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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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Dear All,

 

The spirits are high in Iran. Conversations with individuals indicate that fear and despair are giving way to hope. Mr. Mousavi has issued his nineth public statement possibly the strongest in recent days calling the current regime in Iran illegitimate and weak and affirming his commitment to bringing about reform: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/01/mousavi-iran-presidential-elections-protest.

 

Former Iranian President Mr. Khatami.

Former Iranian President Mr. Khatami (1997-2005).

 

Khatami Issues Statement of Strong Support

 

* Mr. Khatami, Iranian ex-president (1997-2005), who had kept a low profile for the past two weeks responded to Mr. Mousavi’s statement quickly with an equally strong statement in support of the reformist candidate’s demands. In this statement, Mr. Khatami described the current atmosphere of propaganda in Iran “poisonous” and in response to the regime which has described the Green Movement as a “velvet revolution,” he called the rigging of the election and the heavy presence of security forces as “a velvet coup d’etat” against the “republic” in the Islamic Republic. Mr. Khatami demanded immediate “demilitarization” of the streets, freedom of the political prisoners, and the return to the Iranian constitution.

 

 

“We Shall Overcome” Joan Baez Sings for the People of Iran

 

* The legendary singer Joan Baez joins a host of other artists expressing her admiration for the Green Movement in Iran:

 

 

 

Humor Enters the Fray

 

* A sign of higher spirits in Iran is that humor has now entered the scene of political struggle. Unfortunately, Iranian humor (which is a prominent aspect of the culture) is little known in the world. At this critical historical juncture, it has surfaced in the form of cartoons, humorous poems, and images. One form this humor has taken is putting funny captions, echoing the official propaganda, on familiar images from the street protests. A picture of two men in uniform hitting people is captioned “the TOUCHING presence of the Basij on the streets.” Another image depicting rows of women protesters sitting on the street facing a barrier of standing soldiers is captioned ” introducing ladies to the intricacies of military service,” and the famous picture of hundreds of thousands of people in Azadi square is captioned “the grand funeral service for the regime.”

Here is another example of the humorous political cartoons treating the recent events. The Basij militiaman says to the driver: Your breath smells of Allahu Akbar. Historical background: The chant Allahu Akbar was chanted during the 1979 Revolution when the Shah was overthrown and is being used again now—every night thousands shout are shouting Allahu Akbar from their rooftops throughout Iran.

Here is another example of the humorous political cartoons treating the recent events. The Basij militiaman says to the driver: "Your breath smells of 'Allahu Akbar'." Historical background: The chant "Allahu Akbar" was chanted during the 1979 Revolution when the Shah was overthrown and is being used again now—every night thousands shout are shouting "Allahu Akbar" from their rooftops throughout Iran.

* Along the same lines, today, an Iranian woman called a live show on the national TV dedicated to family matters. She spoke to the host about her husband affectionately and ended by saying “interestingly, my husband has the same name as that of our beloved President Mir Husain Mousavi” Needless to say, the show was instantly famous and the clip circulated.

 

 

This is one of the pictures published on official Iranian government websites. It has been pointed out that many of these ballots are crisp, unfolded and have suspiciously similar handwriting on each one.

This is one of the pictures published on official Iranian government websites. It has been pointed out that many of these ballots are crisp, unfolded and have suspiciously similar handwriting on each one.

Suspicious Ballot Photos

 

* Apparently, images of ballots posted on Iranian official websites to document the recount of the ten percent offered by the “Guardian Council” has caused an uproar.These images include crisp unfolded ballots, and close ups reveal the same hand writing in many of the ballots (see picture to the left). And more here: http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/Photo/?NewsId=567619.

 

 

“Demonstrate and Run” Squads

 

* There is a new strategy according to which the protesters avoid clashes with the Basij and make it hard for them to guess where the next demonstration is going to take place. It is a “hit and run” strategy minus the hitting. They form squads of forty or fifty protesters who communicate by phone, show up in a part of town to stage a loud protest, and quickly disappear. By the time the Basij arrives, another group is demonstrating elsewhere.

 

 

Ashkan Sohrabi, one of the victims of the Iranian regime's crackdown on protests whose name has not been spread across the world.

Ashkan Sohrabi, one of the victims of the Iranian regime's crackdown on protests whose name has not been spread across the world.

Another Young Victim of the Violence Against Street Protests

 

* The Iranian state run media works nonstop to put the blame for Neda Agha Soltan’s death on agents of foreign elements. So far, the CIA, the BBC crew, a staff member at the British embassy, and the protesters themselves have been blamed for her death. There are other young victims whose demise was not caught on camera. Ashkan Sohrabi is one such victim. According to his sister Elham, Ashkan was shot in the chest three times on the same day that Neda was killed (his picture is on the left).

 

 

Mr. Ahmadinejad Barred From attending the African Union Summit

 

* According to /Sarmayeh/ news, quoted by NIAC updates on the election, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s trip to Libya, in order to attend the African Union Summit was canceled today. Furthermore, the trip of Sultan Qaboos of Oman to Iran has been canceled. It is clear that nations which previously welcomed Iranian Presidents are now doubting the wisdom of recognizing (and hosting) Mr. Ahmadinejad. No doubt Iran’s foreign policy will seriously be affected by the post-election environment created by the current Iranian government. Interestingly, the Iranians News Agency has not provided any explanations for these cancellations.

 

 

In sum, while the Green Movement’s strategy of public protest has changed to minimize clashes and casualties, it is reasonable to assume that the supporters of reform are far from crushed.

 

Remember to visit www.windowsoniran.wordpress.com for previous windows.

 

 

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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Get a print of this picture and keep it handy. And remember: "YOU have given US hope! Thank you! If you ever come close to forgetting what you have done, just take a look at this picture.

Get a print of this picture and keep it handy. And remember: "YOU have given US hope! Thank you! If you ever come close to forgetting what you have done, just take a look at this picture.

Dear All,

 

The majority of the letters and messages from Iran have one important request: “don’t just show the cruelty of the regime, show our strength as well. We have questioned the legitimacy of a powerful system. This is a big achievement. Please show that to the world. And give us hope.” My response to these Iranians is that “YOU have given US hope! Thank you! See the picture to the right, get a print and keep it handy. If you ever come close to forgetting what you have done, just take a look at this picture.”

 

Please send hopeful messages to Iranians you know. Tell them how you admire their courage and persistence. Tell them the scare tactics of the regime are not going to succeed. And please, share this site www.windowsoniran.wordpress.com with anyone who can send it to people in Iran.

 

 

Karrubi’s New Announcement

 

* According to his website, Mr. Mahdi Karrubi, the second reformist candidate, has announced that “under no circumstances” he will stop his fight with the current regime in Iran. He has declared that he will cooperate with any and all who genuinely support the movement of reform in Iran.

 

 

Last Night’s Demonstrations from the Rooftops

 

* This is for everyone to know that Iranians, ordinary people with no political agendas except bringing about positive reform, are trying everything they can to get their voices heard: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2009/06/090630_vd_ir88_night_demo_ugc.shtml

 

 

A Friend from Japan has Sent this Very Beautiful Song

 

* I have already told you about all the beautiful songs written in honor of the Green Movement toward a full-fledged democracy in Iran. I would like to open this window with one of my favorites – because it is not about the cruelties that have happened but about hope. It is called “zemestun sar umad” which means “The winter has ended.” It is a new arrangement of an old and popular song. The images you see on the clip are from Mr. Mousavi’s campaign, his visits to the war front during the eight-year Iran/Iraq war, and some earlier images from the 1979 revolution. One of the goals of the clip is to demonstrate Mr. Mousavi’s deep roots in the Iranian social and political tradition. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Ayatollah Taheri Releases a Statement in Support of Mr. Mousavi

 

* Ayatollah Taheri, a senior and well know cleric from Isfahan, released a statement today in support of Mr. Mousavi. In his statement, Ayatollah Taheri, questioned the legitimacy of the fairness of the election, the conduct of the Iranian media, and the legitimacy of “Guardian Council.”

 

 

Mr. Mousavi’s Facebook Recommends /E’tekaaf /”Islamic Strike”

 

* The most recent posting on Mr. Mousavi’s facebook page recommends peaceful and widespread refusal to work with the government, pulling money out of state run banks, and refraining from unnecessary spending.

 

* His facebook also rejects the evaluation of ten percent of the vote by the “Guardian Council” and demands that an independent committee be established to look into the matter.

 

 

Iran’s Poet Laureate Speaks out

 

* Simin Behbahani, Iran’s Poet Laureate, known as “The Lioness of Iran,” calls on Mr. Ahmadinejad to resign. Listen to her interview on NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2009/06/poet_simin_behbahani_says_neda.html.

 

 

Let us Stay on the Happy Note with More Lionesses from Iran

 

Let us close this window on another happy note and meet more lionesses from Iran. Whatever comes next, somethings have changed drastically in the country:

 

Another green lioness of Iran!

Another green lioness of Iran!

 

Don’t forget to check out the blog for previous windows on Iran at:  www.windowsoniran.wordpress.com.

 

 

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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Windows on Iran 51

A beautiful shot of a frozen waterfall in the Khorasan province of Northeastern Iran.

A beautiful shot of a frozen waterfall in the Khorasan province of Northeastern Iran (see the link below for more pictures from this striking natural wonder).

Dear All,

I hope you are having a great summer. The St. Louis weather has been exceptionally cooperating — so far. For those of you who are experiencing a hot summer, I will start this window with a cooling visual delight from Iran:

Frozen Waterfall

* Last winter, in the province of Khorasan in North East of Iran, a huge waterfall froze. Behnaz Seyedi, a female Iranian photographer, took advantage of the natual art display and took the following photographs. Please click here: Frozen Waterfall of Khorasan. Enjoy!

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Iranian Women Inventors Shining in International Competition!

* Bagging 12 gold, five silver and six bronze medals, Iranian women inventors gained the first place among 25 countries participating at the international event, held in the South Korean capital of Seoul from May 8 to 10, 2008. Among their inventions: surgical equipments and electricity generators. In this prestigious international event, Iranian female inventors competed with participants from 25 countries including France, Switzerland, Japan, Romania, and Australia and got the first place. For the full article please visit: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=168969.

Iranian Maryam Eslami won the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA) Award for the surgical tool she invented that is used to repair the olecranon.

Iranian Maryam Eslami won the International Federation of Inventors' Associations (IFIA) Award for the surgical tool she invented that is used to repair the olecranon.

* The above news contradicts the images often circulating on the internet depicting Iranian women in frightening conditions. Please don’t get me wrong, there are a few items on the Iranian constitution which I would like to see changed. However, much of the “information” circulating about Iranian women on the web and in the popular media is often grossly inaccurate because it is published without proper scrutiny and verification. Basically, negative news comes across as “most probably true” and therefore not necessary to be questioned. Let me give you an example, an excruciating image showing the process of burying a woman from waist down in the ground to be stoned to death circulated on the web. When the Iranian President visited Columbia University, the image was enlarged and carried by some protesters. It has now turned out to be a scene from a movie called “The Stone.”

A 1994 Dutch indie film entitled "The Stone." Director Mahnaz Tamizi, actress Smadar Monsinos and her photo is to the right.

This infamous picture is actually a frame from the 1994 Dutch indie film entitled "The Stone," directed by Mahnaz Tamizi. The woman in the ground is an actress named Smadar Monsinos and a real photo of her is to the right.

The actress Smadar Monsinos (above) is the woman featured in the frame (on the left) from the indie Dutch movie "The Stone." This particular frame from this movie is frequently used by critics of Iran as if it were a real image.

The actress Smadar Monsinos (above) is the woman featured in the frame (on the left) from the indie Dutch movie "The Stone." This particular frame from this movie is frequently used by critics of Iran as if it were a real historical image.

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Time out with Art work by Iranian Women

* Enjoying creativity of artists has a great healing quality. Let us move on from the fictional “stoning” image to actual art work by Iranian women, their creativity with clay. Here is an exhibit of amazing pottery work by Iranian women. Click on the link below…and enjoy: http://www.jadidonline.com/images/stories/flash_multimedia/Women_sofalgari_eng_test/sofalgari_high.html.

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Current Events

* The past ten days or so have been tense and rather worrisome with fiery statements and grim predictions of a possible military assault on Iran by the United States and/or Israel. Cooler heads seem to be at work to insert a note of sanity into the discussion.

* For those who think U.S. and Israel have no choice but attack Iran, I recommend a very insightful recent article written by Shlomo Ben-Ami, vice president of the Toledo International Center for Peace and former foreign minister of Israel and Trita Parsi president of the National Iranian American Council and author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US. The article, published yesterday in the Christian Science Monitor is titled: “The alternative to an Israeli attack on Iran.” Here is the link:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0702/p09s01-coop.html.

* Iranian top politicians sound more positive in the past couple of days as well. In an interview with the Associated Press, the Iranian Foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran was considering the package presented by the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana on behalf of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. He praised as “very constructive” Solano’s response to Iran’s proposals on the subject. Mottaki said he saw “significant capacities” being explored in the latest round of talks that were not present earlier. Mr. Mottaki is in New York for talks at the United Nations. He hinted there has been diplomatic progress on easing tensions with the West at a time of heightened concern. To read the full interview, visit: http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/5474.

* The truth is neither war nor sanctions solve problems. They both kill innocent individuals, and postpone processes of positive social change and evolution. It is time to realize that as a large, complex, and vibrant society, Iran has plenty to offer the region and the world. And that the country must be engaged in a serious and constructive manner.

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Women at Work in Iran

Despite what the mainstream U.S. media will often lead you to believe, women in Iran are very active in society and are well-represented in every major field of work. Above is a (female) doctor delivering a newborn in a Tehran hospital. Also included in the picture show (linked on the left) is Iranian women firefighters, computer technicians, factory workers, and artists.

Despite what the mainstream U.S. media will often lead you to believe, women in Iran are very active in society and are well-represented in every major field of work. Above is a (female) doctor delivering a newborn in a Tehran hospital. Also included in the picture show (linked on the left) is Iranian women firefighters, computer technicians, factory workers, and artists.

* Since we have been focused almost entirely on Iranian women in this issue, I would like to close this window with a slide show of very recent images of Iranian women at work in all segments of the society. Please click here: Women at Work in Iran.

Till the next window, have a wonderful summer and a great weekend!

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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A beautiful garden of modern Tehran. Please click on the link below to see many other terrific photos from Iran.

A beautiful garden of modern Tehran. Please click on the link below to see many other terrific photos from Iran.

Dear All,

I hope you have had a nice long weekend. I managed to salvage a few hours of the weekend to put together a new window on Iran for you. Let us get to Window 38 without further ado.

Musical Opening

Due to constant threat of a pending military strike on Iran, the Iranian American community is in deep stress. No one knows what is going to happen if the most powerful military force on the face of the earth really decides to strike. The example of Iraq is not reassuring. Lots of poems and songs about Iran and what it means to the Iranian American community get circulated everyday. Here is a one minute and twenty second slide show. Its name tells all “Iran: the Eternal Land of the Persians.” The melody in the background is asong called “Elahe-ye naz,” a big hit in the 60s and 70s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ0zx8XTEN8 (circulated by Daniel Pourkesali)

Haleh Esfandiari Leaves Iran

Here is a piece of important – and good – news which ought to help
cooling things down. However, I have not seen it in our popular media
yet. Iranian newspapers report that Haleh Esfandiari, who had been
freed from jail, has left the country last night. Great to know that
she will be reunited with her family soon.

The U.S. Official Reaction to Iran/IAEA Agreement

Last week, the International atomic energy agency ( IAEA) and Iran
reached an agreement about answering some crucial questions concerning
the Iranian nuclear program. The IAEA called it a breakthrough. This
agreement is particularly important not just because it gives the IAEA
access to certain documents that it has wanted to see but because a
timetable is set so the negotiations are not going to last
indefinitely. The U.S. government, which has used even a negative hint
form IAEA about Iran to push for more sanctions, dismissed this
agreement. In other words, if the agency reports anything negative, it
is evidence of Iran’s non-compliance. If it makes progress, they have
been fooled by Iran which is seeking time to make a bomb.

The Possible Attack on Iran

* None of the recent developments have brought a sense of relief to
those who follow the news of a possible attack on Iran. If anything,
this weekend papers have been particularly alarming. Matt Miller has
shared the UK Sunday times piece titled Pentagon “Three-Day Blitz”
Plan for Iran: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/090207A.shtml. The
supposed plan would involve hitting 1200 targets inside Iran with the
casualty figures (not often discussed by proponents of the idea) in
the millions. Here is an article that Paul Appell has shared. I do
hope that its findings do not reflect the reality of what the U.S.
government is up to. However, it has been written in a spirit of
activism for peace. It is in that spirit that I share it with you.
After all, this is the time to say that there are better ways to deal
with the Iran question that killing a couple of million Iranians and
sending the whole region up in flames. Here is the reference to the
article that Paul has kindly forwarded:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-a-rodman/how-i-learned-to-stop-wor_b_62830.html

* If you talk to individuals who have been alarmed by the “threat” that
Iran is posing to the world, remember:

1. Iran’s cooperation with the U.S. was crucial in overthrowing the
Taliban in Afghanistan
2. We have plenty of evidence to believe that the roadside bombs that
kill American soldiers are manufactured in Iraq. Starting as early as
a year and half ago, American troops have found many shops and
factories that make such bombs inside Iraq. Here is a U.S. Marine
Corps press release on the subject:
http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/templatereleaseview1/E017AB5105AC8A9D85257035004FC172?opendocument
3. The only countries in the region in which al-Qa’ideh does not have
freedom to operate are Iran and Turkey.
4. As President Karzai pointed out only a few weeks ago, Iran continues
to be a help and a support to Afghanistan in its efforts to stand up
to the Taliban (who are getting closer to power by the day).
5. President Ahmadinejad is an elected president who, as polls in Iran
show, stands zero chance of re-election. He is not a life-time
dictator who needs to be removed by military force.
6. Iran’s enrichment of uranium for its nuclear industry is not a breach
of the international law. What is important is to keep it under
control by IAEA. This is possible only if Iran stays in NPT (the Non
Proliferation Treaty) and its facilities get inspected regularly.

What did the Young Iranian Cyclist Say to Senator Lieberman?

Leslie Angeline, who had been fasting for twelve days, sits outside Senator Joseph Lieberman's waiting to meet with him about his aggressive stature towards Iran.

Leslie Angeline, who had been "fasting for peace" for twelve days, sits outside Senator Joseph Lieberman's waiting to be granted an audience with him about his aggressive stature towards Iran.

Leslie Angeline 50, mother of two, member of CodePink spent two weeks in Iran this summer. She loved the country which she found warm and friendly. When Leslie returned to the U.S. to advocate for diplomacy with Iran, Senator Lieberman was suggesting to bomb Iran. Leslie went on hunger strike, lost ten pounds and fainted but did not give up her goal of getting her message to the Senator. You can read about her here:    http://www.newhavenadvocate.com/blogs/home.cfm?aid=1602
When, finally, she got 15 minutes the senator, she took Ali the young Iranian bicyclist for peace with him. I think I should let you read the rest, in Leslie’s words:

He then allowed Ali, one of the Iranian Miles for Peace bicyclists, to join us. Ali spoke from his experience as a young man in Tehran’s student movement.  He said, “There is a growing student and feminist movement in Iran.  70% of the population is under the age of thirty. Every time Bush refers to us as the Axis of Evil, or a politician such as you threatens war or sanctions, our government uses this as an excuse to clamp down. 90% of the Iranian people want a different form of government.  The Iranian people like Americans.  Lieberman responded to this by saying he’s heard that “the two countries in the Middle East that like Americans are Israel and Iran!”   Ali continued, “The U.S. has been a democracy for three hundred years and you still have problems.  Iran’s democracy is new and fragile; please give us some time and we’ll take care of our own problems.”

|
The Biggest Non-governmental Charity in Iran

From here in the U.S., it is hard to imagine that Iranians think about
things other than politics and conflict, that they are ordinary human
beings with the same problems and aspirations as anyone living
anywhere in the world. I thought it’ll be nice to read about the
Kahrizak Foundation which supports disabled elderly who lack financial
resources: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jun/1240.html (Thanks to my
friend Parinaz Massumzadeh for circulating the information).

Iranian Women Athletes

Iranian woman race car driver.

Iranian woman race car driver.

Let us close this window with some beautiful images of Iranian women in sports:

* Iranian women drivers are back in the car race scene this September: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article490.
* In fencing, women are working to improve the training conditions so they can compete internationally: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article495.
* In soccer they have been training hard and have achieved success in Asia: http://www.shirzanan.com/spip.php?article496.

Let us hope that the peace is holding, and the news is good, when I
send you the 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 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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