Sonntag, November 30, 2008

Act NOW! Save the life of Farzad Kamangar / Agissez maintenant! Sauvons la vie de Farzad Kamangar

Act NOW!
Save the life of Farzad Kamangar

Please join with the thousands of trade unionists and human rights defenders around the world who are mobilising in defence of Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian Kurdish teacher and trade unionist who is at risk of execution.

Education International received information from reliable sources that on 26 November Kamangar was taken from his cell 121 in ward 209 of Tehran's Evin prison in preparation for execution by hanging. However, the latest information is that he is still alive and was able to meet with his lawyer on 27 November for the first time in over two months. His situation remains precarious nonetheless.

Kamangar, aged 33, was sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court on 25 February 2008 after a trial which took place in secret, lasted only minutes, and failed to meet Iranian and international standards of fairness. His lawyer, Kahlil Bahramian, said: "Nothing in Kamangar's judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him." Indeed, Kamangar was initially cleared of all charges during the investigation process.

Education International, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Transport Workers Federation, Amnesty International and LabourStart are appealing to the Iranian authorities to commute the death sentence and ensure his case is reviewed fairly.

LabourStart logo.

Agissez maintenant!

Iran : Sauvons la vie de Farzad Kamangar

Education Internationale a reçu de sources fiables l’information que Farzad Kamangar, un jeune enseignant kurde iranien de 33 ans, condamné à mort pour ses activités syndicales, a été emmené, le 26 novembre, de sa cellule 121 à la salle 209 de l’infâme prison d'Evin de Téhéran en préparation de son exécution. Cependant, selon la plus récente information, il serait toujours en vie et a pu rencontrer son avocat le 27 novembre pour la première fois depuis plus de deux mois. Sa situation demeure néanmoins périlleuse.

Kamangar a été condamné à mort par la cour révolutionnaire iranienne le 25 février 2008 lors d’un simulacre de procès à huis clos tenu en quelques minutes dans un total irrespect des normes iraniennes et internationales d’équité. Son avocat, Kahlil Bahramian, estime "qu'il n’y a rien dans le dossier ni dans les actes d’accusation qui démontre le moindre lien entre Kamangar et les accusations portées contre lui". La phase d’instruction du procès a même conclu à l’absence de preuves à son encontre.

Education Internationale, la Confédération Syndicale Internationale, la Fédération Internationale des Ouvriers du Transport internationaux, Amnesty International et LabourStart appellent les autorités iraniennes à commuer la peine de mort et à ordonner une révision de son procès.

Pour sauver Farzad Kamangar de la pendaison, il faut que des dizaines de milliers de syndicalistes interpellent les autorités iraniennes. Les travailleurs de ce pays doivent pouvoir bénéficier des droits de l’homme, et notamment celui de se syndiquer, sans crainte ni inquiétude.

Influencing US policy toward Iran, Conference at New York University

Influencing US policy toward Iran,
Conference at New York University

Hassan Dai
Progressive American-Iranian Committee

On 3 December 2008, a group of “Iran experts” and scholars will be participating in a one day conference to debate the US policy toward Iran. This meeting, far from a usual experts’ gathering, is part of a broader campaign which aims to influence Obama’s policy with regards to Iran.

This new campaign started in early 2008 following the formation of the “Campaign for a new policy toward Iran“. This coalition included the Islamic Republic’s lobbyist groups and individuals. Their main objective was set to prevent the Congress to adopt any serious measures against the Iranian government. So far, they have been successful in shelving the H.R. 362 which originally intended to advise the president on more economic sanctions against Iran. Consequential to this success, a few weeks ago, a sizeable number of the same experts founded a new group, this time called “American Foreign Policy project“. They began their efforts by releasing a joint statement signed by 21 experts on Iran. In this statement, they urged the new administration to lift the sanctions and to be more lenient toward Iran.

This joint statement was presented during a Congressional briefing hosted by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Surprisingly, the famous statement is mainly a reprint of an older report released one year earlier by NIAC’s president Trita Parsi. This group is better known as “the Iranian lobby” by the government press in Tehran.

Now, this campaign has been extended to the academic boundaries. One such example would be the forthcoming conference to be held at the NYU Center for Dialogue. This conference, similar to the expert’s report, tries to give more gravity to the same policy advice; that the Iranian regime is stable, the US should forgo the sanctions and it should grant a good share of the Middle East to IRI. Interestingly, Gholamali Khoshroo, the former Iranian deputy foreign minister, also appears on the list of the University meeting speakers. Khoshroo’s presence by itself is a good indication of the aims and objectives of this conference and clearly reveals the nature, the direction and the intentions of this event.

The important issue however, is the timing of this large-scale campaign. This reminds us of two other similar previous events; one in 1997 and the other in 2004 when the US was at a turning point each time to shape its policy on Iran. On both occasions, a campaign was launched to influence the decision makers. On both occasions the recommendations were to show flexibility with the Iranian regime. On both occasions, the administration followed the prescription and as a result, Iran got into a stronger position to the detriment of the US’s disposition.

In 1997, Mohammad Khatami was elected as president. With his election, “Iran experts” advocated that the reform movements would be irreversible in Iran. As we know, the Clinton administration was largely influenced by this campaign and unilaterally rewarded the Iranian regime with a series of incentives; some dearly costly to the United States. On 23 November 2004, Kenneth Pollack (Director for Persian Gulf affairs at the National Security Council) told the Saban Center:

“In the Clinton Administration in 1999 and 2000, we tried, very hard, to put the grand bargain on the table. And we tried. We made 12 separate gestures to Iran to try to demonstrate to them that we really meant it, and we were really willing to go the full nine yards and put all of these big carrots on the table if the Iranians were willing to give us what we needed. And the Iranians couldn’t.”

The second occasion was in 2004 nearing the end of Khatami’s period in the office followed by the emergence of Ahmadinejad. Again, the “Iran experts” argued that although the reformists were leaving the power posts, but the pragmatists were ascending. The US once again adopted the soft approach toward Tehran. This period can be best explained by making reference to Secretary Robert Gates. In his speech, at National Defense University on September 29 he said:

“And of course, in the 2004 or (200)5 study that I co-chaired with Brzezinski for the Council on Foreign Relations with respect to U.S. policy on Iran, given the fact that President Khatami was in power, sounded more moderate — at least was not making some of the outrageous statements that Ahmadinejad does — we said, “It’s worth reaching out to them.”

Gates is well placed to appraise the outcome of this erroneous approach:

“I have been involved in the search for the elusive Iranian moderate for 30 years. (Laughter.) I was in the first meeting that took place between a senior U.S. government official and the leadership of the Iranian government in Algiers at the end of October, 1979.

Every administration since 1979 has reached out to the Iranians in one way or another and all have failed. Some have gotten into deep trouble associated with their failures, but the reality is the Iranian leadership has been consistently unyielding over a very long period of time in response to repeated overtures from the United States about having a different and better kind of relationship.”

Once again, we are placed at yet another turning point in the US politics to shape its course of action toward Iran. Again the same “Iran experts” are getting involved and are running their own shows. This time though, there are no reformists or pragmatists in power in Tehran. Once again we hear the same campaign waffles coming from the Iranian lobbyist groups for the US to adopt a more amicable practice with Iran; this time though, simply because Bush was not peaceful enough. Will Obama be manipulated by this campaign?

This time the progressive Iranian community will be on the scene to stave off such déjà vu.

Donnerstag, November 27, 2008

Justice Denied

Human Rights & Democracy for Iran
A project of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

WashingtonDC, November 28, 2008

Justice Denied

We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. … These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice.”

Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families (2008)

Those who have signed this call for justice are the children and relatives of four peaceful dissidents and intellectuals slain in Iran in the fall of 1998. Ten years ago, on November 22nd 1998, Darioush and Parvaneh Forouhar were brutally murdered in their home by agents of the Ministry of Information. While the Iranian society was still chocked by the news of this abject crime, two members of Iran’s writers’ associations, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Ja’far Pouyandeh disappeared and were found dead on December 3rd and December 10t, 1998, respectively.

Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar were outspoken critics of the Islamic Republic. Mokhtari and Pouyandeh were actively engaged in reviving the independent Iranian writers association. All four had received threats and warnings regarding their activities. Their murder brought to light a string of disappearances and suspicious deaths of scores of intellectuals and dissidents. The evidence disclosed over the past 10 years points to the fact that the Ministry of Information implemented throughout the 1990s, the decision made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic, to eliminate peaceful dissidents.

The attempt of the Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families to seek justice for the murders has brought them little more than frustration, distress, and disillusionment. The Iranian authorities attributed the killings to “rogue elements” and unnamed “foreign powers” aiming to harm the Islamic Republic. They refused to investigate or prosecute high ranking officials who are believed to have ordered the systematic elimination of peaceful dissidents inside and outside Iran, silenced the press, intimidated the families and imprisoned their lawyer.

On November 22, as in previous years, the authorities banned friends and families of the Forouhars to gather and commemorate their death neither in public nor in the privacy of their own home. The security services closed off the street leading to the Forouhars’ house, confiscated the mobile phones and identity papers of five individuals who intended to attend the ceremony, and dispersed people who attempted to stay nearby and talk.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of these serial killings, The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation has translated “Report to the Nation”, (attached in PDF format) in which the Forouhars daughter, Parastou, provides a public account about her parents’ death and the subsequent investigation and prosecution.

ABF honors the memory of the victims and urges all Iranians to show their support and solidarity with the three families’ appeal for truth and justice by signing their petition*. ABF also calls on the international community to remember these victims and demand that the Iranian authorities allow an independent investigation of their murders.



Text of the families' petition:

Fellow citizens,

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the tragic assassination of dissidents in November 1998, we pay homage to the memory of the victims, Paravaneh and Darioush Forouhar (political dissidents), Mohammad Mokhtari (writer), and Mohammad Ja’far Puyandeh (writer), along with all other victims of political crimes [in Iran].

We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. The killing of dissidents was an organized plan implemented from within government’s bodies. These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice.

With the hope for the rule of freedom and justice in Iran.

Forouhar, Pouyandeh and Mokhtari families

To support this appeal please send your name, surname and city of residence to

You may also send a signed copy of the appeal to :

Tehran, Saidi avenue,
Hedayat avenue (Shahid Qaedi), Shahid Moradzadeh street, #22,
Forouhar residence.

Sonntag, November 23, 2008

Iran’s Lobby Drooling in Washington Bazaar

Iran’s Lobby Drooling in Washington Bazaar

Iran’s Lobby Drooling in
Washington Bazaar

Kayvan Kaboli

If we refer to their past declarations, their message is clear and simple: the Iranian regime is not a threat to either the West or the US. The reason for its nuclear program or regional expansion is because Iran is under threat. They feel lonely and vulnerable. Therefore, remove the threat from Iran and it will act reasonably. The same goes for human rights violations. Iran is under US threat and fears the policy of regime change, therefore, to improve the human rights situation, they are asking for the ceasing of pressure on this regime. Finally, if you listen to these “Iran experts,” you should do exactly what Trita Parsi has been trying to say for so long, that the US should accept Iran’s power in the Middle East. In an article in the Huffington Post of April 22, 2008 he asked: “Is the United States ready to share the region with Iran?” Parsi emphasized that: “Sooner or later, Iran and the U.S. must learn how to share the region.

Iran’s Lobby Drooling in Washington Bazaar

By Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Hassan Daioleslam, an Iranian human rights activist and political scholar. Daioleslam was born in Tehran in 1957. After finishing his primary and high school in Tehran, he entered the Polytechnic University of Tehran in 1974. In the years after the 1979 Iranian Islamist Revolution in Iran, he became a student movement leader standing up against Khomeini’s repression and mass executions. He eventually left the country and settled in France. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Daioleslam was active with Iranian secular movements, human rights activities and the defense of Iranian political prisoners.

In 2001, Daioleslam moved to the United States and concentrated on political research. Since 2005, he has been collaborating with two independent Iranian journalists inside Iran focusing on the Iranian Regime’s lobby in the U.S. His reports have been largely published by major Farsi websites and several US journals. Daioleslam has frequently appeared as an expert guest on the Voice of America-TV as well as on other outlets of Persian media.

FP: Hassan Daioleslam, welcome back to FrontPage Interview.

Daioleslam: My pleasure to be back.

FP: The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is hosting an event in the Senate tomorrow (tuesday). They are going to talk about the new president’s policy toward Iran and Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Representative John Tierney (D-MA) are among the speakers. Trita Parsi, the president of NIAC, will moderate the conference.1 What do you think about it?

Daioleslam: There are 2 elements; first is the timing of the event and the rush of holding such conference only a few weeks after Obama’s election. Second is the message they want to send.

FP: Let’s start with the timing. Why so quickly?

Daioleslam: The timing of these meetings could have the impact of influencing the new administration’s Iran policy from the beginning. It could create an environment in which Obama’s presumed pressure on Iran would become more costly. Timing is very important. Let’s look at an interesting interview given by Trita Parsi’s former employer, Hooshang Amirahmadi2 who was in Tehran a few days ago and talked about this subject. He told the “Etemad” newspaper in Tehean that the “Iranian lobby” should act quickly to influence the next administration:3 He talked about the Washington bazaar:

“There is clash between various regional [Middle East] lobbies. Israelites will fast gather around Obama . Arabs will also spend their money to get close to Obama. Unfortunately, Iran is very lonely in Washington, and those few, like us, who defend the Iranian rights, are subject of unkind hostility in Tehran. These gentlemen [in Iran] do not truly understand what they do, and how they weaken our position. As a result the field is left wide open for Israelis and Arabs and enemies of Iran. Firstly, Iran should realize that, and empower its friends in Washington, especially in the next one to two months, which is the time [to do it].

Iranian leaders should pay attention to what is going on, and strengthen their friends. They [Iranian leaders] should have confidence in, energize, and trust their friends [in Washington] so they enter the arena. This is very important. Therefore the next two or three months are the time to conquer Obama’s heart and mind and that of his teams. Anyone who acts faster will rest trouble free for the next 8 years. Anyone who does not go to that bazaar [marketplace] now, will have a tough time entering that bazaar in future.”

FP: Who is Amirahmadi?

Daioleslam: He is the president of the American Iranian Council (AIC) founded in 1997 and funded by US business interests especially the oil industry.4 They were very active until 2001 and pushed for a rapprochement with the Iranian regime. They held exactly the kind of events that Parsi is going to hold next week in the Senate.

FP: Is there a relation between Amirahmadi’s declaration and the NIAC’s event?

Daioleslam: The answer is probably in another Iranian newspaper, Aftab. Recently, they published an interview with Trita Parsi and in the introduction, the editor wrote that NIAC is doing exactly the same activity as Amirahmadi, the only difference is that NIAC is more influential.5

“Houshang Amirahmadi founded his council, The American Iranian Council (AIC) in 1997. In 2001, Trita Parsi, as a young Iranian Swedish came to the U.S. and joined AIC as the managing director. In 2002, he [Parsi] with the support of the Congressman Bob Nay started a new organization called NIAC (National Iranian American Council). Since then Parsi has been able to achieve a superior status than Amirahmadi.”

FP: Are they saying that NIAC or similar groups lobby in favor of the Iranian regime?

Daioleslam: When in April 2007, FrontPage magazine published my first article about NIAC’s activities and its relation to the clerical regime, a coordinated campaign by governmental press was launched in Tehran to defend NIAC. Some Iranian newspapers called NIAC the “Iranian lobby.” This is the exact term they used.6

FP: Let’s go to the second point, what is the message they want to send by these kinds of events?

Daioleslam: If we refer to their past declarations, their message is clear and simple: the Iranian regime is not a threat to either the West or the US. The reason for its nuclear program or regional expansion is because Iran is under threat. They feel lonely and vulnerable. Therefore, remove the threat from Iran and it will act reasonably. The same goes for human rights violations. Iran is under US threat and fears the policy of regime change, therefore, to improve the human rights situation, they are asking for the ceasing of pressure on this regime. Finally, if you listen to these “Iran experts,” you should do exactly what Trita Parsi has been trying to say for so long, that the US should accept Iran’s power in the Middle East. In an article in the Huffington Post of April 22, 2008 he asked: “Is the United States ready to share the region with Iran?” Parsi emphasized that: “Sooner or later, Iran and the U.S. must learn how to share the region.”7

FP: If Iran is not a threat, and it is feasible to settle the differences between the US and Iran, why hasn’t it been done yet?

Daioleslam: Here comes a central tenant of the pro-Iran campaign. It is very important to understand how they present their campaign. In a long article titled “Iranian lobby and Israeli decoy”, I talked about this issue last year.8 The pivotal element in their campaign is Israel.

Similar to the Iranian regime’s goal of putting Israel at the center of its foreign policy, its advocacy organizations have also concentrated their efforts on Israel. It is not accidental that Parsi’s doctoral thesis and his only book are focused on the “Israeli problem.”9

The Iranian lobby’s campaign line is simple and efficient; Iran has always been ready to reach an agreement with the US, and the reason behind US hostilities and refusal to engage Iran, they say, is Israel. He wrote in 2006: 10

“For more than 14 years, Israel has been the primary force countering Iran’s nuclear advances. Though Israel presents the prospect of a nuclear Iran as a global rather than an Israeli problem, it has compelled Washington to adopt its own red lines and not those of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT)…Under these circumstances, US-Iran negotiations could damage Israel’s strategic standing, since common interests shared by Iran and the US would overshadow Israel’s concerns with Tehran and leave Israel alone in facing its Iranian rival….Israel is playing hardball to prevent Washington from cutting a deal with Tehran that could benefit America, but deprive Israel of its military and strategic supremacy.”

For Parsi, it was not only the US attitude towards the Iranian nuclear issue that had been dictated by Israel, but also the international community’s decision to refer the Iranian file to the UN: 11

“With the issue of Iran’s nuclear program being taken up by the U.N. Security Council, Israel’s hawkish policy and AIPAC’s support for Bush administration hard-liners would appear to be paying dividends.”

FP: What is the purpose of this campaign? What do they expect from US?

Daioleslam: Interesting question. Only they can say, but it is interesting to see the result of the policies from the Clinton and Bush administrations. The best example is the experience during the past 2 years after the Baker-Hamilton report was released and the US intensified its efforts to accommodate Tehran. Robert Gates took the command as the Defense Secretary and together with Secretary Rice, they tried to approach Tehran. It is difficult to find a politician in the US more favorable to negotiating with Iran than Robert Gates. What has been the result of 2 years of rewarding Iran under Gates and Rice? He brought a clear and unequivocal response during his speech at National Defense University on September 29th. He said:12

“I have been involved in the search for the elusive Iranian moderate for 30 years. (Laughter.) I was in the first meeting that took place between a senior U.S. government official and the leadership of the Iranian government in Algiers at the end of October, 1979.

Every administration since then has reached out to the Iranians in one way or another and all have failed. Some have gotten into deep trouble associated with their failures, but the reality is the Iranian leadership has been consistently unyielding over a very long period of time in response to repeated overtures from the United States about having a different and better kind of relationship.

I just think this is a case where we have to look at the history of outreach that was very real, under successive presidents, and did not yield any results. I think until the Iranians decide they want to take a different approach, to the rest of the world, that where we are is probably not a bad place.”

FP: Do you think they could paralyze Obama’s policy toward Iran?

Daioleslam: I think that US policy will finally be shaped in response to the Iranian regime’s behavior. Very soon, the new administration will confront the reality and will adopt a more robust policy than what President Bush has been pursuing. Shortly after, those who favor Iran will portray the Obama administration as being under Israeli’s orders and infiltrated by Neocons.

FP: Thank you Mr. Daioleslam.

Daioleslam: Thank you Jamie for inviting me.



2- See Parsi’s resume posted on Web. Advisor to Bob Ney and director of AIC. Mr. Amirahmadi is president of AIC. See; see also

3- Etemad newspaper, taken by Emrooz, Nov. 12, 2008,

4- Look at this AIC document which talks about its creation and funding. at 13 (listing several members of the board who are also executives at various oil companies).

For a complete documentation on AIC, go to my website and see this file:

5- Aftab Newspaper August 5, 2008,

6- Among them, see the 6 following government controlled newspapers: Ghods:


Fars News:




7- Trita Parsi: Can the US and Iran share the Middle East: Huffington Post, share_b_97670.html?show_comment_id=12663467

8- Hassan Daioleslam, The Iranian lobby and the Israeli decoy,


10- Parsi: “A challenge to Israel’s strategic primacy” at:

11- Parsi: A modus vivendi between Jerusalem and Tehran” at:


Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine’s managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at

Samstag, November 22, 2008

َThe Iranian regime has executed Ali Ashtari. He was convicted of spying for Israel


Iran: Human Rights Crimes

َThe Iranian regime has executed Ali Ashtari. He was convicted of spying for Israel. With the increasing
crisis in Iran this is just another way for the regime to show its fearfulness of the economic hardship that is on the way.

Montag, November 17, 2008

And in Love i Live, Regie: Pantea Bahrami, TU-Berlin

روایت  پانته‌آ بهرامی از تجربه‌های زندان زنان

And In Love I Live
Regie: Pantea Bahrami

28. 11. 2008
19 Uhr
Straße des 17. Juni 135 / Hauptgebäude 1


Sonntag, November 16, 2008

Iranian Regime’s Lobby (NIAC) Becomes Active in Congress

Iranian Regime’s Lobby (NIAC) becomes Active in Congress!

Progressive American-Iranian Committee (PAIC).

Next Tuesday, on November 18, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) will host a congressional briefing. Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Representative John Tierney (D-MA) are amongst the speakers. They will be talking about the new president’s policy towards Iran.

It is deeply concerning that a discredited group within the Iranian-American community, with blatantly obvious connections with the Islamic Republic, should be allowed to freely influence Washington’s political circles to the detriment of the American peoples’ and ultimately, the world community’s interests. It is also shocking and difficult to explain that a group labeled by the Iranian regime as the “Iranian lobby” could so easily penetrate the US Congress.

NIAC has been trusted, supported and promoted by the Iranian regime and this is the root cause of its deep discreditability within the Iranian community. Nevertheless, some American interest groups have invariably promoted such organizations to influence the US policies towards Iran.

NIAC was founded and grew strong during President Bush’s time in the office. This was mainly due to the disconcerted policies and illusory hopes adopted by his administration for engaging with Tehran which inevitably prepared favorable grounds for the formation of such groups in the first place.

We, the Iranian-Americans believe that only our own mobilization could stop the spread of the Iranian regime’s web of influence in the US. This is the first and most essential step to defend the interests of our community, protect our interests as Americans and defend our compatriots in Iran.

Regarding the contents of this event, once again, the speakers will argue that the time is now rife to engage with the Iranian regime. They will be pushing for all the sanctions to be lifted, and will be arguing that incentives should be augmented. The organizer of the Tuesday event, Trita Parsi, as the moderator and president of NIAC will be trying to persuade the forum what he has been trying to achieve for a long time; that the US should accept the Iranian dominance in the Middle East. In an article in Huffington Post of April 22, 2008 Parsi wrote: Is the United States ready to share the region with Iran?” Then he emphasized that: “Sooner or later, Iran and the U.S. must learn how to share the region.”

NIAC and its president are fully aware that the US engagement with the Islamic Republic for the purpose of submission to Tehran’s nuclear or regional ambitions is totally out of reach. What they are really set out to achieve, as they have been for a considerably long time, is to buy more precious time for Iran to achieve its nuclear ambitions and hence the regional supremacy and hegemony.

Freitag, November 14, 2008

Progressive American-Iranian Committee” (PAIC): the key to dismantle the Iranian regime’s lobby in the US

Iranian-Americans: the key to dismantle the Iranian regime’s lobby in the US

After several months of discussions, a group of Iranian Americans finally converged and founded the “Progressive American-Iranian Committee” (PAIC).

This new organization is particularly focused on counteracting the Iranian regime’s web of influence in the US.

Hassan Dai interviewed Kayvan Kaboli, a co-founder of PAIC, and discussed this new group’s manifesto and their means of achieving their goals.

This interview alreay was published in American Chronicle.

Daioleslam: What is PAIC? What does differentiate you from other Iranian-American groups?

Kaboli: We are a group of Iranian-Americans of diverse political views who share the same aspirations; the establishment of a democratic and secular system in Iran. Inevitably, this includes defending our Iranian heritage and helping our compatriots in Iran in their struggle against the Islamic Republic. We also aim to demonstrate that the ordinary freedom loving people of Iran should not be mistaken with the detested ruling theocracy in Tehran. Furthermore, PAIC strives to build an everlasting friendship between the peoples of Iran and America.

Daioleslam: Why do you think that confronting Tehran´s regime would help the Iranian-American community?

Kaboli: First of all, the Islamic Republic rulers have projected a negative image of the Iranian community here in the US with devastating consequences. The overwhelming majority of the Iranian community living in the US is morally under pressure for Iranian regime´s derogatory behaviors; acts which they are not at all connected with.

The Iranian-Americans have been totally opposed to Islamic Republic´s international fiascos right from the outset. This started by invading the American embassy in Tehran and taking the American diplomats hostage, initiated by the Ayatollah´s direct orders and later on spiraled out to the bombing of the American military base by the Revolutionary Guards´ networks in the Middle East, killing American Marines and soldiers. Other destructive policies such as Salman Rushdi´s death decree can be added to this. There has always been double pressure on the Iranians. On the one hand, for being targeted as an American by the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran and on the other, for being branded and accused of having the same creed as terrorists outside Iran. Although, the peace loving Iranian-Americans were naturalized and found their safe haven in the U.S., but the evil actions of sponsored terrorist groups in the name of Iranian people, has continued chasing them thousands of miles away. We can not successfully integrate here by being misrepresented by the current rulers of Iran.

Secondly, the Iranian regime is directly threatening the American interests. This is unacceptable, as Iranian-Americans are the citizens of the United States who also happen to share the same interests.

Thirdly, if the ongoing Islamic Republic´s policies i.e. the nuclear weapons program, regional expansion plans and State sponsorship of terrorism continue, the possibility of an all out military conflict between the Islamic Republic and the US would most probably be on the outlook. This could have disastrous ramifications on the Iranian community in the US as a whole.

Last but not the least; we can not behold a different sequel for the Iranian community in the US to that of our compatriots´ in Iran. We can not ignore nor disregard the state of affairs in Iran. The people of Iran need us and expect us to stand by them and this is exactly what we intend to do.

Daioleslam: How can the Iranian-American community make a difference? What is the order of priorities for PAIC right now?

Kaboli: During the past 10 years, the Iranian regime has been engaged to establish a network of lobbyists here in the US. One of our goals, as stated in our mission statement, is to expose the true essence of these numerous and widespread lobbying networks. Since 2006, these lobbying networks have been getting more active and effective, to the extent that even some of them find the audacity to make the false claims of representing the Iranian community.

Their goal is to help lift the pressure off the Iranian regime and buy time for Islamic Republic´s nuclear ambitions. This lobby harms our interests and we feel the need to neutralize them. This is urgent because the level of the Iranian regime´s threats have escalated. PAIC can play a decisive role to frustrate Islamic Republic´s lobbyists and counterbalance their influence.

Daioleslam: Who are these lobby groups?

Kaboli: The answer can be found in the Iranian regime’s own press. In April 2007, an article was published about “Iran’s oil Mafia, penetrating the US congress”. In that article the author reflected upon the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) founded by Trita Parsi– who “incidentally”, was an advisor to the convicted Congressman Bob Ney.

Immediately after the publication of this article, in a very organized manner, the official Iranian newspapers came to NIAC’s rescue and published an article with the title “The Neo-cons and the Israeli lobby are attacking the Iranian lobby”. As you can see, they (the Iranian official media) refer to NIAC as an Iranian lobby. (Ghods Daily, April 21, 2007)

On December 28, 2006 the State run newspaper Aftab published an interview with Trita Parsi. In his introduction, the editor underlined the role of the Iranian American lobby to act on behalf of the Iranian regime and described it as the Mullahs’ “Unofficial diplomacy.”

Daioleslam: What other organizations are involved in the Iranian Lobby?

Kaboli: In 2006, when Ahmadinejad stubbornly persisted with Islamic Republic´s controversial nuclear program policy, a new lobbying group was launched in Europe and in the US. “Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran”. “CASMII” was founded by Abbas Edalat, a computer professor connected to the inner circle of the Iranian regime. Half of “CASMII’s” board level founding members came from Trita Parsi’s circle and NIAC. The other half came from the so-called Iranian left wing individuals with Anti-Imperialist tendencies

Daioleslam: Are there any Iranian-Americans present in these organizations?

Kaboli: Only a small number of Iranians joined this lobby. In fact, the lack of Iranian sympathizers in this lobby pushed them to work with other US groups such as the anti-war organizations. As mentioned earlier, the overwhelming majority of Iranians are naturally in favor of imposing pressure on the Iranian regime with regard to their contentious policies. I can justify this statement by the fact that Tehran´s regime has repeatedly admitted that the Iranian people living abroad, especially in the US, are enemies of the Islamic establishment. The Mullahs´ propaganda machine constantly hounds and condemns Persian people in the US. Particularly, those living in southern California and Los Angeles have been branded as counter-revolutionaries.

Daioleslam: What can the Iranian community do in this respect?

Kaboli: The Iranian community has a great potential and can play a significant role. See how much the Iranian regime’s lobby is gaining by merely using the Iranian-American appellation. It shows that our community has a decisive role to play.

I should underline an important factor here. The American people and our community share the same threats to their long term interests by the Islamic Republic. This means that the US administration and those who want to offset the Iranian threat should consider the progressive Iranian community as a partner and an ally.

Just see how the Islamic Republic´s lobby has been able to absorb some interest groups in the US. See how this alliance has been successful.

Daioleslam: Which interest groups are assisting this lobby?

Kaboli: The Iranian regime´s lobby could not continue without the material support of the very powerful political circles in the US. These lobby groups have been receiving considerable amounts of financial aid from their American counter parts; those who put their commercial interests before the US interests, representing the businesses willing to have a market share in Iran. (Mainly the oil industry) Thanks to their American partners who paved the way for them, the Islamic Republic´s lobby managed to find their way into the US congress and created their lobbying foothold in Washington DC.

All started in 1997 when a vast lobbying activity was launched to lift the US sanctions off Iran. This lobby needed an “Iranian” presence; one that was able to paint a legitimate picture of their endeavors. As if the Iranians would support a rapprochement with a totalitarian regime.

This Iranian touch helped the formation of several smaller groups which later became the foundation for the Iranian regime’s own lobby. Ironically, they managed to pretentiously magnify the presence of a very small number of Iranians within their lobby and maximize their gains by adopting the appropriate PR techniques. The point being that they were able to make good use of this small minority of Iranians.

If you consider the overwhelming majority of Iranians being against this lobby and refuting its campaigns, one would then realize how much could be achieved by mobilizing the bulk of the Iranian community against the lobbyists´ objectives.

The point is that in order to stand up to the threats posed by the Islamic Republic, very little success would be achieved without the participation of the opposition groups or the progressive members of the Iranian community in the USA.

Daioleslam: Why couldn´t the Iranian community get organized against this small lobbying minority?

Kaboli: Although the Iranian-American community has a substantial presence and has achieved a great deal of success in their everyday life in the United States, but unfortunately they have been unable to form a real and effective organization in line with their political aspirations and objectives; which is why PAIC has been formed in order to bridge this gap. There are many reasons for this failure. But I particularly point to one element. The very existence of the Iranian regime’s lobby and its large scale campaign has had devastating ramifications on our community. They have enjoyed very powerful sources of support and have succeeded in portraying themselves as the representatives of the Iranian community. They have become the privileged interlocutors of the US media; they have managed to monopolize the political circles. To this end, they have stifled the rest of the Iranian community.

Daioleslam: How could you remedy this situation and how could you mobilize the Iranians?

Kaboli: The point is that we, the Iranians, are capable of achieving realistic goals. We can get together to voice our opinion. We can influence the US policy towards the Islamic regime. We should then focus on these achievable goals.

Let me give you an example. The House resolution 362 asking for tougher sanctions on the Iranian regime was shelved by the US Congress partly as a result of the efforts of the lobby groups. They made a concerted effort by canvassing the House representatives and lobbying other legislative bodies. A few thousand emails and letters proved to have a major impact.

We can mobilize the Iranian community in order to support such bills and make sure that they get through. This is feasible and we are determined to achieve this.

They falsify the opinion polls, misrepresent the Iranian status quo and deceive the Americans about the Iranian regime´s true intentions or the state of affairs in Iran. We have set out to encounter and challenge them.

For over 6 years the Iranian regime’s lobby has been publicizing false presumptions that the Iranian people support regime’s nuclear policy. We will show how the Mullahs have imposed a strict censorship over the country´s media in order to blackout the majority´s dissenting voice while at the same time, making use of their propaganda machines overseas to spread a mendacious popular support for their imperial dreams.

There are lots of tasks ahead of us. We need help in order to reveal the truth about the current situation. The huge potential within the collective progressive Iranian community and the opposition groups has been overlooked for a long period. Collectively, we can defuse Iranian regime´s ambitions and expose their lobbyist activities which in turn would ultimately benefit the interests of the people of the United States. One of our goals in PAIC is to form alliance with other groups which share the same concerns as ours; we could then consolidate our efforts to achieve the mutual strategic interests of the Iranians as well as those of the American people´s.

Daioleslam: What has been the Iranian community’s reaction to your appeal?

Kaboli: So far, the response has exceeded our expectations. This is encouraging and once again proves that the formation of PAIC is the appropriate catalyst to bridge over the long awaited gap between the Iranian-American community and the US politics. We are now getting organized and look forward to marking our presence within the US political arena very soon.

Charges against Jimmy Carter for crime Genocide against iranians and his clear cut support to Islamic Republic of Iran

Charges against Jimmy Carter
for crime Genocide against iranians
and his clear cut support to Islamic Republic of Iran

to: international criminal tribunal
maanweg 174-2516,the hague the netherlan

Bringing Jimmy Carter to International Courts of Justice for crime Genocide against iranians and his clear cut support to Islamic Republic of Iran ( Founder of international terrorism ). This regime is a brutal-corrupt regime which was eased in the power by an american coup, disguised as a revolution ! Islamic Republic of Khomeini and now khamenehei !! This entity is nothing but god father of horrors and international terrorism and an incorporation of serial killers with weapon of Islam in their hands who occupied imperial Iran 30 years ago.

Iranians all over the world ( inside and outside Iran ) have been talking about filling a criminal charges against former president of U.S. Jimmy Carter for his support of criminal regime of Islamic Republic and his role for bringing Khomeini in power resulting hundreds of thousands of executions and stonning of men, women and children to death. This is a quiet legitimate nation which certainly be surfaced out on the open.

Jimmy Carter the man who paved the way for Iran,s ayatollahs and the creator of Khomeini and criminal regime of Islamic Republic has kept a closed eye and simply looking the other way denying and not acknowledging the genocide of iranaians commited by Islamic republic!!!Jimmy Carter should be trial in a criminal court for sure.

This well researched and informative undersigned is dedicated to those who love Iran and want to know who and where is betraying their father land and work as an agent to keep Islamic Republic in power!

We undersigned deeply hope that the horrors humanity has suffered during the 20th century will serve us as a painful lesson, and that the creation of the International Criminal Court ( Court of people and not court of states : International Criminal Tribunal, The Hague ) will help us to prevent those atrocities from being repeated in the future .

There are a lot of evidence to charge USA, ex President, Jimmy Carter, with ten counts of crimes against humanity and genocide of Iranian innocent people.
Victims of ex President are : Iranian people.

Witnesses of ex President, crimes are:
1- Remembrances of Josef M. Heiser , Jr. Lieutenant General, United States Army.
2- Remembrances of William H Sullivan USA, Ambassador to Iran ( 1977 - 1979 ).
3- Remembrances of former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
4- Remembrances of Carters National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski
5- Remembrance of Hamilton Jordan Political Adviser to Jimmy Carter ( In 1982, his book CRISES, The last year of the Carter Presidency-Interview with Hamilton Jordan from the Carter Presidency project: No such things as a bad day ).
Hopeful for your judgment .

Ex Diplomat: Dr. Ali Akbar Omid Mehr
Ashrafolsadat Omid Mehr
Dr.Mahzad Omid Mehr
Dr.Mahraz Omid Mehr

Mittwoch, November 12, 2008

Montag, November 10, 2008

Obama's victory is a new source of inspiration for the Iranian people in their struggle for democracy and freedom.

Progressive American Iranian Committee


On behalf of “PAIC” we would like to extend our congratulations to the President-elect Mr. Barack Obama. This historic event is a significant illustration of the American democracy at its best. Once again this victory demonstrated that USA is the land of opportunities for all its residents including the minorities and the immigrants. The Iranian Americans as one of the minority immigrants are confident that their adopted country, the USA, would respond in the same tone to their needs and would recognize their choices in the same admirable manner in their efforts to establish democracy in their native land.

The ruling regime in our native country is relentlessly suppressing the most fundamental and basic rights of our people.

Obama's victory is a new source of inspiration for the Iranian people in their struggle for democracy and freedom.

We hope that Mr. Obama’s new administration will steer USA’s previous disconcerted policies towards Iran into the right direction to take a more purposeful and firm stance in US policies against the despotic regime of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

There is little doubt that the Iranian community’s concerns regarding the religious dictatorship in Iran is one of the biggest challenges of the new president after his inauguration on January 20th 2009.

The Iranian community in the USA expects Mr. Obama to take effective steps in handling the Iranian regime’s threats in the Middle East by bringing the whole world together in order to neutralize Iran’s rulers’ ambitions to acquire the nuclear bomb, and to offset Islamic Republic’s lobbying influence in the USA.

We would like to emphasize that in order to stand against the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran, the Progressive Iranian-American individuals and organizations such as “PAIC” are amongst the best partners and allies.


Freitag, November 07, 2008

Radio Zamaneh's Interim Director to its staff: به مزدوران رادیو زم زمانه: یا میمونین با گورتونو گم میکنین

Radio Zamaneh's

Interim Director

to its staff

There has been sufficient explanation about the decision of the Radio Zamaneh Board regarding the suggested position (editor-in-chief) to Mr. Mehdi Jami and his negative response. The attitude of the Board, Press Now as financier and the development guide of RZ, and of the RZ lawyer is clear and irreversible. Mr. Mehdi Jami is suspended from his duties and he is going to be fired. He will not come back to the organization. I have had talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about our decision.

As the RZ lawyer said, people in Zamaneh who disagree with this decision, or if they feel stronger personal affiliation with Mr. Jami than devotion to Radio Zamaneh continuation and developing further, are free to start a new media outlet for their own.

At the time of crisis management and restructuring of the organization, any further violation of the confidentiality of the internal affairs of Radio Zamaneh and bringing it into public that can damage public image of Zamaneh will not be tolerated. The only authorized person for contact with media is the head of the RZ Board Bijan Moshaver. In his absence, Mr. Joop Daalmeijer, member of the RZ Board, will be responsible for contacts with media.

The RZ Board has decided to appoint Mr. Hossein Alavi as an interim editor-in-chief. Besides Mr. Alavi's direct responsibilities for the content side of Radio Zamaneh, he will make a quick scan of the functioning of the newsroom, evaluate skills of journalist within Zamaneh team, and help designing a profile for the vacancy of selecting the new editor-in-chief that is supposed to be appointed as permanent position. After consultation with his editorial colleagues Mr. Alavi will also assign an Editorial Council work and cooperate with him in the editorial office.

Furthermore, in order to create the possibility for all employees (staff and freelancers) of Zamaneh to contribute to the policy of Zamaneh, I will facilitate the composition of an Employee Council in close consultation with their representative, as soon as possible.

Zoran Djukanovic

Interim Director of Radio Zamaneh


تا کنون توضیح کافی درباره‌ی تصميم هيأت مديره‌ی رادیو زمانه در خصوص منصب پيشنهادی (سردبیری) به آقای مهدی جامی و پاسخ منفی او داده شده است. رویکردِ هيأت مديره، پرس ناو به عنوان سرمايه‌گذار و رهنمودهای توسعه‌ی رادیو زمانه و رويکرد وکيل راديو زمانه روشن و بازگشت‌ناپذير است. آقای مهدی جامی از وظايف‌اش معلق شده است و قرار است اخراج شود. ايشان به اين سازمان باز نخواهد گشت. من با وزرات امور خارجه درباره‌ی تصميم‌مان گفت‌وگو داشته‌ام.

چنان‌که وکيل راديو زمانه گفته است، افرادی که در زمانه با این تصميم مخالف هستند، يا اگر احساس تعلق شخصی قوی‌تر به آقای جامی دارند تا احساس سرسپردگی به استمرار و توسعه‌ی بيشتر راديو زمانه، آزادند که برای خودشان رسانه‌ای تازه‌ای بر پا کنند.

در زمان مديريت بحران و بازسازی اين سازمان، هر گونه نقض بيشتر مسايل محرمانه و امور داخلی راديو زمانه و علنی کردن آن‌ها که اسباب آسيب ديدن وجهه‌ی زمانه شود، تحمل نخواهد شد. تنها شخص مجاز برای تماس با رسانه‌ها، رييس هيأت مديره‌ی راديو زمانه،‌ بيژن مشاور است. در غيابِ او، آقای جوپ دالماير، عضو هيأت مديره‌ی زمانه، مسئول تماس با رسانه‌ها خواهد بود.

هيأت مدیره‌ی راديو زمانه تصميم گرفته است که آقای حسين علوی را به عنوان سردبير موقت انتصاب کند. آقای علوی در مسئوليت‌های مستقيم‌اش در خصوص جنبه‌ی محتوايی راديو زمانه، نگاهی کلی به عملکرد اتاق خبر خواهد داشت تا مهارت‌های روزنامه‌نگاران داخل تيم زمانه را ارزيابی کند و به تهيه‌ی پروفایلی برای منصب خالی سردبير تازه‌ای که قرار است به طور دايمی انتصاب شود، ياری رساند. آقای علوی، پس از مشورت با همکاران سردبيری‌اش یک شورای صنفی سردبيری نيز انتصاب خواهد کرد و با او در دفتر سردبيری همکاری خواهد کرد.

علاوه بر اين، جهت ايجاد امکان مشارکت همه‌ی کارمندان (اعضای زمانه و همکاران آزاد) در سياست‌گزاری زمانه، من زمينه‌ی تشکيل يک شورای صنفی را با مشورت نمايندگان‌شان، در اسرع وقت، فراهم خواهم کرد.

زوران جوکانوويچ

مدير موقت رادیو زمانه

Mittwoch, November 05, 2008

Der Innenminister (!) hatte fälschlich angegeben, einen Ehrendoktortitel der renommierten britischen Universität Oxford zu besitzen

Amtsenthebung des Innenministers beschlossen

TEHERAN: Das iranische Parlament hat mit großer Mehrheit einem Antrag zur Amtsenthebung von Innenminister Ali Kordan zugestimmt. Er hatte fälschlich angegeben, einen Ehrendoktortitel der renommierten britischen Universität Oxford zu besitzen. Staatspräsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad bezeichnete das Amtsenthebungsverfahren als 'illegal'. Zugleich bescheinigte er Kordan eine g
ute Arbeit als Minister.

Montag, November 03, 2008

Rumi in tears / by Parviz Sayyad

Rumi in tears

by Parviz Sayyad

Under the pretext of celebrating Rumi, the 13th century Persian mystic, poet and philosopher, the Hollywood Bowl presented a showcase of Islamic fundamentalism on Sunday, September 27th. The event attracted a huge crowd (15,644 officially attended) made up mainly of Iranians who have emigrated to Southern California since the Islamic Revolution swept Iran in 1979.

Initially, they were proud and excited that the Hollywood Bowl was paying attention to their culture. They thought that perhaps the grandeur of the Bowl, together with a grand budget and grand vision has yielded a grand tribute to the beauties of their culture. But, by the end of the night, many of them, if not most, found themselves disappointed after being trapped for almost four hours, and forced to witness the less grand aspects of that same culture.

They were “trapped” because as all Angelenos know, you cannot leave the Bowl mid-show. In a regular theater or stadium, if you are not enjoying the program, you can express your displeasure by simply leaving. But, at the Bowl, you don’t have the luxury of escape. Your vehicle is stuck in a jungle of automobiles, or the bus you arrived in will not depart without your fellow passengers. This was the case for me and for many others who wanted desperately to leave the Hollywood Bowl on the night of September 27th. Instead, we had to sit back and watch our beloved Rumi be misrepresented to the point of becoming unrecognizable.

The title of a music review, written by Richard S. Ginell, (special to the Times, on Monday September 28th) is “The Silk Road to Happiness,” referring to the tenth anniversary of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and Ensemble, a group whose 2005 appearance at the Bowl drew a similarly large crowd. The article, however, does not tell us who actually experienced any “happiness” that night. Certainly, nothing “happy” was taking place on stage. And the audience was subjected to a constant barrage of traditional Islamic chanting and the recitation of Koranic verses, both of which share the quality of being quite mournful. Nour-Mohammad Dorpour set a poem by Rumi to music, but did so in the style of the traditional Islamic lament, usually meant to draw sobs from the listener.

The Qaderi Dervishes of Kurdistan set that same poem to music, but soon completely overwhelmed the poem in ecstatic chants calling on Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, until that was all that was left. With the exception of some poetry recital by Mr. Iraj Gorgin in Persian, and by Ms. Shohreh Aghdashloo in English, the evening was one of lamentation. Mr. Ginell seems unaware of 90% of that evening’s content, as do Mr. Yo-yo Ma and certainly the Bowl’s artistic advisors.

Sheik Hamza Shakour, lead vocalist with the Ensemble Al-Kindi, and backing the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus, starts his Koranic recitation by cursing “the cruel Great Satan” (”Al Sheitan al rajeem”). With the current tensions between the US and Islamic Extremists, that felt like a rather aggressive and ungracious opening from a group invited to Hollywood from an Islamic country known to be hostile towards Western values, and the US in particular. Sheik Hamza then goes on singing his verses, as if his doing so has any relation to Rumi whatsoever. These are the same verses chanted by devoted Muslims during daily prayers. And they are also recited at funerals as “fateha” over the tomb of the deceased Muslim.

Rumi’s “universal manifesto” as Ginell labels it, is “I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Zoroastrian, nor a Moslem.” From time to time, the moderators Gorgin and Aghdashloo reminded us of this important part of Rumi’s philosophy. But, in the rest of the program, the universal Rumi was sorely missing and missed. Instead, Rumi was represented as the most devoted of Muslims, and even as a fundamentalist.

In his early life, Rumi can be mistaken as being an Islamic cleric, which was the dominant interpretation at the Bowl on the night of September 27th. But Rumi’s famed philosophy and his global appeal does not stop at such a one-dimensional interpretation. For most Iranians, as well as many scholars, Rumi changes drastically upon meeting his muse, Shams, the mysterious Sufi philosopher. Rumi, at that point, turns into a figure of rebellion against his own previous views, religious dogma and the established morality coming from Islamic clichés.

Rumi then went further by humanizing the Divine. In his work, he reduces the Almighty into the figure of Shams, and elevates Shams to the level of the Almighty. At this point, he can no longer be seen as a Muslim cleric. What he says and what he suggests would be considered blasphemous, and therefore punishable by death to any actual Muslim cleric.

For the Iranian audience at the Bowl, listening to Iraj Gorgin reciting Rumi was enjoyable. Mr. Gorgin who is now working with a US government-backed radio network in the Czech Republic is best remembered as a lead news anchor and television personality during the Shah’s regime. Seeing him without a tie for the first time, on a wide screen at the Hollywood Bowl was a bit shocking for those who knew him. Whether it was to pay homage to the evening’s religious mood, or to the style of Islamic Republic diplomats attending the UN at that time, his simplicity was in complete contrast to the actress Shohreh Aghdashloo’s attire as Madam Butterfly, displaying herself more than Rumi’s poetry as she waved her arms like an actual butterfly!

Sitting there for over 3 hours, watching one of the greatest, most progressive thinkers of all time butchered on stage, brings you to a point at which not even the most magical piece of music could change your mood. That was the point for me when Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble took the stage to finish the last segment of the show. It was also a time when, even those not particularly sensitive about Rumi, were just plain bored by the fundamentalist Islamic version of him, accompanied by pathetic and amateurish music, the miserly lack of stage decoration, and the mind-numbing action of returning repeatedly to the calligraphy of Ostad Yadollah Kaboli. Talented as Kaboli is, when did calligraphy become acceptable as performance?

“Blue as the Turqoise Night of Neyshabur” composed by Keyhan Kalhor, the evening’s curator, performed by the Silk Road Ensemble was a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the show, but not so fresh as to save us from a suffocating night.