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Our place in history

The world is discovering the contributions of the Iranians to humanity, and high time you did too
Shahriar Mostarshed

First a misconception, that has confused many, and judging from your article, you too. Iranians have always referred to their land as Iran, the land of Aryans, but Westerners have always referred to it as Persia, since their Greek and Roman sources referred to Iran as persis or the land of the parsian. Reza Shah, did not like the fact that the British referred to Iran as Persia and wanted to change the international name for Persia to Iran. This would be equivalent to the English insisting that we call their country England and not Engelestan. Needless to say, his attempt failed and has caused confusion, the world over. In Western literature the Persians are the Achamanid and the Sassanid and are distinct from the Parthians. The country of Iran after Islam is called Persia with no attachment to the pre-Islamic meaning. To complicate matters more, we call our language Farsi (Arabized for Parsi) but in English it is Persian and there is no substitute for it, although the seemingly enlightened want to call it Farsi (Bill Gates being one) >>>

Shureshian-e armankhah

Mossadegh and the Tudeh Party
Maziar Behrooz

Thanks to Shah Isma'il
A book on the advent and the evolution of Shiism

Ranin Kazemi

I have chosen to bring this title to this forum's readers' and writers' attention because I believe the on-going discussions here about aspects of contemporary Iran, as well as the social and political life of Iranians outside the country would benefit from some of the points raised in this book (and by extension from further interest in historical Shi'ism). The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam is a study of the role of Shi'ism in Iran's social and political life from its beginnings to the late nineteenth century. It focuses on social action and social change brought about by such forces as charisma and reason. These are, of course, Weberian concepts, but they are studied here in the light of new findings. Shi'ism, as a world religion, is considered "a source of motivation" for social action and a force for social change >>>

Not that special
Persia and Persians before and after Islam

Ben Madadi

Because of various historical manipulations, especially for the past 70 years or so, ever since Reza Khan started his plan of modernising Iran, Iranians have often led to believe "facts" about their country which have lacked consistency and objectivity. That would be nothing unusual for a Middle-Eastern dictatorship, but there is no reason why we couldn't see things differently, other than what various dictators would want us to see. What has been presented to Iranians, by official historical and scientific manipulation and especially through textbooks at schools, has been that Iran was a grand empire, a force for good (with some minor and unimportant and irrelevant exceptions) that for more than 2,500 years strived for civilisation and human excellence >>>

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 >>>

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 >>>

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." >>>

Prior to the capture of Babylon
Evidence that King Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther was Cyrus II

Darren Thompson

Most theologians believe that the name Ahaseurus refers to Xerxes and the rationale for this conclusion is as follows . Ahasuerus in the ancient Hebrew language would look like Akhashverosh. The original Persian name for Xerxes would look like Khshayarsh. These scholars argue that Khsharyarsh can be converted to Akhashverosh in two steps. First add an "a" in front of "Kh" and between "Kh" and "sh" to make the word more pronounceable then replace the "y" with "ve". According to scholars his greek name, Xerxes, evolved in the following manner: Khshayarsh=Khshersh= Kserks+es=Xerxes. Allow me to suggest a more alternative explanation that I believe is more straight forward >>>

By far the most comprehensive study of Sarbadar history

Ranin Kazemi

This book is a major contribution to the scholarship on the forty-five-year history of the Sarbadar dynasty. The dynasty came to power in fourteenth-century Khurasan when the Ilkhanid government of northeastern Iran, after the death of 'Abu Sa'id, had disintegrated into several local domains. In this book, John Smith goes through a variety of literary and numismatic sources, compiles their relevant historical facts, and reconstructs the political development of the period (736-82/1336-81). In so doing, he provides a critical analysis of the primary literature, develops methods to overcome their inconsistencies, and produces a chronology as well as a coherent account of different episodes in Sarbadar history >>>

Bozorg-daasht e Kurosh

Untimely skepticism about Cyrus Day
Esmail Nooriala

Dar jostejuye ayneye mehraeen

The significance of Mehregan
Esmail Nooriala

Jonbeshe roshanfekri
Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6
Iranian intellectuals: Challenges & opportunities
Ali Salari

The first encounter

Book excerpt: A different interpretation of the Greek-Persian wars
Dmitry V Shlapentokh

This is a history of a man, one of countless billions, who has lived and died on this planet.  This is the history of Themistocles – the history of a politician who lived in Greece 2500 years ago.  He is of importance to us, for it is he who first leads his Greeks against the Persians; it is he who leads the first democracy against the first truly global despotic empire.  Thus, it was a  war not only of personal triumph, but of the triumph of democracy against the regime of despotism.  In the views of Western historians (and it was they who dominated the field), the Greeks could not but be victorious, for democracy and political liberties were viewed to be not just as a goal in itself, not just as the bright future of humanity, but as prerequisite for political might itself.  Therefore, the Greeks’ victory was inevitable, and therefore too, Themistocles’ personal misfortune was to be no more than a personal tragedy.  This work suggests a different interpretation of events >>>

Historic ties

More observations on the history of Iranian clergy & their roots in southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

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 >>>

People without a country

We have relied on ourselves for survival, and this mentality remains as necessary today in diaspora as it did when we were in Iran
Ramond Takhsh

I am an Assyrian from Iran. My parents left Iran in 1979, three years before I was born; and so I have never been there. Assyrians from Iran constituted a small percentage of the Iranian population before 1979: the 1976 census indicated the number at 32,000, although I can tell you this figure is mostly likely an underestimate (most likely, above 40,000). Most Assyrians have left Iran since the establishment of the IRI, leaving the estimated current population at around 10,000 – 15,000... As a people without a country, Assyrians have kept their identity alive for thousands of years through one primary means: the Assyrian Aramaic language. The language is the heart that keeps the Assyrian nation pumping – a lifeline, if you will. Now this is not to say that Assyrians are insulting the Iranian identity by not speaking Farsi, as Ms. Nemmati clearly implies. However, Iranians must remember that tiny ethno-religious minorities like Assyrians have a special need to keep their unique cultural, linguistic, and religious identities in an ocean of Islam >>>

Ancient history today
Khodadad Rezakhani

From now on, anyone with an interest in Ancient Iranian history and knowledge of Persian can take advantage of a new and freely available web-based peer reviewed journal. The Bulletin of Ancient Iranian History (BAIH) is the first Persian language, academically reviewed publisher of articles and book reviews about various aspects of Ancient Iranian history and culture. The second issue of the Bulletin has just been released and contains several articles on various aspects of history and archaeology, as well as excellent book reviews and list of recently published articles about Ancient Iranian history. The Bulletin is the result of a joint venture of some of the prominent scholars of Iranian history both inside and outside Iran and is available free of charge on the internet. For those who might prefer reading their journals in print, all of the Bulletin's articles can also be accessed as printer-ready PDF format >>>

Musaddiq’s conception of constitutionalism

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

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

Kaashteem, dero kardeem

Memoirs of a "government servant" in the 1960s and 70s
Houshang Pirnazar

Part 5/Last: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iranian clergy's historic ties to shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

Bahram khodaaye jang bood!

The God of War
Khodadad Rezakhani

Part 4: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iranian clergy's historic ties to shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

A war story for children

History of the Iran-Iraq War for children

This is a story of a war that happened long, long time ago. When grandpa was very young he lived in a country called Iran. Back then people in Iran, or anywhere else, did not have computers yet. Many of them didn’t even have a television, that’s how long ago it was. So, for entertainment they went to mosques, jeleseh, or rozeh khoni. Mosque is a place where people go to pray and exercise. jeleseh is like a meeting, and rozeh khoni is like singing a sad story song. In those places people did not talk about their king, because they were scared of him. The king had a secret organization called SAVAK, which is a short name for Security Agency of Very Awful Killers. If SAVAK found out that anyone had talked bad about the king, they would arrest him, and make him sit on eggs. That’s how bad they were >>>

Part 3: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iranian clergy's historic ties to shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala


Old as new

Photos: Places, yesterday & today
Shahrouz Falahatpisheh

Part 2: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iran & shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala


Life, culture and history of Talysh people
Gholamreza Haghighattalab

Talysh became a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) on 26 June 2005. The Talysh number more than 600,000, of which 430,000 live in Talyshistan, a country included by Stalin's regime in the artificial state of Azerbaijan in 1921. Talyshistan forms now the south-east of the Republic of Azerbaijan, near the Iranian border. The capital of Talyshistan is Lenkoran. Other major towns are Lerig and Astara on the Iranian border. The rest of the Talysh live across the border in the Iranian province of Gilan, in a long strip of territory along the Caspian coast, from Astara to the Rasht area. They occupy a land of sharp contrasts, ranging from the high, forested Talysh Mountains, to the subtropical coastal land along the Caspian Sea >>>

Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iran & shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

Pileh kardan beh melliyoon

Jalal Matini's unfair judgements on the role of nationalists in the 1979 Revolution
Hassan Behgar

Crime against humanity

Auctioning off Iran's ancient artifacts
Mohammad Ala

The decision by U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning allowing the sale of ancient Iranian artifacts which are in possession of the University of Chicago to settle a lawsuit by American survivors of a bombing in Israel in 1997 will establish a precedent which will further damage the image of the United States and will lead to more litigation by survivors of Western financed bombings and assassinations from around the world... A country’s cultural heritage should be preserved for the benefit of all people, not treated as a commodity to be traded.  While sympathy must go out to victims and their families, dispersing the resources amongst the survivors will not bring the victims back, nor come near to compensating them for their loss.  It would be a travesty to deny the people of other countries access to the antiquities of Iran by giving them to private individuals >>>

The empire had no boundaries

Introducing Persia, Part I
Maziyar Talaforush

Recent linguistic, anthropological, and archeological evidence, due to the hard work of such scholars as Nigel Tallis and John Curtis of the British Museum, Sir Richard Nelson Frye, Mary Boyce, Kaveh Farrokh and many other scholars has led to many new discoveries. One conjecture is that the ancient cult of the dead practiced by the Scythians mixed with the festivities in which costumes were worn, occupations were exchanged (the King and the pauper exchanged places for a day), food and cookies were given-out, and fun-chaos ruled the day, burrowed by the Scythians through cross-cultural exchanges with their linguistic and genetic counter-parts, the Persians (IrAnies), had eventually led to the enduring traditions that we know today to be Halloween >>>

Looting Iran

What the University of Chicago has in its possession is part and parcel of a heritage that belongs to the Iranian people
Niki Akhavan

In 2004, scholars at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute began taking significant steps towards renewing their relationship to their counterparts in Iran. For the first time since close cooperation between Iran and the University ended in 1979, the Institute returned a number of the ancient tablets to the Iranian Cultural Organization as a “good faith” gesture made in the hope of negotiating agreements for new excavations and joint training and publication programs. If Strachman succeeds in forcing the sale of the remaining artifacts, the reconciliation between the University and Iran will not be the only relationship that will be undermined. Iranians from a range of backgrounds, be they staunch supporters or sworn enemies of their current government, are increasingly becoming aware of the double standards, misrepresentations, and unjust maneuverings around domestic and international laws that seem to be at play when it comes to Iran >>>

Sheer lack of support

We need to do a better job protecting and promoting Iranian history, but in this fight, we are alone and lack resources
Khodadad Rezakhani

As a scholar-in-training from Iran, getting my education in the US, I would like to add a few comments to Arya’s very correct suggestion about promoting and preserving Iranian culture and history. My friends and I who are involved in the “business” of history notice the same thing every single day. I notice that in high-school history books, the whole of the Achaemenid Empire is a footnote to the chapter on Greece and Arsacids and Sasanians are mentioned in passing while talking about the glory that was Rome. Samanids and Seljuks are parts of the Islamic civilization and Safavids are only mentioned in college level courses when talking about the Ottomans. I see that etymology of words are constantly given as “oriental origin” and are left at that and nobody notices that Margaret is an Old Persian name! >>>

Be a better keeper

Iranians, especially scholars with Iranian descent need to do a better job of trying to be keepers of their culture

As I was going through reading and formulating my thoughts on what I was about to write I came across another article here "Ancient Persia's virtual absence in Hollywood" written six years ago which basically discussed both the lack of presence and or misrepresentation of Iranian history in the West and more specifically in Hollywood. Of course since then we had several-failed attempt and some successful ones in this area. For instance many Iranians had hoped that finally Alexander Jovi project in 2003 will introduce Koroush to the West but apparently his attempt has failed. That failed attempt was followed by the fiasco surrounding arrest of Cyrus Kar while working on the documentary project on the life of Koroush >>>


Blasts from the past

Photo essay: Unearthing half a century of underground revolutionary material
Jahanshah Javid


To Bam & back

Photo essay: Bam before & after the December 2003 earthquake, plus Mahan
Asghar Riahi

Searching for Suri

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

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

Goddess of the sea

Persians and pearls
Ramona Shashaani

Since time immemorial, people have been enchanted by pearls and shells of the mollusks which produce them. As the oldest known organic gem in human history, the story of the pearl is replete with rich symbolism, mythical and alchemical significance as well as love. For thousands of years, pearls have been a cherished symbol of love, purity, beauty, nobility, wisdom, and wealth. Pearls and Persians have enjoyed a timeless tied history together. Indeed, archeological discoveries of ancient sculptures and coins suggest that the Persian Gulf contained the world's oldest, largest and rarest pearl beds ever known. No place else did pearl oysters grow more pearls with such high quality and radiance. Nowhere else was it possible for pearl divers to dive more places than in the relatively warm shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, sprinkled with its many fresh water springs. In fact, this unique mixture of sweet and saltwater surrounding what is now Bahrain, is one of the secrets behind the special luster and brilliance of the Gulf pearls. With the coming together of the opposites literally, the most beautiful natural glowing pearl is born.

Darshaaee az "nassle sookhteh"

Former Mojahed on the "burnt generation" and ideological dogma
Ali Salari

Rooznaameye Shargh va Bahaiaan

Reformist newspaper columnist shows common ignorance on Bahai histtory
Tooraj Amini

Suri, the Persian rose

Or Surrey, Scientology's headquarters?
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

On April 19 actress Katie Holmes, who is engaged to movie actor Tom Cruise, gave birth to the couple's first girl who was named Suri. Suri as a flower in Persian Culture is actually one of the members of Rose family and most Iranians call it as Gol-e-Mohammadi. Its scientific botanical name is Rosa damascena Mill (RDM). On the basis of various documents, the flower was firstly originated in Iran and it was possibly called simply as Rose. It is speculated that after Iran became a part of Muslim world, the Arab invaders became familiar with the rose and they introduced it to the gardens located in Damascus in Syria (in Persian: Suri-eh). Later, the Westerners called it as Rosa damascene (a part of scientific name) and Suri (as a local name).

I speak Irani

The case for a supra-national lingual identity
Guive Mirfendereski

In the Indo-European Family of Languages, the Indian branch evolved into Sanskrit, then into Middle Indian and from it derived the sub-branch that included Bengali and other tongues, while another sub-branch became Hindustani. The Iranian branch produced Avestan and then Old Persian and from Old Persian derived Middle Persian, the written form of which was called Pahlavi in Sasanid times. The Persian of today called by some as New Persian (and Modern Persian) is what most Iranians recognize among themselves as Farsi. Farsi (also referred to by a minority as Parsi) is the language of the Samanids, of Rudaki, of Ferdowsi and of Iran for over a thousand years. When an Iranian speaks of his language to another Iranian they refer to it as Farsi. The term Parsi is hardly used by the majority of the people unless they try to get across to the listener or reader a cultural, ethnic or political point of view, often laced with nostalgia, nationalism or ethnic purity. There is very little linguistic logic to its persistence.

History tour (de force)

Interview with Ehsan Yarshater
Hamid Karimi

Ehsan Yarshater is an iconic figure by all measures; he is perhaps the foremost expert in Iranian history, language and culture and with a steely resolve has set out to accomplish a grand task: to scholarly document the facts of history, language andcivilization of Iranian peoples through multi-disciplinary reference work and research in Encyclopedia Iranica. This is a stewardship project worthy of pride and generous support of all who are either Iranian by ethnicity, were influenced by its profound culture, or pursue a balanced, accurate account of its history and for that matter, the history of all civilizations... In his recent visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, in advance of the Iranica fund-raising gala on May 13th, I had the honor of interviewing professor Yarshater to learn more about his motivational drive in completing this grand endeavor. Expectedly I walked away content with his tirelessness, intellectual prowess and graceful fairness.

Mani's spirit and matter

An introduction to Manichaeism
Mary Boyce

Manichaeism is a gnostic religion that originated in Persian-Babylonia in the 3d century AD. Its founder was a Persian of noble descent called Mani (or Manes), c.216-c.276. Manichaeism was long treated as a Christian heresy, but it is more clearly understood as an independent religion, drawing on the diverse resources of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism. Mani was born on 14 April, A.C. 216, in northern Babylonia, which then formed part of the province of Asoristan, in the Parthian empire. His father, Patteg or Pattig, is said to have come from Hamadan. His mother, Maryam, was of the family of the Kamsaragan, who claimed kingship with the Parthian royal house, the Arsacids. Mani's own name, a fairly common one, is Aramaic and not Iranian.

Baanuye Iran shenaas

On the death of Mary Boyce, one of the greatest scholars on Iran
Touradj Parsi

Simple math

Lessons from the recent rallies of "illegal immigrants" across America
Xerxes Darius

This very powerful tool of unity, organized assembly, and peaceful demonstration is nothing new. It has been effectively used by various groups in the American society and this recent event proved to all of us that it can be as effective when used by the illegal immigrants even after 911!! Let's see if we can explore some parallels between above and Iran and Iranians... But, where to go and why should Mullahs leave especially when the Iranians of Los Angles, New York, Chicago, London, and other cities around the world are marginalized and have precluded themselves from the equation of fate. To better describe the equation of fate, I have simplified it so that even those single-digits among us can follow:

Ideas for our future

Keeping Persian culture alive
Hossein Hosseini

After almost 30 years of living in America, I have learned there are many things we could do and should do to keep our Persian cultural heritage alive here in this great land of “melting pots.”  After all, the Irish have their St. Patrick’s Day, the Germans have their Oktoberfest, and who can forget the great Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo or Chinese New Year?  The key is how to best retain our Persian culture, while still adapting to American way of life.  So, you may ask, what is it in our culture that we need to maintain?  I would say everything that has to do with our identity as Iranians; from our food, art, and language, to the great history and tradition that we grew up with. Having raised two kids in America (Ages 14 and 12), here are few practical suggestions I could offer you as you deal with young ones being raised here:

Mohammad va peyrovaane ou

A Marxist-Leninist look at Prophet Mohammad and his followers
Hojjat Barzegar

Tulips and poppies

Part 5: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

Behesht-e Zahra (Paradise of Zahra) is the name of a huge cemetery outside of Tehran, on the highway to Qom. Conceived and partially constructed before the revolution, it is being rapidly filled, while not yet quite finished, as if testifying to the fulfillment of a grotesque prophecy. Entering the grounds very early on a summer morning, having left home at dawn in order to avoid the mad traffic of downtown Tehran and the scorching sun of midday in the desert, we are relieved by a gentle breeze drifting our way from a generous stream of fresh water running through the main boulevard.

Abraham, Rostam & Oedipus

The Rostams have failed and are no longer desired. It is time for Iranian men to hand over the ruling of the country to women experts and follow their leadership by cooperating in fulfilling common aspirations
Vida Kashizadeh

The Iranian woman has been suppressed for 2 millenniums, that is since the Aryans invaded the land, but with times changing, her genetic disposition and heritage connecting her to the amazons has been forcing itself to the surface. Parallel to this awakening of the ancient instincts and the genetically re-emerging strength of women in their endurance and their perseverance, in addition to the skills they have gained in order to survive as an entity, the Iranian man's ancient anxiety has also been stimulated. In today's Iran men are anxious and women are fed up. The women have nothing to loose except their veils. There is no lack of human resources to bring change; the only thing needed is a decentralised coordination.

Hoveyda va Bahai seteezi

Attacks on Bahais and Amir Abbas Hoveyda
Kavian Sadeghzadeh Milani

Fighting lies with lies

On denying the holocaust
Sima Nahan

What do decent folks do to counter historical falsehoods? They try to fight lies with truth. They do research. They write books. They try to spread the word. They teach. For decades now historians, journalists, artists, activists, and certainly academics have been doing exactly this. They have upheld the "If Only" school of displaying faith in humanity: If only Americans and the rest of the world knew the truth of what happened to Palestine and the Palestinian people... If only they knew the devastating impact of the politics of Israel on the people of the region... If only they knew the cost to democratic movements in the Middle East of denying historical and political facts ... But where has this good-faith approach gotten us? A concerted effort to intimidate and suppress anyone challenging uncritical support for the state of Israel on college campuses, for one.

Revealing errors

Iran, Jews and the Holocaust: An answer to Mr. Black
Abbas Milani

In early January of this year, a prominent American journalist published a strangely inaccurate attack on Iran, making the country complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust. I prepared the response below and sent it to the San Francisco Chronicle, where the original article had appeared. But the editors of the paper told me that they do not publish polemical responses. I prepared another essay, dealing directly with each of the accusations, and the essay was published in the Insight section of the Chronicle on Sunday, February 9, 2006. (p. E 5). But as the accusations in Mr. Black’s article are serious, I think publishing the direct response to his attacks is also necessary.  

Loving the "L" words

Could the Persian "loos" (spoiled) and English "luxuriant" (lux) be far behind?
Guive Mirfendereski

By sheer happenstance, I think I have stumbled on a word in Farhang Moin that might well provide some measure of proof that luvu (lubu or lufu) existed in the vocabulary of ancient Persians. The word at issue is the Farsi word labeh, which now means self-admiration (khod-setaee); its verb form is labidan. Its verb form has the usual phonetic variations in which the sound “b” substitutes for the sounds “p” (as in lapidan) and “f” (as in lafidan). The variants of the noun labeh itself on the other hand are laveh,lafeh and lapeh. This may also relate to the Persian noun lavand, which presently means a “lewd” woman, a “prostitute.” I think lavand may have begun as a word to suggest one proffering luvu or lava, love (lav/a/vand).  


Mohammad Mehrdad: A life dedicated to freedom
Ali Mohammad Lashgari


It is ultimately all about the failure of the rule of law and process to address grievances
Guive Mirfendereski

The Danish Cartoon Affair has eclipsed the Iranian nuclear case, which in itself is another example of the pornographic times in which we live. Here is a country that is signatory to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty but who is suspected of making an atomic bomb in contravention of its obligations under the treaty and at a huge cost to its national treasury, when it probably could obtain a device or bomb for a lot cheaper and sooner on the international market. While President Bush has called for a greater reliance on nuclear power to meet America’s insatiable appetite for energy, the Bush Administration wishes to deny Iran nuclear power technology altogether.

Let's rewrite Iranian history

The past 50 years
Persian Majeed

Examine & investigate judicially each & every U.S. personnel, companies, organizations who ousted the legitimate government of Iran under Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, that instigated a coup d'etat & overthrew him, in a U.S. court of law by the most lenient panel of U.S. Judges. Then convict those criminalized ones. Examine & investigate judicially each & every U.S. personnel, companies, organizations who caused much anguish, mental stress, physical tensions amongst civilians throughout the past 25+ years in an all-out effort against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Listen to the reed how it tells a tale

Exploring tradition and modernity through Iranian musical literature
Aaron P. Baca

Over a century ago Nasir ed din Shah traveled to Europe and brought back a military band to encourage the Western arts (Caron, p. 15). This past November 12th, modern Iranian sensation Googoosh played a sold-out concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Steeped in centuries of tradition but readily susceptible to the inclinations of modernity, Iranian music has become a crossroad for the past and present. The form instilled in the music so long ago is still greatly revered, but is approached with the tenacity of the individual. Persian music does not abandon its roots but places increased emphasis on the freedom of the performer.


Of Quince, Kid and Lout
Guive Mirfendereski

When I think of Sadeq Hedayat, I also think of Sadeq Choubak, another Iranian writer. He wrote, “The Baboon whose Buffoon had died.” This title in Farsi is “Anatari keh loutiash mordeh boud” and the baboon (antar) and his handler too were a part of the Iranian street scene as I remember from my childhood. And thus I come to weave into the discussion of quince (beh) and kid (koudak) some thoughts about the word louti and its connection with the English word “lout.” “I wonder,” asked me Omidfarda, “what [is] your take on ‘Lout,’ an awkward and stupid person or an oaf? We use it daily in Farsi!” 

Persia & democracy

Ancient Iran developed the concepts of "state", "government", "political territory", and "boundary", and the Persians contributed substantially to the evolution of the concept of "democracy" in the West
Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh

It is universally accepted that the need for defining precise lines of separation and points of contacts between states is the byproduct of the emergence of nation-states and 'world economy' in the nineteenth century Europe. Nevertheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that these modern notions are rooted in periods prior to the emergence in Europe of nation-states. There are indications that ancient civilizations were familiar with the notion of 'state' in connection with the concepts of territory and boundary. Ancient texts reveal that this basic principle existed in ancient Persian literature in respect of matters of state, territory, and boundary. Similarly, the likelihood exists that these Persian notions could have influenced Roman civilization.

Religiosity of revolutionary guards

Part 2 of reply to Guive Mirfendereski's "The Ahmadinejad in us"
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

Resentment of the Jews or, earlier, of the Christian Crusaders, for the occupation of Palestine did not feature prominently in the history of Iran. Gaza had not figured among our concerns since its occupation by the Achaemenids. Nor were Iranians much involved with the Crusades; not even the Saljuq sultans of Iran offer much support to their cousins of Rum when the latter were fighting the Christian Crusaders in the Levant. In  the Shiite tradition of my own memory there was less reference (if at all) to Palestine or to Jerusalem than to Karbela, Najaf, Mashad and Qom. Most Iranians only became aware of Palestine after the Second World War, when they went there, not to pray at al-Aqsa, but to benefit from the medical proficiency of Jewish doctors who had immigrated from European lands.

Bakhtiar beh maa goft!

On the premiership of Shapour Bakhtiar 37 days before the 1979 revolution
S.H. Jalili


Who is he?
Guive Mirfendereski

In his opinion piece “An honest look in the Persian mirror”, Steve noted, “the story of Esther in Persia did not take place under Cyrus, but probably under Artaxerxes (according to the Septuagint), or perhaps under Xerxes.” I stand corrected. Not! Nobody knows for sure which Persian king is Ahasuerus supposed to represent. Britannica identifies him as Xerxes I (ruled: 486-465 BC). In the same breath, however, Britannica tells us that “The book purports to explain how the feast of Purim came to be celebrated by the Jews, but its fanciful explanation belongs to the realm of historical legend rather than fact.” In 1981EBMicroVIII:309, the story of Purim is said to be “probably fictitious.” Dehkhoda too identified Ahasuerus as Khashayarshah (Xerxes).

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Book of the day

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