25 gush 2008

Help us find an ARTE documentary to save some Iranian e-Journalists

Almost 4 months ago, a Persian website broke a piece of news: "ARTE satellite channel featured a Dutch documentary which documented Iran Traffic Police Forces' bribery, whose scenes were gathered through sophisticated hidden camera methods." As expected, that piece of news was published so widely among Persian websites.

Administrators of the original website did not provide a sample of the documentary neither did they refer to an authentic source for it. After a while, Iran's Traffic Police (NAJA) sued them. Now they have to bring an authentic source for that piece of information to the court. The problem is that their original source had been a word of mouth from a Swiss man whom they can't locate anymore. Now they are trying to find a clue to that documentary.

At the first glance, it seems that the documentary (if it really be a product of ARTE) should be Deutsche, not Dutch. In addition, original information reveals the name of producer as Van Versen, though this spelling might be misleading thanks to lack of a standard transcription procedure.

So, it's a rather complicated story! That would be a big favor to them if the original documentary is found or some authentic information about it may be isolated. Help us do that.

12 gush 2008

My Latest Academic Degree


Last week Iran's Interior Minister provided a fake doctorate degree for MPs (read more here, and a sample of his fake degree may be found here). An Iranian blogger has asked others to prepare similar degrees. Here is mine, big thanks to Ardeshir Tayyebi.

31 korr 2008

French Tourists in Isfahan




French tourists with an antique car, escorted by police, exploring Imam Square in Isfahan.

30 korr 2008

Read, in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher


He was troubled by all the injustice of Mecca.
Slavery, the mistreating of women, greed, gambling, the sacrificing of babies, and the reliance on idol gods made of wood and stone. So as he did every year, he came to the cave. Suddenly, He was surrounded by light.
When he looked up, he saw the Archangel Gabriel standing before him. He was speechless.
"Read" said the angel.
"I don't know how" was the reply.
Gabriel repeated his command three times. And each time the reply was the same. And then Gabriel taught him.
"Read in the name of your Lord the creator. He created men from a clotted blood. Read, your Lord is the most bounty who taught to use of a pen. He has taught men what he did not know."
And then Gabriel vanished.

From: Muhammad, the Last Prophet.

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Some of Persian bloggers have decided to publish 27 posts appreciating today (27 Rajab, anniversary of the beginning of Muhammad's career as a prophet). Here you can find a complete list of them. Above photo was taken from here.

28 korr 2008

Jundullah Killed 2 More Captives

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According to BBC, Al-Arabia TV Channel states that insurgent Judullah (Army of God) group killed 2 more captives from 16 soldiers who were kidnapped last June in southeastern Iran. Thus the number of soldiers killed by Jundullah reaches 6. However, Iranian officials doubt current and previous claims of Jundullah regarding killing the captives and call it 'psychological war' and 'rumor'.
Al-Arabia TV Channel, located in Kuwait, reported on Saturday that Jundullah (which is active in southeastern Iran) called the channel to reveal that two more soldiers were killed. Jundullah spokesman threatened that "if Iran fails to release 200 of its jailed members, they would kill 2 soldiers every week."
However, it seems that Iran has not taken Jundullah's claims and warnings seriously. Gholamhosein Mohseni Eje'ei, Iran's Intelligence Minister, rejected recent claims and called them 'mere rumors.' He was quoted as saying: "God willing, all of the captives are alive and the claims regarding their martyrdom are not verified. We continue our lobbying and efforts and hope that they will be released as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, an Iranian group headed by Mahdi Hashemi (who is in charge of State Ministry) went to Islamabad to negotiate with Pakistani officials over the fate of captives. No details are revealed except that Pakistan has promised cooperation.
The latest kidnapping happened when Pakistan handed Abdolhamid Rigi (brother of Abdolmalek Rigi, head of Jundullah group) over to Iranian officials. He had been jailed for about 1 year in Pakistan.
Jundullah claims that it is fighting for the cause of Baloch ethnic and religious minority. Iran calls it a terrorist group. Up to now, tens of army officers, statesmen and civilians have been killed in violent campaigns of the group.
[Note: most of kidnapped soldiers were not employed army officers but just some youngsters who had been offering their compulsory military service.]

23 korr 2008

Just Ahmadinejad can do it

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by: Sadegh Zibakalam


I do firmly believe that Iran-US relations' most significant transition which is to emerge is due to the presidency of Mr. Ahmadinejad. Truth is that having diplomatic relations with US is more of a taboo in Iran which may only get broken by a tradition-minded, conservative figure. No one may come to bring about a state of détente, negotiate with US and normalize Iran-US relations, save Ahmadinejad himself. We have not yet forgotten McFarlane event (when Imam was alive) and Mr. Hashemi's efforts to revive Iran-US relations; however, conservatives' powerful hands impeded those efforts and McFarlane event came to standstill. In the period of Mr. Hashemi's presidency, Mohajerani (then advisor to Mr. Hashemi) published a column in Ettela'at daily regarding Iran-US relations, which was much more diluted compare to current expressions of Mr. Ahmadinejad; but conservatives' reaction was so tough that he got forced to publicly apologize. Even when Mr. Khatami, in an interview with Christian Amanpour (CNN correspondent), said some relatively fine things about US, psychological pressures of conservatives forced him to utter some harsh words regarding US just few days later in Imam Khomeini's mausoleum. I think that Ahmadinejad is the only person who may bring about a state of détente. During his presidency, this potential vision has evolved into a practical one. He easily speaks of taking photos with an American commander and his deputy in Iraq, and more easily states that 'if we receive any formal request regarding opening US consulate in Tehran, we will consider it seriously', and such stances do not lead to any reaction from either media or others. I believe that Mr. Ahmadinejad's powerful proponents in the regime make him bold enough to freely speak of having relations with US and even march toward bringing about a state of détente and normalizing the relations. Other side of the coin is US. Current evidences suggest that Barack Obama may win presidential elections. However, I doubt it, for I think that 'Silent Majority' of US voters, who constitute 20-30 percent of voters, have not decided to vote for whom and will decide just few nights before final elections, and they are more likely to vote for McCain only to avoid an African-American finding his way to White House. I hope this is not going to happen. After all, if Obama is to become next US president, vision of normalizing relations with US will be much brighter than ever.

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Sadegh Zibakalam is a leading reformist author and professor of political sciences in Tehran University. This paper was published last week in Shahrvande Emrooz (today citizen), leading reformist weekly.

15 korr 2008

Prisoner Swap

Tomorrow, a prisoner swap is expected to happen between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah, in which Israel will receive two soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in return for releasing Samir Kantar and four Hezbollah prisoners and returning the bodies of dozens.
Two Israeli soldiers are presumed dead. I hope that they return alive. It's in favor of all parties.
Update: my hope failed.

12 korr 2008

Wise Word

It's said that a former Japanese foreign minister once said to his Iranian counterpart: "US is like a wild buffalo. You have stuck to her horns, while we try to stick to her breasts."

8 korr 2008

Ecosystems and Peace

This was a comment to a question: Any other ideas or stories out there about how environmental collaboration in the Middle East can lead to peace?
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Ecosystems (un)fortunately don’t appreciate political borders. When a border happens to separate two people even for a long period of time, it certainly fails to stop eco-interactions.

You mentioned sewage system and air pollution. There are certainly many more examples of this kind. For example, when two nations share a lake or jungle, they have to come to understand that the safety of this ecosystem is dependent on a collective effort. Caspian Sea is an example; or Nile may be a more telling story which is somehow associated with the life of many people in various African countries. When people learn that they should cooperate so as to save the ecosystem in addition to improving their own lives, one may say 'Ecosystems fortunately don’t appreciate political borders.'

However, the story of shared ecosystems is not an all-good one. For example, Hamoon wetland in southern east of Iran is enlisted as an 'endangered ecosystem', for building several dams on Hirmand River (the main supplier of water for Hamoon) in Afghanistan as well as recent droughts have turned this area of about 600 thousand acres into desert [source]. Some experts believe that Hamoon Wetland will be a fiction after this summer, unless some heavy raining helps it survive. If this piece of land turns into desert, Iran won't be the only victim: the desert will be expanding to east threatening Pakistan and Afghanistan, a big desert (instead of wetland) would certainly lead to reduction in rain in neighboring areas, etc.

Thus, one may conclude that ecosystems essentially need long-term planning and strategic perspectives. And short-termism, as a relatively new phenomenon in contemporary management, is a grave mistake, regarding Nature as a whole. This is why one might say: 'Ecosystems unfortunately don’t appreciate political borders.'

So, environmental collaboration would only lead to peace if we come to recognize some key measures such as sharing benefits of ecosystems with neighbors, mutual respect for mother nature, paying attention to long-term planning, and probably most important issue is that: Nature is not a weapon capable of defending a nation; rather it's more of a static grenade that will turn the whole area into dust should it be exploded.

3 korr 2008

Ecotourism in Iran

This post was a comment.
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Ecotourism is a relatively new idea in Iran and I’m afraid if there is not an organized effort to promote it right now. National Ecotourism Committee is established, though it might take some time for it to run national-level projects. And some non-governmental sites try to introduce possible ecotourism spots, such as this one.
Meanwhile, there are some established procedures for ecotourists: many travel agencies offer special eco-tours, for example to northern parts of Iran (Gilan and Mazandaran provinces, a semi-mediterranean climate) or Yazd (desert ecotourism).
However, professional ecotourists constitute the main source of ecotourism information. For example, we (I and my wife) have decided to spend two weeks in summer in a northern village. I asked several people, and they offered a relatively detailed description: possible destinations, prices, availability of house/room for rent, some pics, etc.
People are eager to spend some time out of metropolitan areas. Therefore some local ecotourism destinations have come into existence. For example, you may find several villages out of Isfahan (our city) which are relatively well-equipped for a 1-2 week stay. Villagers are increasingly getting aware of this possible source of income, thus try to make a better destination.
I hope that while Ahmadinejad is busy with politics, local efforts provide a proper infrastructure within a decade or so.

25 qer 2008

Tradition of Holy Prophet: Distinguishing Content from Form

When I published previous post in Mideastyouth, somebody called Rayed Al Sunni posted a comment:

In our Islam we know if you love Mohammad or religion the sign of love is to follow it not to celebrate in Birthday Mohammad didn’t celebrate for that. Islam didn’t do like this to celebrate in someone.we celebrate for E’ad Al Fater and E’ad Al Ad’dha.


Here is my reply to that comment, which constitutes basis of Ijtihad in Islam:

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I do certainly agree with you that we as Muslims have to adhere to very tradition of Holy Prophet.

However, the very term Tradition, to me, means something close to this: following very measures that Holy Prophet set as True Islam. In other words, there had been two distinctive dimensions to Holy Prophet's deed: Content and Form. Our actions must be conforming to the Content, but not necessarily to the Form.

For example, we have repeatedly heard that Holy Prophet donated bread and date to the poor. It's one of his deeds, which includes Content (i.e. being kind to the poor) and Form (i.e. donating some certain materials, including bread and date). We have to imitate the content (be kind to the poor), but not necessarily the Form (just donate bread and date). Now, let me ask, if somebody happens to donate Pizza, in your opinion, he is far away from Holy Prophet's tradition? I don’t think so: he "is kind to the poor", thus his act is conforming to Holy Prophet's standards, even though he does not follow the very 'Form' Holy prophet had been used to.

So there is a certain set of Objective Measures, or Contents, to which we have to subscribe. But there are too many forms which may assume those very contents. Some of these forms have been common and usual in the time of Holy Prophet, and consequently he practiced them. Some of them were not common in the time of Holy Prophet, and consequently he failed/refused to practice them; however it does not forbid us to practice them.

Therefore, I don’t think that we have to imitate every act that Holy Prophet did, and avoid every single thing he either failed or refused to do. And there is another reason to it: it's practically impossible.

Again, I do agree that the Forms we decide to practice should be conforming to the measures set by holy prophet. For example, the tradition of Holy Prophet was to show his happiness for Eids, i.e. Holidays. We may come to use some new Forms to show our happiness, but not the forms which may be in conflict with His Tradition (such as dance and drinking alcohol).

So, after all, Holy Prophet orders us to be kind to our mothers. Is there any problem if we dedicate a certain day every year to our Mothers? And is there any problem if we use birthday of a great woman, daughter of Holy Prophet, to do so? A stone and two birds: expressing our kindness to mothers (as the Holy Prophet ordered us) as well as his family (again as he ordered us).

24 qer 2008

God Bless Mothers

According to Islamic lunar calendar, today is the birthday of Fatima, daughter of Prophet Muhammad. In Iran, we celebrate this day as Moms Day. Here are 3 pics of Mother Statue in Isfahan. God bless mothers.


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18 qer 2008

Ayatollah Montazeri clarifies his position on Bahai faith

Question:
Your Excellency,
In one of your [previous] answers to [the questions regarding] Bahai sect, pointing out that Bahai faith is not considered a legal religious minority for it lacks a divine scripture, you stated:

"However, for they are citizens of this country and have a right due to belonging to this country, they have the right of citizenship."

Following your response, some of the followers of Bahai faith abused [it] and made significant claims, and it's even said that your pre-revolution opinion about them has changed [into this newer version]. Please kindly clarify this issue and your point about 'right of citizenship'.

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Ayatollah Montazeri's Answer:
Blessing and peace
My opinion regarding Bahai sect is still what I did believe in since pre-revolution years and has not experienced any change. However, due to Quran stating that

"Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice" (60-8),

and due to Imam Ali's letter to Malik Ashtar (a sincere companion of Imam Ali, appointed by him to govern Egypt) that

"Maalik! You must create in your mind kindness, compassion and love for your subjects. Do not behave towards them as if you are a voracious and ravenous beast and as if your success lies in devouring them. Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you",

the humane rights of those who do not follow any heavenly religion must be respected.
'Right of Citizenship' is a general term, and its limits should be defined according to public customs and the constitution of which the majority are approving. However, if any person is trying to be the enemy of country's people, or cooperate with external enemies [of the nation] and their cooperation is proved in a credible court, they must be punished. And their citizenship is not a barrier to the law being enforced. And attention should be paid so as the youth do not get trapped by their malicious propaganda; and if doing business or having companionship with them works as a mean strengthening their position, it should be avoided.
God-willing you will be successful,

25-Khordad-1387 (14-June-2008)

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Source: Comments to a post in Radio Zamaneh. Note that the source is not that reliable; however, since the issue is of a relatively high importance, I do expect several other sources to publish it as soon as possible.

Update: Here is a reliable reference from the official site of Ayatollah Montazeri. the first 3 fatwas are about Bahaism, including the previous one published earlier in MEY and this newest one. And there is something in between them repeating the same theme.

6 qer 2008

Religious Procession

According to some historical accounts, tomorrow is the anniversary of death/martyrdom of Fatima (holy daughter of Prophet Muhammad). According to wikipedia:

For the few months that she survived following the death of her father, Fatima found herself indirectly at the center of political disunity. Differing accounts of the events surrounding the commencement of the caliphate exist which were the cause of the Shiite and Sunni split. The majority of Muslims at the time of Muhammad's death favored Abu-Bakr as the Caliph while a portion of the population supported Fatima's husband, Ali. Fatima courageously defended Ali's, fiercely opposed the election of Abu-Bakr, and had violent disputes with him and particularly with Omar (who was finally appointed as second caliph by Abu-Bakr).

Following his election to the caliphate after a meeting in Saqifah, Abu-Bakr and Umar with a few other companions headed to Fatima's house to obtain homage from Ali and his supporters who had gathered there. Then Umar threatened to set the house on fire unless they came out and swore allegiance with Abu Bakr. There isn't consensus among the sources about what happened next.

Some Shiite historians hold that Umar called for Ali and his men to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. When they did not, Umar broke in, resulting in Fatima's ribs being broken by being pressed between the door and the wall causing her to miscarry Muhsin which led to her eventual death.

Here I’m not to judge the history, but just to report a procession commemorating the event. Such processions carry a symbolic weight and I try to explain some of the symbols included in photos. They usually include flash-backs and flash-forwards between associated historical events as well.

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A flag containing some information about the group that directs the event; it reads: "Mother of the Heaven", Community of the Lovers of Imam Mahdi.

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One of the groups of people who joined the procession; White, as usual, is the symbol of goodness.

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Funeral of Fatima; many observers take photos or record the event, like me.

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Green is the symbol of being a descendant of holy Prophet and Red is a symbol of cruelty; thus these are the soldiers who took Ali (the handicapped one with green turban) to the mosque in order to swear allegiance to Abu-Bakr.

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The door of the house of Fatima; red spots are a sign of her miscarriage, and black shade is remembering of the door being burnt.

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Above parts together;

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Quran, mirror, well and palm; symbolizing a simple Arab house of the past.

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This episode is mostly associated with Karbala incident, in which Hussein (son of Fatima) was defeated and beheaded for he failed to swear allegiance to Yazid. After the incident, Hussein's family and children were taken captives and brought to Damascus.

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Reciting religious chants, along with necessary, mobile equipments;

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The house of Fatima, with her behind the door;

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Sons of Fatima mourning for their mother; nobody rests in the coffin.

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This man is distributing water. Water always plays an important role in Shiite ceremonies, for Yazid's army decided not to provide water for Hussein's companions during the final days of Karbala incident.

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A part of the scenario;

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Playing instruments;

29 maj 2008

It's economically efficient to donate 500 million dollars to Lebanese Hizbollah

According to roozonline.com (Iranian, reformist e-journal), a pro-IRI analyst was recently quoted as saying: "with an oil price of about 120$ per barrel, Iran earns 340 million dollars a day, and 125 billion dollars annually… if we conduct any trouble in Lebanon and if this happens to increase oil prices by 3 dollars per barrel, a sum of about 3 billion dollars will be added to our annual income. Therefore it's economically efficient to donate 500 million dollars to Lebanese Hizbollah."

25 maj 2008

Minorities in Iran

Here is my comment to a post in MEY about Minorities in Iran, which tries to maintain that Islamic Republic of Iran is systematically and deliberately persecuting religious/ethnic minorities.
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Some of the details you mentioned in this post are probably incorrect or exaggerated (namely gang-raping Zoroastrian girls and ban on music, respectively). In addition some improvements have been made in recent years, for example in the case of 'Bill of Retribution' which finally made the blood money of a non-Muslim equal to that of a Muslim. Moreover officials usually shut their eyes to some of the laws passed by authorities, for example about liquor or pork; you may easily find them in Christian-dominated districts (last week prices of Isfahan: a pork-burger, just 4 dollars).

By the way, I generally agree that minorities (either religious or ethnic ones) are being systematically mistreated in Iran. However it should be noted that socio-political phenomena often follow a continuous pattern throughout both history and region. Therefore if one focuses on one certain episode while ignoring the broader historical and regional contexts, his conclusion is susceptible to flaw.

Firstly, with regards to broader historical context, I have to mention that such discriminations are usually a legacy of the past. (This, however, does not mean that IRI did not contribute to them.) For example about Shiite-Sunni conflict, a balanced view has to consider the events of even 7 centuries ago, even including Safavid-Ottoman wars. Long standing conflicts and lack of dialogue have made such harsh sentiments among Shiite people toward Sunnis that even if IRI decides to remove legal bans, social discrimination continues to exist. And though such 'harsh sentiments' does not usually turn into violent acts, they often translate into political, systematic discrimination thanks to lack of a democratic temperament in Iran (neither socially nor politically). To an extent, same analysis applies to Bahai faith.

Secondly, with regards to broader regional context, it should be noted that regional or even global interactions somehow affect the issue of interest. For example, people rarely distinguish a Jewish businessman from soldiers who allegedly shot Muhammad al-Dura. Or when they hear of rumors/stories of Shiite being persecuted in Saudi Arabia, they can hardly endorse a Sunni mosque in downtown. I know that this is not fair. The solution, however, does not flow from the upward.

20 maj 2008

Art of Simplicity

Back from a 2 day conference on Media & Communication in Tehran (below photo), on our way to train station, I and some of my friends were speaking about the topics of conference. The discussion led to a debate on different philosophies of communication. Right at this point, hearing the terms 'philosophy' and 'media', taxi driver asked us: "so, from your view, what is the philosophy of Nancy Ajram?" He was apparently a fan of the Arab singer.

This interruption, though seemingly naïve in the first glance, was deep enough to make me think about it for a while. All the professors we meet in such conferences, with all the tribunes they have, can hardly communicate their message(s) to public audience as effectively as Nancy Ajram does. More surprising is that Nancy speaks a different language, and her success in Iran is mostly due to her well-directed, story-telling video clips.

What is the secret to effectively speaking to public audience? I recall Hanibal Lecter in 'the Silence of the Lambs', saying: "first principle is, Claris, simplicity." Be simple and easily understandable, and people will follow you and sympathize with you as a real element; be complicated, and you will become the make-believe part of the story.

One may claim that 'simplicity' is the exclusive profession of Art. I, however, think that Simplicity is itself an Art; an art that many enlightened figures and thinkers unfortunately lack. People's day-to-day problems are simple, and they expect simple answers for their problems. But enlightened thinkers, who may know the solution much better than others, use complicated words to communicate an even more complicated thought. Here appears a gap between people's demand and thinkers' supply. And in Iran, Ahmadinejad is an example of those who take advantage of this gap. He speaks in a simple manner, and is easily understandable. He offers simple solutions (though his solutions may practically turn into nightmares). And in this sense, Ahmadinejad is an artist. This is why that taxi driver, that fan of Nancy Ajram, had hung a picture of Ahmadinejad in his car.

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Conference, under the auspices of Youth National Organization



Ayatollah Haj-Ali Akbari, Head of Youth National Organization

17 maj 2008

Practical guidelines for homo***uals who are about to visit Iran

Here is a funny excerpt of "Practical Guide for Tourists", a series of guidelines for those who are about to visit Iran:

Note: I had to replace 'homosexual' with 'homo***uals', because Iran's intelligent filters block almost every page which has this word in its addresses.

16 maj 2008

On the current tension in Lebanon

Here is my comment to "Mullahs’ Whim in Lebanon" which claims speaks of Iran's role in the current tension in Lebanon and Arab countries' reaction to it.
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Sustainable stability may never be achieved unless a balance of power comes into existence. In the world’s new order, it was Superpower’s duty to maintain the balance of power. However, right now the only Superpower’s position is frankly in favor of Israel: it has decided to side with Israel, whatever the reasons.
On the other side of the battle, Hizbollah is probably the only armed group which may balance the power struggle with Israel in the Mideast, at least in a psychological level. So, to my view, the American-induced decision of Lebanese administration to destruct this power balance is what might be called an act of destabilizing.
Let me make it clear: I really believe that an armed party is more of a nightmare to the political interactions of both the country and the region. When ‘guns’ find their way in political conflicts, they mark an end to the peace. BUT it’s almost naïve to believe that Hizbollah is merely the product of Iranian/Syrian masterminds. Hizbollah finds its roots in the wrong policies of the US in the Mideast.
Another point is Arab countries’ reactions (mostly that of Saudi Arabia) to the current conflict. I think that Arab countries prefer to have Hizbollah under their own control. In other words, they like the Hizbollah, but not an Iranian-driven Hizbollah. They, however, will not side with US to end the life of Iranian-driven Hizbollah, for this undermines their position against Israel. Thus I think that such reactions are just to remind Iran that “Ana Sharik” (I’m a partner), and Arab leaders don’t want the currant tension to lead to a real confrontation with Iran.

10 maj 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, what if Israel attacks Iran and you are elected as president of the USA?

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinto

US Presidential Candidate

Your Excellency,

In one of your recent campaign interviews you stated that: "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. . . . In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them" (Interview with ABC).

This is not different from President Bush's stated policy towards Iran. The logic of threatening a total obliteration of Iran, possible only through a nuclear holocaust, is based on the "right of power", not the "power of the right".

As you may know, chapter I, article II of the United Nations Charter states that:
"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Regardless of any hypothetical attack on Israel, the United States is legally bound not to threaten Iran or any other country. In addition to the UN Charter, the US constitution prohibits such threatening policies. Article IV Clause II states:

"This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

As an Iranian, I feel compelled to ask you some questions. First, why are you threatening "the Iranians"? Second, if Israel attacks Iran and you are elected as president of the USA, what would then be your policy and position?

I do not agree with the rhetorical statements and foreign policies of Dr. Ahmadinejad, the President of Islamic Republic of Iran. However, while the military capability of Iran to attack Israel is questionable, Israel's capabilities concerning the conventional and non-conventional armaments to attack Iran is beyond any doubt.

With respect

Ebrahim Yazdi,Secretary General, Freedom Movement of Iran and

Former Foreign Minister, Islamic Republic of Iran

May 6th, 2008
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Ebrahim Yazdi was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the interim government of Mehdi Bazargan until 6 November 1979, when he, along with the rest of the Bazargan cabinet, resigned in protest of the takeover of the United States Embassy by the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line.

Source

4 maj 2008

President Ahmadinejad and smoking revival

Last winter, Iran’s Health Ministry in cooperation with Police Forces tried to stop all traditional cafés from serving Qalyan (water pipe) to the customers. It should be noted that two general type of Qalyan have been available in such places: Traditional Qalyan which contains pure tobacco and dates back to several centuries ago, and relatively newer Fruit Qalyan which contains fruit-flavored tobacco. Officials of Health Ministry were determined to at least stop Fruit Qalyan, claiming that its tobacco is of a lower quality and the chemicals used for flavoring the tobacco are highly hazardous. By the way, this act was somehow associated with a broader plan aiming at banning public smoking.

Police forces warned all of the café owners to stop serving Qalyan (or any other kind of smoke) or they would be prosecuted. Some café owners tried to resist, who were finally fined and their shops were closed.

Since Qalyan was the main source of income for such cafés (which used to serve tea, Qalyan and few traditional snacks and foods), most of them experienced a rapid decrease of revenues so that many of them decided to close the shops.

Few weeks later, President Ahmadinejad directly ordered Ministry of State (who is in charge of Police Forces) to abolish the crack down. Since then Qalyan is again available. Yeah, that day was “the re-birth of café owners of Iran” as the below poster states. This poster is available in many traditional cafés, expressing the very thanks of café owners to “beloved, popular president” of Iran. It reads: “thank you, thank you!”


22 pri 2008

Misunderstandings and Lack of Dialogue

Though many people try to pretend otherwise, I strongly believe that there is not an active, fruitful dialogue between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Why is it so? As I noted in an earlier post, there is a pile of false beliefs about the either side which make reconciliation difficult to happen. For example, many Sunnis think that "Shiite believe that today Quran is a distorted one not equal to one descended to the holy prophet", which is an absolutely wrong accusation.

The problem, however, is not just limited to false beliefs, for false beliefs may be easily removed by educative information. Indeed, there are some real problems. Let me elaborate on one example. Some Shiite sects have had a long standing tradition of exaggerating about the status of Shiite Imams, the infallible descendants of Holy Prophet who are believed by Shiite to be the righteous guides of Muslim community and true successors of Holy prophet. Those who exaggerate about Shiite Imams often justify their act with a saying attributed to Imams: "descend us from the status of being God, and say whatever descriptions you may ever desire about us." It should be noted, however, that many Shiite scholars cast doubt on the authentication of this quote and other similar ones. After all, this is something with which Sunni Muslims could never get along.

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked Jooya Jahanbakhsh that why we are so addicted to make an idol out of saints? Jahanbakhsh made a brief, yet informative analysis of the matter. He said: "such problems usually occur when dialogue happens to transform into a form of monologue. As a historical example, Sheikh Mofid and Sheikh Saddugh, both regarded as supreme scholars of Shiite school of thought, lived in the same time around 6th century AH (14th century AD). One of them, Sheikh Mofid, taught in a Shiite seminary in Baghdad. The other one, Sheikh Saddugh, taught in Qom. Since Sheikh Mofid was very close to Sunni seminaries, he had to be careful and rational: every single issue may turn into a hot dialogue and debate. But Sheikh Saddugh, located in Qom, was far away from Sunni scholars, thus failed to practice dialogue, i.e. there was no objection to his statements: he was the sole religious authority in northern Iran. The consequences are very clear: works of Sheikh Mofid tend to be more rational, and those of Sheikh Saddugh tend to be more romantic. Sheikh Mofid used to place a high value on reason, while Sheikh Saddugh appreciated intuitive understanding of the religious resources."

Let's review the above analysis: Lack of dialogue paves the way for lack of reason, thus fostering romantic, intuitive interpretation of religion, which may not be easily justified by reason. Therefore, a heavy pile of misunderstanding comes into existence.

Though it may initially seem that misunderstandings work as an impediment to dialogue, they are originally the effect of dialogue being absent in religious atmosphere. What a terrible loop of errors!
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Jooya Jahanbakhsh is a distinguished seminary student in Isfahan with a background of studies in Islam's history, whose clerical grade is equal to PhD, i.e. an Ayatollah he is. He has published several papers and some of his books are yet to be published.
Jooya Jahanbakhsh

14 pri 2008

Bahai bombers in Shiraz?

Two nights ago, an explosion in a Hussaynieh (religious center) in Shiraz, one of Iran's largest cities hosting second largest community of Bahais in Iran, killed at least 10 and injured more than a hundred. Few hours after the attack, I received a bunch of emails suggesting that explosion was the result of a bomb smuggled into the Hussaynieh so as to frighten the people who used to hear 'anti Bahai propaganda' there. In other words, such analysis implied that Bahais should be held responsible for the disaster.

Last night, however, police declared the most probable scenario identified by investigations: all around the country, many exhibitions feature War Memorials, including showcased maps, samples of remaining war materials (mines, guns, etc.), and martyrs' photos and handwritings. And in that Hussaynieh, ceremonies as well as anti Bahai speeches were held along with one of these unsafe exhibitions, a rocket of which might have been exploded unexpectedly and the rest of the story. Police, however, stressed that this is not the final result. Meanwhile, deputy of state ministry in national security affairs was quoted as saying that "Shiraz explosion is certainly accidental."

As I know, there is not even a simple case of Bahai terrorist (or just even violent) act in past decades, though some argue that bloody conflicts with majority Muslims (with attacks from both sides) followed the advent of this sect in Iran. By the way, whether this contemporary mildness is the result of a historical evolution or, as opposed to above mentioned historical accounts, just the continuity of the past trends, I feel that today Bahais are not a danger to the security/safety of Iranian society. Therefore they may live their life as do other minorities (not only Sunni Muslims, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, but also Sufis and even few Sikhs who live in Iran).

By the way, I have not heard of any official spokesman accusing Bahais of being associated with this event. On the other hand, I received many emails accusing Bahais of this 'crime'. With regards to the fact that email plays the role of modern graffiti, i.e. the media of unheard voices, I have to wonder why such a strong Bahai-phobia does exist in Iranian society.

1 pri 2008

What Young Iranians do in their free time?

Introduction:
Few days ago, a young Swiss boy asked me several questions about young Iranians, including how they spend their free time, how girls might get in touch with boys in Iran, etc. Here is my foreword and answer to his first question: how do young people spend their free time in Iran?

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Foreword:
Residents of various parts of Iran will probably answer such questions in many very different ways. Though some common elements are likely to be found in all of their answers, some factors, including local traditions, geographical specifications and financial status, affect the answers.
With regards to traditions, I should mention that for example in metropolitan areas, most notably in Tehran, it's generally easier for the young to find a friend of the opposite sex, especially if they happen to be university students. Universities in my country bridge the gap between traditional society in which the parents live and modern one in which the children aspire to live. Finding a friend of the opposite sex is only one example of a series of freedoms offered by universities to the young.
With regards to geographical specifications, for example, my city, Isfahan, enjoys a beautiful river with many parks around it, which make it possible for the youth to spend their time in them. In some other areas, for example in northern west of Iran, the weather is so cold during the winter that people can hardly spend their free time during the cold season (which sometimes extends to half of the year) outside. Therefore, they are likely to invest in some suitable options such as cinema or café-net (I will explain this phenomenon in later parts).
And finally with regards to financial status, this factor affects the hobbies the young choose in 2 ways: first, well-to-do families are usually more liberal, offering their children a higher degree of freedom. Second, having enough money, the people might afford more expensive options for their free time.
The question "how young Iranians spend their free time" seems to be the an important one whose answer would cover other questions to an extent, thus I would try to provide a comprehensive answer for it, and then briefly answer other questions.

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How do young people spend their free time in Iran?
A: National TV
Iranians are obsessed with TV. Official statistics reveal that some serials, including drama and especially comedy serials (which are usually planned for 90 episodes and broadcast every night during a full season), attract 60% of the population. Iran's National TV broadcasts 6 channels in the national level, a recently launched English News Satellite Channel (called PressTV), in addition to some provinces broadcasting provincial channels.
6 national channels are called: Channel One (general), Channel Two (general), Channel Three (mainly focusing on Youth and Sports), Channel Four (with a scientific-cultural focus, sometimes broadcasts original English documentaries of BBC and other famous channels), News Channel (24/7 news channel), and Quran Channel. Channel Three is perhaps the most interesting one to the youth.
B: Satellite Channels
In spite of satellite receivers being legally banned, the regime seems reluctant to crack down those who exploit satellite receivers. Some non-official reports indicate that in metropolitan areas, up to 40% of households have access to satellite channels. 10 years ago, 'satellite receiver' was supposed 'evil' by most of Iranians, but today people are somehow used to it.
Let's classify satellite channels in two classes: Persian channels, and non-Persian channels.
With regards to Persian satellite channels, most of them are Political ones launched to oppose Iran's regime, but they can not compete with National TV, thus fail to attract a fair amount of viewers. In addition to political ones, there are some other channels such as PMC (Persian Music Channel) which are dedicated to broadcasting music clips. Since such clips are banned in National TV, PMC has turned into one of the most favorite channels of Iranians.
With regards to the other class, in Iran, English is ranked above other foreign languages in terms of the number of people who try any second language. In addition, English is a compulsory part of schools curriculum since 7th grade. An average Iranian, however, is not familiar with English enough to take advantage of English satellite channels. Then, the only foreign satellite channels interesting to Iranians are porno, fashion and wild life ones.
C: Internet
The youth are eager to break the mold and cross the boundaries set by either the traditional society or the regime. The public atmosphere, however, is not ready to cope with the youth who might allegedly betray the very values of the nation. Therefore, the youth resort to private atmosphere so as to satisfy their needs.
Internet is a good example of such private worlds. One might easily find out that the cyber Iran is far different from, and probably not comparable with the real Iran. In a western country, web is generally supposed to facilitate the real life. But to the young Iranians, web brings a far different meaning: it is supposed to help the youth get rid off the real life and its limitations.
What do I mean by 'limitations of real life'? Dress code, boys-girls relations, porn, fashion, etc. are some examples of these limitations, but the real limitation is far more general than these examples. Some sociologists believe that there is a wide gap between first generations of post-revolution Iran and today generation, i.e. Iran has experienced a kind of rapid cultural shift, and the new generation finds it difficult to express itself in the real world dominated and ruled over by old generations. Therefore, it seeks to express itself in the cyber world. Between all various web features, 'chat' and 'weblog' are the most interesting ones to young Iranians. Due to these reasons, café-nets (originally cafés providing internet services along with coffee and tea, but today only internet providers) have mushroomed in big cities.
D: Cafés
There are two kinds of cafés in Iran: traditional and modern. Modern cafés are almost similar to European cafés, serving various kinds of non-alcoholic drinks (coffee, tea, soft drinks, lemonade), foods (pizza, vegetarian dish, snack), cakes (fruit, caramel, chocolate cakes), etc. On the other hand, traditional cafés serve just tea, Qalyan (water pipe: a kind of traditional Iranian smoke) and few traditional foods. Generally speaking, traditional cafés are cheaper and attract more young Iranians.
E: Parks, Mountain Parks
Parks are also a well-known destination for the youth. In addition, some nearby mountains are equipped to serve as a park: camps, rest rooms, barbecues, play grounds, etc.
In addition, in almost all of the big cities, some parks are dedicated to women so that they can freely spend their time while not being forced to wear Hijab (Islamic dress code). In these parks they are allowed to practice some activities which would be considered indecent otherwise, such as sun bathing.
F: Parties
Young people frequently arrange parties, but the scale and type of the party depends on several factors. Single-sex parties, including just boys or girls, often for birthdays, may be held very easily and families get along with them. But if some are to invite both girls and boys, or include alcoholic drinks, they have to accomplish some problems. Most important of all, police forces crack down such parties if they happen to include drugs or sex, or if the neighbors complain about.
G: Educational Programs
Several institutes offer educational programs, including language, computer, art and occupational courses. Young people, especially girls, express a lot of interest to these programs and choose them for their own free time.
H: Trips
Trips are possible from 1-day journeys to 1-week or even more ones. For religious people, some holy mosques or the graves of saints constitute a suitable option. Wealthy families usually own gardens out of the city, or villas in the coast of the sea, and spending a day or night in them is a common choice.
It should be noted that some certain areas in the coast are dedicated to women so that they have fun freely.
I: Sport
In addition to specialized clubs, many areas and parks have chess tables, skate grounds, ping pong tables, etc. Billiard clubs are also a luxury option. Swimming pools are available with some hours booked for women.
Virtually, almost all kinds of sports are available to young Iranians. But it should be noted that as expected, girls are supposed to submit to dress/moral code. This code, however, is not a definite one throughout the nation. For example, though people in bigger cities are getting used to girls biking for fun or transportation, smaller cities are less likely to observe the girls doing the same stuff.
J: Hanging Out
Just do it!

22 mar 2008

Traditions, to abandon them or not... that is the question!

Foreword:
Few days ago, an Iranian blogger posted something about the 'useless', 'baseless' or even 'harmful' traditions in eastern societies, comparing a tradition of Sri Lankan people with a mostly Muslim one. I commented on that post. Today, Rasha, an author in Mideastyouth, posted something about traditions. Here is my comment to Rasha's post, which is relevant to that Iranian blogger's post as well.
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Lets suppose that there is a tradition which is of no certain 'practical' use today, yet it does no harm to our cause as intellectuals, i.e. our common sense does not rule it out (as Nissim would argue). Do we have to set it aside?
Though some of the traditions, such as honor killing, are against the very essence of reason, some others have been of some use in the old times and nowadays play a symbolic role. For example, Iranians usually sprinkle a cup of water behind the pilgrim or the beloved one who is about to leave the city. The roots of this tradition back to the ancient Iran, when Persians used to worship several goddesses, one of which was Mitra, the goddess of Water; and this 'water' would be to request Mitra to support and protect the passenger. Yet, over centuries, several other features were added to this tradition: we put some flowers in the cup, as a symbol of nature and freshness; we put a mirror by the cup of water, in which the passenger would look and is a symbol of meditation; and else.
Such symbols play two important roles: first, to remember us of the past; Second, to differentiate our culture from that of others.
With regards to the second role, I'm not about to put a positive value on what we do or what we are as Iranians... I'm just saying that in the age of Globalization, keeping such symbolic traditions shields us against cultural globalization, which often translates into aggressive Americanization that is aimed at eliminating cultural diversity, whether deliberately or not.
By the way, I would agree with Rasha's main idea that one should investigate these traditions so as to ensure that they are not a barrier to the way of progress. I just wanted to emphasize on the role of neutral traditions.

17 mar 2008

Who is Iran's Obama?

Foreword:
Shahrvand Emroz (Today Citizen) is the only Iranian weekly dedicated to reformist cause, and probably the most professional journal of today Iran.
Mohammad Ghouchani, chief editor of Shahrvand Emroz, is a popular columnist as well as a well-known reformist figure whose articles attract a lot of attention from almost all political parties in Iran. Here is a translation of last part of his editorial in the last published volume of Shahrvand Emroz, entitled 'Who is Iran's Obama?'
Interestingly, most of Iranians have a high opinion of Obama. Conservatives compare Ahamdinejad to Obama, a comparison which is not that irrelevant, especially in terms of utopian promises and slogans. On the other hand, reformists think of Obama as a reformist figure. By the way, it seems that, to Iranians, black Obama means more of a utopia; and probably a lost utopia.
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Who is Iran's Obama?
In the age we are going to embrace, every nation should seek for its own Obama: professional, fulltime politicians whose only preoccupation is politics, who are not afraid of [political] defeat, and who know very well how to play in the political system while being ready to break [ill-defined] structures [if necessary]. There are some prominent political figures who play a good game within the current structure, but their ambition is so limited. [On the other hand,] there are many ambitious figures who fail to follow the rules of the game. Obama [even] if got to surrender to Hillary Clinton, will not ever revolt against his party. And even if got to lose the election to McCain, will not revolt against the whole system.
America has never committed anything more notorious than what she did in Vietnam, yet Vietnam veterans are still the super-heroes of Americans. This by no measure means that Americans respect a bunch of war criminals; rather they oppose the military policy of their administration while defending their [patriot] representatives, i.e. their soldier (not their chief of staff). This sweet contradiction is what leads the democrat, anti-war Hollywood to ask US soldiers in Iraq to announce the final results of Oscar 2008, though directors of US movie industry [generally] oppose the Iraq war.
In countries such as Iran, one needs 'Medals' of national honor so as to be able to enter the political ground. This phenomenon is not unique to Iran. John Kerry and McCain are also veterans. If being republican or democrat translates into being loyal to the US Revolution and Constitution in US, being Conservative or Reformist translates into being faithful to Iranian Revolution and constitution in Iran. If being a Vietnam or WWII veteran is of a high importance in US, fighting Iraqi army is supposed to be important in Iran.
Iran, 30 years after its revolution, observes a generation who has not fully experienced the Revolution and War. Young democrats in US are of a similar position. Obama, from this new generation, finds his way into the political ground; the generation which should offer its respect to the Revolution, War and Republic, though in order to prove its political qualifications, it needs something more than just its political resume.
By the way, Iranian conservatives have surprisingly found their George Bush; and now, it is Reformists' turn to find their Obama. We have a full year (*) to find this 'Iranian Obama'.

(*): 15 months are left to Iran's next presidential election.

13 mar 2008

Thousands of billions of US$ for war on terror...

George W. Bush has spent thousands of billions of dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but terrorism still exists if not gotten stronger. I'm wondering what would have been likely to happen if US administration had spent this huge amount of money in constructive projects so as to bring some hope to the region? I'm not saying that this alternative could have made it impossible for Bin Ladans to rise again, but it could have eliminated the support ('market share' of public opinions) they enjoy today. George Bush adopted a counter productive strategy, I think.

10 mar 2008

Iran-US direct talks... how US generals think of it?

Today Pentagon Channel broadcast a briefing in Iraq in which two US generals were answering media correspondents. One of the Arab reporters asked US generals of the next round of security talks with Iran on Iraq issues, and the general responded: "that is not a dialogue between US and Iran; rather it is a direct talk between Iraqis and their Iranian counterparts and we participate in it trying to elaborate for Iranians how they could help Iraqis in security issues."


Note:
Pentagon Channel
Hotbird, Frequency: 11096000, Horizontal, Symbol Rate: 28000

21 shk 2008

The man who had no weak point

Imad Mughnieh got killed; the man who, according to David Barkay (a former major in unit 504 of Israeli military intelligence who was in charge of Mughniyeh’s file), had “no weak points, no women, money, drugs – nothing” to endanger him.

I don’t know how he got trapped or who won the sum of US$25 million dedicated to his head (dead or alive) by FBI. Israel denies responsibility, though there are some evidences which suggest that this regime might have been a determinant to the attack, including the number of ‘Israel’s enemies’ killed by car bombing since Dagan was appointed to direct Mossad in 2002. Hizbollah vows to retaliate and promises ‘an open war’ if Israelis are eager to embrace this kind of war.

I wonder what would have been likely to happen if (late?) Sharon had been assassinated in New York with Hizbollah denying responsibility. Not so hard to imagine the consequences of such an event when we consider that Israel devastated a country in response to so-called kidnapping of two of her soldiers by a movement which fights a legally-defined occupation, whatever the intentions of that group.

9 shk 2008

Iran determined to fight AIDS

Dr. Mohammad Reza Jahani, Vice President of 'Committee to Counteract Drugs', announced that two condom machines would be installed in poor districts of Tehran. These machines would serve sterile syringe as well.

Multiple use of the same syringe is believed to be number one cause of AIDS infection between drug addicts. Beforehand, sterile syringes were to be distributed in prisons where drug addicts used to share one syringe. This is part of a comprehensive effort to fight AIDS. This effort included a plan to produce introductory materials for high school students, describing AIDS and ways to avoid HIV infection. Use of condom was introduced to students as well, and Ayatollahs in Qom (the city located in south of Tehran and home to the most powerful and conservative Shiite clergies) appeared to be approving of the plan.

Dr. Mohammad Reza Jahani added that Iran is the main route of drug smugglers transporting opiates from Afghanistan (number one producer of opium) to Mideast, Turkey and Europe, and this fact contributes to the higher risk of addiction in Iran.

Source: Isna (Persian)

Period.

4 shk 2008

His Undeniable Charisma


No wonder why AFP refers to his undeniable charisma (Click for source of pic).
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Footnote:
Ahmadinejad, during nearly 3 years of his presidency, failed to fulfill some of his well-known slogans, such as those mentioned by Elinor. One might even doubt if he really were determined to do some of those slogans, i.e. they were just some slogans to win the election.

But, it's worth noting that Ahmadinejad distributed a very huge amount of money between people, a fair part of it distributed in non-metropolitan populations; this would lead to a short-term convenience for people though followed by a long-term inflation. He built (or at least began to build) several hospitals in small cities which have been mostly neglected areas during previous administrations; he paid visit to almost every part of this country, while some of these people have not ever graced to meet a provincial governor during previous administrations; to conclude, he has done several things (either real action or just propaganda) to win the hearts of the people out of metropolises… and, to my knowledge, he has been successful to reap some short-run benefits (in the terms of increased popularity and else) in the expense of long-run national benefits (for example, during his current term, the amount of money in this country got almost doubled, an unprecedented event which will cause a great damage to the economy of this country in the coming years).

26 jan 2008

Matter and Mind

One of the most important barriers to the way of democracy (i.e. a kind of democracy developed by the society itself, not that kind of Instant Democracy claimed by US) in Iran is that several advocates of Civil Society & Democracy bear such a suffering background which not only makes a fair part of people (especially intelligentsia) suspicious of them, but also undermines efforts of sincere activist who honestly swear by Democracy.

Their suffering background might be classified in 3 important categories: Economic Corruption, Political Corruption, and Moral Corruption. Surely I'm not saying that corruption is the exclusive attribute of democratic movements in Iran, and do admit that all those three kinds of corruption might be found in other parts of the political movements/parties as well. But here I want to elaborate why some people have every right to think that Democracy is just a slogan exploited by some groups to fulfill their (possibly illegitimate) goals.

(I) Economic Corruption (both perceived and real)
In a society whose people suffer disastrous unemployment and growing inflation, and very often it happens that 'breadwinner' loses its very meaning since the worker does not earn enough to cover the interest of his debts leave alone bringing some bread to the household, Economic Corruption (not only real corruption, but also perceived one) is the most important determinant of shame. (Remember Confucius: "In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.")
Liberalization of Economy during Rafsanjani administration, followed by reformist Khatami who had a bunch of Right Wingers as the theorists of his economic strategy, led to a wider gap of poor-rich which made many people believe that "Some corrupt hands are exploiting our natural resources (most importantly, Oil Revenues)."
Many rumors about the wealth gathered by some officials, as well as evidences indicating unbelievable amount of money some others grabbed (such as luxury home of Karbaschi, former mayor of Tehran and a close buddy of Rafsanjani) set the scene for Ahmadinejad's election. Ahmadinejad, compared his house with that of Karbaschi in several occasions as well as his TV campaigns, telling the people that "I'm not that corrupt."
Note that though some exceptions do exist, most of the clergymen still live a simple and low-level life following the tradition of Grand Ayatollahs. For example, Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of Islamic Revolution, rented a house in Tehran in his return to Iran, and lived there till his death. This might be indicative of clergies' fair understanding of an issue directly associated with their popularity.

(II) Political Corruption
You claim something and your resume shows the opposite; isn’t it enough to believe that you are a liar?
Example: some of the prominent figures of democratic movement had been previously engaged in allegedly abusive activities related to Intelligence Ministry. Akbar Ganji, known to the world since going on hunger strike few years ago in an objection to his prison term, and a prominent democrat activist now touring Europe and America in a cheap political show, is a good example. He had been a high ranking official of the Ministry, and some say that reintroduction of some old methods of torture in hidden prisons is associated with this man.

(III) Moral Corruption
In the over-traditional society of Iran, having an affair with many mistresses has been enough to end the political life of some well-known figures and isolate them forever!


With regards to current democratic movement in Iran, let me say: "Those who matter don’t mind, those who mind do not matter."

Full Stop.

21 jan 2008

Supreme Leader supports Parliament in dispute with Ahmadinejad over a bill

Iran's parliamentary procedure requires each bill passed by MPs to be submitted to Guardian Council, which consists of several Ayatollahs as well as lawyers, and its approval is a must for enacting the bill of interest. This council checks every bill to be consistent with both Constitution and Islamic Jurisprudence. Approved by Guardian Council, President is legally required to implement the bill.
Last week, in an unprecedented event, Ahmadinejad rejected the approved bill and sent a letter to Iran's Parliament Speaker, Gholamali Haddad Adel, informing the parliament that 'the bill passed by parliament is in conflict with Constitution', implying that he would refuse to implement it.
Therefore, Parliament Speaker sent a letter to Supreme Leader and asked of his opinion or decree in this case. Supreme Leader's office informed the parliament of His final say: The government must follow parliament's bills.
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Moral Result: Probably Iran's Supreme Leader is going to set a line between him and radical administration of Ahmadinejad.

Abolfazl Sepehr

Due to the respect every Iranian feels obliged to offer to the Martyrs of Imposed War, who sacrificed their lives to protect our country against tyrants, and thanks to Pichak who introduced these files, I suggest you to download and listen to these media of Abolfazl Sepehr (persian narration)...
File 07 (Unknown Soldier... very sad)

19 jan 2008

Ashoora



In the first 10 days of Muharram (1st month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar), we (Shia/Shiite Muslims) mourn over the martyrdom of our 3rd Imam, Hussain Ibn Ali (peace be upon him). His martyrdom took place about 60 years after the death of Holy Prophet, in the desert of Karbala (today, in Iraq), on the 10th day of Muharram which is known as Ashoora. Today, is Ashoora.

11 jan 2008

Creative Cartoons

A very busy schedule in addition to a one week vacation to Mash'had, caused this stop in posting new things here. To my own surprise, I'm still alive!
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If you are interested in some creative cartoons, here is an option: Claybennett Cartoons! I would be eager to suggest you to take a look at these ones: