Wednesday, February 28, 2007


March on the Pentagon Saturday, March 17, 2007
March and Rally in Seattle, Sunday, March 18

Who reads these?

Les Politiques: Velayati on Iran, the Nuclear Row, Iraq, Lebanon, and the ME

Sophia has provided a translation of Iran's previous foriegn minister with Le Monde. She draws attention to Velayati's emphasis on the role of Iran in mediation of peace and stability in the region. [and makes wonder AGAIN: who doesn't want peace and stability in the ME?]

Sophia's comments need to be on the front page of any journal
Well, there is a total blackout on the interviews with velayati in the US and UK press. Be very careful at the narrative that will be laid out in the coming days:

1-IAEA confirms Iran is continuing Uranium Enrichment.

No news paper would say that this enrichement is perfectly legitimate by international treaties but is being rendered illegitimate by the UN resolutions that are being crafted now outside any negotiations. So people will only have part of the truth. This is disinformation.

-2 The US will proclaim that the Un security council must vote more and more restrictive sanctions because Iran is not complying.

Complying to what ? Not to international law but to US demands.

-3 There will be escalation and nobody knows to which level the neocons are out of touch. because if theey go to war against Iran it is a regional deflagration...But they will say that it is Iran's fault.

It will end up, sanctions or/and war, to this simple truth: the US fabricates problems and sets out to solve them. In other words, US deconstructs international law, replace it with its own law and ask people to abide by it and if they don't then it goes to war.

Meawhile, Bush is meeting in Washington former militia Lebanese leader and war criminal Walid Jumblatt and asking the new UN secretary general to shake hands with him and the next visitor will be Samir Gea'gea who sent 15 years in prison for political assassinations and was released by amnesty and with the financial and political support of neocons' new puppet in lebanon, Saad Hariri...

The Fanonite: Anyone can go to Baghdad; Real men go to Tehran!

Fanonite's great article about who is lobbying for war. [answers my question to some extent about who wants the crisis escalated, and why]

View From the Moon: Jewish antisemites?

Flemings study of Jewish attack on Jewish critics of Israel. [very interesting quotations!]

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The X-files: Dick Cheney

I came across this rather old article (from 2000) by Gary Sick. This was published in under the running title :

Republican vice-presidential nominee has opposed unilateral sanctions!

I suspect this was written to appeal to the Iranian neoconservative sympathizers! But I can't help the desire of bannering a few lines of it. I note my thoughts in []s.

In early 1990, as Secretary of Defense, Cheney signed the (classified) Defense Policy Guidance that drastically revised the Cold War scenario that envisioned a Soviet invasion of Iran, followed by an immediate clash between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in Central Europe. Instead, the new plan scaled back the scenario to the goal of defending the oil fields of Saudi Arabia and the Arab sheikhdoms from an unspecified aggression, largely on the grounds that a US defense effort in Iran was unrealistic. [unspecified aggression? So, what does the re-defining of cold-war scenario mean? Is it implied that Cheney suggested replacing the cold-war-with-Russia "cause" with fight-over-mid-east-oil "cause"? And who directed those scenarios?]

On August 5, 1990, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, it was Cheney who traveled to Saudi Arabia and secured permission for US forces to operate from Saudi territory. King Fahd reportedly demanded that if there were a fight, Saddam would "not get up again." [bloody hell! traitor!] After US assurances, Fahd accepted US forces, apparently against the advice of Crown Prince Abdullah.

In December 1990, in testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee, Cheney argued that military action was the only sure way to force Iraq out of Kuwait. Sanctions might work, but given Saddam's total control and the fragility of the coalition, there was no certainty that they would work. [sounds familiar, AGAIN!]

When the threatened use of Iraqi non-conventional weapons against Israel was raised, Cheney suggested in a CNN interview that Israel would respond to any such attack with nuclear weapons. [Oh then we have known about Israel's nuclear arsenal for a long time!]

Also on the nuclear front, former General Colin Powell says that Cheney directed that plans be drawn up for the use of nuclear weapons in the battle to oust Iraqi troops from Kuwait. "The results unnerved me," Powell wrote in his memoir: "An American Journey." "To do serious damage to just one armored division dispersed in the desert would require a considerable number of small tactical nuclear weapons. [Dick seems to love trying his nukes out!]

In March 1991, when civil rebellions by Kurds, Shias and others were swirling in Iraq, Cheney acknowledged the uprising, but noted that Saddam had the loyalty of the "only organized military force in the country." The US, he said, would be pleased "if Iraq had a new government," but there could be worse things than Saddam's retention of power: "The breakup of Iraq would probably not be in US interests." [breaking his promis to King Fahad and keeping Saddam in power!]

When criticism of Turkish use of Western-supplied military equipment against the Kurds emerged in early 1992, Cheney reportedly argued in favor of continued arms deliveries to Turkey, in line with the official US position praising the Turks on their handling of the Kurdish conflict.

In 1996, as the CEO of Halliburton, Cheney sharply criticized American efforts to isolate Iran and other countries through unilateral economic sanctions

He repeated these views in 1997 during a Central Asian oil conference, saying that the U.S. needed to re-examine its policy of trying to force other nations to avoid all dealings with Iran. "We are pursuing a policy with respect to Iran that most of our friends in the region think doesn't make any sense...(and) it undermines our leadership in other areas." He also warned that the policy could make the newly independent countries overly reliant on Russian pipelines and subject to Russian influence. [Ah, so he wanted to get the pipeline through Iran (or Afghanistan?) while undermining Russia's influnce? So, now he thinks Russia nd Iran are too close and he has no chance but military action?]

In 1998, addressing an oil conference in Australia, Cheney said the United States should lift its threat of economic sanctions on companies attempting to do business with Iran. "I think the US made a mistake in trying to impose a secondary boycott in effect (on companies doing business with Iran) [Why am I sensing he was in dialogue with the Iranian government (Hashemi Rafsanjani?) at the time?]

In June 2000, speaking at an oil conference in Canada, Cheney called for an end to investment sanctions against Iran, saying American energy companies should be allowed to operate there along with those from the rest of the world. He said that US-Iran relations were "a tragedy'", and that it was time to put such crises as Iran's taking of US hostages behind them.

Cheney said Halliburton had some operations in Iran through foreign subsidiaries, which is all that is allowed under US law. "But we would like to do more than we're able to do in Iran at present." While US energy companies have had to sit on the sidelines, oil companies from the rest of the world that sometimes do not operate with "the same high standards" have invested in Iran's energy sector, Cheney said.

[Halliburton-Iran deals come under fire in 2004 ...]

Can't Americans impeach their criminal vice president at least?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Quick Links

Evidence of US coercion of members of IAEA
Demands for an investigation into coercion of nations by the US during the vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), have been growing following the revelations by Stephen G. Rademaker a former ranking official of the Bush administration acknowledging that India's votes at the IAEA in 2005 and 2006 had been "coerced." ... The Indian government to date has not denied this accusation and has remained silent. ... this brings into question the entire legitimacy of the decision by the Governors' Board of the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council and the consequent passing of Resolutions 1696 and 1737 and any future resolutions against Iran the UN might pass. It also raises the question, “how many other members of the Governors' Board of the IAEA were coerced by the US to politicise Iran's nuclear file?
US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack. ... A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them. ... A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. ... Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.

Chalmers Johnson:Republic or Empire?
Johnson believes the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. A long-time Cold Warrior, Johnson experienced a political awakening after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, noting that instead of demobilizing its massive armed forces, the US accelerated its reliance on military solutions to problems both economic and political.

Stop Bullying Iran

It's the ultimate hypocrisy of the west to punish Iran for a law Iran has not broken. When no one has found the tiniest evidence of Iran producing nuclear weapons - which is the whole purpose of the non-proliferation treaty that it has signed - what kind of international law justifies the UN security council's sanctions on Iran? ... Make no mistake, when the powerful UK, which has lived safely among its peaceful neighbours still feels the need for its nuclear arsenal, any sovereign state like Iran, which has constantly been under the US threat ... especially when suddenly it finds two of its neighbouring countries invaded.

10 things you might not know about Iran
10. In past visits, Tribune correspondents have found that Iranians generally like Americans. After chanting "Death to America" at Friday prayers, a group of Iranian women asked a Tribune correspondent where she was from. When told America, one woman said, "Oh, we didn't mean you. It's just something we say." Another woman gave our correspondent an apple.

Which Iranians to believe?

Two years ago, upon the victory of Ahmadinejad, Open Democracy published an opinion survey of some of the prominent Iranian scholars and democracy activists outside of Iran. You can access that article here and followup on the resume of those individuals. To read those opinion pieces, which are nto very long, two years after the fact was a fun exercise in comparing the theoretical speculations of intellectuals against the current situation.

The question was:

Iran’s people have elected religious hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a large margin over ex-president Hashemi Rafsanjani. Whose victory is it, whose defeat?

Here are the most notable highlights, in my opinion.

Bahram Rajaee, director of international and external relations for the American Political Science Association.

... Ahmadinejad’s accession means the hardliners no longer depend on political alliances with other factions. They have learned from their mistakes of the past decade not to need a Rafsanjani or a Khatami to survive. [N: This is proving to be false] The interference by state institutions and militants in the electoral process, unprecedented in post-1979 history, helps contribute to broad suspicions that Ahmadinejad’s final vote is suspect.
... The Tehran mayor’s triumph opens the way for untrammeled authoritarian rule in Iran led by an uncompromising minority. It could be a prelude to a worsening environment where resistance to the regime begins to shift outside the system as its legitimacy erodes beyond repair.
Such a development will have disastrous consequences for peaceful democratization in Iran. It raises the spectre of the country descending into an unpredictable spiral of repression, isolation, and instability. Moreover, it will place Iran squarely on the road to crisis with the United States. Some welcome this crisis and its likelihood of a military confrontation that will put an end to the mullahs’ rule. I am not insensitive to this sentiment, but see little prospect of such external intervention doing much to bolster democracy in Iran.
Trita Parsi, Foreign policy advisor to United States congressman, Bob Ney, the co-founder and president of the National Iranian American Council.

The signs of the disconnect between the needs of Iran’s general population and existing platforms of political transformation have always been there, but many of us failed to understand their full extent. Perhaps we viewed Iran too much from a self-centred perspective where our own wants and needs shaped our analysis, at the expense of the expressed desires of people from classes we did not identify with as easily.

This certainly does not mean that people do not want social, political, and economic reform, but rather that the economic part of it takes precedence over the other – at least for now.
In many ways, this vindicates the argument of those who opposed the policy of isolating Iran economically a decade ago. They argued that democracy in Iran will take root when economic development has created a sizeable middle class who will serve as a cushion against the populist demands of the lower classes and the corruption and monopolist tendencies of the ruling class.

The middle class, in this perspective, would become the constituency with a direct, vested interest in Iran’s political liberalisation, to the extent that their political demands would take precedence over their economic concerns.

This middle class has never had a fair chance to develop – mainly due to the mismanagement and corruption of the rulers in Tehran, but also due to Washington’s policy of isolating Iran and preventing it from advancing economically.

Iran’s step to the right in the presidential elections may further boost the agenda of those in Washington who wish to isolate Iran. This will only serve even more to hamper the country’s ability to create a sustainable democracy from within.

The conclusion can only be that the disconnect of the pro-isolationists from the desires of the Iranian people is even greater than the disconnect of those who granted too much emphasis to their desire for social freedoms. [This guy is just brilliant!]
Bahman Kalbasi, a student who was imprisoned in Iran due to his political activities
Here we have a simple, everyday guy who speaks in populist slogans and promises, who is at the same time deeply religious, and whose followers and supporters are the worst religious fundamentalists Iran has. When he assumes power he will not be the real decision-maker; the supreme leader and other men in the shadows will make the real decisions for him. Does this all ring a bell? A bit like George W Bush?
Ramin Jahanbegloo, Iranian philosopher

We are now witnessing a resurgent authoritarian populism in Iran, caused by political factionalism. However, the pragmatic-technocratic faction led by Rafsanjani still possesses tremendous power in the Expediency Council and in the arena of foreign relations.

The new president faces serious challenges inside and outside Iran. Those who voted for him expect him to solve problems such as inflation, unemployment and corruption. Others who worry about the delicate negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme seem to fear an increased tension with Washington and possible United States military intervention.
For the time being, the issues atop Ahmadinejad’s agenda are economic justice and redistribution of wealth. At the same time, we can expect a significant turning back of civil society’s important gains of the last several years, paving the way eventually for a full-spectrum Islamic society based on sharia law. [These kind of statements were perhaps why Jahanbegloo was arrested in Iran on charges of spying for neoconservatives. Isn't it ironic?] One way or another, the last word will be in the hands of Iranian civil society, which has thus far survived Iran’s political factionalism.

Abbas Milani, co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution and director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University. [another brilliant one!]

In authoritarian societies like Iran, a transition to democracy requires, amongst other things, a rift in the ranks of ruling despots. The two rounds of the 2005 presidential elections have created and exposed cracks in the monolith of power; they have shown a system riven with structural fissures at the bottom and factionalism at the top.
in the period between the two rounds of the election, three of the four top candidates defied Khamenei’s orders and talked openly about what they called the flawed (if not in practical terms rigged) election. One of the three candidates was brave enough to name Khamenei’s own son as a culprit. There are increasing signs that a de facto “United Front Against Fascism” is forming in Iran and it might well have in its ranks some of the erstwhile pillars of power in the regime.
The attempt by the right-wing cabal that masterminded the Ahmadinejad victory to solve Iran’s serious economic problems by reverting to old and tired populism is sure to fail. It will eventually deprive this group even of its small base of support amongst the poor in the city and countryside, whose piety and deprivation has made them dependent on the state. Bereft of this base, it will have only the military and security forces left to it, and that is hardly enough to maintain power in Iran today.

This presidential election has created room for cautious optimism, and for doubting the stalwarts of despotism who think they have successfully killed the democratic and reform movement in Iran.
Roshanak Ameli-Tehrani, founder of Payvand Institute [what a brilliant woman!]

In any modern sustainable democracy, three broad categories of institutions exist: the state, the private sector, and civil society. The most successful of the societies that have traversed the often long and winding road of “habituating” democracy are those with the most actively participatory civil societies.

Iran’s modern path toward democracy, a path that can be traced back to the constitutional revolution (1905-09), has been largely engineered and led by elites. Only since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988 has civil society truly begun to take shape in Iran within the broader populace.

For reformists and moderates to regain trust and prominence, they must cast wider nets of inclusion and find a common narrative – one based on socio-economic goals that are inclusive of and relevant to the Iranian majority. During the coming period of regrouping, civil society will be vital to the creation of this narrative. A strong civil society encourages participation, creates synergy and allows access to resources – especially for the lower economic strata.
...The private sector and the upper class in Iran must also support such efforts....

The elections also signal a call for action to the Iranian diaspora. Depending on the source, the size of the Iranian diaspora ranges from 2-6 million, with the vast majority living in developed nations amongst the upper socio-economic strata. It is time for the diaspora to shift its dialogue away from political divides to a shared narrative – one based on actively promoting and preserving a viable civil society in Iran. The diaspora can no longer assume itself separate from the 69 million Iranians living in Iran and wait for the reformists to bring about change.

On this wise note, I end this post.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sequel to "natural allies"

What do you think of this headline in Baztab (a conservative Iranain journal, turned against Ahmadinejad recently)

Mohsen Rezayee and the return of his Son from the US.

Who is Mohsen Rezayee? (here is a less flattering account.) Mohsen Rezayee (or Rezai) was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards during the Iran-Iraq war. (He is not a likeable or well-liked character. Dubious and scary he seems! He is alleged to be the founder of the Quds army that has been in the American spotlight lately, accused of providing armed training to Iraqi resistance) He was a candidate in the recent election but withdrew from the race in the very last minute.

His son Ahmad Rezayee was the center of controversy as he claimed refugee status in (of all places) the US of A! However, he has safely now RETURNED to Iran. According to his father, he was residing in Los Angeles to undego medical treatment! (And my sane and westernized brother cannot get a visitors visa because he is a young man and thus considered dangerous. Wish I had a fundamentalist or Wahabist dad!) So his father claims! (I find the link between THE TRAITOR MKO, Rezai's son (Ahmad) and the USA an intriguing one, but MKO is beyond contempt --sice Mersad operation, since spying on Iran, since calling Maryam rajavi, the president in Exile! duh!. Thus, MKO gets no space on this blog!)

But this is my find of the day:

In 1998, Ebrahim Nabavi interviewed Abbas Amir Entezam and published it in the Jameeh news paper (Society). Nabavi has recently republished this interview in his web site. (Please let me know if there is a translation of this available somewhere else.)

Amir Entezam has been under arrest in Iran for the past 26 years. He was released (or kicked out, as he puts it) from prison but he refused to accept his freedom, demanding a public trial and exoneration.

Stated charge: spying for Americans!

Reality: Nationalism, which has been vehemently opposed by the AMERICANS, since overthrow of Mosaddegh in the American led coup of 1953! See an older post, Disrupted Democracy.

For the first time, in this interview, Amir Entezam responded to the charge of spying. He firmly believes that he was a victim of American's plot against the nationalist movement in Iran.

Nabavi: Mr Amir Entezam, you have been imprisoned for years on charges of spying for foreigners. What was the court's verdict and how much of the responisibility lays on you?

Amir Entezam: A very appropriate question! I have been waiting for an opportunity in the past 19 years (1980-1999) to answer this question. As you know, in the interim government [of Bazargan] I was the deputy prime minister, government's spokesman, and the diplomatic correspndant between the government and all foreign embassies, including the US embassy. As we had the highest number of contracts with the USA (1200) I was in direct and frequent contact with Mr Sullivan [Naj's comment: do read his book Mission to Iran to see for yourself how it was the Americans who empowered the mullahs against the nationalists!] either directly or through his office staff.

Nabavi: what kind of meetings did you have?

Amir Entezam: Very official, in the prime minister's office and often in presence of other colleagues who worked in the political division, in my office. I reviewed the letters from foreign embassies and gave them to the prime minister. It was my responsibility to respond to those letters. After the Hostage taking in the US embassy those letters were used to incriminate me and the interim government on charges of spying. But those were legal and official correspondances between the governments of Iran and the US.

Navabi: anything other than those letters?

Amir Entezam: Absolutely none!

Nabavi: no meeting without governemntal approval.

Amir Entezam: None at all!

Nabavi: How about before revolution? You didn't have an official responsibility then.

Amir Entezam: Before revolution I was next to Bazargan. I was present as his translator in meetings that he has with Sullivan [the American embassador] or the German embassador. Sometimes Mr Sullivan was present, somethimes Mr Stemple [Chief political officer and the author of Inside Iranian Revolution] was there and I was their translator. There was another meeting where, Ayatollah Ardabili, Mr Bazargan, Mr Sullivan and I were present in Bijan Sahabi's house.

Nabavi: No private meetings?

Amir Entezam: none, they were all in presence of Mr Bazargan.

Nabavi: But Bazargan wasn't the prime minister of Iran at that time, yet.

Amir Entezam: At that time we still didn't know what kind of movement was taking place in Iran. We were plotical activists and we were trying to understand the roots of the movement.

Nabavi: you wanted to figure that out through Americans?

Amir Entezam: No, let me explain: we were seeking the perpective of the Russians, Germans and the Americans, and that we acheived through meetings of Mr Bazargan with their embassadors ...

Nabavi: You were meeting from the position of an alternative governemnt?

Amir Entezam: yes; as aleternative government. At that time I was not the issue. In November 1978, we had a meeting with members of the American Human Rights commission in the office of Dr. Tabandeh. If you recall, during Shah's regime the Human rights committees were established in Iran. Mr Bazargan asked me to represent him in that meeting. Other participants included Dr Lahidji, Hassan Nazih, Dr Haj-seyed-Javadi and Mr Banafti [never heard this one]. From American side, Richard Cattom, Richard Falk [perhaps the author of this article?] and a third person, whose name I don't recall, were present.I was assigned to participate in future human rights cooperations with the US. All our communications were public, well documented, and all memos were in the Prime minister's office. they were the dialogue between official Iranian representative and Official American representatives, not meeting of a spy with the US givernment.

Nabavi: The Bazargan governemnt itself is accused of relationship with American government.

Amir Entezam: We were representatives of a legal government. Governemnts cannot be accused of spying on themselves! They can establish relations with any governemnt they wish.

Nabavi: Don't you think American embassy influenced your prosecution?

Amir Entezam: Yes. I am certian that American embassy and the CIA had conspired to kick the Nationalists out of the political scene in Iran. The interim govenment and I ended up being accused of being the link between America and Iran!

Nabavi: This accusation came from Americans?

Amir Entezam: The evidence for this was fabricated by Americans and left in the embassy. When the Embassy was occupied, they predicted this. So, they took advantage of the naivitee of the Islamic republicans, and used those evidences to defame the nationalists and me, personally.

Nabavi: Do you have a proof for what you say?

Amir Entezam: My proof is in the kind of accusations made against me. One of those is about the telecommunication devices that I had given Americans. This story was presented in my defense procedure.

Nabavi: What was it?

Amir Entezam: In March 1979, I was in the prime minister's office. At that time, I slept three nights a week there and I was usually awake late, responding to daily events countrywide. At 11 pm, Sullivan and Stemple came to my office, with a letter addressed to the prime minister. The letter was about the kidnapping of an American guard of the Gulf Co. (Sherkat-e Khalij), and stealing his passport and a telephone set! They asked the Prime minister to release the individual. I was instructed by Bazargan to do all it takes to secure his release and return of the passport and the telephone set. [Details of the un willingness of Mahdavi Kani to cooperate, reaching out for help to other security forces, and finally relasing the individual, his telephone and passport, after a few hours]

Nabavi: why didn't Mr Mahdavi Kani help?

Amir Entezam: I don't know. He said he had no power. Perhaps one day he will respond!

Nabavi: Then?

Amir Entezam: Next morning, Sullivan and Stemple came to my office and delivered a letter that like any diplomatic letter started with "Dear Mr Entezan, Deputy Prime Minister of Iran". This Dear was later on used as an indication of my ties to the Americans. The other accusation was that I had given "all of the c ountry's telecommunication system to Americans". But all that I did was to return one telephone set, that was taken from the Gulf Co. that belonged to Americans themselves.

Nabavi: We digressed; you said that Americans conspired against you and other nationalist characters?

Amir Entezam: True. This goes back to a political theory. In brief, the industrial world, led by the US, took advantage of Iranians' discontent after the 1953 Coup. In other words, they identified the populist movement, positioned themselves at the center of that movement [i.e. the American hostage crisis unnecessarily became a center-piece of the Iranian revolution], and then diverted its direction. This conspiracy started first against the Nationalists. CIA fabricated documents about them and left them in the American embassy, but destroyed all documents pertinent to American relations to Shah regime and others.

Nabavi: so you are suggesting that americans guessed that Iranians will occupy the embassy? Can you prove this theory?

Amir Entezam: Yes I can. I have presented my proof to the court, and I can do it today too. The court didn't accept them because it was ignorant about the global issues.

Nabavi: How can you prove that Americans knew their embassy would be occuppied?

Amir Entezam: I have written a 1000-page book, and am safe keeping it outside of Iran. There you can see my proofs. Keep in mind that the American embassy was occupied three times, not once. First 25 December, 1978, this is Christmas and it was the armed leftists who occupied the embassy, but they were released by teh aid of the Iranian governemnt. The Second time was on the St Valentine day (Feb 14) when the leftists shot fires onto the embassy. I have documents that Americans had emotionally provoked the leftists [cherikhaye Fadaye] to stage that attack. In so doing, Americans took advantage of the youths desire to save the country. Even in relation to the last Hostage Crisis in November 1979, I can refer you to a speech by John Kelly, the secratary of foreign affairs of the time, where he stated that America politically benefitted from the hostage-taking event in Iran. this requires a thorough discussion.

But what does Amir Entezam Think about Americans?

America is an imperialist, capitalist and a poweful country. But this is not a reason to cut ties with the US. This is against our national interest. In the past 19 years [1979-1998], we have been paying a multiple of the price to buy the American parts to be used in the 60-billion-dollars defense industries set up based on American producst. We need smart, honest and patriotic politicians who can protect our interest while dealing with Americans. Don't forget that during the cold war, USA and the USSR were pointing their missiles at eachother, but they talked. It was the American diplomacy that defied the Russians, not their weapons. ...

I think there is a great lesson in this, for all those who think American's pressure on Ian will lead to democracy and promotion of human rights, national interest and peace within Iran!

(please don't hesitate to send me comments regarding spelling of names, dates--as they were converted from Persian months, and other pertinent information. Your other comments are as usual welcome.)

Here's a more recent interview with Amir Entezam.

Iran & US are natural allies ...

said the Iranian official to CNN's Christine Amanpour.

"Why", she asked.

"Because now the major threat for both Iran and the U.S.A. is al Qaeda", the Iranian official responded, "Why is the U.S. forcing us to enter a struggle with them that is only in al Qaeda's interest?" (Note that Iran is worried about the resurgence of Taliban in Afghanistan and willing to assist Americans in fighting Taliban out of power)

For Iranians the Al Queda bombing of the Golden dome mosque in Iraq was just as large an attack on the symbol of Iranian faith as was Al Queda's attack on the twin towers.

What about the Beumbe?

"No, our nuclear program is not about the bomb it's about power. We want to say -- that without the UK, U.S., France, Russia, Germany -- we have done this ourselves [set up a peaceful nuclear program].That is our strength."

"The need to show power is 'just common sense after 300 recent years looking over our shoulder,' running through the list of those who have sent armies into Iran -- from Alexander the Great to the Mongols to the Ottomans to Russia to Saddam Hussein.

"The one country that never invaded us was America."
Amanpour's interview concluded with:
... instead of the United States saying, 'Iran out of the Persian Gulf, Iran out of Lebanon, Iran out of Iraq,' the United States should welcome Iran's presence and work with Iran to help keep the region stable

Read more ...

(but years ago I read a scholarly article about how Israel loathed the idea of peace between Iran and the US, precisely because of Iran's potential to create balance and stability ... I need to dig out that article ... well I guess Israel's just acting like any woman who is threatened by a young girl flirting with her old Sam!)

Update: Trying to find the article I stated (which I think was by Hooshang Amirahmadi, I came across the proof in the pudding: A zionist campaign of defammation against all Iranian scholars who speak against war and in favor of US-Iran dialogue!

Friday, February 23, 2007

More phony evidences, this time on Iran's nuclear profile!

Well well, I always wonder what are these evidences about Iran's ambitions to develop Ze BeumB [pronouce Pink Panther style!].

It turns out, that once investigated by the IAEA, these CIA-spy tip-offs are turning to be ...err, unfounded!

According to the Guardians Feb 23, 2007 cover story, the frequency of such false alarms has been so high that nowadays the IAEA inspectors do not follow up on them, unless they have passed the credibility test!

(One may speculate that at some point these annoying baseless investigations have ticked off the Iranians enough for them to say: "You know what? you are just wasting our and your time, with your ridiculous inspections, go and come back when we have Ze Beumb or something that you can indeed write to home about!")

So want an example?

One particularly contentious issue concerned records of plans to build a nuclear warhead, which the CIA said it found on a stolen laptop computer supplied by an informant inside Iran. In July 2005, US intelligence officials showed printed versions of the material to IAEA officials, who judged it to be sufficiently specific to confront Iran.

Of course, Tehran rejects the material as forgeries. But even the IAEA doesn't seem to have convinced its internal operatives sufficiently. According to an IAEA official:

First of all, if you have a clandestine programme, you don't put it on laptops which can walk away. The data is all in English which may be reasonable for some of the technical matters, but at some point you'd have thought there would be at least some notes in Farsi. So there is some doubt over the provenance of the computer."

(It seems to be clicking in certain minds, that in a country where even the President of the country cannot speak English, people do not scribble their thoughts in English! So, the next batch of fabricated evidence better have some arabic lettering, unless they are produced under guidance from the members of the intelligence committees exemplified in the post below.)

Here's another one of the "outstanding issues" listed in the new condemning report:

a 15-page document that appears to have been handed to IAEA inspectors by mistake in October 2005. That document roughly describes how to make hemispheres of enriched uranium, for which the only known use is in nuclear warheads. Iran has yet to present a satisfactory explanation of how and why it has the document.

Anyone with a half-scientific sanity will know that a document that "roughly" describes a methodology that is "only" used in the "known" application X, does not mean that it was not explored to be used in the "unknown" applications Y, Z or W!

But more importantly, why would an allegedly secretive entity (Iranian Atomic Agency), a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, "mistakenly" hand in the self incriminating evidence for a technology that violates the terms of their treaty?

The fear machine warns that Iranianas are very smart and are secretively making the bomb under the world watch but accidentally expose themselves by giving a report of their bomb-making attempts! Why do we assume it is given away by MISTAKE? Why don't we take this as an evidence of TRANSPARENCY?

But the reality may also be that the Iranian nuclear science is too naive (or bomb-blind) to realize which document describes the methodology of bomb making! Why not give this thought a plausible pause?


Rooz magazines cartoonist: Nik-Ahang Kosar

Putting up signs!

Oil prices

Suicidal Defense

Don't pay attention, he's a baby!

Can you Tell a Sunni From a Shiite?

I am sure at the time New York Times came up with this question, every one picked it up in their blogs. But for entertainment value (because I have been feeling quite morbid lately and it is time to take a deep breath and laugh in the face of the ignorant enemy), here are some highlights:

Jeff Stein asks Can you tell a Sunni from a Shiite?

F.B.I.’s spokesman, John Miller: "A leader needs to drive the organization forward ... If he is the executive in a counterterrorism operation in the post-9/11 world, he does not need to memorize the collected statements of Osama bin Laden, or be able to read Urdu to be effective."

Willie Hulon, chief of the FBI’s new national security branch: "Yes, sure, it’s right to know the difference. It’s important to know who your targets are. The basics goes back to their beliefs and who they were following. And the conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shia and the difference between who they were following.” ... "Iran and Hezbollah, Sunni!"

Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence: "One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.” [After a brief explanation by the interviwer ...] "“Now that you’ve explained it to me, what occurs to me is that it makes what we’re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.”

Representative Jo Ann Davis, a Virginia Republican, head of the House intelligence subcommittee in charge of overseeing the C.I.A.’s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information: " Do I [know the difference bw Sunni and Shiite]? You know, I should. It’s a difference in their fundamental religious beliefs. The Sunni are more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa. But I think it’s the Sunnis who’re more radical than the Shia. Al Qaeda is the one that’s most radical, so I think they’re Sunni. I may be wrong, but I think that’s right.”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Are Arabs afraid of Iran?

The answer is No, Arabs fear the US and Israel, not Iran.

According to a face to face survey in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates close to 80 percent of Arabs consider Israel and the United States the two biggest external threats to their security. Only six percent cited Iran.

The poll was conducted in November and early December 2006, by Zogby International and designed by Shibley Telhami, a senior fellow at the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

Asked to volunteer their favorite leader, the weighted aggregate of 14 percent named Nasrallah; eight percent, Chirac; four percent, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; and three percent, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. "These are people who are seen to have stood up to the U.S..Not a single one is a Sunni Arab." The least favorite leader was George Bush!

Asked about objectives of US policy in the middle east:
75%: "controlling oil"
69%: "protecting Israel"
69%: "weakening the Muslim World
68%: "the desire to dominate the region."
Only 9%: "promoting democracy."

Take note of Iranian Hegemony as the new buzz word coming out of Washington; it is not the terrorism, it is not the "bomb", it is not the fabiracted weapons' evidence anymore. Now, it is the Iranian Hegemony that they have to stop!

Thank you Furgaia for the link.
Stop the Iran War Also, visit the Project for Defense Alternatives for an good collection of articles about the current Iran-US crisis.

Thanks to The Cylinder

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Turkmanchai, the 179 anniversary.

Februaray 21, 1828 ... the most frustrating chapter in the history class! In 1804 Russia claims and conquers Georgia. Persians go to war to reclaim/free Georgia, but thanks to the French betrayal in the first round of Russo-Persian wars they lose more, go to war to take it back and still lose more!

Persian territory lost to Russia in the Gulistan Treaty (Nov 5, 1813).

More Persian territory was annexed to Russia by the Turkmanchai Treaty (Feb 21, 1828).

This is Fath-Ali Shah, a soft king by some accounts. He lost all that territory. He's not marked in the history for being a moderate king (ruling from 1797-1834) or being the patron of art and gateway to european modernity. He is infamously remembered for being a loser.

The Russian medal to commemorate their victory in Turkmanchai ...

1.5 hrs later

Do Watch this! whether you hate Iran or love it. It has a balanced dose of facts for all.


Watch this!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Iranian Vogue!

Lotus is the first Iranian fashion magazine. Visit their website to see how Iranian models and fashion look.

30 years ago, Farah Diba (The queen) was the advocate of Persian fashion design.

Today, that trend seems to to be gaining a momentum again.

Another Quote of the Day

( I got the quote from this site, as I stumbled across his/her pro-zionism comments elsewhere.)

Adolf Hitler:

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty."

(Now I see who the neoconservatives and their Israeli coaches get ther lessons from!)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quote of the Day

"As you know, the road in Afghanistan are not up to the same standard that we're used to in North America." the military official, explaining why "Thirteen Canadian soldiers suffered minor injuries when three armoured vehicles smashed into each other on the pre-dawn streets of Kandahar on Sunday."(CBC.CA, Feb18, 2007)

Oh geeee (or duuuh, if you wish)! All those battles they have fought in North America! But with enemies like this, does Taliban need friends?

Who's responsible for American's false image of Iran?

Farzaneh Milani's today article in the Daily Progress traces the sources of misunderstanding of Americans about Iran:
"America in Captivity" was the headline that captured the mood of a country in psychic pain.

"Nuke Iran," read graffiti and T-shirts and posters.

"The only thing that could ever straighten out this screwed-up country [Iran] is an atomic bomb! Wipe it off the map and start over," recommended "Not Without My Daughter," the most popular book about Iran ever published in the United States. [hmmm, and Betti Mahmoodi, unlike Ahmadinejad, didn't speak to America through translation, did she?]

Twenty-eight years later, Iranians find themselves hostages of their own hostage taking. read more

Farzaneh Milani is a professor in Women and Gender Studies in University of Virginia. She is the author of a great book Veils and Words, the emerging voices ofIranian women writers. Milani blames the general mis- understanding about Iran on best seller books such as "On Wings of Eagles," "Whirlwind," "Sword Point," "Shadows of Steel," "House of Sand and Fog" - and three non-fiction books - "Under Fire," "Not Without My Daughter" and "Reading Lolita in Tehran".

Most of these books depict Iran as an angry sea of chest-pounding, fist-shaking mobs that burn effigies of the American president, trample on the American flag and scream "death to America" like a mantra. Displaying images of veiled women on their covers, many of these narratives milk the cliches and reinforce the stereotypes evoked by
this all-too-familiar image.

The reason, she find to be the few conglomerates that dominate the $25.1 billion U.S. publishing industry. Obsessed by blockbuster success, these publishers are not interested in the not-so-lucrative business of translation, which establishes a cornerstone of intercultural communication and better understanding between nations.

The media is also complicit.
While scholarly books reach a narrow audience, popular books on Iran and mainstream media coverage of the country reach millions of people. They wield much power by touching the hearts and souls of the American public. Part reality and part imagination, and with a splash of concern for national and international security thrown in for good measure, they offer engaging stories and fan the flames of antagonism between the two countries.

But this is what I didn't know, did you? 2004, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control began to consider books from Iran as "embargoed literature." To publish her memoir,Shirin Ebadi , the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had to initiate a lawsuit, invoking rights granted even to non-Americans by the U.S. Constitution.

Lesson of the day

Thanks to my new friend Filasteen, I discovered Izzi's photoshock

[HERE, THERE WERE GRUESOME PICTURES. I am deleting them because they haunt my days and nights. and being haunted by violence and ugliness doesn't make me a better person. But please do visit Izzi's photoblog, if you see ANY merit in ANY war. and I hope the pictures will convince you otherwise.]

I think there is a time that we need to look at the raw images of violence. I am not posting these images because they make me hate the enemy. I am posting them because I know that this is not what I want even for my enemy. I think if we all look death in the face, we will become less violent and more forgiving humans.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Forough Farokhzad

Another Birth
By Forugh Farokhzad

My whole being is a dark chant
which will carry you
perpetuating you
to the dawn of eternal growths and blossoming
in this chant I sighed you sighed
in this chant
I grafted you to the tree to the water to the fire.

Life is perhaps
a long street through which a woman holding
a basket passes every day

Life is perhaps
a rope with which a man hangs himself from a branch
life is perhaps a child returning home from school.

Life is perhaps lighting up a cigarette
in the narcotic repose between two love-makings
or the absent gaze of a passerby
who takes off his hat to another passerby
with a meaningless smile and a good morning .

Life is perhaps that enclosed moment
when my gaze destroys itself in the pupil of your eyes
and it is in the feeling
which I will put into the Moon's impression
and the Night's perception.

In a room as big as loneliness
my heart
which is as big as love
read more ...

Tehran from the neighbor's eye

here I found a little report from Tehran written by Fatima Bhutto, the pretty 24 years old Pakistani columnist that you see in a picture she has taken in Tehran Metro (or subway).

Fatima's plans for trip to Iran were made amidst worrying headlines that that the unrelentingly belligerent Israeli government had said to be mulling over plans to send laser guided bombs, followed by conventional nuclear warheads into Iran.

Nevertheless, while in Tehran, she finds herself in the middle of a dynamic city, unburdened by the threat of war, and resolved to survive.

There is so much to discover in this megalopolis of 14 million people; it even makes Karachi look quaint and small. The landscape of Iran is said to have been continuously inhabited by a single nation of people longer than any other part of land the world over
Safak Pavey , who heads the United Nations High Commission for Refugee's external relations office, told me that in the early 1990s, after the Gulf War (part one) Iran was home to 4.5 millions refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan. "Iran should receive thanks for that; can you imagine a European country giving 4.5 million refugees asylum?"

Fatima speaks of her encounter with Mitra, an Iranian journalist, who informs her about the freedom of birth control in Iran, the availability of sex change operations and the government run rehabilitation centers for the country's large number of heroin addicts, even offering needle exchanges and methadone doses to those in need.

Mitra is an elegant and professional woman, the weekend before Muharram she was wearing red; I wouldn't have pegged her as having Revolutionary sympathies. And she didn't necessarily, but like most Iranians she was willing to balance the difficult and sometimes frustrating changes of the Revolution with its benefits.
It is impossible to essentialize in Iran, impossible to paint things black or white - or red - there are so many facets to life in this country. Those diametric opposites do share the same space in Iran and its people, and perhaps Mitra, are examples of its dynamism.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Iran Strives for Security

I would like to draw your attention to Les Politiques. The blog that inspired me to start mine. In the past few posts, Les Politiques has been providing comparative analysis of the French versus the English media in reporting the Bush-generated crisis around Iran.

In her recent post, Sophia has provided a translation and commentary of Le Temps''s Interview with Akbar Velayati's (previous Foreign Affairs Minister of 17 revolutionary years).

Velayati compares allegations of Iran's interference in Iraq to that of de Gaulle's interference in the Quebec-Canadian politics, and stresses on the Iranian's firm belief that

a) The Iraq problem should be decided by democracy (and if the 60% of shiite majority establishes a shiite government, it should not be discouraged by Americans!

b) Iranians DO NOT WANT WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP, that innocent Israelis deserve peace and land and that the Jewish, the Muslim and the Christian inhabitants of the Israel/Palestine should arrive at a "democratic" resolution to their conflict.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Weapon's Tale

No doubt, fans of the US standard MM-DD-YY date format that pisses off so much of the rest of the world will be delighted to discover that the Iranians also apparently use it - presumably because the US is such a big export customer for Iranian produced munitions...

Read more on Stef's blog:
He simply (and pictorially) asks
How do markings printed on a Western standard calibre mortar round, written in English and conforming to Western not Iranian dating conventions prove that the round was recently manufactured in Iran? And while we're at it, what the fuck are you paid for? To uncritically parrot everything you are told by 'unnamed senior security sources' or to do some elementary research before passing that crap off as news and in-depth analysis?

Washington Post: A Shaky Briefing on Iran

The administration finally unveiled its case this weekend, first in coordinated and anonymous leaks to a trusting New York Times reporter, then in an extraordinarily secretive military briefing at which no one would speak on the record, journalists weren't allowed to photograph the so-called evidence, and nothing even remotely like proof of direct Iranian government involvement was presented.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Iran: the high plateau!

Homeyra's recent post broght me to this little excerpt of an article by Kam Zarrabi:
The fear that the regional Arab states might find it imperative to enter a nuclear arms race to neutralize an atomic-armed Iran is based on politically motivated and clearly flawed arguments. First, a nuclear Pakistan, the home of Al-Gha'eda and other terrorist groups that are the arch enemies of the oil-rich and corrupt Arab rulers did not invoke such fears. Second, neither has Israel's known nuclear arsenal that rivals that of France or Great Britain. Third, All these Arab states are signatories to the NPT agreement, as is Iran. With the IAEA supervision and monitoring, embarking on such an arms race would not be possible, especially for desert-dwelling lands with no hiding space to clandestinely pursue such projects.

Which reminds me of what I read in a history book when I was young. It was something to the effect that the "mountains" have been cruicial in shaping the character and the culture of the Persian civilization (I think the comparison was drawn to India, which unlike the Iranian plateau enjoyed plentitude of water, vegetation, flat lands and etc.)

So here, some pictures of the mountains that the Americans are going to conquere (or maybe not, since they didn't seem too successful in "flat" Iraq)!!!!
Please click on the picture to go to the source where it was taken from. (Especially theJackson School of Geoscience )

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Isareli Apartheid Week (Feb12-17)

FurGaia has suggested a "heart wrenching piece of music by Shaheed" to introduce this event.

Women on the death row

Every now and again, a petition pops in my mailbox: "Save Nazanin!", "Save Malek", "Save Afsaneh", "Save Raheleh". Sentencing women to death is a sensational event for two camps: first the human right activists (both in Iran and elsewhere) and second for the Iranophobes who have yet obtained another unquestionable! evidence of the evil deeds of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Untold, however, are the stories of the formidable success of the Women's Rights movement in Iran, in stopping such executions. Untold, also is the fundamental contribution of this particular brand of activism to the improvement of the human rights in Iran.

Shadi Sadr the Iranian lawyer who has successfully rescued some of the women on death row (and the recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism raises an interesting issue:
In all those years that the women movement activists were worried for the fate of Afsaneh Noroozi, Kobra Rahmanpoor, Leyla Mafi, Shahla Jahed, Nazanin Fathi, Fatemeh Pejooh, ashraf kalhori and etc*; and restlessly collected petitions, wrote articles and demonstrated to save their lives, many a man walked blindfolded up to gallows and were hanged, without a short report in any paper, without a voice of protest.**
Why is it that the stoning and the execution of women has turned into a social discourse, but the civil society is silent about the execution of men?

Sadr draws attention to the image of women in Persian culture, typifying kindness, love and nurturing, which can hardly be juxtaposed with the images of a death deserving criminal. But she also focuses on the fact that the Iranian Women Movement is the best organized and the most effective form of activism in Iran. Sadr projects that The Women's Movement will inevitably be gaining enough momentum to push forward the humanrights's agenda, genderless.

* Of the 14 women sentenced to capital punishment, 6 have escaped the sentence; and 8 are having their cases reviewed or referred to the supreme court. It appears to me that although the sentence is given according to the law, the judges and the head of the judiciary system do exercise their authority to prevent the sentence from being carried on. To change the law, however, is what the feminist lawyers are most striving for.

** Quotations are translated from her Persian article in the Zanan Magazine, 15:136, August 2006, page 18-22

This post was inspired by and thus dedicated to A Friend to Humanity

Internet Usage in Iran

More than half of Iranians are "connected". The graph is produced from data pubished by Iran's ministry of Communication. [reference, Persian BBC]

Friday, February 9, 2007

The option that is not on the table

Washington Post

Paradoxically, to liberalize the theocratic state, the United States would do better to shelve its containment strategy and embark on a policy of unconditional dialogue and sanctions relief.
A reduced American threat would deprive the hard-liners of the conflict they need to justify their concentration of power.
In the meantime, as Iran became assimilated into the global economy, the regime's influence would inevitably yield to the private sector, with its demands for accountability and reform.

Guardian:A new Plan A, with more American carrots and European sticks, is necessary. But don't count on it working. (by Timothy Garton Ash)

(Comments on this article are more readworthy!)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Reza Aslan: Dangers of a cornered George Bush!

Reza Aslan, the Author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam is a scholar of religions, a Middle East Analyst for CBS News and a regular guest in other networks. His writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Slate, Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Chicago Tribune, the Nation, and others. (Well all that said, I have neither seen him once, nor have paid attention to his name, if I have read something by him; and I know my blogger friend Behem has raised some criticism of his book. Chck his blog Kampfeblog) But in a recent article he draws attention to the fallacy of the Bush administration's dealing with Iran:

Iran has more or less stopped looking west. That is what has made it look so dangerous. That's why it's been able to more or less shrug off the fear of sanctions. It recognises that it has far more to gain by simply strengthening ties with Russia, China, India and even Pakistan (as evidenced by its recent $7 billion oil pipeline deal with Islamabad and New Delhi). That's why it stopped trading in dollars. There used to be a time when the US could maintain control over Iran through the purse string. Those days are gone. Iran is saying to Europe and the United States, "Who needs you? We've got China, Russia, India." That is a great fear for the United States, and it underlines the growing power of Iran.
Rather than recognise the reality and treat Iran like the regional power that it has become (as a direct result of US actions), the US is still treating Iran like some petty state teetering on the verge of another popular revolution.
United Nations Resolution 1737 was a useless idea, a total waste of time. The plan that the Europeans are floating around – that there would be a symbolic halt to uranium enrichment that would coincide with the beginning of negotiations – seems more productive. But the Bush administration has no interest in speaking to Iran. It feels quite rightly that it cannot negotiate from a position of strength, so it feels obliged to ratchet up the military option, its only recourse.


And on that note:
Iran and South Korea sign $500m Liquefied Natural Gas contract

Iranian politicians are welcoming proposals to form an international natural-gas producers' organization -- similar to oil's OPEC -- allowing members to exercise greater control over natural-gas prices

Nokia, LG to launch cell phone production in Iran

Iran's auto production hits 891,000 in ten months (Iran is the first largest car manufacturer in the middle east and the 12th in the world see Wikipedia's entry on Iran Khodro)

Iran tests modern air defense shield

mobility ... modernity ... phones ... cars ... mind wonders in the alleyways of the early 20th century ... end of daily digest of Iran news ... all that thinking and writing for later ... back to the safe bubble of work

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Benyamin; a pop singer from Iran

Those of you who know I have just returned from Iran, and those of you who are Iranians living abroad and who visit Iran not so very often, perhaps also know that one cannot rid oneself of Iran-blues that easily, no matter how great one's blessing in the wonderful first world may be.

I am still very nostalgic. I have been cooking Iranian food (which I rarely have time to do) and I have been on an all-Iranian-movie diet (Since I am in cinema business, I see everything, B-movies and masterworks alike. And speaking of masterwork, it has become imperative that someone write a paper like "Dariush Mehrjui, the "other" great master of Iranian Cinema", those of you who don't know him, investigate works like Cow, Mix, Banoo).

I am listening to random music that my itune's picking for me, and now it is playing "Benyamin". I don't know who Benyamin is, but I am loving this music because first, it is terribly energetic, and second, because this is what my 24 years old brother played in his car, when he raised the volume to what seemed to be infinity, and drove his car at speed of what seemed to be infinity, on the state of the art highways of that lovely city Tehran, which is infinitely beautiful, infinitely chaotic (crowded and polluted), and ever alive with the mischievous outbursts of people like my brother and I, taking a break from the habit of "intellectualism" into what my dear friend Dr. V may call "contrarianism".

Benyamin is singing:
chesham be rahe jadeha
piyadeha savareha
miraftan o miyoomadan
amma naboodan male ma

and I google him up:

Here's what strikes me in what Avaye Nakisa has to say:

... A couple of months ago some scattered songs surfaced on the internet from an artist by the name of Benyamin, who later showed himself to be Benyamin Bahadori! Given the man’s background as a Noheh/Rozeh-khaan and composer of music for recorded religious/moral anecdotes for children, it wasn’t totally a surprise that what characterised his style and sound was summed up by updated and revised versions of the traditional religious chants and hymns ... It should be mentioned that our music in general and the POP music in particular is not completely untouched and uninspired by the religio-cultural vein hidden and beating under the skin of our society. ... That’s how it manages to rub the right nerve and provoke passion and sentiments in many of Iranians regardless of their current geographical location and social background! ... Benyamin, however, has now released his official album entitled “85”, in which he has only included two of those previously available songs. Interesting enough ONLY those two that have been revised lyrically beyond recognition to a more romantic theme!

I tend to draw a lot of meaning from transmogrification of a "religious singer" to a pop singer. Listen to track9 of his album to see what I mean! And if anyone called Iranians fundamentalist, just play the music that's coming out of (not underground) Islamic Republic of Iran.

My favorite tracks are 1, 6 and 9! No they are not great works of art; but they resonate with the beat of the youth in Iran.