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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

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.

Dynamic tensions between religion and politics in Iran

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Though the tumultuous events following the June 2009 presidential election in Iran has brought political tensions and oppositions to the surface, there have been a long-standing differences within and between public, religious, and power elite groups contesting such issues that touch on the very practice and framework of political life. A central question remains the form, substance, and practical application of government and governance.

Sheikh Chafiq Jeradeh, the director of the Institute of Sapiential Knowledge for Philosophical and Religious Studies in Beirut, has written a brief article regarding the dynamic tension between state and religion in Iran. This article is published on Conflicts Forum. Conflicts Forum is founded and directed by Alastair Crook, who has had a career as a British Diplomat and member of the secret service (MI6). Below is an excerpt from Sheikh Chafiq Jeradeh’s article:

[U]ntil now, the tension between the underlying religious principles and contemporary structures of statehood and the international order have not been satisfactorily resolved.

…These tensions however are evident today in Iran: They have given rise to a strand of thinking within society that seeks to place doctrinal religion within a secular framework – this, in addition to their desire to establish the political structures on a similar secular basis. This has caused the religious parties to react in two ways:

  • Firstly it has led some to wall themselves in behind the Wilayat al-Faqih formula and to reject any new thinking about this concept arising in the Iranian intellectual or political arena.
  • Secondly, it has led to a wider discussion regarding the relationship between Islam and Wilayat al-Faqih. The object of this discussion is centred on how to Islamise contemporary institutional systems of governance, whilst another strand is moving in the opposite direction: It looks at how to revise the concept (Wilayat al-Faqih) better to reflect contemporary reality, and its needs.

This is the real dilemma facing the present al-Wali al-Faqih (the Guardian Jurist, i.e. Imam Khamenei) and the institutions affiliated with him.

Secondly – During Imam Khamenei’s rule, some circles began to discuss the following issues:

  1. Does the concept of Wilayat presuppose a tradition of (cognitive) knowledge of its own, which in itself enables the Wali (Supreme Leader) to lead and to manage the actuality? Or, does it require some additionally acquired expertise in governance, as well as the special vision, which only spiritual attainment can provide?
  2. Does Wilayat al-Faqih have one form, and one form only – the one presented by late Imam Khomeini, or there are other possible forms that Imam Khamenei can reveal?
  3. Finally, does the concept rest on a basis of popular acceptance and commitment within the ranks of the Iranian elites? Or; does its basis lie in the emotional circumstance of revolution? This is an important point that needs to be clarified – for the answer to this question will spell out for us the possibilities for dissension between Iranian elites and the popular will.

Zbigniew Brzezinski: US or Israeli war on Iran ‘would be a disaster’ and Eurasia’s importance for global power

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Zbigniew Brzezinski has been influential in US foreign policy since his role as US president Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor. He continues to maintain formal and informal influence to this day. He is also well known as the Author of the book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, in which he famously stated that “America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.” In the videos included in this post, he speaks regarding the geostrategic importance of Eurasia in (US) global dominance.

Excerpts from the above video:

“If the conflict spreads, we’re going to be alone… The Russians aren’t going to be with us, the Europeans aren’t going to be with us…”

“The Chinese are getting more involved in the Iranian economy because they need energy.”

“Don’t trifle with the silly notion ‘we’ll just bomb them and the problem is solved.’ It’s a false analogy.

The Real News interview with Brzezinski also includes the following on the war in Afghanistan. Highly recommended viewing.

Iran facing a growing water crisis

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Karaj Dam in Iran

“Unsustainable development has increased the country’s water demand to a maximum level, causing the water level of underground resources sink to its lowest level – from 50 meters to 300 meters,” according to the general director of Iran’s Meteorological Organization, Parviz Rezazadeh.  According to an Iranian report from 2008, “per capita water quota will be below 1,000 cubic meters by 2050.” Iran has a wide range of climates by region, and an unevenly distributed population, creating additional problems around the issue of water distribution.  About half of the population lives in regions that contain over 70% of the water resources, in the north and west. The stress on adequate renewable sources of water is made worse by Iran’s growing population.  Continued stress on underground sources of water threaten to eliminate their very availability, and a little over half of the country’s water needs were estimated to be met through the use of these aquifers (same source as above).

The above tables and image are from a 2005 report written by Kaveh Madani Larijani.

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.

Malek Korshid: A classic Iranian tale put to animation

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

[Vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/8617433%5D

Ali Akbar Sadeghi’s Malek Khorshid (from 1975) is based on one of the tales from the very famous Iranian epic of kings, Shahnameh. “Ali Akbar Sadeghi… is best known for pioneering a style that mixed traditional Persian coffeehouse painting and the surreal.” (from Ubu Web where you can also read the transcript of an interview)

The epic of the Shahnameh is written by the renowned Hakim Abol Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi. You can read the epic, in English, at the Iran Chamber Society.

Categories: Art, Cinema, Video Tags: , , , , ,