We are not spies

On Bahai super-agent Mansour Taeed


We are not spies
by Ari Siletz

Dear Number One,

As ordered, I went to see the play We Are Not Spies in Berkeley this past weekend for the purpose of discovering the true identity and purpose of its Bahai author, Mansour Taeed. Disguised as a drama critic, I gained admission to this show despite the fact that the theater was sold out and people were being turned away at the gate. This report omits details regarding the beautiful agent I seduced in the line duty to get my ticket.

First, my assessment of Bahai spy technology: it sucks. At the beginning of this one-man show, Taeed said the play would self-destruct soon after the performance ends. He even played the Mission Impossible theme. The play hasn’t self-destructed! A day after the event, I am still laughing at Taeed’s jokes, and still chuckling at his “film farsi” dancing. There’s also the lump in my throat that won’t go away.

Taeed’s beat up suitcase full of spy gadgets works a little better. It was made in Isfahan circa 1970. He opened it, and here’s some of what was in it:

1. Three Ray O Vac “D” sized batteries of the vintage we used in Iran for powering furniture-sized “portable” devices such as transistor radios and tape players.

2. One cheap Lamy (laamee) pen.

3. One “expensive” Parker pen.

4. A strange device for sawing plywood for the purpose of not flunking art class.

5. Another strange contraption for spraying poison at flying insects.

After this nostalgic show of force establishing his Iranian birthright, Taeed brought out one more item: a small picture of Abdul-Baha. It was the only possession that the Iranian audience did not universally connect to. But by then Taeed had made it impossible to abandon the thousands of other memories, tunes, poems, films, clothing, hairstyle, foods, carpets, doors, walls, buses, mountains, …that we share with him as Iranians. The only thing that kept me emotionally on mission was the in-your-face way Taeed drinks Pepsi. He takes a gulp and then glares at you, like, “You gotta problem with that?” Maybe that’s why kids used to beat him up at school. Not for being Bahai, but for drinking soda like you’re on his turf. Even Zoroastrians aren’t as defensive about their sacred haoma drink.

I have confirmed that the Bahai Pepsi militancy is traceable to a Bahai merchant who once owned the Pepsi franchise in Iran. He seems to have kicked ass against Coca Cola. This shows up subtly in the red, white and blue calligraphy Taeed uses to notate the family photos he projects onto the screen. Don’t be misled; those are not the colors of the Zionist-loving, Israel-supporting United States. Those are the colors of the Pepsi logo. I recommend returning funds and property confiscated from Taeed’s family in the name of collusion with Zionism, and instituting punishment proportionate to liking the wrong soft drink.

Taeed is not a harmless agent, though. He hides a most sinister secret. Disabling his bodyguard with a sharp blow to the back of the neck, I gained entry into his house that night disguised as a common party crasher (the body guard still claims to have been just another guest). Looking for evidence of Zionism I checked the bookcase, the wall art, CD rack, the food and drink. Nothing; just lots of Persian calligraphy. Ah, a suspicious history book! Dead end. I was hoping for books on how Iranians invented Christianity to vex the Romans. Isn’t that the real reason Jesus was crucified? Because he was a Parthian spy! Finally in desperation I snuck into Taeed’s office closet and waited for him to show up and place a call to Mossad.

What I witnessed was far worse. Taeed walked into the room, closed the door, then reached beneath his shirt collar and deftly yanked his face off! I stifled a scream as the empty eye sockets of a flesh mask stared up at the glue-streaked face of the real super agent. I recognized him right away. The big shiny teeth, the sparkly eyes, the glib, handsome smirk of Tom Cruise! Dear Number one, as our organization has suspected all along, the whole world is run by a secret cabal of good-looking actors.


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by scb (not verified) on


One more thing . .. since those Baha'i grandmommies are the best possible weapon, stay alert, resist . . .

Remember: Baha'is celebrate Nou-Rouz!!!
Nou-Rouz is BAHA'I NEW YEAR!!!
They've been celebrating Nou-Rouz FOR 166 YEARS . . .


(Fearless Leader, is this bad? It's an ACTUAL Holy Day on the Baha'i Calendar. Since there aren't any Baha'i clerics, no one tried to outlaw it!)


The Baha'i GRANDMOMMIES and their incessant cooking created this unbelievable situation. . . My advice to Your Honor is . . .stop fighting the Baha'i Faith; issue them six million tourist visas instead.

(burp!) . . .Khanoum, please pass the gormeh sabzi, will you? Merci!



scb, I hope you are proud of yourself...

by BK (not verified) on

...your post made me laugh so much I spilt my coffee on my lap (just wish I had some of those cookies you talked about to go with my - mostly spilt - coffee).

Mr. Siletz, thank you for this wonderful piece. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's articles like this that make iranian.com worth visiting.


To Amir1 Many minorities have left

by three (not verified) on

What a genius solution!! Wherever there is an ethnic cleansing going on why bother asking the oppressor to stop when you can easily fore the oppressed to just get the hell out. I am sure United Nation and its affiliated human rights organizations are not aware that there are still geniuses like you around otherwise they would consulted with you on all of their human rights topics.

Ari Siletz

For Azzi

by Ari Siletz on

Since we're both homesick, how about we share this famous John Denver song? I'm sure I don't need to spell out how the accompaniment by the Japanese Kosetsu Minami drives home your touching statement"...we Baha'is believe that the whole planet is but one country and mankind is its citizen, but I like to feel that I can go to the city I was born in..."


we are not spies

by Azzi (not verified) on

I don't know how to thank you, I am so emotional right now that I don't think any words can do justice for the gratitude I feel towards you for your fairness and justice. When I was reading your article about Mansour at first I was laughing for your great sense of humor but later on I started having this strange feeling in my heart and tears run down my face, at once I was sobbing..I am sure you wonder WHY??? Well let me tell you a little bit about myself, it might help you to know why I cried.

I am a Baha'i who used to live in Iran up to few years after the revolution. In the beginning of 1982 when I was just 14 years old and legally was not even a Baha'i, I was expelled from my school due to my parents religious belifes and the school's fear that I might grow up to be a "spy for Israel just like my parents". At the time, I couldn't undrestand why, life was very hard on me, after all I was a teenager who loved to go to school and have friends just like any other kid my age, as if my expelling was not enough for my poor parents to deal with, few months later my fifteen year old brother too was expelled from high school for the same reasons. So not knowing what was going to happen to our future, my father decided for us to leave Iran. None of us liked the idea, specially my father himself, but what would the poor guy do??? His fatherly duties was to insure our future. So we left Iran with tearful eyes by force, I am not going to get into the details of how dangerous that trip was, but in a nutshell, we had to leave Iran one by one thru the pakistan border, and then we immigrated to the United States as religious refugees. From the first day we got here, the young ones in the family, my two brothers and I started working just like any other Baha'i refugees, and meanwhile tried to continue our educations. That was almost twenty years ago, now, my brother and I, we are both doctors.
But the reason for my tears was that, there is not a single day that I don't think about my beloved country , IRAN, and how by force I had to leave my mother land, although we Baha'is believe that the whole planet is but one country and mankind is its citizen, but I like to feel that I can go to the city I was born in without having fear for my life, and I know I can say the same thing for my brother as well. the reason for my tears was that we have been misrepresented so much that it truely breaks my heart to think that some of our fellow country men are still under the assumption that we are spies just because we believe in a faith different than theirs.



by bj (not verified) on

well the answer to oppression and depriving people from freedom is not running away or denying your belief and your own very exixtence on this planet.every human being has the right to have a birth place which GOD has given to him the same GOD the government of iran respect and worship.I think iran blongs to Moslems,jews,Christains,Baha'is and every other religions.When iranians are going to stop acting like a chid and harrasing one another.when we in middle east are going to stop forcing other people to change their religion.I hope we iranians and the government of iran open thier eyes and hearts to realize you can never control people's belief,love and affection.


The True, SECRET WEAPON of the Baha'is - BEWARE!!

by scb (not verified) on

I recently discovered the true, secret weapon of the Baha'is. Everytime I visit my local Baha'i friends, (all over the age of 65) I wonder at their cleverness . . .how well the Baha'is train their grandmommies! It's unbelievable!!

The tea these ladies serve is highly aromatic . . .(they must be putting something in it that disarms critical thinking!) Then they (suspiciously) bring out huge platters of bogoli polo, more than is possible to eat in one day, causing the guests to think they are insulting them if they refuse a fourth helping!!

Beware!! All that "Friendship" and "Feasting" (well known Baha'i occupations) has a numbing effect!! After a meal, they bring out impossibly small homemade cookies (also suspiciously aromatic) and smile at you, bowing and serving!! The Baha'i community appears to be dominated by these highly motivated aging ladies. They have had a lifetime of training (yet everyone thinks they are harmless!)

Nonsense! They sing off-key and are a threat to the waistline of all true believers. They don't take "NO" for an answer. They look small and cute but they are tough as nails!! If you go to their house, you will have to promise to return again and again!!

Their audacity should be studied!! One Iranian Baha'i grandmommie I watched was only able to say three words in English . . ("I love you"). She repeated it ALL NIGHT, OVER AND OVER TO EVERY AMERICAN SHE MET!!

After all that food and "bonhomie", the uninitiated were invited to pray for world peace, brotherhood, unity and humility. Ha!! It became impossible to dredge up any feelings of revulsion, about ANYTHING!! These ladies even praised my reprehensibly bad Farsi.

I think (burp!) it's a plot!! Beware, this is a worldwide network of Baha'i grandmommies, and they are spreading their influence. . .EVERYWHERE.

Ari Siletz

Dear Nazya Kavianiev

by Ari Siletz on

Indeed Taeed is an agent of love. Well put!

I hope he plans to take this show on the road everywhere in the US and Europe. It will draw large audiences. The way this artist uses humor, music and folk culture to create a heartbreaking story of persecution makes his play the Iranian counterpart to Fiddler On The Roof.


By the way, you could never have suspected but I was the guy at the party who kept bumming cigs off you.


Nazy Kaviani

Dear Ari, or should I call you Number Two?

by Nazy Kaviani on

How I envy you your wit and humor! I thought Mansour Taeed had finished whatever humor could be found with the topic of being an Iranian Bahaii, growing up a few doors or streets from me in Tehran!

I went to see him onstage in this play for a second time that night (and this is my personal secret--this is something I seldom do.). I watched him mesmerize me and others just as much as he had done that first time in November. The story he tells is too close to my heart, to my psyche, and to my ideas these days to warrant any kind of forgetfulness about the subject. I want to know more, listen more, and embrace more what hurt and pain he and his family and friends have experienced over the past few decades. It is the least I can do to acknolwedge something that sits with shame and hurt on my Iranian shoulders--the plight of Iranian bahaiis.

Anyhow, witless and humorless, I don't want to get too far from the atmosphere your magic keyboard creates around each and every one of your stories and subjects. Hey, I went to that house afterwards, too, but couldn't see you! You must have done a good job of disguising yourself. I did see a family that didn't drink and didn't engage in anything but loving and welcoming their guests, much as any warm and wonderful Iranian family would do.

Finally I know what about Mansour Taeed and his performance grabs my heart and won't let go of it--his sense of reality and humanity in the face of pain and doubt. Pretty twisted and clever of him, won't you say, specially since I have occasionally fallen so short of those feelings myself witnessing the goings on of the past three decades. He is a remarkable agent of love

Thank you Number Two!


matinzadeh: who to believe...

by faryarm on

Dear Mr/Ms Matinzadeh,

Judging by the actions and behaviour of the Islamic Republic and its leaders, and what they have managed to do to in the name of Islam, who in the eyes of the iranian people is more credible?

Who has in the eyes of the Iranian people has shown steadfast and fearless regard for truth and principle, even in the face of persecution, imprisonment and torture.

Iranians are not blind. They are witness to the baseless accusations against their neighbors, friends, classmates, and colleagues. 

These Dark Clouds will soon pass and no longer obscure the Sun of Truth, and once and for all free Iran and Iranians from centuries of the Mullahs' "Paralysing influence".

What you incorrectly describe as "copying from other religions" is nothing less than the latest chapter in the Progressive spiritual development of Mankind, with its blueprint for a peaceful global society.





Ari Siletz

poria matinzadeh

by Ari Siletz on

I read the link you have cited in your comment. It fails the minimum standards of persuasive because the accusations are not anchored in documentated proof. This isn't just a matter of good debate skills, proof is important to people of conscience because if we are wrong innocents are harmed.

If the cited article means to show that some Bahais were professionally successful during the Shah, then it is adequately documented for that purpose. Beyond that, the article reads as an appeal to the readers' sense of envy, not his/her sense of reason.


why Bahai!?

by poria matinzadeh (not verified) on

I guess the answer to this matter can be found in this article at//iranian.com/Opinion/2005/January/Reply/index.html, from my prospective Bahaish is some believes without source and meaning, which is all contents gathered by copying from other religions


Many minorities have left

by Amir1 (not verified) on

Many minorities have left Iran including bahai's. I just wonder how come the rest are still in Iran. They can easily leave Iran and have a happy life elsewhere.


Well Done Number 1!

by M. (not verified) on

Well done number 1. We will cross out Baha'is as spies. Your next assignment is to tell us about ( ie ). As usual, the assignment is written in invisible ink so as to prevent the target from hiding the "made in England" stamp on the bottom of his feet by wearing giveh, aba va ammaneh and appear as a holy man. Your target will be wearing the usual clothing of the Mollahs with the Palestinian scarf around his neck to show off his status of being a Palestinian. He is in fact a British spy and a Saudi double agent as we have seen him in action bending toward Saudi resort towns on the Red Sea five times a day. We have also witnessed him sending money for up keep of several buildings there as well as to a sevret Dubai bank for a complex he owns that is worth $2 billion British Pounds. Don't let his white beard throw you off track. That beard is made in France and changes color based on the occasion. He may wear a black Ammameh to hide his bald head. If you break into one of his many palaces built and paid for by his slaves, you may encounter his body guards. Not to worry. Just give them the passcode by saying you are on Her Majesty's Secret Service. If you encounter Malijack. The half bearded humanoid co-habitat of our target who wears white turban, tell him you are there to deliver the weekly envelop from the British embassy stuffed with newly printed British Pounds for his master's pay. Good luck and look forward to your
success! Oh by the way. Drink Zam Zam for Bond's sake and avoid the siigheh girls. We hear
they are infected with the deadly Al Lah Oak Bar virus.