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Meymand Village

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The village of Meymand in Iran’s Kerman province is said to be continuously inhabited for the last 3000 years, with a history of habitation stretching back to prehistory. The village has a unique architecture of natural and man-made caves used by locals for housing. The area around the village is of anthropological significance due to the discovery of carvings made by ancient peoples on the cave walls of depicting local fauna.

The current population is around 150, and consists of a people who have a semi-nomadic lifestyle, spending their winters in the village itself.

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Guidebook to Iran: from World War II, by the US Army

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment

The U.S. military, during World War II, printed a series of pocket books for its fighting troops. These booklets, each specific to a country, give pointers on how to behave when in the stationed nation, what some of the overall objectives are, and gives cultural guideposts that may be used to navigate a foreign terrain.

A collection of this books is available at the Southern Methodist University digital collection in the US.

The Pocket Guide to Iran can be viewed on this site as a PDF.

Here are some excerpts from the guide:

You’ve heard a lot of talk in this war about life lines — the sea lanes and the land routes by which military supplies flow into the combat zones to be turned against the enemy. Iran is much more than a life line. It is a major source of power that keeps the United Nations’ military machine turning over — oil.

Because of its prime strategic value, Iran is the only country in the world where the armies of the United Nations — Great Britain, Russia, and the United States — are operating in daily touch with each other.  (from pages 1 to 2)

A great deal of our success or failure may depend on whether the Iranis like us. If they like us, they can help us in countless ways. If they don’t, they can cause trouble. If they are doubtful, your friendly acts may win their confidence. (from page 8)

Categories: ebook, History Tags: , , , ,

The Lovers’ Wind | باد صبا

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

“A well- known French filmmaker, Albert Lamorisse, under the aus- pices of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Art, produced the poetic film “Lovers’ Wind” (1969). Eighty-five percent of this dramatically visual film is shot from a helicopter, providing a kaleidoscopic view of the vast expanses, natural beauty, historical monuments, cities and villages of Iran. The “narrators” of the film are the various winds (the warm, crimson, evil and lovers’ winds), which accord- ing to folklore, inhabit Iran.” (quote from Iran Archive / MMOH13 YouTube Channel)

The video is in Farsi but highly visual.

Calico textile printing

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Calico involves a process of printing design onto cloth by impressing four or five colours onto it. The initial colour to be applied is black, and all of them are applied using hand-carved wooden molds. Below is a documentary of this process, for which the Iranian city of Isfahan is famous for. The video is in Farsi.

Operation Ajax: The CIA/MI6 coup that overthrew Iran’s democratic government

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Below is a short documentary on the overthrow of Iran’s short-lived democratic government in the 1950s. This government was headed by Mohammad Mosaddeq and his National Front party, bringing together a wide coalition of peoples and parties. This new government sought to establish Iran’s independent sovereignty in the face of foreign (at the time British and Russian) interference. It was overthrown in a coup plotted by the CIA and the British Intelligence Service, reinstating the Shah, and, in time helping him dominate the national scene as an autocratic monarch through the liberal use of such tools as the secret police, SAVAK.

This short documentary claims that, “by 1950, 40% of the West’s oil was being produced in Iran, and 75% of Europe’s. This reliance on Iranian oil had caused the British to become deeply entrenched in Iran’s politics.”

I’m not certain about the accuracy of these statistics. (Does someone have historical statistics on the distribution of oil imports?). In 2008, Iran was the second largest producer of crude oil among OPEC members, following Saudi Arabia.

Top Iranian Crude Oil Export Destinations, 2007

To learn more about the events surrounding the Mosaddeq government, I highly recommend reading the book, Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran. On the whole, the documentary clip summarizes a good share of this book.

Part 1:

Part 2:

A book on Iran’s Shia twelver institutions — history, culture, and structures

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

An excellent book on the history, genealogy, and current framework of Iran’s religious instiutions and schools has been written by Michael M. J. Fischer. It is called Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution.

Categories: ebook, History, Religion Tags: ,