US Jewish journalist tells of relative freedom on rare trip to Iran

News For The Blind

http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-jewish-journalist-tells-of-relative-freedom-on-unprecedented-trip-to-iran/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=40b69903cc-2015_08_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-40b69903cc-55201169

An American-Jewish journalist just back from an unprecedented week-long reporting trip to Islamist Iran described a relatively free hand in choosing who to interview and what questions to ask, despite being assigned a government minder.

In a longform multimedia piece published Wednesday in the Jewish Daily Forward, the newspaper’s deputy managing editor Larry Cohler-Esses detailed the process of obtaining a visa to the Islamic Republic — with the help of a member of the Iranian Jewish community who wrote a letter on his behalf — and his subsequent conversations in Iran with ayatollahs, government officials and regular Iranians on Jews in general and Israel in particular.

“Though I had to work with a government fixer and translator, I decided which people I wanted to interview and what I would ask them. Far from the stereotype of a fascist Islamic state, I found a dynamic push-and-pull between a theocratic government…

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The hostage crisis was 1979, this is the new Iran: Iranians celebrating deal with the USA

Do you want to see more US friendly Iranians, or hear the stories from Americans who really have been in Iran instead of speculating about it from the far?
Are you interested in seeing how Iranians reacted to 9/11?

Visit this site to find more: http://theotheriran.com/category/usa/

Source for the photos: Huffington Post

The Guardian: Iran’s Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel

Iran’s Jews have given the country a loyalty pledge in the face of cash offers aimed at encouraging them to move to Israel, the arch-enemy of its Islamic rulers.

The incentives — ranging from £5,000 a person to £30,000 for families — were offered from a special fund established by wealthy expatriate Jews in an effort to prompt a mass migration to Israel from among Iran’s 25,000-strong Jewish community. The offers were made with Israel’s official blessing and were additional to the usual state packages it provides to Jews emigrating from the diaspora.

However, the Society of Iranian Jews dismissed them as “immature political enticements” and said their national identity was not for sale.

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that the incentives had been doubled after earlier offers of £2,500 a head failed to attract any Iranian Jews to leave for Israel.

Iran’s sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, said the offers were insulting and put the country’s Jews under pressure to prove their loyalty.

Despite the absence of diplomatic ties with Israel, Iranian Jews frequently go there to visit relatives.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/12/israel.iran

USA – Iran: What you need to know – a short but rich summary and comment

If you want to see some must read non political posts on USA-Iran, head over to:

http://theotheriran.com/category/usa/

You will find multiple interesting posts including:

Iran’s extraordinary reaction to 9/11, a reaction that was unique in the region:

http://theotheriran.com/2014/03/29/irans-exceptional-reaction-to-911-attacks-candlelit-vigils-for-the-victims-and-60k-soccer-fans-respected-a-minutes-silence/

How US athletes are celebrated by Iranians shouting “USA,USA”:

http://theotheriran.com/2014/08/02/american-athletes-get-star-treatment-in-iran-usa-usa-chants-for-us-athletes/

Iranian players handed out white roses (a symbol of peace in Iran) to the US players during a football/soccer match in 1998:

http://theotheriran.com/2014/03/21/iranian-players-handed-white-roses-a-symbol-of-peace-in-iran-to-the-us-players-prior-to-soccer-match/

An address by Italy’s former Ambassador to Iran telling US students in John Hopkins University about how the common Iranians really view the US:

http://theotheriran.com/2014/08/24/italys-former-ambassador-to-iran-no-iranians-dont-hate-you/

And some incredible travel reports by US Americans who really have been in Iran (in contrast to the most opinionated politicians):

http://theotheriran.com/category/usa/

Let’s move to the comment part:

Since the hostage crisis in 1979 mainstream US TV, which is still the main source of information for most of the people in the US, has not really shown multiple sides of Iran. The media coverage has focused on the happenings in 1979 and showing recordings of Iranians shouting anti-American slogans. The hostage crisis took 444 days and Iran was seen as the main adversary of the US. Unfortunately this view has manifested itself since then.

If you compare the hostage taking with what is happening these days in other parts of the world, it does not seem as insuperable hurdle for peace making. The hostages were not put in orange jumpsuits, were not beaten or tortured, they were basically put under house arrest. Shortly after the embassy takeover, the students released women and African American personnel, citing solidarity with “oppressed minorities.” Another hostage, Richard Queen, was released in 1980 due to health problems.
70% of the Iranians are under 40 years. So most of the people living in Iran were not even five years old when the embassy takeover happened. I don’t care about the governments but the people deserve peace and shouldn’t be barred from reestablishing friendship.
After all why should this be impossible when the US could see Germany as partner and friend a few years after millions were killed in WWII and the Holocaust. Germany got a second chance and a lot of help (Marshal Plan) after committing unbelievable crimes.

The hostage taking was bad, but then what about:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/

or the downing of a civilian Iranian Air liner over the Persian Gulf by the US navy (290 passengers, 66 children):

http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/shootingdown_iranair_flight655.php

Vice President George H. W. Bush (later President of United States of America) declared a month later,
“I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”

“Death to America” slogans are bad, but what about:

John McCain singing “Bomb, Bomb, bomb Iran” in front of applauding audience: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9688222

US Senator on Iran Sanctions: “take the food out of the mouths of the Iranian citizens”:
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/10/12/342194/kirk-food-from-mouths-iran/

or the US classic “All military options are on the table”

Iranians still hold a lot of admiration for the US. Opinion polls show the majority of Iranians hold a favorable opinion of Americans, making Iran second only to Israel as the most supportive country in the Middle East. Iranians are not resentful and they are very well informed about the US ( Satellite TV, Internet ), may be if bigger parts of US media could focus on representing the majority of Iranians instead of a tiny minority, a lot of misunderstandings between our people could be solved.

US intel report scrapped Iran from list of terror threats

The importance of this news can hardly be overestimated:
“An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats…”
http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-report-scraps-iran-hezbollah-from-list-of-terror-threats/

Maybe the US should start considering Israel a “terror threat”:
http://radioyaran.com/2015/03/15/israel-admits-helping-al-qaeda-nusra-front-against-syria/

http://radioyaran.com/2015/01/16/syrias-nusra-front-is-and-israel/

 

Why a ‘Bad’ Deal with Iran Is Better than No Deal at All

I am old enough to remember when, back in 2006, I argued that the United States should let Iran keep 164 centrifuges in stand-by mode during talks. Do you know what people said? “164 centrifuges? Are you mad? You are giving away the store to the Iranians!” Well, now Iran has more than 15,000 centrifuges (that we know about) in at least two sites.

The people arguing now for a “better” deal at some later date are the same people who in 2006 said 164 centrifuges was way too many and, that if we just held out long enough, we’d haggle the Iranians down to zero. Look what that got us.

 

Read the full article here:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/11/why-a-bad-deal-with-iran-is-better-than-no-deal-at-all-tom-cotton-letter/

Also check this out:
https://100wordz.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/sanctions-cannot-stop-the-iranian-nuclear-program-only-a-deal-can/