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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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Windows on Iran 37

Some of the many Iranians that the recent American Peace delegation met on their visit to Iran this past July. Organized by Phil Wilayto and sponsored by the Virginia Anti-War Network and The Richmond Defender newspaper, the five-member "People's Peace Delegation to Iran" visited Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan and Qom (see below for more on their trip) (image courtesy of http://www.campaigniran.org).

Hi All,

Earlier today I sent out a special window urging you to write to your
representatives in an attempt to stop our country from getting one
step closer to a war with Iran. Many of you wrote back within the hour
to let me know that you have shared the message with others. Thank
you.

With that, let us move on to Window on Iran number 37 which opens with
a good piece of news.

Major Iran/IAEA Agreement on Additional Measures on the Nuclear Issue

* The following news should be hailed as a significant diplomatic
success, a step toward cooling things down. On Tuesday Iran and the
UN Atomic Energy Agency agreed on a timetable for Tehran to clarify
outstanding concerns about its contested nuclear program, amid Western
threats of further UN sanctions. International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) deputy director general Olli Heinonen and top Iranian national
security official Javad Vaeedi announced the agreement after two days
of talks in Tehran. “We have now in front of us an agreed working
plan, how to implement it and we have a timeline for the
implementation. We talked about the details and the steps to be
taken,” said Heinonen. Here is the rest of the article if you like to
read (thanks Paul Appell for sharing this)
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/295302/1/.html

* The current U.S. administration, however, has so far acted as if it
never happened. The same week that Iran and IAEA signed the above
agreement, former CIA Director James Woolsey appeared on CNN with Lou
Dobbs to say an attack on Iran is a bad idea but allowing Iran to
obtain a nuclear weapon is worse. And in today’s New York Times
(August 29), Elaine Sciolino quoted unnamed officials from “Western
governments” describing the plan as a “new and dangerous strategy by
Iran to drag out the process.” Further down the article explains that
“Details of the timetable will be included in a report” that will be
released later. It is not clear how a plan that is not yet released,
that includes a clear timetable, and that has been described by the
IAEA officials as a “breakthrough” is faulted and branded as a
dangerous plan even before it is released.

Tell the Networks Not to Follow Fox

Why does the American news media not scrutinize significant news items
concerning Iran? Why, concerned friends such as Nadir Sadeqi and Matt
Miller ask in their e-mail messages, while the FOX news works on the
American public to convince them that war with Iran is the only
option, do the other networks not respond? All they need to do is
following the tradition of sound reporting. Christine Amanpour,  is
quoted to have said – concerning bad reporting on Iraq – that her
network was silenced and intimidated by FOX. On behalf of Nadir and
Matt, I share the following information with those of you who are
interested in telling the networks not to follow FOX down the road to
war: http://foxattacks.com/iran (or watch the video below)

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Is the War on Iran Still a Strong Possibility?

* Some argue that a war on Iran is not an option for practical reasons.
A fantastic piece on this is an interview that David Barsamian has
done with the renowned historian of contemporary Iran, Ervand
Abrahamian (City University, New York). The interview is short, very
perceptive, and readable. It has a very interesting title too: The
Mullahs Face Off: Washington Versus Tehran
(San Francisco, City
Light Books, 2007).

* Others are still very worried about the possibility. In his site
www.AntiWar.com, blogger Philip Giraldi writes: Anyone who doubts that the
war party is firmly focused on Iran need only take note of the Aug. 21
lead editorial in the Washington Post, which had the heading “Tougher
on Iran: The Revolutionary Guard is at war with the United States. Why
not fight back?” The Post, which regularly features neocons like
Charles Krauthammer on its editorial page, was a principal cheerleader
for the Iraq war. Giraldi criticizes the Post for accepting Washington
claims that Iranian special forces are in Iraq training the Shiite
militia. “Why is the U.S. army not been able to arrest a single one of
them or provide any evidence of this” is his question. It is a very
good question. I would add that this claim is not just refereeing to
an unsubstantiated hypothesis but a very unlikely one. Any number of
Iraqis who survived the rule of Saddam by taking refuge in Iran could
have been trained sufficiently to return and train their Iraqi country
men. But the point is not how logical or provable these claims are.
The point is the poisoning effect they have on the American public.
You can read the rest of Giraldi’s article at:
http://www.antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=11509

American Peace Delegation to Iran

A photo from the American Peace Delegation to Iran discussed below (image courtesy of www.campaigniran.org).

A photo from the American Peace Delegation to Iran discussed below (image courtesy of http://www.campaigniran.org).

All right, we need a little antidote to offset the alarming bells of
war. Let me tell you about this delightful five person American
delegation who visited Iran this past July. Organized by Phil Wilayto
and sponsored by the Virginia Anti-War Network and The Richmond
Defender newspaper, the five-member “People’s Peace Delegation to
Iran” visited Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan and Qom, plus several
villages and towns. The Following are interesting excerpts from Phil
Wilayto’s interview with CASMII about the trip:

On our first day, in the capital city of Tehran, we attended the
Friday noontime prayer service at the University of Tehran. This is
the big weekly religious gathering for this metro area of some 14
million people, and around 10,000 men and women attend. We had heard
that they finish the service with a rousing chant of “Death to
America!” so we thought that would give us one cultural pole for the
trip. Actually, we were two hours into the program when we had to
leave, and still no anti-U.S. chants. So we had to settle for a lot of
warm smiles and handshakes.

Also, I’d like to anticipate the question, “But you probably only saw
what the government wanted you to see.” One evening in Qom – it was
about 9 p.m. – I walked to an Internet cafe to send an e-mail to
family members and friends back home. I stayed till 11 p.m., then got
lost on the walk back to the hotel. So there I was in the holy city of
Qom, lost – on the eve of a major national religious holiday, no less
– wandering the streets and trying unsuccessfully to change some
Iranian bills into coins so I could call our guide from a pay phone. I
wound up meeting two brothers, one of them a theology student. They
brought me back to the hotel in a taxi. So I was out on my own for
about three hours. Two other members of the delegation walked back one
evening to their hotel in Esfahan, and in 45 minutes they were stopped
by three groups of Iranians who wanted to talk with them. On the
streets and public places we talked with anyone we wanted. One
afternoon while driving from Esfahan to Qom we stopped by the side of
the highway and had tea with a family of goat herders. I learned to
smoke a hookah, or “hubble-bubble,” in a 5,000-year-old town about
4,000 feet up in the mountains. We photographed anything we wanted,
except military installations. I made a point of trying to speak with
people from as many social classes as possible. I’m not saying we
became experts on Iran, but I think we got a pretty fair look at the
country and its people.

Sean Penn’s Reference to Iran

Sean Penn in Iran meeting with his industry colleagues in the Iranian film industry at the Cinematheque (PLEASE cick the link below to read his letter about Iran). (Image courtesy of www.payvand.com).

Sean Penn in Iran meeting with his industry colleagues in the Iranian film industry at the Cinematheque (PLEASE cick the link below to read his letter about Iran). (Image courtesy of http://www.payvand.com).

Actor/activist Sean Penn felt the same warmth visiting Iran in March.
Jaine Benson, one of my many friends through these windows, has
forwarded this very interesting letter which I had almost forgotten
about. Thanks Jaine. The letter is long and mostly focused on Iraq,
below I quote the paragraph on Iran which remains relevant today:

“You want to rattle sabers toward Iran now? Let me tell you something
about Iran, because I’ve been there and you haven’t. Iran is a great
country. A great country. Does it have its haters? You bet. Just like
the United States has its haters. Does it have a corrupt regime? You
bet. Just like the United States has a corrupt regime. Does it want a
nuclear weapon? Maybe. Do we have one? You bet. But the people of Iran
are great people. And if we give that corrupt leadership, (by
attacking Iran militarily) the opportunity to unify that great country
in hatred against us, we’ll have been giving up one of our most
promising future allies in decades. If you really know anything about
Iran, you know exactly what I’m referring to. Of course your
administration belittles diplomatic potential there, as those options
rely on a credibility and geopolitical influence that you have
aggressively squandered worldwide.” If you are interested in reading
the whole letter, here is the link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-penn/an-open-letter-to-the-pre_b_44172.html


Mohsen Mostafavi, Iranian American, recently named new Dean of Harvards Graduate School of Architecture and Design.

Mohsen Mostafavi, prominent Iranian American, recently named new Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Design.

Iranian American Named Dean, Harvard School of Design

Mohsen Mostafavi, an international figure in the fields of architecture and urbanism, will become the dean of the Faculty of Design beginning in January 2008, President Drew Faust announced today (Aug. 10). The news was forwarded by my cousin Abe Massoudi, and my friend Farimah Companieh, thank you both! You can read more at:
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/08.23/99-gsdean.html

Iranian Women in Sports

Time for more fun and for seeing images from Iran which are almost impossible to see in the American media. It is rather unfortunate any negative news on Iranian women will make it to the front page here almost immediately. But images such as these are missing. Iranian Women Canoe Polo players in action:
http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article68

Iranian women canoe polo players in action! (click the link above for more pictures).

Iranian women canoe polo players in action! (click the link above for more pictures).

Visual Delight

Last week I was showered with your loving messages about the wonderful
paintings of the Iranian Assyrian artist Hannibal Alkhas. Thank you! I
can’t agree  more. I’ll promise to make more slide shows of his
exhibits whenever new ones appear. This week, I bring you the works of
two Iranian women artists, Elham Nafisi Farr, a young and up-coming
painter and Mansoureh Hussaini a much more experienced
painter/calligrapher. Unfortunately, I did not find much personal
details on them except they are both graduates of Tehran School of
Fine Arts. Click here: Nafisi Farr-Hussaini painting.Enjoy!

A beautiful painting by Mansoureh Husseini (click the link below for more paintings by her and also Elham Nafisi Far).

A beautiful painting by Mansoureh Husseini (click the link below for more paintings by her and also Elham Nafisi Farr).

Till our 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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