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For Neda

For Neda. "For Neda reveals the true story of Neda Agha-Soltan, who became another tragic casualty of Iran's violent crackdown on post-election protests on June 20, 2009. Unlike many unknown victims, however, she instantly became an international symbol of the struggle: Within hours of Agha-Soltan's death, cell phone photographs of her blood-stained face were held aloft by crowds protesting in Tehran and across the world. With exclusive access to her family inside Iran, the documentary goes to the heart of who Neda was and what she stood for, illuminating the larger Iranian struggle for democratic freedoms through her powerful story." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 4, 2010 - 7 comments

The Israeli Threat

"Immediately after an attack by Israel, and even with no Iranian response, the United States is likely to begin significant defensive deployments to the region. Its attempts over a period of a year to negotiate with the Iranians make the Obama Administration more vulnerable to domestic pressures to be strong in its reaction to an Israeli strike.

At an early stage after an Israeli attack, the United States would be faced with deciding whether to passively await casualties or to attack Iranian military capabilities on its own. The United States would probably decide to finish the job on Iranian nuclear facilities and destroy as much as possible of Iran’s capability to project combat power."
The Israeli Threat: An Analysis of the Consequences of an Israeli Strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by klue on May 25, 2010 - 127 comments

Boobies! FOR SCIENCE

Whenever a natural disaster happens, there are people eager to blame it on other people who are behaving in ways they don't like. Well, in the wake of an Iranian cleric blaming immodestly dressed women for causing an earthquake, there's a push-up proposal to test this hypothesis. [more inside]
posted by rmd1023 on Apr 23, 2010 - 96 comments

Rocking the Middle East

Iraq gave us the heavy-metal band Acrassicauda (previously), who have recently relocated to the US and released their first EP. In Iran, indie-pop is a dangerously subversive underground phenomenon, with innocuous-sounding twee-pop bands hiding from persecution by the authorities. And now Afghanistan has Kabul Dreams, a duo who dress in skinny jeans and cardigans and write songs inspired by British guitar bands like Oasis, Radiohead and The Beatles.
posted by acb on Apr 1, 2010 - 6 comments

How corporations help governments spy on their people

How Nokia helped Iran "persecute and arrest" dissidents is a short article from Ars Technica that neatly summarizes how Nokia allowed Iran to arrest protestors and how corporations become involved in deals like these.
posted by The Devil Tesla on Mar 4, 2010 - 36 comments

The Russian anti-ship missile we have no defense against?

SS-N-22 Sunburn is the NATO designation for a Russian-made anti-ship missile that the US Navy (it seems) currently has no defense against. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 23, 2010 - 82 comments

Choosing Central Asia for a bride

Fascinated by the Orient An exhibition of the letters, photographs and maps bequeathed to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by the great explorer, archaeologist, geographer and Sanskritist Sir Marc Aurel Stein. Journeyer in the footsteps of Alexander, explorer of Central Asia and West China, surveyor of the antiquities of India and Iran; after a long life of journeying through and studying central Asia, Aurel Stein found his final rest in Kabul. He is also remembered for rediscovering the oldest dated printed book still in existence, a copy of the Diamond Sutra in the caves at Mogao. That the latter and many thousands of other manuscripts collected by Stein now reside in the British Library is of course, like his other 'treasure hunting', not without controversy.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 4, 2010 - 4 comments

The new Islamic revolution

Six days ago, Seyed Ali Mousavi, nephew of Iranian opposition leader and figurehead of the Green Movement Mir Hossein Mousavi [wikipedia | facebook] was shot dead during the latest round of protests in Tehran; Seyed Ali had apparently been threatened by the police, and had recently lost his position at the Iran Academy of Arts and Sciences. After burying his nephew amidst government-sponsored protests on Wednesday, Mir Hossein Mousavi showed renewed resolve in a statement on his website which read in part: "I’m not afraid to be one of the people’s martyrs in their struggle for their just demands... My blood is no redder than theirs," and quoted the words of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the republic: "Kill us; we will only become stronger." [New York Times | Times Onlines (UK) | Al-Jazeera | Payvan Iran | Iran Focus News | Reuters | BBC] [more inside]
posted by koeselitz on Jan 1, 2010 - 74 comments

The Regime Reels

Kosoof—Arash Ashoorinia's Photography —including today's Ashura protests in Iran. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 27, 2009 - 19 comments

Photo essay: Women at risk in central Asia's heroin highway

House of Happiness - photos by Rena Effendi of women in the Ferghana Valley, part of central Asia's ancient Silk Route now known as "the heroin highway" - "a geographical and cultural mishmash where three countries and many ethnicities cluster." More about the photos. (Some photos NSFW) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 17, 2009 - 14 comments

Everything you know about U.S. involvement in Iran is wrong

The Great Satan Myth. We have discussed the US supported coup of 1953 on MeFi before. Now, Abbas Milani, provides some more context to the complex relationship of the two countries.
posted by lenny70 on Dec 11, 2009 - 13 comments

Iranian banknotes uprising

Iranian protesters are putting messages of dissent on currency via
posted by Daddy-O on Dec 7, 2009 - 26 comments

Iran's captives

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal have been detained by the Iranian government for more than four months now, despite numerous calls for their release.
posted by serazin on Dec 3, 2009 - 38 comments

Maziar Bahari

118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes — On June 21, reporter Maziar Bahari was rousted out of bed and taken to Tehran's notorious Evin prison—accused of being a spy for the CIA, MI6, Mossad…and Newsweek magazine. This is the story of his captivity. CBS 60 Minutes feature. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Nov 23, 2009 - 22 comments

Neda Soltan's Boyfriend

Neda Agha Soltan, killed on camera by a sniper's bullet, became the symbol of opposition to Iranian President Ahmadinejad this summer. Her boyfriend, Caspian Makan, who has just fled the country, talks to Arash Sahami and Angus Macqueen about their romance, his imprisonment after her death and his terrifying escape.
posted by netbros on Nov 17, 2009 - 8 comments

غزل گفتی و در سفتی بیا و خوش بخوان حافـظ

Thousands of people who play setar in Iran are against me,” he said. “They say why add two more strings to the instrument? But I don’t get upset with them.

Hafez Nazeri, son of renown Persian singer Shahram Nazeri, is an Iranian setar player and composer. Tomorrow night, he will be the first Iranian composer to headline a concert at Carnegie Hall. The concert will feature a new instrument invented by Nazeri: the Hafez. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Nov 13, 2009 - 5 comments

tank man 2?

Nerd to power: mathlete takes on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
When Khamenei asked if the audience had any questions, Vahidnia stood up and answered, "Yes, I have some words with you." (via)
posted by kliuless on Nov 2, 2009 - 48 comments

Tehran Bureau

Tehran Bureau, the independent Iran news website which became indispensable during the post-election protests in June, has found a new home at PBS's Frontline, which is taking them under its wing by financing and hosting the Web site and providing editorial support. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 28, 2009 - 15 comments

Iranian Funk in the 70s

"Not to get all 'We Are the World,' but Kalakat shows how little difference there is between Iranians and people of any other country." 70s Funk and Soul in Iran
posted by Stylus Happenstance on Sep 18, 2009 - 21 comments

Can game theory predict when Iran will get the bomb?

Can game theory predict when Iran will get the bomb? Bruce Bueno de Mesquita thinks yes. (Previously)
posted by djgh on Aug 19, 2009 - 31 comments

Axis of ChiRan

Multi - polarity in Eurasia. Pepe Escobar on Iran, China and the New Silk Road 1 & 2
Iran and China just signed a $3 bn. deal for China to help develop Iran's refinery capacity in Abadan and the Gulf. ( previous )
posted by adamvasco on Aug 10, 2009 - 16 comments

Iran and the West

Three part BBC documentary analyzes and documents the revolution and the long struggle of Iran and the West to come together ever since the revolution. The documentary shows interviews with a wide range of world leaders who reveal the inner dealings of all governing adminstrations from the past thirty years, both from within Iran’s own adminstration and from the Western counterparts.
posted by semmi on Aug 5, 2009 - 8 comments

Obama's Iran Policy

The Making of an Iran Policy: Inside the Obama administration’s struggle with its biggest diplomatic challenge.
posted by homunculus on Aug 1, 2009 - 21 comments

Liberal media? Free press? Journalistic integrity? How quaint.

The NYT reports that GE has brokered a deal between MSNBC and Fox News to "reconcile" Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, preventing further criticism of each other or GE. The deal went into effect June 1, the very same day Olbermann declared he was "quarantining" Fox, avoiding discussion of the channel in the future. Mr. Olbermann, who is on vacation, said by e-mail message, “I am party to no deal.” Glenn Greenwald breaks down the political consequences of the deal.
posted by mek on Aug 1, 2009 - 62 comments

in a democracy, the ordinary citizen is effectively a king, but a king in a constitutional democracy, a king whose decisions are merely formal

Berlusconi in Tehran by Slavoj Žižek in the London Review of Books
posted by blasdelf on Jul 15, 2009 - 25 comments

Allah-o-Akbar

Iran: The Rooftop Project. "This is meant to be the most complete possible collection of recordings of nighttime protest in Iran since the beginning of the uprising. Its goal is to locate and profile at least one video for each night primarily focusing on the nightly chanting of Allah-o-Akbar from the rooftops, whenever that footage is available. Some of these videos have not been widely seen until now." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 10, 2009 - 24 comments

Watch Laleh Seddigh's dust

"I like competition in everything ... I have to move whatever is movable in the world." Say hello to Laleh Seddigh, Iran's top rated female race car driver. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 9, 2009 - 23 comments

An American Hero in Iran

On a windswept plateau near the foothills of the Sahand Mountains in northern Iran stands the grave of a martyr. An American presbyterian minister who fought and died for the Constitutionalist cause in Iran 100 years ago, Howard Baskerville is still revered by Iranians today.
posted by empath on Jul 4, 2009 - 7 comments

Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?

“Josephine had practically every desirable personal characteristic, except wisdom and mercy.” Gee, that sounds like she actually isn’t a nice person at all! Gary Brecher (previously) reviews Banquo’s Ghosts, a political-minded spy thriller from National Review editor Richard Lowry and novelist Keith Korman. Lowry describes it as an "episode of “24″ written by Proust. " [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 1, 2009 - 52 comments

Essential Internet Appliances

Crap Detection 101 Howard Rheingold offers a fairly in-depth primer on media and internet BS detection. Lots of links to resources for enabling critical analysis of various information sources included.
posted by telstar on Jun 30, 2009 - 17 comments

Persepolis 2.0

Persepolis 2.0 'describes Iran's post-election uprising and spreads the word about Iranians' historic struggle against repression. Based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi and edited by two Iranians living in Shanghai.' Persepolis.
posted by plep on Jun 29, 2009 - 13 comments

another riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

Iran's debate over theocracy took an interesting turn when Ayatollah Sistani the preeminent Shi'a cleric in Iraq made a recent visit. Sistani has stated that in order to be legitimate a ruler should win acceptance from a majority of believers. Threats Watch has analysis on this as the so called Battle for Iran shifts from the streets to the heart of power. How Iran is ruled is both different and complicated. The crisis is far from over; we are now probably at the end of the beginning. Here is a round up of analysis from dianaswednesday. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Jun 28, 2009 - 35 comments

Nokia Siemens and the Iranian Government

In 2008, Nokia Siemens’ Networks sold Iran a program called Monitoring Centre, which allows the government not only to monitor all mobile communications, but also to alter their contents, possibly for disinformation purposes. Implementation of the deep-packet inspection technology that the program uses may be to blame for the halt in mobile service that occurred after the June 12th election. According the BBC, Nokia Siemens markets the Monitoring Center product to 150 countries around the world.
posted by HylandErickson on Jun 22, 2009 - 34 comments

Some of this morning's major Iran stories

Study definitely shows massive ballot fraud. Link to download the study here. From Andrew Sullivan's curated tweets: “Head of parliament’s judiciary committee: Mousavi accountable for illegal protests, can be pursued legally.” AP: Police attack protesters with tear gas. Italy will let wounded protesters into its embassy.
posted by Stephen Elliott on Jun 22, 2009 - 128 comments

The Tragic Face of the Iranian Revolution

Disturbing video of a young Iranian woman shot and dying in the streets of Tehran has surfaced on the internet (extremely graphic, NSFW, requires youtube login). Known only as "Neda" in the video, she has been identified by subsequent reports as a 16-year-old student named Neda Soltani. Supporters of the Iranian opposition are saying that she is the face of the struggle, and that this video galvanizes the opposition movement. As of this writing, the authenticity of the video has not been conclusively determined, and a small but vocal minority on the internet are decrying it as a fake.
posted by orville sash on Jun 21, 2009 - 233 comments

Some useful current Iran links

Andrew Sullivan, retweeting the revolution, day 7, aggregates many of the best "tweets" coming out of Iran. Over at Huffpo, There Will Be Blood: An interview with a journalist in Tehran. TPM has video of the basij shooting into a crowd, causing at least one protester to go down. Speaking of the Basij, the counter protesters credited with most of the violence, Jon Lee Anderson answers the question, What are the Basij?
posted by Stephen Elliott on Jun 19, 2009 - 131 comments

A brief history of modern Iran

As the world watches the conflict in Iran unfold, many commentators have tried to make a connection between the current protests and either the coup of 1953 or the revolution of 1979. But what do we know of the history of that country and how well do we know its leaders? Some of the major political players who have dominated the trajectory of the recent history of Iran include Mohammed Mossadegh, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. All links above are to Wikipedia pages. For more extensive articles and information, check below the fold. [more inside]
posted by billysumday on Jun 15, 2009 - 124 comments

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Ahmedinejad is declared victor in Iran presidential race. In spite of skepticism on the behalf of (among others) the Obama Administration, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday told all Iranians to respect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory.
posted by orville sash on Jun 13, 2009 - 581 comments

I have here in my hand a list...

40 million Iranians watched a "remarkable, no-holds-barred" and nationally televised debate between President Ahmadinejad (blog) and his rival, former Prime Minister Mousavi (Facebook). [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jun 4, 2009 - 48 comments

"Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack."

The aircraft carrier, a majestic and grand symbol of American naval might... susceptible to swarming small-boat assault and weak against ballistic missiles, nevermind an anti-ship ballistic missile. Is it time to reevaluate the role of the aircraft carrier in a modern naval strategy?
posted by Keter on May 27, 2009 - 58 comments

Transsexual in Iran

Transsexual In Iran. A documentary in eight parts. [more inside]
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Mar 3, 2009 - 3 comments

Sex, drugs and Islam

"Iran is dying. The collapse of Iran's birth rate during the past 20 years is the fastest recorded in any country, ever. Demographers have sought in vain to explain Iran's population implosion through family planning policies, or through social factors such as the rise of female literacy. But quantifiable factors do not explain the sudden collapse of fertility. It seems that a spiritual decay has overcome Iran, despite best efforts of a totalitarian theocracy. Second, according to a recent report from the US Council on Foreign Relations, "Iran serves as the major transport hub for opiates produced by [Afghanistan], and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime estimates that Iran has as many as 1.7 million opiate addicts." That is, 5% of Iran's adult, non-elderly population of 35 million is addicted to opiates. That is an astonishing number, unseen since the peak of Chinese addiction during the 19th century." [more inside]
posted by 445supermag on Feb 24, 2009 - 72 comments

Happy Valentine's Day, Mr. Rushdie

Today is the 20th anniversary of the permanent fatwa pronounced by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against the life of Salman Rushdie for writing his novel The Satanic Verses. Said the Ayatollah: "Even if Salman Rushdie repents and becomes the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent on every Muslim to employ everything he has got, his life and wealth, to send him to Hell."
posted by rdone on Feb 14, 2009 - 41 comments

Looking back

Khomeini and the revolution A photo-essay. "I have a 30-year-old book of photographs of the revolution by a photographer named Hatami. I thought it would be interesting to reproduce them for the 30th anniversary of the revolution. I paid my nephew Nico $20 to scan the entire book."
posted by Abiezer on Feb 12, 2009 - 17 comments

Party like it's 1979.

Al Jazeera presents I Knew Khomeini (Part 1 2) and I Knew the Shah (Part 1 2).
posted by gman on Jan 25, 2009 - 14 comments

Rick Steves' Iran

With many stations showing it over the next couple of days it may not be too late for you to catch Rick Steves' Iran. For a TV guy, Steves online documentation isn't bad either: read his compiled blog entries or peep his slideshow. We've discussed the fact that he's a man with an agenda before and that's certainly the case here as well.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Jan 16, 2009 - 15 comments

Illustrations of the Shahnama, the Persian epic poem

The Princeton Shahnama Project is an "archive of book paintings--commonly known as Persian Miniatures--that were created to illustrate scenes from the Persian national epic, the Shahnama (the Book of Kings). The Shahnama is a poem of some 50,000 couplets that was composed by Abu'l Qasim Firdausi over a period of several decades in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. The core of this archive is a fund of 277 illustrations from five illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnama that are housed in Princeton University's Firestone Library." The site also has the complete Shahnama in the Warner & Warner translation but here's another translation by Helen Zimmern [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Jan 5, 2009 - 5 comments

An Eye for an Eye: Justice or Injustice, Poetic or Barbaric?

"At an age at which I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid,"
Four years ago, a spurned suitor poured a bucket of sulfuric acid over [Ameneh Bahrami's] head, leaving her blind and disfigured. Late last month, an Iranian court ordered that five drops of the same chemical be placed in each of her attacker's eyes, acceding to Bahrami's demand that he be punished according to a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that allows a victim to seek retribution for a crime. The sentence has not yet been carried out.
[more inside]
posted by davidstandaford on Dec 29, 2008 - 263 comments

Good will to all men

A christmas message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
posted by Artw on Dec 25, 2008 - 92 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

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