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Windows on Iran 53

A beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more photos from this event.

A beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more photos from this event. Also be sure to check out Brian Appleton's photo essay from his recent trip to Iran, entitled "Five Days in Tehran" (link below).

Dear All,

I hope you have had a great summer. Here at Washington University in St. Louis, we are gearing up for another lively academic year. I have a wonderful piece of news for those of you who have enjoyed these windows, shared them with friends, or taken them to your classroom, during the past two years. My stellar student Matthew Miller has started blogging the windows. He has devoted a considerable amount of time, thought, and taste to the project. Check it out for yourself: https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/. In not so distant a future, all of the Windows on Iran will be available on line. Thank you Matt! You have done a super job.

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Tehran is a World Class City

* Thanks to my friend Brian Appleton, who has just returned form a trip to Iran, I can open this window with a wonderfully detailed pictorial essay called “Five Days in Tehran.” In this essay, Brian captures what some reporters allow to get buried under layers of political conflict. That is, he brings out the vibrancy and the complexity of Iranian urban life. The subtitle to his piece reads: It is important to understand that Tehran is a world class city. Not only does he speak about events, people, and buildings but he remembers other important details: “Since the revolution, 30,000 trees have been planted in Tehran and it is one of the greenest cities you will ever see anywhere on the planet.” Before I give you that address to Brian’s great piece, I would like to add that of course not every corner of Iran is Tehran. Neither would Brian Appleton claim that. Urban life is more affluent and complex everywhere. Here is a rare opportunity for you to read about the beauty and complexity (and of course traffic jams, etc.) of city life in Iran. Thank you Brian! http://www.iranian.com/main/2008/five-days-tehran.

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Iranian Olympic basketball player Hamed Ehadadi and the head coach of the Russian team, Israeli David Blatt, embrace in a show of friendship at the recent Olympic games.

Iranian Olympic basketball player Hamed Ehadadi and the head coach of the Russian team, Israeli David Blatt, embrace in a show of friendship at the recent Olympic games.

The Israeli/Iranian Embrace

* It is generally believed that sports and art are the best way to bring people together. During the current Olympic games, there were such rare moments when Israeli and Iranian athletes transcended the political conflicts and exhibited kindness and support for each other. The first attachment to this window is a Kodak moment during which an Iranian 7-foot-2 basketball player, Hamed Ehadadi and the Israeli coach of the Russian team David Blatt have posed for the camera. Earlier, another Iranian player and Blatt embraced. This simple gesture of friendship should not be so rare as to make it to the headlines. However, with the current political tensions, it is good to see any such exchanges. Thank you Omid Jan for forwarding this message.

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The Israelis Against an Attack on Iran

* While we are on the subject of Iran and Israel, I should bring a very important declaration to your attention. I have, in the past, quoted Israeli politicians who have called for a military attack on Iran. It is only fair that the voices of Peace Seeking Israelis be included in these windows as well. Earlier this month, a group of Israeli academics and peace activists who call themselves “Ad Hoc Group Against Israeli Attack on Iran” issued a very important press release to publicize their declaration. Its main message: “There is no military, political or moral justification to initiate war with Iran.” This is a courageous move that will be appreciated by all peace-loving readers of these windows, most especially the Iranian segment. However, the group made no secret of the fact that the Israeli well-being is of great concern to them. “After serious consideration,” the press release went on to say “we reiterate our position that all the arguments for such an attack are without any security, political or moral justification. Israel might get caught up in an act of adventurism that could endanger our very existence, and this without any serious effort to exhaust the political and diplomatic alternatives to armed conflict.” To read the entire declaration, please visit: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0808/S00077.htm.

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Open Letter to Senator Obama

* Here in the U.S.. many are concerned with the same issue. Here is an open letter sent to Senator Obama on August 14 concerning the dangers of U.S./Iran confrontation: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21735.

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Iranian “Star Students” in Newsweek

* I have often talked about the negative light in which the Iranian culture is presented to the American public. This, unfortunately, has impacted the general language used to speak about Iran. The result is that even positive matters are often articulated in a pessimistic manner that counters its positive nature. Let me give you an example.

* There is a piece in the August 18-25 ’08 issue of the Newsweek describing the success of the Iranian students which is a very interesting piece to analyze with the above point in mind. The core news is that, in the field of science, some of the best undergraduates in the world are being trained in Iranian universities. This should be cause for celebration. Not quite. First, we are given the feeling that all of that is on the brink of disappearing. I have no problems with pointing to economic (and other) problems that Iran faces. I am not even talking about exaggerations like “University professors barely make ends meet—the pay is so bad some must even take second jobs as taxi drivers or petty traders.” Yes, Iranian economy is not doing particularly well, but relatively speaking, Iranian professors are good wage earners.

My real problem with the piece is that it views the Iranian students’ success as an anomaly which requires an extraordinary explanation. And here it is: “When you live in Iran and you see all the frustrations of daily life, you dream of leaving the country, and your books and studies become a ticket to a better life,” says one who asked not to be identified. “It becomes more than just studying,” he says. “It becomes an obsession, where you wake up at 4 a.m. just to get in a few more hours before class.” In other words, when other cultures make educational success, they are bright. When Iranians do that, they are frustrated and obsessive.

And finally the piece adds: “Iran’s success, in other words, is also the country’s tragedy: students want nothing more than to get away the moment they graduate.”

I don’t want to discourage you from reading the piece. In fact here is the link: http://www.newsweek.com/id/151684. But it is truly amazing, how the American media has developed a talent for casting the most positive matters related to Iran in a negative light.

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The Smallest School in the World

The young Iranian students diligently at work in the smallest school in the world.

Young Iranian students diligently at work in the "smallest school in the world." Please click on the picture to visit the teacher's blog and check out all the great pictures of the students and their school.

* Now that you know about the star students in Iran, I would like you to see why I think the cynicism in the Newsweek article is unwarranted. In other words, Iranians are not promoting learning in their communities so that good students can leave the country. Like many other people in the world, they care deeply about education. In a small and remote village in the southern province of Boushehr, a young man has established a school for 4 students to make sure they get their primary education properly (see the pictures above and below). And please bear in mind, this is not a propaganda tool of the Islamic Republic. The resourceful young teacher Abdolmohammad Sha’rani who runs the school has a personal blog in which he writes about the village, the people, and of course the school. Remember I told you a while back Iranians are number four bloggers in the world. Do visit Sha’rani’s blog, even if you don’t read Persian and enjoy the pictures he has taken of this tiny fishing village on the Persian Gulf: http://www.dayyertashbad.blogfa.com/ Thank you Bahar for forwarding this information.

Two young Iranian students who look quite pleased with their new school supplies! Please visit his blog for many more great pictures of the students and their school.

Two young Iranian students who look quite pleased with their new school supplies! Please click on the picture to visit the teacher's blog and check out all the great pictures of the students and their school.

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Iranian Zahra Karimi has won the womens gold medal at the 2008 Wushu World Championships.

Iranian Zahra Karimi won the women's gold medal at the recent 2008 Wushu World Championships.

Iranian Zahra Karimi Wins Gold in Wushu

* An Iranian woman by the name of Zahra Karimi has won the women’s gold medal at the 2008 Wushu World Championships, held in Beijing along side the Olympic Games: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=67454&sectionid=3510211.

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The Photographer Capturing Rural Life in Iran

* In these windows, I have usually brought you images from urban life in Iran. This is mostly because I have always found the complexity of Iranian urban life to be the aspect which is not as well known as it should be. However, today, courtesy of my cousin Abe Massoudi, I have the opportunity to introduce to you the great work of a contemporary Iranian photographer who has dedicated almost his entire career to taking photographs of Iranians living in rural parts of the country. Nasrullah Kasraian, who has had many exhibits and published over 30 collections of his photographs, is a national figure in Iran. Please click on the link to view some of his stunning images. Enjoy! http://www.jadidonline.com/images/stories/flash_multimedia/Kasraiian_test/kasraiian_eng_high.html.

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Another beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the link to the left for more photos from the event.

Another beautiful picture from the recent water and light art show in Tehran's Parke Mellat. Please see the link to the left for more photos from the event.

Water Show in the National Park

* I opened this window with a look at the city of Tehran. Here is a visual delight from the same city to close Window 53, a great Water and Light show from Tehran’s Parke Mellat courtesy of my friend Farimah. Please click here: Water and Light Show in Tehran’s Parke Mellat.

Till next Window, have a great end of the summer.

Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Honorary Co-Chair, Iranians For Peace
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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Windows on Iran 49 / 50

Let's open this "Window on Iran" with a colorful and festive scene from the annual pomegranate harvest in Iran. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more pictures from this village's harvest and festival.

Let's open this "Window on Iran" with a colorful and festive scene from the annual pomegranate harvest in Iran. Please see the end of this 'Window' for more pictures from this village's harvest and festival.

Dear All,

Greetings from St. Louis, Missouri. I hope you are all well and looking forward to a happy and relaxing summer. Let me start with a bit of personal news. As you know, I have been on leave of absence during the spring semester. I am now looking forward to resuming full academic duties.

Personal News:

Before opening window 49,  I would like to share a good news with you: A Peabody Award for “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi.”

Many of you listened to the episode of Speaking of Faith called “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi.”  I was a featured guest in this hour-long program which was aired on NPR once in March and once in December of 2007. I am delighted to report that the show has received the prestigious Peabody Award. You can read the details and also listen to the show at: http://www.payvand.com/news/08/apr/1304.html.

National Public Radio (NPR) program Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett featured Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz on their recent show on Rumi, entitled The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi (click on the picture to listen to the show).

National Public Radio (NPR) program Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett featured Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz on their recent show on Rumi, entitled "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" (click on the picture to listen to the show).

Political:

* The news you will read below is arguably the most important recent piece of information on Iran’s “interference” in Iraq. In my public speaking engagements, I am often asked if indeed Iran supplies weapons to Iraqi insurgents. My answer usually is “I won’t be able to give you a definite yes or no answer because if indeed Iran has such plans, it will not make them public. What I can say is that all reliable historians of the region believe that a calm and stable Iraq is in the interest of Iran. Furthermore, the government of Nuri al-Maleki has strong friendly ties to Iran.”

* Well, it appears that I can now say more on the subject. Released three days ago, the news quoted below calls for serious attention: The weapons used in Iraq were not made in Iran…after all! Please read the L.A. Times article and share it with others: “In a sharp reversal of its longstanding accusations against Iran arming militants in Iraq , the US military has made an unprecedented albeit quiet confession: the weapons they had recently found in Iraq were not made in Iran at all.” The rest is available here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19908.htm.

Iranian American physics genius Nima Arkani-Hamed (Princeton University-Institute for Advanced Study).

Iranian American physics genius Nima Arkani-Hamed (Princeton University-Institute for Advanced Study).

Young Iranian American Scientist on CNN:

Young Iranian American physicist, Nima Arkani-Hamed, believes the universe possesses no less than 11 dimensions. Read this CNN special on Nima who is viewed these days as a Physics genius: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/05/09/physics.nima/index.html.

Harvard Scholar wishes to be buried in Isfahan

The distinguished Harvard Scholar, Iran Specialist, Richard Frye has asked to be buried in Isfahan, Iran: http://www.searchles.com/channels/show/2908.

A Cypress Tree more than 4,000 years old!

The cypress tree is located in the Grand Mosque of Abarqu (which originally was a Zoroastrian Chahar Taqi Temple). According to local traditions, the tree was actually planted by the prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself.

This 4,000 year old cypress tree is located in the Grand Mosque of Abarqu (which originally was a Zoroastrian Chahar Taqi Temple). According to local traditions, the tree was actually planted by the prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself.

News coming out of Iran often includes things much more interesting than political conflict. Here is one. In the historic Iranian city of Yazd, a cypress tree has been identified as one of the world’s oldest living organisms. According to scientists, this tree which continues to stand graciously, is now over 4,000 years old. Take a look: http://www.cais-soas.com/News/2008/April2008/25-04.htm.

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Congratulations to Dr. Trita Parsi for the Award given to his Wonderful Book on Iran!

Iranian Americans are becoming major contributors to the important debate surrounding Iran’s role in the Middle East and the world. Not so long ago, I recommended to you a great book on this subject, recently published by Yale University Press. It was Treacherous Alliance: the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and United States by Dr. Trita Parsi.  You can look up the book on Amazon.com. I do, however, want to share a great piece of news about Trita’s book. It has just won the Silver medal of “Council of Foreign Relations 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award.” Congratulations to Dr. Parsi for his excellent work and for this significant recognition: http://www.cfr.org/publication/16231/.

A cute little Iranian girl enjoying the pomegranate harvest.

A cute little Iranian girl enjoying the pomegranate harvest.

Visual Delight

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In Iran, pomegranate is a very popular and relatively cheap fruit. Pomegranate gardens are beautiful from the time the blossoms are out to the time that the fruits hang from the branches ready to be picked. To close this window on a delicious and colorful note, let us visit the the pomegranate harvest in a village in Iran. Click here to join the pomegranate harvest: Pomegranate Harvest in Iran. Enjoy.

Hope to be able to open the next window on Iran soon.

Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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An up-close look at the beautiful Safran fields of Khorasan. Please see below for many more striking photos of the annual Safran harvest in Northeastern Iran.

An up-close look at the beautiful Safran fields of Khorasan. Please see below for many more striking photos from the annual Safran harvest in Northeastern Iran.

Dear All,

I hope you have had a nice and restful Thanksgiving. If you have added a friend’s name to these windows, please give us a few days before we could add new names to our mailing list.

And now, let us open window 44 without further delay with recent images from Iran.

Visual Delight

* Iran is one of the major producers of “zafaran” or “safran” in the world. To see beautiful scenes of working on safran fields in the North Eastern province of Khorasan, click here to view them: Safran Fields of Khorasan. My thanks to Dr. Bastani for circulating these wonderful images.

An Iranian woman harvesting Safran in the fields of Khorasan (please click the link above from more beautiful photos).

An Iranian woman harvesting Safran in the fields of Khorasan (please click the link above from more beautiful photos).

Yahoo Removes Iran

* The people of Iran can no longer register as “Iranian” if they open a Yahoo account because the name of Iran as a country has been removed from its list. Of course, as in many similar actions, this has no effect or exerts no pressure on the Iranian government. It helps cut off the people of Iran from the outside world. Iranians are number four bloggers in the world. E-mail is also a very important way for them to keep connected. If you wish to object to this, please visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/yahoo07/petition.html

The Efforts to Prevent a Military attack on Iran have intensified

* Letter to Missouri Lawmakers: Here in St. Louis, my tireless activist friend and colleague Andrew Wimmer of the Center for Theology and Social Analysis at St. Louis University has formed a new campaign: SILENCE = WAR. Please visit the group’s emerging website: http://www.silenceiswar.org/ and support their efforts to speak up for peace. As their first effort, the group has written to the two Missouri senators asking if they would “take an unprovoked military assault against Iran off the table.” And if they would withdraw their support for the preparations for such an assault underway in Missouri as Boeing in St. Charles builds and delivers a new 30,000 pound bunker buster bomb that would be dropped by B2 bombers based at Whiteman Air Force Base outside Kansas City. The letter requests a written response by December 3. To see the content of the full letter, visit: http://www.ctsastl.org/Iran/bond_iran.pdf.

* Another dear friend Jack Renard of St. Louis University was one of the first St. Louisans to respond to the above plea for peace with a letter of his own. Jack’s letter is so balanced, sincere, and insightful that I have asked his permission to share it with you in the hope that many use it as a model: http://www.ctsastl.org/Iran/renard_iran.pdf. Prof. Renard is a distinguished scholar of Islam with numerous book titles to his credit. Some of his works such Seven Doors to Islam: Spirituality and the Religious Life of the Muslims published by University of California, Berkeley are now classics. For his other works, visit his site at: http://www.slu.edu/colleges/AS/theology/faculty_renard.php.

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* Another important piece on the dangers of an attack on Iran is called “Hands Off Iran” by Chris Hedges. In this brief and insightful piece, Hedges lays out the implications of an unprovoked war against Iran: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071210/hedges.

The Fifth Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial

* Let’s take a break from war talk by a visit to another visual delight. Many think sculpture is among the art forms not commonly favored by Muslims. Well, the Fifth Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial, this week, has enthralled art critics world wide. To read a short description and see photos of the sculptures, visit: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/nov/1218.html.

Fifth Annual Sculpture Tehran

An exhibit at the Fifth Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial (click the link below for more information on the event and check out some of the other interesting exhibits as well).

Another exhibit at the Fifth Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial (click the link below for more on the event and more photos of the exhibits).

Another exhibit at the Fifth Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial (click the link below for more information on the event and check out some of the other interesting exhibits as well).

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Creative Attempts to Prevent a War: A Direct Line to Iran

* Most people passing the Boston Common’s Park Street T stop shrugged at the display: a red telephone with a retro design, symbolic of the hotline established between the White House and the Kremlin during the Cold War. It sat on a small table with a white table cloth and a sign out front, which proclaimed “Direct Line to Iran.” An MIT student stood to its left, listened in on headphones and provided English-Farsi translation. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/11/14/5205/.

The Enough Fear Campaign

* If you want to join a group of vibrant Iranians and Americans who have started an international effort to prevent war between the US and Iran, just visit the bi-lingual site “Enough Fear” at: http://enoughfear.org/. The organizers of the site collect and post photos of Americans and Iranians to demonstrate the solidarity between the peace makers in both countries. Do join, and make your own contribution, every click counts! (my thanks to Robert Connolly for sending this wonderful site).

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Saber Rattling us to the Next Disaster

* Mr. Daniel M Pourkesali, a U.S. Board member in Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran expresses concern that the danger of a U.S. military attack on Iran is far from over. In a meticulously documented piece, he mentions – among other things- that “according to a report published by The Observer [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2209036,00.html], US military officials are pressuring interrogators questioning Iraqi insurgents to press for incriminating evidence that points to Iran.” For the full article go to: http://iranian.com/main/blog/daniel-m-pourkesali/saber-rattling-us-next-disaster.

Sane Officers Oppose a War on Iran

* Just so we don’t despair totally, there are still many voices of sanity, some from the U.S. army, working hard to prevent a military campaign against Iran. To read a very interesting article on this, sent by Matt Miller, visit: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20071115_sane_officers_oppose_cheney/.

A painting by Farah Ossouli (please see the link on the left for more of her work).

A painting by Farah Ossouli (please see the link on the left for more of her work).

More Visual Delights

* Let us close this window with a slide show of recent paintings by a young Iranian woman artist Farah Ossouli. You have seen another of her exhibits in these windows. But this one is different. Please click here: Farah Ossouli Paintings. Enjoy.

Have a great week!

Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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Windows on Iran 43

The new, solar-powered 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (see below for more pictures and information on the Hotel).

The new, solar-powered 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (see below for more pictures and information on this luxurious and innovative hotel).

Dear All,

I hope you are well. It is a pleasure to open another window on Iran as we start yet another lively and colorful autumn in St. Louis. This will be a full window with lots of news about Iran on various subjects including current issues, art, science and technology.

Upcoming Events

* If you are in St. Louis this weekend, you will have a chance to see the play The Veil of Silence, by Andrew Michael Neiman and Suzanne Renard. Saturday November 10 at 8 PM, and Sunday November 11 at 2 PM at The Black Cat Theater, 2810 Sutton in Maplewood.

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* And if you are planning to be in San Diego next Sunday, Nov. 18, stop by the UNC Press booth at the book exhibit for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in the Convention Center where I will have the pleasure of meeting you while signing copies of Jasmine & Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran. See the flyer here: Jasmine and Stars American Academy of Religion Flyer.

Let us now move to our first set of beautiful slides. I cannot think of a better opening for any window.

A piece of calligraphy art by Sadegh Tabrizi (please see the link on the right for more of his work).

A piece of calligraphy art by Sadegh Tabrizi (please see the link below for more of his work).

Visual Delight

* Iranians have a history of love for calligraphy. In the past two or three decades there has been a clear revival in this historic art form. One of the interesting features of contemporary Iranian calligraphy is its interrelation with painting. As you know from these windows, young Iranian painters paint a great deal and in a vast array of styles and media. This week I am going to introduce you Sadegh Tabrizi, a master painter and calligrapher (born 1938). Tabrizi has had numerous individual and group exhibits in various parts of the country. What is particularly interesting about the exhibit which you will see is that every painting is inspired by letters of the alphabet and the art of calligraphy in general. Please click here: Calligraphy Art by Sadegh Tabrizi. Enjoy!

* While we are on visual arts, lets add a touch of performance and watch a clip form a current Iranian TV series that I told you about a few weeks ago. This is the love story called “The Zero Degree Turn” involving the rescue of a number of French Jews and putting them on a plane to Iran disguised as Iranians.  (Thanks to Behrooz Ghamari for sending the clip).

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Current Issues

* An Iranian woman takes up a seat in the House of Lords cross benches as a non-party political peer in recognition of her work. Professor Haleh Afshar, who is an adviser to the British government on public policy relating to Muslim women and Islamic law and the founder and chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, was chosen as a ‘People’s Peer’, an appointment for people who will bring distinction and expertise to the House of Lords. For the full article click on: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/oct/1265.html (courtesy of a new subscriber to the windows on Iran Mina Naji, thank you Mina Khanom!).

The New US Sanctions against Iran

* As you read that the US imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran may not be as effective as the current American government presents them to be, please know that ordinary Iranians are quite a bit worried about further economic hardship resulting from these sanctions. The point to keep in mind is that sanctions and economic problems do not encourage diversity and change in any country. If you have doubts about this, think about a simple situation. If you were to take care of your family during an economic crisis, which will be your priority: “finding medical care for a sick child” or “attending a meeting or a rally to improve the country’s political system”?

* We usually hear that China and Russia are helping Iran survive the U.S. attempts to isolate it. A lot of less known individuals are also working to do the same. One such attempt involves building the first 7-star-hotel run entirely by solar energy. “Generating electricity from the sun is a very expensive project but I mean to bring this technology to Iran,” said Hossein Sabet, the Iranian investor of the solar hotel. “Now that other countries are imposing sanctions on Iran, building such a hotel is an important step in tourism development,” he concluded. Here is an article, if you like to see pictures and read more: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/nov/1016.html

The 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (click on the link above for more pictures and information on the Hotel).

A view of the 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island at night (click on the link above for more pictures and information).

The 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel on Kish Island (please click on the link above for more pictures and information).

Another shot of the The 7-star Dariush Grand Hotel (please click on the link above for more pictures and information).

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Passionate Appeal to Europe

* Jean-Marie Matagne, President of “Action of Citizens for the Total Dismantling of Nukes” (Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire, ACDN, France), Doctor in Philosophy and Dr. Yehuda Atai, Executive Secretariat of the Mediterranean No Nuclear Neighborhood (MN3), Member in the Israeli Committee for a Free Middle East of WMD, Publisher of the “World of the Bible” have made a passionate appeal to the European community to do everything in their power to prevent a war on Iran: http://acdn.france.free.fr/spip/article.php3?id_article=361&lang=en

* Here in our own country, the presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama made headlines when he introduced a note of sanity into the election debates that at some point looked like an Iran bashing competition. In an interview, on November 1st in Chicago, Senator Obama pledged to work on building a new relationship with Iran, should he get into the White House. He further explained that sticking to the rhetoric of “regime change,” just for the sake of it, is wrong and suggested that things need to change in a more fundamental way on both sides. The fact that he had one of his successful fund raising weeks last week may not be solely the outcome of this interview. However, it shows that the American public is tired of angry rhetorics and is hoping for a more sophisticated foreign policy. You can read more at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21586430/

Stem Cell Research in Iran

Rudolf Jaenisch with Hossein Baharvand and a group of young Iranian scientists during his trip to at The Royal Institute.

Rudolf Jaenisch with Iranian colleague Hossein Baharvand and a group of young Iranian scientists during his visit to the Royan Institute (image courtesy of http://www.nature.com).

* This month, Rudolf Jaenisch, a founding member of the Whitehead Institute and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attended a major scientific conference in the Royan Institute in Tehran. Professor Jaenisch who was warned by friends against traveling to Iran had this to say: “During my time in Tehran, however, I encountered only enthusiasm and hospitality. Other Westerners, such as Emory University’s Sarah Berga, who has spoken at this conference before, were treated equally well. My only regret is that there were not more Americans there. Despite my colleagues’ concerns, I felt safer than if I had been a tourist in a large American city. There were no panhandlers or aggressive touts to harass me, and the country is beautiful.” Here is the link, if you like to read more: http://www.nature.com/stemcells/2007/0710/071025/full/stemcells.2007.105.html.

* On a related topic, NAS expands cooperation with Iran. Following productive discussions in Iran between representatives of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and senior Iranian officials and scientific leaders, the U.S. National Academies plan to expand a program of scientific cooperation with Iranian institutions that began in 1999. During the past eight years, continuing political confrontations between the U.S. and Iranian governments have complicated bilateral scientific cooperation, but with perseverance by scientific institutions in both countries, important programs have been carried out: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=10312007.

Womens kick boxing match in Iran. Please see the end of this window for many more pictures from the thriving Iranian womens sports scene.

Women's kick boxing match in Iran. Please see the link on the right for many more pictures from the thriving Iranian women's sports scene.

Iranian Women in Sports

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* For a variety of recent images of Iranian women athletes, visit http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article476. To enlarge individual images, double-click on them. I did not make them into a power point slide show to keep the volume of the visual attachment to this window small.

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If you are not signed up to receive these windows, send a message to windowoniran@yahoo.com to subscribe. Until the next window on Iran, have a great weekend.

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Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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A painting by the Iranian artist Mansoureh Panahgar. All of her paintings are so vivid and strikingly beautiful that it was hard decide which one to include. Please see the link at the end of this 'Windows on Iran' for more of her works.

A painting by the Iranian artist Mansoureh Panahgar. All of her paintings are so vivid and strikingly beautiful that it was hard decide which one to include. Please see the link at the end of this 'Windows on Iran' for more of her works.

Dear All,

Greetings! I hope you are all well. Many of you have asked for my comments on Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presentations/interview at Columbia. I promise to do that after I have had a few days to gather a summary of important points. This is likely to be the next window.

The current window is number 40 and that is a fact worth celebration. Number 40 is a significant number in Persian culture. First, people are supposed to mature at age 40 and the 40th day after many events is remembered or celebrated. Second, I am proud of being able to keep up with preparing these windows in the evenings. When I started them, I was not sure how long will I be able to continue them.

Third, a respected colleague has asked me to teach a course on the basis of these windows. I am really excited about this and thinking about the best ways to bring the material to the classroom.

Finally and most importantly, as I sent out these windows during the past year, the number of subscribers tripled! And these are only the direct recipients. Many of you share these windows with others.  To celebrate the 40th Window on Iran, let us focus on good things.

Iranian American Presence in the U.S.

Iranian American Omid Kordestani

Iranian American Omid Kordestani is currently the senior vice president for global sales and business development at Google. He recently gave the commencement address at San Jose State University (click the link on the left to see his address) (image courtesy of http://www.fogcityjournal.com).

Let us open this window celebrating Iranian Americans as a vibrant immigrant community who continue to turn the opportunities available to them here into stunning success for themselves and the community at large. Watch a few minutes of this year’s commencement address at SJSU by Omid Kordestani, 42, the senior vice president for global sales and business development at Google sent by cousin Abe:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJer30-Lj2s

Iranian and Israeli Artists Collaborate to Avert War

A great friend I have made through these windows, Joy, usually sends wonderful Iran-related links for the windows. Recently, she sent me the link to a web site that describes a collaborative play by an Israeli and an Iranian playwrite, Motti Learner and Mahmoud Karimi-Hakkak among others. In the play which is called Benedictus, a Jew and a Muslim work to avert a war on Iran. What Joy does not know is that only yesterday, we hosted Motti Learner, the Israeli playwrite, on our campus here at Washington University. He gave an absolutely wonderful talk about the ways in which drama can serve peace. Do visit the site to read about the collaborative work. And see Motti Learner’s plays if you can. I know I’d be lining up for the tickets if his work is staged anywhere I can go: http://www.goldenthread.org/0708/benedictus.htm (also, please click the video below to hear from the writers and learn more about the play).

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This Friendliest of Countries!

Yes, it is about Iran. Who says it? Lonely Planet World Guide! Thanks
Rostam for sharing this rave review:  “Axis of evil’? Most visitors,
after experiencing this friendliest of countries, couldn’t agree less.
For culture seekers, Iran has magnificent ruins of ancient cities,
glorious mosques and mausoleums, and museums so interesting they’re
bound to leave your feet sore.”  Here is the link to the web site of
one of the world’s most popular travel guide publishers:
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/destinations/middle-east/iran

Music

* In Iran, women musicians were honored in Talare Vahdat in Tehran last
July. For pictures of various group and individual performers visit
this site: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jul/1066.html.

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World famous guitarist Lily Ashfar.

World famous guitarist Lily Afshar.

* On a related note, the first woman in the world to earn a Doctorate of Music in guitar performance, an Iranian American, Lily Afshar is going to perform in St. Louis in January. Her program will include music from her native country Iran performed on the Persian traditional instrument Seh-tar.  For more information on this great artist, visit her website at: http://www.lilyafshar.com/ (thanks to Sara for the website).

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Mahan Esfahani

Mahan Esfahani

* Iranian Americans are playing an increasingly significant role in the non-Iranian musical scene in the U.S. The harpsichord player Mahan Isfahani wins international acclaim: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/sep/1261.html

Politics

* Not entirely possible to avoid politics, I’m afraid. My husband, Ahmet Karamustafa, who is always on the lookout for positive news with relation to Iran, has supplied a great short article on the dreaded question of war on Iran by a very prominent scholar, Immanuel Wallerstein. You’d be happy to know that he ends the article with the statement: “in my view the likelihood of such ‘desperate’ action to prevail is quite low, if not entirely impossible.”! http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=1361

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* Another step away from a war on Iran came last week from a very
important military figure, the former U.S. Commander John Abizaid. He
suggested that a nuclear-armed Iran may not be such a threat. “Iran is
not a suicide nation,” said the General “I mean, they may have some
people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that
the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.” While I hope
we move in the direction of demilitarization of the region including
nuclear weapons, it is reassuring to know that important military
figures such as General Abizaid opt for the more middle of the road
approach: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/mochila.php?articleId=9037252&channelId=73&buyerId=talkingpointsmemo_com400732&buid=.

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Iranian artist Mansoureh Panahgar.

Iranian artist Mansoureh Panahgar (image courtesy of http://www.elahe.net).

Visual Delight

For our visual delight, this week I introduce the work of a young woman painter Mansoureh Panahgar. Panahgar was born in Tehran in 1976. As you will see, her work is very different from the paintings of other young artists whom I have introduced here. She combines realistic and abstract art. The theme of antique objects is particularly prominent in her work. The objects themselves appear with realistic clarity against abstract backdrops of softer colors. Please click here: Mansoureh Panahgar Painting Show. Enjoy!

With that, I think it is time to close the window for this week. Have a great week!

Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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A beautiful garden of modern Tehran. Please click on the link below to see many other terrific photos from Iran.

A beautiful garden of modern Tehran. Please click on the link below to see many other terrific photos from Iran.

Dear All,

I hope you have had a nice long weekend. I managed to salvage a few hours of the weekend to put together a new window on Iran for you. Let us get to Window 38 without further ado.

Musical Opening

Due to constant threat of a pending military strike on Iran, the Iranian American community is in deep stress. No one knows what is going to happen if the most powerful military force on the face of the earth really decides to strike. The example of Iraq is not reassuring. Lots of poems and songs about Iran and what it means to the Iranian American community get circulated everyday. Here is a one minute and twenty second slide show. Its name tells all “Iran: the Eternal Land of the Persians.” The melody in the background is asong called “Elahe-ye naz,” a big hit in the 60s and 70s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ0zx8XTEN8 (circulated by Daniel Pourkesali)

Haleh Esfandiari Leaves Iran

Here is a piece of important – and good – news which ought to help
cooling things down. However, I have not seen it in our popular media
yet. Iranian newspapers report that Haleh Esfandiari, who had been
freed from jail, has left the country last night. Great to know that
she will be reunited with her family soon.

The U.S. Official Reaction to Iran/IAEA Agreement

Last week, the International atomic energy agency ( IAEA) and Iran
reached an agreement about answering some crucial questions concerning
the Iranian nuclear program. The IAEA called it a breakthrough. This
agreement is particularly important not just because it gives the IAEA
access to certain documents that it has wanted to see but because a
timetable is set so the negotiations are not going to last
indefinitely. The U.S. government, which has used even a negative hint
form IAEA about Iran to push for more sanctions, dismissed this
agreement. In other words, if the agency reports anything negative, it
is evidence of Iran’s non-compliance. If it makes progress, they have
been fooled by Iran which is seeking time to make a bomb.

The Possible Attack on Iran

* None of the recent developments have brought a sense of relief to
those who follow the news of a possible attack on Iran. If anything,
this weekend papers have been particularly alarming. Matt Miller has
shared the UK Sunday times piece titled Pentagon “Three-Day Blitz”
Plan for Iran: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/090207A.shtml. The
supposed plan would involve hitting 1200 targets inside Iran with the
casualty figures (not often discussed by proponents of the idea) in
the millions. Here is an article that Paul Appell has shared. I do
hope that its findings do not reflect the reality of what the U.S.
government is up to. However, it has been written in a spirit of
activism for peace. It is in that spirit that I share it with you.
After all, this is the time to say that there are better ways to deal
with the Iran question that killing a couple of million Iranians and
sending the whole region up in flames. Here is the reference to the
article that Paul has kindly forwarded:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-a-rodman/how-i-learned-to-stop-wor_b_62830.html

* If you talk to individuals who have been alarmed by the “threat” that
Iran is posing to the world, remember:

1. Iran’s cooperation with the U.S. was crucial in overthrowing the
Taliban in Afghanistan
2. We have plenty of evidence to believe that the roadside bombs that
kill American soldiers are manufactured in Iraq. Starting as early as
a year and half ago, American troops have found many shops and
factories that make such bombs inside Iraq. Here is a U.S. Marine
Corps press release on the subject:
http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/templatereleaseview1/E017AB5105AC8A9D85257035004FC172?opendocument
3. The only countries in the region in which al-Qa’ideh does not have
freedom to operate are Iran and Turkey.
4. As President Karzai pointed out only a few weeks ago, Iran continues
to be a help and a support to Afghanistan in its efforts to stand up
to the Taliban (who are getting closer to power by the day).
5. President Ahmadinejad is an elected president who, as polls in Iran
show, stands zero chance of re-election. He is not a life-time
dictator who needs to be removed by military force.
6. Iran’s enrichment of uranium for its nuclear industry is not a breach
of the international law. What is important is to keep it under
control by IAEA. This is possible only if Iran stays in NPT (the Non
Proliferation Treaty) and its facilities get inspected regularly.

What did the Young Iranian Cyclist Say to Senator Lieberman?

Leslie Angeline, who had been fasting for twelve days, sits outside Senator Joseph Lieberman's waiting to meet with him about his aggressive stature towards Iran.

Leslie Angeline, who had been "fasting for peace" for twelve days, sits outside Senator Joseph Lieberman's waiting to be granted an audience with him about his aggressive stature towards Iran.

Leslie Angeline 50, mother of two, member of CodePink spent two weeks in Iran this summer. She loved the country which she found warm and friendly. When Leslie returned to the U.S. to advocate for diplomacy with Iran, Senator Lieberman was suggesting to bomb Iran. Leslie went on hunger strike, lost ten pounds and fainted but did not give up her goal of getting her message to the Senator. You can read about her here:    http://www.newhavenadvocate.com/blogs/home.cfm?aid=1602
When, finally, she got 15 minutes the senator, she took Ali the young Iranian bicyclist for peace with him. I think I should let you read the rest, in Leslie’s words:

He then allowed Ali, one of the Iranian Miles for Peace bicyclists, to join us. Ali spoke from his experience as a young man in Tehran’s student movement.  He said, “There is a growing student and feminist movement in Iran.  70% of the population is under the age of thirty. Every time Bush refers to us as the Axis of Evil, or a politician such as you threatens war or sanctions, our government uses this as an excuse to clamp down. 90% of the Iranian people want a different form of government.  The Iranian people like Americans.  Lieberman responded to this by saying he’s heard that “the two countries in the Middle East that like Americans are Israel and Iran!”   Ali continued, “The U.S. has been a democracy for three hundred years and you still have problems.  Iran’s democracy is new and fragile; please give us some time and we’ll take care of our own problems.”

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The Biggest Non-governmental Charity in Iran

From here in the U.S., it is hard to imagine that Iranians think about
things other than politics and conflict, that they are ordinary human
beings with the same problems and aspirations as anyone living
anywhere in the world. I thought it’ll be nice to read about the
Kahrizak Foundation which supports disabled elderly who lack financial
resources: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jun/1240.html (Thanks to my
friend Parinaz Massumzadeh for circulating the information).

Iranian Women Athletes

Iranian woman race car driver.

Iranian woman race car driver.

Let us close this window with some beautiful images of Iranian women in sports:

* Iranian women drivers are back in the car race scene this September: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article490.
* In fencing, women are working to improve the training conditions so they can compete internationally: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article495.
* In soccer they have been training hard and have achieved success in Asia: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article496.

Let us hope that the peace is holding, and the news is good, when I
send you the next window.
Have a great week.
Best,

Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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The Iranian womens rowing team, who recently placed third international in a competition in Bulgaria--from left to right are team members Sahra Zlqadr, Saba Shaiesteh, Minoo Zargari, and Mina Amini (see below for many more pictures of Iranian women sports players).

The Iranian women's rowing team, who recently placed third internationally in a competition in Bulgaria--from left to right are team members Sahra Zlqadr, Saba Shaiesteh, Minoo Zargari, and Mina Amini (see below for many more pictures from the women's sports scene in Iran).

Dear All,

I hope your summer is going well. I am preparing for a presentation and reading in DC next weekend and then a few weeks of rest in Istanbul, Turkey in the month of July. So,  I predict the month of July would be somewhat quieter. That is to say, you will – most probably – receive fewer windows.  Before the July slow down, however, I have news for you.

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My Recent Book On “St. Louis on the Air”

Reading More than Lolita in Tehran by Fatemeh Keshavarz

"Jasmine and Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran" by Fatemeh Keshavarz. "Jasmine and Stars" is a cogent critique of Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and the larger New Orientalist Narrative that her book represents.

I don’t usually promote my own work in these windows. However, something special is coming up. Tomorrow morning at 11:00, Don March the host of “St. Louis on the Air” FM 90.7, NPR will be talking to me about my latest book Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran. Here is the link to an on line description of the book if you are interested. Do listen to the show tomorrow, if you can. I will be talking about the book and many other Iran related issues, I am sure, as the callers call in:  http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jun/1221.html

NY Times Does it Again!

It looks like we need a permanent section in these windows to correct and clarify the NY Times  reporting on Iran. Take a look at the letter that my friend Professor Ghamari (Univ. of Illinois) wrote to the editor, about an article in today’s NY Times called “Iran Cracks Down on Dissent”:

“Dear Editor:
The photograph used in the story about “Iran Cracks Down on Dissent,” in the Sunday June 24 edition is misleading.  While disturbing on its own right, the picture has nothing to do with the crack down on dissent. This episode happened in late May as part of Tehran’s Police Department anti-corruption project to secure the safety of “rough neighborhoods” in the southern part of the city.  Those who were paraded in public, as shown in the picture, had nothing to do with “western style clothing or haircuts,” as Neil MacFarquhar asserted. They were thugs and drug dealers who had terrorized these neighborhoods.  After the publication of these pictures, the Tehran Police Chief acknowledged that the methods used in these operations were unjustified.  While residents of those neighborhoods supported the crack down on gang members, they were also scandalized by the disgusting public humiliation of these thugs perpetrated by the police. I would appreciate it if you publish the correction.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/24/world/middleeast/24iran.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Visual Delight

A beautiful shot of the sunrise in Northern Iran (see the link below for many more pictures).

A beautiful shot of a sunrise in Northern Iran (see the link below for many more pictures).

It is often assumed that Iran consists, mostly, of hot and arid
deserts. While central Iran does have desert areas, the north is lush
and green with forests, rice fields, and tea plantations. I made a
slide show  for you of photos of northern Iran circulated by my friend
Bahar Bastani. Click here: Northern Iran. Enjoy.

Current Issues:

The U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan rejected the charge
that Iran is getting arms to the Taliban fighters for the second time
in less than two weeks.
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/21/2019/

Iranian Women in Sports

Iranian woman golfer (see below for many more pictures and and stories about the womens sports scene in Iran).

Iranian woman golfer (see below for many more pictures and and stories about the women's sports scene in Iran).

If you read Persian you can check out the online Iranian Women’s Sport
magazine Shirzanan. If you don’t, just look at the latest photos of
the Iranian women athletes. Iranian women skaters constitute 60% of
all the skaters in the country:
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article213

Kickboxing and Kung Fu are among  popular sports among Iranian women
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article208.

Mahdiyeh Montazeran won the first international gold medal for the Iranian women in fencing:
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article216.

And, finally, Iranian women won third place in the rowing competitions in Bulgaria: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article218.

Until the next window, have a great week.
Best,
Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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