bend it like iran (with hooman majd)

People You Think You Know
by People You Think You Know

Disappearing cigarette packet warnings, receding head scarves and Ahmadinejad's PhD.

I recently interviewed the author of "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ," Hooman Majd, about Iranian politics and culture.



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People You Think You Know

Dear folks -

by People You Think You Know on

Seems like something's not coming across in my video. Perhaps partly at fault is that I didn't make it clear that this is only one part of a larger documentary project ( I am working on - where I explore my thoughts about Iranian society as go.

I have way too many thoughts regarding the reaction here at to cover in back and forth comments - so I hope to make another post addressing your concerns ASAP.

Until then, please take a look at some of my previous posts on my website for a better understanding of my views. You can start with these if you like:




Thanks for your thoughts. I welcome your continued feedback.

~ Alborz 


(P.S.: Haha - Thanks Faramarz for the much-needed comic relief. And what a shot!) 


Bend it Like Roberto Carlos

by Faramarz on

If there is one person who knows how to bend it, that would be Roberto Carlos!


Fouzul Bashi

Irandokht khanoum

by Fouzul Bashi on

"A while ago I asked people not to insult someone personally because of their different ideas and I was called hezbollahi! As if Hezbollahis are known to respect other people's different ideas!"

Mokhleseem :) 

hamsade ghadimi

if it walks like a duck...

by hamsade ghadimi on

bending the rules on buying cigarettes without the picture of diseased lungs.  hahahahaha, whew that was good. only in iran.

bending rules like a horde of cars and buses running red lights and miraculously noone gets hurt.  hahahaha, wow the video is unbelievable.  priceless.

bending rules like raping people who protest the government; basijees shooting people dead while riding their motorcycles; khamenei declaring the "wrath of khamenei" to the people of iran.  hahahahaha; wait a minute, that was supposed to be funny.

is that what PYTYK meant by his comment that "no one got that clever part of his prolific interview?"  "yeah, maybe ahmadinejad bend a little rule here and there; but relax people, it's iran after all."

i liked the fact that PYTYK used his response to defend ahmadi.  how by "all accounts," at least ahmadi's first election was fair.  there has never been fair elections in iran starting from the so-called referendum in 79, through the presidential elections where the usual suspects won their seats by over 90% (in the 80s) until now.  where PYTYK likes to gloss over the election results and the ensuing events and focus on "why ahmadi is elected to be the leader of iran," he fails (wittingly) to ask tough questions about the elections aftermath.  now, that's some serious bending.


he reveals some of his

by vildemose on

he reveals some of his insider knowledge about the key (reformist) figures of the

Precisely, It seems to me those who have direct or indirect access to the Islamic Republic officials automatically become Iran-experts.

 In fact that is the only reason they are allowed to be  mainstreamed  by the power that be in the American MSM.


Majd's experience of Iran is extremely limited but ...

by hooshie on

he has friends/relatives in high places. And this is why it matters to whom he is related. Nobody suggested that it is a crime to be related to anyone and if some people think of it as a cime, they should explore their own crime-ridden mind. But back to Hooman Majd's experiences of Iran! He has lived all his life since the age of two or three outside Iran. He was never schooled in Iran. He never went to university in Iran. He has never worked in Iran. Apart form a few and recent short trips to Iran, he has not lived in Iran.

There are foregin diplomats who have lived in Iran for many years and speak, read, write and understand Farsi, far better than Majd and they have a much deeper knowledge of the Iranian street than Mr Majd. And yet there are people amongst us here , who on hearing Mjad, go Wow! what an interesting take on Iran!! These people are even less knowledgeable about iran and Iranians than Majd.

The only reason Mr Majd can be listened to is if (and this is a big if) he reveals some of his insider knowledge about the key (reformist) figures of the regime.Otherwsie, his take on any other aspect of Iran is old news, unless you  come from a mid-westersn farming community (no disrespect intended).  

His take is naturally influenced by his relatives, among them Khatami. period.


Author of the blog: I have

by vildemose on

Author of the blog: I have a question. Why do you think people in the US voted for Bush? Do you believe there has been a systematic dumbing down of the american society by the corporate media??

And if you do, don't you think the same applies to 30-year IRI state-sponsored systematic ignorance -superstitous promotion and utter dumbing down of the Iranian uneducated and vulnerable public? 

Anahid Hojjati

My comment was mostly about video not "Hooman Majd"

by Anahid Hojjati on


In my comment, I did not say anything negative about "Hooman Majd".  What I had problem with was the video and the way it has been put together.  This video does not address all that AN has done in past 6 months.  Writer; People you think you know,  tries to explain himself(or herself) in his recent comment but he does not do a good job.  He has not even named himself so if he is not for AN, why is he being "dopahlo".  Just because some people voted for AN is not good excuse to make a video and show excerpts of AN speeches without clearly condemning AN and his policies.  Hitler had much popular support too at a time but still anti Hitler groups were clear about their opposition to Hitler.  That is what "People you think you know" should do if he/she is not for AN. 

 Now, It is not time for Do pahlo harf zadan and ham az tobreh and ham az akhor khordan especially since writer is using a fake name. 

That is why I call the video propaganda.   Any article, video, book that is released now and talks extensively about AN without foucsing on crimes of AN government is a propaganda tool for AN.


To: peopleyouthinkyouknow

by vildemose on

Indeed, who are the supporters of Ahmadinejad?? Why do they support him? Do they believe in his messianic belief? Aren't they mostly subsidized iBasij and IRGC, and various other paramilitary security apparatus, and their family members, which I think comprise one out of seven people in Iran.

Do they even know why they support him? What does it mean to be anti-imperialist in Iran?? How are they ready to get rid of this said imperialist and at what price??

In the absense of free flow of information and strict censorhip, I might end up being an Ahamdinejad supporter too listening to Seda and Sima 24/7.

People You Think You Know

A word from the accused

by People You Think You Know on

Firstly, I think Majd manages to describe Iranians as they (we) are - not as different camps may hope them to be.

Secondly, the purpose of this video is most certainly not to be propaganda for Ahmadinejad. Rather, it's to be a statement of facts about Iranian society. It is simply true that Ahmadinejad takes a strong anti-imperialist stance -- but it is also true that he does so because he knows it works well in garnering him support from the Iranian people. (At least up until now. Things seem to be changing.)

I think rather than only condemning the IRI's record, it is more important for Iranians to ask ourselves some tough questions. What is it about us that allows for and inspires such a leader? Ahmadinejad is Iranian afterall. And so were the people who voted him into office the first time around (and fairly so by all accounts). And so were the millions of people who undisputedly voted for him the second time around. Before the televised campaign debates, Ahmadinejad was in the lead according to all polls. These are facts that we cannot ignore if we want change in Iran. (Likewise, Americans should continue to ask how they allowed the 8 dark years of George Bush presidency.)

Stating that Ahmadinejad has support in Iran is not equivalent to supporting him. Nor is admitting that most all Iranians agree with his anti-imperialist rhetoric (be it sincere or not). We can't see Iran or the world in black and white. That is what got us into this mess in the first place. We also can't see it exclusively through the filter of our own world-views. 


P.S.: The idea that like most Iranians bend/break the law when it comes to say traffic, Ahmadinejad does the same when it comes to international law and his own country's constitutional law does not seem to have come across?


Who made this video?? I

by vildemose on

Who made this video?? I don't think Hooman is an Ahamdinejad supporter. He is a reformer.

Hooman was good in describing the Iranian's national psyche but did not offer any solution how to co-exist with other powerful nations without isolating your country or invite direct  or indirect hostility?

China, Japan, other south and Latin  American countries  are all countries with anti-imperialist cred. but somehow they have learned how to co-exist with the imperialists without being a client state. We need to learn and use them as a model. Imperialists are always going to exist forever. Some countries are always going to be more powerful than others and will try to exert their powers on others. That is our human history. We need to be able to outsmart them without isolating or harming ourselves.

hamsade ghadimi

walk in the park

by hamsade ghadimi on

it's true that foreign powers have oppressed our people in the past (and perhaps scheming to do it again in the future).  but what we have here folks is a bunch of home-grown blood-thirsty mullahs who will stop at nothing to have their cake and eat it too. 

ask an islamist about all the injustices in today's iran and they will be more than happy to talk to you about oppression of palestinians, israel on the brink of attacking iran, and all the injustices that all governments past and present have done to their (and other) people without a mention of their own brutality against the iranian people.

btw, the video seemed to be supportive of ahmadi since he iterated what majd said.  not that i'm implicating that majd is a supporter of this government; he just sounds like one.


Holly and Princess

by IRANdokht on

Thanks, you explained it well. I agree with you both. Unfortunately it seems jumping to conclusions and making accusations is widespread. They do so without any knowledge of where people stand or what they have said before, or how much of a positive impact they might have regarding the people of Iran. They even shun you if you don't join in on a lynching of their choice.

A while ago I asked people not to insult someone personally because of their different ideas and I was called hezbollahi! As if Hezbollahis are known to respect other people's different ideas! to khod hadiss-e mofasal bekhan az in majmal...


Fouzul Bashi

Holly USA, well said!

by Fouzul Bashi on

"I view him and his views as that of many Iranians (and myself) who love their people and motherland, oppose the IRI, yet keep the national interests of Iran in fair perspective INSPITE of the IRI".


Out of context??

by HollyUSA on

I think those who doubt his position with regard to Iran, IRI etc. may think twice if they read his book or listen to his multiple interviews. You can see/read a lot of them on his website. I view him and his views as that of many Iranians (and myself) who love their people and motherland, oppose the IRI, yet keep the national interests of Iran in fair perspective INSPITE of the IRI.

Agreed, what he has to say may not be news to any one of us, but I think it provides an informative and realistic perspective for Non-Iranians if they listen.

And since when is being 'related' to anyone a crime???

Maryam Hojjat

I agree with Anahid Hojjati

by Maryam Hojjat on

regarding this video & its content.



IRI Stooge

by masoudA on

He wrote his book with IRI funding - Now that IRI funds are cut-off he is headed towrds a life of flipping burgers - or living in the streets.... He sure is begining to look lke a homeless in this video.   There are a few more like him.   These are generally people who have very little affiliation or love for Iran. 


Hooman Majd

by Princess on

Hooman Majd has never claimed to be providing a perspective for the Iranians. His target audiences are the Western population. In fact, on one occasion, referring to his book, he explicitly said, 'The Iranians know all this.'

Having said all that even for Iranians who, like me, have absolutely no connection and insight into the workings of this regime, his book provided an invaluable window. The great thing about him is that with his particular background he is able to provide a very unique and humane picture of Iran and the Iranians.


Sargord Pirouz


by Sargord Pirouz on

Hooman is an approachable fellow. It's too bad the video provided so many out-takes, when it should have focused more on Hooman's specialty: Iranian society as seen through someone who is more Western in outlook, but in many ways objective toward modern Iran.



by hooshie on

Hooman Mjad's take on the regime and the situation in Iran's is nothing of an eye opening quality. He repeats what we all know but with a the slant of a reborn Agha-zadeh. Never mind his being a close relative if Khatami.

Anahid Hojjati

Is this a propaganda video for Ahmadinejad?

by Anahid Hojjati on


I watched this video which is an interview with "Hooman Majd".  But this video also has many excerpts from Ahmadinejad and kind of gives you the impression that Iranians are anti foreign power and Ahmadinejad is one of these Iranians.  Video outright never says that but it only briefly touches on travesties done by IRI and especially AN.  To the people that still talk about Iranians being anti Imperialism, I have this to say.  People are usually against foreign powers because of all the "Zolm" that such a power can exert on people of a country but IRI has done much worse than foreign powers would do to Iran so please don't recycle all this anti Imperialism talk.  We need to focus on all the wrongs that IRI is doing to people of Iran and their anti US talk is just a cover.