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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Iranian Clerics & Blogging: Ayatollah Goes Virtual

Global Voices:More Iranian clerics are blogging and share their ideas, beliefs and daily life on internet. It is amazing that clerics who control literally everything in country need blogs to express their ideas.
In Islamic Iran there are several religious (clerics) bloggers who criticize Iranian state with soft words and try to discuss people’s concerns beyond official propaganda.

One of these bloggers is PejvakeKhamoush (silent echo)(link in Farsi) an Iranian cleric from Khuzestan who is living in Qom. In his blog we see Ganji’s (jailed journalist) photo and he asks for his freedom…He talks about his daily experience in front of an Iranian store. He explains how it has become difficult for many to buy their daily meat and other basic food. He says

“When there is no bread no meat what to do with nuclear technology”

He bravely publishes news and articles from other Iranian sites including opposition ones in exile.

Another one is Hajji(link in Farsi). He says that superstition and religious get really mixed up in Iran. According to this cleric many people come to high ranked Ayatollahs’ offices to be anointed or get a miracle. Usually they give an object (cloth for example) to Ayatollah’s servants and Ayatollah touched them and returned them back to people.

Another blogger is Hojreh(link in Farsi): He says Iranian Mullahs sometimes takeoff their traditional cloth because they know people dislike them. They prefer to be not known as clerics!

There are traditional clerics too. One of them is ye donya pedar gom kardam(link in Farsi). His blog is full of stories about miracles, saints, prayers…

Webnevesht is country’s former Vice President’s blog. This reformist blogger,Mr.Abtahi, publishes photos that he takes, his political ideas and his daily life. Recently he talked about private TV stations:

For sure if the writers of the Constitution were in the current situation of the world, they wouldn’t consent to the exclusivity of radio and TV!

But there still exists the possibility of starting private channels but to understand that the cold war is over and the communication revolution has removed the borders is difficult for many!

It is interesting that Iranian people from different walks of life are involved with blogging. If clerics, who rule over Iran, need blogs to express themselves then we can understand importance of blogs for the rest of population!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ahmadinejad welcomes crisis and sanctions

I believe Ahmadinejad and hardliners welcome crisis and sanctions against Iran. These
people reference point is Iran-Iraq war when hardliners monopolised everything in country. Now they are looking for another major crisis to justify their absolut power. US is so busy in Iraq & Afghanistan and oil is around 60 $!For Iranian leaders
a real attack against Islamic Republic is not really serious threat.

Whatever Ahmadinejad says, Reformists think & believe!

Ahmadinejad's speech about Israel creat a lot of emotions in the world. Whatever he said was Ayatholah Khomeyni's words(Ahmadinejad refered to him during speech too).
Many of Iranian reformist hate Israel too but don't dare to say. Look at Abtahi,this
reformist vice president's weblog,and his explanation about Ahmadinejad's speech.
He said the world has been taken as hostage by Israel.He is sorry that Ahmadinejad
didn't realise current diplomatic situation but he doesn't regret his comments about Israel. Maybe you think because of circumsatnces Abtahi can not say more!Then you are
either an optimist or you don't know our Clerics.Iranian people don't hate Israel(many of them).Many believe Israel can be considered as a friend. Many say Israel never invaded us but Arabs did.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ganji's Wife: My Husband was Tortured in Hospital!

Gooya:According to Masomeh Shafi,Gani's wife,jailed journalist,Akbar Ganji,was tortured when he was in hospital. Ganji had been moved to Milad hospital when he was continuing his hunger strike.For several weeks nobody had right to meet him including his family members and lawyers. According to his wife during these days he was beaten up several times and got injured by Iranian agents.At present Ganji was sent back to prison and nobody has any news of him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Another Blogger on the way to Tribunal!

Hamede Motaghi a weblogger and journalist from religious city , Qom, must present himself to tribunal.He defends freedom of speech and freedom of political prisoners
specially journalists in his blog.

Former French Prime Minister Goes Blogging

Alain Juppé, former French prime minister, who is lecturing in Quebec,Canada,goes blogging.He talks about politics,weather,cinema...There is a place in his weblog for comments(reflexions)and a place for propositions.E-politics become more and more popular in France in these days.Sarkozy a leading politician and Minister calls members of his party to vote through internet instead of coming to party's locals.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

UK products are not welcome in Iran!

Iranian goverment started to "punish" countries which voted against it concerning
its nuclear program.Sofar Soth Korea and UK can not export to Iran anymore.

I think if Iran continues like this United States doesn't need push UN to impose sanctions on country! Iranian goverment does it gladly.There is perfume of bad 1980's
years in air. Sanctions,censorship,madness......God saves us!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tehran seeking new ways to censor the Internet and track dissidents

RSF:More sites banned, overhaul of filtering system planned

Reporters Without Borders today accused the Iranian government of seeking to increase its control of the Internet in recent measures that have included contracting an Iranian company, Delta Global, to set up a new online censorship system.

While developing a woefully oppressive model of Internet management, Iran is participating actively in international talks about Internet governance that are being held as part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the press organisation said.

“These new measures point to an ideological hardening in the Iranian government and a desire by the new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to centralise authority,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They also show that factions exist within the conservatives, as the latest website to be banned, Baztab.com, is run by supporters of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.”

“We are also worried by statements coming from the company that seems to have been given the job of managing Iran’s Internet filters,” the press freedom organisation added. “If what this company’s chief executive turns out to be correct, online surveillance and censorship is to be stepped up. This is very bad news for Iranian bloggers and Internet users.”

The head of Delta Global, Rahim Moazemi, told the local news agency ISNA in late September that his company had won a government contract for the management of the Internet control and censorship system. He said he wanted to put an end to “the anarchy of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs)” by centralising the filtering system. He also claimed that Delta Global’s technology was capable of blocking access to all the tools used to get round censorship.

Iranian filtering currently uses the “smart filter” technology developed by the US company Secure Comuting, which claims the Iranian authorities never paid to license this software. Iranian Internet censorship is not homogenous and varies according to the ISP used, of which Iran has several hundred. So a website may be accessible in one city and blocked in another.

Access to at least four websites that include coverage of Iranian women’s issues - www.womeniniran.org, http://irwomen.com, www.iftribune.com and www.womeniw.com - has been blocked since the start of September. Those in charge of these sites have reacted by launching an online petition at : www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi ?womeno .

A court meanwhile on 12 October “provisionally” banned the news website Baztab.com although it belongs to former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohssen Rezai, a supporter of Ayatollah Khamenei, and is supposed to be backed by the Iranian intelligence services.

Baztab published reports that were embarrassing for the president. The site’s editor, Foad Sadeghi, said it was banned as a result of a complaint by the secretariat of the High Council for National Security about its articles on the nuclear negotiations that are currently under way.

The ban points to internal struggles within the conservative camp, between President Ahmadinejad’s supporters and those still loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei. It seems that the president, with the support of the military, is trying to take control of the internal state apparatus and impose his mentor, Ayatollah Mesbah, as Khamenei’s successor.

During the preparatory meetings for the WSIS (which is to take place in Tunis on 16-18 November), Iran called for a “new model” of Internet governance that would put an end to the existing US hegemony.

Iran: A Losthighyway story!

David Lynch in his masterpiece,Lost highway, shows lost of identity beyond time and place.He,in a surrealist way, creates a confused person(or persons)who are wandering to findout what happened to them.

My Iran after 26 years of revolution is a real LOST HIGHWAY!His president is a tip of iceberg. Nothing is in its place anymore.Pure Madness.

26 years ago Iranian wanted to become another Japan. Now nobody(I do'nt mean insane
people)even dreams about it. Now we say look at Turkey. It is at doorstep of Europe
and Iran.....We wished to be like Turkey but it is too late.
After japan Turkey what is next? Afghanistan maybe in 10 years!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

'God Bloggers' Head to National Conference

Yahoo:By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

LA MIRADA, Calif. - What would Jesus blog? That and other pressing questions drew 135 Christians to Southern California this weekend for a national conference billed as the first-ever for "God bloggers," a growing community of online writers who exchange information and analyze current events from a Christian perspective.

The three-day conference at Biola University marked an important benchmark for Christian bloggers, who have worked behind the scenes for years to spread the Gospel and infuse politics with religion.

Topics included God bloggers' relationship with the traditional church, their growing influence on mainstream politics and how to manage outsiders' perceptions.

Bush to Blair: First Iraq, then Saudi

Independent:George Bush told the Prime Minister two months before the invasion of Iraq that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea may also be dealt with over weapons of mass destruction, a top secret Downing Street memo shows.

The US President told Tony Blair, in a secret telephone conversation in January 2003 that he "wanted to go beyond Iraq".

He implied that the military action against Saddam Hussein was only a first step in the battle against WMD proliferation in a series of countries.

Mr Bush said he "wanted to go beyond Iraq in dealing with WMD proliferation", says the letter on Downing Street paper, marked secret and personal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ganji's Wife: I Have no News of Him for Last 48 Days!

according to Isna and GooyaGanji's wife said that she can not even call her husband in prison. Ganji, a jailed journalist,was send from hospital to prison aftet he broke his 70 days hunger strike.Recently about 150 Iranian intellectuals wrote a letter to country's responsibles and asked them to explain what is going on in Ganji's case.

Baztab,right wing, news site was suspended!

Baztab:A right
wing news site close to Rezai,former revoltionary guards leader,was suspended by Iranian State. According to Baztab's last message they paid the price to reveal corruption and informs people about reality.

In Ministry of Islamic Guidance: Women can not be Present after 18h!

Emrouz:
Safar Harandi, Minister of Islamic Guidance,has announced women can not be in this Ministry's building or any other assocaition or buildings which belong to Ministry after 18H. He added they must be with their family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Iran's Stock Market Goes South!

BBC:"According to BBc Iranian banks are asked to help Iranian stock market.But according an economist banks will think about their profit rather than saving stock market".

When Ahmadinejad came to power stock market starts to go to south. But nuclear crisis
and possibility of snactions has made things worse.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Human rights activist begins Blogging!

Mehrangizekar Iranian lawyer,human rights activist has become a blogger. She said 4 years ago she was forced to leave Iran and come to exile. She said she starts blogging to express her ideas. In country nobody publishes her writings.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Ghalibaf vs Ahmadinejad: Je t'aimes, moi NON PLUS!Or Match Goes on!

According to FarsNewsGhalibaf,Mayor of Tehran, has not been invited to Ahmadinejad's goverment's meeting yet. Ghalibaf and Ahmadinejad were both conservatives candidates in Presidencay election. Ghalibaf until last days was considerd Leader's choice but apparently revoultionary guards backed Ahmadinejad. Ghalibaf recently said former Mayor of Tehran,Ahmadinejad, did not do any thing important for city.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Religious Minorities Under New Pressure!

A few religious minorities' deputies in Iranian Parliament asked Ahmadinejad and his Minister of Science explanation about discrimination against students who belong to another religion than Islam. Apparently Azad university refuses inscrption to these
students for entrance exam.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More Pressure on Iran! Please Wake up !

UK accused Iran or Hezbollah to be responsible (directly or indirectly)to kill British soldiers.According to Blair Iranian revolutionary guards backed a Shi'te group to attack British soldiers. Tehran denied all accusations and UK failed to prove.

But it means UK and probably US want to put more pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program.A delegation from Israel is on its way to US to persuade americans to
become more active in their policies regarding Iran.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Iranian Bloggers and Nuclear Question: No More Crisis Please!

Global Voices:
Iranian state wants, at any price, continues its nuclear program including uranium enrichment. This enrichment can help Iran to get a nuclear bomb in coming years. program. US and Europe want at any price persuade Iran to stop its enrichment program. Iran & Iranian can face sanctions and many Iranian fear a US-Iraq war. Several Iranian bloggers express their ideas about this hot issue.

In Webnevesht, former reformist vice president writes in his English blog that Mr.Ahmadinejad failed to convince other nations about Iranian nuclear program in his trip to UN . According to this reformist politician and blogger:

“It is possible not to enter the playfield of the diplomacy and the global relations or to set new rules to a new field and to play with only those present in that field but it is impossible to enter the global playfield and set new rules for it. He says The only successful and proud diplomacy, is the one to the benefit of the nation and not the boastful and proud words that could work against the nation and the country”.

Behnoud (link in Farsi), an Iranian journalist from London, writes in his Farsi blog for several years some Islamic leaders continued Iran-Iraq war in 1980’s by creating national or religious emotion among people. Same leaders are in power and want to use same methods to mobilize people for this nuclear crisis. He says now we live in a new different world and old methods don’t work.
Islamic Republic repeats that it continues its program in the name of nationalism and Iranian nation. Abdi (link in Farsi), reformist politician and former hostage taker in US embassy in 1979, says if it is a national question why no one has right to express his/her ideas except Iranian State.

Probably many say with Mr.Behi, who lived in country during Iran-Iraq war,

“I don’t want to see Iran under sanctions again. This government first cares about its ideology then its people…It is enough”

We can find bloggers such as hajhamid (link in Farsi), a pro Hezbollah blogger, who back Islamic Republic’s policy about nuclear question in his Farsi blog. They repeat in their blogs official version of story.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Halle Ghorayshi: Reformists forgot Women when they got Power!

Original interview: WashingtonPrism in Persian
Interviewer & Translator: Farid Pouya


Halleh Ghorashi is lecturing Anthropology in Vrij University in Amsterdam . She has written a book and many articles about Feminism, Iranian women in Exile and immigration.

Q: You wrote in one of your articles that European countries are building cultural walls within their own societies to separate different cultures from each other, with immigrants on one side, native Europeans on other side. You called it Cultural Fundamentalism. Don't you think that immigrant minorities such as Arabs or Turks started to build such a wall, years ago?

A: Yes, I would agree that they have participated in the construction of such a wall. My point was that fear is dominating our European society now .Immigrants are fearful, and so are host country's people. There is no dialogue and no exchange of ideas and information between the cultures. Immigrants in this situation become very sensitive to their culture, which represents a refuge for them. They think their culture is in danger and so they try, at any price, to preserve it.

Q: In Iran many talk about Islamist feminism. Do you think such a movement exists?

A: I think that, when we talk about something, it already exists! As I have written in many articles, nobody during the 1980s could express himself/herself beyond the Islamic framework. Even secular feminists could only be active if they used Islam's label. I think one of Islamist feminism's origins comes from this period. In general, Iranian Moslem women are divided into two groups: one group sees no contradiction between Islam and women's rights. They don't consider themselves to be feminists. The other group thinks that women can find all of their rights within Islam but believes that current Islam is being narrowly interpretated by men. This group tries to give a new interpretation to Islam, in order to obtain their equal rights. The members of this group act like Jewish or Christian feminists who are trying to enlarge religion in a way that envelopes feminism. I think, in many cases, that these Islamist feminists are similar to secular feminists from outside of Iran. Both want to obtain equal rights with men, and so on.

Q: Feminism in the West emerged with the Industrial Revolution, in your opinion when this movement started in Iran?

A: Each time there is a revolution or radical change in Iran, feminism emerges and grows within the country. In other words, it depends on the political environment. During the Constitutional Revolution in the early Twentieth Century, and during the Mosadegh movement (1953 oil nationalisation), feminism was present .Each time, however, it was influenced and dominated by politics. During the 1979 revolution, there was an emergence of feminism, and many things underwent questioning. Unfortunately, it didn't last, and women subsequently lost ground in their pursuit of equal rights.

Security Implications for Iran's Nuclear Program

Inegma:
Summary

The United States is endorsing the European Union diplomacy approach to resolving the most recent row over Iran's nuclear program, in a calculated measure to exhaust all options available in settling the dispute. The lack of substantiated human intelligence regarding the development program and the previous failures in Iraq has forced the US government to support the diplomatic mission while it amasses intelligence. Upcoming presidential elections will slow the pace of diplomacy and allow Iran time to continue their development program.



Analysis

The United States position is that possession of a fuel processing cycle indicates intent to develop weapons capability. However, the US intelligence community has no clear evidence proving that Iran has nuclear weapons capability. An intelligence source commented, "All available data indicates that Tehran was adamant at completing the fuel cycle system and proceeding at a later stage to processing fuel." Solid information is difficult to obtain for western intelligence services. There continues to be a drought of human intelligence information because it has been difficult to penetrate the Iranian nuclear shroud.



The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has good access to known facilities but has been unable to substantiate allegations of fuel cycle development. It appears that the mere possession of a fuel cycle adds ambiguity to Tehran's position when added to the occasionally furious statements made by hardliners in the regime. Therefore, it is accurate to conclude that Washington will not tolerate the presence of fuel cycle capability in Iran regardless of assurances made by the government. The American view is closely supported by the Israeli interpretation of events.



Iran is reported to have set up sophisticated air defenses around its nuclear facilities. US officials in February said pilot-less US drones had been sent from Iraq since last year to test the air for traces of uranium enrichment. Iran has confirmed that it is excavating deep underground tunnels to protect some nuclear facilities. Iran has also been upgrading its Shahab-3 missile, which can reach Israel and US forces in the region. Iran's armed forces have conducted high-profile military exercises since last fall with large numbers of military personnel in western Iran. There is also an investigation being conducted by Ukraine's new pro-West lawmakers regarding "smuggled" shipments of a dozen Soviet-era Kh-55 cruise missiles to Iran in 2001.



Washington seems for now to be giving peace negotiations a chance in resolving the issue via diplomacy, using the United Kingdom, France, Germany (EU-3) approach. The latest series of negotiations between Tehran and the EU-3 resulted in the Europeans offering economic incentives they were willing to extend in exchange for the Iranians' termination of their uranium enrichment program. These incentives included security guarantees, facilitating Iran's entry into the World Trade Organization, and supplying parts and equipment that will be used to support the national civil aviation industry. The latest round saw the United States assume a more active role in the negotiations. However, most experts and analysts regard this US step as symbolic more than a serious step towards resolution.



A well-informed Iranian official cast doubt in the ability of any Iranian leader to make concessions on the nuclear issue during an election year. Iranian presidential elections are due in early summer 2005. The nuclear issue has become a hot topic on Iranian streets and the leadership in Tehran has used this momentum to rouse nationalist feelings. Therefore, it will be difficult for candidates to reduce rhetoric and extend dialog with the West, which may be interpreted by hardliners as concessions and a sign of weakness.



Inegma:The active European Union diplomacy will likely be an effort that will neither satisfy Iran nor the United States. Many regional and international observers share the view that Iran sees its nuclear capabilities as an essential mechanism for ensuring continuity of government and state survival. The Iranians might continue to negotiate while building their development facilities. The talks will most likely stall as the presidential election nears. Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is expected to be elected and form a new government. The United States position is that nuclear weapons possessed by Iran threaten regional stability and national security interests. The nuclear issue will probably continue to escalate as neither side is willing to compromise its views. IAEA inspection demands will increase the difficulty that Iran faces in building a fuel cycle system. It is not clear how much time the US has decided to give the EU-3 diplomacy process to achieve an acceptable resolution. As far as Washington is concerned, the military approach remains a possible last resort.