thinkers stop being arrogant cowards, and intellectually wary of one another. Oh for the day when they choose instead to flex their combined grey muscle in unison. The first event was the Sharif University reunion in California, and what was supposed to be just another chance to bang that hot engineering chick you missed years ago, turned sour as those attending from Iran were turned away at the Lufthansa gate at San Francisco International. Being instead led away in handcuffs, held in confinement for a day, and ultimately returned to the airport and shipped off back to Iran. That must have sucked. But Hey! Didn't anyone read the papers? >>>

Football and flags

Football has maintained a role in symbolizing the struggle to achieve the respect and recognition of others in the global community
Nasser Amin

A fascinating feature of the captivating spectacle of the recent World Cup is the way in which it illustrates that modern sport has assumed an existential and political function. The performances of national teams in such competitions occupy an imperative role in lives of millions of spectators, providing a special dignity and meaning. Great social significance is attributed to the individual spectator of the sporting event, whether he or she views directly from the stadium or from a further vantage point via mass media coverage. Football has lent a hand to the foundation of a burgeoning spectator culture. In the Western hemisphere, where community and family relationships are in turmoil, the person-to-person closeness engendered by being part of the crowd has provided a valuable surrogate companionship >>>

Belated apology

To Kobra Maleki
Hiedeh Farmani

On a scorching summer afternoon, I am running placement tests for a language school. Seated across from me there's a matronly thirtyish-looking woman nervously clutching her purse, waiting to have her command of English assessed. There is nothing familiar about her until I check her ID -- in order to prevent interviewees from taking the test for another person! Believe me they would do anything to be accepted to a higher level! And bang, on her ID there is a picture of a teenage girl with a name that has haunted me ever since second grade: Kobra Maleki >>>

12 days of Christmas

Diane let me know just how different I was when she told me she was going to teach me all about Christmas or “get me up to speed”
Pirooz M. Kalayeh

Diane can sleep for days. As soon as I bring her back from work, she’s in there snoozing away. I have never seen anyone sleep so much. I figure she’s depressed about something. And it’s got to be more than money. Nobody gets that upset, and if they are, they should just let it out, not clam up and snort when I mention it. It’s gotten to the point where I’m even asking friends what’s wrong.
“What’s wrong, Jerry?”
“Why are you always asking? Stop asking me that! Maybe, you’re the one that’s got something wrong. Don’t project that shit onto me,” he said >>>

The Iranian downfall

Iranian husbands need to understand that times have changed
Kourosh Arianejad

By the time they reached maturity, where a woman learns relationship skills, many Iranian women were left independent and learning how to survive on their own. Although this independence is a great skill, they come to expect it even after marriage. Very few of the world’s societies are matriarchal, and neither the United States nor Iran are one of them.   The major problem, however, seems to lie with Iranian husbands. Many were raised and even instructed to believe that the male has absolute authority in the house and nobody can voice their opinions if they go against his. The roles of men and women have changed, however, and families are no longer like this in America or in Iran >>>

Why I draw these cartoons
Hossein Hajiagha

I was working as care taker for $7 an hours painting, cleaning, rent apartements colect rent go to banck for deposite... clean washroom and ripair gardening....because 12 of my tennets on drugs and on walfare I will end of the tennecy of two of them and try to bring educated and nice people to this building, but after all the company ask me to I left my job and I am happy because I did not mack money for this job and also dealing with crazy and canadian on drugs or divirced women  may you ask why all the times I draw cartoons like this the only reasion because I can not meet or live in a place I was had dreams about >>>

The last word

When you are an Iranian, talking becomes your main vital sign
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Listening to the Iranian radio out of LA, I smile at callers’ casual chitchat and their disregard for the cost. “Hello, doctor, how are you? May you not be tired! I want to thank you for letting me speak to you and for being there and listening to our problems. I know that if you had not spoken with such wisdom, the world would not be the same. Allow me to thank you for solving the problems of the universe! But I am calling you because I have a problem.” At which point, even I know that the caller has a problem, but the exchange of pleasantries goes on long before a true discussion begins and I wonder if she has any clue as to the cost of such a chat on the air >>>

Time flies
Sholeh Ja

I was taking a 3 days trip to Southern California for pleasure. I usually take a trip any chance I get, even if it is for a day. Getting away in my case releases a lot of stress. I was at the airport few hours prior to my departure looking at people and all of a sudden they all looked similar in groups. Wondering what I mean? Well listen >>>


Over afternoon tea

Photo essay: Hearing stories from Shahrnush Parsipur
Jahanshah Javid

Honare parvaaz

The art of flying
Amir Kasravi

Off to the festival

Having finally memorised the rewrites of my set, I am beside myself with excitement as I make my way to the madness that is the Edinburgh Fringe
Shappi Khorsandi

Walking the streets of Edinburgh empty-handed will be tricky this month. Flyers for shows are thrust at you at every corner by the army of students hired for this thankless summer job – or even the performers themselves. Many of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s shows are staged at the expense of performers and theatre outfits that may run up thousands in debt, hoping that the right people will see them in action. Casting agents, commissioning editors and producers are all there. Competition is fierce and the schmoozing is intense. People look over your shoulder for someone more influential to talk with. The “outside world” ceases to exist. Comics can be seen wandering, lost in personal concerns, or in clusters offloading anxieties and having a good old whinge >>>

Revolutionary fervor

I'm not raising my glass to anyone that anybody wouldn't raise a glass to if they knew their real story
Siamak Vossoughi

Everybody else would go out drinking, and as the alcohol mixed with what was already inside them, their feelings would come out either toward the women in the bar in a loving way or toward the men in the bar in a fighting way, but for Saman Sayrafianpour, those feelings would come out to all revolutionaries everywhere, in a comradely way, so that when they went to a place out in the Avenues, some time a little after midnight, he would raise a glass to Michael Collins, and the Irishmen in there would wonder if this was some kind of mockery, but not for very long because they could see the sincerity on his face, which was a drunken sincerity, but sincerity nonetheless >>>


Kayvan Farchadi

My name is Kayvan Farchadi, a resident of the Washington DC Metropolitan area and the son of Ms. Gelareh Bassiry. I attendschool atThe Collegeof William and Mary and will be entering my sophomore year. In addition to being very active in the Persian Club and Persian Community at William and Mary, I amalso active in the DC Iranian community. I have volunteered at the Iranian Community School in Vienna, VA for a number of years both working with students as well as video taping their Norooz shows. Further, I am an active member of the staff of IAAB (Iranian American Alliances Across Borders), a non-profit group that does a lot of good work aimed at Iranians in diaspora. Perhaps I have bored you too much with my details. I am a student constantly trying to find ways to fund my education. Recently, a friend of mine and I started a business called . The purpose of this enterprise is topayfor our college expenses. We are very small right now, but believe we have amazing potential for growth to do theseriousness of our resolve and the urgency of our need.


Quiet elegance

Photo essay: Visiting Rembrandt on his 400th birthyear
Jahanshah Javid


Moments to remember

Photo essay and video clip: Shahrokh Golestan and 20-30 somethings leave their impression at Radio Zamenh workshop and beyond
Jahanshah Javid

Where are you from?

Immigrants are supposed to come here for vacation, work, political refuge, but we’re not supposed to declare “home” as our destination
Jasmin Darznik

First aired on KQED Public Radio, 88.5 FM, San Francisco: “So where are you from?” a guy in a coffee shop asked me the other day. For a few years nobody asked me this question, but lately it’s made a comeback. “Iran,” I answer. I once made the mistake of calling America my home. I was twelve and my mother had just handed me my first immigration form. I’d been here since I was five. In the space of a few years I’d started sounding like a “real American,” as my parents put it. Both of them were over forty when we came here—they’d never be comfortable with English—so that year they put me in charge of the immigration forms >>>

Magic ingredient

As much as I prepared, life has proven that future couldn’t be predicted, all the same, after more than three decades of living in a place where no one ever “drops in”, I continue to cook enough for an army
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

The guests will be here in a matter of hours and I’m only halfway done with dinner. Sweet aroma of basmati rice, sautéed onions, and saffron fills my kitchen and the windows are fogged with steam rising from all four burners. I want to cook the best for my friends, I want this meal to be perfect, and as my hands do the work, memories of a kitchen I used to know fill my mind, except now it feels as if the remembrance belongs to another life: In a small town of Northern Iran, not far from the Russian border, we lived in an old house with a large garden that separated the kitchen from the living quarters: A dimly lit room with two wood-burning stoves and a bread oven -- tanoor. There was no sink; the water needed for cooking came through a rusty faucet on the concrete wall and drained into a hole on the tile floor >>>


The boy is back

Photo essay: Family and life in Tehran
Pouya Alimagham

I spent the past 10 weeks of spring in Iran for the first time since I left with my family when I was two years old. I was in Tehran mostly, spending time with family and friends and studying Persian at the International Center for Persian Studies. After the class ended, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Shiraz and Esfahan. Here are pictures from Tehran. Stay tuned for the Esfahan and Shiraz photos >>>


Me media

Photo essay: Visit to Washington DC
Jahanshah Javid

My cyber life

I picture a world with “digital” memories and the power to ‘save’ the blessings, ‘delete’ the scars
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Sitting at the edge of the bed, I take special care not to wrinkle the covers and look at the pool area through French doors. It is in the nineties today and many people are enjoying the water or lying in the sun. Three little girls are splashing water at each other and I marvel at their relentless screams. With the sound of computer keyboard still in my head, I ask myself, how did the big hotels solve such room problems before the computer era? I can’t remember exactly when I became so dependent on the variety of new gadgets, but it’s hard to imagine a life without answering machines, cell phones, and computers. Oh, if only all life’s problems could be resolved with the click of a button! >>>

Yeh gooz be eftekhaare hameh!

Azari Asal

Why is farting such a big deal in our community? I mean realistically, it shouldn't be an issue since we all have a great admiration and love for medical science. Iranian couples often avoid farting anywhere near each other not even in the bathroom, if the spouse is nearby. I know of many Iranian women who think that a single, innocent, harmless, gooz can break up their marriage. How weak is that? I had a chat with a friend who's been married to her abusive husband of 26 years. She has at times suffered physical and emotional abuse. Even to this day, she's frightened of him. Not to undermine her misery, but I was curious if she has ever farted in front of her antar husband >>>

Lost in life

Gentlemen, do us (women kind) a favor and never get married
Sholeh Ja

I wasn't going to write about this but I thought if I could help only one person out there, it is well worth the effort. Let me begin by saying that I am not a writer, so pardon me if I am not doing a good job. This story started when I went to the local bookstore in Los Gatos, California, to pick up a magazine, have a cup of coffee and relax after a hard working day. Since I do not look Persian, the two gentlemen sitting next at me, did not see a need to lower their voice, therefore, continued their conversation: #1: Midoni zanha aslan mikhan mard haro avaz konan. Natureshon hast. Ta ba adam dost mishan ya dastor midan ya mikhan akhlaghato avaz konan. Deroz barayeh avalin bar ba Soodabeh raftam biron... >>>

How fragile we are

I don't know folks, Iran, especially Tehran is looking more and more like the Wild West
Hamid Bakhsheshi

All their lives, my sister raised these two kids to follow the law, if there is such thing in Iran, specifically, when it came to driving and pedestrian rules. All their lives these kids were ridiculed by all because they looked for pedestrian crossing, waited for the light to turn red, waited for the traffic to clear, even criticize their father for not following the driving rules. Arezoo was standing at the side of the street waiting to flag a cab. A motorcycle ran a red light and struck her tiny body, through her in the gutter. Her limp, unconscious body was dragged out of the gutter by bystanders and authorities were called >>>

I come home a different person

A little more in touch with my Iranian identity
Pouya Alimagham

I've been in Iran for about two-and-a-half months now and it has been the longest time I've ever been in another country other than the United States. Ten weeks is not a short period of time, but I really didn't need that much time to feel at home here. Iran has become such a familiar place to me that just after a few weeks, I had to remind myself that I was abroad in another country. Needless to say, Iran has become my second home >>>

Only in Berkeley

Neshat Rezai

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

Bless their souls

Reza Kayhani

July 3rd is the day 290 families, their friends and relatives mourn the loss of their loved ones on this day in 1988. The Iran Air Flight 655 was brought down over the Persian Gulf by U.S.S Vincennes, by Capt. William C. Rogers III, at 10:24AM local time. The plane was an Air Bus (EP-IBU) piloted by Capt. Mohsen Rezaian, and Co-Pilot Kamran Taymori, both educated in USA. God bless their souls. Let's pray for peace across the world, amen.

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Book of the day

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