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The youth of Iran have been absolutely pivotal in the success of the Green Movement. See below for their most recent impact on the newly opened university campuses all throughout Iran.

The youth of Iran have been absolutely pivotal in the success of the Green Movement. See below for their most recent impact on the newly opened university campuses all throughout Iran.

Dear All,

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I hope you are well. Some of you have forwarded Iran related information to me with a hint of “where is window 96?” And some have outright asked! It is so good to know that you are anticipating these windows. It has been a busy time in the semester.

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Let us open window 96 with a delightful music clip from the Jewish community in my own town, Shiraz.

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On a Musical Note

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* Before we got pulled into the post election political whirlpool, I used these windows to give you a glimpse into the diversity of Iran. To be sure the political news is still interesting and very important. However, let us keep our cultural tradition going.

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* You might not know that my historic hometown Shiraz has given birth to some of the best Iranian Jewish musicians. They have contributed not only to Jewish music but to mainstream Persian traditional music as well. The following is a beautiful short video dedicated to Jewish sacred music. I wish it was longer than six minutes. But here it is:

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Break Through with Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury

* After this beautiful musical opening, let me move on to a piece of news about a great scientific breakthrough in Iran. Iranian Scientists in Ruyan Institute, using human embryonic stem cells, have treated serious spinal cord injury in mice. Watch the mouse regaining the power to walk after total leg paralysis: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/watch/player.html?pkg=rc78iran&seg=1&mod=0.

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Iranian Professor is Awarded 2009 “Benjamin Franklin Medal”

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* Professor Lotfi A. Zadeh was awarded this prestigious award for his construction of the idea of “fuzzy logic” and fighting to get this seemingly “imprecise” approach to logic academic respect.

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Khatami on his birthday with his giant birthday cake.

Khatami on his birthday with his giant birthday cake.

An Unusual Cake for Mr. Khatami

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* On Oct. 12, 2009 Mr. Mohammad Khatami the reformist Iranian president (1997-2005) turned 66. He recieved a great birthday gift from his supporters who showed up in his office with an unusual cake. I made a very short slide show for you to see some happy scenes from present day Iran. Click here to see a slide show of pictures from his birthday party: Khatami Birthday Slideshow.

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Tools of Communication

* Someday a study should be done on the diverse and innovative tools that Iranian supporters of the Green Movement have used to communicate their deep conviction to improve the social conditions in Iran. I have included poetry and song clips in these windows. I have even shared images of banknotes with slogans on them. If you look below, you will see a banknote on which a well-known nursery rhyme has been re-written to tell the story of the Iranian economy: selling cheap oil to China, importing useless goods, and allowing domestic production to go down the drain.

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Iran Banknote Comments.001

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* The number of banknotes with green writings on them has reached a point that certain members of the parliament have suggested getting them out of circulation. Given the high percentage of such banknotes, however, the proposal does not seem practical.

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The First Death Sentence

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* It is sad that in a society in which the scientists dedicated themselves to saving lives, politics does the opposite. Unfortunately, the first death sentence has been issued in relation to the post election protests. While the ruling can be appealed, the appeal might fail.  To read the press release from the office of the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center, click on the link below. If the sentence is carried out, the crisis enters a completely new stage: http://www.iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/pdfs/PressReleases/2009/Statement%20on%20execution%20of%20Zamani.pdf

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Grieving Mothers

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* Every Saturday afternoon, mothers who have lost a child in the post election protests, joined by some relatives and friends, hold a quiet walk in the Laleh Park in Tehran. It is one of  the many forms in which the supporters of the Green Movement remind everyone that their demand for a fair election and a democratic government is alive and well. The following is a short clip from Saturday, Oct. 10:

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* You can read about these mothers who are becoming a global icon for justice: http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/oct/mourning-mothers.

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Ph.D Defense Conducted Outside the University

* As you will see in the item below, Iranian university students continue to demonstrate against the current government. The seriousness of these protests became apparent when Tehran Polytechnic conducted a Ph.D. defense in a building outside its main  campus on Saturday, Oct. 10. The reason why this defense could have led to protests is that the main advisor was Golam Ali Haddad Adel, a member of the Iranian Parliament who supports Ahmadinejad. According to the website of Tehran Polytechnic, even though the defense was moved out of the university, Haddad Adel’s name was still not mentioned in the announcement: http://www.autnews.me/node/3576.

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Universities Across the Country in Constant Protest

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* What news services here do not seem to reflect is the widespread nature of the protests across Iran. Below are some short sample videos that the students have managed to capture on cell phones and make available to outsiders:

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Mashhad University:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1061080906191&ref=mf

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Tehran University of Science and Technology:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102631346420319&ref=mf

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Azad University, Tehran:

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102620073088113&ref=mf

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Shiraz University:

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Shiraz University Protest

Shiraz University Protest

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This is an article, not a clip describing the students protest: http://www.autnews.cc/node/3420.

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Shahre Kord (Azad U.):

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http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=102616716421782&ref=mf

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* Other major universities such as Isfahan and Tabriz University have reported similar incidents.

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What is Missing

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* An interesting analysis of the recent events in Iran:  http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/oct/whats-missing.

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The Moderate Conservative Prevails

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* While from the outside, the Iranian political scene might look black and white (the hardliners verses the reformists), the reality on the ground is far more complicated. Days ago, Mr. Ali Larijani, a moderate conservative – and an opponent of Mr. Ahmadinejad – won the overwhelming support of his senior conservative colleagues in the parliament to stay in the leadership position. I would not present Mr. Larijani as a liberal by any means. However, in the recent events, he has criticized the conduct of the election, the state-run media, and Mr. Ahmadinejad himself. Here is some more detail of the vote in his favor: http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/parliamentary-speaker-larijani-prevails-over-pro-ahmadinejad-mps/.

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Upcoming Day of Students Solidarity with People

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* Peaceful demonstrations are planned for the 13th of Abaan (Nov. 4)to highlight the solidarity between the students and the general public in Iran. Clips like this are already circulating. The refrain of the song “hamrah show aziz!” which could be translated literally as “walk with me, my dear!” or metaphorically as “join our movement” is now a hit song:

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* Iranian bloggers are already busy posting images of wall writings and other announcements for the up-coming demonstrations: http://iranisabzpics.blogspot.com/2009/10/blog-post_9991.html.

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A beautiful painting by Ms. Shahverdi. Please click the link to your left for more of her incredible work.

A beautiful painting by Ms. Shahverdi. Please click the link to your left for more of her incredible work.

A Beautiful Exhibit

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* Let’s close the window with a slide show of Ms. Shahverdi’s beautiful paintings. Unfortunately, her website does not provide much biographical information about her. Enjoy her paintings. Click here for a slide show of her work: Ms. Shahverdi Slide Show.

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Don’t forget to share the blog with friends: https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/.

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Good Night,

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Fatemeh

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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 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
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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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