Friday, February 27, 2009

An American traveler in Iran


Rick Steves, host of a travel show visited Iran. I found he reports negative and positive part of Iran in his visit. It is a fair and unbiased report.

Here what he has to say about Iran: 



Update: Steves Iran documentary videos have been removed from YouTube so I got to put this new one. The videos I had here, had great quality but this one is not so much, better than none.

Since I am here, let me put his lecture about that travel to Iran too.





Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Iran & the West - Nuclear Confrontation documentary


This documentary studies Iranian government relationship with the west after 9/11 on issues like Afghanistan and Iraq war and also it studies nuclear confrontation issue.

This nicely put together documentary it goes deep and speak with authorities who were in charge back then in Iran, Europe and the US.


What this documentary deliberately doesn’t review is the time that Iran’s ex-president attended the UN General Assembly in 2001 and there was a chance to meet up with Clinton but Khatami blew it. Here is what Ganji published in “The Latter-Day Sultan, Power and Politics in Iran” in Foreign affairs:

After the reformists' victory in May 1997, it did seem as though a new era in bilateral relations might begin. "When Khatami attended the UN General Assembly in 2001, which had been designated as the year of the dialogue of civilizations," Nabavi, a reformist parliamentarian at the time, explained in an interview earlier this year, "conditions were more favorable for talks between the two countries" than they are today. But after the UN meeting, Clinton reportedly waited outside the men's room to shake Khatami's hand but gave up when Khatami lingered inside. Fearing that the reformists would get credit for reestablishing ties with the United States (a move that would have been widely popular inside Iran), Khamenei had opposed the meeting.

With information in video and Ganji’s article, we can conclude that there were sometime that both countries could do something about this long hostility but for some reason they blew it.

The documentary broadcasted on BBC on February 21, 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fanatic Islamic Iran bury bodies in university with violence



Protest by students at some point
when they were burying martyrs


Yesterday Feb 23, 2009 Islamic Iran’s armed forces buried unknown martyrs inside Amir Kabir University in Tehran despite long protests and outcry from students during past days.

Students didn’t let them to go easily bury those so-called unknown martyrs, where the hell they got martyrs anyway?!! Finally security forces, police, campus police, fanatic Islamic organization members, plainclothes officers, IRGC and Basij militants violently attacked student protesters to make some time to bury martyrs.

University president and security forces predicted that there would be protest and to prevent that they arrested four students’ activists and banned 12 students, couple of days ago. They taught it would scare off students and they would back off. Security forces even called some other student protesters families threatening them. They wanted to bury dead bodies (or just some bones) without protest but students didn’t want to have cemetery in their university. Atmosphere was very tense in the university between student activists and Basij militants.

Students slogan was shouting “Death to dictator”, “Dictator makes martyrs an excuse”, “Death to Taliban, in Kabul or Tehran”, “Run away Basiji”, “University is not a graveyard” and many other strong slogans against regime’s dictatorship and oppression using militant force. IRGC and Basij members used knives, iron knuckles, batons and bats, pepper sprays, tear gas, and some other martial arts tools. More than 60 students wounded and 20 students hospitalized, 3 students are in critical condition and many students arrested. Amir kabir newsletter reported about 70 students arrested.

One day we take those graves out of Amir Kabir University and other universities. Burying so-called martyrs in universities and even in streets in big cities is a project run by regime to invade every little corner that people can get by, specially universities at large are against regime’s policies (read regime not just government) and students have been source of unrest in Iranian society even so-called reformists (remember Khatami and his colleagues?!) still keep quite about this violent attacks and students protests.

 
The day before burying in university
 

Hat tips: Amir Kabir Newsletter, here and here (Persian language)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Third man set himself on fire in Iran



He set himself on fire in Tehran University.

He is third man who set himself on fire during past couple of days. first one in front of Iranian parliament building, second one in front of Martyrs and Veterans affair building and this one in the university.

Update: Another man set himself on fire and it makes them, four men who set themselves ablaze within two weeks period and that’s very alarming.


Links:
Man set himself on fire in front of Parliament
Masih Alinejad (Persian language)
BBC: Self Immolation (Persian language)


Iranian Students getting ready for war?




Many students during Iran-Iraq war experienced same routines and regimentations but worst part is, they try to brainwash teenagers and that’s the key part of these sorts of mandatory classes. The interesting part of this video, is the interview part that students answer to question like would you participate in war? Who do you fight? Would you fight Israel? Would you fight America?

This video comes up with subtitle but it does not come up with perfect translation. For example at 0:43 female students respond with “God is great, my life dedicated to leader”. Leader basically means supreme leader after death of Khomeini.

Read some of smart answers by this teenager kids who have been bombarded by daily brainwashing materials, at 3:20:

First Student:
Question: Would you participate in war? And if yes: What would your task be?
Answer: I would participate as an assistant, but I wouldn’t use a gun or be in the line of fire.
Question: Why?
Answer: I love my life.

Second student:
Q: Would you fight in war?
A: No, never.
Q: You would never participate in a war?
A: No, I wouldn’t participate in any war.
Q: (here questioner put pressure on kid) What if someone attacks your country?
A: I’ll work as a war manager. Like leaders or presidents who don’t participate personally in war. It’s not fair that everyone has got to go to war and die.

And continues to some students who are already brainwashed and they say they are ready to fight and their main reasons are being martyr (!) because they taught that being martyr is good thing and is something that prophet liked it.

At 4:45 he asked: “Which country would you refuse to fight against with?”
Answer: America.
Question: You would not fight against America?
Answer: I’m afraid of America. It has dangerous bombs.

Some others have more fanatic ideas and mostly come from religious point of view and considering martyrdom as a great value. But all in all, there are many smart students who won’t fight at any price and they love their lives and they love other countries too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Handshake shakes Islam!






Photos show Iran’s ambassador to Turkey, Bahman Hosseinpour refuse to shake hand to female guest!

Islam prohibited shaking hands of alien marriageable women as a general rule, even the shaking hands of an aged woman. This term, alien marriageable women, cracks me up. I mean c’mon! did they really assume that whoever we shake hands would marry or even have sexual desire!



Hat tips: Uzakyol



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Man set himself on fire in front of Parliament



He was Iran-Iraq veteran due to his injuries during war he was disabled. He set himself on fire on Saturday February 14 after lawmakers refused to discuss with him after over and over try. He died in hospital.

Later Iranian Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said he wasn’t war veteran; he was ex-convict and drug addict who had mental problems. Now he is taking heat over his big lies. Police investigator said “He wasn’t addicted nor ex-convict. He was just looking for a job to support his family.”

With dooming economy we will see more tragedies ahead of us but what wonders me to see that authorities, lawmakers and ayatollahs would blame people over regime wrongdoings and these kinds of remarks have happened by many authorities on different occasions.

Enough guff Mr. Larijani! At least show some respect.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hand-holding under the table in Tehran


John Austin wrote a good piece titled "Iran's revolution heads into uncharted waters" on ABC News. He painted society in Tehran very well in his written article. It is a good read and I like it how it ended:

In Tehran, taxi drivers wrap their woollen scarfs tighter against the sub-zero chill, parents are treating their children to a night out at Super Star, reporters on the late shift in the national newsroom down the road try to second guess their political and spiritual overlords. Inside the hotel, the young lobby pianist segues from 'Lara's Theme' to 'Strangers in the Night'. For the new US President a world away puzzling over what to do with his country's traditional foe, and for his Iranian rival planning his own risky path, their future may well lie somewhere between sneaking some hand-holding under the table and an impossible love affair bound to end in tears.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An Iranian Beauty Queen story about revolution and her life afterwards


She was Miss Iran in 1976. She says Iran was a heaven and revolution came as a shock. The Tehran that beauty Jewish queen grew up is not the one on the one today is.

Listen to her story on NPR

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why some people rally during 30th anniversary of the revolution in Iran? Find your answer in photos


Some people participate in rally to mark anniversary of the revolution in Iran every year but there is reason behind of it, besides that small percentage of people are there to show off their support but most people attend because first there is no entertainment in Iran and second for following reasons:

1. Poverty: poverty makes people to become peddlers.




2. Free Food: People need to eat and if they can get a free food, why shouldn't go to rally? Just watch the line out and how struggle to get some free food:




3. Presents: This is relatively new idea, they didn't have gifts in rallies back then. It shows that people don't go to shout "death to america" anymore for free.


By the way, here someone found a
good use of Palestine flag in Iran



4. Free cakes:



5. Some others to sell or buy stuff:




6. Last photos but very interesting ones. It shows people step on Iranian dead leader Khomeini, supreme leader Ali Khamenei photos and even flag and revolution messages and mottos. People just don't care to revolution, leader or supreme leader anymore; they want to get what they came for:





I have to thanks with deepest gratitude from my friend, Yozpalang a fellow Persian language blogger who captured all these photos and put them together on his weblog. (of course Yozpalang is not his real name, it's just a handle).

30th anniversary of the revolution in Iran


Well, there is nothing to celebrate, I mean besides the fact that economy is in terrible situation and hardship that people go through, celebration for what?! Wait a minute, probably for that domestically (are you kidding me?!) made satellite into orbit. Just I am wondering if we are capable of making satellite, why aren't we capable of makings ovens? Yeah I am talking about kitchen ovens or even just very simple mechanical stuff. Take cars that assembled in Iranian manufacture, most of them are defected at the time that you get from manufacture. It is very hard to believe that satellite is made in Iran.

There is no bright future in the horizon with what Islamic republic has done and unfortunately continues to do so. They drag people to death holes and seem ayatollahs nuclear ambitions are way too valuable than what people want, just I hope it doesn’t inflame Iran in a nuclear war.

An Iranian blogger, Liberal Iranian wrote an interesting piece about 30th anniversary:

I don't mark this 30th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in any particular way except for a deep sigh. Having lived outside Iran for a while, I am relieved not to be bombarded by a constant stream of deafening propaganda on TV, radio, work, school and elsewhere in the public.
The sigh then is one of relief as well as grief. Grief for those who perished in the years leading to the revolution. For those whose idealistic hopes were dashed by the Islamic Republic, including the ones of those who actually supported it back then.
For those who were executed, jailed or forced into exile by the Islamic Republic since its inception. And for those whose lives in Iran today consist mostly of a seemingly futile struggle to lead what is considered a basic, normal life in the free world.
I just hope that the unrealistic world views and the intellectual clutter 30-some years ago that led to all of this now, and the yoke of theocracy, go away soon and my countrymen can one day live freely.
 I am sure many Iranians do share same thoughts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Are you a dreamer?



Survival story of crash-landed flight



This is an incredible story of crash-landed flight into Hudson River. A great survival story. If you got sometime watch these videos:

I Was Sure I Could Do It

Saving 155 Lives

An Emotional Reunion


Monday, February 9, 2009

Will you stand by Iranian Baha’is?

We firmly believe that every Iranian, “without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions,” and also without regard to ethnic background, “social origin, property, birth or other status,” is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Baha’i Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.
And I am really ashamed that in my country still Baha'is deprived from the very basic rights like higher education, they are systematically oppressed, discriminated and harassed and unfortunately it is escalated during past 30 years.

I stand by fellow Baha’i citizens to achieve all their rights and I ask you to join us by signing the petition.


Hat tips: Iranian Woman, CNN

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The blogger who praised Islamic regime of Iran


Infamous Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan known as Hoder is in detention in Iran. He started blogging as dissident but he end up praising Islamic republic of Iran since 2006. He believed that Iranian judiciary system is a fair system; he believed in supreme leader of Iran and he praised ayatollah’s nuclear ambitions. I was wondering, like many other bloggers, how did he find fairness in Islamic Iran’s judiciary?! But he didn’t care for what we said and asked; he was advocating for them.

He moved back to Tehran last year and arrested on charge of insulting religious figures on November 2008. Now Iranian bloggers are reluctant to write about and/or support him after he has bashed Iranian human rights activists and Iranian dissidents and called them spy, praised Islamic Iran on detention of dissidents, intellectuals and prisoners of conscience, and last but not least his hostile attitude towards his opposition.

I disagree with him on too many occasions or I rather say it would be rare if I and he would find any common ground but at the same time, I believe freedom of expression is the fundamental right of every individual and we should keep it sacred as the right of everyone of us, even our opponent.

I urge Islamic Iran to release Mr. Derakhshan, other bloggers and prisoners of conscience immediately and I ask Iranian Judiciary to practice international human rights law and put it in priority than Islamic law.

Would Obama have a grand bargain with Islamic regime of Iran?


I am not sure how it’s gonna affect human rights situation in Iran but if it opens up Islamic Iran to the world and pushes it to commitment to international laws and treaties then I am sure it will have significant affect on every aspect of Iranian lives but at the same time, there is a possibility that a grand bargain would change Islamic Iran’s human rights situation to something worse, like Saudi Arabia which in fact by looking back to Islamic Iran’s behavior during past 30 years.

I guess a grand bargain with Islamic Iran can convert "hostile Iran" to ally for the US and at the best, Islamic Iran will behave like Shah Regime towards people.



Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back in the days of Iran without Islamic regime


In mark of 30th anniversary of Islamic revolution in Iran, people still look back, before 1979 and daydream about those days. Would you say it is wishful dreaming? Yeah, it is but this is byproduct of totalitarian regime on society. They have long lost their very basic freedom like desired outfit, their dignity and credibility in the international scene and last but not least their hope; so wouldn’t be nice to make fantasy out of old days when you ran out of options?


Slide photos taken before 1979
Islamic revolution


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Iranian content sharing website got hacked


Balatarin.com website which is basically a dig like Persian language content sharing website that people can share links finally got hacked.

Balatarin.com has blocked by Iranian authorities long time ago in Iran because people would publish their links and could get more audience for their blogs and in some cases people have exposed and shared information about injustice, hypocrite officials, their disdain with regime and ayatollahs through this website like former Iranian police commander who was with couple of prostitutes while he enforced very strict moral crackdowns specially on women, sex scandal in university by ranking school official, sex scandal by an ayatollah and so on.

I forgot to mention that you could find links from Iranian atheists, agnostics, humanists, gays, lesbians and any concept that’s banned, even has death penalty and people couldn't even imagine to discuss them publicly in society, they could find them on the Balatarin.com by Iranian blogosphere community. Although I should mention that people wouldn't dare to unveil their identity because torture and prison would be their least problem and death penalty the last one.

Balatarin.com was the most popular website among Iranians. It reserved top of the chart of ranking websites like Alexa after getting popularity and although it was blocked and harder to reach inside of Iran but people always find ways to get around filtering machines and find their interesting news and blogs from Balatarin.com.

I found last message of Balatarin.com management team in twitter:

Our domains have been hacked by people who don't like what we do. We are working on it. Stay tuned.
Islamic Iran couldn’t take it anymore with everyday content against regime, Islamic and religious ideology; they wanted to take this website down and they did it. The current page on the Balatarin.com has no sign of active content sharing website that Iranian bloggers, news readers and in fact any Iranians who wanted to grasp on some fresh news from Iran, would get together to share their thoughts.

Update 1: Fars News Agency (Persian language news) accused Balatarin to be biased about Islamist links, disregarded links related to the recent issues about Gaza during the 22 days war and has been biased to User IDs that had Islamist names or known fanatic Muslim martyrs. It suggested that it hacked by unknown hackers. Fars New Agency is considered close to the Iranian judiciary.

Update 2: A group of Balatarin.com fans developed a website to support Balatarin.com against Islamist hackers who shutdown their favorite website that they could share links, comments and in fact their thoughts. Iranian secular blogosphere views hacking of Balatarin as a last resort to oppress their voice and freedom on the cyber space by Islamic regime of Iran.

4Balatarin supports Balatarin users who feel homeless at the meantime by providing discussion groups.


Khaled Meshal looking into sugar daddy’s eyes

hugs and kisses!


I couldn’t find any better title than the one that you’re reading. In fact it is the best thing that I could have come up with. Islamic Iran exactly like a sugar daddy has supported Hamas (and others) and these groups has been sucking money out of Iranian resources. Irony is, Iranian industrial infrastructure is old and already frustrated, economy is in terrible situation and people are poor and as a day goes by they get poorer. There is no point investing on Hamas-like while Iranians are in need.

Khaled Meshal spoke at Tehran University and he said: “I thank Iran for its official, unofficial and public support. You are our partner in this victory.” Oh no, Sir. You have know clue how Iranian people go ballistic when they hear anything about Palestine and their issues. In addition to ayatollahs in Iran, they are fed up with your kind.

Do yourself a favor; don’t go on street to meet up with everyday people in Tehran.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ayatollahs play intimidated with Obama’s dialog policy

Kal's cartoon from The Economist


On the above right side of the cartoon reads: “Careful! The Great Satan is opening his claw!” and in the bottom right reads: “and he is no doubt reaching for our throats!!”

Indeed, this is very interesting cartoon. I found two comments that explain a lot and save our time.

Here is the first comment: "I can understand the cartoon, because the Iranian religious leaders are worried that a friendly US will lead to the West’s way of life seeping into Iran and weakening their strangle hold on the Iranian people. The only weapon these leaders have to unite the Iranian people now is the common enemy - the USA. When that disappears (as it is under Obama) freedoms will very slowly creep into Iranian society."

And the second one: "Sadly Kal correctly portrays Obama as meaning them no harm. Should the US be friendly with the Iranian regime? They sponsor the violence that prevents peace in Palestine and Lebanon. They have done their best to increase the bloodshed in Iraq as they oppress their own people at home. Need I mention their nuclear program or that they deny the holocaust. The Iranian regime ought be treated as a pariah.

Our problem with Iranian regime is not rooted in a misunderstanding. It can not be talked out or salved over. At best we can hope that the mullah’s power will crumble under the weight of their own duplicity, incompetence, and immorality, as did the Soviet’s.

It is the ideology of the Iranian regime that governs their actions, not a response to American speechifying. The mullahs don’t care about Obama or Bush; they care about the 12th imam. They will continue to act as they have before, proving my point."

Oh by the way, did I forget to mention that Islamic fanatics welcomed Obama by setting his effigy on fire not long time ago in Iran? Here is the link and photos.


Hat tips The Economist

Monday, February 2, 2009

Let’s do the Ayatollah


Oh no, don't get me wrong. It’s not a vulgar post or anything close to that. Ayatollahs in Iran have had hope to export Islam and their Islamic revolution to the world.

It seems a group of Cardiff city soccer team fans' adopted some moves from Ayatollahs and evolved it to something totally different. You're gonna love it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

These rotten gods


Stories like this one would push you think again how religious people convince people to do such barbarity?

If god is god and if Allah is god too and none is better than the other because they all are god, so why would subscriber to a god would torture people who converts to another god? Or even call them apostate and execute them? Why?!

According to Islamic school teachings, gods are not same and Allah is a better god or let me put it this way; it is last trend god in gods fashion show which ended since Muhammad died.

Hated supreme leader even in other countries


Iranian regime tries very hard to portray how Islamic Iran and its supreme leader have won hearts and minds of Arabs and specially among Palestinians and Lebanese, but they hide the hard reality of hate that exists against Islamic Iran’s activity in these two countries.

In first millisecond of following video clip you can see how some Lebanese are trampling picture of supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. I am sure if people in Iran wouldn’t get persecuted; mostly they would the same with of these ayatollahs and their photos, indeed.