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A beautiful oil painting by the young (and talented!) Iranian artist Adel Younesi, depicting a scene from the streets of Iran (please see the end of this 'Window' for more of his works).

A beautiful oil painting by the young (and talented!) Iranian artist Adel Younesi, depicting a scene from the streets of Iran (please see the end of this

Dear All,

I hope you are all well. This window must have surprised you. I apologize for the very long delay, and thank you all for the kind messages of inquiry that you have sent me during this time. If you wrote to me recently, you know that I am on leave of absence from the university, and that I have been trying to spend the time for research and my next writing project.

So many of you have had questions about Iran, and particularly the new set of U.N. sanctions imposed on the country that I feel I must come out of hibernation and send out this special window:

* The new set of sanctions make it harder and harder for Iran to maintain normal trade relations with the world. And even though it is usually presented as an alternative to military action against Iran, it in fact gives the U.S. Navy the right to inspect any “suspicious” cargo that would go in and out of Iran. In other words, it could very well pave the way for further confrontation.

* Unfortunately, the message sent by the U.S. media is a repetition of the old line: Iran is getting a slap on the wrist because it continues to defy the “will of the international community” which wants it to abandon its ambition for nuclear power (possible to be used for producing weapons down the road).

* In fact, the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)- which the members of the Security Council do not seem to have payed any attention to – appears to provide the opposite picture. The report indicates that the Agency considers the major questions they were investigating ” no longer outstanding at this stage.” Furthermore, the IAEA Director Mohammad ElBaradei said in Q&A with reporters: “we have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment program.” The question for the world to ask at this point is: Why would this conclusion not lead to the easing of sanctions and a change of the interactive mode with Iran from confrontational to cooperative?

* In many places in the world, people are asking this very question. Here is an excellent article by Siddharth Varadarajan published in The Hindu, the on-line version of India’s national newspaper. In his perceptive and carefully argued essay, Varadarajan expresses amazement at the U.N. for escalating a problem which seems to have in fact been resolved: http://www.hindu.com/2008/03/05/stories/2008030554841000.htm.

* The latest IAEA report, and the fact that Iran has been cleared of all outstanding charges, can indeed be a chance for starting a new relationship with Iran and ending the nuclear crisis by implementing the additional protocol which would guarantee the country will not use its nuclear resources for a weapon’s program. Here is another interesting analysis: http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/4185.

Iranian artist Adel Younesi (click the link on the right for more of his oil painting renderings of scenes from the streets of Iran).

Iranian artist Adel Younesi (click the link on the left for more of his oil painting renderings of scenes from the streets of Iran).

* Before I close this very brief window, I must honor our tradition of sharing a visual delight with you: a slide show of a recent exhibit of a very young Iranian painter Adel Younesi who paints with oil on canvas and has an eye for people on lively street corners. Please click here: Adel Younesi Oil Paintings. Enjoy!

Until the next window,
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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This is one of the many very interesting photos from Hoda Alavi's new photography exhibit entitled "Painting with Light." Please click on the link to the left for many more photos from her recent exhibit.

This is only one of the many very interesting photos from Hoda Alavi's new photography exhibit, entitled "Painting with Light." Please click on the link to the left for many more photos from her recent exhibit.

Dear All!

Greetings! I am back to wish you all a wonderful 2008 — and to open another window on Iran.

I hope you have had a peaceful holiday. In the spirit of celebration, let’s open this window with festive images of light and color. The young Iranian photographer Hoda Alavi uses urban landscape as her canvas and paints with light. Let’s visit her latest photo exhibit. Click on here to view it: Hoda Alavi Photography Exhibit.

Article on Iranian Women

* While on the subject of women, I have a very interesting article for you from the Guardian (Jan. 9) courtesy of Amir Companieh. The essay encourages readers to forget about stereotypes and look instead at the reality of women’s vibrant and organized activism in Iran: http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2237579,00.html.

Thousands of women and men gathered at Tehran University to demand equality in the Justice system. Despite what the mainstream media in the U.S. and Europe will often tell you, there is a strong womens movement in Iran. To see more photos from this protest please click on the picture. (Image courtesy of www.kosof.com).

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani (with the bullhorn) leads thousands of women and men gathered at Tehran University to demand equality in the Justice system. Despite what the mainstream media in the U.S. and Europe will often tell you, there is currently a strong (and growing!) women's movement in Iran. To see more photos from this protest and others please click on the picture above (image courtesy of http://www.kosof.com).

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* Still on the subject of women, take a look at images of Iranian women chess players competing for the national championship. Chess is an extremely popular hobby in Iran: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article1036.

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Recommended Reading

* Over the holidays, I read an excellent book which I recommend to anyone interested in better understanding the complexities of the strategic games played by various regional and outside forces in relation to Iran and its neighboring countries. Authored by Trita Parsi and published by Yale University Press, the book is called Treacherous Alliance: the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States.

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The Persian Gulf Incident

* Trita’s book is, in fact, a great tool for helping us understand that many a piece of shocking news about the region has to be placed in its full strategic context to be understood better. A perfect example of that is the recent news of the “aggressive maneuvers” by Iranian boats near American warships in the Persian Gulf. The incident, which many of you have been asking about, seemed totally baffling. Why would Iran provoke the massive American military machine sitting on three of its borders? According to an article sent to me by Daniel Pourkesali, “The list of those who are less than fully confident in Pentagon’s video/audio mash up of aggressive maneuvers by Iranian boats near American warships in the Strait of Hormuz now includes the Pentagon itself.” You can read the full article at this link: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/degrees-of-confidence-on-us-iran-naval-incident/?hp

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* Daniel also distributed a video supplied by the Iranian Navy which suggests that the incident was a simple and routine exchange in the Gulf: http://www.politube.org/show/341 [or click on the video below to view it].

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* Today’s Washington Post, contains an article that supports Dr. Pourkesali’s view suggesting “Iranian Boats May Not Have Made Radio Threat, Pentagon Says,” *check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/10/AR2008011000692.html?sub=AR&sid=ST2008011001831.

* Matt Miller, watching the world from Cairo where he is studying Arabic this semester, has sent another related piece by the historian and national security policy analyst, Gareth Porter who further supports the view that the initial report on the Iranian “aggressive” behavior has been unfounded. Thanks Matt! http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011108J.shtml

There we are! More misinformation about Iran…and really scary misinformation at that!

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Iran Opens a Peace Museum

The new Tehran Peace Museum in Tehran City Park.

The new Tehran Peace Museum in Tehran City Park.

* Iran will open a peace museum to promote sentiments for peace in a culture that still remembers the pain of an 8-year war that started with Saddam’s aggression and led to his use of chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and Iranians. The museum which will soon open in Tehran City Park has the sculpture of a white dove at its entrance. While attributing imaginary violence to the culture is common, Christian Science Monitor’s exceptional attention to this museum is commendable. Not surprisingly, the tone of the article suggests that the museum is something of an aberration in a culture that “glorifies martyrdom.” It would be fantastic if the author of the article Scott Peterson would have the opportunity to take a trip to Iran. You can read the article on the Peace Museum in Iran at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1224/p01s03-wome.html?page=1.

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A Concert of Sufi Music in Tehran

* Iranians love live music. When master musicians perform, it is common to line up outside the concert hall from the night before the box office opens to make sure you can obtain tickets. I would like to close this window with a ten minute clip from a Sufi music performance at Vahdat Hall, a major concert hall in Tehran. The concert was sent to me by a dear friend, Nakhostin Javidani: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17wue10S0l0&feature=related [or click the video below to view it].

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Until 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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