Friday, September 05, 2014

Ghoncheh Ghavami Imprisoned After Trying to Watch Iran Play Volleyball

On 20th June this year, Ghoncheh Ghavami had gone along to watch Iran's national volleyball team play against the Italian side. In any normal country, this would have been a joyous event, but in Iran for Ghoncheh and other women it carried a risk. Women are not allowed to enter sports stadiums in Iran and watch men play sports like football or volleyball.

Ghoncheh and some other women, who had seen this as an opportunity to protest against this discrimination against Iranian women, were arrested. They were later released on the same day after signing a pledge not to engage in such actions again. Their personal belongings however were kept by the security forces for further examination.

Ten days later, Ghonche went to collect her personal belongings but was arrested again.  Security agents then searched her house and collected more of her belongings. Ghoncheh was transferred to the notorious Evin prison and spent 41 days in solitary confinement. Although her interrogation is reportedly now finished, they have extended her detention by another 2 months.

Her family until now had decided not to publicise her arrest, thinking that it would further harm her case and she would be released after a brief period. Since yesterday however, the opposition site Kalameh, published her arrest and continuous detention.

I knew Ghoncheh from London. She had dual British-Iranian citizenship. Ghoncheh in Persian means bud and she had lips that immediately reminded you of a red rose bud. She told me once, when she was born, as soon as her father saw her lips, he decided he could only call her Ghoncheh.

As attractive as she was, Ghoncheh was extremely and frustratingly naive when it came to Iran politics. I remember having endless arguments with her about the new administration in Iran. Ghoncheh was delighted with the election of Rouhani, as the new president of Iran. She was convinced that Rouhani was the right man to set the catastrophes of the past 8 years right and lead Iran into the future. My continuous advice to her that this was just a window dressing for the outside world and inside Iran, it will be business as usual, did not resonate with her.

I remember explaining to her that every Iranian presidency repeats the same pattern on three fronts:
1- They all start with magnificent slogans and promises
2- They all blame the previous administration for all the ills and shortcomings in Iran
3- They all continue to blame their rivals are putting the spanners in the wheels and preventing them from setting things right.
And so they keep on stringing along the new generation of voters.

But again, sharing my experience with this young naive 25 year old was to no avail. She decided not to listen to my advice and to go back to Iran, thinking she can better support Rouhani's government from inside Iran.

I was last due to see Ghoncheh on the opening night of the movie, King of Sands, made by the Syrian director, Najdat Anzour. I had two extra tickets for Ghonche and her friend but they could not make it and I never saw her again. I was not aware she had gone back to Iran and did not know she was a prisoner until yesterday.

I could say she was a victim of her own naivety but I could also say that at least, unlike many other Iranian asylum seekers who are promoting the Iranian regime while being paid benefits by the UK government, she went back to help the person she believed was the right man to save Iran. It will be a painful lesson for her, but perhaps her plight will open some other eyes.






Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Gift to Ban Ki-Moon that Was Misappropriated

Hand woven Persian carpets have long been a quintesential Iranian gift. Some of these hand woven carpet gifts, like the one made by the Tabriz weavers with the picture of the American Howard Baskerville,  have occupied a permanent place in Iran’s recent history.

Howard Baskerville was an American teacher in the Presbyterian Missionary School in Tabriz , who was killed fighting alongside Iranian freedom fighters during Iran’s Constitutional Revolution in 1909. Tabriz weavers then made a carpet with Howard Baskerville’s face in recognition of his courage and sacrifice as a special gift to Baskerville’s mother.

It looks like the hand woven silk carpet gift, given to the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon,  by Ahamdinejad, will also occupy a place in the Iranian history, although for much less noble reasons as the one that was made for Howard Baskerville.

Ahmadinejad presented the carpet gift, shown in the above picture, to Ban Ki-Moon, three years ago. The carpet displayed a woven map of Iran with the words of the unofficial Iranian national anthem above it. Ahamdinejad presented this gift as “A symbol of Iran’s culture, civilisation, peace and friendship to the General Secretary of the United Nations”.

Now, three years later, it turns out the carpet was never Ahmadinejad’s to give as a gift to anyone in the first place. The carpet belongs to an Iranian businessman, Asghar Taslimi, from Isfahan, who had left the piece with the National Iranian Carpet Centre as a demo sample, so he could get  approval for a loan to mass produce that design.  Taslimi was told to go back to Isfahan and someone would contact him with an answer, but no one ever did. His efforts to have his demo sample returned to him were to no avail either and he was passed from one department to another. Taslimi had given up on ever seeing his carpet again, until one day; his family phoned him and said they had just seen the sample he had left with the National Iranian Carpet Centre,  on the state television news, being presented to Ban Ki-Moon by Ahmadinejad, in New York!

The Iranian businessman swears he was never paid for the carpet nor did he ever give consent for his sample to be given to anyone as a present, and so technically the General Secretary of UN, Ban Ki-Moon is now in possession of stolen goods.

The Carpet Woven in Honour of Howard Baskerville






Monday, August 18, 2014

Riding on the Waves of the Success of Iran's Female Mathematician

Rouhani's PR savvy team who update his tweets, came up with another master tweet in English to gloss over his international image outside Iran. In this tweet shown on the left, not only Rouhani congratulates the Iranian mathematician for being the first ever female to win the mathematics Fields Medal, but also places a picture of Maryam Mirzakhani without the mandatory hejab that she would have to wear if she still lived in Iran; hence inducing the idea of a moderate Iranian president that the Western media is so fond of believing.

The truth however is that had Maryam Mirzakhani stayed in Iran, like many other Iranians, not only she would not have had the opportunity to excel in what she is good at, but she would have been treated as a second class citizen for being a woman. Her success is partly due to her decision to leave Iran and the opportunities that living in a free country has brought her way. Many of Iran's elite brainiacs decide to leave Iran, in what has become known as Iran's brain drain.

Thirty four years ago, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made a prologue to Iran's so-called "Cultural Revolution" catastrophe, by saying:
"They keep talking about a brain drain, to hell with them leaving. Let these educated people who constantly talk of science and Western civilisation leave, These hypocrites say there is a brain drain. Let them go. We don't need this kind of Western science and civilisation"

Maryam Mirzakhani was fortunate to be able to leave Iran, she was also lucky to survive a bus crash that killed seven of Iran's elite mathematics pupils in February 1997.



Maryam Mirzakhani is seen in this photograph below, taken two years before the fatal crash, with other Iranian elite brainiac pupils. She is the third from the right in the front row.


And below is a brief tragic tale of what has happened to some of the other Iranian elite pupils and geniuses who were unfortunate not to be able to leave Iran:

Foad Sojoodi Farimani - a PhD student at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. He registered two inventions, both related to robotic surgery, was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to eight years in prison, for insulting Islam, "acting against national security" and insulting Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei

Mitra Aali - Bio-Material graduate from Sharif university, who had come 7th in the national university entrance exams, was arrested in 2009.

Omid Kokbai - won the physics olympiad in Iran, arrested as he was about to leave Iran, now serving a 10 year sentence.

Ali Akbar Mohamadzadeh - Also a Sharif university graduate sentenced to 6 years in 2009

Amin Niayifar - Also one of the elite pupils who graduated from Tehran Technical university in Mechanical Engineering, was flogged for insulting Iran's officials.

Arman Rezakhani - winner of the national Mathematics olympiad, also arrested in 2009. Now studying computer engineering in Texas university.

Soroush Sabet, winner of a bronze medal in the Computing Olympiad and a silver medal in the Mathematics Olympiad, was sentenced to two years prison in 2009.

Maryam Mirzakhani's husband is not Iranian, he is from the Czech Republic. Their 3 year old daughter, Anahita, therefore can not get a visa to travel to Iran, unless Mirzakhani's husband officially converts to Islam. According to the laws of the Islamic Republic, the marriage between a Muslim woman with a non-Muslim woman is not officially recognised.

And this is how Maryam Mirzakhani's picture was published in the Iranian newspapers to avoid the Hejab problem, her head was merged into the blackboard, so the faithful don't get tempted by seeing her hair!




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Compulsory Hejab by ISIS and by IRI- So Which Is More "Backward"?!

This is yet another classic gaff by the official Islamic Republic news agency, Fars News or as some call it, "False" News Agency.

The news that appeared on the Fars news site, was that of ISIS in Syria, making the wearing of Hijab compulsory for all girls in the fifth grade and above.


The news article above, then added a commentary by saying "Political analysts believe this decision by ISIS is a result of this terror group's cultural backwardness which is aiming to take Syria back to the middle ages".

The irony is that in the Islamic Republic of Iran, wearing the Hejab is compulsory for all girls from the first grade and above!

The above news was removed from the site  shortly after :))


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Hate Sermons Against the Jews on Iran State TV

video

This is a sermon given by an Iranian cleric, broadcast on Iran's State TV, about the Jews and their global aspiration to rule the world, and this is an exact translation of what he says below, [Don't miss the last part about Einstein]:
"This Star of David emblem that you see on the Israeli flag, if you pay close attention to it, then you will know what the Jews want, it contains the entire objective of the Jews in itself. The Jews want one thing and thats to take over the world. But they have to take the world in three stages. The first stage is the Qods, they have to base themselves there, in Palestine. The next stage of their operations is to takeover the area from the Nile to the Euphrates. The third stage is to conquer the entire world.
This is what the Star of David tells you. Its a six sided star as you know. The tips are arrows, this star is supposed to rise from Jerusalem, once the star has risen, the two horizontal lines below are then supposed to locate in their rightful place, those two blue lines are the Nile and Euphrates.
The tips of the arrow are then to be fired off in all directions across the globe and meet each other again.
So to recap, Jerusalem first, second, Nile to Euphrates and three, the rest of the world that they have to capture.
In their global pursuit, they have ranked the people of the world into three categories. In their vision, the people of the world are classified into three categories, the first class, the second class and the third class people.
The first class are themselves, the Jews, the Israelites, they think God has created the world for them only, God has told them to conquer the world and folded his arms on his chest waiting for them to conquer the world. God cant put his arms down until they have conquered the world. This is the summary of what they say.
The second class people according to them are those who are not of the Jewish race, they are not the children of Jacob, but accept that the Jews to be the first class, these are the second class citizens. They have the right to live, so long as they serve the Israelites. They have to be the servants of the Jews as it says in their Talmud: 'Just as you feed and care for a horse to give you a ride, help the stranger who lives near you and accepts you by feeding him, so that he serves you.'
So the second class citizens are the non-Jews who accept the superiority of the Jews and serve them.
Now the third class citizens are those who are not Jewish and they don't accept the Jewish supremacy.  They say who says all this? God has created all men as equal.
What do Jews think these people deserve? One metre below the surface of the earth for them they say! This is from the Talmud: 'kill them as cheap as possible. If you can kill them by stones do not kill them by your sword, for you blunt your sword.
So what category does that make us? Third class. In other words in the global rule by the Jews, the one people who must be completely annihilated are the Muslims.
Because Muslims do not accept the supremacy of the Jews, they must all be killed.
Let me tell you something now. Who benefits from the nuclear bomb in the world? whose is it?
You see the only school of faith, who for the sake of global rule, needs to kill on a mass scale, are the Jews. We are currently 1 billion and 400 million Muslims. No Muslim accepts the Jewish racial supremacy. So for the Jews to rule the world, they have to kill all the Muslims as they are instructed to do so. They have to kill 1 billion and 400 million Muslims. well if they try to kill so many people with ordinary weapons of destruction, with missiles and nuclear[sic] warheads, sorry with ordinary war heads, a typical non-nuclear war head, may weigh a tonne, if they use something like that, then may be 500 people will be killed.
But to kill 1 billion people you will need 10 million one tonne war heads. they don't even have a place to store them. So they will need a weapon that will annihilate on a massive scale, so that 400,000 people or 500,000 are killed in one go. Thats what nuclear bomb can do. Thats the sole purpose of nuclear bomb, its no good otherwise. And who needs to kill on such a large scale to rule the world? The Jews!
So the nuclear bomb belongs to them. Do you know who invented the nuclear bomb? It was Einstein!
Einstein was an honourable figure in mathematics but in the world of politics he was a disgrace, why? because he was a Zionist, he was Jewish and he was one of the founders of the state of Israel and they did not create the state of Israel until they tested the nuclear bomb, its theirs."
---
There you go, hope you get the gist of what is blared out of Iran's state TV.
Whats really confusing me now, is did Einstein embrace Shia Islam or was he a Zionist? There seems to be a clerical dispute over this matter!


Monday, July 07, 2014

When Shevardnadze Met Khomeini

Eduardo Shevardndze's demise today, reminded me of when he met Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989.
Khomeini had written a letter to Gorbachev, warning him of the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union and had called him to embrace Islam instead of Communism.

video

The Soviets with enormous benefits in keeping good relations with the Islamic Republic had decided to maintain a conciliatory and diplomatic response. In fact thousands of Iranian Communists were being executed in the Islamic Republic jails at this time and the Soviet Union was totally indifferent to the slaughter of thousands of young misled Iranians who looked at the USSR as the utopia of the working class masses! 

In this video, Shevardnadze starts with some over the top diplomatic flattery of Khomeini and then states  "your letter contained some in-depth philosophical context; all the soviet officials have read your letter; and without a doubt we agree with many fundamental issues but with some (of the issues) we can disagree"

Khomeini then replies "...but tell him that I wanted to open a bigger space in front of you". The translator however must have though what the hell is the Ayatollah on about and translates differently by saying "Thank you for your message, tell him that I would like to talk to him more about general matters."

While the conversation is still going on (interpreter is translating), Khomeini suddenly stands up to leave. Shevardnadze wants to continue with the conversation but  poor Shevardnadze and his delegation get totally confused as what to do, they stand up, Shevardnadze makes a sheepish bow and tries to at least offer a handshake, but Khomeini ignores him and places his hands behind his back, then makes a point of turning round and walking through the delegation without any customary pleasantries, not even an eye contact :))

The moral of the story is flattery and boot licking gets you nowhere with the Islamic Republic.


50 Lashes for Iranian Journalist, Marzieh Rasouli

Iranian journalist, Marzieh Rasouli, was first arrested two years ago, as part of a general crackdown on Iran's journalists.

Charged with the usual "Acting against the national security", Marzieh and two others were accused of being agents for the BBC Persian broadcasting.

Iranian State TV and its English speaking arm, Press TV, showed a documentary they called "Eye of the Fox", in which the accused journalists were shown making forced confessions on how they collaborated with the BBC Persian from inside Iran and "collected sensitive data".

At most, if any of these accusations were true, it is far less than the sort of things IRIB and Press TV reporters freely do in UK.

Marzieh Rasouli was freed on bail in February 2012. Today, she was summoned to serve her sentence; two tears imprisonment and 50 lashes.

Rahman Bouzari, another Iranian journalist, whose father is a Shia cleric and comes from a very religious family, received 74 lashes in August 2012.





Friday, June 20, 2014

Neda's Music Teacher Dies on the 5th Anniversary of her Death

Hamid Panahi seen here with Arash Hejazi
desperately trying to save Neda
Hamid Panahi, Neda Sultan's music teacher, who was with her during her last moments, died today. Chillingly, today also marks the 5th anniversary of the day Neda was killed.

Panahi was the man with the long white pony-tail hair who was heard in the video shouting "Neda stay, Neda don't be scared"

Neda's music teacher was put under intense pressure by the regime after the video went viral and displayed the cruelty of the Islamic Republic to the world. Panahi was interrogated and threatened for hours and finally succumbed to pressure to appear in a shameful Press TV documentary and say things that the regime wanted him to say.

Those close to Panahi say he went into a severe depression after he appeared on the Press TV program and never managed to get over it.

Panahi is seen here playing the piano and singing a song one year before Neda's death.
The song goes:
Her eyes were like a Sky of mirrors
She who faced me like a mirror
Damnation and torment on departing
The destiny of this departure was in His hands
Don't cry if destiny removed me from you
For it will once again join us together
....
video