Friday, December 29, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Amnesty International's interview with Shirin Ebadi

To all of you proponents of military action against Iran, who also believe in forcing Iraq-style "mockery of democracy" in Iran:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

NIAC says UN sanctions on Iran not bringing U.S. closer to solution

Washington DC, December 26, 2006 - Antagonistic US and Iranian behavior is causing diplomacy to fall victim to an endless cycle of provocations. As the Security Council today imposes its first bill of punitive sanctions on Iran, without eliminating preconditions to talks, the possibility of a negotiated settlement sinks further out of reach unless it is coupled with renewed diplomatic efforts from all sides.

Read NIAC's official press release at:

Let me know what you think. Do you agree, disagree or simply think that all of this is nonsense?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

United Nation's Security Council unanimously approves Iran sanctions

There we go again!

2007 Asian Nations Cup draw places Iran in an easy group

Iran is in Group C along with Malaysia, Uzbekistan and China.

Here are the groups:

Group A: Thailand, Australia, Oman, Iraq
Group B: Vietnam, Japan, Qatar, UAE
Group C: Malaysia, Iran, Uzbekistan, China
Group D: Indonesia, South Korea , Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

The toughest group is Group D with two traditional powerhouses of South Korea and Saudi Arabia along with an emerging Bahrain as a strong Asian team. Groups A and B are equally strong in my opinion. Group C is the easiest group.

Here is the link to Asian Football Confederation's media release:§ion=newsDetails&newsID=7670

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday season & coming of 2007

Wishing everyone a joyful and safe holiday season...

I wish for 2007 to be the best year of your lives yet!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Shabe E Yalda شب یلدا

May the longest night of the year also be the best night of the year for all of you!

For some background on Shab E Yalda click below:


آجیل و هندونه یادتون نره

Ex-Bush advisor protests White House censorship

From the National Iranian American Council (NIAC):

Washington DC, December 18, 2006 - Iran expert and former Bush Administration advisor, Flynt Leverett, accused the White House of improperly intervening to block the publishing of an editorial piece he submitted to the New York Times calling for a US-Iran Grand Bargain. Participating alongside Leverett at a Center for American Progress (CAP) panel to discuss Iran political, diplomatic and, military options, panel moderator Joe Cirincione suggested that in spite of recent power shifts and other Washington developments, a one in four chance of a military strike on Iran remained.

Click here for the full story from NIAC:

Monday, December 18, 2006

FIFA lifts Iran's international ban, does not give any detailed explanation

FIFA's President Sepp Blatter announced the lifting of the ban on Saturday, but did not really explain how he reached his decision. I wonder how the issue was resolved since FIFA had a set of conditions and a deadline. I believe that an understanding was reached where FIFA told the Iranian officials not to ever take such actions again and in return the ban was lifted. The Iranians got their way again! Either they are very good negotiators or the Europeans just give in easily!!! What do you think?

Blatter thanked Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam for his mediation. He further stated: "I'm grateful to the political leaders in Iran for understanding that we're not dealing with the internal running of their country," and added: "If you participate in FIFA everybody has to abide by the FIFA statutes, otherwise they can stay in their country."

I first told you about the ban on November 25 and its temporary lifting on November 28. You may check the Archive for both stories.

Here is the BBC story announcing the lifting of the ban:

Iran's Women's Rights Movement and the One Million Signatures Campaign

Please take some time to read this interesting and important article:

Friday, December 15, 2006

A pictorial tribute to female Iranian athletes at the 2006 Doha Asian Games

Mahrooz Saei, Taekwondo, 72kg Bronze medalist

Mahrooz Saei

Trap Shooter

800m runner

Afsaneh Sheikhi, Taekwondo, +72kg Bronze medalist

Atousa Pourkashiyan, Chess, Mixed team's Classical Swiss Bronze medalist

Atousa Pourkashian

U.S. House of Representatives condemns Iran's Holocaust Convention, reaffirms alliance with Israel

From the National Iranian American Council (NIAC):

Washington DC, December 13, 2006 - The House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution (H. Res. 1091) on December 8 to condemn Iran’s two day conference titled, "Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision.” The conference has drawn strong criticism from Jewish groups and reformers within Iran as well as leaders from several western countries including Germany, France, Britain, and the United States who labeled the conference “an affront to the entire civilized world."

Click here for the full story from NIAC:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A good day for Iranian athletes in Doha

Today was a glorious day for the Iranian athletes competing at the Doha 2006 Asian Games, as they managed to double their gold medal count to ten and bag four more bronze medals along the way.

Iranian freestyle Wrestlers swept all of the three gold medals at stake for the day while Iran's Karate team bagged two gold and two bronze medals. Iran won two more bronze medals in Wushu.

When the day was finally over, Iran jumped seven places from 13th to 6th in the medal count and very well in position to advance to the 5th by the end of the Games.


Here is the online link to the medal count:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

IAo Commentary: What to do about Baker-Hamilton Report...

After weeks of anticipation, the Baker-Hamilton Report (Report) was released last week with two major recommendations of calling for the U.S. forces to leave Iraq much sooner rather than later and the U.S. to hold direct talks with Iran and Syria.

While pundits have supported and dismissed various recommendations of the Report, former Secretary of State Baker has stated that all recommendations of the Report should be implemented as a whole and one can not pick and choose certain recommendations.

What? Are you kidding me? So at the end of the day what new recommendations did the Report offer? Does anyone know? Do Mr. Baker and Mr. Hamilton even know?

The President has already said that troops will not leave in 2007 and talks with both Syria and Iran are on hold for the near future. He even went further to say that talks with Iran is contingent upon them stopping uranium enrichment. What kind of nonsense is this? His Administration has always treated the issues separately and has strongly criticized any notion of bringing up the nuclear issue during talks about Iraq.

The Administration is in no hurry to announce its policy changes regarding Iraq based on the Report until next year and of course, the Democrats are all silent now that they have won both houses of Congress. They don't want to rock the boat until 2008. Great!

So we are basically exactly where we started.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Iranian government sets conditions for resumption of flights to Anatalya

The Iranian government wants Turkey to:

Stop Iranian women from walking on Anatalya's beaches wearing their bikinis; not allow them into bars/clubs and; require them to only stay at what it calls "Islamic hotels".

Iran stopped its flights to Anatalya last year following President Ahmadinejad's watching of bikini-wearing Iranian women in Anatalya on Turkish TV. Why was he watching such a vile program anyway if he claims to be such a devout Muslim?

It's bad enough they are controlling people's lives in Iran and now they are demanding the same from their neighbor!!! Whatever!

Your thoughts?

Here is the Radio Farda link (Farsi):

Friday, December 8, 2006

New U.S. Defense Secretary and Iraq Report urge diplomacy with Iran

The following is extracted from National Iranian American Council's ( Webpage:

Washington DC, December 7, 2006 - To complement the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate in November and the resignation of UN Ambassador John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Nominee, Dr. Robert Gates, was confirmed yesterday by the full Senate by a vote of 95 to 2. In the same week the Iraq Study Group (ISG) report, which Gates participated in drafting, expectedly called for diplomacy rather than any military strike on Iran.“

[Regarding] any problems that we have with Iran, our first option should be diplomacy and working with our allies to try and deal with the problems that Iran is posing to us. Military conflict with Iran could be quite dramatic. And therefore, I would counsel against military action, except as a last resort and if we felt that our vital interests were threatened,” soon-to-be Secretary of Defense Gates asserted in response to questioning from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Gates also played down the importance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad within Iran’s political system, saying that “there are higher powers than he [President Ahmadenijad] in Iran.” Furthermore, while accusing Tehran of lying when declaring their nuclear program peaceful, Gates still insisted that the program had defensive purposes. “They [Iran] would see their nuclear capability in the first instance as a deterrent,” he said.

Thus the new Secretary of Defense, who won overwhelming approval to replace former Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, indicated a willingness to consider positions that may not coincide with those long espoused by the Bush Administration.

In discussing the need for diplomacy with respect to Iran, and the response Iran would give to any military attack on their soil, Gates said that the Iranians could “close off the Persian Gulf to all exports of oil, damage our interests further in Iraq, and unleash a significant wave of terror through Europe and the Middle East.”

The Iraq Study Group also countered the Bush Administration’s current policy with respect to Iran by recommending that “the US should actively engage Syria and Iran in its diplomatic dialogue, without preconditions…The United States and Iran cooperated in Afghanistan, and both sides should explore whether this model can be replicated in the case of Iraq.”

By engaging Iran in constructive diplomacy that, “emphasizes political and economic reforms instead of advocating regime change,” along with other incentives, the ISG report suggests that Iran can help the US in Iraq, specifically to help “stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and use its influence over Iraqi Shi’a groups to encourage national reconciliation.”

Responding to the ISG’s report and the Bush Administration’s current policy, Chair and Co-Founder of the 73-Member “Out of Iraq” Congressional Caucus, US Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) stated, “I also agree with the ISG report’s recommendation that the United States talk to Iran and Syria as part of any plan to end the war in Iraq, and I hope that President Bush will set aside his intractable posturing and meet the leaders of those nations.”

For more information or to view a copy of the Iraq Study Group report visit, the United States Institute for Peace’s website at:

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Commemoration of Students Day (Rooz E Daneshjoo) at Tehran University

Above are some pictures from, Arash Ashoorinia's Web page.

Official figures number around 300, but spectators' figure number at least 3000!

Pictures are louder than words, so I won't say much. I am awed by their courage.

What a brave show of civil disobedience! Some signs read: "Socialism and Equality" & "3 suicides, 2 deaths, 1 homicide in one week. This is university."

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

RAISE Awareness - RAISE Pride Campaign: a message from

The following is from Shabnam Rezaei, founder of
& co-creator of “Babak and Friends” animated children series:

We are hard at work behind the scenes on a brand new cartoon entitled "Babak & Friends - A Persian Journey". As some of you know, while we have had great feedback and response to our first film A First Norooz, we not been able to cover costs. This holiday, we need your help to raise $50,000 to put towards our next film, in which Babak and his cousins visit some of Iran's fantastic historical sites and partake in fun cultural traditions.

To help raise this money, we have an awesome new black Persian & Proud T-Shirt. If you want to support our work, help us and buy one, two, ten, or as many as your can and hand them out as gifts this holiday season. They are only $19.99 but this will go a long way in helping us with the high costs of animation.

You can buy T-shirts in our online store []
. Thanks again for your continuous support. We hope with your help, we can continue our work in the coming year.

Shabnam Rezaei
Norooz Productions
Culture Through Entertainment

Interesting article: How Jew-Friendly Persia Became Anti-Semitic Iran

Let me know what you think of the article's historical perspective.

Monday, December 4, 2006

IAo Exclusive - Bush meeting with Al-Hakim: Part II - What could this mean?

What does this meeting mean for Iraq? Why would the U.S. President meet with a Shiite leader whose organization is arguably the closest group to Tehran? What does this meeting mean for U.S.-Iran relations? I will attempt to answer these questions and shed some light based on my own knowledge and research.

Al-Hakim's SCIRI has enjoyed the support of the Islamic Republic's leadership since its foundation 24 years ago. One of its main founders is the current Head of Iran's Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi. And yet President Bush has apparently been requesting a meeting with Al-Hakim since February 2006. Few would dispute Islamic Republic of Iran's influence over SCIRI, but no one really knows SCIRI's level of independence or I should say dependence on the Islamic Republic. Is SCIRI merely a proxy or it has managed to emerge as a credible and independent political party with a strong local base since the 2003 invasion? I believe that the answer lies with a little bit of both.

Iraqi government's outreach in foreign policy that finally has surfaced in the last couple of weeks may have been designed to signal to demonstrate it strive towards independence from any foreign element to the rest of the world. Iraq and Syria restore ties after more than two decades; the President of Iraq travels to Tehran to meet with his Iranian counterpart; the Prime Minister Al-Maliki apparently snubs the U.S. President for a dinner in Jordan after a report indicating the U.S. lacking confidence in Al-Maliki surfaces; Al-Sadr, in a rather symbolic move, threatens and pulls out of the Parliament and the government in protest of Maliki's visit with President Bush; and now Bush is meeting with Al-Hakim in the White House. These are all indicators of a sovereign nation, not an occupied one. SCIRI is part of the political and social mosaic of Iraq and has therefore been a part of this policy shift designed to demonstrate to the world Iraq's independence and willingness to resolve its own crises.

What about the notion of a proxy for the Islamic Republic of Iran? I believe that the use of the term proxy is not totally accurate. SCIRI's history is embedded in Al-Hakim family's legacy, one of the most respected Shiite Iraqi families that has a long history of fighting Saddam. Moreover, SCIRI has clearly and repeatedly stated that although it favors a government based on Islamic principles, it does not want an Iranian-style form of government in Iraq and it desires a government that respects the rights of all Iraqis. I think it's a mistake to lump groups such as SCIRI or even Hezbollah with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian experience with the Islamic Republic has failed, as everyone including the Iranian establishment in Iran has reached this same conclusion, so no group looks at it as a model. Instead such groups see the Iranian experience as the only Shiite authority that has demonstrated independence, power and influence in the region and therefore they all look up to it in a way. But this does not mean that they are proxies and yes they get financial as well as spiritual support from Iran, but as far as the Iranian government is concerned, at least in principle it is helping movements that are fighting occupying forces in cases of both Iraq and Lebanon. You and I may disagree, but the Iranian government makes a pretty solid case for its support.

I hope that I have been successful to at least incite you to ask more questions about the facts and my own personal opinion stated above.

Lastly, what does this meeting mean for U.S.-Iran relations? I don't believe that it means much, except that it will even embolden the Islamic Republic of Iran more than before as they will claim that the U.S. President has personally invited AL-Hakim, someone very close to the Iranian establishment, to the White House and the Iranian establishment will further affirm their arrogant but partially true assertions that they are now a regional power broker and nothing gets done without their approval. On the other hand, the U.S. Administration and establishment has finally admitted that their Iraq policy has failed and are trying to begin living with the notion that they need the Islamic Republic's help in their mission to restore order in Iraq. As usual, nothing is simple in the Middle East!!!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Event Announcement: Iranian American Democrats of Los Angeles

Members and Friends of IADLA,

We would like to invite everyone, IADLA current and former members, your friends and relatives, to come and celebrate with us the Democratic control of the Congress.

Join us for an open discussion on the role of IADLA in empowering our community and its democratic ideals
Join us for pizza and wine!

IADLA will also have its informal General Election at the end of the program.

Please make plans to attend this very important meeting.

Place & Time:
December 5th, 2006 at 7:00 pm
2500 Broadway Ave in Santa Monica
For further information contact us at:
IADLA Board of Directors
P.O.Box 3351
Santa Monica, CA 90408
Tel: (310)535-5800

IAo Exclusive - Bush meeting with Al-Hakim: Part I - SCIRI

The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) was founded in Tehran back in 1982 by some of the leadership and members of the Islamic Dawa Party in exile after the party was decimated and weakened in Iraq by Saddam. The goal of SCIRI was to overthrow Saddam's regime and install an Islamic government based on the Iranian model in Iraq. Naturally, SCIRI has been supported by the Iranian regime since its foundation. SCIRI was led by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Al-Hakim until his assisination in August 2003 afterwhich his brother Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim took over the leadership.

After the fall of Saddam Hossein, SCIRI emerged as the strongest Shiite party, rivaled only by the Al-Sadr movement. Furthermore, SCIRI has toned down its stance and rhetoric and claims to be committed to democracy and cooperation with other political groups while trying to distance itself form Al-Sadr. Nonetheless, SCIRI, the Al-Sadr movement, Prime Minister's Al-Maliki's Dawa Party and some smaller parties form the United Iraqi Alliance coalition, the largest coalition in the parliamrnt and the governemnt.

Al-Hakim has recently stated that the current crisis in Iraq is political in nature and not a civil war. Therefore, it should only be resolved through political means with the cooperation of all Iraqis, including Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and Turkmen as well as Shiites.

There you have it: IRANian AMERICAn observer's exclusive about the history of SCIRI.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Bush to meet with Shiite cleric with strong ties to Iran

Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, a senior Shiite cleric with strong ties to Iran will meet with President Bush at the White House on Monday. Bush first invited the cleric to Washington on February 2005. While political pundits see this development as a possible beginning for U.S.-Iran relations, Al-Hakim's aide Haitham Husseini has stated that the two will discuss major political issues in Iraq.

Stay tuned for a background analysis and possible implications of this meeting later today.

Here is the link to Iran Mania's story:

Friday, December 1, 2006

Let's tell our Congress to rescind Bush's war starting powers and terminate the authorization for use of military force

Please click on the link below, which explains why we need to take action immediately and send our requests to our members of Congress and local newspapers.