Longtime American enemy Iran made another bold move in its passive-aggressive hostilities toward Washington by … let's see, by reportedly sending a monkey into space. Who would do such a thing, to a monkey?
Press TV, the state-run satellite broadcaster, said the animal was launched in a space capsule code named Pishgam, or Pioneer. The development coincided with continued stalemate in the unrelated Western effort to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program, which Western powers maintain is designed to create nuclear weapons technology—an assertion Iran denies.
So, sending this animal into orbit for a moment "coincided" with the "unrelated" 35-year problems Iran has with its [...]
"They have plundered the world in the last 500 years and the young lad in charge now is even more stupid than his predecessor. It's as if God has made this nation servants of America and Zionists. England has nothing. Its inhabitants are not human, its officials are not responsible, and it doesn't even have any natural resources. (They are) a bunch of thick people ruled by a mafia." -Mohammad Reza Rahimi, vice president of Iran, upset the British Foreign Office with his comments about that nation. Knifecrime Island's man in Tehran, ambassador Simon Gass, responded that "when a high-ranking official who represents the Islamic Republic of Iran makes such [...]
Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, acting leader of Friday prayers in Tehran, is concerned about earthquakes-a not unreasonable fear in a country prone to seismic disturbances. But what is the cause of these natural disasters? If you guessed "hot chicks in tight clothes," you are either familiar with a certain strain of Koranic interpretation or you have seen this item elsewhere. Anyway, let's hear it from Hojatoleslam's mouth (or, at the very least, from a translation of the Iranian media transcription): "Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes." Okay!
On the eve of Qods Day, the holiday celebrated by Iran with denunciations against Israel, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sat down with NBC's Ann Curry in attempt to show the world that he is indeed as cartoonish and shifty as previously suspected. (Watch the full interview here.) I mean, seriously, what is it with this guy? He's making Ann Curry look hard-hitting. More importantly, the Iranian opposition used today's festivities to demonstrate against the regime; the Guardian has a good roundup of the protests.
There's a new round of protests in Iran: "Iranian police fired tear-gas and shots into the air today to disperse thousands of demonstrators who had defied official warnings and staged a march to mark the 10th anniversary of a bloody student uprising. Protesters chanted 'Death to the dictator' as they gathered in the streets around Tehran University, the epicentre of the 1999 protests, which were crushed by police and Basiji vigilantes."
"Iran is planning to retaliate against Argo with its own big-budget movie, titled Joint Command, about the 1979-80 events and the secret operation that led to the escape of six U.S. diplomatic personnel." —Iran's government-run press agencies are very upset about that Argo movie winning the American Oscar, especially because that one American lady presented the award. It's like Tehran doesn't even know the Obamas are Muslims!
Politics apparently continued over the winter holidays. What did that crafty Barack Obama do while the rest of us were worshiping the Baby Jesus or whatever? He is suggesting that America allow Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense, that's what! Who would let Chuck Hagel do something as important as overseeing the continued American defeat in Afghanistan, when he has controversial opinions about The Gays and Israel?
But, like all cabinet battles, the controversy around Chuck Hagel is both a) limited to Politico reporters/editors and the people who actually read the Politico, and b) not really about the Defense Department but actually about right-wing Christians who hate gays [...]
The world just keeps getting whatier, doesn't it? Iran has apparently arrested a 55-year-old American woman, Hall Talayan, on accusations that she attempted to cross into the country near the northwest city of Nordouz with some sort of "spying technology or a microphone" hidden in her teeth.
Today in modest proposals: "The punishment of stoning needs to be updated to fit with the times. Having a frothing mob hurl rocks at a woman half-buried and yelling until her eyes fall out is a process of law which means well, obviously, but it needs to be given a modern gloss. There should still be a place for mob violence, for the semi-burial, for the hurling of rocks, and for stoning to stay on the statute books where it belongs."
Hadi is showing me pictures from epic-looking parties. Men and women dance, their bodies caught in ecstatic pause. The women are, for the most part, rather scantily clad: microscopic skirts dominate, and belly shirts that show a good deal of taut belly. Their faces are masterworks of make-up art: streaks of vibrant color rising to the eyebrow, glitter and blush and outlined lips. They move, the partiers, with abandon, heads tipped back, preening and laughing. The pictures are from Iran.
Want to express your solidarity with the protesters in Iran but find yourself unable to do it on Twitter because you got kicked off of the service for retweeting every message by Jeff Jarvis and adding anti-Semitic commentary (or, uh, whatever reason you got kicked off for; this is purely hypothetical)? Good news! An outfit calling itself Unity For Us is offering these fine, pro-democracy bracelets for a mere 4 bucks a pop (not including shipping). Now you can celebrate making a difference by wearing a piece of plastic on your wrist. Remember how we all wore the yellow ones and then Lance Armstrong's ball grew back? What are [...]
The heroic Iranian monkey who supposedly rode a rocket into space last week returned to Earth with strange new powers. For instance, the monkey's distinctive face mole was completely gone when the creature was photographed by government officials upon landing. The creature's white-blonde hair had changed to brunette, too, much like the hair of Moses changed from black to white after he spotted the Hebrew God cowering under a bush. What other mutant powers could the Persian primate have developed while exposed to dangerous gamma rays or whatever, in orbit?
"For centuries, the citizens of Nuremberg have celebrated their petite bratwurst, which are often served up by the half dozen on heart-shaped plates. But one local producer says his costs have nearly tripled in the past 18 months, due to the rising costs of one key ingredient: sheep's intestines from Iran." Also, God help me, the sausages in that picture look good.
This time of year, when the air grows crisp and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes his annual visit to Manhattan to address the United Nations General Assembly, I often look back on my own encounter with the Iranian President. It was 2007, and I was thinking of writing a story about Neturei Karta, a tiny sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews known for their vehement anti-Zionism. (One of their leaders served as Yassir Arafat's Minister for Jewish Affairs; you may remember them as the rabbis who attended Iran's "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" in 2006.) One day that September, I called my main contact, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, [...]
There is an amazing bunch of photographs up at Iran's Mehr News site illustrating the government's recent decree of haircuts that fall in line with Iranian and Islamic principles. While the guidelines are intended to thwart the popularity of "Western" styles among the country's youth, they're not as short and crewcut-y as you might expect. Length in the back seems to be the main no-no, but Priestlian sideburns and Preslian pompadours meet with repeated approval.
Sad news for fans of self-hatred: An expert on Jewish Iranians is casting doubt on this weekend's speculation that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Jew whose family changed its name to avoid discrimination. Professor David Yeroshalmi, commenting on the assertion that the Ahmadinejad clan's original moniker of Sabourjian means "weaver of Jew prayer shawls," disputes the conjecture.
My usual Friday attack of Let This Week Be Over Syndrome came early this week (if you're scoring at home, here's exactly when it happened), and I'll try to gut it out and take you through the rest of the day, but man am I finding it hard to care. Still, here are a couple of things you might be interested in.