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Posts Tagged ‘Fatemeh Keshavarz’

Greetings,

I have been away from the blog for a while for family and work reasons. With Iran back in the headlines, it’s time for more updates. But first some good local news.

Sharnush Parsipur at Washington University

This week, we hosted one of the most prominent Iranian Writers of the 20th and the 21st century on the campus of Washington University. Parsipur, the author of Women Without Men and Touba and the Meaning of the Night, among many other great titles, was here to speak with students in Advanced Persian who had read Women without Men. In addition to writing her own wonderful work, Parsipur has been a powerful advocate for creativity, freedom, and human rights in Iran, ideals for which she has endured many prison sentences. Now living in the United States, Parsipur continues to write novel after novel. The two novels I mentioned here both exist in English translation and, hopefully, others will follow. Read more about her here.

The students of Persian at Washington University admired Parsipur's frank, energetic and engaging style

Alleged Iranian Murder Plot on the American Soil

The Iranian and the American government don’t seem to be able to live without accusing each other. By now you have all been reading about this one. According to American officials: The Iranian Quds Force used an Iranian-American Used-car Dealer, and $1.5 million, to hire assassins from a Mexican drug cartel to murder the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and attack the Israeli Embassy. Much has been said about this and skepticism about the news has been a feature of most reports. English Aljazeera called it the fast and furious plot to occupy Iran A more neutral – but still critical – article by Reza Marashi and Trita Parsi appeared on Huffington Post soon after the news broke out. The piece called The “come to Jesus” moment in US Iran relations criticized the scenario for its sloppiness quoting Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East say the “Quds Force has never been this sloppy, using untested proxies, contracting with Mexican drug cartels, sending money through New York bank accounts, and putting its agents on U.S. soil where they risk being caught… The Quds Force is simply better than this.” See the full article here.

A central question, raised by many, is what could Iran have gained by having the Saudi Ambassador murdered. If anything, the Iranian government has been trying to build a steady relationships with its neighboring countries. It’ll be interesting to see what other details about this case may emerge. For now, I leave you with three interesting pieces, one about the personality of the alleged terrorist here, one on the Justice department conceding “no conclusive proof” here. And the third, an interesting analysis by the ex-CIA officer here.

Iran’s Reaction to the Allegations of a Murder Plot

The alleged murder plot has united the various factions – if momentarily – inside Iran. The Iranian leader described the allegations as absurd and a way to distract the American people from the protests taking place in the U.S., here. As for the Quds force, one of its top leaders boasted that if they had such intentions they could assassinate King Abd’allah himself without coming to the US soil.

Iran Blames the Outlawed MKO for the Murder Plot

The Iranian government is pointing its finger toward the outlawed Iranian dissidents Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) as the force behind the plot, here. The MKO has been working hard recently to get its name off the terrorist list in the US and has such supports as John Bolton (U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, 2005-06) among American politicians.

The MKO participated in the Iraqi invasion of the southern parts of Iran by Saddam Husein’s Army which led to an eight year war (1980-88) between Iran and Iraq and the use of chemical weapons by Saddam forces on Iranian soldiers and civilians.

Weather in this case the MKO is involved is not yet clear. However, the organization pursues a policy of preventing normalization of relations between US and Iran and prefers military confrontation between the two countries. For this reason, the MKO has been condemning any peace activism with Iran, considering such activists “lobbyists for Iran.” Recently, The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) which sends peace delegations to Iran and many other countries around the world regardless of their government’s relationship with the U.S., posted an article in Persian on its main website to refute the MKO accusation that its members are lobbyists for the Iranian government, here.

The Real Problem with Alleged Terror Plots

The real problem with these inflated and frequently unprovable allegations is that they form the main headlines about Iran and mask the real problems in the country: the crimes which are being committed against Iranian citizens in Iranian jails.

Just over a month ago, President Ahmadinejad made his annual UN speech and the usual round of interviews in which he claimed again and again no one is harmed in Iran for criticizing him. Guess what? This is not true:

This is Peyman Aref helped by his wife and friends after being released from a year in jail. His accusation: insulting President Ahmadinejad

The “crime” that the Tehran University student Peyman Aref had committed was writing an open letter to President Ahmadinejad complaining of student and faculty purges which are designed to eliminate the presence of the opposition in Iranian universities. The government claims that the tone of the letter did not show enough respect to the President.

The reason why Payman needed to be helped to the car by his wife and friends is that in addition to serving a year in jail, he received 74 lashes upon his release. This what his back looked like after the punishment:

Payman's back after 74 lashes for writing a critical open letter to President Ahmadinejad

It would help if American reporters have such pictures handy when interviewing the Iranian President.

Opposition to Gender Segregation Continues

Despite the harshness of the punishments awaiting any form of opposition, Iranian university students continue to voice their objection to the deteriorating social conditions, lack of freedom, in the country. One of the most controversial issues is the current governments attempt to start a process of gender segregation in the universities. The clip below shows a demonstration in Zanjaan University protesting a possible segregation:

Other students in various universities across the country are protesting the plans for gender segregation.

Time for Some Visual Healing

I usually close this window with images of paintings by Iranian women painters. This time, I am going to leave you with beautifully expressive images of Iranian women painted by an Iranian mail artist Afshin Nikravesh. Nikravesh was born in 1968 in Tehran and his main training is in Hydraulic structures!

A member of Society of Iranian Painters, Nikravesh is faculty at the School of Engineering in Tehran University

Girl reading, exhibited in June, 2011

In fact the main theme of June Exhibit of the paintings by Nikravesh were women. Here is one in a white scarf:

Last but not least, this beautiful silhouette of a young woman:

Before closing this window, a brief personal news. You read these windows in many different parts of the world and are always kind to ask to be informed if I am speaking anywhere near where you live. Well, I’ll be speaking at Pomona College next week, and at NYU in the Iranian Studies Initiative soon after than. You can visit the site here.

Have a great weekend!

Fatemeh

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Heavy governmental security on the streets of Tehran preventing Green Movement marchers from reaching Azadi Square, February 11th 2010 (22 Bahman).

Heavy governmental security on the streets of Tehran preventing Green Movement marchers from reaching Azadi Square, February 11th 2010 (22 Bahman).

Dear All,
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As the Iranian authorities continue to brag about the success of the February 11 rallies, the Iranian Cyber Army has renewed its attacks on Persian websites that are now distributing real news and images from the event. News coming out of Iran, slowly but surely, reveals the highly orchestrated nature of the rally, the heavy transportation of the people from the provinces. More importantly, the news coming out of Iran explains why the Iranian official media did not go live with their reporting and the pictures they showed later where closed angle and from limited locations.

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Full Blown Martial Law
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* Friends leaving Tehran for the U.S. early in the morning of Monday, February 8, described the condition of the city as a full blown martial law. Streets were barricaded with armored cars, and passing cars were inspected to ensure the streets remain empty of Green Citizens for the Feb. 11 rally.
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* These and many other facts were not accessible to foreign reporters who arrived a the right time and traveled along selected routs. Reporting on events which the Iranian government wants to present in a certain light is, therefore, a highly risky and complicated matter which poses ethical and political questions. I have a recent piece discussing this particular issue in the online magazine Counterpunch. In it, I quote from a moving letter by Iranian journalists in exile speaking about their jailed counterparts in Iran: http://www.counterpunch.org/keshavarz02112010.html .

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What Was Really Going on In the Azadi Square
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* While the Greens were being beaten up and prevented from getting to the Azadi Square, this very short clip shows buses getting the supporters to the location:

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And, to see many more videos of the buses, click here: http://www.rahesabz.info/story/10205/ .

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Despite all the efforts, however, the actual crowd gathered in the Azadi Square for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s address appears to have been way below what the government has been claiming in its reports (which were not broadcast live). Furthermore, shots of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speech are closed angle to cover specific areas. I attach here a revealing eight minute clip taken by a cell phone from inside the square as Mr. Ahmadinejad speaks:

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This is the Treatment the Opposition Received

* While the carefully imported supporters recieved cake and fruit juice, the following treatment was reserved for the opposition: http://www.facebook.com/mousavi#!/video/video.php?v=107608539255933&ref=mf .

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And:

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* “Neither canons, nor tanks, or the Basij will stop us”:

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And, to see many more videos, click here: http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10075/
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*  Down with Russia:

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* “Down with the Dictator” on Tehran metro:

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* Slogans in support of Mir Hussein Mousavi:

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* More support for Mir Hussein:

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* The Green supporters in Isfahan sing the song of the group “yare dabestani” a minute into the video:

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* Political prisoners must be freed:

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* Political prisoners must be freed:

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* Asking for public referendum :

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* Down with the dictator: http://www.facebook.com/mousavi#!/video/video.php?v=107603179256469&ref=mf .

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* And in this site, you will find many twits accompanied by images:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/2/11/836212/-Tweets-from-Iran-(UPDATE-with-images .

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* And Iranian.com, another site which keeps posting Feb.11 protest videos as they come in: http://www.iranian.com/main/2010/feb/protests-22-bahman .

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Exciting New Website on Iran — Iran Unfiltered
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* Young and energetic Iranian Americans are becoming more and more involved in producing intelligent and informed discussion on the internet regarding the country of their cultural heritage. I have news of one such site for you: http://www.iranunfiltered.com/ . Do visit the site. And as you enjoy the new headlines, news and analysis remember the web master is from St. Louis. Have fun!

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My Anonymous E-miler’s Brother Injured During Protest

* I send all our best wishes to my anonymous e-mailer who has been providing wonderful personal insight …and whose brother has been shot in protests. Fortunately he is alive and recovering. We will refrain from contact for a while.

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A Beautiful Gilaki Song to Lighten up the Mood

* Music from the province of Gilan in Northern Iran is particularly lively and cheerful. Men and women working in rice and tea fields sing these songs. Here is a short clip with a Gilaki song and lots of beautiful images from Gilan. Enjoy!      http://www.kalam.tv/fa/video/13876/index.html .
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Have a great week, and pass on https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/ to friends.

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Best,

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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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One of the MANY posters calling for peaceful "Green" protests on Feb. 11th in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Please see the posters throughout this post as well as the link at the end of this post for many more.

One of the MANY posters calling for peaceful "Green" protests on Feb. 11th in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Please see the posters throughout this post as well as the link at the end of this post for many more.

Dear All,
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Greetings from Washington University in St. Louis…after a long delay. As those of you in academia know well, spring semesters are notorious for being busy. To attend to my teaching and departmental duties, the windows (e-mails and the blog) had be put on the back burner for a while.  I am happy to be back with a plan: to make the windows shorter so I can sustain them.
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While you not have had a chance to follow the details, the Green Movement has sustained itself in the face of much brutality from the government.
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* About two days away from celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Iranian 1979 Revolution, and as the government of Mr. Ahmadinejad (in deep financial and political trouble)  has invited the western press to witness, and report, the celebrations, we hear from Reporters without Borders that 65 Iranian reporters are in jail. This figure is unprecedented. Over a dozen of these reporters, whose fault is that they wish to report the events in Iran freely, were arrested in the past two days in anticipation of the “celebrations.”

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One of the MANY posters calling for peaceful "Green" protests on Feb. 11th in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Please see the posters throughout this post as well as the link at the end of this post for many more.

One of the MANY posters calling for peaceful "Green" protests on Feb. 11th in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Please see the posters throughout this post as well as the link at the end of this post for many more.

Mr. Mousavi’s Daring Interview
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* Last week, for the first time, in an interview with the online magazine “Kalameh-i Sabz,” Mr. Mousavi suggested that the goals of the 1979 revolution for democratization of Iran have not been achieved and therefore, the revolution is incomplete. Furthermore, he said that “Religious despotism” is the worst kind of dictatorship. A group of us have praised his courage and expressed support for his position in an open letter (available here: Open Letter In Support of the Greens), which will be publicized shortly.  If you are an academic of Iranian heritage and would like to add your voice to ours please e-mail your willingness, name, and position to: drahni@optonline.net and please do so a.s.a.p.
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Two New Warnings for the Supreme Leader
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* As green Iranians prepare for a massive rally on Thursday, Feb. 11, two major religious figures, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, and Hojat al-Islam Hashemi Rafsanjani warned the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of the consequences of his actions. Both these political and religious authorities asked for immediate, and unconditional, release of political prisoners and suggested that Mr. Khamenei distances himself from extremists.

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Recommendation to the Green Marchers

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*A large number of posters and guide lines have been distributed in Iran over the past few days concerning the Thursday rally. The main points are:
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One of the MANY posters calling for peaceful "Green" protests on Feb. 11th in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Please see the posters throughout this post as well as the link to the left for many more.

One of the MANY posters calling for peaceful "Green" protests on Feb. 11th in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Please see the posters throughout this post as well as the link to the left for many more.

* Come out in large numbers! The foreign press is present and you will be safe.
* Do not wear clothes that make you conspicuous.
* Instead of shouting your slogans and possibly being arrested, write them down in public places.
* Don’t use any form of violence, verbal, or physical.
* Take as many pictures as you can.
* Do not take your green signs out until you are in the Azadi Square …or close.
* When Mr. Ahmadinejad begins to speak, take your green signs out, stand up and turn your backs to him.
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To see a nice selection of the posters, please click here February 11, 2010 Posters to see the power point slide show that I have prepared. It is not even a third of what is being distributed. I just did not want to make the file too large.
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Have a great day.

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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
Honorary Co-Chair, Iranians For Peace
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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The State-run newspaper "Keyhan" estimated the crowd at Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral (above) at only 5,000!!!

The State-run newspaper "Keyhan" estimated the crowd at Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral (above) at only 5,000!!!

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Dear All,
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Today has been described as a new day in the life of the Iranian Green opposition.  At the request of Mr. Mousavi and Karrubi, hundreds of thousands of people turned up to participate in the funeral of the Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri who passed away on Sunday. Ayatollah Montazeri parted ways with the founder of the Iranian Revolution over the issue of human rights violation in Iran (among other things).
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* The Iranian official news agency described the funeral attenders as approximately 5,000! It is not quite clear how they think they can maintain the appearance. However, look at the photo above this message to see a shot of the “five thousand” mourners for yourself.

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* The BBC has an informative news item as well:

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* Not surprisingly, Ayatollah Montazeri’s personal website seems to be down (possibly hacked). In the absence of that, I refer you to this general article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosein-Ali_Montazeri.
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Don’t forget to share “https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/” with friends.

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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
==================================

Read Full Post »

Dear All,

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, one of the spiritual leaders of the Green Movement, has passed away.

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, one of the spiritual leaders of the Green Movement, has passed away.

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Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, died last night at age 87 in the city of Qom. In the past few months, he had come to be known as the spiritual father of the Green Movement in Iran. Mr. Mousavi and Karroubi have declared tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 21, a day of national mourning.
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Background

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Grand Ayatollah Montazeri was designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini until their major fall out in 1988. Montazeri’s dismay was caused by many issues including the executions of the opposition leaders, the lack of openness to political parties, and the insistence on exporting the revolution. Not only did Ayatollah Montazeri loose his political position as a result of objecting to these policies, he was condemned to house arrest, severe curtailment of his personal activities, and regular abuse by the state run media.
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In real life, he never lost his respect among the general public or the other grand Ayatollahs. His images surfaced at almost any public protest. With the crystallization of  the Green Movement after the 2009 election, Montazeri emerged as its spiritual father. He issued daring statements in condemnation of the government’s abuse of power, repression, and particularly torture and abuse in the Kahrizak prison.
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His death is unlikely to be good news for the current regime in Iran. It has already triggered events, even before the designated day of morning, which they are trying desperately to prevent. Below see a small sample coming out of Iran hours ago.
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Demonstrations in support of Ayatollah Montazeri
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* In his birth place near Isfahan:
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* Ilm o San’at University, takes a few seconds for the image to get straightened:

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* Sharif University:

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Have a Great Winter Break,

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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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Iranian students flooded the streets and campus today, December 7th, 2009. See the videos below for live coverage.

Iranian students flooded the streets and campus today, December 7th, 2009. See the videos below for live coverage.

Dear All,

This window is dedicated to the brave Iranian students who came out today on Students Day in large numbers to make it clear that their protests to the June general  election, and the way it has been handled by the government, are far from over. With security forces everywhere, including the entrance to hospitals, peaceful unarmed protesters were subjected to teargas, pepper gas, physical assault and arrest. The government of Iran had extended the religious holiday of Ghadir in the hope that the students would return to their home towns and today’s protests would remain small. The scope and intensity of the demonstrations, however, made it clear that many students did not take advantage of the offer. Furthermore, many non-students joined them in their protests. In this clip, Amir Kabir Students open the door and let in the outside protesters into the university:

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Protests Continue Amidst Arrests
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Incoming reports, limited to eyewitness accounts, and short clips taken by cell phones and posted on youtube, indicate that the protests continued in many cities in Iran, amidst arrests and attacks, into the afternoon and early evening hours. The most common slogan addressed to the members of the Revolutionary Guards militia, the Basij, was “How much money do you get to wield that baton?” This particular clip was taken from facebook and posted on the NIAC website: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105011899516362.
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Locations of the Student Protests

The Iranian government suspended the permits of the foreign press momentarily so they could not report the student protests of today. Perhaps they would have been wiser to permit proper reporting. Below there are clips of student demonstrations across Iran. Pieced together, they picture an ominous future for the regime which seems unable to overcome its state of denial of the reality. I could have added many more clips.
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Tehran University:

Ilam University:


Karaj University:

Tabriz University:

Mashhad Azad University:

Streets of Tehran:

Streets of Tehran:

Khajeh Naseer University:

Elm o San’at University:

Elm o San’at University:

Elm o San’at University:

Amir Kabir University:

Amir Kabir University:

Sharif University:

Kerman University:

Isfahan University:

Qazvin University:

Gilan University:

Hormoszgan University:

Honar Unviersity:

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Here are some more, available on Facebook:

Tehran University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105011899516362.

Tehran Azad University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104953809521406&ref=mf.

Beheshti University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104960846187369&ref=mf.

Mashhad University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104944512855669&ref=mf.

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Toronto Laser Show in Support of Iran Protests

* Some major cities in the world predicted the events of today and expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters. Let me share the video of a beautiful modern art work that the Canadians made to express their support for these protesters and the Green Movement as a whole.

* A high-power green laser projected on the Sky dome/Rogers Center to bring awareness to the current situation in Iran . Thousands of residents of Toronto were able to see the projections from their apartments, homes and on the streets below.  Watch it all the way (approximately six minutes) with the speakers on to hear the music:


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Zahrah Rahnavard, Mousavi’s Wife, attacked Outside Tehran University

* Today’s demonstrations were used by government forces to make targeted attacks. Among these was an attack with pepper spray on Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi. Rahnavard, whose eye sight has been effected, is in hospital.

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Mousavi’s Youth Campaign Organizer Arrested

* Another victim of the police was Mohamad Ja’far Tahmasebi, the cultural coordinator of the student organization affiliated with Mr. Mousavi’s campaign. He was arrested today while protesting with fellow students in Tehran.

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Faezeh Hashemi Among the Students

* On the positive side, the student protesters were visited by Faezeh Hashemi, one time representative of Tehran in the Majlis, and daughter of the two times president Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani. She was warmly recieved and thanked by the demonstrators:

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Students of Iranian Descent in Holland

* Before closing this special window, I am going to turn to another struggle the Iranian students have been facing in another part of the world.

* Court Hearing in case of Iranian Students, 10 December 2009: Since July 2008, the Dutch Government has banned Iranian citizens, as well as Dutch citizens of Iranian descent, from parts of certain university graduate programs. In addition, five locations have been designated as forbidden for the latter group. This measure is presumably meant to avoid the ‘proliferation of sensitive information. Iranian students have been objecting to this ban arguing that securing any information can be perfectly achieved without such a discriminatory measure.

* The Campaign of Iranian Students has taken legal actions against the Dutch government, and the case will soon appear before the court. Although the initial assessments are promising, the students have asked for public support, especially in the form of their presence during the court hearing. The court hearing is scheduled on Thursday, the 10th of December at 10:30 am at the Palace of Justice in The Hague.
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Put Your Gun Down!

* There are reports that at least one student has died in Iran today. One can only hope that the Iranian authorities see the reality of the situation and realize that violence will not calm the struggle for reform in Iran. I was looking for a piece of art that would heal the sadness caused by today’s events, and I thought of the Iranian master vocalist Mohamad Reza Shajarian. He has a song based on lyrics by the celebrated contemporary poet Fereidun Moshiri. The refrain to this song, which Mr. Shajarian dedicated to the Green Movement in Iran reads:  “Put your gun down!”  It is the most fitting piece to end this window:

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Please remember to share the website https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/ with friends.

Good Night,

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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A photo of one of the courageous women defiling the governments orders and proudly demonstrating in favor of the Green Movement during the November 4th "Quds Day" protests.

A photo of one of the courageous Iranian women defying the government's orders and proudly demonstrating in favor of the Green Movement during the November 4th, 2009 "Quds Day" protests.

Dear All,
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I hope you are well. I have not sent you a window in a long time. This is not because in Iran the opposition has stopped its efforts or some of the issues have been resolved. As you see from this window, neither of these is the case. The delay is merely the result of my business with teaching and departmental duties. So, without further ado, let me open window 98.
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Another Image from Iran Receives World Attention
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* Images from Iranian Greens have now become part of the world visual repertoire. To the right, is another incredible image of courage during the Nov. 4th protests. The image was circulated worldwide.

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Ahmadinejad Supporters No longer Back Him
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* Since the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, determining the degree of his support among the population in rural and small urban areas has been at the center of debates over the issue of electoral fraud. The research presented here is the result of polling and the tracking of political opinion in eleven rural and small urban areas with populations between 8,000 and 34,000 people in Fars and Isfahan provinces in the following periods: two five-month intervals from June 2008 to March 2009; and late April, the first week of June, the middle of July, and the middle of September in 2009.

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* The polling, done by people local to these areas, was conducted in various places of employment and recreation, via telephone, and face-to-face. Despite organizational difficulties, the total amount of people who participated over this period was 11,529. The study tried to reflect the demographic percentages of each town in the sample groups. For example, the largest group polled in most areas was the 20-to-32-year-old age group, which is the dominant age group, according to official records. The methodology for the study was based on theoretical work on polling conducted in non-and semi-democratic polities: http://www.insideiran.org/featured/study-reveals-ahmadinejad-supporters-in-rural-areas-no-longer-back-him/.

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Protests Continue Amidst Harsh Sentences
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* Recently, Mr. Saffar Harandi, President Ahmadinejad’s ex-minister of Islamic culture, tired of strong negative reception of the officials in major universities,  visited a teacher training college in the small town of Karaj outside Tehran. As you watch the students protesting his presence on this small campus, remember the brutality with which the regime puts down any kind of objection. The results of the trials of 89 post-election protesters announced recently indicate that while 3 were released, 81 received jail time ranging from 6 to 15 years, and 5 were sentenced to death. As you see in this video, however, the brutal crack down seems to only intensify the protests:

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Abtahi Sentenced to Six Years in Jail

* http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/11/20091122212736626494.html.

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Six Years in Jail for a Blog

* Ali Behzadian-nejad received a six years jail sentence for the anti-government comments that people put on his blog. You might be interested to know that he is the nephew of Ghorban Behzadian-nejad, one of the organizers of Mr. Mousavi’s election campaign.

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Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani

Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani

The Kahrizak Doctor Dies at the Age of 26 Due to a “Heart Attack”

* As you know, after the June 2009 election, many who protested the fairness of the election ended up in the Kahrizak prison which soon developed a reputation as the Guantanamo of Iran. Mr. Karrubi, one of the candidates, has been pursuing an investigation into the assaults in Kahrizak. Today, the news of the death of Dr. Pourandarjani, the young physician who examined many of the detainees, adds to the validity of the claims that torture has
been used on these detainees: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/11/kahrizak-doctor-dies-first-lady-appears-in-public-in-rome.html.

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* A new investigation reveals Dr. Pourandarjani was poisoned: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8388728.stm.
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Iranian Student Speaks Critically in the presence of the Supreme Leader
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* A young Iranian student who won an international math contest two years ago, speaks critically of the Iranian Supreme Leader in a Q&A session with him: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/06/iran-student-criticises-ayatollah-khamenei.

Mahmoud Vahidnia speaking and criticizing the Supreme Leader at the Q&A session.

Mahmoud Vahidnia speaking and criticizing the Supreme Leader at the Q&A session.

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Fox Apologizes to Haddadi, the Iranian NBA Player, for Derogatory Remark
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* The Iranian American community is learning to use its voice. Hours after two Fox commentators made derogatory remarks about Hamed Haddadi an Iranian American NBA Player, thousands of demands for apology were made. Fox had to apologize to Haddadi, twelve hours after the two anchors had made their remarks: http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1557&Itemid=2.

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Neda Agha-Soltan

Neda Agha-Soltan

Oxford University Establishes Scholarship Named after Neda
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* Neda Agha Soltan was shot to death during a protest that took place days after the disputed election in Iran. The scene of her shooting and tragic death was captured on cell phone and viewed worldwide. She has since become the symbol of the Iranian youth’s protests to the 2009 election. Queen’s College at Oxford has just announced the establishment of an Iranian Studies Scholarship in honor of Neda: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8354372.stm.

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Iranian Graduate Students and Professionals in the U.S. Ask for Multiple Entry Visas
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* For years, the Iranian graduate students in the U.S. often have had to stay in the country for the duration of their studies because if they leave – even for a family emergency – they will face the strong possibility of not being allowed back in and therefore loose their graduate career. For the first time, the Iranian graduate students and professionals are campaigning to get the INS to allow them have multiple entry visas. In their letter, they described their community as  an “active and vivacious part of the international environment at universities” and “one of the most distinguished contributors to American academic life.”

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Is There a Threat of an Israeli Attack on Iran?
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* At least this round of diplomacy with Iran does not seem to be getting very far. If so, would Israel decide to move ahead with an attack on Iran? Could (and should?) the U.S. prevent that? Why? These are all issues that Trita Parsi, President of the Iranian American National Council is addressing in his latest article written for Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trita-parsi/washington-can-give-an-is_b_373205.html.

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A New Hit Song from Shajarian
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* Amidst uncertainties about the new steps the current government might take to curb further protests to its legitimacy, Iranians continue to show great interest in music and other art forms.

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* In Iran, many artists are iconic figures for reform – distinct among them the legendary vocalist, Mohamad Reza Shajarian. Shajarian who had spoken candidly about the undemocratic nature of Mr. Ahmadinjad’s government while in Germany was reprimanded upon return to Tehran last week. Nonetheless, due to his immense popularity, no arrest was made.

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* It would be fitting to close this window with a song which was posted on Youtube in spring. It shows him – and his son Homayun, at concert in Tehran. This song is now a major hit. Based on a ghazal of Rumi which ends with the refrain “saghiya” it addresses the cup-bearer, a symbolic figure able to free the soul from the narrow confines of sobriety and dry logic:

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The poster reads: "Students Strike All Over Iran: 50 Cities, 200 Universities". See the link below for many more examples of the posters circulating in Iran currently.

The poster reads: "Students Strike All Over Iran: 50 Cities, 200 Universities". See the link below for many more examples of the posters circulating in Iran currently.

December 7 Protests Approaching
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* In the meantime, Iranians prepare for another day of protest: “Students Day,” the 16th of the Persian month of Azar (Dec. 7). The posters for this day are already circulating. One of them is on the right and many other examples are here: December 7th Student Protest Posters.

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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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