Saturday, May 10, 2003

Stella Artois is called "horse piss" in at least 4 places on the internet, one, two, three, four.

Council's quashing of bill very unexpected to Khatami. Shakouri-Rad said that the bill would not be referred to the Expediency Council; Iran Press Service wrote about a resolution within two months. I predict the survival of the regime, despite the pressures.

Yesterday I went to the book fair again, and bought "Old New Zealand" by Maning, ($US90 on, $US18 there); a critical edition of "Emma" by Jane Austen, History of the Twentieth Century, and "Fanny Hill" (Wordsworth)! I was rather surprised by the last one's availability. A wide range of uncensored material is available if you read English. At this rate, perhaps they'll be selling "The Satanic Verses" in a few years! On the way back I stopped by "Kabooky Fried Chicken", the taxi fare to Tajrish was 400T, but 100T yesterday!

Friday, May 09, 2003

State Department transcribes American Enterprise Institute conference. (What's happening there?) Other coverage at Payvand. Michael Ledeen is profiled by Brown University professor William Beeman (like his last article I linked to, quite informative).

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Hoder talks about blocking of his site. From my perspective I have never seen any blocking of any site... of course I'll post if that changes.
Thursday, the first day of the weekend. The Tehran International Book Fair is on, and I had cards to buy books to the value of 100,000 tomans. The books are subsidised to the rate of about 300 tomans to 1 US dollar, whereas the usual exchange rate is 800 tomans to the dollar. Building 44 is where the new English books are, nothing older than 2001. Building 41A is older books.

So, I was feeling lazy, so I took a private taxi there (1600T).
All the stalls were full of people, except

"The Institute for the Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works"...
which was surrounded by Cambridge University Press, Phaidon, and Gale Group. Today, it ended up that I bought three books, all from Routledge. Iranian History and Politics, usually US$90 but today 31800 tomans ($US38.87); English-only Europe? (about $US10), and Religion Without God.

You see, we have freedom in Iran! You can buy books about atheism now, despite the regulations that say nothing contrary to Islam can be sold. There are two big reasons why: (1) it's not in Farsi, it's in English and (2) the TIBF is a unique event, many things change - taxi fares can be multiplied many times, for example.

On the way home I stopped by Tam Tam Pizza near Tajrish Square. This is where young couples go to intertwine hands and feet and flirt with each other. A disturbing number of Iranian young women smoke now. I don't find this attractive.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The International Atomic Energy Agency has a meeting of its board of governors in Vienna from June 16-20. Iran wants the IAEA to clear it. But the USA wants the IAEA to find Iran in breach of the NPT. I'll be interested to hear the Economist's take on this in a few days. But from the quotes in the articles, it doesn't look good for Iran, because other countries have the same suspicions as the US and Iran only has Russia for its "friend":

A senior Western diplomat who attended the IAEA meeting yesterday in Vienna said Iran's report was unconvincing.

''It was a skillful performance,'' said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ''They tried to give the image of transparency without providing substance about their nuclear program. We think they are hiding things.''

China admits supplying Iran with uranium hexaflouride and when you combine that with the Reuters article saying:

Diplomats say IAEA officials had detected that Iran had introduced some uranium hexafluoride into the gas centrifuges, which would be a clear breach of the NPT.

then you have bad news for Iran. The articles say Mr ElBaradei is in a difficult situation.

15000 mile bike tour.

``And despite hiding their cash in "hard to reach" places, a "fake policeman" in Iran robbed the family of $30,000 in Taiwan currency ($861), $200 in U.S. currency and another $200 in euros ($226). And they also had money trouble in China when $3,600 in U.S. currency turned black and moldy after heavy rain seeped into the cash.''

This happens all the time... Lonely Planet has several stories like this (also saying the police didn't want to help), El Traveler has a very detailed account and a follow-up describing in detail how the Iranian police didn't seem to want to help!

Monday, May 05, 2003

Internet offenses bill under consideration. Hoder wrote about something like this.

As for this alleged CBS program on Rafsanjani on 60 minutes (saw on, Iran is really not THAT important in world affairs, that the Expediency Council leader would have a program on him in America. Not many people know who Rafsanjani is outside Iran, believe it or not. Of course he is rich by Iranian standards, but not enough by world standards to be in the billionaires' list.
So an American program said to be investigating his wealth is just some Iranian's fantasy.

60 Minutes only interviewed him in 1997 because he was the president. Now, it is true, he is still one of the three most powerful men in Iran, but I don't think American viewers are going to be interested enough to sit through a program on him.

The Google Dance means that some google servers have more up to date results than the main server. If everyone knew this many would look to see which server has the latest search information, like I do.
Some Iranians would welcome a US invasion. I know people on both sides of the issue; according to the writer, sentiment in Tabriz and Kandovan supports it. I liked the quote at the end, though surely it isn't original: "If you're going to photograph the mullahs," says one photographer in Tabriz, "do it in black and white. That's how they see the world."
The attitude of European people in general... "English should be everyone's second language.". The attitude of French people: "English should be everyone's second language. FRENCH should be everyone's first language!" (Every human being should speak French!)

Anyway, the Festival de Cannes runs from May 14 to 25. When viewing the website, you have a choice between French (denoted by 6001 in the URL) and English (6002). A film from Iran is showing outside the official selection, in the directors' fortnight. It is called "Deep Breath" by Parviz Shahbazi. Even if you read about it in Le Monde it is still called "Deep Breath" not "Souffle Profond". English has taken over!!! Britannia rules the waves!

Miss Iraniangirl points out Lady Sun's English weblog. There is less risk involved in writing an English weblog in Iran, like this one, and the audience is completely different (much more international).

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Australia Shows Iranian Asylum Seekers The Door.

"This simply underlines how right the government has been to take a strong stand on illegal migration," Downer said. "The simple fact is that if the government had taken a weak stand and just allowed anyone into Australia who wanted, without a visa, we would have ended up with a very major problem."

I've often thought about what would happen if Iranians emigrated en masse to Canada, the US or Australia. I think that immigration needs to be gradual so that the people who emigrate understand the culture and political background of the country they are emigrating to. With some people in the UK already calling for the UK to become an Islamic state and al-Qaeda's alleged plan to make an Islamic super-state including Australia, massive immigration would cause severe problems. The bad apples would come along with the good. Most of the Iranian asylum-seekers' claims have been rejected, and I know from conversations with diplomats just how far people will go to get out of here... on the other hand I've never been to a mandatory detention camp.

NYTimes Magazine writes about proliferation. Neo-cons want Japan to go nuclear to counterbalance North Korea; and the IAEA can't do anything about Iran without their co-operation; the US has an idea about this.

``In Iran, which lives in a hostile neighborhood and retains more than a little Persian pride, the reformers seem just as dedicated to a nuclear future as the mullahs.

They also hope the Iranians and their sponsors will take the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as fair warning.

''I think the presence of 200,000 American troops on their border for X period of time may tend to concentrate their attention,'' observed a senior American official. ''

Right-wing think tanks rule DC. I am interested in this because it will tell me what the US will do next regarding Iran. Think tanks mentioned are the Hoover Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute (where Michael Ledeen works).
I'm back in Iran.