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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Spain's Fernando Alonso became Formula One's youngest champion at the age of 24 on Sunday after finishing third for Renault in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

 

McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya won the race for the second year in a row while team mate Kimi Raikkonen, the only man who could have put off Alonso's title celebrations, finished runner-up.

 

Montoya would have let Raikkonen win had it helped the Finn's title chances but Alonso needed just six points to follow Ferrari's Michael Schumacher as champion and it was clear he was going to get them.

 

Starting on pole position, thanks to a lighter fuel load than the McLarens, he soon relinquished the lead to Montoya and settled down comfortably in third after the first pitstop.

 

McLaren could at least savour a first one-two finish in more than five years, taking the lead in the constructors' championship into the bargain, but the real celebrations were at Renault.

 

Third place left Alonso with an unassailable lead of 23 points with two races remaining, making him his country's first Formula One champion.

 

 

 

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Somos campeones!Los Mejores

 

 

:clap::clap::clap:

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Nilou Motamed boarded her first airplane when she was 4 months old, lived at Paris' legendary George V hotel at age 7, and spoke three languages by her 10th birthday. This Discovery Channel Travel Spies co-host has had the travel bug ever since.

 

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very nice :clap2:

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'Too Far, Too Close' to represent Iran in Oscar

Sep 27, 2005

 

Persian Journal, Iran

 

The Committee for the selection of an Iranian film for the Oscar awards has named 'Too Far, Too Close' directed by Reza MirKarimi to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to represent the Iranian Cinema in the race for the Foreign Language Oscars.

 

The committee cited the film's exploration of the deeper complexities of the human psyche" among the reasons for selecting MirKarimi's film for the Oscar award.

 

It tells the story of a self-absorbed neurosurgeon who sets off into the desert to locate and reconcile with his 18-year-old son, and a finale involving divine intervention.

 

MirKarimi has been known for also directing "Under the Moonlight".

 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited 91 countries to present a film for consideration for the 2006 Oscar for best foreign film and the winner will be announced at a star-studded ceremony on March 5, 2006.

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Tent to become Persepolis Information Center

 

 

Tehran, 25 September 2005 (CHN) – A tent will be set up besides Persepolis as an information center to familiarize the site visitors with its history, architecture, and archaeological remains before they set feet on the ancient legacy of the Achaemenids.

 

Display of artifacts and a mock-up of the structure and screening of films about Persepolis to provide information on the architecture of the complex are among programs foreseen for the center.

 

According to head of Parse-Pasargadae Research Center, Mohammad Hasan Talebian, on the entrance path to the world-famous palaces of Persepolis, a giant tent will be set up to welcome visitors to the site, providing them with utile information.

 

Since the information center falls within the perimeters of Persepolis, and no construction is permitted there under the regulations of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, Parse-Pasargadae decided to set it up in a giant tent.

 

The display of artifacts and a mock-up of the structure and screening of videos on it will help inform tourists, making their visit to the site a more influential one and as a result helping boost the tourism of the historical site.

 

The news come denying a report by Guardian on September 22, announcing falsely that the tents once used by the late Pahlavi king as a party venue are going to be recreated and revived in their original form.

 

Persepolis, located near the cultural tourist city of Shiraz, was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. It was founded by Darius I in 518 BC as the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. The ruins of the monument remaining today make it a unique archaeological site and a tourist attraction of Iran.

 

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REBUILDING BAM

 

IAAB presents Bam and Beyond: Building Alliances Between Iranian and Iranian Diaspora NGOs, Universities, and Private Sectors

WASHINGTON, D.C., -- Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) will hold an international seminar on the reconstruction of Bam on November 12, 2005 at Columbia University. This seminar will be the first of its kind since the 2003 earthquake that brought devastation upon the city of Bam. Hosted by Columbia University’s Iranian Students Association (CISA), the event is by invitation/application only, and is open to NGO leaders, leaders in the private sector, and scholars in the field of development and civil society.

 

Participants will be invited from Iran, Europe, Canada and the United States to discuss the positive role that Iranians abroad played in providing aid after the Bam earthquake and to explore new ways that the Iranian diaspora can become more effectively involved in Bam and other projects in Iran. Bam and Beyond will allow participants the opportunity to discuss possibilities of creating cooperation and partnership between NGOs in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora.

 

In order to do this, Bam and Beyond will provide a review of reconstruction efforts in Bam as well as address questions such as: Can we identify and/or create mechanisms and structures of cooperation and coordination among Iranian and Iranian Diaspora NGOs, the private sector and universities? Was the money that Iranians in the diaspora raised after the Bam earthquake distributed through the most effective and efficient channels? How was this financial assistance used, and was it implemented successfully? Is there room for more and better partnerships between NGOs in Iran and Iranian diaspora NGOs? How can Iranians in the diaspora become better involved in development efforts in Iran?

 

The Bam and Beyond seminar at Columbia University will be followed and complemented by a parallel seminar in Bam, Iran in the winter of 2006.

The winter seminar in Bam will ensure that the ideas of the seminar at Columbia University are discussed and implemented in Iran.

 

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Iranian American Know Your Rights Resolution Gains Cosponsors

 

Washington, DC – Six additional members of Congress have joined H.Res.367 bringing the number of total cosponsors to twelve. Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-7th/NY), Michael Doyle (D-14th/PA), Bob Filner (D-51st/CA), Barney Frank (D-4th/MA), David Price (D-4th/NC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-8th/MD) are all new cosponsors of the resolution condemning bigotry, violence and discrimination against Iranian Americans.

 

At the urging of the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), Congressman Marty Meehan (D-5th/MA) and Congressman Christopher Shays (R-4th/CT) introduced resolution, H.Res.367 on July 19th. The resolution is a component of the recently launched Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign, which strives to educate Iranian Americans of their civil rights and liberties as well as educate mainstream America on the Iranian American community. H.Res.367 acknowledges the diversity of the Iranian American community and their contributions to the social and economic fabric of American society. It declares that the government should ensure civil rights and civil liberties protections for Iranian Americans and encourages Iranian Americans to share their experiences with local, state and federal elected officials.

 

More Info in http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.res.00367:

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Protest in front of the British embassy in Tehran

 

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Iran denies shift in India ties

 

Iran says it has no plans to pull out of a $22bn gas deal with India in the wake of a disagreement over Tehran's nuclear programme.

 

Delhi had voted on Saturday for Iran's nuclear plans to be referred to the UN Security Council. Top Iranian official Ali Aghamohammadi denied a report in India's Hindu newspaper the gas deal was in doubt. Under the accord, India would import 5m tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year for 25 years.

 

Leftists

 

On Tuesday Iran had said it would reconsider economic co-operation with countries such as India which had supported the UN nuclear move.

 

The Hindu reported that Iran had "informed" India that the gas deal had been scrapped. However, the BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says Mr Aghamohammadi, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Iran had no plans to withdraw from the gas agreement. He said: "We have had good, deep relations with India in many fields and regional affairs and their behaviour at the IAEA [international Atomic Energy Agency] was strange and we didn't expect them to vote against Iran." But he added: "We don't want to review our current relations with India and their vote against Iran doesn't affect the gas project." Iran's ambassador in Delhi conveyed Tehran's disappointment over the vote face to face in a meeting with India's foreign secretary.

 

An Indian foreign ministry spokesman said Delhi had explained the "background to our decision to vote in favour of the resolution at the IAEA". But he said the ambassador did not give any indication Iran was planning to "review its long-standing and extensive co-operation with India". The Indian government has maintained since Saturday that it did not come under pressure to back the vote from the US, which has thanked Delhi for its support.

 

India says the IAEA resolution is consistent with Delhi's stated position on Iran and is in no way linked to a recent landmark India-US nuclear accord. The US accuses Iran of seeking nuclear arms, which Tehran denies. Iran says it wants nuclear technology purely for peaceful production of energy and has called the resolution illegal.

 

India's government is under attack both from the opposition and its left-wing allies for its decision to side with the West and vote against Iran. On Wednesday morning, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met key left-wing allies upset at the government's vote at the IAEA.

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winner takes it all - star musician of iran

 

 

Washington DC, September 28th, 2005 - The final rounds of the 2005 Star Musician of Iran competition have come to an end and the lucky winners have been announced. The two lucky winners are Katayoun Ooriel Moosazadeh (right) in the Vocal category and Behfar Bahadora (left) on Tar in the Instrumental segment. Both finalists walked away with $2500 in cash and additional prizes in kind.

 

The competition started earlier this year after an extensive world wide search, with live auditions on the east and west coasts of the United States. Contestants came from the US, Bahamas, Iran, Canada, and Belguim.

 

A total of 20 vocal and semi-finalists from around the world were selected to compete for the Star Musician of Iran title by Judges which included legendary composer Ostad Attaollah Khorram, Sadegh Nojooki, Hooshmand Aghili and Pop Icon Andy Madadian. The finals were held on live in Washington DC on September 17th, 2005.

 

The 10 Vocal Finalists were competing for over $10,000 worth of prizes which included $2,500 cash, Lyrics by Paksima, Music by Nami, and a music video by Koji.

 

The 10 Instrumental Finalists were also competing for $2,500 cash. Among the finalists were also Niloofar Safiri from Winnetka, California who got second place. She was followed by Amin Hedayat from Costa Mesa, California in the vocal category.

 

The instrumental runner-ups were Peyman Montazemi from Los Angeles, California on piano and Faraz Minooei from San Jose, California on Santour.

 

 

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Shirin Neshat

 

 

Shirin Neshat doesn't quite know where to call home. The 43-year-old artist was born and raised in Iran but moved to the U.S. after high school to study art. When the Islamic Revolution overtook her homeland in 1979, Neshat was exiled and couldn't return until 11 years later--and the country she went home to bore little resemblance to the one she left.

 

Neshat dealt with her sense of displacement by trying to untangle the ideology of Islam through art. The result was Women of Allah (1993-97), a photographic series of militant Muslim women that subverts the stereotype and examines the Islamic idea of martyrdom. In 1996, Neshat began working with film, eager to create more poetic, open-ended works. She produced a trilogy of split-screen video installations--Turbulent (1998), Rapture (1999) and Fervor (2000)--all sumptuously filmed meditations on the male/female dynamic in Islamic societies. Her current exhibition--at London's Serpentine Gallery until Sept. 3 then at Hamburger Kunsthalle in January-- presents Women of Allah and all three video installations together for the first time. Here is a selection of images from the exhibition.

 

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Women of Allah

 

 

 

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West threatens action on Iran; Iran threatens reprisals

 

The EU's three main states pushed for Iran to be reported to the UN Security Council for "breaches" of international nuclear safeguards but the move faces stiff opposition from Russia and drew sharp threats from Iran.

 

 

Iran issued its toughest warning yet in response to Western pressure over its nuclear programme, threatening to limit UN inspections, resume ultra-sensitive fuel work and even quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

 

The Islamic republic's top nuclear negotiator, hardliner Ali Larijani, also said oil giant Tehran would base its business dealings with individual countries on whose side they took in the dispute.

 

A Western diplomat in Vienna said: "It's unfortunate that while we're committed to pursuing this issue on a peaceful diplomatic track, Iran's response is to resort to threats and provocations."

 

 

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FDNY Chaplain Resigns After 9/11 Remarks

 

 

NEW YORK - The fire department's new Muslim chaplain abruptly resigned Friday after saying in a published interview that he believes something other than al-Qaida hijackers brought down the World Trade Center.

 

"It became clear to him that he would have difficulty functioning as an FDNY chaplain," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told reporters an hour before Imam Intikab Habib was to be officially sworn in. "There has been no prior indication that he held those views."

 

Habib told Newsday in an interview published Friday that he was skeptical of the official version of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, which killed 343 firefighters.

 

"I've heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone," he told the newspaper.

 

"It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it was pulled down in a couple of hours," he said. "Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?"

 

The 30-year-old Guyana native joined the department as chaplain on Aug. 15 after the FDNY's Islamic Society recommended him for the part-time position, which pays $18,000 a year.

 

Scoppetta said Habib, who was educated in Islamic law in Saudi Arabia and preaches at a New York mosque, had appeared qualified and passed a background check.

 

Habib made his comments after Newsday asked him whether he thought firefighters would object to a chaplain trained in Saudi Arabia. The country was home to 15 of the 19 men who hijacked four jets on Sept. 11, 2001, crashed two of them into the trade center towers and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania.

 

"There are so many conflicting reports about it," the newspaper quoted Habib as saying. "I don't believe it was 19 ... hijackers who did those attacks." He said he didn't know who was responsible for the attacks.

 

"It's sad," said Kevin James, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel. "We had no idea those were his views. He's entitled to his opinion but he's not the right person for the chaplain."

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed Habib's resignation.

 

"The remarks were offensive and the mayor is satisfied that the chaplain has resigned," mayoral spokesman Ed Skyler said.

 

Some have blamed the destruction of the trade center on a U.S. or Israeli plot designed to whip up support for attacks on Muslim countries. In 2003, New Jersey eliminated Amiri Baraka's position as poet laureate after he wrote a poem suggesting Israel had advance knowledge of the attacks.

 

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Zoe Rastegar -- Talk Show Host

 

 

Born in Shiraz, Iran, Zohreh Rastegar was raised in an educated, urbane family in Tehran. Her mother was owner and head mistress of a private school in Tehran before retiring. Her father was an executive at the National Oil Company. He was also a poet and published a book of poetry just prior to his death in December, 2001.

 

Since elementary school, Zoe loved being on stage, a passion that continued throughout college. She was spokesperson and radio news announcer for Pahlavi University. While in Iran, she also played parts in radio dramas. Her poetry appeared in Iranian publications. She has received awards for writing and public speaking while student at Pahlavi University.

 

In the 1970s, Zoe moved from Iran to the U.S. as a young bride. While raising three children in the Washington area, she matriculated into local colleges, earning a Master’s degree in English Literature from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland (1980) and a Master’s in Health Services Administration from George Washington University in D.C. (1999).

 

Zoe started her television career in 1990 after being an active member of the Iranian community for several years. She produced and hosted three talk shows for Rang-a-Rang, a privately owned television in the Northern Virginia within five years, then left to finish her second Master’s degree.

 

In May, 2000, she started her own show on Fairfax Public Access cable television. “Outlook” was a weekly talk show in the Farsi language focusing on Iranian immigrants to the United States and their adaptation into the American culture. The show was aired for two years in Virginia, Maryland and the District. It grew to spotlight the concerns and issues of both first and second generation Iranians and it was well received within the Iranian community.

 

In October, 2002 Zoe debuted “Accent” on Fairfax Public Access cable television in Northern Virginia. The weekly talk show in English is geared to a broader audience of Americans and Iranians to promote cultural awareness in a post-September 11th world. “I feel it is my duty as a communicator to inform and educate not only our host country about Iranian culture and politics, but our own second generation Iranians who are not fluent in Farsi and feel like outsiders,” says Zoe.

 

Zoe’s goal for “Accent” is to make a difference by being a positive voice encouraging assimilation of Iranians into American culture without losing touch with their magnificent, proud past. “We must cherish and celebrate our culture,” she says, “but not limit ourselves by our prejudices in the name of patriotism.” “Accent” is an outreach show that transmits the views and heritage of both generations beyond the Iranian community while empowering it locally.

 

Zoe has also been a vibrant volunteer for the past 25 years, especially in the Iranian community. She served as chairwoman for the Iranian Women’s Society of Washington, D.C. for six consecutive years and a founding member of the Iranian Cultural Society, where she also served as master of ceremonies for special events. She co-founded the Washington Nights of Poetry and founded the McLean Youth Citizenship Award. In addition, she chaired the legislative committee of the Virginia Medical Auxiliary. She is certified as a public speaker by the Capital Speakers Club of D.C. She writes poetry and prose in Farsi as well as in English. Some of her writings have appeared in Iranian publications in the Washington metro area. On March 24,2003 she was one of the panelists at the National Conference for Community and Justice in Washington, DC. This is a program that encourages inclusion, tollerance and stresses the responsibilties of the media as a source of information. She was the guest on KCMO Radio Airing from Kansas Missory commenting on the current issues in the Middle east on April 30/03. She has appeared on CBS morning show, WUSA with Andrea Roan on May 6th and was interviewed by KGAB radio from Cheyenne, Wyoming to comment on the current Middle east issues and role of Iran. Recently she was interviewed on Voice of America about the Iranian Women and their achievements in spite of their limitations and hardships both inside and outside of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1978

 

Contact her at:

Zoe Rastegar

P.O. Box 3645

Washington, D.C. 20027

 

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West threatens action on Iran; Iran threatens reprisals

 

The EU's three main states pushed for Iran to be reported to the UN Security Council for "breaches" of international nuclear safeguards but the move faces stiff opposition from Russia and drew sharp threats from Iran.

 

 

Iran issued its toughest warning yet in response to Western pressure over its nuclear programme, threatening to limit UN inspections, resume ultra-sensitive fuel work and even quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

 

The Islamic republic's top nuclear negotiator, hardliner Ali Larijani, also said oil giant Tehran would base its business dealings with individual countries on whose side they took in the dispute.

 

A Western diplomat in Vienna said: "It's unfortunate that while we're committed to pursuing this issue on a peaceful diplomatic track, Iran's response is to resort to threats and provocations."

 

 

 

:eek_wft: :eek_wft: :unsure::unsure:

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Guest arian

Warrants in '94 Bombing Are Delisted

 

 

BERLIN — Iran succeeded Wednesday in getting Interpol to cancel international wanted notices for 12 Iranians sought by Argentina in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, police sources said.

 

Argentine judicial authorities called the decision a blow to their investigation of the Buenos Aires attack, which killed 85 people, the country's deadliest.

 

At its annual conference in Berlin, world police body Interpol conducted a ballot of delegates on rescinding the "red notices" arising from the attack.

 

"In favor of Iran, all the red notices have been canceled," an Iranian delegate said.

 

Two other sources independently confirmed the outcome.

 

Argentina and Israel lay responsibility for the bombing on Hezbollah guerrillas backed by Iran, but Tehran repeatedly has denied involvement.

 

 

Interpol suspended the 12 notices requested by Argentina after Iran complained about irregularities, citing corruption allegations against the judge involved.

 

Argentina was seeking reinstatement of the notices.

 

Argentine court officials said removal of the alerts, which means countries are no longer obliged to publish the arrest warrants, made it unlikely the suspects would ever be brought in for questioning.

 

Great e5nqys.gif

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In Iran, US runner joins the races

 

 

Sarah Kureshi was the only American athlete at the 4th Islamic Women Games.

 

 

TEHRAN, IRAN – The middle-distance runner didn't know what to expect, as the first American female athlete to compete in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

She even brought the Stars and Stripes, uncertain whether the Iranians would provide a flag for the opening ceremony.

 

 

But as the sole American competitor in the 4th Islamic Women Games in Tehran this week, she needn't have bothered. Officials here "had a big US flag ready," says Saira Kureshi, and Iranians have provided a big welcome to match.

 

"It's wonderful to get to know people as people, regardless of what the governments say," Ms. Kureshi says, referring to the 25-year estrangement between the US and the Islamic Republic. "Part of the purpose [of coming here] is to bridge some of the gaps ... and show Iran that Americans are interested in them and their culture."

 

Competing for medals has taken second place to the experience of visiting Iran and participating with nearly 1,700 young women from nearly 40 countries, in events ranging from handball to the high jump.

 

Kureshi ran one heat of the 1,500 meters before illness forced her to the sidelines. But she has been the focus of steady Iranian media interest, with journalists exploring her views of Iran and its stormy relations with the US.

 

"I'm proud to be an American Muslim athlete - I love America, and the freedom [there] to be a Muslim; and I love Iran," says Kureshi, who made the visit with one coach who helped organize the US presence.

 

Some 40 other Muslim-American women wanted to compete in Iran, but could not break from study or work commitments, says Kureshi, who last competed four years ago as a member of her college track and cross-country teams.

 

Kureshi only heard of the chance two months ago, when a message was sent out by the Muslim Women's League in the US, canvassing for participants. "No one in America had even heard of these games," says Kureshi, adding that she was nevertheless impressed by the level of competition.

 

A further group of seven non-Muslim women trainers were asked to introduce a new sport - they had chosen Ultimate Frisbee, and had printed 700 specially for the event - but were not granted visas.

 

The request had come from Faizah Hashemi, daughter of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who is head of Iran's Women's Sports Federation and organizer of the women's games.

 

Facing hurdles finding funding for the games, Ms. Hashemi told journalists that "we have to clarify that sports has no boundaries and in the first place stands for peace and friendship." Hashemi said her "biggest wish is for equality among men and women."

 

Kureshi is an unlikely but determined goodwill ambassador. A Muslim of Pakistani parentage, she is now a medical student on leave from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.

 

Last year, she earned a master's degree in public health from Harvard University, and has worked with sex-trafficking victims in India and with refugees on the Thai/Burmese border.

 

After the closing ceremony in Tehran Thursday, she planned to return home to the US for a week, before leaving again for a yearlong Koranic Arabic language course in Cairo, Egypt.

 

She speaks often of "empowering women through sports," and hopes in the future to work in the Middle East, starting public-health and preventive-medicine programs from within communities.

 

Kureshi's positive perceptions of Iran were first shaped by a women's studies class she took last year, and by her Iranian professor. But aside from Iranian journalists' questions about nuclear issues, there have been a few surprises.

 

When Kureshi competed in college, she wore long tights to cover her legs; her university let her fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

 

But throughout competition in Iran, men and photographers have only been allowed at a few venues, such as archery and golf, so it felt "like a college meet," Kureshi says. Women wore shorts and tank tops at most of the events.

 

Taking time out Wednesday, Kureshi shopped in the north Tehran district of Tajrish for manteaux, the Islamic overdress meant to hide the contours of the female form, but which in Iran in recent years have grown tighter and shorter.

 

Kureshi says she wants to write articles about her trip, hoping that her experience will go some way toward eventually bringing the US and Iran closer together.

 

Iranians have shown a deep interest in her presence and her perceptions, she says. Kureshi expects that Americans, too, will be interested in hearing from a person who has visited a nation President Bush labeled as part of the "axis of evil."

 

"If something good can come from [this competition], that will be wonderful," says Kureshi. "I think people will be very receptive, because when people in the US hear that you are going to Iran, their ears prick up."

 

 

 

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The new pornography of war

 

 

 

....is the most horror-filled website I have ever seen; and if you are reading this at breakfast, or anywhere near a child, you should stop right now. It is a site for trophy pictures, originally a place where men could trade pornographic pictures of women they knew. But in wartime the definition of trophy changes, so when you look at the forum now you are likely to see something such as this:

A burnt and crumpled Arab face rests in a blue kitchen bowl. It doesn't look as if the back of the head is there, but it's impossible to be sure because everything behind the eyes is hidden in a pool of blood and everything below the jaw is missing. Underneath the picture are two discreet text ads for "Free amateur teen pictures" and "Mother and Daughter omfg! They are whores lol!"

 

There are several hundred such pictures on the site, all apparently submitted by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The deal offered by the site's owner, Chris Wilson, is that serving soldiers get free access if they can prove they are abroad. He did this from a patriotic impulse: it was difficult for soldiers to make credit card payments from Afghanistan. So he decided to accept evidence of life abroad instead. This doesn't have to be a picture of a mutilated corpse, but those will do nicely. The site now has more than 160,000 members.

 

The scandal at Abu Ghraib showed that modern armies are full of people with digital cameras who will document everything they see, no matter how shaming it might be in the outside world. Some of these pictures are far worse than anything that came out of the prison but they show the same tangle of lust for flesh, power and killing.

 

There's some dispute about whether all of the pictures are real but it seems beyond doubt that most of the posters claiming to be soldiers actually are, not least because the American Army tries to stop its soldiers accessing the site and posting captions like this: "Iraqi driver tried to run a checkpoint ... this is an Iraqi driver and passenger that tried to run a checkpoint during the first part of OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom]. The bad thing about shooting them is that we have to clean it up. The car was shot at with 5.56mm and 7.62 mm rounds. The 7.62 did his head" - but the viewer must take on trust that the head existed.

 

The soldier, signing himself "vagetarian", who posted the picture comments: "These are things that we have to do. Some of us dont like it but it must be done to protect ourselfs and our way of life. These are here to show we dont take anything lightly."

 

News of the site has been circulating outside the army for about a month, since Helena Cobban, a Quaker blogger and journalist, found a reference to it in an Italian report. "It underlines the deeply exploitative nature of most pornography," she says.

 

Wilson, the owner of the site, is proud of displaying the photographs. He popped up himself in the discussions on Cobban's blog to say: "I think everyone should see them. This is a side of the war that is shown from the soldiers THEMSELVES. Where else can you go see that?"

 

He is proud of free expression as a mark of civilisation (though, for legal reasons, the site is hosted in the Netherlands, and not Florida where he lives). At the head of each column of pictures is an uplifting paragraph denouncing censorship, which starts: "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship."

 

"It is", says Cobban, "like finding Mistah Kurtz, sitting in the middle of the black jungle, surrounded by heads on stakes"

 

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Iranian to be sent back to jail

 

Ten years in prison and 75 whips of the lash await an Iranian man being deported from Denmark to Iran.

 

The Danish state has decided to deny asylum to 48-year-old Alae Ghaedi and his family, despite being aware that he will be persecuted on his return to Iraq.

 

During the 1980s and up until 2002 when he applied for asylum in Denmark, Ghaedi was a member of an illegal Iranian opposition group. He has sat in prison over eight years, suffered torture and the Iranian authorities have executed six of his brothers.

 

The weirdest part of the whole affair though is that his brother in-law has been granted asylum in Denmark, because he is in danger of being persecuted in Iran due to his close relationship to Alae Ghaedi.

 

 

 

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Iran 'behind attacks on British'

 

 

Britain has accused Iran of responsibility for explosions which have caused the deaths of all eight UK soldiers killed in Iraq this year.

A senior British official, briefing correspondents in London, blamed Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

 

He said they had provided technology to a Shia group in southern Iraq, although the Iranians had denied this, he added.

 

An Iranian spokesman denied the charge, insisted that Tehran was committed to ensuring a peaceful Iraq.

 

"From the very beginning, we have stated our position very clearly - a stable Iraq is in our interests and that is what the Iraqi authorities have said themselves on many occasions," Hamid Reza-Asefi told the BBC.

 

"Even in recent days, the Iraqi authorities have welcomed our position and our approach to Iraq."

 

Allegations

 

While UK officials have hinted at an Iranian link before, this is the first specific allegation to be made.

 

They may feel there is little to lose right now by making such accusations, given that diplomatic relations are already low following the breakdown of talks over Iran's nuclear programme, says the BBC News Website's world affairs correspondent, Paul Reynolds.

 

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the technology had come from Hezbollah in Lebanon via Iran and produced an "explosively shaped projectile".

 

He said that dissidents from the Mehdi army, a militia controlled by the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, were suspected of carrying out the attacks.

 

One of their leaders, Ahmed al-Fartusi, was arrested by British forces recently and was "currently enjoying British hospitality", as the official put it.

 

It was that arrest which sparked off an anti-British protest in Basra recently.

 

Saddam trial postponed?

 

The official said that protests had been made to Iran and that the Iranian government had denied responsibility.

 

Asked about an Iranian motive, the official said that it could be that Iran felt that it had to show that it could not be "pushed around".

 

The official also said that the trial of Saddam Hussein, due to start on 19 October, might be postponed until after the elections in December.

 

Logistical arrangements for the trial, including a witness protection programme and even whether bullet proof glass was to be used around the dock, had still not been decided, he said.

 

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The $10 Billion Dollar Philanthropic Man

 

 

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Pierre Omidyar, founder and Chairman of Ebay, spoke today. Along with Omid Korestani from Google, Zod Nazem, CTO at Yahoo, Pierre exemplifies the possibilities for Iranian Americans when opportunity, timing, talent, hardwork and intelligence converge. I actually got to talk to him and he remembered me from my comments on his blog. What a great guy. He is completely focused on figuring out the science of what I call entrepreneurial activisim. In his talkk Pierre said that over 750,000 people now completely earn their living on Ebay- what an economic juggernaught and force for good. He elaborated on his investment criteria for his $400 million investment fund. He wants to invest only in companies that like Ebay are scalable businesses models that do more good for society as they scale commercially.

 

When I talked to him I mentioned some statistics on the Freewebs community he was impressed and I told him his director of investments, Stephen is very interested in Freewebs, he said to definately follow up with Stephen. It would be amazing to get Pierre's input into how to empower the Freewebs community as a force for good.

 

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The shah and farah dolls for sale on ebay

 

Peggy Nisbet dolls. They are The SHAH and his Wife, The Empress of Iran. These dolls have never been played with. They are from the ESTATE of PEGGY NISBET. They both wear their wrist tags identifying them as the Shah and Empress of Iran and that they are both sample #6. As I understand it, before the dolls were produced for sale, there were samples made so Ms. Nisbet could decide which would be her choice for production. As I said, these are marked sample #6. The Shah is attired in his dress uniform, with a beige jacket, lavishly adorned with medals, ribbons, tassels, chains and braid. He wears navy blue trousers with a red stripe down the sides. It appears to me that his boots are molded and painted on. He has gray molded hair and well defined painted features on his face. As I recall what the Shah looked like, it appears to me to be quite a good likeness of him. The Empress is dressed in a gold lame gown and evening coat with lavish braid trim. She wears rhinestones in her lovely black hair (mohair, I think) and her faux pearl earrings with rhinestone necklace trimmed in white. Her outfit is lined in an off-white satiny type fabric. Her shoes are molded and painted on. She also wears her appropriate undies. The only flaw I can see is that the Shah's arms are loose, but held in place by his clothing. So many of these dolls have the same problem. I can't tell if the Empress' arms are loose or not. I don't think so, but can't say for certain as I am fearful of removing any clothing. Both wrist tags read on the outside: "Costume Dolls by Peggy Nisbet made in England". On the inside of the Shah's tag, it reads PN365B 6365 Shah of Iran Sample No 6 Mrs Nisbet P464. On the inside of the Empress' tag, it reads: PN366B Empress of Iran Sample No 6. 6366 Mrs. Nisbet.

 

 

dollsshahfarahpiggset.jpg

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The shah and farah dolls for sale on ebay

 

Peggy Nisbet dolls. They are The SHAH and his Wife, The Empress of Iran. These dolls have never been played with. They are from the ESTATE of PEGGY NISBET. They both wear their wrist tags identifying them as the Shah and Empress of Iran and that they are both sample #6. As I understand it, before the dolls were produced for sale, there were samples made so Ms. Nisbet could decide which would be her choice for production. As I said, these are marked sample #6. The Shah is attired in his dress uniform, with a beige jacket, lavishly adorned with medals, ribbons, tassels, chains and braid. He wears navy blue trousers with a red stripe down the sides. It appears to me that his boots are molded and painted on. He has gray molded hair and well defined painted features on his face. As I recall what the Shah looked like, it appears to me to be quite a good likeness of him. The Empress is dressed in a gold lame gown and evening coat with lavish braid trim. She wears rhinestones in her lovely black hair (mohair, I think) and her faux pearl earrings with rhinestone necklace trimmed in white. Her outfit is lined in an off-white satiny type fabric. Her shoes are molded and painted on. She also wears her appropriate undies. The only flaw I can see is that the Shah's arms are loose, but held in place by his clothing. So many of these dolls have the same problem. I can't tell if the Empress' arms are loose or not. I don't think so, but can't say for certain as I am fearful of removing any clothing. Both wrist tags read on the outside: "Costume Dolls by Peggy Nisbet made in England". On the inside of the Shah's tag, it reads PN365B 6365 Shah of Iran Sample No 6 Mrs Nisbet P464. On the inside of the Empress' tag, it reads: PN366B Empress of Iran Sample No 6. 6366 Mrs. Nisbet.

 

 

dollsshahfarahpiggset.jpg

 

everythin' is being a business....sadness

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Iranians wait for change from Ahmadinejad

 

 

TEHRAN, IRAN – Poor, and with her sons jobless, Delaram Vatanha didn't vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June. Her identity card was being held as collateral for a purchase from a local appliance shop.

Mr. Ahmadinejad promised Iran's legions of poor that he would put the nation's oil income "onto people's tables." But more than 100 days after the vote, Mrs. Vatanha - along with Iranians who gave the Islamist ideologue a surprise 61 percent mandate - are waiting for change.

 

Maybe, hopefully, [Ahmadinejad] will do something," says Vatanha, sitting in her tiny $30-per-month basement apartment. Unable to find jobs as house painters, her sons left home three weeks ago in search of work. She tugs her chador more tightly around her face. "I am having a nervous breakdown. I just read the Koran, and ask God to help [my sons.]."

 

Such uncertainty is manifest across the Islamic Republic, as Iranians begin taking measure of their choice: a man who is filling top positions with Revolutionary Guard cadres, and insists that he will build a pure Islamic government.

 

While the former mayor of Tehran struggles to manage high expectations inside Iran, his hard-line packaging of Iran's controversial nuclear program is risking further isolation abroad. Last month, the UN's nuclear watchdog voted to send Iran to the UN Security Council for violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Britain last week also accused Iran of being behind the supply of sophisticated explosives to insurgents in Iraq.

 

Domestic discontent

 

Critics - including many in Ahmadinejad's own conservative camp - complain of delays in forming a new cabinet. Four potential nominees, including that for the oil minister, have been rejected by parliament.

 

So far, markets in the weak economy are taking a wait-and-see approach that businessmen say could last a year or more. One industrial crane dealer - whose business is a good barometer in building-crazy Iran - says he sold 40 machines in the six months before the election, but has sold only two in the three months since.

 

Still, parliament this week approved a $1.3 billion "love fund" intended to give financial support to young newlyweds. Another big-ticket package to lower chronic unemployment is on the table, and the president wants to double teacher salaries.

 

Iranians who have seen internal reports on cabinet-level proceedings say that "social justice" - leveling inequalities in wealth, and creating more opportunities for the poor - tops the agenda. But the learning curve has been steep for a team with little international experience.

 

"Most people think Ahmadinejad is honest, but they have some doubts about his capability, and will wait and see," says Amir Mohebian, political editor of the moderate conservative Resalat newspaper.

 

"Ahmadinejad says he wants 'justice' in society, [but] he should rationalize that, and say 'I want to narrow the gap between rich and poor people,' " says Mr. Mohebian. "He should not say 'I will lead you to a society of perfect equality.' It is not possible."

 

Ahmadinejad tapped into deep public discontent: some voters went for his image as a 'man of the people' who speaks for the poor; others supported him because he is not a cleric; and still others saw him as the antiestablishment candidate. But analysts say he will need to evolve new policies to satisfy a disgruntled electorate.

 

Bridging the conservative divide

 

While conservative factions control every lever of power in Iran for the first time since reform-minded Mohammad Khatami was elected president in 1997, these hard-line forces are tempered by the Expediency Council. Led by former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was soundly defeated by Ahmadinejad in the June run-off, the unelected body has been granted an unprecedented "oversight" role for all branches of Iran's formal power structure.

 

"The presidential election polarized the political spectrum, and this move represents a reunification of policies," says an Iranian analyst who asked not to be named. "It is a signal to this administration that 'You are not doing this alone, you must take others with you.' "

 

Ahmadinejad says his victory has ushered in a "second revolution," after the first that created the Islamic Republic in 1979. He has accused "certain gangs" inside the oil ministry of blocking his choice for minister, and rebutted claims that officials are "weak persons because they are new faces."

 

US-Iran thaw? Maybe later.

 

Ahmadinejad also attacked "certain decisionmakers within the Islamic establishment, whose hearts and minds are set on countries far beyond our borders but pretend to support the Islamic Revolution." That may have been aimed at Rafsanjani, who ran a slick, Western-style election campaign, and promised not only to improve ties with the West, but to end decades of estrangement with the US.

 

Such possibilities are on hold now. Archaeologists at Harvard, for example, who were to begin a six-year project last month along the ancient Silk Route, say their plans are on ice.

 

"The [iranian] individuals who had been supportive of international cooperation have been replaced," says Harvard archaeology professor C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, also noting that specific waivers from the US State Department have been difficult to obtain. "It's much more difficult now. Neither side is making this particularly easy."

 

Waiting for a crackdown - and money

 

Still, at home, the long-expected crackdown against social freedoms that blossomed under Mr. Khatami has not yet come. But the basiji militia, frequent enforcers of such codes, have launched exercises in eight cities recently to "confront [urban] unrest," state television reported, according to Radio Free Europe.

 

"Ahmadinejad and his colleagues are looking for an Islamic state, and that means a state without democracy," says Hamid Reza Jalaiepour, a political sociologist and veteran reform editor. "After three months he couldn't show himself to the ordinary people as a capable man, and it's very bad for him....They are waiting for the oil money to come to the table."

 

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Report: Four Dead in Iran Mall Explosions

 

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI

Associated Press Writer

 

October 15, 2005, 6:37 PM EDT

 

 

TEHRAN, Iran -- Two bombs planted inside trash bins exploded Saturday at a shopping mall near the Iraqi border that was previously targeted by extremists, killing four people and wounding at least 102, Iranian state television reported.

 

The explosions struck a shopping center in central Ahvaz, the capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province. Shops in Naderi street and cars outside were damaged. Some of the injured were in critical condition, the broadcast said, showing pools of blood on the pavement.

 

Provincial official Gholam Reza Shariati said the bombs were planted inside two trash bins. He said the number of injured was high because the attacks occurred during the evening rush hour as pedestrians returned home from work.

 

State television said the bombs went off five minutes apart at the Karoun Mall, the site of four bombings in June that killed at least eight people.

 

Iranian security officials blamed those attacks -- the deadliest in the nation in more than a decade -- on Iranian Arab extremists with ties to foreign governments, including British intelligence.

 

In recent weeks, Iran repeatedly has accused Britain of provoking unrest in the Khuzestan province, next to the region in Iraq where 8,500 British soldiers are based as part of the U.S.-led military coalition.

 

The explosions follow exchange of bitter words between Tehran and London in recent weeks. While Iran has accused Britain of provoking unrest in the province, Britain has accused Iran of giving Iraqi insurgents explosives technology to bomb British soldiers.

 

Both countries deny the other's claims.

 

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said recently that explosive devices that have killed British troops in Iraq were similar to those used by the Iranian-linked militant group Hezbollah.

 

A senior British official went further, telling reporters on condition of anonymity there was evidence Iran's Revolutionary Guard had given insurgents the technology used in the attacks, which have killed eight British troops in southern Iraq since May.

 

The soldiers were hit by powerful roadside bombs able to pierce armored vehicles.

 

Ahvaz also was the site of two days of violent protests in April after reports circulated of an alleged plan to expel Arab residents from the region. A letter, allegedly signed by former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, ordered the relocation of non-Arabs to Ahvaz so they would become the majority population.

 

Abtahi denied writing the letter.

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wo...world-headlines

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Female firefighters find they can take the heat in Iran

 

 

 

KARAJ, IRAN – The rewards are great - and the disappointments as powerful as any felt by firefighters around the world.

But at Station No. 9 in Karaj, west of Tehran, a small unit prides itself on being like few others: the only squad of women firefighters in the Middle East.

 

 

Not every rescue requires a feminine touch. But in the Islamic Republic, which tolerates little public mixing of the genders, the 11 women here are breaking new ground and creating a model for cities across the country. They also represent a strain of pragmatic progressivism in Iran that is rarely matched elsewhere in the region.

 

Women are still subject to a strict Islamic dress code here, though at the moment it is loosely enforced. But there is a women's police division. Women parliamentarians and even vice presidents and a Nobel Peace Prize winner voice their opinions loudly. And in Iran's roiling political atmosphere, women can be criticized as harshly as men.

 

Wearing polished silver helmets - with only a head scarf underneath to distinguish their garb from the men's - this squad slides down the fire pole when the alarm sounds, just like their male peers.

 

"When we rescue a child, and the mother cries and comes to us to thank us, we feel so good," says Mahboubeh Khoshsolat.

 

Finding a balance between Islam and gender issues is easier in Iran than in some other Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive, much less hold office.

 

A women's unit might have made a difference in the holy city of Mecca in March 2002, during a blaze at a girls' school. Some 15 girls died and 50 were injured when Saudi religious police, according to eyewitnesses, beat the girls and kept them from leaving the burning building because they were not wearing "correct" Islamic dress.

 

Firefighters here in Iran, men and women alike, say men have not hesitated to help in gender-sensitive situations. "Of course we still do it," says Ali Aghayari, a mustachioed 25-year veteran of the department. "It can be a matter of life and death."

 

But the women think their presence inspires others to take on jobs usually reserved for men. "100 percent," says Zahra Haji, who has been with the Karaj force since the women's unit was created three years ago.

 

The women are part of a department that includes 11 stations and 375 firefighters. Divided into three shifts, they work 24 hours on, 48 hours off.

 

While they respond to every alarm alongside the men, these women also describe rescues in which their gender helped get the job done - such as the time a large woman had fallen into an narrow underground septic tank, up to her neck in sewage, and needed rescue with a harness and ropes.

 

"I've seen them in action and they are good, they are strong - sometimes they are better than the men," says Mr. Aghayari. When they are in protective gear, fighting alongside the men, he says he can barely tell the difference.

 

"Physically we can manage it, we don't think we are anything less [than the men]," says Zeinab Karimi. Her father's tales of his work as a firefighter shaped her as a girl. When ads for the positions appeared, he mentioned them to Karimi, who had never thought she'd fight fires herself. "We believe in our abilities."

 

Those abilities are honed by training the same way as the men's, rappelling down a multistory training wall, jumping from heights, carrying the injured, and finding escape routes. Members of the unit have long experience with competitive sports, and their daily routine includes 30 minutes of vigorous exercise.

 

Such preparation can pay off. Karimi remembers a call at 3:30 a.m. A gas truck was burning so hot that a neighboring building caught fire.

 

"The whole area was lit up like day, and it was tough. [T]here was the possibility of an explosion," recalls Karimi. "It was so frightening, but [we] controlled the fire. Even our gloves were burning"

 

Not all stories end happily. Ms. Haji relates a call this summer when the unit was unable to resuscitate a toddler who had fallen in a pool. Several of the women went to the boy's funeral to offer comfort. "It was my first bitter experience," says Ms. Haji. "But they were appreciating us."

 

Such performance has not gone unnoticed elsewhere in Iran, where a number of cities have expressed interest. "Karaj is a good model," says Gholamreza Abbasi, head of the program. "The [islamic] system will accept it, and people want it."

 

 

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Pasargad under water . . .

 

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