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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The American can’t fool a rat in Iraq!

The Americans have started a campaign telling the Iraqis that they have become sovereign because they have moved their troops from inside the cities to the suburbs; leaving behind networks of spies and dirty-work specialists. But the Iraqis can’t be fooled as four American soldiers were killed the day of their retreat. This is the second time that the Iraqis hear of gaining their sovereignty; the first was from Paul Bremer in June 2004 despite the presence of 155000 soldiers and 120000 mercenaries. Aside from those who entered Baghdad on American tanks, most Iraqis consider the presence of one single American soldier as an insult to Iraq dignity, independence and sovereignty. Furthermore, the Iraqis know that the Americans are currently bankrupt and cornered and can’t possibly afford to remain occupying pockets inside cities. It is expected that the attacks on the criminal, barbaric and uncivilised American cowboys and their Iraqi clients will intensify during the coming days. All what has been signed or carried out during the occupation will be considered as null and void following the American defeat.

It is the Jews who live in the distant past when talking about the promised land. The peace of the entire world is currently threatened by the Israelis. Furthermore, the Jews have bankrupted America and sent the money to Israel. Today, Israel is a haven for all Jewish fraudsters and Russian Oligarchs. Everything has a beginning and an end. There are signs that Western support for Israel Nazi-style atrocities is on the demise.

Although the presidential election in Iran was better than those held in Egypt or Israel, but the USraelis and their European allies were completely unhappy with the results. Naturally, the USraelis wanted Ahmedinejad to lose and to be humiliated as they carried out a daily 24-hour media reports interviewing mostly those who opposed the Islamic Republic, the likes of the former Shah ‘s orphans, CIA agents, Armenians and pro-Israeli elements. But to the good fortune of Ahmedinejad the media attention was diverted to spinning stories about late Michael Jackson fortune and misfortune. The CIA, MI-6 and MOSSAD must have felt good about encouraging the street demonstrations and going as far as using dirty tricks; like dressing up as Baseej and firing at people or some of the old tricks used to toppling Dr Mossadaq and re-instating the Shah. Mr Musawai will be forgotten sooner than Jacko as the Americans will be busy covering their expected high losses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr Obama promised elephants of change but delivered old dirty mice bred at the dingy offices of the CIA, MI-6 and MOSSAD. Old American habits and dirty tricks never die in a country controlled by Jewish conspirators.

To me, the average American is a political Zombie, here is why. If the Americans have the habit of freeing people then why don't they free the Palestinains from the brutal Israeli occupation? And if the Americans believe in Jesus so why they are led from the nose by the Jews who have never recognised neither Jesus nor Christianity? Furthermore, if the average American likes democracy so why Latin America was ruled by CIA-installed military dictators and US had toppled those freely elected the likes of Arbenas of Guatemala and Dr Allende of Chile? Don't forget that Americans refused to recognise Hamas after winning the free, Carter-monitored election.
To most people on earth, America is an empire of political Zombies led from the nose by the Jewish mafia.

The catholic Croatians supported Hitler. While the Serbs and Bosnians fought against Mussolini fascism and Hitler Nazism. I liked reading the Bridge on the Drina. Most Croats reamain pro-fascism and support America.
The Americans have finally realised that the Iraqis don't buy anything from them or from their client regime.

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Burqas, Bikinis and Debasing Women

Co-founder, Muslims for Progressive Values
Pamela K. Taylor

Taylor is co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, director of the Islamic Writers Alliance and strong supporter of the woman imam movement.

Ah the burqa! A degradation of womankind, or an assertion by an individual Muslim woman that she will control who looks at her and in what manner? A sign of piety, an act of rebellion, a political statement? Amazing how a small piece of cloth can create such strong feelings and entangle so many issues!

French President Sarkozy has once against thrust Muslim women's dress into the public discourse by proposing a ban on the burqa, which he calls a sign of subservience and debasement. While there are valid reasons to ban burqas, Sarkozy's view is culturally bigoted and oppressively paternalistic. The state, according to him, knows better than individual women what is the best way for them to dress. And Western modes of dress, he believes, liberate women, while Muslim dress codes are restrictive and oppressive.

Before I start to deconstruct that mess, let's be clear what we are talking about, as some people use the terms hijab and burqa interchangeably.

The hijab, in common parlance, is a scarf used to cover the hair and neck, not the face. It is sometimes called a khimar, especially in Arabic speaking countries. The burqa is a garment which covers the head, neck, shoulders, and upper torso along with the face. It is also known as a chador or chadri, and is associated with Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent. The Iranian form of a chador is quite different from the Afghani, but the term is used in both countries. Niqab refers more specifically to a slip of cloth that covers the face, and is worn with the hijab.

Like many people from the West, I have a strong negative reaction to the niqab. I feel uncomfortable talking to women without the benefit of facial clues to the emotional content of their speech and the sincerity of their words. It's spooky listening to a disembodied voice, hearing the woman in front of you but not seeing her lips move. The fact that most women in the West who cover their faces also choose to dress completely in black makes me feel like they are trying to erase their individuality and their identity. As someone who celebrates individuality, diversity, and the uniqueness of each person, I find the desire to cloak that distressing. I find the negation of identity unsettling; I want to be able to recognize the people I am around, and I want them to be able to recognize me. In my culture, only criminals try to hide their identity, and as such I feel uneasy around people who veil.

I also have a negative reaction to arguments that Islam calls for face covering. I believe that it is, in fact, contrary to the teachings of Islam, which calls for modesty, but also for moderation in all things, including dress. The burqa, especially those that have mesh in front of the eyes, is about as extreme a dress as you can get. The fact that the Prophet explicitly forbade women to cover their faces during the pilgrimage suggests that he frowned upon the practice. Perhaps most important of all, if God had wanted Muslim women to cover their faces, it would be unequivocally clear in the Qur'an. It is not. In fact, it is not mentioned at all in the Qur'an. The various arguments that people use to support veiling the face rely on extrapolation, rationalization in terms of public good and the supposed nature of men and women, and attempts to twist the words of the Qur'an into the meaning they want them to have.

The Qur'an mentions women's dress in two places. The most commonly cited selection by the proponents of face-covering is: "Oh Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the female believers to wrap their outer garments about themselves. This is better, so that they may be recognized and not bothered." (33:59) As always, there is great discussion of the vocabulary among scholars. Some say the verb, "yudneena" (here translated as wrap) means to draw over, to wrap closely, or to make longer/lower. There is also discussion of what constitutes "jalabeeb," the plural of jilbab. Modern jilbabs are just long dresses, often worn as jackets over indoor clothing. Others say it could consist of any outer wrap, like a long cloak, or poncho. No matter what the understanding, it takes an expansive interpretation to get the verse to include covering one's face -- a enlargement of "hinna," which means "them" in the feminine, to mean "the entirety of themselves" ie their entire body, not just a simple "them" as it is grammatically in classical Arabic.

The other verse often cited requires an even greater leap of expansive reading. 24:31 reads: "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and be mindful of their modesty; that they should not display their beauty except what ordinarily appears thereof -- that they draw their coverings (khimar) over their bosoms, and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of sexual needs, or small children who have no sense of nakedness; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss."

Again we see impassioned discussions about what a "khimar" is. Literally, as in this translation, it means something that covers. Many scholars have said that at the time of the Prophet the word indicated a headscarf, as it does in modern times, although clearly it is being used to cover the chest. Proponents of face-covering argue that when this verse says not to show one's beauty, it must include the face, as women's faces are clearly part of their beauty.

This is coupled with a great deal of discussion of how women's faces are such beautiful temptations that men are going to sin just by looking at them, and how such looking leads to even greater sins. None of which I buy into. It is patently false that seeing women's faces (or any other part of their body) will drive men wild. Millions of American men prove this every day. It is also patently unfair to ask women to shoulder the burden of men's problems with objectifying them.

It is this kind of tortured reading of the Qur'an, and distorted understanding of human sexuality, that makes the practice of face-veiling and the claim that it is somehow Islamically based all the more repellent to me. It makes me ill that it is being peddled not only as an Islamic requirement, but as the height of piety.

Having said that, I recognize the right of people to disagree with me. Clearly, there is a substantial segment of the global Muslim community who does not find such readings to be a bastardization of the Qur'an's vocabulary and intent, but rather an accurate reflection of it. As much as I may disagree with them, I firmly defend their right not only to hold their view but to practice it. Freedom of religion, and of conscience are fundamental human rights that I hold sacrosanct.

Sarkozy's proposal to ban the niqab because he (and others) view it as a denigration of women and a symbol of their submissiveness (to men, not to God) is a betrayal of the secular ideal of freedom of religion. They are placing their own cultural interpretation of the face veil over the right of women to practice their religion as they see fit, and even more fundamentally, to dress as they want to. This is a rather shocking abrogation of women's agency, their freedom of conscience and religion. It is, in fact, as much a denigration as Sarkozy claims the burqa to be, because he calls into question women's ability to think and act for themselves.

Sarkozy would no doubt argue that many, if not all, the women who veil their faces are doing so under coercion. That no woman would choose to wear such a garment on their own. Obviously, the matter of coercion is a complex one. The issues in America or France are vastly different than they are in some Muslim countries, such as Yemen or Afghanistan where face veiling is prevalent, or in other Muslim countries, such as Turkey or Tunisia, where wearing a headscarf is banned in governmental offices, universities and schools.

In countries where face-veiling is common or where it is seen as a religious requirement, the pressure to wear a burqa or other form of face-covering can be intense. When a society at large deems women who do not cover their face to be impure, impious, and immoral, the choice to veil or not is much more than a simple religious expression or personal taste in clothing; it is a choice to be seen as moral or immoral, pious or impious. A woman's choice impacts not just how people see her, but how she is treated by her neighbors and associates, how marriageable she is or her children might be, and even might lead to violence against her by extremists. In that kind of social setting, I don't believe the choice to wear a burqa is really a free choice. There is so much social pressure, and so many ramifications to not wearing one, that it becomes very difficult to resist.

In the West, the dynamics are reversed. Very few people are going to look at a woman who does not cover her face and deem her impious, unmarriagable, a tramp. The choice to cover one's face is not succumbing to social pressure, but bucking it. It creates real hardships for people, from discrimination in daily life, and having to deal with assumptions about how subjugated you are, to difficulties in finding employment, challenges getting drivers licenses, going through airport security and even the fear that you might become the target of violence. While there are segments of the Muslim population here who look upon burqas with a romanticized idealism, seeing it as a defiance of a godless society and a show of one's total submission to God, the fact remains that overwhelmingly the pressure is not to cover one's face. In that atmosphere, there is a much greater probability that a woman who covers her face has made a much-thought-over choice to do so.

Sarkozy's proposed ban, then, will not impact the women who are most likely coerced into wearing a burqa. Ironically, while protecting women from men, society or themselves is not a valid reason to ban burqas, it may well be valid for society to protect itself from the institution of face-veiling. There is a case to made for banning face coverings on the basis of public safety. It's pretty obvious that if there are large segments of the community whose identity cannot be easily determined that is only going to make it easier for criminals to get away with what they do. And, indeed, we fairly regularly hear about insurgents in the Pakistani/Afghanistan region who escaped detection by wearing burqas. Certain establishments, like banks, have a need to be able to identify their customers. I could see supporting a ban on burqas, much as I would support a ban on wearing ski masks on public transport or in baseball stadiums.

In closing, I would like to turn the issue on its head. If we are opposed to face veiling because externalizes the belief that men are unable to see women as anything besides sexual objects, should we not be equally opposed to botox, facelifts, and a culture which sells cars, movies, music, liquor and pretty much anything else it can on the breasts and behinds of unnaturally thin, artificially busty young women? This fixation on women's sexuality in the west, and the quest to be ever more alluring, is the mirror image of face-veiling in the east -- it's just in the west we exploit the very mindset that the face-veil seeks to suppress.

Worst, it is always women who bear the burden of men's objectification of them, whether that means covering their entire bodies in dark cloth or carcinogenic cosmetics. If we are going to critique the burqa as denigrating to women, then we must also critique a culture where the never-ending quest for beauty has lead to an epidemic of anorexia, plastic surgery, and billions of dollars wasted on face paints, hair dyes, and debilitating fashions. We must seek a happy middle ground where women are just people.

Monday, June 29, 2009

SCENARIOS-Iraq steps into precarious but sovereign unknown

29 Jun 2009 22:09:33 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Michael Christie

BAGHDAD, June 30 (Reuters) - Iraq takes a major step toward reasserting its sovereignty on Tuesday when U.S. combat troops hand urban areas over to its relatively untested police and soldiers.

Will the end of one aspect of the "surge" strategy -- the ramped-up deployment of U.S. forces in militant strongholds that helped drive al Qaeda and other fighters underground -- lead to a collapse in security?


It is highly likely that insurgents will increase their attacks following the departure of U.S. combat troops from city centres, both U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

Some militant groups may want to create the impression that they deserve the credit for driving out the occupation forces.

The fact that the partial withdrawal has been dictated by a bilateral security pact agreed last year between the United States and Iraq is immaterial to them.

Some of the insurgents may also think Iraq and its population will be more vulnerable once the Americans pull back to their bases, and that they have a better chance of reigniting widespread sectarian bloodshed through massive bombings.

There have been indications, however, that insurgent and militant groups have lost the capacity to keep up the momentum.

While the past month saw two of the deadliest bombings in more than a year, the overall number of incidents has plunged, and major attacks are followed by weeks of relative calm.


If Iraqi security forces fail to protect the Iraqi people from escalating attacks, Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is likely to suffer politically.

He is staking his hopes for a second term after a parliamentary poll next January on his ability to claim credit for a sharp fall in violence over the past 18 months.

Maliki has called the withdrawal a great victory as Iraq tries to shake off stigma of occupation, and he has declared June 30, "National Sovereignty Day", a public holiday.

Analysts say he has essentially backed himself into a corner by exalting the occasion -- if violence soars it will be politically unpalatable to call on the U.S. military for help.

The prime minister's stance may also dictate commanders' behaviour on the ground. They may be loathe to call on U.S. troops or air cover, no matter how much it is needed, out of fear of being punished by their superiors for apparent weakness.


The army and national police had to be rebuilt from scratch after U.S. administrators disbanded Saddam Hussein's security apparatus following the 2003 invasion. That left thousands of fighters unemployed and angry, and many joined the insurgency.

Since then, the U.S. military and Iraqi government have spent billions of dollars re-creating, training and equipping a 600,000 strong domestic security force.

Iraqi soldiers at checkpoints now seem a mirror image of the Americans who trained them. U.S. commanders say the police still need more work, but are also better than two years ago.

Where the Iraqi forces fall down is in their vulnerability to threats to their families or bribery.

Corruption has become widespread in Iraq, a major oil producer, and that has led to considerable apprehension among the public over the integrity of the local security forces.

Iraq was a very effective police state under Saddam. Crime and violence, except for that carried out by the state, were ruthlessly stamped out.


Once dominant Sunnis and minority ethnic Kurds in the north fear that the U.S. pullback will leave them exposed to the wrath of the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad.

Maliki's administration has already arrested some leaders of the Sunni-based Sahwa, or Awakening, movement -- U.S.-backed neighbourhood guards who once fought alongside al Qaeda.

The guards and some other Sunni groups mistrust Maliki. They believe he is not inclined to give a share of power to Sunnis who often bloodily repressed the Shi'ite majority under Saddam.

Kurds in their semi-autonomous enclave are in a dispute with Baghdad over oil and land, and they fear Maliki's Arab-led government may rein in the independence they have enjoyed, under Western protection, since the first Gulf War.

Once U.S. forces pull back, the risks of a confrontation between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the Iraqi army may rise, and Sunni resentment at their political exclusion or a perceived sense of persecution may again fuel the insurgency. For main story, click on [LS340559] (Editing by Daniel Wallis)


U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Iraq cities
29 Jun 2009 22:09:10 GMT
Source: Reuters
* U.S. troops have one more day to pull out of cities

* Iraq plans big parade to mark "sovereignty day"

By Tim Cocks

BAGHDAD, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S. combat troops prepared to leave the last of Iraq's cities on Tuesday, a move hailed by authorities as restoring sovereignty and applauded by Iraqis even as they voice fears it may leave them more vulnerable.

By midnight on Tuesday, all U.S. combat units must have withdawn from Iraq's urban centres and redeployed to bases outside, according to a bilateral security pact that also requires all U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

The last U.S. combat troops left central Baghdad on Monday, withdrawing to two large bases near the capital's airport, and withdrawals from other cities were underway. Some troops tasked with training and advising Iraqi forces will stay behind.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the United States had closed or returned to local control 120 bases and facilities in Iraq, and they were scheduled to turn over or shutter another 30 by the end of Tuesday. Officials gave no further details.

The Iraqi government is planning banner celebrations for June 30, which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has declared "National Sovereignty Day", a public holiday.

Festivities will include a military parade in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone government and diplomatic compound, viewed by Iraqis as the ultimate symbol of the foreign military presence until Iraqi forces took control of it in January.

Iraqi forces began their own celebrations on Monday, decking Humvees and other vehicles with flowers and Iraqi flags. Signs were draped on Baghdad's ubiquitous concrete blast walls reading "Iraq: my nation, my glory, my honour."


Maliki has called Tuesday's withdrawal a "victory" and compared it to rebellions by Iraqi tribes against the former British empire in 1920.
Many Iraqis see it as restoring their pride six years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein turned into a multi-year foreign occupation.

"Definitely, our forces can take control of things now," said Dawood Dawood, 38, who owns a bathroom appliance shop in downtown Baghdad. "The U.S. withdrawal is a positive step."

Some fear a resurgence of violence, without the presence of U.S. forces to police Iraq's cities, although their bases outside remain close enough that they can redeploy if needed.

Militants appear to have stepped up attacks in the past week, including two of the biggest bombings in more than a year that killed 150 people between them, raising doubts about whether Iraqi forces are ready to handle security.

On Monday, a car bomb killed 10 people in Mosul, north Iraq.

"These are some extremist elements who are trying to bring attention to a movement that's fractured," General Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, told CNN on Sunday.

"We are still at low levels of overall violence."

With the tit-for-tat violence that brought Iraq to the brink of all-out sectarian civil war in 2006-2007 receding, many Iraqis agree with that assessment.

"These explosions are mere bubbles in the air; they shall come to an end one day," said Ahmed Hameed, 38, unemployed.

In any case, analysts say Iraq has to take the plunge eventually, with President Barack Obama planning to end the U.S. combat mission by Aug 31 next year.

"If the U.S. wants to execute its exit strategy successfully they'll have stop holding Maliki's hand at some point," said Tim Ripley, of Jane's Defence Weekly. "This is as good as any."

But the political situation remains unsettled. Tensions have grown between officials in Baghdad and minority Kurds in Iraq's north, and all eyes in coming months will be on national polls in January that will test Maliki and Iraq's untested democracy.

The troop deadline coincides with the government's first major energy tender since 2003. Scores of foreign oil executives have flown into Baghdad for a chance to bid for major fields in Iraq, which has the world's third largest oil reserves. (For SCENARIOS factbox, please click on [LT004410] (Additional reporting by Muhanad Mohammed, Missy Ryan, Daniel Wallis and Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Tim Cocks; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Yemeni plane crashes off Comoros, 150 on board

30 Jun 2009 01:56:06 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Yemenia airliner may have come down in sea

* 150 people on board, no word on survivors

(Adds airline details, quote, background)

By Ahmed Ali Amir

MORONI, June 30 (Reuters) - An airliner with 150 people on board belonging to Yemeni state carrier Yemenia crashed in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros on Tuesday, a senior government official said.

"We don't know if there are any survivors among the 150 people on the plane," Comoros vice-president Idi Nadhoim told Reuters from the airport at the main island's capital Moroni.

Nadhoim said the accident happened in the early hours of Tuesday, but could not give any more details.

"There is a crash, there is a crash in the sea," said an unnamed official who answered the phone in the Yemenia office in Moroni. He declined further comment.

An airline official in Yemen declined to comment.

Yemenia, which is 51 percent owned by the Yemeni government and 49 percent owned by the Saudi Arabian government, flies to Moroni, according to flight schedules on its Web site.

1996 CRASH

Yemenia's fleet includes two Airbus 330-200s, four Airbus 310-300s and four Boeing 737-800s, according to the site.

The location of the crash was not immediately known, but a medical worker in the town of Mitsamiouli, on the main island Grande Comore, said he had been called into the local hospital.

"They have just called me to come to the hospital. They said a plane had crashed," he told Reuters.

A Comoran police source said the plane was believed to have come down in the sea. "We really have no sea rescue capabilities," he said.

The Comoros covers three small volcanic islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli, in the Mozambique channel, 300 km (190 miles) northwest of Madagascar and a similar distance east of the African mainland.

A hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the sea off the Comoros islands in 1996, killing 125 of 175 passengers and crew (Reporting by Ahmed Ali Amir; Additional reporting by Richard Lough in Antananarivo; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne and David Clarke; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Nehzat-e Sabz

Feminist waves in the Iranian Green Tsunami?

Feminist waves in the Iranian Green Tsunami?

i02 193148531 950x625 Feminist waves in the Iranian Green Tsunami?

By GOLBARG BASHI in New York | 29 June 2009

[TEHRAN BUREAU] As pictures of women, young and old, religious and non-religious, have plastered our Internet and TV screens chanting and bleeding for a recount in what many in Iran believe has been a fraudulent presidential election result in June 2009, their extraordinary heroism and sheer numbers have awaken the international media to the sizable female presence in the Iranian Green Movement (Nehzat-e Sabz).

A poignant question to ask at this point might be where and what are the positions of Iranian feminists inside the country. They have been for long at work demanding their civil liberties. To what extent are they now participating in defining the goals and aspirations of the Green Movement?

Unknown to perhaps many outside Iran, the Iranian women’s rights movement has been relentlessly working and expanding its demands for an end to gender discrimination in a country where in the realm of family and penal law, women are treated as second-class citizens. Since the 1990’s various NGO’s, magazines such as Zanan, individual lawyers, and specific campaigns such as the One Million Signatures and the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign have worked relentlessly and across ideological divides to publicize, mobilize and realize their specific demands for women’s rights in the legal sphere. The women we have been seeing marching in the streets of Tehran, Shiraz and elsewhere did not grow like mushrooms out of nowhere. They are the robust children of decades of sustained and grassroots struggle.

A Feminist Awakening (without the “F” word) slowly but surely has emerged in post-revolutionary Iran. Over 63% of university graduates are female in Iran and contrary to many countries in that region, Iranian women are visible in all areas of public life. They are lawyers, doctors, artists, publishers, journalists, bloggers, politicians, students and professors. In 2003, when I was visiting Tehran and other major Iranian cities, during any given state radio news broadcast, the entire news team were women, as their names were announced: Negin, Parvaneh, Sara, Fatemeh… This was often the rule and not the exception. Be that as it may, one should not paint an overly rosy picture of women in Iran. Only 12.3% of them are part of the public workforce and for many marriage is the only gateway out of their parental home. The staggering rate of 30% unemployment is particularly acute among young women, who also face additional gender discrimination in the workforce.

During the presidential campaign of June 2009, Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the Green Movement candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is herself an accomplished painter, professor and former university chancellor held her husband’s hand and spoke to thousands of women of gender equality. Her presence prompted many women to vote for Mir Hossein Mousavi. Rahnavard was removed from her administrative duties at Al-Zahra women’s university where she was the Vice Chancellor once Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over the office of presidency in 2005. Her story is one of a Muslim feminist like many others who realized that the Islamic Republic was not fulfilling its religious, constitutional and international duties in protecting women’s rights.

But Zahra Rahnavard is only the tip of the iceberg. In April 2009 weeks before the 12th June 2009 presidential election, a coalition of women formed and proposed that “we—as members of the women’s movement in Iran and as civil rights activists from diverse areas such as NGOs, political parties, campaigns, press and trade unions—have realized that there are many ways in which to achieve women’s demands. When it is necessary, we have stepped in unison with one another.

Today, we have decided to form another coalition in which to present the demands of women within our country through the pivotal period and space of the presidential election. The only goal of this coalition is to declare women’s demands. We neither support any specific candidate nor are we interfering in a citizen’s right and decision to participate or not in the election.”

This proposal was not signed by some of the most prominent members of the women’s movement, namely secular feminists such as Parvin Ardalan and Sussan Tahmasebi. In her famous blog, Leila Mouri, an active blogger and member of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign who is now a student in the United States wrote:

“I wish my friends in the women’s rights movement would have been more active than before these days, and as a progressive social movement had a more pronounced presence in these crucial times. Perhaps they have the answer to some of the questions I have [e.g. have they joined these demonstrations just for their votes to be counted or are there other demands for which we have been fighting all these years], and which I am very eager to know. I very much hope the civil demands of women are not forgotten in the midst of all this.”

Much ideological strife has divided the women’s movement in Iran. But that hasn’t stopped ordinary women in actively participating in the June 2009 pre and post-election rallies. As history tells us, Iranian women have once again been at the forefront of their country’s democratic aspirations and social uprisings.

Starting at least from the Babi movement of the mid- to the Tobacco Revolt of the late 19th century to the Constitutional Revolution of the early 20th century, and down to the struggles for nationalization of Iranian oil industry in the 1950’s and ultimately the 1977-1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian women have been key to the success of these iconic events. But once the challenges of these definitive turning points were courageously met, often with a heavy toll on women, they were forgotten and sidestepped.

What we are witnessing in Iran is a natural consequence of years of feminist presence and the active participation of powerful women in the pubic sphere which has taught little girls that being a woman does not mean just being a mother or a wife and that women must be present and fighting in order to achieve their rights and demands.

These women are putting their lives on the line to save the little that is left from their republic. The majority of them has insisted on non-violent resistance and has protected both the riot police and the common people from being killed or beaten. They have in return been brutally beaten and even killed by the security forces, as best known in the tragic case of the twenty six year-old philosophy student Neda Agha-Soltan who was shot point-black on the streets of Tehran. Her last moments on earth was captured on a grainy cell-phone video and has now become the iconic symbol of the Green Movement.

If the Green Movement that seems to be way ahead of all its leaders and theorists is ever to succeed, it is imperative for the leaders of the feminist groups to be integral to its inner leadership circle and for them not to back down an iota from women’s demands for civil liberties and rights once the dust settles. For that to happen a coalition of various women’s rights organizations and positions will have to be part and parcel of defining what exactly this Green Movement is. As the month of June draws to an end and after two weeks of heavy crackdown on the protestors, there is no way of knowing what will become of this movement. But what ever its future, the leaders of the women’s rights movement will have to bank on the heroic presence of women in the forefront of the struggles and not allow for their blood to have been shed in vain.

Bio: Golbarg Bashi teaches Iranian Studies at Rutgers University. She has recently completed her doctoral thesis on a feminist critique of the human rights discourse in Iran. She has contributed articles on women and human rights issues in Iran to online magazines such as OpenDemocracy, Tidningen Kultur, and Qantara, Deutsche Welle.

Another Black Water , another bloodbath of State Deaprtment Security Company

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Nine Afghan police killed in shootout with US-hired guards
Kabul - A police chief in the restive southern Afghan province of Kandahar was among nine officers killed Monday in a gunbattle between Afghan police and US-hired private security guards, local officials said. Matiullah Qati and eight other police, i...

Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2009 11:14:41 GMT
Author : DPA
Category : Asia (World)

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Kabul - A police chief in the restive southern Afghan province of Kandahar was among nine officers killed Monday in a gunbattle between Afghan police and US-hired private security guards, local officials said. Matiullah Qati and eight other police, including the head of the crime investigation department, were killed in the fighting in the prosecutor's office in the provincial capital, also called Kandahar, Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of the provincial council and brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told the German Press Agency dpa.

The circumstances surrounding the gunfire remained confused with government officials not commenting so far on what happened. Earlier, however, a government official told

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Mommy! Why is daddy saying these things?"‎

October 19, 2008
Ahmadinejad's Daughter
Ebrahim Nabavi

Ahmadinejad's 10-year-old daughter was sitting next to her mother watching her daddy's speech ‎at the United Nations and in the interviews in America. Her mommy also was staring at the ‎television with a wide open mouth. Finally, beautiful Zahra, Mahmoud Pinocchio's 10-year-old ‎daughter asker her mommy:‎

‎- "Mommy! Why is daddy saying these things?"‎

Mommy: "Your daddy is going to be the ruler of the world, and everyone is listening to him."‎

Daughter said: "Yes! Does that mean we will move out of Iran?"‎

Mommy: "Maybe we will. If your daddy becomes the ruler he will take us too." ‎

Daddy said on American television: "In our country, true democracy governs." ‎

Daughter: "Mommy! What does true democracy mean?"‎

Mommy: "It means that people choose whoever they want to be their ruler."‎

Daughter: "They are so lucky! What country is daddy talking about?" ‎

‎… Mommy: "What can I say?"‎

Daddy said on American television: "In our country the press is free to say whatever it wants ‎against the government." ‎

Daughter: "Mommy! Does that mean in my daddy's country they no longer arrest anyone?"‎

Mommy: "I don't know, your daddy is saying that." ‎

Daughter: "I didn't know daddy's country is so awesome."‎

Daddy said on American television: "In our country there is no poverty in the real sense."‎

Daughter: "Mommy! Who are poor people?"‎

Mommy: "Poor people are like our old neighbor, like people from your daddy's village, like the ‎ones we see on the street." ‎

Daughter: "Yes! I envy the people of my daddy's country." ‎

Daddy said on American television: "In our country people can ask the president whatever they ‎want." ‎

Daughter: "Mommy! Does that mean daddy won't get mad anymore when people ask him ‎questions?"‎

Mommy: "My dear! Shut the television off, these programs aren't for you…"‎

Daughter: "I know, they are for people of my daddy's country, and that country is awesome!" ‎

Daddy said on American television: "In our country 98 percent of people support the ‎government."‎

Daughter: "Mommy! What does 98 percent mean?"‎

Mommy: "It means a lot. It means from every one hundred people two don't like daddy." ‎

Daughter: "Does that mean others like him?"‎

Mommy: "Yes, of course."‎

Daughter: "So this is not like our country where everyone says bad things about us and my ‎daddy?"‎

Mommy: "How would I know?"‎

Daughter: "So why doesn't daddy take us to his country so that we don't have to stay in Iran?"‎

Mommy: "My dear, ask daddy about daddy's work." ‎

Daddy said on American television: "Like many others in my country I watch Western music ‎and Western channels in my country." ‎

Daughter screams: "Mommy! Look what daddy is saying! He is saying in his country he ‎watches foreign channels, how lucky is he!"‎

Mommy: "Maybe he means at their office they evaluate…"‎

Daughter: "Can't we also go to daddy's country to evaluate foreign channels?" ‎

Mommy: "I don't know, ask him when he comes back." ‎

Daddy said on American television: "Our judicial system is among the most advanced in the ‎world." ‎

Daughter: "Mommy! What does an advanced judicial system mean?"‎

Mommy: "It means the police don't arrest anyone for no reason…"‎

Daughter: "So it's not like in Iran where they took my classmate to jail because of her scarf?"‎

Mommy: "Why do you talk so much! Why do I care what your daddy says?"‎

Daughter crying and sad: "I will go with daddy to his country and never come back here, only ‎when daddy comes to Iran will I come to visit you, but I'll stay there." ‎

Daddy said on American television: "In our country power is in the hands of people." ‎

Daughter: "Mommy!"‎

Mommy: "Shut up! Stop saying mommy, I'm tired…"‎

Daughter: "What does it mean that power is in the hands of people?"‎

Mommy: "It means people do whatever they like, like they do in foreign countries …"‎

Daughter: "So it means I can do whatever I want too?‎

Mommy: "You won't do that, don't be a bad girl!"‎

Daddy said on American television: "Women in our country have complete freedom." ‎

Daughter put on her clothes and came to the door to walk out: "Mommy?" she cried.‎

Mommy: "What now, you little devil!"‎

Daughter: "I made up my mind, I want to go live in the country my daddy is talking about." ‎

Mommy: "Why? What's missing here?"‎

Daughter: "Daddy said in his country women have complete freedom." ‎

Mommy gets angry and says: "Damn your liar daddy and you! Let him return, let him step foot ‎into this house, and I will do something to him so that he will never again go to New York and ‎babble like this…" ‎


September 29, 2008
Pinocchio in New York City
Ebrahim Nabavi

I predict that when Iran’s president Mahmud Ahmadinejad returns to Iran after his stay in ‎New York, he will need a nose job. This is because I doubt if there is another president in ‎the history of mankind who has uttered so many lies in one day. He participated in ‎interviews with several prominent newspaper groups in the US, and basically said ‎whatever he wanted to. I think his successful tactic which should be followed by all ‎presidents is based on three basic themes. Here are the guidelines. First, he should say: ‎‎“These statements are wrong;” second, he should say, “I never said that;” and third, he ‎should ask, “What about you?” Here is one of the interviews.‎

Interviewer: We are happy to have an interview with Iran’s president Mahmud ‎Ahmadinejad. Did you have a good time in America, Sir?‎

A: Yes, America is a beautiful country with people who love the truth. But I am sure you ‎can never ask Mr. Bush whether he has had a good time in America, because Zionists ‎would not let you. But in my country, any body can ask the president this question.‎

Interviewer: We know that in Iran many newspapers are under pressure and many have ‎been banned. Why are newspapers banned there?‎

A: This is Zionist propaganda. No country in the world has the freedoms of press that ‎Iranian newspapers enjoy. Writers in Iran are absolutely free, and they even write poetry. ‎Can you tell poetry in America?‎

Interviewer: But during your presidential term some 11 newspapers have been banned ‎and I can provide you with their names.‎

A: I too can provide you with tens of names such as Newsweek and Times, but does this ‎mean that they have been banned? In any case, no press outlets have been banned during ‎my administration, and we actually reward our writers to write anything they want ‎against us. You know, these writers are doing so well that they do not come forward to ‎receive their awards. ‎

Interviewer: Many of your critics, including students, have been imprisoned without any ‎trials. Why do you imprison students?‎

A: Just this year alone I went to the University of Tehran to give a talk and thousands of ‎students came to the gathering and asked me anything they wanted. Some of them even ‎beat me up, which was ok with me, because they are like my own children. We have no ‎need for such actions. 107 percent of university students support us, so why should we ‎imprison them?‎

Interviewer: How can 107 percent of students support you?‎

A: This is because of special circumstances in Iran. You must come to Iran and see it for ‎yourself. Then you will be able to make a better judgment yourself. What if I tell you that ‎‎124 percent of the population support the current government? These are the realities in ‎Iran. If you wish to understand us, then you must understand these.‎

Interviewer: During your term, the police raid houses that have satellite receivers. Is this ‎not limiting people’s freedoms?‎

A: We cannot stop the freedom of the police, because we believe in 360 degrees of ‎freedom. The police can raid a house on the residents’ consent, so do you expect us to ‎interfere in the private affairs of people? Naturally we cannot do this.‎

Interviewer: On your first trip to New York you had said that a halo of light surrounded ‎you as you were giving your talk at the UN General Assembly …‎

A: I never said such a thing. In fact this is what my opponents have said.‎

Interviewer: But UTube has a short movie clip of your visit to cleric Javadi Amoli in ‎which you say precisely this. Would you like me to show you the film?‎

A: In Iran we do not have a cleric by the name of Javadi Amoli. How can I visit someone ‎who does not exist? Do you believe such a lie?‎

Interviewer: Ok. We will show the film and then later you give us your opinion.‎

‎[The video clip is shown as Ahmadinejad and others watch it.]‎

A: This film is a fabrication of the Zionists. How come you did not notice it? Everybody ‎in Iran knows that the person in the film is not me.‎

The interviewer losses consciousness and another reporter takes his place.‎

A: Reality is always dangerous. Did you see how your reporter friend collapsed? In Iran, ‎a reporter never looses his consciousness.‎

The new interviewer: Some of your opponents are calling for a referendum over the ‎Islamic Republic, and you arrest them. Why do you not allow them to have such a ‎referendum?‎

A: This is a statement by the Zionists. In fact, we had a referendum in Iran some six ‎months ago and 98 percent of the public voted for the Islamic Republic again. Why don’t ‎your television stations broadcast these events? It is because you are not allowed to. ‎Truth is dead in the West.‎

The new interviewer: But as far as we know there has been no referendum in Iran during ‎the last ten years. Was there really a referendum in Iran recently?‎

A: Yes, because that is what the public wanted. You censored this news. Because ‎Zionists control the media in the West. No European country too published this news. ‎Even Islamic countries did not publish it. Does this not show how victimized we are?‎

The new interviewer: But your own media too did not publish the news of this ‎referendum that you talk about. Otherwise we would have known about it.‎

A: This is precisely the point. Freedom in Iran exists at 360 degrees, even for our own ‎radio and television networks. They have the freedom to publish or not to publish the ‎news of a referendum, and in this case they decided not to publish it. And we do not wish ‎to impose anything on them. Unlike in the US, we do not decide what our media should ‎do or publish.‎

The new interviewer: I have no other questions.‎

A; Does anybody else have a question? I can postpone my return to Iran for this. Finally I ‎invite you to come to Iran to see the realities for yourself.‎

Babylon GODs closed Baghdad while Americanized dictaors were ready to sell Iraqi oil

Heavy sandstorm blankets Iraq, delays oil bidding

Posted 19m ago |

BAGHDAD (AP) — A heavy sandstorm has blanketed Iraq's capital, closing the Baghdad airport and delaying the country's first oil bidding process in 30 years.

Visibility is only a few yards and most of the few people on the streets are wearing surgical masks. Doctors at the city's hospitals said Sunday that people were coming in complaining about shortness of breath and other problems.

Iraq had planned to award eight oil and gas fields to international oil companies for long-term development on Monday and Tuesday. But the airport closure prevented company representatives from landing in Baghdad.

Sandstorms are a regular occurrence in Baghdad although it is shielded from the desert by a thin strip of arable land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Ten keys for Eleven Closed Doors

May 27, 2007

Ebrahim Nabavi

Introduction: As an Iranian satirist, today I want to disclose some of my most secret experiences. These may not be useful for you, but it surely is for Italian military and marine forces. Nine years ago, when I started to write satire in Iran, I called my column in Jame'e newspaper the "fifth column"; the reason was that most of the journalists and writers in Iran are accused by right-wing politicians, to be the "fifth column" of the enemy. So I confessed from that very beginning that I am the fifth column of the foreign enemies; and now as the fifth column of you dear foreigners, whom the Iranians hate, I want to reveal some secret aspects of my country.

Of course recently, since our new President has come to power and intends to rescue all of you from the domination of America and teach you how to manage your countries, some Iranians who read my satire, ask me why is my articles so angry? And why, when you write about war, economical difficulties, negligence of human rights, beating the women and the youth in the streets, we do not laugh? I am not surprised because I don't laugh either.

Let me first tell you something: I believe we Iranians and you Italians have both made a mistake; we voted for Ahmadinezhad so that Hashemi Rafsanji who is a wealthy man doesn't become elected: and you voted for Parodi so that Berlusconi who is a wealthy man may not be elected. We both voted for the left; but there is a difference between our left and yours. Your left wing politicians want to take the money from the rich and give it to the poor, but our left wing, as it cannot take the money from the rich, takes the money from the poor and gives it to Hamas, Hezbollah and left wing Latin American countries to fight Americans.

I want to give you ten keys so that when you go to Iran and face close doors which you could not open, you may use these keys. Of course if Iranians find out that I have given these keys to you, they will accuse me of collaborating with foreigners, but as I am doing this for years now, I am no more worried. Before I give you these keys, I want to talk about an animation film by Bruno Bozzetto called "Italy and the European Union". I think any traveler must be aware how Italians drive before they come to Italy.

We Iranians, when gathering together, start to criticize our habits and behaviors and make plenty of jokes about it; but as soon as a foreigner repeats those jokes, we will occupy their embassy; because we love to occupy embassies and especially setting fire to their flags. One of our main revenues comes from the production of the US flags, which are usually produced during the week and set to fire on weekends in Friday prayer.

My job is making jokes about Iranian behaviors; the Iranians like these jokes and laugh at them, but do not like these jokes to be repeated in front of foreigners. This is why my books are never translated; because if the translator is Iranian then people would ask him: are Iranians really like this? And if the translator is not Iranian he would not believe I have written the truth and presumes that I have received money from Americans to make jokes against Iranian people and government, although such an accusation against me has been made by the Intelligence Ministry. So I beg all Iranians present in this meeting to be patient and let me talk a bit against Iranians.

I guess the Americans would enter a war with Ahmadinezhad's government; there is also a possibility that Parodi's government would be toppled and Berlusconi would come up as the only solution, and the Italian army and marine forces would again be sent to the Middle East. I suppose when your soldiers enter Iran, they would not be as lucky as the British marines to be captured and bought new suites, broadcasted on the TV, being received and entertained and set free at last by the President, and sell their stories with a good price. I imagine Italian soldiers would enter Tehran and trapped in a street with eleven doors. I want to give you ten keys. These keys are very important because if you don't have them you would not be able to understand what the Iranians are saying; what do they mean and what they want.

First Key: If you see that a huge terrorist act has been carried out and has been successful, be sure this was not done by Iranians. For example take the example of 19 terrorists who planned the 11th September operations for six months; it was obvious from the start that this could not be done by Iranians, because you can not find 19 persons in Iran who can work together, keep the secret from their wives, children, neighbors for six months, not regret after the target was defined, and continue in any circumstances to the end. So you can be sure that nothing long-term could be undertaken and delivered by Iranians.

They may pay the price but they would not do the job themselves.

Second Key: When you are in Tehran and ask the President's address or Ministers' addresses or ask who the president is, and they tell you that they don't know, do not think they are lying or hiding something. In Iran there are times that nobody knows who the President is and who is running the country. You, as an Iranian may know, who, on Monday had the power in the country, but this does not mean that on Wednesday the same person might still be in power. This may be the reason why dear Iranians know by heart exactly what happened 3000 years ago which no one can dispute or disrespect it. They know exactly what Darius and Kourosh said 2500 years ago and what they believed in, but may not know who was in control in Iran, how did he came to power, and why was he removed last month.

Third Key: You as a foreigner, might come across someone in Tehran who speaks fluent Italian and has good knowledge about the figure of Sofia Loren and knows important ideas of Dante or Machiavelli; you can be sure that if he invites you to his house he will take good care of you and make you gain 10 Kilograms of weight in one week. He will tell you that he, like all other Iranians, is against the government and calls the ruling class as "them" [ina]. He will tell you that all Iranians are against the government, but he himself might be an intelligence officer. Don't be surprised. He is not a liar. We Iranians basically hate any government which is not abolished. It makes no difference; if we ourselves had voted for a president we expect him at least to resign after 2-3 months. We basically like our presidents to resign; maybe this is why they never do. Do you think such a simple expectation from a president to resign and go, is a big expectation? Maybe this is why we were very fond of destroying kings, presidents and prime ministers during the last hundred years. Nasereddin Shah did not resign so he was assassinated after 50 years. The next Shah, when signed the Constitution, giving the people their liberty, became so sad and died in anguish. The next one sat on the thrown when he was ten; he escaped from the palace everyday and went to his mother because he had not the mood to be a king. Reza Shah came to Tehran to collect his wage, but as there was nobody there to pay his salary, he was obliged to take the power in his hand; at least to have his salary. He escaped from the people and died in South Africa. The next Shah did not resign and resisted for 37 years but was at last gone and died in Egypt. During the last 100 years 40 prime ministers and presidents were elected, among whom only five went home safely without terror, escape, or being defamed. At present we have one Shah in the US, one Queen in France and two presidents in Iraq and Paris. The first president after the revolution, who until recently called himself the legal president of Iran, escaped from those who elected him and went to Paris. The next president was assassinated. The next one was once escaped from a terrorist attack and became supreme leader afterwards. The next one was Hashemi Rafsanjani who was accused of corruption. The next president was Khatami who was elected for the second time by the insistence of the people and cried when announcing his candidateship. And finally our present President, that is Mr. Ahmadinezhad, does not like to resign and has nobody around to assassinate him, so he is trying to start a war, maybe in this way he could finish himself. So always remember that Iranian people are against all presidents, even the next one. On the other hand you should know that almost all Iranians think they are the best in choosing the president and running the country.

Fourth Key: All Iranian governments believe that their opponents are the agents of foreign enemies; this is why governments in Iran, prior to finding a few friends in the international scene, need one to three enemies (one main and two reserved). Of course many Iranians think whatever happens is initiated by foreigners; maybe it is because of this that they like the foreigners to attack the country and change the regime. But don't let Iranians deceive you because as soon as the war begins, Iranian nationalism, who, until yesterday, thought that all the ills come from the government and if it is toppled all would be solved, become supporters of the government. Basically Iranians think they can manage to run the region and the whole world. Sometimes we think the progress of Americans is due to the immigration of Iranians to that country.

Fifth Key: In Iran, the meaning of "political reform" is different from what you think; for example our left wing supports liberalism, our extremists support democracy, our conservatives are extremists, all supporters of state economic are billionaires, and our intellectuals believe nothing could be done and they better repeat what the ordinary people say; people who prefer not to read a book but to speak a lot and to defend by their lives, what they believe, not knowing when and how they believe. There is a simple rule in Iran: if you want to become a successful intellectual, you have to enter politics. When you do that, the people expect that you repeat their thoughts and beliefs. If you do that you will become their hero. When you become their hero you must fight the ruling system. If you survive then they will say you were an opportunist and government's agent. But if you were killed, they talk about you for a year and after two years they begin to criticize your weakness because of what you said, which was in fact what the people wanted.

Sixth Key: One of the secrets of Islamic society of Iran is that if, for example in Emirates, Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan, 80 percent of the people do their prayers and 90 percent of them observe their fast, in Iran maybe 30 percent do their prayers and 35 percent observe their fast, and yet Iran is one of the rare countries which have a religious government. This is nothing special; it is because of an event which occurred 30 years ago, which could not have happened. So please don't think that in Iran you are facing a religious society. In the streets all women observe their veil because it is compulsory, but these same women have the largest rate in nose plastic surgery and use the largest amount of cosmetics in the world. The authorities fight those not regarding the veil, hardly for two months in the year and softly for six months in the year. But at the same time the women are drivers, managers, highly educated, writers and publishers, and rule in the house. In many instances the women are the real managers behind the scene, of the authorities. Despite all this, the veil is compulsory but the nose plastic surgery is not.

In Iran, wearing a tie for men is a sign of opposition to the regime and a sign of nobleness as well. This is because the first president of Iran, who has gone to Paris 26 years ago, had said in a speech, that the history of neck tie goes back to Christian traditions. From that time the tie was banned; now after 26 years, the president is gone and the younger generation do not remember him, but the tie is still banned. In Iran when something is banned it will never be allowed again. In Iran women use separate lifts in office buildings but cling to men in taxis, because there is no other way. The champion of driving in Iran is a women, but with a veil. In parties, you will see the real meaning of getting drunk and having fun to the point of madness, but they may knock on the door anytime and imprison you because of this party. Remember that you are going to parties again and they are going to knock on the door again.

Seventh Key: Iranians, in nearly all other countries, are among the most socially active group and are in a good position regarding their employment and education. But the most drastic event for an Iranian in these countries is to meet another Iranian. They try not to look at each other. But the same Iranian, who avoids looking into the face of another Iranian, even after living in Europe, Canada, or US for thirty years, loves to return to Iran, where there are seventy millions Iranians.

Eighth Key: When you go to Iran and see people talking loudly to you, don't be surprised; it seems Italians resembles Iranians in this case. This does not mean that they are opposing you or want to make a quarrel. No. This is mainly because Iranians do not like to hear what the other people say; they use their mouth more than their ears.

This is why people have to shout in order to make themselves heard. It took the former Shah of Iran 37 years to hear what the people were telling him 25 years ago. He heard it when one million came to the streets and shouted. Then he heard them and went out. Basically in Iran you either do not talk, which means everything is fine, or you talk but nobody hears you; so you have to shout. When you shout you go to jail. Opponents of the regime are heard all over the world when they go to jail. As soon as they are released from prison, they talk no more.

As a rule, the government of Iran does not release anyone who had not sufficiently forgotten to speak. Of course I don't mean to say that Iran is an insecure place and you might be attacked when you go there; in fact there had been attacks during recent month. All I want to say is that there exist some secure places in Iran; for example the Evin prison. Whilst you have not entered it everything could happen to you; but as soon as you enter it or exit from it, you are not the kind of somebody that anything could happen to you. There is something specific about Iranian prisons: the interrogators, unlike other countries, keep a political prisoner inside the prison as far as he has not confessed to his crime (which is usually spying), but as soon as he confesses that he was a spy or intended to topple the regime, he is released and free to do anything. In Iran people especially respect those who do not talk; they call him a sober gentleman. On the contrary they dislike people who make jokes and understand satire. This is true about laughing and crying as well: people know well what to do when they go to a funeral but do not know how to act when they go to party or wedding.

Ninth Key: People in Iran usually dislike elections because they are sure that their opponent will fraudulently be elected; so they boycott the elections. Interestingly enough, those arranging the elections do not like the elections either, because they are sure that if people participate in the election they will loose their power and opponents will come to power. But they are obliged to do the elections because there is no other way to elect a president or a Member of Parliament. The important point is that an Iranian knows, a year before the elections, that if he do not vote, the opponents of the people will come to power; but when it comes to a month away from the elections, they prefer to boycott the elections to see if the opponents of people would really be elected. This bitter experience is repeated on and on. Even governments elected by a referendum in Iran supports heavily the referendum in Palestine, but imprison those supporting a referendum in Iran.

Tenth Key: Maybe the most important key to the Iranian society is that it is an internationalist society. We wake up in Tehran in the morning. Our company and shopping center are in Dubai. Our talent has been explored in Tehran but our genuine flourishes in Europe. We go to France or London for education, but as we do not like to work in Europe, so we end up in Los Angeles and start working there. Whenever there is no job we go back to Europe to claim our unemployment benefits. Our TV broadcasts from Los Angeles and received in Khorram-Abad. We make films in Iran's deserts and win prizes in Venice, Paris, and Berlin. In Köln we support republicans and in Tehran the Royalists. Our best political articles are written in Evin but read in Paris. We become candidate in Washington, but our competency is rejected in Tehran, so we boycott elections in Berlin and decide to put up a referendum in London and become a member of parliament in Holland. In Tehran we oppose the regime, in Iraq we fight against the government but in Lebanon support the government. We organize rock music concerts in Tehran and our traditional music concert is well received in Frankfurt by Germans. We take part in Iranian pop music in Ankara and dance in Antalia. We win the Miss Canada prize in Canada. Our women rights are neglected in Mashad and we defend women rights in Sweden. Our King is in America, our Queen in one of the cities of France and our former president is in Paris. Our Judiciary chief was born in Iraq, but the Iraqi Prime Minster has lived in Iran for years. We amuse ourselves in Turkey, become rich in America and return to Iran to die.

* * * *

I told you when you go to Iran you will be faced with eleven doors. I gave you ten keys to open ten doors. The truth is that the eleventh key was dropped from the hands of an Iranian warrior 150 years ago in a war between Iran and Russia, and was lost. The eleventh door has been kept closed from that date. On the back of that door it is written: why during these 150 years the world has progressed and we Iranians have not?

Ebrahim Nabavi

24 May 2007



May 13, 2007

Iran and American Sincerity (a satire)

Ebrahim Nabavi

Iran and American Sincerity (a satire)

Ali Larijani got the news of Foreign Minister Mottaki’s participation in US-Iran talks at the Sharm al-Sheikh meeting in Egypt from news reporters in Baghdad. Mottaki on the other hand told Time magazine, “Iran is ready for direct talks with the US, but there are no signs of American sincerity.” Following this news, the White House was shocked and suddenly everybody woke up. An informed source announced that to show its sincerity, the US is planning to do the following:

1. From now on use a male pianist instead of women violinists. And instead of a piano, use the Iranian setar string instrument, but it has no right to play the instrument. Instead Haj Reza Halali, the singer of religious hymns and Eminem – both of whom use the same kind of rap – shall use it and play at the dinner ceremony hosted after the US-Iran talks, while everybody else will bet their chests in sorrow.

2. From on, the US will only recognize Mottaki as Iran’s foreign minister. Europeans can continue to accept Larijani as the foreign minister. The Americans must accept that Iran has only one foreign minister, but if Iranians wish to have 10 foreign ministers, it is none of America’s business.

3. To show their sincerity, the Americans are to tell Al Qaeda to tell Algeria to apologize to ayatollah Sistani in Iraq and not insult him and other clerics. Only Iranians shall have the right to insult senior clerics and call them simpleton sheikhs.

4. To show their sincerity, immediately and within the next 24 hours, the Americans shall change the results of the French presidential elections and put Segolene Royal as the president instead of Nicolas Sarkozy, while Segolene should promise to have a heart attack within a week and die, after which Jean-Marie Le Pen shall become the next French president through US use of force.

5. To show their sincerity, the Americans are to declare their apology to about the 1953 coup against traitor Mossadegh and instead, they are to stage a coup against the Shah and Mossadegh and make ayatollah Kashani the prime minister of Iran.

6. It is expected that within a week, the Americans shall announce to Iran their withdrawal schedule from Iraq and entry into Turkey and Pakistan. Within the next 14 days, they shall change the governments in Turkey and Pakistan and they have no right to say anything about this to Larijani. Iran shall later tell the US what kind of government it would like to have in Pakistan and Turkey.

7. To show its sincerity, within a week, the Americans must implement a plan to combat those Iranians who were un-Islamic attire in Los Angeles, and the LA Police Department must act under the authority of the Law Enforcement Forces of larger Tehran.

8. The Americans must implement the circular sent by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance of Iran regarding gender segregation of offices and buildings so that Iran can use that experience to implement the plan in Iran.


April 22, 2007

Raping the Sharp Toothed Tiger (a Satire)

Ebrahim Nabavi

The story of the British sailors has turned into quite a story. After receiving 200 thousand dollars, Faye Turney published her story and said that she was afraid of being raped by the Iranians. Soon after, the British minister of defense banned the sailors from selling their stories. We conducted an interview with Faye Turney one hour before the minister’s order. It cost us 300 thousand dollars, but it was worth it. Please read the interview carefully.

We: How come you were arrested?

Faye (since we are Iranians Faye Turney has become friends with us and we call each other by our first names): We were moving in the water when we were suddenly attacked. We first thought they were Italians, because their flag looked like the Italian flag, just backwards. So…

We: How did you realize they were not Italians?

Faye: They kept talking by moving their eyes and eyebrows rather than their hands, so we figured they weren’t Italians.

We: Didn’t you have guns? Why didn’t you resist?

Faye: Well, they didn’t look like very mean, plus they weren’t far from us and we couldn’t shoot them. We were afraid there’d be fighting and we’d kill each other.

We: How was Tehran?

Faye: Well, it was hard in the beginning. They separated me from the rest because they said I was a woman. I protested and said why do you separate me from them, separate them from me. So they did that and separated them from me.

We: Where were you imprisoned?

Faye: I don’t know, but it was a solitary cell and we were taken out for interrogations.

We: How did they take your clothes off?

Faye: They asked me to take my clothes off. I said no, first you take your clothes off, then I’d do it.

We: What happened then?

Faye: That lady thought I’m a lesbian, so she said don’t you have kids, shame on you!

We: How did you figure out they wanted to rape you?

Faye: I was sleeping at night and I heard the sound of something like tea pouring in a cup. Then the door opened and someone gave me tea. Usually when someone gives me tea in prison I feel like they might rape me afterward.

We: How were the interrogations?

Faye: Very bad, they closed my eyes, and I constantly thought they wanted to rape me, then they asked me what my mission was, and without raping me they took me back to prison.

We: Did they threaten to kill you too?

Faye: Yes, one day I saw that someone was playing with me, I went to hug it but saw that it was a woman. I said what? She didn’t say anything, she just kept taking measurements of my neck and waist and stuff. I thought she was definitely taking measurements to give to the rape official so that they could see if I was suitable for rape or not. But then I thought they were going to make a coffin for me, but finally it turned out they were sewing clothes for me.

We: How did you feel when you were in front of the camera?

Faye: I felt really bad, I was sure they wanted to rape me in front of the camera and make a porno, but I knew that Iranians don’t make porno movies. Later I realized that that was a lie too and they just wanted to tape our confessions.

We: What is your worst memory?

Faye: It was the last day, someone knocked on the door, I immediately made myself ready for rape. She said wear your clothes, let’s go. I said should I wear them or take them off? She said we’re going to see the President. I said, no, not him! Can’t we go to your former president or army commander? They are much hotter. She said don’t you want to be freed? I said so what about the rape? She didn’t say anything.

We: What would you have done if they had raped you?

Faye: I would have sold the story for one million pounds.

Ebrahim Nabavi is an internationally acclaimed satirist who contributes regularly to Rooz

Quaid’s relatives arrive at Federal Capital

Updated at: 1740 PST, Sunday, June 28, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The family of Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah arrived here on Sunday.

Chairman Pakistan Baitulmaal Zamurd Khan and large numbers of people belonging to different walks of life received them warmly at Benazir International Airport.

Aslam Jinnah a close relative of Quaid-i-Azam, talking to media at the airport, paid rich tribute to the sacrifices of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for the cause of the country.

“She still is alive and lives in our hearts and minds,” he remarked.

He urged the entire nation to come forward and play their vital role for the progress and prosperity of the country.

Jinnah said that the credit of his visit to Islamabad goes to Pakistan Baitulmaal who made his visit possible.

Mr. and Mrs Aslam Jinnah and their daughter Zainab of Quaid’s family came to Islamabad for the first time and are likely to meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani during their short stay.

From The Nation 25 March 2006

Jinnah's family barely survives in Quaid’s city

The old man was running frantically towards a public bus, holding flowers in his one hand. He grabbed after some effort iron bar, jumped on footboard and finally landed in the bus. Exhausted and tired, he was looking disoriented; after a while he managed to breathe normally, since the bus was full of passengers, he kept standing. Every time it took any turn, he twisted with the bus.

I recognized him instantly: the old frail man was great grand son of Father of
the Nation, Quaid-I-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mohammad Aslam Jinnah. Aslam is struggling with life in a city where his great grand father was born and buried. He makes no complaint as he commutes back and forth in public transport. This city has more than 1.5 million vehicles; there is none for the poor relatives of Quaid-I-Azam, who bestowed this nation with every luxury one can imagine.

Aslam's wife is suffering from cancer, she had surgery and she needs medicines worth many thousand every month. He is self- respecting man; he can never ask for any favour. Hence quietly he lives on the edge with his family in a two room rented flat in North Nazimabad. The only man who helped this family without asking was Mohammad Mian Soomro, the Senate Chairman. He arranged for the operation of Aslam’s wife. Mohammad Aslam is poor and broken relative of Jinnah Family. Some rich fellows refuse to acknowledge their existence and challenge their claim of Jinnah’s kin. This is wholly unfair and unjustified.

Mohammad Aslam never wants any share in the property left over by Quaid-I-Azam, he just wants to show to the world he is after material things, and he is content with life. His resources are terribly meager; his family hardly survives on what he earns. He supplies homemade paper bags to scores of shopkeepers in the old city area, where his great grand father was born. His wife is sick while daughter is mentally deranged; his sister Khurshid Begum lives in Golimar neighbourhood. She lost her only son, Sikandar Jinnah, after he was tortured to death in Soldier Bazaar police station. That death perhaps shook the whole city except Nawaz Sharif and his burly men. After almost a decade has passed, Khurshid Begum is still struggling to secure justice and bring those policemen to the books who allegedly murdered her son.

This is tragic and pathetic, every now and then, Jinnah’s family commutes to city court where they ponder on this case for hours, then another hearing is usually fixed. This happens almost in every hearing no judgement is expected in the near future. The family pays expenses for travel and stay at the court. They wait and wait and wait for the justice, which they hope to get in their lifetime.

The only favour, authorities have done to Aslam Jinnah is the provision of a car, which takes his family back and forth to Quaid’s mausoleum on the national days including 23rd March, 14th August, 25th December and 11th September. This is usually an uphill task for Aslam. He goes to protocol department of Sindh Government, books car for the day and comes back while on his way back he buys flowers to lay on Quaid’s mausoleum When I saw him last Wednesday, he was going back to his house after buying flowers. On national days, Aslam usually wears black sherwani; this has become old and wrinkled like his face. He never minds atrocities of life. ‘I accept this as my fate.

I have no regret. One thing is sure I will never ask for any favour from anybody.’ Aslam and his family members adorn front and back pages of national newspapers and news items on various TV channels. This is the only luxury this family enjoys, so far.

What can be done for Aslam and his sister Khurshid, who barely survive in this largely brutal and cruel Pakistan, where those who were deadly against the country minted money and got away with it. Even now the opponents of Pakistan Ideology thrives well while the Founder’s family suffers silently in agony and pain.

The Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishratul Ibad should find some time from his busy schedule to visit Jinnah’s family. He has done so much for the neglected poets, writers, journalists and artists. How could he ignore the family, which has done so much for this country. The plight of Aslam Jinnah and his sister Khurshid Begum deserve real attention by all. They should not be left to suffer, mainly because they are poor and helpless. If they will get any justice is anybody’s guess.

Aslam Jinnah ‘s destination had arrived; he stood on footboard for a while. He begged conductor to stop the bus at bus stop. He smiled, ‘don’t worry Chacha, it will stop.’ The driver merely slowed the bus, Aslam Jinnah quickly jumped. He staggered for a while but he did not let flowers to drop. Those flowers he laid on Quaid’s mausoleum on 23rd March 2006. Another national day passed by as Jinnah’s family suffers silently. This is their fate, perhaps.


Aslam Jinnah’s claim of being Quaid’s family disputed

By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: Liaquat Merchant, who is the grandson of Maryam Bai, one of Quaid-e-Azam’s sisters, has said that Aslam Jinnah, who claims to be the great grandson of the founder of Pakistan, is not from the Jinnah family. “He might belong to Nathoo Poonja’s family, who is Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s father’s brother, but he does not directly belong to Quaid’s family and I say this firmly on the basis of my personal knowledge,” said Merchant.

Just a day ago, the federal government announced that Aslam Jinnah would be given a house, car and Rs 50, 000 monthly. “I do not object to the government giving him (Aslam Jinnah) anything, but he must stop introducing himself as Quiad-e-Azam’s family member,” he further said.

In an exclusive interview with this scribe, when he was asked about his reaction to the government’s decision, he reiterated that he has no objection at all. “All I am concerned with is the fact that Aslam Jinnah is not from Quiad-e-Azam’s family and nothing else,” he said, adding that if Aslam Jinnah wants to meet him, he would certainly meet Aslam.

He said that he was recently invited to present Jinnah’s Anthology, which has been published recently. Answering a question, he said that he was not invited for official programmes, especially those held to honour the Father of the Nation while adding that if given a choice he would love to attend the programmes. “It is not important to take flowers to Quaid’s mausoleum, but in fact it is more important to follow the teachings, principles and guidelines that Muhammad Ali Jinnah has left for our guidance,” said Merchant.

Talking about the family tree, Merchant said that Quaid's father was Jina Poonja and his (Quaid's) uncles were Walji Poonja and Nathoo Poonja. “Only Walji Poonja’s son is alive and lives in Khaaradar,” he said. Talking about Quaid's sisters, Merchant said that Jinnah had four sisters, including Rehmat bai, Mariam bai, Ahmed Shirinbai and Fatima Jinnah.

He said that Nasli Wadia, the son of Quaid’s daughter Dina Wadia still lives in Mumbai with his two sons Jay Wadia and Ness Wadia. Merchant, 68, is the grandchild of Quaid's sister Mariam Bai and his last name comes from the fact that his father, Habib Hussain, was a businessman in Mumbai. Merchant was also awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his outstanding public services for the education and health sectors in the country during Pervez Musharraf’s regime. Merchant is a reputed lawyer in Karachi and his daughter Fouzia and son Akbar, are also lawyers, which is now sort of a family profession. His other daughter, Faiza, is a teacher. As a young lawyer, Merchant first visited Karachi in 1964 and met Fatima Jinnah while she was living in Mohatta Palace. She insisted that he migrate from India. He returned to India but moved to Karachi in December 1967 after getting married in October and since than he is practicing law in Karachi. Today he runs Liaquat Merchant Associates, one of the most respected law firms in the country, in addition to being the administrator of Quaid-e-Azam’s estate established under the Aligarh Education Trust, Jinnah Foundation and tending to several other charities. He said that till date Aligarh Education Trust has provided educational scholarships to 5,000 students in 15 different fields including law, architecture, civil engineering, dairy farming and so on.

Eight local British embassy staff held in Iran: media

Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:04am EDT

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Eight Iranian employees of the British embassy in Tehran have been detained for active involvement in post-election unrest in the Islamic Republic, an Iranian news agency reported on Sunday.

The move is likely to strain relations further between London and Tehran following Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election and a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats.

Iran has accused Western powers -- Britain and the United States in particular -- of interfering in its internal affairs after the vote, which sparked days of huge demonstrations in which at least 20 people were killed.

Britain and the United States have rejected the accusations.

"Eight local employees at the British embassy who had a considerable role in recent unrest were taken into custody," the semi-official Fars News Agency said, without giving a source. "This group played an active role in provoking recent unrest."

Iran's English-language state Press TV carried a similar report, citing Iranian sources.

In London, a foreign ministry spokesman said, "We have in the last few days received a number of sometimes confused reports that British nationals or others with British connections have been detained. We continue to raise them with the Iranian authorities."

A senior diplomat from another Western country said the reported detentions were a "worrying development".


Official results showing hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election by a landslide were met with disbelief by many Iranians who agreed with complaints by the runner-up, Mirhossein Mousavi, that the vote was rigged.

The authorities accuse Mousavi of responsibility for the bloodshed that occurred when riot police and religious basij militia crushed the protests. Mousavi blames the government.

Iranian officials have over the last week stepped up accusations of foreign interference.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran was considering downgrading ties with Britain, and Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mosheni-Ejei said some people with British passports were involved in this month's unrest.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on June 23 that Britain was expelling two Iranian diplomats after Iran forced two British diplomats to leave.

Britain has a long history of involvement in Iran and many Iranians remain suspicious of its motives.

The two countries have frequently clashed over Iran's nuclear programme, which the West suspects is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying it only wants nuclear power for generating electricity.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on June 19 attacked foreign powers for alleged interference, singling out Britain as the "most treacherous" of Iran's enemies.

Brown has condemned violence and media censorship in Iran.

Britain suspended its diplomatic ties with Iran after the Islamic revolution in 1979, only reopening an embassy in 1988, following the Iran-Iraq war. Ties were downgraded again in the early 1990s, with full normalization only taking place in 1998.

In 2007, 15 British sailors and marines were seized by Iran in the Gulf and released after a tense 13-day standoff.

(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari and Fredrik Dahl in Tehran, David Milliken in London; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Louise Ireland)

Who killed Neda Agha Soltan? American CIA responsible

The man who tried to save Neda One of the stand-out images of the protests in Iran is of a young woman dying from gunshot wounds on the streets of Tehran. Neda Soltan was shot while attending a protest, and the footage shows her lying on the ground in a pool of blood and two men trying to save her. Dr Arash Hejazi, the man in the white shirt who rushed to her aid, is studying in England. He spoke to the BBC's Rachel Harvey about the incident. Iranian Police opened fire on people today(June 20 2009), this girl is one of the victims of today.

CIA involved in Neda's shooting?
Fri, 26 Jun 2009 21:54:00 GMT
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Iran's Ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri
The US may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman who was shot to death in Tehran's post election protest.

"This death of Neda is very suspicious," Iran's Ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri said. "My question is how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, gets shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was being held?" CNN reported on Friday.

He suggested that the CIA or another intelligence service may have been responsible.

"Well, if the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the government elements, then choosing women is an appropriate choice, because the death of a woman draws more sympathy," Ghadiri told CNN.

Ghadiri said that the bullet that was found in her head was not a type that was used in Iran.

"These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ," he said. "Naturally, they would like to see blood spilled in these demonstrations, so that they can use it against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is one of the common methods that the CIA employs in various countries."

But, he added, "I am not saying that now the CIA has done this. There are different groups. It could be the [work of another] intelligence service; it could be the CIA; it could be the terrorists. Anyway, there are people who employ these types of methods."

Asked about his government's imposition of restrictions on reporting by international journalists, Ghadiri blamed the reporters themselves.

"Some of the reporters and mass media do not reflect the truth," he said.

For example, he said that international news organizations have lavished coverage on demonstrations by supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi, who lost to the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He continued that those same news organizations have not shown "many, many demonstrations in favor of the winner," he said.

Ghadiri went on to say that members of the international news media have failed to report on people setting banks and buses on fire or attacking other people. "The only things they show are the reactions of the police," he said.

In response, CIA spokesman George Little denied the allegations.


TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- The woman whose death has come to symbolize Iranian resistance to the government's official election results did not die the way the opposition claims, government-backed Press TV said Sunday.

Two people told Press TV there were no security forces in the area when Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was killed on June 20.

Neda's death was captured on amateur video -- most likely by a cell phone -- and posted online. Within hours, she had become the iconic victim of the Iranian government crackdown.

Eyewitnesses say Neda was shot by pro-government Basij militiamen perched on a rooftop.

But Press TV said the type of bullet that killed her is not used by Iranian security forces.

A man who told the state-funded network he had helped take her to a hospital said, "There were no security forces or any member of the Basij" government-backed paramilitary present when she was killed.

Press TV did not name the man, who spoke Farsi and was subtitled in English on the broadcast.

CNN has not identified him and cannot confirm his account. Video Watch more about Neda's death »

"I didn't see who shot who," he said. "The whole scene looked suspicious to me."

A second man, whom Press TV identified as Neda's music teacher who was with her when she died, told the station there was "no security forces in this street" when she was shot.

Press TV did not name the man, who had a gray mustache and ponytail. He spoke Farsi and was subtitled in English as he walked and pointed at what Press TV said was the scene of the shooting.

She was with a family friend who is a music teacher when she was killed. He appears to be the man who spoke to the Iranian broadcaster.
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"There was no sign of a protest," he said. "We crossed the street to the other side to get a cab... When we reached this spot, a gunshot was heard. There was no shooting here... There were no security forces in this street. There were around 20, 30 people in this street. One shot was heard and that bullet hit Neda."

"The bullet was apparently fired from a small caliber pistol that's not used by Iranian security forces," the Press TV anchor said.

Iran has strict gun-control laws that bar private citizens from carrying firearms.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday he had seen the video of Neda's death and called it "heartbreaking.

"And I think anyone who sees it knows there's something fundamentally unjust about it," he said.

The shaky video of her death shows her walking with a man, a teacher of music and philosophy, near an anti-government demonstration.

After being stuck in traffic for more than an hour inside a Peugeot 206 -- a subcompact with a poorly working air conditioner -- Neda and the friend decided to get out of the car for some fresh air, a friend of Neda's told CNN after her death.

The two were near where protesters were chanting in opposition to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose calls for an end to anti-government demonstrations have sparked defiance across the nation.

Neda, wearing a baseball cap over a black scarf, a black shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes, does not appear to be chanting and seems to be observing the demonstration.

Suddenly, Neda is on the ground -- felled by a single gunshot wound to the chest. Several men kneel at her side and place pressure on her chest in an attempt to stop the bleeding. "She has been shot! Someone, come and take her!" shouts one man.

By now, Neda's eyes have rolled to her right; her body is limp.

Blood streams from her mouth, then from her nose. For a second, her face is hidden from view as the camera goes behind one of the men. When Neda's face comes back into view, it is covered with blood.

Iran's ambassador to Mexico -- one of few Iranian officials who has spoken to CNN since the disputed June 12 presidential election -- suggested American intelligence services could be responsible for her death.

"This death of Neda is very suspicious," Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri said. "My question is, how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, got shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was behind held?

"Well, if the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the government elements, then choosing women is an appropriate choice, because the death of a woman draws more sympathy," Ghadiri said.

CIA spokesman George Little responded, "Any suggestion that the CIA was responsible for the death of this young woman is wrong, absurd and offensive."


TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a probe into the death of Neda Agah-Soltan, a woman whose killing during a protest rally in Tehran generated an international outcry.

"Given the many fabricated reports around this heartbreaking incident and the widespread propaganda by the foreign media... it seems there is clear interference by the enemies of Iran who want to misuse the situation politically and tarnish the clean image of the Islamic republic," he said in a letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

"Therefore I am asking you to order the judicial authorities to probe the killing of this woman with utmost seriousness and identify and prosecute the elements behind the killing," he said in the letter published by the ISNA news agency.

Neda became an icon for the opposition which is protesting Ahmadinejad's re-election, after an Internet video showing her final moments was seen around the world.