Friday, December 30, 2005

A Reply to Jewish Telegraph Agency

An ill researched article appeared in the Jewish Telegraph Agency by Edwin Black:

The article also appeared in the Jewish Times but thankfully it appears it has been withdrawn.
(I hope I am correct in assuming this) Nevertheless the article still appears on the Jewish Telegraph Agency website.

The article carries ignorant statements such as :
So intense was the shah's identification with the Third Reich that in 1935 he renamed his ancient country "Iran," which in Farsi means Aryan and refers to the Proto-Indo-European lineage that Nazi racial theorists and Persian ethnologists cherished..."

Perhaps, Edwin Black, who should be writing children's book instead, should have bothered to read some of Iran's rich literature and relaised that Iran has always been called Iran by Iranians. The Book of Kings written by Ferdowsi 1000 years ago, is just one example from thousands, that refers to our country as Iran. Was Ferdowsi, therefore, a Third Reich supporter according to Mr. Black??

I am mostly disappointed with our Iranian Jewish compatriots however who have not pointed out to JTA the errors of their judgement in publishing Edwin Black's badly researched article. Most Iranian Jews I know are some of the most patriotic Iranians I have ever come across.

To anyone who doubts how well our Jewish compatriots were treated by the Pahlavi dynasty, let me quote some relevant extracts from a letter written by Cyrus Kadivar in response to another article :

"During his reign [ Mohammad Reza Shah], school children were taught the story of the liberation of the Jewish people in Babylonia by King Cyrus in 538 B.C. The Jews may have suffered under the Qajar shahs but neither of the Pahlavis (Reza Shah nor his son) can be accused of mistreating them. There were no pogroms and state-sponsored acts of anti-Semitism nor the burnings of synagogues or the banning of Jews from public life.

Even during WWII (shortly before the Allied Invasion of Iran on the false pretext that Reza Shah was pro-German) an Iranian diplomat in Paris was ordered to issue passports to French Jews escaping Vichy persecution. After the Holocaust many Jews were given homes and citizenship in Iran. Like all minorities in Iran, the Jews in Pahlavi Iran were allowed representatives in the Majlis (Lotfollah Hay served in parliament from 1967-1975 and was a leading industrialist) and even served in the armed forces and state ministries.

In fact, their contribution to the arts, wine-making, science, law, medicine, education and music industry in Iran is a well-documented fact in Esther’s Children published in 2002 by The Center For Iranian Jewish Oral History and edited by Houman Sarshar.

Another Jewish Iranian, Manuchehr Bibian established the Appollon Music Company – the country’s most advanced music recording and production studio of its time – and with it revolutionized Iran’s music recording industry.

Jews such as Iraj Lalehzari were members of Iran’s Royal Academy under Empress Farah’s direction. There were Jewish schools, active social and cultural organizations, and some thirty places of worship in Tehran alone. Hebrew classes were taught openly and Israelis were invited to lecture and speak at seminars. Before his fall, the Shah maintained cordial relations with Tel Aviv whilst calling for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yes, under the last Shah, Iranian Jews enjoyed all the social liberties granted to fellow Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians and Bahais.

The Khomeini revolution was a disaster for Iran’s Jews. The Ayatollah accused them of “distorting Islam, mistranslating the Koran, and taking over the Iranian economy”. In smaller cities and towns, Jews were bullied by their Muslim neighbours and anti-Jewish leaflets were distributed in the bazaars to boycott their businesses. In the months following the Shah’s dethronement, the turban-headed mullahs executed a wealthy Jewish industrialist by the name of Habib Elghanian. In 1981 the revolutionary guards (in which Ahmadinejad once served) shot Simon Farzami, a prominent and brilliant Iranian journalist and writer. The reason? He was a Jew!

As a result of the Islamic revolution, half of Iran’s 40,000 Jews fled or emigrated to Israel and the West. Many have remained loyal to the old country (some still hang portraits of Iran’s deposed royal family and the imperial flag in their homes) despite adjusting to life in new lands. Their exodus deprived Iran of centuries of wealth and talent, but more significantly a cultural heritage that had been entwined with the glory that was once Persia. "

Let me also add that Iran was one of the few countries in the Middle East which did not boycott Israel in sporting competitions. I myself remember with much fondness watching many of the exciting Iran v Israel football competitions as a child. I remember with much fondness the Nowrooz (Iranian New Year) visits to our Jewish neighbour and how I looked forward to opening up my delicately wrapped presents from our Jewish neighbour's wife, who would wave the present in front of me and say "what has uncle Nowrooz got for our little Potk?". And I can not forget the joys of stuffing my face with the delicious cakes we always found in their house.

I hope the Iranian Jews who have a 2500 years bond with the Iranian culture and the Iranian land and cherish their Iranian heritage so much, will also make Edwin Black realise how wrong he is!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In Year 2005

Hopefully, now that I have a weblog it will be easier next year to list all the Iran related activities I will be involved in. For the past year, if my memory allows me, below are what my friends and I got involved in.

The year started off with the referendum appeal, for which I had a lot of hope.
I met Mohsen Sazgara in London. I told him for matters inside Iran, I can only be all ears and listen to people who have recently left Iran, but I can help in soliciting international support for the appeal. However despite my initial enthusiasm and backing, the ball just did not get rolling for the referendum appeal.

Perhaps the highlight of the year was organising Reza Pahlavi's surprise Iranian New Year visit to Iranian refugees in London. A day which was really unforgettable:

The murder of a young Iranian teenager by a cleric in Tehran metro needed to be brought to the attention of the world:

Then it was the so called presidential elections in Iran. We went to the voting polls set up by the Islamic Republic in London, talking to and arguing with the people who were taking part in the charade. We learned a lot as to why some Iranians still ignore the appeals to boycott Islamic show elections:

When I came home, I watched VOA Persian TV. Massoud Behnood was on the program. We bumped into him on his way to vote and also questioned his reasons for not boycotting the event as he himself had earlier called for. On TV, Behnood referred to me as a thug and said I had kept calling him a traitor. Complete lies!

I rang VOA and spoke to a Mr. Ardalan, he promised me VOA will give me a chance to say my version but that never happened.

I spent the rest of the evening collecting information about what happened during the Islamic elections. I could not understand how the organisers of the Referendum Appeal had made no provisions for holding a press conference to tell the world what had happened. After all the event was not an unpredictable one:

In London, I took part in a press conference at the FPA Head Quarters in Pall Mall.
On the panel was Amir Taheri, Babak Emamian and myself. Babak Emamian represented the British Iranian Business Association (BIBA), dressed in his typical bowtie and looking as plump and baby like as ever, Emamian said Ahmadi-Nejad's message of justice to the poor had appealed to him and prompted him to vote for Ahmadi-Nejad!

I had angry exchanges with him during and after the press conference. Amir Taheri, for reasons I could not understand, kept telling me to leave Emamian alone, and at times it looked like Emamian was going to burst out crying like a baby. To me the likes of Babak Emamian represent the most revolting type of Iranians who always suck up to whoever is in power regardless. Babak Emamian also falsely represents himself as an "entrepreneur", in fact he is just an insurance salesman for Zurich Life. He is also very much like a character played by the English comedian, Harry Enfield, and just like the character keeps uttering "I am considerably richer than you", not realising how vulgar he comes across.

Then there was the London bombings. Luckily on that day I was working from home, otherwise I would have been passing Holborn and Kings Cross in the London Underground around the times the bombings took place. The tragedy had brought home the global threat of the Islamic terrorism. Something we have been warning for years.

We organised a demo outside the Islamic Centre mosque in Maida Vale and handed out leaflets with the heading "Make Islamic Fundamentalism History":

More information reached me from inside Iran about the takeover by the Hojjatieh sect and how the new president was a devotee of this messianic sect.

Akbar Ganji's heroic 70 day hunger strike also required us to do our bit in soliciting international support for him:

as well as the brutal murder of Shwane Ghaderi in Mahabad:

Then there was our efforts to stop the building of the Sivand Dam:

Our actions against the Lib Dems after Baroness Nicholson's remarks in the European Parliament:

and the year ended up with our efforts to expose the panel at the SOAS meeting:

All in all, quite a busy year considering that I was also going through a bitter divorce case and battling with a firm of solicitors by the name of Bross Bennett Family Law, whose only interest is to drain the family pot from both sides. Hopefully next year with my divorce now behind me, I can be more productive.

The injustice of the British legal system which is only designed to make the likes of Bross Bennett richer and divorced children poorer has also prompted me to join Fathers4Justice group, so you may hear about me dressed as batman hanging off some tall building in 2006 :)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Reply to Baroness Sarah Ludford Lib Dem MEP

We received the following reply from Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP - -, who has defended her Lib Dem colleague, Baroness Nicholson:

"Thank you for your email regarding the remarks of my colleague Baroness Emma Nicholson MEP during a debate on Iran in the European Parliament.

I attach the comments made by Baroness Nicholson for your information, alongside a briefing note containing information Baroness Nicholson referred to when planning her remarks.

Whilst I can understand that you may feel Baroness Nicholson went too far in putting a positive light on the situation in Iran, I cannot in any way give credit to your implication that Baroness Nicholson's remarks were in some way racist, being based on the premise that Iranians are not worthy of a full democracy.

If you have arguments against Baroness Nicholson's views regarding women's rights in Iran, I am certain that she would be keen for you to put them to her. You will find her email address at the bottom of this letter

And here is our reply to Baroness Ludford:

"Dear Baroness Sarah Ludford,

Thank you for taking time to write to us.
Please see our objections to each one of the statements made by Baroness Nicholson on October 12th 2005, in the European Parliament.

[Baroness Nicholson] - Madam President, it is my view that the Islamic Republic of Iran has much to offer the region and the wider world.
[Our Reply] : Please enlighten us as to what the Islamic Republic - [Not to be confused with the people of Iran or with the Iranian culture] exactly has to offer to the wider world. The Islamic Republic in fact is a sponsor of terrorism and a source of instability in the region.

[Baroness Nicholson] - She practices a more advanced form of democracy than most of her neighbours. Theocracy or no theocracy,
[Our Reply]: As we have said before the analogy to this would be to tell a Chinese dissident that the Chinese regime is not as bad as that of North Korea or the Khmer Rouge.
Iran has its own history and should be compared with herself not with other countries.

[Baroness Nicholson] - women's rights in Iran are far more developed than elsewhere in the region, with education for all and jobs, up to and including the Vice-President of the State, open to all.
The women of Iran have struggled for over 100 years for their freedom and rights. They were the first women in the region to get rid of compulsory veil and gain the right to vote. Any credit for women's rights being far more developed in the region, should be given to the women of Iran and not to the Islamic Republic. In fact the Islamic Republic has reversed many of women's rights in the last 25 years. Prior to the Islamic Republic, women were not stoned to death, women were not flogged, women had much more protected family rights than now, the job restrictions that Baroness Nicholson has so casually mentioned did not exist prior to 1979. Iran had women judges as well as government ministers in the cabinet.

If women's rights is more developed in Iran, it has nothing to do with the Islamic Republic, give the due credit to the women of Iran who are still fighting the religous apartheid in Iran on a daily basis.

[Baroness Nicholson] -With regard to the arts, please come to London to visit the British Museum and see the great Persepolis Exhibition, opened by the Vice-President of Iran last month.
[Our Reply]: Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for damaging and smuggling much of Iran's pre-Islamic heritage. It is unbelievable how anyone can again give credit to the Islamic Republic for what is merely a PR exercise on behalf of the Iranian regime for the outside world and forget all the Iranian artists who were executed, jailed or banned from work because their work was not to the taste of the clerics.
Much of the Forgotten Empire exhibition relics are actually from establishments from outside Iran.

[Baroness Nicholson] -I believe that Iran's reintegration into the international community is long overdue and sorely needed.
[Our Reply] What in your opinion were required from the Islamic Republic for her reintegration into the international community and how have these requirements been accompolished?

[Baroness Nicholson] -The inevitable prerequisite is and must be the essential requirement to resolve the nuclear issue. However, to avoid the accurate potential charge of hypocrisy, it is just as important that the European Union should pursue with equal aggression the policy of nuclear non-proliferation throughout the region. The European Union's single foreign policy demands no less.
[Our Reply] While we are opposed to Nuclear Weapons fullstop, are you aware of the Iranian president's views on judgement day and paving the way for the re-emergence of the hidden Imam?
In view of the above do you not see an urgency with regards to stopping the Islamic Republic from gaining nuclear weapons?

We believe the views of Baroness Nicholson and those Lib Dems who have supported her are racist, because it seems that the standards you would not accept for yourselves you seem to find acceptable for the Iranian people? Do you therefore think you are better than us and is that therefore not racist?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bus Drivers Union Members Sent to Evin Jail

Those who desperately seek to promote the Islamic Republic as a "flourishing democracy" will not be ashamed when the news of the arrest of Bus Drivers Union members in Iran was announced. For those who promote the mullahs have no shame, they have other self seeking motives when they promote the Islamic Republic. However those who may be duped into thinking there is any kind of democracy in Iran, due to lack of knowledge and information on the true nature of the theocracy in Iran should open their eyes.

The bus drivers union has no political agenda, they are not planning to overthrow the Islamic Republic. In fact they have tried to negotiate with every level of the Islamic establishment, right up to the vice-president. Yet what is the response of Ahmadi-Nejad's "government of justice"? Throw the union members into the notorious Evin prison! Why? what are they guilty of other than demanding a fair standard of living in a country with so much wealth?

Mansoor Osanloo, The Union's head of executive committee was transferred to Evin prison today. Akbar Yaghoubi, Reza Boorboor and Hamid Reza Rezaiifar were arrested on Thursday.
Javad Kefayati, Javad Sidvand and Morteza Kamsari were arrested by the secret police.

In response to the arrest of their comrades, the bus drivers in Iran are planning to go on strike from Sunday. Their demand is simple: "Release our comrades".

Now wouldn't be a nice gesture from the Transport and General Workers Union in UK, to have banners hanging from their buses which go past the Islamic Republic embassy in London, saying "Release the Jailed Bus Drivers in the Islamic Republic". That would be proper international solidarity.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Where the Referendum Appeal Lost its Way

I was one of the first signatories of the Referendum Appeal on the The originators of the appeal, in my view, were serious Iranian opposition figures who could be trusted by the people of Iran. They had all passed their test of courage and resolution by having suffered in Islamic Republic prisons. An important factor in the Iranian psychology, in my view.
These originators were not the comical figures of the LA based self appointed TV presenters come opposition politicians, and it was no surprise to me that the LA based TV stations were so vehemently opposed to the appeal. To me that was a plus point for the referendum appeal.

I considered the appeal as a vehicle which could have snowballed and acted as a leaver to unite a sizeable bulk of the Iranian opposition to put the clerics under pressure to give concessions.
Internationally the Appeal also had the potential of becoming a credible body with a sizeable support amongst the Iranian population with whom the heads of state and the international media could talk to.

I still think the appeal has those potentials, but sadly many things have gone badly wrong.

The first thing that went wrong was the site itself. There were no provisions for what should have been expected, i.e. the site being filtered in Iran. Those behind the technical aspects of the site had not even catered for how to enter signatures sent in groups. I remember how one of the site administrators at the time told me she had spent all day entering 700 signatures sent in bulk in one email with many more like that which she had no time to enter.

There were no provisions to check the accuracy of the signatures. All of a sudden names like Mickey Mouse and Ali Khamenei appeared too often in the list of signatories, which reduced the credibility of the list. For some strange reason, the site adminstrators also divided the list into "Famous Personalities" and the pleb. You can imagine the arguments which erupted amongst the narcissist old guard as to who should be considered famous and who not. :))

The site also lost the plot when like so many other Iranian websites, it became a news copy and paste website. Worse still for a while, a group used the site to score points against a political prisoner, with whom they had personal problems with. Totally irrelevant to the original purpose of the appeal. I am glad to say that after a lot of time and effort, I personally managed to convince the site adminstrators not to get the site involved in scoring points against an Iranian political prisoner and remove the harmful articles.

The points above are just a fraction of how the site turned into a tool of self destruction for the appeal. The sad thing is those who started the appeal did not even think of any other mechanisms for registering signatures, the website was the only gateway they had ever considered!

Forget about inside Iran, where I am not in a position to say what should be done, but I know of only one opposition personality outside Iran who left the comfort of his internet connection to go and explain the referendum appeal to a group of Iranian refugees. Thousands of other Iranian refugees stuck in camps and hostels around Europe alone were not consideed worthy of being solicited for their support. The refugees are Iranians who have risked their lives and limbs, their honour and their possessions to escape Iran, yet none of these exiled opposition cyber activists saw it fit to solicit their support for the appeal!

The referendum appeal became a cyber activity amongst the self-styled "elite" of the Iranian exiled opposition. What I always refer to as the "closed circuit TV" opposition, once again took over, supported by their network of cliques in the Iranian media, like the Voice of America(Persian Service), the numerous websites, the weekly journals etc.

As I have said time and time again, all this "closed circuit television" is capable of doing is writing articles alone. Articles which only they themselves read, and take seriously and once again the great mass of ordinary Iranians are left unaccounted for.

The "closed circuit exiled Iranian opposition" is just not able to break out of its own circle. It is unable to make contact with the Iranian public even outside Iran. Not just because it lacks the charisma, but because it lacks the will as well. Somehow the "closed circuit exiled Iranian opposition" does not consider ordinary Iranians worthwhile and is also incapable of recognising that without the support of ordinary Iranians it can never organise any mass action and if it can never do that, it will never have any credibility nor power.

Of all these "Referendum Committees" which sprouted all over European cities, none of them can I recall who actually organised any action which gained much publicity in the international public opinion or within the Iranian community.

In December, the "closed circuit opposition" held a conference in Brussels. To them it was a great achievement. I however, have seen many of such events. I can summarise them in one sentence:
"They came, they sat, they talked, they made a declaration and they left". This one seems to be no different.

Apart from Eli Lake of the New York Sun, the international media gave the event no coverage at all. What seemed to the organisers as a great achievement, in the eyes of the international community was a zero event.

I have approached many of these self-styled opposition "elites" and aksed them to join our pickets and actions. The usual answer is "I approve of what you do and am willing to act as an advisor but it is beneath me to stand with the rest of you in the streets handing out leaflets!".

By refusing to embrace the ordinary Iranian public inside and outside Iran, the Iranian opposition will never be able to break out of its own closed circle. It will remain what it has been since the end of the 1980s, a bunch of cyber activists and article writers unknown to the vast majority of Iranians, unable to mobilise any significant organised movement.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pickets Outside Lib Dem HQ Continue

Despite Lord Rennard's promises to set up a meeting with Sir Menzie Campbell and review the Party's policy towards the Islamic Republic, we have heard nothing from the Lib Dems since.

Hence we are picketing the Lib Dem HQ, in Cawley Street on a daily basis now between 2 - 4 pm. It would be good of other Iranians in UK to join us and put pressure on the Lib Dems to clarify their position on the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian opposition must learn to do more than just write articles and poetry.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Illusions of Fair Elections

Anyone who is under any illusions that there are free and fair elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, may find it worthwhile to read the news item below.

If a regime can't even stand a free and fair elections in the neighbouring country, Iraq, how could they possibly allow a fair and free election in Iran???

"AFP - Hundreds of blank ballots like those to be used in this week's elections in Iraq have been found on a truck which entered the country from neighbouring Iran, security officials said, according to AFP.

"A truck with Iranian number plates was intercepted Tuesday night in the locality of Badra, Wasset province, southeast of Baghdad," an official said.

Another security source confirmed the discovery and said authorities were looking for three other suspect trucks in areas east of Baghdad near the Iranian border.

"The blank ballots were probably destined to stuff the ballot boxes" in Thursday's general election, a security official said.

The ballot papers were not printed by the Iraqi Electoral Commission which is the only body authorised to supply voting materials.

Iraqis go to the polls Thursday for the third time this year to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives that will form the basis of the first permanent post-Saddam Hussein government

Monday, December 12, 2005

Meeting at SOAS

On Friday, I went to a meeting at SOAS. The title of the meeting was the "Future of Democracy in Iran". This in itself intrigued me, it sort of sounded like there is democracy in Iran now and its future is up for discussion. I recognised the name of Ziba Mir-Hosseini in the panelists. Just after the July 99 uprising in Iran, she had facilitated a donation of £250,000 from the Islamic Republic to SOAS. In return the university had granted two fellowships, one to the brother of Rahim Safavi, the head of Iran's much feared revolutionary guards. At the same time while according to the Iranian regime's own figures, 2000 students were imprisoned, Ziba Mir-Hosseini also organised a conference in SOAS, commemorating Khomeini's 100th lunar birthday.

The Iranian community responded by holding a demonstration inside the university campus. This was an unprecedented act in the university's history. I also took part in the demo, and I remember how to our delight, several SOAS students, including the SOAS NUS president and a number of the university lecturers joined our ranks. When the representative of the Supreme Leader in London, Ayatollah Araki arrived for the conference, the entire campus erupted in booing and jeering him. The consequences for the university's actions went further. A petition was signed by more than 80 distinguished academics across the world condemning the untimely acceptance of the donation from an anti-student and anti-academic regime.

On this occasion on Friday, apart from Ziba Mir-Hosseini, the other panelists were Elaheh Koolaee, former Iranian MP during Khatami's presidency, Elaheh Rostami from Iran Action and Campaign Against Military Interventionn in Iran and Dr. Ansari from St. Andrews.

I started listening to Elaheh Rostami's speech and soon I realised what the whole thing was about. The panel was trying to convince the British public that there was a flourishing democracy in Iran and it should be left to its own accord to develop. When Elaheh Rostami went further and claimed "It is easier to be critical of the regime inside Iran than outside Iran" I couldn't accept the insult to my intelligence. "How can it be easier to be critical of the regime inside Iran? How can you as an academic say such non-sense?" I shouted from across the room.

Elaheh Rostami who looked nervous and shakyy even before I interrupted her, looked at me nervously and said the format of the meeting will allow me to ask questions at the end of the meeting. I thanked her for the possibility but reminded her if she was there to promote the Islamic Republic, she will not go unchallenged.

My protest encouraged some of the victims of the Islamic Republic in the audience to protest too. A woman who had lost an eye from being whipped repeatedly to the head in Islamic prisons stood up and said in her best English "What democracy are you talking about? I lost my eye in prisons while she was an MP" pointing at Elaheh Koolaee.

Dr. Ansari from the panel threatened to leave the meeting and called a young chap in the audience a donkey. Although he quickly apologised and retracted his remark. I tried to calm everyone but something out of my control happened. A suspicious character that I have seen on previous occasions hurled personal insults at a young Iranian in the audince calling his mother a prostitute. I had previously seen the suspicious character with Massoud Behnood, a self-seeker journalist desperately trying to win favours with the mullahs. I also recognised the chap who was insulted. It was Amir Ghaffari, the son of a prominent Iranian political prisoner, Reza Ghaffari. Amir grew up in Iran, only seeing his father on a handful of occasions during prison visits. His family suffered immensely during the repression of the eighties until they managed to escape Iran. Amir was raging and furious. Once I saw him move towards Behnood's friend, I rushed towards him trying to calm him down. I was trying to explain to Amir what this guy was trying to do. In the melee which followed, the panelists called security and cleverly moved into another room. By the time I had calmed Amir down, the suspicious character had left and Ziba Mir-Hosseini and the university security prevented all those who they could identify in the protest from entering the room, including me.

I felt bad, and thought the meeting's organisers had cleverly outmaneuvered us. The non-Iranian audience there couldn't have worked out what was happening and they may have even thought the guy who enraged Amir was one of us.

However those who managed to stay in the meeting, told us that the panelists failed to convince the audience. "They put women in a sack, bury them up to their waist and stone them to death. What democracy are you on about?" one member of the audience reportedly asked. Another British woman who was recently in Iran, said " I still haven't got over the horrors of what I saw in Iran." The panel had failed miserably despite shutting us out.

So it seems that despite all the clever tactics of promoting the Islamic Republic by holding so-called "academic debates" etc. The days of fooling the Western people by Khatami's smiles and nice words is over. The people now see Islamic Republic for what it is: A reactionary religious dictatorship and a religious apartheid not fit for this century.

Friday, December 09, 2005

They Saved the World

I am always amazed when I see thousands pour into the streets either to say their farewell to some celebrity or to welcome them. The most recent one being George Best's funeral.

Hundreds of thousands poured into the streets for the funeral of someone who at best dazzled us with his football skills for a couple of years and then lived the rest of his life as a complete piss artist. George Best is certainly not a role model I would choose.

I started pondering as to why the masses feel obliged to display such acts of stupidity. Is it the media manipulation? Is it the media's constant coverage of these characters that makes people feel like they have lost a close relative? and then my thoughts wondered to ask who would I choose as the ultimate hero? the ultimate role model? Who does the world owe more to than anyone else?

Quite frankly, I didn't have to think for too long. For me it has to be the sacrifice made by a small number of Soviet professionals who saved the world from the deadly radiation of Chernobyl. Men like Anatoly Grishchenko, the Ukranian test pilot, who flew over the nuclear site and poured sand and boron carbide into the burning reactor to stop the nuclear bonfire and tons of radioactive material.

These courageous people knew what they would face, physiological damage from radiation poisoning, however as Anatoly Grishchenko said before he died "I did what I had to do, my childhood home was threatened".

The heroic sacrifices made by the firefighters, the technicians, the pilots and all the rest of the people who helped contain the nuclear disaster simply saved the world. No ifs and buts, we owe our lives to them. Yet how often do you see their names in the media? How many people do you know who can name them or even remember their sacrifice?

I for one salute their courage and sacrifice. There should be a memorial built to these heroes in every country across the globe.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

On Reza Pahlavi

I grew up in a family who were opposed to the Shah. My father, I am told, spent a total span of 6 months in prison during his student years. My maternal uncle, who had distinguishing red hair, was always identified easily in political protests because of his unusual hair colour amongst Iranians. At the end, he was arrested so many times, he had to flee the country and start a new life in the West. We had childhood friends whose fathers had been executed and despite having no blood relationship, referred to my parents as aunt and uncle.

After my father became a parent, he had already stopped all political activity, but still on a couple of occasions, he was taken from home for questioning by SAVAK secret police. No harm was done to him and he returned safely on each occasion, but still the images of not knowing why he had to suddenly leave home and a worried mother who was trying to pretend to us there was nothing wrong, while uncontrollably shaking like a leaf, are not comfortable childhood memories to remember.

I remember vividly when the Shah suddenly decreed the creation of a one party state on state TV, and how he condescendingly said "anyone who doesn't like it can ask for his passport and leave the country". I only remember my father shed tears in front of us on a handful of occasions, and that was one of them. He looked straight at the TV screen as if talking directly to the Shah, and said "I love my country, why should I leave it just because I oppose you?"

So when I first met Reza Pahlavi in London, it was with such a background and outlook that was engrained in me.

When he walked in the room and shook hands with us, his charisma was unmistakeable. Naturally he had the celebrity status. I had only ever seen Reza Pahlavi as the Prince of the realm on TV as a child, usually during popmpous ceremonies or sporting occasions. Meeting him in person was as remote as you can imagine. Yet here I was in a room face to face with the Prince and he was calling me by my first name. But such encounters may be usual when one meets anyone famous, and the initial awe gradually fades away. What was impressive about the rest of the meeting was that what Reza Pahlavi said, made sense. I soon found him to be a level headed guy, without any hang ups about the past but focused on the future of Iran. Most importantly he was nothing like the usual run of the mill, out of touch with reality, monarchists I had often met.

I then saw Reza Pahlavi at Chatham house. During the questions and answers, a girl stood up, introducing herself and her family members, claiming they were the first Iranians to raise the flag of monarchy in Hyde Park. She was obviously fishing for compliments. I dropped my head in despair, but it quickly bounced back up when Reza Pahlavi interrupted her, not only not complimenting her but saying "that was your first mistake, rather than raising the flag of monarchy, you should have raised the flag of Iran. I want Iranians to say they are freedom fighters first and foremost before saying they are monarchists, next question please".

The attitude he displayed against the old hat sycophant monarchists made me like Reza Pahlavi even more. This is actually one of Reza Pahlavi's traits. You will not impress him by saying there was nothing wrong during his father's reign or showering him with empty phrases of adulation, you will impress him however with a sound sensible argument.

I have met Reza Pahlavi on many occasions now, haven't always agreed with him, but I think I am in a good position to make better judgement on him than most people. Reza Pahlavi is a modern Prince, who is passionate about the liberation of Iran. He genuinely believes if monarchy is to play a role in the future of Iran, it has to be similar to that of European constitutional monarchies. If I can sum it up, I see him as the equivalent of King Juan Carlos of Spain for Iran. Something I find quite appealing amongst the few alternatives we have in front of us. A stabilising figurehead and a symbol of unity, who can inspire the citizens above the partisan politics. After all I saw for myself how he changed the feeling of depression and hopelessness amongst Iranian refugees and asylum seekers in an unannounced Nowrooz (Iranian New Year) visit.

So to those who still have a hang up of the past, I say, GET OVER IT, whats in the past, is in the past. No one wants to, nor is it possible to restore the way things were under the Shah. Unlike most of us who have shared responsibility of what went wrong in the past, Reza Pahlavi is not repsonsible for any of the past mistakes. Lets focus on the future as Reza Pahlavi does.

Even if a similar model to the Spanish monarchy for Iran does not appeal to you, then fine, work on your heartfelt desired paradigms, but do not have any misguided illusions about Reza Pahlavi and what he stands for: A patriot who is in touch with reality and an important player who strives for a modern democratic pluralistic secular Iran.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2005

Iranian investigative journalist, Akbar Ganji became the first recipient of the "Dialogue of Cultures Award" the Foreign Press Association in London on 29th November.

Also present were leading politicians, celebrities and media personalities including Jack Straw, who gave the keynote speech, Dr Muhammad Abdulghaffar, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Baroness Boothroyd; Sir Bob Geldof; human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger; broadcaster Sue MacGregor; Antonella Notari, global spokeswoman for the ICRC; Lord Owen and FPA external judges Sir Simon Jenkins, and Stewart Purvis.

Guests and Awards nominees were welcomed by Annalisa Piras, President of the Foreign Press Association and correspondent for LA7 TV, Italy and by Nazenin Ansari, Vice President of the Foreign Press Association, Chair of the FPA Media Awards and Diplomatic Correspondent for the Iranian newspaper Kayhan (London).

Statement issued by Mrs. Massoumeh Shafiei, wife of Akbar Ganji on the occasion of
Akbar Ganji receiving the first A Dialogue of Cultures Award from The Foreign Presss Association in London
29th November 2005

"I sincerely thank the Foreign Press Association in London for having chosen Mr. Ganji as the first recipient of the Dialogue of Cultures Award.

International support such as this for the rights that Mr. Ganji has lost is without a doubt extremely helpful. Clearly were it not for the support of the international community, the regime in Tehran would have forced him to vanish without a trace and then disposed of him.

At a time when my husband is in solitary confinement and is denied access to the outside world, this award strengthens and bolsters his resolve, enlivens his spirit and gives us moral boost.

One important point that I should emphasize and draw your attention to is that awards such as this do not belong to Ganji but to all free thinkers and dissidents in the prisons of the regime in Tehran who are living in desperate conditions.

Ganji represents one these political prisoners. Others include Dr. Soltani, Amir Entezam, Tabarzadi, Zarafshan, Massoud Bastani, the Mohammadi brothers, all the students in jail and others whom I have forgotten or do not know their names. I hope they are all set free."

Monday, November 28, 2005

7th Commemoration of Forouhars

As expected, the public commemoration of the Forouhars was banned this year by the Islamic Republic. Instead Parastou held the commemoration in her late parents' home and as usual the crowds came to honour the memory of the slained dissidents, Daryoush and Parvaneh Forouhar.
What the regime does not realise is that Daryoush and Parvaneh Forouhar are in the hearts of the Iranian people. Whether they ban their public commemoration or not, Iranians will always remember the sacrifices of the Forouhars and they will always remember the hideous crimes of the clerics in the last 25 years.

Surrounded by a Protective Light

Iranian President Ahmadi-Nejad, reflected on his trip to the UN, in a meeting with Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli. Parts of this meeting have been published in the Iranian website See:

In the film, the President reports that once he started his speech, reciting the opening verse of Koran's chapters, suddenly he was surrounded by a mysterious protective light. He carries on telling the Ayatollah that those present in the hall also noticed this cosmic phenomenon. "I could clearly see the audience stopped blinking once they saw the light surrounding me!" The president described to the Ayatollah.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

British Iranians Picket the Lib Dem HQ

British Iranians staged a silent picket outside the Lib Dem HQ, in Cowley Street, Millbank. The picket was in protest at remarks made by Lib Dem Baroness, Emma Nicholson, in the European Parliament, who referred to the Islamic Republic as "an advanced form of democracy in the region".

The protesters, mostly professional, took time off work and braved the cold London weather, and stood outside the Lib Dem HQ, handing out leaflets - see below - to passers by and Lib Dem members who were visiting the party HQ.

After about one hour, a Lib Dem official first protested to the police that the protesters are using a residential property to display their posters, but the police reassured the official that the owner has given her consent after speaking to the protesters.

Soon after, the Lib Dem chief executive, Lord Chris Rennard, stepped out of the HQ to speak to the demonstrators. The demonstrators explained that Baroness Nicholson's constant support for the Islamic Republic is providing the mullahs with a lot of undue credit and propaganda. Lord Rennard was told any comparison of the Islamic Republic with other countries in the region is an absurd comparison. The Iranian people have struggled for the last 100 years for freedom of speech and an accountable government. The analogy would be to tell a Chinese dissident that the Chinese government is not as bad as North Korea or the Pol Pot regime! "No comparison with other countries in the region is relevant" Lord Rennard was told.

Lord Rennard was also reminded about another Lib Dem peer who had said "Human Rights in Iran should not be compared with Western Human Rights standards but with that of the region. "There should be no classifcation of Human Rights", the demonstrators told Lord Rennard. "Human Rights is universal and it should not be classified by race or region".

Lord Rennard agreed and then asked what the protesters' demands were.
"We need a clear statement from the Lib Dem party on what their policy towards the Islamic Republic is. Do they support Emma Nicholson or do they distance themselves from her? If we do not have a satisfactory answer we will continue to campaign amongst British Iranians not to vote for Lib Dems and will stage hunger strikes outside the Party HQ" The demonstrators told Lord Rennard.

Lord Rennard promised to contact Sir Menzies Campbell, the Lib Dem Shadow Foreign Secretary and try to get a clarification on the party's policy on the Islamic Republic.

The protesters then thanked Lord Rennard and said they will await the reply by Sir Menzies Campbell. Lord Rennard however refused to give a statement to the journalists covering the event.

The leaflet handed out today:

Freedom Loving People of Britain! In a recent debate in the European Parliament, the Lib Dem Baroness, Emma Nicholson was the only MEP who praised the medieval theocratic state of the Islamic Republic of Iran, calling it “a more advanced form of democracy in the region”.

Islamic Republic is in fact a brutal, backward, religious dictatorship. Only Shiite Muslims can stand as candidates in the so-called "elections", but not all the Shiites; only the ones who accept the state interpretation of Shiite Islam, even then they are still vetted by the unelected Guardian Council before the elections and after the elections, yet despite all this the state used all its apparatus to cheat in the last presidential “elections” too.

We wrote to all Lib Dem MPs, MEPs and Lords to clarify their position on the Islamic Republic and on Baroness Nicholson’s continuous support for the mullahs. Only Lord Lester distanced himself from Baroness Nicholson. The leader of the Lib Dem MEPs, Chris Davies also replied to us but backed his colleague, Baroness Nicholson. Interestingly he also got Iran and Iraq mixed up in his reply!

By supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Lib Dems are supporting:











We believe that none of the above are neither Liberal nor Democratic values and at a time when the Iranian president calls for another country to be wiped off the map, and the Islamic Republic technology explosives is killing British soldiers in Iraq, the Lib Dem leadership by not publicly distancing itself from Baroness Nicholson has shown gross incompetence and misjudgement.

Would you trust such a party to be in charge of international affairs?

VOA Persian Service coverage of the event:

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Working Class Cabinet

So much nonsense has been said about president Ahmadi-Nejad and his working class hero cabinet members. As always, as soon as I hear anyone pretending to be some working class hero, or hear the words, the government of the disposessed and all that garbage, I feel nauseated.

Here is the aerial photo of Mr. Mahsooli's house, who would have been Ahmadi-Nejad's oil minister. Not exactly a spartan working class dwelling! More interestingly however, note the number of satellite dishes on his roof.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Islamic Republic Generals Meet Messbah

Top commanders of the Islamic Republic Armed Forces, in an unprecedented move appeared before Ayatollah Messbah Yazdi, the ideologue of the Hojjatieh sect.

Analysts believe this move, is a direct challenge to the authority of the "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Khamenei, and yet another sign that the members of the Hojjatieh sect are now in full control of the armed forces.

Latest on the Forouhars Commemoration

Well as predicted, this year the Islamic Republic has banned any commemoration ceremony for the Forouhars on the anniversary of their murder by the Islamic Republic agents. However, Parastoo Forouhar, the daughter of the murdered Iranian dissidents has defied the ban and will hold their commemoration in their former residence.

Today 460 Iranian dissidents, activists, academics and intellectuals have backed Parastoo's call to hold the commemoration again, despite the ban imposed by the Islamic Republic.

This is one Iranian lioness who will not forget the murder of her parents.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Anniversary of the Murder of Forouhars

The seventh anniversary of the hideous murder of Daryoosh and Parvaneh Forouhar is approaching. Thousands attended their funeral in the biggest anti-government demo in the Islamic Republic since the crackdown of the 80s on dissidents. Every year despite attacks by hired thugs, people have also attended their anniversary.

Parastoo Forouhar, their devoted and courageous daughter, has been making a trip to Iran, for each anniversary. Perhaps this year however is the biggest test of how afraid the people are of the new thugs in power. Will the people turn up to honour Iran's heroes as in the previous years and condemn the autonomous hit squads of the Islamic Republic? or as most expect will the atmosphere of fear and crackdown of the new Hojjatieh zealots in power, see an end to these anniversaries?

One thing is for sure, Parastoo will never give up her quest for justice to expose those who stabbed her parents to death.

See the report by Reporters without Frontiers for background information :

and here is a report of the fifth anniversary I wrote before:

The Daughter of Iran’s Slain Dissidents Calls for Justice not Revenge

Today, Iran’s lionesses once again were in the forefront of the struggle against the current Islamic dictatorship in Iran.

For the fifth year running the anniversary of the murder of Iran’s secular dissidents, Daryoosh and Parvaneh Forouhar, turned into a protest against the medieval rule of the clerics over our motherland.

If Jack Straw, Dominique de Vilpen and Joschka Fischer thought they had disheartened the Iranian people by their treacherous act of providing nuclear technology to the Islamic Republic, the cries of “Iranians will die before they accept dishonor” should once again remind them that throughout the turbulent Iranian history, our deep rooted passion of nationalism, and our deep rooted sense of duty for guarding the continuity of our nation has always inspired us in our darkest hours.

The Islamic regime rightly fearful of the show of dissent on the anniversary of the murder of Iran’s Sun and Lioness, tried in several ways to confuse the public. First by sending out false rumors about the place and time of the ceremony and then by banning it from the usual more accessible Baharestan Square, the very heart of Iranian democracy movement. The Islamic regime’s last desperate tactic was to close off the Highway exit leading to the Shariati Ave, where the ceremony was finally allowed to take place. But despite all this, the building, the yard, and all the surrounding streets were swarming with people wanting to pay their respects to the Late Forouhars.

Soon after Engineer Shahveisi’s speech, from Iran Nation Party, the crowd started chanting ‘Free All Political Prisoners’. The chairman tried to calm the crowds by saying the people of Iran should all be freed from a prison the size of the whole of Iran.

Then Moinifar a veteran nationalist, although not normally known for his outspoken remarks, pointed out all the shortcomings, flaws and futilities of the previous elections in the Islamic Republic and asked the crowd if it was right to participate in the next Islamic elections? The crowd roared back with cries of ‘Never, Never!” and “Taking Part in Elections is Treason to Our Nation”

Taken back by the crowds fervor in so zealously condemning participation in Islamic elections, the chair and Moinfar both asked the crowd to calm down so that the ceremony wouldn’t be interrupted.

Finally a woman of steel determination with the genealogy of Gord-Afarid, Iran’s mythical female warrior, took the stage. The crowds unanimously shouted her name ‘Parastoo, Parastoo, Parastoo’, while the chair kept urging the crowd to calm down, so Parastoo could make her speech. When the daughter of the late Forouhars started her speech, the crowd were all ears, mesmerized by her un-trembling and uncompromising voice of valor.

‘ …The last time I saw my father’s face was when I pulled back the shroud from his face at the morgue. I wanted to see his beaten face for one last time. As I stroked his beautiful hair with my hand, I felt the iciness of the many bitter winters he had had to struggle with. And next to him was his comrade, his friend Paravaneh. On my mother’s hands of courage there were bruises and scars of her last struggle with the killers. Scars and wounds were all over her once warm body which was fuelled by her kindness and affection. But her eyes were still full of zeal and enthusiasm, looking at the far horizons, as if despite the last violence she had to endure, she was still dreaming of her aspirations. Her aspiration of a free Iran! ….But from their death and their courage they left behind for our people a barricade, a barricade behind which we will continue the struggle….’

Parastoo then went on to name the other victims of what has become known as the “chain murder” victims and she continued the link to Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian born photo-journalist who was battered to death in the Islamic dungeons.

“…Let us not forget these martyrs! We have endured our pain and suffering on our broad shoulders and we have kept alive the flames of hope for justice deep within our wounded hearts. This pain we suffer with our love for the motherland and this pain is our common pain…We have carried this pain along with our quest for justice, in a country where justice has been crushed under the chains of despotism…”

Parastoo then continued saying how the regime, taken back by the public outrage, promised to deliver justice but how the real culprits were kept protected behind closed doors and missing files.

“Instead of justice, every voice seeking justice was silenced and the newspapers were closed down one after another and even our legal representative, Nasser Zarafshan, was sentenced to prison…”

At this time the crowd who had tears running down their faces, once again led by the women, shouted ‘Hail to Zarafshan, Hail to Zarafshan…”

“…And those who had promised “reform” to our people, left us halfway in the doldrums, … but you people who are the owners of this land do not forget our martyrs and continue to demand justice. But do not mistake this quest for justice and truth with the outdated violent response of revenge. For revenge bears violence and violence is only the pretext for despotism and oppression….Let this humanistic struggle for justice give birth to a society cleansed of violence and cruelty…Long live the memory of those who lost their lives for Iran, Victory to the people!”

Thus our 21St century Gord-Afarid stirred the passions and once again planted the seeds of hope for a free Iran in our hearts. As the chair declared the closing of the ceremony, the crowd stood up and sang the banned national anthem ‘Ey Iran, our glorious frontiers…”.

Outside the chants became more and more radical, and inevitably clashes took place with the organised hired thugs, always on the payroll to attack and injure those who raise the voice of dissent in the Islamic Republic. Many plain clothes secret agents were seen filming the protesters and one was attacked by the crowd. Even the photographer from the official student news agency website, ISNA was briefly arrested by plain clothes agents, but the continuous chants of ‘Let him go, Let him go’ by the people insured his release.

Although there were many foreign journalists including a Japenese film crew, as usual there was no sign of the BBC correspondent in Tehran, Jim Muir, who prefers the causey tea parties with his “reformists” friends, rather than reporting real news. LA based Persian TV stations also seemed to be away for the weekend, showing their usual trash programs not realising what was happening in the streets of Tehran. While Parastoo was asking the Iranian people to continue their struggle for justice, NITV’s proprietor clown, Zia Atabai was discussing the accusations made against Michael Jackson.

Today the Islamic Republic and her allies were once again reminded in the futility of the regime. For the Iranian nation are like an ongoing stream seeking to join the sea of liberty. For each one of us that falls, our sons and daughters will rise and carry the banner. The Arab invaders may have got the windmills going with the blood of our forefathers in Istakhr and destroyed our libraries and fire temples, but the fire within our hearts will never die.

Children of Cyrus Care

What better news than this? Young Iranian NGO activists gathering by Cyrus the Great's relief and Cyrus's tomb, protesting at the building of the Sivand dam which may threaten Cyrus's tomb and flood over 100 excavation sites.

Children of Cyrus will never forget the founder of our country, whether the mullahs like it or not.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Comparing Iran with Other Countries in the Region

It is hard to defend the Islamic Republic for any normal human being who wishes to appear as civilised, democratic, tolerant, peace and freedom loving etc. For who can justify putting a woman into a sack, bury her upto her waist and then stoning her to a slow death? Who can justify public executions in this day and age? What kind of a progressive person can justify the execution of minors? What kind of a person can justify persecution based on one's religious beliefs? What kind of a person can justify the rights of citizens based on their religious beliefs? The list is endless. No sane person can possibly defend the theocracy in Iran in the 21St century.

So how do these Western lackeys of mullahs justify supporting the Islamic Republic? Here is their latest desperate attempt. They keep comparing Iran with other countries in the region. These are typical quotes by some of the Western supporters of the Islamic Republic:
"In Iran women can drive but they can't in Saudi Arabia"
"In Iran women have more rights than women in Afghanistan"
"In Iran women wear make up".....

What strikes me first is why did these people never compare us with the others in the region before 1979? Why didn't they say women in Iran were the first in the region to have the right not to wear the veil? women in Iran were the first to have the right to vote, women in Iran were free to hold any jobs, from being an air pilot to being a judge. There were very progressive family laws in Iran and Iranian women were much more educated than others in the region, and all this was before the Islamic upheaval 1979. But for some strange reason, Iran was never compared with the other countries in the region then.

I remember one of the student dissidents against the Shah, who was looking back at his youth activities with some hindsight and regret, once said "The Shah used to send us to the West for our eductaion. We would see the way things were in Switzerland and England and then lament on how Iran lacks behind them. If only once, they diverted our planes, so that instead of a direct Geneva-Tehran plane, we stopped in Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan, perhaps we would then realise that actually things were not that bad in our own country."

The truth is, Iranian society is more advanced than those in the region but this has nothing to do with the mullahs. Jane Kokan, the journalist in the Channel 4 documentary Iran Under Cover, told me to my delight, if you talk to a typical Afghan, they ask you things like "what crops do you grow?" but the Iranians talk about more sophisticated subjects, like freedom, their culture, their history.

This overall higher refinement of Iranians to their neighbours in the region is nothing to do with the mullahs. The clerics in Iran have in fact reversed this process as much as they have been able to in the last 25 years. The credit for the more liberal and progressive values amongst Iranians compared to those in the region should go to the Iranian people and those who were in charge before 1979, not to the mullahs.

Before 1979, we had no stoning, we had no penal amputations, we had no compulsory wearing of the veil. Where the likes of Baroness Nicholson go wrong, and they know deep down that they are covering up, is that they give the credit to the mullahs instead of to the Iranians and our deep rooted history and culture.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Leader of Lib Dem MEPs Supports Baroness Nicholson

This message was received from Chris Davies MEP, and the Leader of the British Liberal Democrat MEPs in response to a protest letter, sent to all Lib Dem representatives, at Baroness Nicholson's support for Islamic Republic . As you can see in the letter, the leader of the Lib Dem MEPs, even gets Iran and Iraq wrong!!! That is the level of Lib Dem intellectual capability. Imagine if these amateurs were running the country!!

"I do not regard Baroness Nicholson's description of the Iranian political system as a 'more advanced form of democracy' than that of the country's neighbours as inaccurate. The system is a travesty of democracy but most international opinion acknowledges that in Iran there is at least the means for a limited form of democratic public _expression which is more than can be said for a great many countries in the Middle East. To describe her comments as racist is simply nonsense.

I wish to see a democratic and secular approach to government adopted in an Iran which pays full respect to human rights. This would be very different from the system that exists at present.

If you wish to demonstrate against the personal views of one of my party's representatives I am sure she would be the first to say that you have the right to do so.

For my part I will be happy to discuss the situation in Iraq with you at a meeting we could arrange at the European Parliament or at my constituency office in the North West of England.

Yours sincerely

Chris Davies MEP
Leader, British Liberal Democrat MEPs "

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cyrus Day

It was Cyrus Day on Saturday and so we had to organise another petition outside the British Mueseum to stop the building of the Sivand dam.

Mardavij and Arash had set up a very well organized petition desk. I took a few pictures with my new phone but I am having some difficulty sending them to my computer.

So here is a photo from the previous occasions. The couple in the photo are the ones who went cycling across Iran and learned to speak Persian fluently in 3 months.

In Memory of the Unknown Martyrs in Khavaran

A friend of mine sent this link. I thought it was a worthy and moving clip in memory of those lions and lionesses who said NO to Khomeini:

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wiping Israel off the Map

So everyone has now heard what the Islamic Republic of Iran's president said about wiping Israel off the map, but to be honest, I was baffled by the international reaction. Why all of a sudden such a strong reaction? What is new? Islamic Republic has always maintained that Israel should be wiped off the map. In fact when Ahmadinejad said the infamous quote, he was quoting Khomeini. His exact words were " Imam Khomeini rightly said, Israel should be wiped off the map".

Worse still Rafsanjani once said in his Friday prayer sermons, that only one nuclear warhead is enough to destroy Israel, and in return Israel can only partially destroy the Islamic world. Every year on the last Friday of Ramadan, Islamic Republic hosts Jerusalem Day marches not just in Iran but throughout the world, where chants of Death to Israel is shouted. Yet I don't recall such a strong reaction from the world leaders.

Could it be that the world has finally come to its senses and got over the false smiles of ex-president Khatami and sees the mullahs for what they are? Watching Newsnight program last night dashed all such hopes. Some stupid woman whom I cant remember her name but who was speaking as the head of some sort of strategic defence think thank - yes another Think not Thank - thought the West should engage in a dialogue with Iran!

The truth is sanctions will not work, military options are not on the agenda, bolstering separatism in Iran is futile and will strengthen the Mullahs. There is only one option; supporting the secular democratic opposition forces in Iran to bring about the change of regime in Iran. That's the only viable option.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Aryo Seraji, Condemned to 30 Lashes

Ahmad (Chosen Iranian name, Aryo) Saraji, who has been imprisoned since 29 June in a jail in Tabriz, North West Iran has received 30 lashes of the whip as part of his sentence. The punishment has been for offending the authorities while for the accusation of threatening the "state security", he is still awaiting judgement.

I wrote about him before. See "Iranian Blogger in Danger"

Aryo's favourite Iranian hero is Babak Khorramdin, who resisted the Arab invaders from his fortress of Baz for more than 22 years. Arab historians at the time describe how after Babak's right arm was cut off as part of his sentence of death by mutilation, Babak dabbed his left hand in the blood and wiped it over his face. When the puzzled Khalif asked the meaning of his action, Babak replied "I didn't want anyone to see me pale and think I was scared".

I wonder how Aryo tolerated the 30 lashes, but I am sure in his suffering he seeked the same spirit of defiance as Babak. Iranian culture will not be subdued by the whip, 1400 years of experience has proved this. What hurts me most however is when the likes of the Vile LibDem Baroness Nicholson, get away with describing this as the "shining example of democracy for the region".
"tofoo bar tow ey charkhe gardoon tofoo"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Think Tanks That Don't Think

American Enterprise Institute is supposed to be a think tank, yet when it comes to Iran it seems to be a Think Tank that doesn't Think.

For some time now, this institute has been trying to drum up the cause of separatism in Iran. A futile task that has been tried and tested and failed many times in Iran, because non-Iranians just do not understand the deep rooted bonds between our people.

There were also some similar disastrous "campaigns" by some Jewish groups like "Message in the bottle Campaign" which drew 15 people in London, largely non-Iranians :)
There is also the nonsense on which posts articles on Iran, worthy of a sixth form debating society.

So in line with all this trumped up commotion, the AEI is now holding a seminar on "Another Case for Federalism" and "The Unknown Iran". Just looking at the agenda makes you laugh.

The first thing that comes to your mind is, who the hell are these attendees?? I recognise Hossein Bor, from United Baluchistan Front of Iran, a dedicated Iranian nationalist, and the rest are just nobodies, nonentities.

Only a day after this AEI meeting was announced, as I expected, United Baluchistan Front of Iran, publicly denied being part of this AEI conference and inline with its known policies rejected all talks of separatism for Iran.

So once again the AEI Think Tank has wasted money on gathering a group of insignificant nobodies which will only achieve one thing, STRENGTHEN THE ISLAMIC REGIME IN IRAN.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Saddam's Crimes in Zardeh

I am not a big fan of the BBC and especially its news editors, whom I regard as a bunch of senile popmpous snobs, however I have been brought up to be honest and pay tribute even to my foe, if praise is due. Last night's Newsnight's From Our Correspondent's report on the victims of Saddam's chemical attack in the Iranian village of Zardeh, was one such instance.

Frances Harrison brought to the attention of the world, the plight and the ongoing suffering of the people of Zardeh. The report was so moving that even the presenter, Gavin Hessler, struggled to hide his emotions. Seventeen years on since the chemical attack, the people of Zardeh are still struggling with the effects of this hideous crime.

I just hope those "do-gooders" in the West, who were against the war to topple Saddam, can may be realise why for us in the Middle East, it was so vital to depose Saddam, despite the high price tag it carried. I want the families of those killed servicemen to know that their sacrifices were not for nothing, and an evil dictator was removed as a result.

The program also showed how the Islamic Republic, so willing to finance terror groups around the world, can be so apathetic to the suffering of its own people. It seems the people of Zardeh like the vast majority of the Iranian people have missed out on the huge oil revenues of the Islamic Republic.

Read and listen to the report:

News Night

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Vile Baroness

Barones Emma Nicholson who is Vice President of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs and member of delegation for relations with Iran, speaking today during a debate on Iran in the EP in Brussels, said Iran "has a more advanced form of democracy than most of her neighbours." and "the Islamic Republic of Iran has much to offer the region and the wider world"!!

Islamic Republic is infact a brutal backward theocracy. Only Shiite Muslims can stand as candidates in the "elections", but not all the Shiites, only the ones who accept the state interpretation of Shiite Islam, even then they are still vetted by the unelected Guardian Council before the elections and after the elections, even then the state uses its apparatus to cheat in the elections.

To draw an analogy, it would be elections in Apartheid run South Africa, where only a minority could have taken part in the election process according to their racial status. Yet all this does not stop a vile British Baroness from promoting the Islamic Republic as a "shining example of democracy in the region". Imagine if she had mentioned the Apartheid South Africa as a "shining example of democracy in the region", there would have been an uproar among the luvvies and the arti-farties, but Baroness Nicholson can get away with saying it about the Islamic Republic of Iran, where women are not allowed to stand for many posts. Why can Nicholson get away with such comments??????. Because we Iranian expats let her and her kind get away with it. We are too busy wasting time, talking amongst ourselves and condemning Islamic Republic on PalTalk and making speeches for ourselves in our so many conferences.

I happen to know a few things about this scum Baroness, apart from the fact that she has extremely bad breath, in a meeting in Laleh hotel in Tehran and in the presence of some Islamic Intelligence Officials, she asked a BBC reporter to spy on an Iranian dissident under the disguise of making a documentary. The BBC reporter has privately confirmed this information to me, but sadly does not have enough courage to go public with it.

If you are a cyber-activist and all you can do is send emails then here is her email:

If you want to do more to shut up Baroness Nicholson and other politicians like her then contact me, I have some good ideas onhow to shut her and her kind up for good.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Celebration of Mehregan

Happy Mehregan to all lovers of Iran, to all lovers of light, happiness and love and to those who honour their word.

After Nowrooz, the festival of Mehregan is the most important celebration in the Iranian calendar. In the good old days, the good religion of our forefathers was about righteousness and happiness. Sadness and melancholy were frowned upon and unlike today where Iranians are told to mourn and lament, the old calendar was full of festivities and celebrations.

There are many accounts for Mehregan. Upon Mehregan it is said that the wise Lord, Ahuramazda, gave light to the world, that had previously been dark. Mehregan also marks the day in our mythical calendar, where the blacksmith Kaveh rallied the people around Fereydoon, the Iranian heir to the throne, and toppled the foreign tyrant Zahak who had seized the Iranian Kingdom.

Mehr in Avestan is "Miora" and in ancient Persian and is "Mithra". The word "Mehr" has many meanings in Persian. It can mean love and it is also a symbol of the sun. Mehr can also mean promise and covenant. Ahura-Mazda was said to have created Mithras in order to guarantee the authority of contracts and the keeping of promises. The divine duty of Mithras was to ensure general prosperity through good contractual relations between men. It was believed that misfortune would befall the entire land if a contract was ever broken.

Mehr is also the seventh month of the Iranian calendar. The time for harvest, when visitors from different parts of the empire brought gifts for the Shahanshah, the King of Kings, during a lively jubilant festival.

Mehr was also considered to be a God of heroism and warfare. The Iranian soldiers were strong believers of Mehr and their songs for Mehr gave them courage in warfare. With expansion of Persian Empire, the worship of Mehr was taken to other countries, including Rome.

By the first century A.D., Mithraism was a familiar religion in Rome and gradually spread throughout Western Europe as far as the shores of the Black Sea and the North Sea. Many people converted to this Iranian belief, since it was religion of ethics, hope, courage and generosity. Archeological excavations throughout Europe and Iran's neighboring countries have uncovered the buried remains of many Mehr temples. Quite a number of the very old churches of Europe were built in the style of these temples.

Many Roman Emperors converted to Mithraism. One emperor, Julianus, became a devoted follower of Mithra, and decided to go to Iran to visit the country of his God. On route he was murdered. As he lay dying, he threw his blood towards the sun and said "this is my gift to you".

There are still many rituals, traditions, beliefs and prayers of Mithras that have survived the popularity of Christianity or indeed have influenced it. Some of these can be found in the Christian religion, such as the holy day, Sunday. This is a day that was named after the sun i.e. Mehr. Mithras represented a system of ethics in which brotherhood was encouraged in order to unify against the forces of evil. The worshippers of Mithras believed in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell.

Purification was through a ritual of baptism required of the faithful, who also took part in a ceremony in which they drank wine and ate bread to symbolize the body and blood of the god.

Happy Mehregan to all lovers of Iran, to all lovers of light, happiness and love and to those who honour their word.

Six Weeks and Still No News of Ganji

It has now been more than 40 days since anyone including Ganji's wife and family have any news of his whereabouts or even whether he is alive or dead.

The marginal international pressure which built up during the earlier days of his hunger strike seems to have dwindled away. The press and media have simply forgotten to ask what has happened to him. Unlike terrorist suspects held in Guantanama, who are still the favourites with the media headlines, the little interest shown for Ganji seems to have been a short lived fad. None of the journalists who had the opportunity to interview President Ahmadi-Nejad during his UN visit even bothered to ask him about Ganji.

The PC world media once again showed that human rights abuses of secular Iranians is of little importance to them. So much for their Political Correctness.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Persia’s Poetic Past

This was sent to me by a friend, although I don't know who wrote it, but thought it would be very suitable for the weblog.

Persia’s Poetic Past

The sands of time have always known
That civilization which has grown
In that plateau we call Iran
Land of the lion, and the sun

Kourosh brought unmatched glory
Dariush’s Persepolis told the lasting story
Strength came from tolerance and freedom
Justice and nobility flourished in this kingdom

Wise words of Kourosh, baked on a cylinder of clay
Respected foreign cultures, and the right to freely pray
Women were respected, and slavery abolished
Kourosh was Great, for the human rights he polished

The greatest empire ever seen
Their lasting legacy was unforeseen
Masters of the world
The Persians’ achievements must be told

And what of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis?
Did the Greeks truly receive such bliss?
Herodotus embellished, told lies for the West
For the Persians, these were skirmishes at best

But every golden era must someday end
So too Achaemanesh’s dynasty would bend
Alexander’s army won, but could not see
Win or lose, Persians’ hearts always stay free

Revenge, envy, and wine made Alexander yearn
The pride of Persia, Persepolis, to burn
The labor of years, by a thousand artisans employed
Took one lunatic one night, for this jewel to be destroyed

Greatness comes, from a worthy contribution
To humanity, to art, to law, or a scientific institution
Those who burn and loot deserve our hate
So answer this, was Alexander truly Great?

Parthians picked up the torch of our land
Put Iranian rule back in Iranian hand
They showed Greece and Rome, to name just two
That Iran possesses great horses, and great men too

Like a Phoenix, from the ashes rising
The Sassanians arrived, with Iran reorganizing
Power, wealth, and wisdom again flourished
The rule of Ardeshir, Shapur, and Khosro let Iran be nourished

Life was based on three simple needs
Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds
Monotheist religion, for all its evil and its good
Came from Iran, from where Zarathustra stood

Rome, for all its power and its legions
Couldn’t touch Iran’s vast regions
Many times Rome tried but failed
Every time cataphract armor thundered and hailed

But Sassanian wealth and beauty caught the eye
Of a dessert tribe, whose religion was a lie
Like dessert snakes, they ruthlessly attacked
Until beautiful Ctesiphone was sacked

Rostam-e-Farokhzad, the brave and capable general
Fought till the end, though his wounds were several
At Qaddissiya, he came to Iran’s defense
Alas, the Taazi army was too dense

With coercion and the sword
Islam was able to spread its word
A dark and sinister force was born
That to this day brings Iran much scorn

Some to India had to flee
Iran’s destruction was unbearable to see
Parsees, they are called to this day
Ahura Mazda, with them will always stay

But Iranian roots are strong and hard to kill
Iran was freed again, with such a thrill
The Saffarids would answer the nation’s call
To make Arab tyranny shamefully fall

Don’t mourn the Ashura, weep a Taazi’s death
Hassan and Hossein were foreigners, who weakened Iran’s breath
If mourn you must, then mourn, a national event
Like Gauguamela, or Qaddissiya, places of great lament

While Europe was stagnant in its Dark Ages
Persian scholars thrived, free from mental cages
From algebra, to astronomy, and architecture
Persians wrote the book, and gave the lecture

A time of great Persian thinkers had emerged
Where poetry and science, love and knowledge, easily verged
Saadi, Hafez, Rumi, Omar Khayam to name a few
Thanks to them, humanity exponentially grew

Who could forget Ferdowsi, the greatest poet ever?
He gave us Sam, Zal, and Rostam, heroes both brave and clever
The Persian language, so eloquently resurrected
As The Shahnameh was written with all Arabic words neglected

Many other invaders would come again, much the same
From Genghis Khan to Teimur the Lame
They would loot, burn, and murder
The cities too proud to surrender

Though Turks and Mongols had military strength
They were lacking in cultural length
The Persian culture was too rich, to be absorbed into theirs
Instead they settled in Iran, and joined her proud heirs

It’s clear from this short and simple recap
That Iran had its share of glory, as well as mishap
Our generation is unfortunate, assigned the station
Of another dark chapter, in the book of our nation

Once again Zahak is in power
His snakes consume and poison every flower
He uses religion and superstition
To enforce his selfish and malicious mission

So once more dust off the Kaviyani banner
And fly it high, in a proud and fitting manner
Zahak and his snakes will die once more
And our nation we shall yet restore

Iran in its infancy reached the sky
Will faravahar’s wings expand, will Iran soar that high?
Just lift the veil, you’ll surely see
Iran’s brightest days lie ahead, when the Aryans are again free

In memory of my father, who taught me to be proud

Amir Nasseri

Reading University Graduate

There seems to be a flurry of suicide bombers with some sort of British connection. Not so surprising for those of us who have tried hard to warn British authorities about the dangers of the "home grown" Islamic fundamentalism.

The latest is Azahari bin Husin, the suspected mastermind of the bombing attacks on three crowded restaurants in the Indonesian resort island of Bali

Azahari bin Husin, 48, completed a doctorate at Reading University in the 1990s before being trained with the Al-Qaeda.

See how the Western media contributes to the growth of "home grown" Islamic terrorists.
Accurate Reporting!
Consequences of world media's silence

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Pathological Hatred of Beauty

One striking aspect of Islamic fundamentalism is its pathological hatred of all things beautiful. It is a fact that Islamic fundamentalists are often ugly and unattractive themselves. Talking to a female friend of mine, Fariba Marzban, who spent over eight years in the Islamic Republic prisons and reading her memoires confirms my conclusion. Fariba also told me how the more beautiful the women prisoners were, the more they suffered at the hands of the prison henchmen.
If they had a particularly attractive feature, like eyes, hair or lips etc. that would become the target of their tormenters. The torturer would aim at destroying their beauty with a pathological zeal, as if anything beautiful was the work of the devil.

The picture you see here is that of an 18 year old, Hammasa Kohistani, of Afghan descent who became the first Muslim born Miss England. She won her crown in a two-day final at Liverpool's Olympia Theatre.

So what has been the Islamic community's reaction. Here is a summary :

Before the Miss England final Islamic leaders in the North-West urged all four Muslim entrants to withdraw from the contest as they would be compromising the teachings of the Koran by showing naked flesh.

"There is no way a Muslim girl should be playing any part in this competition, because it is unlawful," said Hashim Sulaiman of the Liverpool Islamic Institute.

"If she has chosen to take part in this contest, she immediately goes out of the circle of Islam," Abdul Hamid, vice-chairman of the Lancashire Board of Mosques. By the way the mosque is funded by the Islamic Fundamentalist infested British Home Office. The logo on their website says "Funded by the Home Office: Building a Safe, Just and Tolerant Society."!!!!!

and here is a random sample of Muslim reactions I picked up on the internet - notice the Freudian slip of spelling "nude" as "nuke" in the first posting:

"I am an educated and bright minded person, but I am totally against of Hammasa, because she is the one who has destroyed the culture of our sweet and muslim country Afghanistan. She should not claim that she is an Afghan. She is the enemy of Afghan and muslim culture coz all the world see her nuke pictures."

"i dont think shes a muslim 4rom now on she is more like a b****"

Monday, September 26, 2005

Iranian Blogger in Danger of his Life

I always say to myself how lucky I am living in a democracy, and I despair at those who do not appreciate this great privilege. To be able to think and say and write what I want, without having to look over my shoulder is one of the greatest gifts in my life. What a marvelous prerogative it is to just log on to my weblog, write away and know that my life or liberty is not in danger.

Sadly this is not the case for Iranian bloggers. Along with the newspapers, Iranian bloggers have been at the receiving end of a vicious onslaught by the Islamic judiciary. Many have been jailed and received unbelievably long sentences. One of the Iranian bloggers in danger right now, is Ahmad (Iranian name Aryo), Seraji from the town of my birth, Tabriz.

Aryo was kidnapped outside his house by ten Islamic secret service men in two unmarked cars. Despite being outnumbered, Aryo fought the plain clothes agents fiercely until the agents had to resort to using chloroform dabbed handkerchief over his nose to put him out and drag him away.

Aryo was arrested on prior occasions too and on one occasion after his release, he travelled to Tehran and chained himself to a pole outside the UN headquarters in Tehran, to protest at his ill treatment and the abuse of his human rights in the Islamic Republic. Needless to say, the apathetic UN staff paid no attention, what do they care about an individual protesting at his human rights abuse? they are there to draw a salary!

Aryo has been beaten badly and placed alongside drug addicts and common criminals in Tabriz prison. His seventy-two year old mother is devastated and there are genuine fears for her health too. The charge against Aryo, is the usual, "Acting against national security".
Pitty the state whose national security is threatened by a blogger! what shaky foundations it must be on.