Omid Memarian

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


"We must acknowledge that the crimes committed by Germany's Nazi regime were a massacre of innocents, including a great number of Jews," said Khatami."

This is what Mr. Khatami has said. That's why Iran is a complex society. Due to Mr. Ahmadinejad's allegations on Holocaust, khatami's opinion about this controversial topic is a very good symbol of diversity inside the country. Khatami is one of the most popular politicians in and outside the country. The odd nature of the Iranian political atmosphere is just 8 years ago the Iranian president's thesis was dialogue among civilization and now the new president's mindset is toward "wipe off Israel from the map" or other crazy things....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Iranian Experts in Auschwitz!

Can you imagine that? Yes, that's true. I just received something from a friend in Poland about the new shocking action by president Ahmadinejad.... Just take a look at it: (Thanks so much Jerzy)

Iranian government is planning a conference to debate the "real scale of the Holocaust", informed Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on 17 February. As a part of the preparations the
Government would like to send a team of experts to conduct on-the-spot examination of the places where the Holocaust took place (a number of German death camps was located in the then occupied Poland).

The basis for this examination could be recent interview of the former ambassador to Poland Mohammend Taheri given to a Portuguese radio. In the interview he said that according to his calculations carried out after his visit to Auschwitz, the largest of the death camps, burning of 6m people would take some 15 years.

This does not contradict scientific estimations, according to which Auschwitz was the place of death of 1.1-1.5m people; the remaining victims of the Holocaust found their death in different locations.

The Rzeczpospolita daily of of 18 Saturday informed that Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Miller said that Iranian scientists should not have the possibility to count in Poland the victims of the Holocaust. "Under no circumstances we should permit this. This is beyond all imaginable norms that such a thing is discussed" he told Polish press agency PAP. He
added that Tehran had not consulted this idea with him.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum informed in a special communique that it won't allow Iranian experts to the camp. "Those who negate the fact of murdering of people in gas chambers and defile the memory of the victims will not be allowed to the cemetary, which in fact is the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau".

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Again Abu Ghoraib

These are so sad photos on Rueter webite about Abu Ghoraib in Iraq.

Here is another link on Abu Ghoraib Prison’s picture. That's a sort of report that describes why these pictures have been distributed.... It is really so sad. It is not something new, but is absolutely painful. It seems United States is the country of extremist. In one hand, some people like what you see in this clip, do such a shameful treatment and on the other hand the constitution support publishing these pictures. Then people have choice to judge. I think this week has been the worst week for Dick Cheney.

No Bravery Clip
James Blunt - No Bravery Lyrics

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.
He has been here.
Brothers lie in shallow graves.
Fathers lost without a trace.
A nation blind to their disgrace,
Since he's been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Religious Ceremony or Carnival?

You know, A few days ago were the anniversary of killing the Shiite third prophet Imam Hussein. Many of Iranians contribute at his ceremony. But during the last decade, increasingly, it becomes like a carnival. Just look at the picture of boys and girls who have been there on this blog... lessons for Islamic rulers…

To sopprt the first paragraph, here is a short clip about "Valentine Day in Iran", on PBS/frontlineworld", by Shaghayegh Azimi

I read an article in Christian Science Monitor Today, which I think is cautious. However, I have a few comments about the debate, but generally that’s worth to read:
“'New populists' vs. the West”

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sad News, Cartoon gate and Nuclear Dreams

“How Iran is dangerous?” front page of Newsweek weekly, covers one of the most crucial issues in the world today. That’s a question we hear all the time these days. I have reviewed the Iranian blogs during the last week, and surprisingly they have posted many comments on their concerns about the upcoming meeting in UN Security Council which would bring sanction for Iran and tentatively a sort of military attack. Who knows? When the Islamic government mobilizes people to show its intention as a people’s demand, many Iranians believe sanction is just the beginning of the road which ends with military attack. They remind the Iraq case and the similarities; sanction, isolation, a stupid excuse and then attack.

Since the new president went to the office, it’s very hard to criticize some certain issues in media and public. Although the number of uncovered stories in Iran strongly have increased, in particular, talking about nuclear issues and recently Danish cartoon is about to impossible. As I have written before, the Iranian national Security Council has announced media not to pretend the IAEA’s 27-3 vote as a failure of the Islamic regime. Journalists can not write how the Islamic regime’s wrong policies on nuclear issues have faced the country with a huge crisis with threatened critically the whole country. I think forcing the media not to talk about their policies has hurt them first. Its very hard for my colleagues there to be a journalist, it is really hard.

On behalf of “Cartoon Gate”, I am sure there are not many people who support the idea of insulting the “other’s values”. But what is happening in Iran, such as attack to embassies, has made many people sad. As it’s very hard to criticize the movement, which support the Basij (revolutionary militia), just 1000 government mobilized people, represent a fundamentalism approach which really does not reflect the realities inside the country. How people can freely attack to the European embassies without any governmental support? It is impossible…
What Khatami achieved in more than 8 years, Ahmadinejad lost in less than 6 months and it is not far the what Iran kept for centuries, he loose in a couple of years.
But they can inflame the religious emotions for political reasons, as they have done before. That’s why; independent media in Iran could have big impact while there are very few now, and mostly outside and perhaps filtered....

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Better Sex and Nuclear Issues?

This is page A15, Friday 1 Feb. 2006, San Francisco Chronicle. I have out this page on my blog just because I think it is so funny. On one side there is something about a better sex and on the other side something about Iranian nuclear case. Look at the Ali Larijani, the head of Iranians nuclear negotiator! Why is he surprised? What is he looking at? (I am joking). But, technically and professionally i have a question; the synchronism of these two pieces is by accident or something else? What's your idea? I am going to ask my friends at the Journalism School, but what's your idea?

Violations as a Response to Insult, Is it Constructive?
Q & A with my self

What is happening in the Muslims countries during the last weeks about the Danish cartoon? Today at the Arab voices class, Hani Shokrollah, former editor in chief of Al-Ahram weekly, led a sort of round table at the School of journalism. we had more than 20 observers from the school who probably were interested on this topic. Najla, calls it “Cartoon Gate”. I am very confused about saying my opinion on this complicated issue, but as many friends of mine, some of my blog’s readers and journalists from Germany, Denmark and Austria who asked me about this topic, I am going to write down some points about this huge media covered and critical issues. So perhaps it is better to talk about it in a Q & A form. Does is make sense?

Q: Does reaction of Muslims to the Danish cartoon, display emerging the clash among the civilizations?

A: Reaction of the Muslims, not. But the action of reprinting the cartoon by other European papers, maybe.

Q: So, you mean the clash among civilizations is something real?

A: The answer is yes and no. Yes, if intentionally focus on the provoking the controversial differences between cultures and civilization, do not respect the differences and judge the “others” with our values. But the answer is no, if we try to understand the differences and respect the other cultures and beliefs. In this way, it is better not to think that the whole world is living with liberal democracy values and/or Muslims values.

Q: Do you think the reaction of the Muslims was led by ordinary people or the governments?

A: I think, mostly by government. Because, lack of strong civil society does not let people in these countries to protest or come to the streets-- like what we see in the Muslim countries. Beside, civil society in many of these countries is entirely secular. Moreover, in these countries, if governments do not agree with something it never –or seldom—happens. So, as we see in Iran, Syria, Palestine and so on, strong mobilization and violence, without any governmental intervention, is impossible.

Q: Which countries in particular?

A: Just look at Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. The outrage of Muslims has appeared basically from these countries. In Iran, government normally supports these kinds of activities. I read something in somewhere by a Finish journalist who mentioned 99 percent of Iranian population are against any violence or attack in response to any kind of insulting. I am sure it is not an exaggerated number. In a country which a critic to government policies lead the journalists and writers to jail, torture and so on, how some people can attack to a embassy without the green light sign of the regime?

Q: What is its benefits for the Islamic government?

A: Apparently, after sending the Iranian case to Security Council by the IAEA, they are expecting some other changes in the International community’s tune. If the Islamic regime does not accept the Russia’s nuclear proposal, Iranian case will face different sort of sanction. So, they are just preparing fire for their propaganda against west. Syria is under pressure of International Community about the Murder of Rafigh Hariri. Some of the American sources talk about attack to Syria. So they are going to send a message to their people and say, “here it is! That’s western values which accuse. They are insulting Islam and or values.” That’s why I think they have provoked the Muslim’s emotions in a political ways.

Q: So, you mean the cartoon has not problem but that’s the reaction of the Muslims, which must be controlled?

A: I believe in what Robert Fisk has said about “Childish of civilizations”, which printing and reprinting of the cartoon has promoted.

Q: Do you think cartoonists of writers must censor themselves because of Islamic taboos?

A: I think, the freedom of expression is not without limit. For example in case of denial of Holocausts, why European countries have established rigid policies about it?
(End of Part One)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

“Iranian Journalists Face Increased Limits”

A few weeks ago, while I was in Vermont for a talk, I met Steve Zand, who is originally Iranian and now he is a producer in VPR (is it correct?). I talked at a Local Church about "How Media form the US citizen's perception about Iran". I enjoyed a lot staying there to hang out with Charlie, Mary and Raymond, my dear friends. Here is the NPR piece on “Iranian Journalists Face Increased Limits”.
I think that's a good report...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Iran's nuclear case is escalating by sending the file to Security Council by IAEA members, last Friday. Iran has announced that they stop all voluntary activities with the agency. I think the next step would be sanctions. If Iran does not accept the Russia’s proposal, it is inevitable. However Iranians say the Russians proposal is dead now. “Security Council is not end of the world,” says foreign ministry spokesman. But Iran is not in a position to bluff more about the effect of retaliations or overplay about its role in Middle East. Now, time play a vital role for Iran. International Herald Tribune says, “On Iran, West sees race against time.”
Niki my friend has put this cartoon on his
blog about the Iranian president’s confrontation treatment with US about nuclear issues. It is sad but it is true. This is what is reflected by people inside, however the government has forbidden people and press to talk about the nuclear polices recently.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Iran retaliates- Channel 4 News, UK

Thursday, February 02, 2006

East and West United Against Iran

Six months after taking the reign of power in Iran, the new hardline government lead by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leading Iran's aggressive nuclear policies towards the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Ali Larijani, the head of the Supreme National Security Council and Islamic Republic's top negotiator had consistently promoted the idea that Iran was in a powerful position and would not withdraw from its position in its talks with the West. He went as far as saying that upon referral of Iran's nuclear file to the UN Security Council, Iran would use its regional capacity, a catchword to mean its armed groups, against the West.

But the ball doesn't seem to be in Iran's field anymore. Iranian diplomats assumed that they could take advantage in what they perceived were weaknesses and divisions in the Western camp, including the Russians and the Chinese. But as it turned out, Chinese and Russian support for Iran’s position turned out to be pipe dreams after both clearly sided with the Europeans, both expressly calling Iran to continue its talks with the Europeans. When the shove turned to push, they all united in their call for the Security Council to follow the issue.

There was a time when former president Khatami's diplomacy and political behavior kept Europe and the U.S. at bay, and against taking any action against Iran. But Ahmadinejad's confrontational posture on the international stage, and his aggressive and unacceptable remarks even forced Iran’s friends to distance themselves.Despite its efforts to win over China and Russia by promising and providing lucrative billion dollar contracts to China and Russia, today Iran stands insecure and under international threat. The Islamic Republic has turned into the world's most isolated country which neither the West nor the East are willing to support.

Political ambiguities in Iran's foreign policies and illusionary and unreal views of its officials, particularly its chief negotiators have trapped the Islamic Republic in a corner, sending its case to the UN Security Council. Iranian diplomats were grossly mistaken in their calculations that two permanent Security Council members, namely Russia and China, would not accept Iran being referred to the world body.Iran’s hardline government mistakenly spent all its energy in cultivating relations with radical Islamic groups in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, and believing that the US was incapable of military confrontation with Iran due to its logistical challenges in Iraq.

Sections of the Iranian press that remained close to the government has revealed a triangle of relations between Hamas, the Badr brigade in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestine, all working with Tehran. And this while many in the country had been saying that the triangle is not in the interests of Iran.But there are also those in Iran’s hardline camps who are now advocating leaving the NPT.

Such immature and hardline policies are precisely what the US neo-cons and the Israeli lobby in Washington wish as the premise and background for a confrontation with Iran. The government’s policies of silencing any independent voices or debate over the nuclear issue, has only isolated it even further, highlighting its mistakes and defeats. A realistic assessment of its own strengths and those of its adversaries and the international community are the immediate requirements of the day if there is a desire to change the dismal performance and catastrophic record of the behavior of the hardline government. (published on Roozonline daily)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Danish Cartoon Dilemma

Concerning the recent widespread boycott of Danish goods in the Middle East following the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed first in Danish newspaper, and later syndicated in Norwegian and French publications I think it is good to take a look at As’ad Abukhalil, Islam Online, and Mohammed Al-Jazairy in Asharq Alawsat , present two staunchly different viewpoints.
(Deleted Paragraph)
New York Sun, a neoconservative paper in United Stated has pointed out that “Palestinian Arab protesters and members of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade threatened to target Scandinavians yesterday in response to a political cartoon in a Danish newspaper depicting the prophet Muhammad as a suicide bomber.” However the tune of New York Sun is mixed with strong biases but would display another aspect of the story which seems is not going to the end.
Moreover, “In France, popular daily France Soir said it “had published the cartoons in the name of freedom of expression and to fight religious intolerance”
Morocco Times Reports from France.

Although in the past there have been other examples of this matter but this time the EU press have republish it for many times and in different countries which raise this question whether it is beginning of a cultural confrontation by challenging different versions of understanding the freedom of speech. Muslims believe the freedom of speech does not permit insulting or despising the Islamic Values, But Europeans criticize this conception. “Under a headline "Yes, we have the right to caricature God", the paper ran a front page cartoon with Buddha, the Christian and Jewish Gods and Prophet Muhammad sitting on a cloud above Earth, with the Christian God saying: "Don't complain Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here,” Says French popular daily.

In Spain, ABC and the Catalan paper El Periodico also published the cartoons. They were joined by the Italian papers La Stampa and Il Corriere della Sera. The German Welt daily put one of the drawings on its front page on Wednesday, saying the picture was "harmless" and regretting that the Danish Jyllands-Posten daily had apologized for causing offense. So what will the Muslim countries do with all these countries which have republished the cartoon for several and even on the front page?

I have deleted a paragraph of this post. I appreciate Charlie for his precise note and caution. I checked the fact in a pargraph and I feel it is not really easy to prove it. While the source of the fact says, she has read somwhere about it, I just deleted to paragrapgh about the anti-semitism of Owner of "Star Bucks" and i will be more carefull for fact checking in the future. Again, thanks Charlie!