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Total number of comments: 19 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:59)


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  • Iran candidates all "Loyal Servants of Dictator": Kadivar
    • Following the row between Mossadegh and the late Shah, which necessitated a coup to fully place the power back in the grips of the latter, the monarch made sure to pick his subsequent prime ministers as loyal and subservient as feasible. That seemed to work for a couple of decades until things all of a sudden slipped out of control, leaving his last prime minister of 12 years, Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, to face the wrath of the revolutionary executioners, while the Shah abandoned ship.
      After 8 years of reformist Khatami, a costly election coup to fend off further reformist heresy and a heart-breaking show of insolence from the apple-of-his-eye chosen president, the Supreme Leader also needs to assure himself peace in the house henceforth. Does the postman always ring twice?

  • Checkpoint: The Every Day Life of Humiliation for Palestinians (Short Documentary)
    • The footage in the video is from 2001-2003:
      link to
      so even the separation wall was not in place yet. I'd guess that the situation is even more dire now for the Palestinians.
      (And as a nitpicking point, since this film is 80 minutes long, close to a typical documentary length, why is it called "short" in the title?)
      Machsom Watch maintains a good collection of short videos on this topic based on its activism:
      link to

  • Shiraz, Iran: Timelapse Video
    • In case it's not clear to the reader, Farrokhzad died in 1967 at the age of 32, a decade before the Islamic revolution. Another masterpiece of her would be the 1963 documentary she directed and poetically narrated about an Iranian leper colony, "The House is Black":
      link to

    • And here are some recent photos of Shiraz posted at BBC Persian:
      link to

    • A related documentary would be the BBC's "A Taste of Iran" produced about 4 or 5 years ago, a part of which was on Shiraz, which can be viewed in the following 2 segments (the 2nd of which visits Shiraz's Jews):
      link to
      link to

      The presenter is Sadegh Saba & the producer was Maziar Bahari, both of whom became the objects of attacks, with Bahari imprisoned, by the gov't following the 2009 protests.

  • Terrorism and the other Religions
    • Not to take issue w/ the overall message of this post, but I think that the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire of the early 20th century might reasonably be added to the Muslim tally of death & violence, thereby bumping it up by more than 50%. And speaking of the Ottoman Empire, some of the death toll of early 20th century wars, though not a major part, may be laid at their door.

  • For Fun: M.C. Escher Drawings brought to Life via 3-D Printer by Israeli Professor
    • To rephrase, 3D printing does not circumvent or violate principles of geometry.

    • This may already be clear to the readers, but the 3D printing of Escher drawings described here, does not make the Escher structures any more geometrically "real" or "possible." This type of Escher drawings are usually referred to as "impossible" figures as the geometry they depict cannot be realized in (what we perceive as) our flat (Euclidean) 3D space, w/o some form of "twisting" or self-intersection of the figures. In other words, the Escher figures that Elber has printed can also be produced by traditional means as statues, figurines or carvings. Based on the above video, Elber's contribution is in writing a computer algorithm that acts as an instruction set for a 3D printer to produce such a figure.

  • Iran's Presidential Election Heats up as Reformist Rowhani Enters Race (Jahanpour)
    • Of course, "there is absolutely no evidence" of fraud in the 2009 election. The absoluteness of this evidence is underwritten by the absoluteness of Khamenei & his Guardian Council's assurances to that effect, which is in turn guaranteed by the absolutism of Khamenei's rule & his pacifist Revolutionary Guards.

    • The author writes as if mere candidacy of whoever passes the Guardian Council's filter implies their participation in a truly competitive race. Given the extent of the fraud allegations, protests & repression following the last presidential election, w/ 2 of the main contenders (one considered by many to have been the actual winner) still languishing in unlawful detention, silly skeptics may be more circumscribed in their excitement over the outcome of the upcoming "election."

  • As Obama Greets Iranians on Nowruz, He's Made some Medicines hard to Afford (Jahanpour)
    • A notable example of an IRI official showing much appreciation and sophistication towards his country's ancient history, is the notorious post-revolution hanging judge Sadegh Khalkhali. To quote from
      link to
      "Khalkhali was known for his antipathy towards pre-Islamic Iran. In 1979 he wrote a book "branding king Cyrus the Great a tyrant, a liar, and a homosexual" and "called for the destruction of the Cyrus tomb and remains of the two-thousand-year-old Persian palace in Shiraz, Fars Province, the Persepolis." According an interview by Elaine Sciolino of Shiraz-based Ayatollah Majdeddin Mahallati, Khalkhali came to Persepolis with "a band of thugs" and gave an angry speech demanding that "the faithful torch the silk-lined tent city and the grandstand that the Shah had built," but was driven off by stone-throwing local residents."

    • Pirouz is a regular at various Iran-related websites, always repeating the same line about the "Brill analysis," "scientific data" & "poll results," whenever someone casts doubt on the 2009 election results. But based on his past comments, I doubt if he's read much of the analyses that he refers to, let alone those that take an opposing view. And, while the Leveretts, like anyone in general, can have valid points about the US-Iran relations, much of their writing on the topic comes across to me as crass apologetics for the IRI.

  • Venezuela and the Middle East after Chavez
    • According to the latest Human Development Index @
      link to
      Iran is ranked 89, w/ Brazil & Turkey at 85 & 92, respectively. Iran is lower than almost all other Persian Gulf countries. E.g., Bahrain is at 42, Saudi Arabia at 56, Kuwait at 63 & UAE at 30. For comparison, Mexico is at 57.

  • AP Punked on Iran by Junk Science Graph (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
    • The authors claim that "If the energy curve is correct, then the peak power should be much lower — around 300 million ( 3×10^8) kt per second, instead of the currently stated 17 trillion (1.7 x10^13) kt per second. As is, the diagram features a nearly million-fold error." But 17 trillion divided by 300 million is about 57000, not a million; it's a 60000-fold error not a million-fold one. But that doesn't change the overall conclusions of the article.

  • Cole on Gaza Crisis (Granholm, Current TV Interview)
  • Iran Sanctions may be 'Crippling,' but they are not 'Working' (Cher)
    • Do you speak Farsi? B/c if you do then you'd know that you could say "sepas," "tashakor" or "merci" for "thank you" in that language. The last choice is, of course, French, but has been absorbed into Persian. The 2nd choice comes from Arabic. In other words, it's just a matter of convention and accepted practice as to what word gets adopted into a language. A good test is to check dictionaries, such as in
      link to
      or link to
      So "Farsi" is an accepted alternative to "Persian" in English. But "Fars" is not commonly used in place of "Persia." There are many such examples in English, as well. E.g., "adios," imported from Spanish, is an acceptable alternative to "farewell":
      link to

  • Iran Bazaar Strikes signal Misery, not Sanctions 'Victory'
    • In the 1st sentence of the 3rd paragraph from the bottom starting w/ "Usama Bin Laden cited this death toll of Iranian children ..." you must mean "Iraqi children." Your reference to Ahmadinejad being opposed by "the Iranian right and business classes" seems to suggest that Ah. is somehow on the left of the Iranian political spectrum. This is not credible at all.

      When mentioning "His subsidies for the working class and the poor" you link to a 2011 IMF report. I haven't read the report thoroughly, but it's actually referring to Ah. removing the subsidies, so-called "subsidy reform," thereby allowing prices to dramatically rise. As far as I know, the subsidies had been around from the time of Khomeini, and I don't know why you're giving Ah. credit for them. E.g., here's a report on the arrest & imprisonment of Iranian economist Fariborz Raisdana for having criticized Ah.'s gov't for harming the poor & working class by cutting the subsidies:
      link to

      Ah. has had a populist style, but that doesn't make him a friend of the workers:
      link to
      Ah. belongs to the right of the Iranian political spectrum, which is beset by factionalism. His gov't has been implicated in corruption, one case being the largest in IRI history, and mismanagement:
      link to

      Also, to claim that the 10/3 protests in the video you posted may have been organized by the Khamenei faction is far-fetched given their slogans regarding Syria, which you mentioned, and given that it got almost no coverage in IRI media, except when referred to as "rioters" and "mischief makers" who were subdued by security officers.

  • Has-Been, Lame Duck Ahmadinejad's UN Speech is Empty Mugging for the Camera (Azad)
    • Regarding Ah. never having explicitly denied the Holocaust, following are a couple of such explicit non-denials. In an interview w/ German TV in 3/12 posted at his own site
      link to
      "How did this nation, this [Israeli] regime came to be? ... everyone knows that it [was] created by a lie ... They have invented a story with the title Holocaust ... President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a “lie”." Or here's his 2011 Quds Day speech described at this Iranian site with the title, "Ahmadinejad on Quds Day: Holocaust is a big lie":
      link to
      This was also reported by the Lebanese Daily Star @
      link to
      where Ah. is quoted as "All of the foundations for the creation of this [Israeli] regime were based on a lie and deception, and the Holocaust was one of these big lies."
      People are fooled by the interviews Ah. gives in the US were he equivocates whenever asked about the Holocaust. But the actual record of his views is not hard to find.

  • Top Myths about Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
    • Survey by Iran's state TV recently indicated that majority of Iranians are not happy w/ the gov't sacrificing their economy for the sake of nuclear technology, as in
      link to
      or in the penultimate paragraph of the "Iranian Viewpoint" section @
      link to

      Gov'ts hold on to power by a variety of means. Certainly, force has become a major component in the Iranian gov't's case. Most consider the massive crackdown on the 2009 pro-democracy protests as an exercise in brute force. Just check Amnesty Int. or Human Rights Watch's Iran sections on human rights of violations in all categories, including rape & torture in prisons. IRI is in the top 5 worst violators of journalistic rights worldwide. It has the 2nd highest in numbers and the highest per capita execution rate in the world, w/ highest in child executions. The IRI is in the 10 worst enemies of the internet list. During public events, like important state anniversaries, major towns turn into garrison states to squash the slightest expression of protest before it takes off.

      Here's one account of Iran's economic situation:
      link to
      The economy is in such stellar shape that the country has the largest rate of brain drain in the world. Unemployment and inflation are off the chart. The lives of ordinary Iranians also significantly improved during the Pahlavi dynasty, up to early 70s, comparatively more than during the Islamic Rep. This is not meant to plug for that dictatorial dynasty, but just for comparison.

      The survey linked to by Cyrus, now almost 3 years old, was severely criticized by many analysts, given the state of censorship and crackdown on dissident views at the time till now. It's as if a survey of N. Koreans is conducted from S. Korea by calling people in the North and asking them sensitive national-security-related questions.

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