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Posts Tagged ‘shiraz’

Dear All,

Greetings and best wishes for a restful weekend! St. Louis has been rainy for the past few days its magnificent trees bursting into a beautiful summery green. I am in awe of the trees around me after 25 years of living here (exactly as long as I lived in my hometown Shiraz in south west of Iran). Did I say Shiraz? Okay, let me give a few visual samples. Let’s start with seasonal change. In Shiraz, you can see the arrival of the spring in a matter of days:

The Eram garden, built in mid 19th cent. in Northern Shiraz, welcomes the spring!

While we are on short tour of Shiraz, you should definitely see another 19th century building, Nasir al-Molk school and mosque:

Nasir al-Molk’s stain glass windows are quite famous though perhaps not quite as well known as the blue tiles used in the Safavid mosques of Isfahan. May be we’ll look at buildings in Isfahan in another window.

The inner halls of mosques are cool and serene. Sometimes people just sit there to pray or meditate.

The name of this school is for me associated with the stories my father told us about his youth. He lived in the vicinity of the school and passed through this courtyard often.

The city of Shiraz now has a population of over two million, many sprawling urban areas, as well as pockets of old historical neighborhoods. Every time a new highrise goes up, I pray that it is not at the cost of a beautiful old building. Fortunately, Shiraz municipality has been good at preserving historic sites.

Politics: Nuclear Negotiations

There is every indication that this round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 (representatives of six countries – the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain) will be very different. The headlines I was reading in the Iranian newspapers last week sounded clear conciliatory notes, an indication that the public opinion in Iran is being prepared for compromises on the nuclear front.  The same readiness to overcome differences can be sensed in the comments made by the 5+1 team (though Western politicians continue to use a threatening language). Even the appearances and facial expressions look different on all sides. Sa’id Jalili, the Iranian chief negotiator arrived in Istanbul empowered as the special envoy of the Supreme Leader relaxed and smiling:

The Iranian chief nuclear negotiator who was viewed as uncompromising is rapidly reinventing himself as a smiling and skilled negotiator

To read more on what has happened in the very first round of the negotiations, read this Guardian article. For a real in-depth analysis of the political conflict between Iran and the United States, see this piece by Professor Juan Cole of Michigan University here.  The Huffington Post also has good piece on the Istanbul nuclear negotiations, here. Okay, let me now give you an overview of my observations about what is going on. What is different about this round of negotiations? First, the American side. I believe that President Obama is  very willing to go the extra mile to make the negotiations work this time because allowing for the oil embargo to come into full effect means another serious hike in the price of oil and a kind of gas price that no president would like to deal with during an election year. On the Iranian side, the sanctions have begun to hurt in a deeper way. Shortage of many things – including drugs – are being felt by a large segment of the population. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the Iranian change of approach to these negotiations is more the result of the new internal political dynamics which have consolidated the power of the Supreme Leader, Mr. Ali Khamenei, and left Mr. Ahmadinejad fairly week after the parliamentary elections in early March. There is every indication that Mr. Khamenei would like to solve – or at least reduce – the political tension between the two countries whereby revealing his superior diplomatic wisdom to that of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s uncompromising ways. With most reformist figures languishing in jail, and Ahmadinejad’s camp in disarray, the credit for any success in finding a diplomatic solution to the Iran/US conflict will clearly go to the Supreme Leader. This explains why Mr. Sa’id Jalili has been given the added title of the Supreme Leader’s special envoy.

Seymour Hersh’s Recent Report on Iran

Journalist Seymour Hersh has come forth again with recent revelations concerning American military secretly training an Iranian opposition group, which is on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists, to carry out acts of sabotage inside Iran. Hersh reports the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. Watch his interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy now, here.

An Auspicious Life Saving Coincidence

I have not seen this reported in the American media yet but Iranian media is reporting that an airplane belonging to an unspecified airline flying to the Arab Emirate had to make an emergency landing in Tehran airport because one of the passengers, an unnamed 52 year old American, going through a major heart condition needed immediate attention. According to the report, the passenger’s life was saved by the Iranian medics who rushed to the plane. He is currently under care in a Tehran cardiac hospital. Is this a lucky coincidence? Or, what?

The Third Issue of Zannegar is out!

The third issue of Zannegar, the electronic journal for women's studies scholars and activists is out.

Not so long ago I told you of the publication of Zannegar whose first issue focused on the intersection between gender and sexuality with science and technology, and  the second examined the women’s movement in its global context. The third issue published on April 7 focuses on Art and Culture from a feminist perspective. Do check out the latest issue of Zannegar here and share the news with interested friends, colleagues, students…

Musical Delight

I’d like to leave you with a beautiful duet sang by two of the greatest  living masters of classical Persian music, the vocalist Parisa and Master Hossein Omoumi, the composer, nay player and professor of music at UCI

Have a wonderful weekend,

Fatemeh

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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)

|

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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Windows on Iran 28

Jewish School in Shiraz, Iran (photo courtesy of www.iranian.com). Read below to learn about the strong and proud Iranian Jewish community.

A Jewish School in Shiraz, Iran. Please read below to learn about the strong and proud Iranian Jewish community. (photo courtesy of http://www.iranian.com).

Dear All,

Welcome to another Window on Iran. I am delighted to report that I
have just welcomed our first subscriber from Italy! Is this cool or
what? Thank you all for doing such a super job of promoting these
windows globally. Now practically anywhere I do public speaking, a
number of people in the audience are familiar with these windows. I am
also grateful to you all for forwarding to me the interesting stuff
you like to share with others.

On to our Window number 28!

Current Issues:
* I start this week’s current issues with an amazing piece of evidence
that came to light on April 29:

Barely a week has been passed since our speaker Professor
Ghamari-Tabrizi made his excellent presentation “A Manufactured
Crisis: Facts, Fiction, and the Politics of a Nuclear Iran” at
Washington University. Professor Ghamari spoke to a surprised audience
about numerous steps taken by Iran over the past few years to reduce
tension with the U.S. and to end the crisis. These steps were ignored
by the current U.S. administration. An op-ed piece in yesterday’s NY
Times by Nicholas Kristof reveals exactly that: a secret proposal that
the Iranian government sent to the current American administration in
the hope of making peace. Mr. Kristof, who still uses a demeaning
language to speak of Iranians, admits nevertheless that “The officials
from the repressive, duplicitous government of Iran pursued peace more
energetically and diplomatically than senior Bush administration
officials.” The Iranian proposal offered “full transparency”
concerning the Iranian nuclear technology, “active support for Iraqi
stabilization,” and “pressuring Hamas to stop violent actions against
civilians inside Israel” among other things. Obviously, Iran wanted
something in return. These demands described by Mr. Kristof as ‘a lot’
included “mutual respect,” abolition of sanctions, access to peaceful
nuclear technology and a U.S. statement that Iran did not belong in
the “axis of evil.” Sadly, the Iranian diplomats, (obviously
moderates) who had worked hard to make this proposal possible, were
ignored by the American administration and the opportunity that Mr.
Kristof calls “a real hope for peace” was lost. Here is the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/ontheground

More to the point is that another window of opportunity for engaging
Iran in a positive way seems to be around the corner provided we sing
songs different from the one proposed by Senator MacCain.

Suggested Reading:
* If it is hard for you to accept that Iran may have a diverse political
landscape in which there are moderates who oppose the view points of
the extremists and work hard to move Iran in the direction of positive
change, take a look at this excellent recently published book on the
subject: Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty by
Professors Ali Gheissari and Vali Nasr (Oxford University Press,
2006).

* You have heard me complain about the misinformation on Iran. Starting
last summer, the popular media allowed incredibly slanted reporting.
There were times that I felt I was reading about another country not
the one I had just visited. At first, I searched for critical
responses and discussions that would subject such slanted reporting to
scrutiny. Little by little, I lost hope. Finally, I felt so concerned
about the intensity of the misinformation that I decided to start
these windows. Last week, a journalist gave me new respect for our
media. In a special edition of his journal “Buying the War: How did
the Mainstream Press get it so Wrong?” Mr. Bill Moyers asked why the
press did not scrutinize the ‘information’ that led to the war in
Iraq. I pray from the bottom of my heart that we scrutinize the
information given to us which suggests that Iran is a threat to the
world, before it is too late. Please watch this program and compare
the rhetoric to the one used against Iran:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/watch.html

Time to Laugh!

* Let’s get a bit light-hearted with all this political talk. Some
members of CodePink have had a little fun with Senator MacCain’s idea
of using a Beach Boy song to “joke” about bombing a country:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTEBjPCNBbc

Abadan, Iran.

Abadan, Iran.

* While we are on fun themes, Americans who lived in Iran in the 60s and 70s think about Iran nostalgically. Joy Martin, a subscriber to these windows, has sent me this beautiful photo-essay of the city of Abadan by Paul Scheroeder. Thank you Joy!
http://www.iranian.com/Abadan/2007/April/1958/index.html

Science

* Apparently, last year the American Chemical Society suddenly decided to expel its Iranian scientist members (no explanation given). The ACS simply decided not to renew the membership of its Iranian scientist members starting January 2007 without disclosing it to the public. Members heard of this decision when it was reported in the March issue of the Science Magazine. A number of prominent Iranian American scientist have written an open letter to the ACS trying to reverse this decision which they consider to be politically motivated, unfair, and damaging to Iranian scientists:
http://www.payvand.com/news/07/apr/1351.html

Social

Iranian Jews in a synagogue in Tehran (photo courtesy of AP, Hasan Sarbakhshian).

Iranian Jews in a synagogue in Tehran (photo courtesy of AP, Hasan Sarbakhshian).

* There is a recent story in the Christian Science Monitor about Iranian
Jewry. No one should pretend that Iranian society would not benefit
from social reform. Neither do minorities in any society enjoy
identical privileges as the main stream. But Iranian Jews are proud
people. They feel offended by being portrayed as victims, or a
minority whose way of life is disrespected in present day Iran. What
affects them most is the political tension between the Iranian and
Israeli governments. But as you read in the interview, they focus
mostly on positive aspects of their peaceful coexistence with Muslims
and the fact that they are Iranian. Currently there are about 100
functioning synagogues in Iran. I’d like to thank Behrooz Ghamari for
sending me the link to share with you:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0427/p01s03-wome.html
Visual Delight

A beautiful painting by Iranian artist Sholeh Reshad (click the link below for more).

A beautiful painting by Iranian artist Sholeh Reshad (click on the link below for more of her work).

We have to end in our time honored tradition of visiting a painting
gallery. By now, I have sent you slide shows of the paintings of close
to 20 contemporary Iranian women painters, their ages ranging from 20
to 50, and their works technically impressive, artistically
imaginative and colorful (thematically as well as visually). Here is
one to add to the collection: Sholeh Reshad, a 52 year old painter
with long experience and a style of her own. I hope these artistic
works show something of the sophistication of contemporary Iranian
women and the fact that they are not passive fantasy objects locked up
in harems. Click here: Sholeh Reshad Art. Enjoy.

Till Window 29, 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 16

Fin Garden in Kashan, Iran (image courtesy of Afshin Deyhim www.iranian.com).

Fin Garden in Kashan, Iran (image courtesy of Afshin Deyhim http://www.iranian.com).

Dear All,

Greetings! And Happy New Year!

Time to open a new window on Iran. I hope you have had a wonderful holiday so far. Thank you so much for all your kind messages concerning window number 15.  A combination of end of the semester duties and holiday activities have prevented me from writing
individual thank you notes.  I am most appreciative of all your responses. Please note that all the recent requests to be added to the listserv will be taken care of in the coming week.

I would like to indulge in a little holiday self promotion with a good
news!  My latest book –  a study of contemporary Persian poetry – was
just named “an outstanding academic title for the year 2006” by the
ALA’s review journal for academic and research libraries known as the
Choice Magazine. A wonderful Christmas present! The list is a small
percentage of approximately 7,000 titles. Here is the full
bibliographic information on the book:

Fatemeh Keshavarz, Recite in the Name of the Red Rose: Poetic Sacred
Making in 20th Century Iran (University of South Carolina Press,
2006).

Visual Delight:

Before we get into the special report that I have for you about the
very important mid-term elections in Iran, I want to give you my
Christmas gift. This is a power point slide show of a 19th century
private house, the Tabatabai House and a 17th century Safavid garden
called the Fin Garden in the city of Kashan, a central city with a
population of about 300,000. The main portion of the slides were
circulated by my friend Bahar Bastani. In case you want to use this in
class, the show has about 30 slides with a six second transition time
between slides. Just click on here: Fin Garden and the Tabatabai House in the City of Kashan.

Tabatabai House in Kashan, Iran.

Tabatabai House in Kashan, Iran.

Current Issues:

Iranian mid-term elections

Two weeks ago, the Iranian electorate made a clear statement in the
mid term elections in which reformists received 40%, the moderate
conservatives 24%, and the supporters of President Ahmadinejad about 3%
of the vote. The rest of the seats went to independent candidates. Of
the 15 seat up for grab in the Expert Assembly, only one went to his
supporters. This despite the fact that the reformists have objected to
accuracy of the counting process and want a recount of 10 ballot boxes
in each city to demonstrate that the overall pattern of the results
was more in their favor.  Since the main stream American media gave
minimal coverage to this very significant event (although it happened
in a country they are too eager to call the most dangerous country in
the world) I would like to give you some important details:

Among the features of this mid-term election was the prominence of
women in urban as well as rural settings. In my home town Shiraz the
top candidate was a 27 year old female architecture student, Fatemeh
Houshmand . In some cities like Qazvin and Hamadan, the top candidate
as well as 50% of the total elected members were women.

In an editorial for the online political newsletter CounterPunch my
friend Behrooz Ghamari wrote:  “Had this election occurred in an
allied country of the United States, it would have been celebrated as
the highest achievement of American foreign policy.”

What is most unfortunately masked from the American general public is
the maturity and thoughtfulness of the Iranian voter who did not allow
outside pressures on Iran to get translated into an exaggerated
“patriotism” in favor of the current regime. Here are examples of what
some voters said:

– “There is no room to breathe freely, Iran’s international
credibility and respect is diminishing, and we hope that we are not on
a path to war, I voted to change this direction.”
– “I voted to prove that our true desire is to transform this system,
and to show that we don’t need American democracy.”
-“I want to know, in which other country in the world do they have
carnivals on the streets and the artists and celebrities go to
neighborhoods to encourage people to participate?”
– a  young voter from Shiraz called the election a “velvet revolution”
that will strengthen “local decision making and non-governmental
organizations.”

To read Behrooz’s full editorial, click on:
http://www.counterpunch.org/ghamari12182006.html

Iranian Diplomats Arrested in Iraq:

Last week the U.S. defense officials declared the arrest of four
Iranian diplomats in Iraq. Two were released right away. The captured
Iranians – who were not named – were supposed to be carrying all kinds
of sensitive lists and documents pertaining to shipments of weapons
into Iraq, organizational charts, telephone records and maps, among
other sensitive intelligence information. No evidence has been
provided by American officials who are apparently unhappy at the
release of the last two diplomats. The story itself seems somewhat
shaky as the “highly sensitive” information claimed to be carried by
these officials can easily be transmitted electronically – or by two
inconspicuous Iraqi citizens – with much less risk.

According to the Iranian version of the story, the arrested people
were diplomats visiting as guests of the Iraqi President – which
explains why he was agitated at the incident. They were arrested
attending a funeral in the house of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, an Iraqi
Shiite leader. According to this version, these people were released
because none of the claimed documents were found on them.

Iranian Women conducting a 1,000,000 signature Campaign

To reform gender related legal codes in Iran, young Iranian women
activists have started a signature collection campaign. They go door
to door, speak to people about women’s rights, and collect signatures
in support of the reforms which they seek. The innovative nature of
the move and passionate persistence of these young and energetic
feminists have earned them support from the Iranian public and shocked
the opposition. Please publicize this movement to friends who can get
on line and support them. My friend, women’s studies scholar and
activist, Nayereh Tohidi has written about the 1,000,000 signature
campaign:  http://www.payvand.com/news/06/dec/1174.html

On this very bright note, I wish you all a very happy 2007,
and great week.

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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Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami meeting with Hakham Yousef Hamadani Cohen, the chief Rabbi of Iran, in Yousefabad Synagogue on Feb.8, 2003.

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami meeting with Rabbi Hakham Yousef Hamadani Cohen, the chief Rabbi of Iran, in Yousefabad Synagogue on Feb.8, 2003.

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all very well. I have good news — which is becoming a tradition. A brave soul has offered to archive all the windows on Iran on line. This is fantastic. I won’t mention his name yet as he is currently looking into the situation. Only a week ago, a friend asked if I would consider doing this and I said it is just impossible. Well, not so anymore. We might soon have these windows blogged and made available on the internet. The windows are already posted on the online magazine, the American Muslim, courtesy of my friend Sheila Musaji. But this one will be an independent site. I will, of course, make the address available if and when this happens.

Tomorrow, I am off to a very interesting conference in New York called
“Terrorism and the University.” I got invited because the organizers saw
a piece I wrote for the Bulletin of the American Association of
University Professors, Academe (Jan-Feb, 2006). This is a relatively
short essay called: “Making the Silence Visible.” Since its topic is
very relevant to the significance of access to information related to
the Middle East, and the sensitivity of teaching the subject, I provide
the link here, in case you are interested in reading it:
http://www.aaup.org/publications/Academe/2006/06jf/06jfkesh.htm

Now, window number 12 on Iran!

Current Issues:

* A nasty rumor has begun to circulate again: the Iranian government
is planning to force the Iranian Jews to wear a uniform. This is
part of an attempt to compare Iran to Nazi Germany and is totally
unfounded. The Canadian National Post reported it on May 19.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Israeli Internal Security
Minister Avi Dichter, and the American Democratic Senator Chuck
Schumer all issued strong statements of condemnation, based on
Post’s report comparing Iran to Nazi Germany. On May 21, an
offended Maurice Motamed, the Jewish representative in the Iranian
Parliament, said to Financial Times “We representatives for
religious minorities are active in the parliament, and there has
never been any mention of such a thing!” Again, there is no way to
know how many Americans found out that the rumor was unfounded. I
sent information, in previous windows, on the Iranian Jewish
community, their synagogues in Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan, and
other cities (Tehran alone has over twenty synagogues).

* As you can imagine, last night I was totally glued to the TV for
the emerging results of the mid term elections. I guess you were
too. If you like to read about the possible impact of the life
changing mid-term elections on US-Iran relations click on the link
below. The article came out a few days prior to the election but
it is still relevant.
http://www.niacouncil.org/pressreleases/press480.asp

*Last week, Iranian ex-President Mohammad Khatami visited Great
Britain and was given an honorary doctorate at St. Andrews. In
relation to the recent  veil related controversy in England,
Khatami had an interesting message for British Muslims: obey
British law! He validated Britain’s fear of extremism in an
interview with the BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6108600.stm

Iranian British CEO Lady

* While we are on the subject of Britain, I would like to introduce
you to a grand Iranian British lady: Shirian Dehghan, CEO of UK
telecommunications firm Arieso. Shirin Dehghan took top honors at
the Blackberry Women & Technology Award in London. Dehghan who
runs Arieso, a Newbury UK Company that helps mobile operators
around the world keep their networks running optimally and their
customers connected, was named outstanding woman in technology,
2006. http://www.payvand.com/news/06/nov/1084.html

Visual Delight

* In my last Window I presented a modest homemade slide show on a
handful of contemporary Iranian painters. Well, I am now going to
give you a much more extensive and skillfully constructed slide
show of paintings by Iranian artists – including Iman Maleki –
complete with music in the background. For this wonderful visual
treat, you have to thank my wonderful high school friend Zari
Taheri.  http://www.persianfineart.com/home.asp?domain

* Just so we are not all focused on contemporary issues this time,
let me leave you with another very interesting piece. A home
preview of a documentary called “In search of Sirus the Great” (Cyrus the Great). If you don’t mind the slightly over dramatizing soft voice of the narrator, particularly at the beginning, the documentary is in
fact full of very interesting details and more rooted in
scholarship than it appears at first. In case you want to use it
in the classroom, it is about 12 minutes. And, before I forget,
this one too comes to you courtesy of my loving friend Zari Taheri
(Zari currently teaches Persian in Japan.) Here is the link:
http://www.spentaproductions.com/cyruspreview.htm

Have a great week!
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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Metro in Tehran.

Metro in Tehran.

Greetings everyone,

I know, I promised to send you Window number 9 with a short delay. An
out of  town talk, and a canceled flight are the shortest explanation
for why it took longer than I promised. I have already had a number of
queries about the delayed window which is absolutely wonderful. It tells
me that you look through these windows with interest and this alone
makes the work worthwhile. So, I decided to keep the slide show of
Isfahan — which I am working on — for the next window to makesure that
this window goes out tonight. Please continue to forward to friends and
let me know if you are missing any of the windows.

Without further ado, here comes window number 9 on Iran.

Current Issues:

* According to the New Jersey online news source Star-ledger, an
interview with 400 Iranian citizens residing in Shiraz and Tehran
shows that Iranians distinguish between American foreign policy
and American people, and are fond of Americans:
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-9/115872801684860.xml&coll=1
* Emphasizing the above point in a congressional briefing on October
11, President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Dr.
Trita Parsi described Iran as an asset rather than a threat to the
United States: http://www.niacouncil.org/pressreleases/press472.asp
* On Thursday September 28th, 2006, City and County of San
Francisco’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) conducted a hearing on
the visa revocation and mistreatment of visiting  Iranians. The
hearing was an inquiry into the treatment of the Iranian Citizens
who after arriving in the US found their visas revoked, and were
sent to immigration detention centers. Representatives of the
Department of Homeland Security, Border Control and Protection
(BCP) were invited to respond to the inquiry. Commissioners
expressed their dismay of what had happened to the detainees. A
large number of Iranian Americans attended.

Iranian Americans

* I promised to keep you updated on the Iranian American community.
It turns out we are more numerous than previous records showed. To
read the most recent study done at MIT, click here: MIT Study on Iranians in the U.S.

* This week, I want to introduce you to a Los Angeles based group of
Iranian American musicians, the Lian Ensemble. Described by top
critics as “virtuoso,” “world class” musicians, and “absolutely
soulful,” the members of the ensemble are firmly rooted in the
authentic music tradition of Iran. At the same time, they work
with master musicians from around the world (including great
American musicians) using their art to bridge cultures and promote
the ideal of peace. I have personally had the pleasure of reading
poetry with the ensemble and hosting them here at the Missouri
Historical Society and at Washington University in St. Louis. We
called our poetry and music performance The Axis of Love. Do visit
their web site at www.lianrecords.com to read about Persian
mystical music, the individual artists, and to listen to excerpts
from their work.

Social / Political

* In Tehran two new metro stations opened last week:
http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1125.html
*  From March to September 2006, Iran exported over 18 million
dollars of saffron to neighboring countries:
http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1110.html

* An Iranian court ordered the closure of the reformist newspaper
Sharq. While I usually focus on the positive news because the
negative gets enough publicity here in the US, this is an
important event. Any outside pressure on Iran (sanction, or talk
of regime change) provides the hard-liners with the pretext to
present the Iranian reformists as a threat in time of crisis.

Culture / Art / Sports

* Let me introduce you another great Iranian writer from Shiraz.
This is Simin Danishvar, the author of Savushun, the first Persian
novel that sold close to half a million copies. Born in Shiraz in
1921, Danishvar moved to Tehran where she was one of the first
Iranian women to receive a Ph.D. from Tehran University in 1949.
Her best-selling novel Savushun has two English translations. For
the translation by Mohammad Ghanoonparvar, see:
http://www.amazon.com/Savushun-Novel-Modern-Persian-Classics/dp/0934211310
For a collection of Danishvar’s short stories see Danishvar’s
Playhouse: a Collection of Stories available through Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Daneshvar-s-Playhouse-Collection-Stories/dp/0934211191

* Iranian cinema made a big splash with several prizes at the
Italian film festival (Oct. 11-14) in Trento, Italy:
http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1171.html
* Iranian women volleyball players are pleased with the World
Volleyball Federation approving their playing in Islamic outfit:
http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1018.html

Visual Delight

* Take a look at examples from the paintings of the young Iranian
artist Asal Khosravi, clicking on each painting to see the larger
version: http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=290 And visit the
drawings of Mohsen Daeinabi inspired by art of calligraphy at:
http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=244
And before I say good-bye, I would like to invite you to listen to a
beautiful song by the young and upcoming Iranian percussion artist and
vocalist, Homayun Shajarian The song is about five minutes, clik on the
link to listen :
http://tamashagaheraz.org/specific/noroz85/001homayon-naghshe%20kheyal-03tobeshekan.wma

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

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Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran (see below for a link to many more beautiful pictures of gardens and palaces in Shiraz).

Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran (see below for a link to many more beautiful pictures of gardens and palaces in Shiraz).

Greetings to All!

Alright, I am a day late. It has been a very busy weekend. Now you know why, despite all your kind encouragement, I cannot turn this into a blog. There are simply not enough hours in the day! Anyway, here comes window number 6.

I continue to be delighted that you find these windows useful. A quick clarification. Some of you have suggested that I send out the Persian text when I attach a short poem such as the one by Farrokhzad which I sent out about two weeks ago. I have not done so because it can cause problems for those recipients who do not have the Persian software installed in their computer.

Again, please let me know if you have any missing windows. And now to our window number 6:

Current Issues:

* I wanted to start with a report related to Iran’s nuclear
technology, but something more current is the first item: reaction
to Pope’s comments. Yes, there were reactions in Iran. No, they
did not involve burning anything. Yesterday, a group of Iranian
students marched to the Vatican Embassy in Tehran carrying flowers
and a large banner that read: “We respond to the Pope’s violent
words with love.” They stood there in silence, then threw their
flowers at the building and returned. There are pictures at
Baztabs site (courtesy of my friend Mohammad Companieh)
http://www.baztab.ir/news/48459.php Scroll down to see the banner
which reads as I translated.

* The reaction of the Iranian Spiritual leader Khamenei was: “We
don’t expect much from President Bush, but such assertions from a
figure as revered as the Pope are suprising and regrettable.” He
warned, however, that the Pope’s “mistaken” judgments should not
lead to animosity between Muslims and Christians.

* And now to the issue of Iranian nuclear technology. PLEASE
publicize this recent — and important — development particularly
to those who find the news about Iran’s nuclear technology
frightening. Last week, U.N. inspectors investigating Iran’s
nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and
to a Republican congressman about a recent House committee report
on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document “outrageous
and dishonest” and offering evidence to refute its central claims.
Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee, which had issued the report about Iran’s nuclear
capabilities, said his intent was “to help increase the American
public’s understanding of Iran as a threat.”  Privately, several
intelligence officials told the Washington Post that ” the
committee report included at least a dozen claims that were either
demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/13/AR2006091302052.html?referrer=email

* On a much happier note, an Iranian American Anousheh Ansari
Co-founder and Chair Person of Prodea Systems, will be the first
Iranian-born and the first female Muslim in space. Anousheh was
born in Mashhad, Iran in 1966. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1984.
She has a masters degree in electrical engineering from George
Washington University. If you wish to read more about her, please
click on:  http://www.payvand.com/news/06/sep/1167.html

Art and Culture: A Major Contemporary Poet and Painter

* Last week I promised not to focus on women’s achievements only.
Allow me to introduce you to a master poet and painter from 20th
century Iran: Sohrab Sepehri. Celebrated as a poet of peace and a
nature mystic, Sepehri has continued to be a major influence over
the past few decades. His works have formed a popular topic for
Persian scholarly studies while staying on the best-selling list.
Take a look at his short biography and scroll down to see some
paintings:
http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/ssepehri/sohrab_sepehri.php
And visit this site to see more paintings; you will find a
delightful self-portrait:
http://www.caroun.com/Literature/Iran/Poets/SohrabSepehri/SohrabSepehriContents.html

Suggested Reading: I wrote an article in 1997 which made extensive use
of Sepehri’s writing in the journal Religion & Literature with the title
The Call to Prayer from the Cypress Tree: Modernity and Redefining the
Spiritual in Persian Poetry
.”  The essay’s title is from a well-known
long poem by Sepehri, “The Footsteps of Water.”

* And now back to women! Nazila Fathi reported in New York Times in
2005 “The number of women who have published novels has reached
370… That is 13 times as many as a decade ago, the research
showed, and is about equal to the number for men today.” No
kidding.  I would like to introduce you to one of these great
writing talents Moniru Ravanipur.  Ravanipour is imaginative,
prolific, and outspoken. Her candid writing, interviews, and
public appearances draw large groups of men and women. A native of
southern Iran, Ravanipur lived in my hometown Shiraz for a long
time. Indeed our undergraduate studies coincided in Shiraz
University; she majored in Psychology and I in literature. Click here (Moniru Ravanipur) to get a picture and a short biography of Moniru Ravanipur.

Suggested Reading: Stories from Iran: a Chicago Anthology. For
bibliographical details and a list of authors included in the book,
please visit: http://www.mage.com/authors/anthology_biography.html

Visual Delight

* Since we are closing with my hometown Shiraz, let me invite you to
a slide show of a few of the gardens that the city is famous for
and their reflection in art and architecture. Just as buildings in
Isfahan are known for their blue tile work, in Shiraz wall
decorations consist of fine mirror work (literally hundreds of
fine mirror pieces covering the interior walls to reflect the
light). Click here (Shiraz Pictures) to see.  Enjoy!

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

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