Iran’s Tehran Province: Persian Garden Park in Tehran – Part 2

Here the second batch of pictures of the Persian Garden Park in Tehran. Enjoy!

The Persian Garden Park is a 3.4ha (8.4 acres) areal in Tehran that was designed based on the pattern of a Persian Garden.The reconstruction project planned passages for the disabled and dedicated 2.5ha (6 acres) to green spaces, preserving the old trees and planting new species. The park has six fountains, a restaurant and tea house, a public library, a children’s playground and other facilities.

More information and photos:
The other Iran | Iran’s Tehran Province: Persian Garden Park in Tehran – Part 1

Sources: TEHRAN Picture Agency | Growing tulips in the Persian Garden, TEHRAN Picture Agency | Persian Garden on a rainy day, Tasnim News | Photos

Iranian Armenians rally in Tehran to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Thousands of Iranian Armenians rallied in Tehran on Friday, protesting in front of the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Many in the crowd, who marched from the Armenian Church in Tehran to the Turkish Embassy, held signs in Farsi and English asking the international community to recognize the genocide, while others chanted slogans calling for justice and the downfall of the Turkish government.

“What Armenians demand now is that the Turkish government recognize [the massacre] as genocide and accept its legal consequences,” Karen Khanlari told Iran’s Press TV during the protests.

There were different events organized to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 23 and April 24. In Tehran were the religious ceremonies held at the St. Sarkis Cathedral.

Following sovereign countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide:
Argentina (2003) , Austria (2015), Belgium (1998), Bolivia (2014), Canada (1996), Chile (2007), Cyprus (1975) was the first country to raise the issue to the UN General Assembly, Czech Republic (2015), France (1998), Germany (2015), Greece (1999), Holy See (2000), Italy (2000), Lithuania (2005), Lebanon (1997), Netherlands (2004), Poland (2005), Russia (1995), Slovakia (2004), Sweden (2010), Switzerland (2003), Uruguay (1965) was the first country to recognize the events as genocide, Venezuela (2005).

On Apr 24, 2015 the Bulgarian parliament approved a resolution using the phrase “mass extermination of the Armenian People in the Ottoman Empire”. The United States of America, Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia or Spain do not use the term genocide to refer to these facts.

Robert Beglaryan and Karen Khanlaryan, MPs of Armenian origin, have also had speeches in Iran Majlis concerning the Armenian Genocide Centennial. “We call on the government and the President Rouhani in particular to call the real facts by their name. That will make it possible to support the security in the region,” Robert Beglaryan said in his speech.

Iran has been conducting a moderate and cautious policy regarding the Armenian Genocide over the last years. Remarkably, though, the MPs of the 6th Majlis of Iran condemned the Armenian Genocide.

Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, then President of Iran, visited Tsitsernakaberd during his official visit to Yerevan on September 9, 2004. Vice president of Iran, Hamid Baghaei, pronounced the word ‘genocide’ during the conference ‘Iran: The Bridge of Victory’ in August 2010. “The government of Ottoman Turkey committed genocide in 1915; and a certain number of Armenians fell victim to it,” he said although the statement was refuted not to aggravate the relations with Turkey.

However, both the political and religious elite of Iran, as well as ordinary citizens admit the fact of the Armenian Genocide, as according to the Iranian sources, the Ottoman Turks have not only perpetrated genocide against the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, but also have slaughtered many Iranians in Urmia Region in 1918.

In Iran there are Armenian Genocide Memorials in Abadan, Ahraz, Arak, Isfahan, Tehran and Urumieh, all of them on Armenian Churches ground. In Abadan the Genocide Memorial was renovated since it was next to the church damaged during the Iran Iraq war.

Other Commemoration events worldwide:
1. Los Angeles Times | Armenian Genocide Anniversary Apr 24, 2015
2. The Huffington Post | Poignant photos from around the world show Armenian Genocide has not been forgotten

Sources: www.hyeli.com, Wikipedia | Armenian Genocide recognitionarmenian-genocide.org | Recognition countries, Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 2, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2, ISNA | Photos 1, Tasnim News Agency | Photos, panorama>>am | Asory Genocide, panorama>>am | Rouhani letter, armenian-genocide.org | Genocide Memorials in Iran, uacla.com | Armenian Genocide Memorials, team-aow.discuforum.info | Monuments Commemoratifs du Genocide Armenien

Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province: Saint Stepanos Monastery near Jolfa

The St. Stepanos Monastery (Armenian: Maghardavank) is an Armenian monastery about 15 km northwest of Jolfa, East Azarbaijan Province, northwestern Iran. It is situated in a deep canyon along the Arax river on the Iranian side of the border between Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Iran. Since 2008 it is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with the St. Thaddeus Monastery and the Chapel of Dzordzor.

The general structure mostly resembles Armenian and Georgian architecture and the inside of the building is adorned with beautiful paintings by Honatanian, a renowned Armenian artist. Hayk Ajimian, an Armenian scholar and historian, recorded that the church was originally built in the ninth century AD, but repeated earthquakes in Azarbaijan completely eroded the previous structure. The church was rebuilt during the rule of Shah Abbas the Second.

History
The first monastery was built in the seventh century (AD 649) and completed in the tenth century. However, St Bartholomew first founded a church on the site around AD 62 but it was partly destroyed during the wars between the Seljuks and the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Following the conquest of the region by the Mongols of Hulagu, grandson of Genghis Khan, in the middle of the thirteenth century, Christians benefited from the favorable Ilkhanid dynasty, and a peace agreement is signed between the Armenian Church and the Ilkhans. The monastery was restored in the second half of the thirteenth century.

The monastery was completely rebuilt in 1330 under the leadership of Zachariah. St. Stepanos Monastery found the height of its cultural and intellectual influence in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The monastery produced paintings and illuminated manuscripts, in areas as diverse as religion, history and philosophy.

In the early fifteenth century, the new Safavid dynasty protected the Armenians but the region is at the center of the rivalry between the Safavids and the Ottomans, who invaded Western Armenia in 1513. St. Stepanos in the sixteenth century observed a gradual decline until Shah Abbas I decided to evacuate the region from its inhabitants in 1604. The monastery then was abandoned. From 1650, the Safavids, however, decided to occupy the region again, and the damaged and abandoned St. Stepanos monastery was restored in the middle of the century.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the area became a challenge for the conquest of the Russian Empire. Yerevan was conquered by the Russians in 1827. The border between Persia and Russia was established on the Araxes by the Treaty of Turkmenchay. Consequently part of the population was displaced by force to Russian Armenia. The Qajar rulers continued to protect the Armenians. They encouraged the rebuilding of St. Stepanos Monastery between 1819 and 1825.

The monastery has undergone several restorations recently twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially since 1974.

On UNESCO World Heritage List
The Armenian monasteries in Northwestern Iran have borne continuous testimony, since the origins of Christianity and certainly since the 7th century, to Armenian culture in its relations and contact with the Persian and later the Iranian civilizations. They bear testimony to a very large and refined panorama of architectural and decorative content associated with Armenian culture, in interaction with other regional cultures: Byzantine, Orthodox, Assyrian, Persian and Muslim. The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters. They have been rebuilt several times in a spirit in keeping with Armenian cultural traditions.

Further information: Iran Chamber Society | Church of Saint Stephanos

Sources: Wikipedia | Saint Stepanos MonasteryIran Chamber Society | Historical Churches in Iran, Tishineh | St. Stepanos Monastery, Wikimedia Commons | Saint Stepanos Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage List | Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2

Iranian female researcher Soudabeh Davaran awarded a UNESCO Medal

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova presented the UNESCO Medal “For the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies” to eight laureates during a ceremony organized at UNESCO Headquarters on 10 April 2015.

The laureates of this 4th edition are Mr. Valentin Bukhtoyarov, Mr. Vladimir Fortov, Mr. Mikhail Kovalchuk and Mr. Mikhail Selyanin (Russian Federation), Ms. Constance Chang-Hasnain (United States), Ms. Tebello Nyokong (South Africa), Mr. Shem Wandiga (Keny) and Ms. Soodabeh Davaran (Iran).

The Medal was established in 2010 at the initiative of the Thematic group on “Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies” of the International Commission on the Development of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) – one of the world’s largest knowledge bases on sustainable development, evolving under the aegis of UNESCO.

About Prof. Soudabeh Davaran
She got her Master of Science in Chemistry in 1990 and in 1996 her PhD in Polymer Chemistry from Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran, where she is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry since 2010. Her books include Dyehouse in Textile Industry, Advanced Nanoparticles in Biomedical Sciences and Impacts of Biodegradable Polymers Towards Biomedical Applications. She was considered one of the TOP 100 SCIENTISTS of 2008 and 2012 by the International Biographical Center of Cambridge.

She is currently researching in following fields:
– Preparation of biodegradable polymeric micro and nanoparticles for drug delivery
– Synthesis of polymeric nano-particles for application in detection and treatment of human cancer
– Synthesis, characterization of functionalized magnetic nano-particles for drug delivery
– Synthesis and evaluation of biodegradable polymers for protein-peptide drug delivery
– Bio-material Scaffold Development for regenerative medicine and drug delivery
– Development of oral insulin delivery systems

Sources: UNESCO Media Services | Eight UNESCO Medals awarded to nanotechnology and nano-science specialists, Faculty of Pharmacy at Tabriz University | Soudabeh Davaran

Photo Series: Spring in Iran – Arasbaran, East Azerbaijan Province

Arasbaran, formerly known as Qaradagh or Qaraja dagh, is a large mountainous area stretching from the Qusha Dagh massif, south of Ahar, to the Aras River in East Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The region is confined to Aras River in the north, Meshgin Shahr County and Moghan in the east, Sarab County in the south, and Tabriz and Marand counties in the west.

Since 1976, UNESCO has registered 72,460 hectares of this region as biosphere reserve. Arasbaran is home to 215 species of birds, 29 species of reptiles, 48 species of mammals and 17 species of fish. The local flora include hornbeam, sumac and berberis. The large walnut and cornelian cherry (zogal) trees, wildly grown alongside water-streams, provide an important income source for inhabitants but there are also more exotic plant species, such as redcurrant, truffle and herbs with application in traditional medicine.

There were several Turkic tribes in this area and characteristic aspects of their culture, developed around Nomadic pastoralism, have persisted to our times. Nomadic population at present has been estimated to be about 36000.

The spoken languages are Azerbaijani or Oghuz, a branch of the Turkic language family but most inhabitants are familiar with Persian language.

Arasbaran carpets are in between Persian carpets and Azerbaijani rugs. Still, there is also an indigenous style known as Balan Rug. The peak of carpet weaving art in Arasbaran is manifested in Verni (Azerbaijani rug), a carpet-like kilim with a delicate and fine warp and woof, which is woven without a previous sketch.

Verni weavers employ the image of birds and animals in simple geometrical shapes, imitating the earthenware patterns that were popular in prehistoric times. A key décor feature is the S-element that means “dragon” among the nomads. At present, Verni is woven by the girls of Arasbaran Tribes, often in the same room where the nomadic tribes reside and is a significant income source for about 20000 families.

Many elements of the indigenous culture, particularly local music, have survived to the present day. More recently a slow but persistent cultural revival has been in progress. The Ashughi music is central to this shared identity.

A recent study has indicated that Mikandi valley, Aynali forests and Babak Castle have the highest potential for ecotourism. Another potential touristic attraction could be the summer camps of semi-settled tribes of Arasbaran, known as Ilat, who spend 5 months of year in uplands for grazing their livestock. There are also cornelian cherry (zogal) festivals in Kaleybar and a yearly pomegranate festival in Mardanaqom village with Ashugh music performances.

See also: List of biosphere reserves in Iran

Sources: Wikipedia | Arasbaran, Mehr News Agency | Photos, IRNA | Photos, ISNA | Photos

Iranian architect Mahdi Fakhimi from AKAD Design winner of a Silver A’ Design Award in Italy

The design of Face Top by Mahdi Fakhimi from AKAD Design won the notable Silver A’ Design Award at Interior Space and Exhibition Design Competition in 2014-2015

The design, construction and execution contract of this project entitled Face Top Clinic, was concluded in summer 2011 for a cosmetic surgery consultation clinic in Tehran, Iran. Farzaneh Moghadasi, Sara Savar, Masoumeh Chakeri, Elham Sabetghadam, Mohammad Razaghdoust and Tahmineh Vesal are, alongside Mahdi Fakhimi, the team that was involved in this project.

Fakhimi, Mahdi - AKAD Design Group 1

The team from AKAD Design (Mahdi Fakhimi, 4th from right)

“The key point in the design of this project was the utilization of continuous surface style which is different from most of the works which have been done up to now, the continuous surface style requires soft surfaces and avoidance of sharp and angular lines, to create a flow” said Mahdi Fakhimi about the design.

It is not the first time that this team receives a design award for Face Top. It had already won bronze at the 7th Annual International Design Awards in 2014 in the category “Interior Design – Renovation”.

Hormoz Luxury Restaurant in Tehran, a runner-up in the Luxury Design Category in the same competition, is also a project by Mahdi Fakhimi along with Farzaneh Moghadasi, Sara Savar, Masoumeh Chakeri, Elham Sabetghadam and Hamid Ghorbani. It started in spring 2013 and finished by end of 2013.

About A’ Design Award and Competitions
The designs are judged by a panel of three different jury which is composed of Academic, Professional and Focus Group Members. A’ Design Award & Competitions, aims to highlight the excellent qualifications of best designs, design concepts and design oriented products. A’ Design Award & Competitions are organized and awarded annually and internationally in multiple categories to reach a wide, design-oriented audience. The Platinum A’ Design Award is given to the top 1% runner-up candidates (N° 1: 1st place, N° 2: 2nd and N° 3: 3rd place), the Golden A’ Design Award is given to top 3% candidates, the Silver A’ Design Award to top 5%, the Bronze A’ Design Award to top 10% and the A’ Design Award to top 20% runner-up candidates.

About AKAD Design Group
In 2002 a group of students beginning their careers started to work in teams using their knowledge from different fields. By 2008 AKAD Design Group was founded focusing on architecture, interior and graphic design.

Sources: A’ Design Award & Competition | Press release 36434, A’ Design Award & Competition | Mohammad Mahdi Fakhimi, AKAD Design | About, Mahdi Fakhimi | Projects, International Design Awards (iDA) 2014 | Renovation

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema 2015

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema 2015The UCLA Film and Television Archive is pleased to once again explore the diverse currents of Iranian cinema with its annual series highlighting recent and classic films from Iran and the Iranian diaspora.

The Program “UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema”, funded by the Farhang Foundation, will take place from April 25, 2015 to May 16, 2015 at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village, Los Angeles, USA.

Film directors Rakhshan Banietemad (4/25), Shahram Mokri (4/26), Kamran Heidari (4/27), Sepideh Farsi (5/8), Zhinous Pedram (5/10) and Amir Badie (5/16) will be attending in-person to discuss their work.

In the wake of Asghar Farhadi’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar win for A Separation in 2011, the depth and breadth of Iranian cinema today continues to amaze even as the challenges faced by its filmmakers remain of concern.

While established masters continue to make their unique voices heard, including writer-director Rakhshan Banietemad, whose award-winning Tales opens this year’s series, newer filmmakers continue to captivate.  Farhadi’s influence can be felt in a number of outstanding, tightly-wound contemporary dramas by emerging directors (Melbourne, I’m Not Angry), while others are charting radically different paths visually and narratively (Fish & Cat, 316).

Screening schedule:

Saturday, April 25
Bani-E'temad, Rakhshan - Film 2014 - Tales (Ghesse-ha)TALES (Ghesse-ha) / 7:30 PM /
In person: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad (DIR)
Iran, 2014 / 91 min. / DIR: Rakhshan Banietemad /
CAST: Fatemeh Motamed Aria, Peyman Moaadi, Baran Kosari

Winner of the Best Screenplay award in Venice, writer, writer-director Rakhshan Banietemad’s return to fiction filmmaking is a tour-de-force portrait of a people and a society at the breaking point.

Sunday, April 26
Dormishian, Reza - Film 2014 - I'm not angry (Asabani nistam!)I’M NOT ANGRY (Asabani nistam!) / 3:00 PM

Iran, 2014 / 110 min. / DIR: Reza Dormishian /
CAST: Baran Kosari, Navid Mohammadzadeh, Reza Behoudi

Director Reza Dormishian’s second feature bluntly depicts the seething frustrations of a generation through the emotional and personal struggles of a student activist trying to get his life on track.

Mokri, Shahram - Film 2013 - Fish & Cat (Mahi va gorbeh)FISH & CAT (Mahi va gorbeh) / 7:00 PM /
In person: Shahram Mokri (DIR)
Iran, 2013 / 134 min. / DIR: Shahram Mokri /
CAST: Babak Karimi, Saeed Ebrahimifar, Siavash Cheraghipoor

With Fish & Cat, writer-director Shahram Mokri emerges as an original new voice in Iranian cinema, blending bravura technical skills with a boldly absurdist, apocalyptic vision.

Monday, April 27
Heidari, Kamran - Film 2012 - My name is Negahdar Jamali and I make westerns - PosterMY NAME IS NEGAHDAR JAMALI AND I MAKE WESTERNS / 7:30 PM /
In person: Kamran Heidari (DIR)

Iran, 2013 / 65 min. / DIR: Kamran Heidari / CAST: Negahdar Jamali

Utterly unexpected and thoroughly charming, director Kamran Heidari’s debut documentary about an amateur filmmaker in southwestern Iran explodes preconceived notions and illuminates the universal power of cinema.

Friday, May 1
Mirkarimi, Reza - Film 2014 - Today (Emrouz) 2TODAY (Emrouz) / 7:30 PM
Iran, 2014 / 88 min. / DIR: Reza Mirkarimi /
CAST: Parviz Parastui, Soheila Golestani, Shabnam Moghadami

Iran’s official submission for Oscar consideration, writer-director Reza Mirkarimi’s tense, powerful drama unfolds over a single day after a cab driver allows himself to be drawn into the personal crisis of a woman who jumps into his backseat.

Saturday, May 2
Attaran, Reza - Film 2014 - Red Carpet (Farshe Ghermez)RED CARPET (Farshe Ghermez) / 7:30 PM
Iran, 2014 / 80 min. / DIR: Reza Attaran /
CAST: Reza Attaran, Marc Ansari, Susan Parvar

One of Iran’s most famous comedians, Reza Attaran, takes on Hollywood and the international media in this hilarious but gentle satire.


Wednesday, May 6

Yazdanian, Safi - Film 2014 - What's the time in your world (Dar donyaye to sa’at chand ast) - Poster 2WHAT’S THE TIME IN YOUR WORLD? (Dar donyaye to sa’at chand ast?) / 7:30 PM
Iran, 2014 / 101 min. / DIR: Safi Yazdanian / CAST: Leila Hatami, Ali Mosaffa, Ebrahim Zamir

Leila Hatami stars as Goli, a woman who returns to her hometown after decades living abroad to find a mysterious guide waiting to take her on a journey of self-discovery suffused with romantic melancholy.

Friday, May 8
Farsi, Sepideh - Film 2014 - Red Rose - PosterRED ROSE / 7:30 PM / In person: Sepideh Farsi (DIR)
France/Greece/Iran, 2014 / 87 min. / DIR: Sepideh Farsi / CAST: Mina Kavani, Vassilis Koukalani

Writer-director Sepideh Farsi ingeniously employs a single setting to dramatize the vicissitudes of political idealism in intimate and deeply personal ways amid the explosive passions of the Green Revolution.

Sunday, May 10
Haghani, Payman - Film 2014 - 316 - Poster316 / 7:00 PM
Iran, 2014 / 72 min. / DIR: Payman Haghani / CAST: Sara Vazirzadeh (narrator)

Writer-director Payman Haghani reflects on recent Iranian experience through one woman’s singular passion for shoes with a film as beguiling as it is moving.

Preceded by:
PINK NAIL POLISH / In person: Zhinous Pedram (DIR)

Iran, 2014 / 6 min. / DIR: Zhinous Pedram

Slowly, cautiously, a young girl makes her way out into the world in director Zhinous Pedram’s beautifully shot paean to girlhood.

Friday, May 15
Javidi, Nima - Film 2014 - MelbourneMELBOURNE / 7:30 PM
Iran, 2014 / 91 min. / DIR: Nima Javidi / CAST: Payman Maadi, Negar Javaherian, Mani Haghighi

Writer-director Nima Javidi’s remarkable debut feature is one of the most nerve-wracking, nail-biting, what-would-you-do ethical thrillers in recent memory.

Saturday, May 16
Shahid Saless, Sohrab - Film 1974 - Still life (Tabiate bijan) - PosterSTILL LIFE (Tabiate bijan) / 7:30 PM
Iran, 1974 / 93 min. / DIR: Sohrab Shahid Saless / CAST: Zadour Bonyadi, Mohammed Kani, Hibibollah Safarian

Winner of the Silver Bear at Berlin in 1974, Still Life tells the story of an elderly railroad employee forced into retirement, and confirmed Sohrab Shahid Saless as a “leading visionary of his generation.”

Preceded by:
MOHSEN BADIE: ARTISAN OF CINEMA / In person: Amir Badie

Iran, 2009 / 45 min. / DIR: Aziz Saati / CAST: Naser Malek Motiei, Bahman Farmanara, Houshang Kavoosi

This heartfelt tribute pays homage to Iranian cinema pioneer Mohsen Badie, founder of what film scholar Hamid Naficy described as “perhaps the best film lab in Iran.”

Sources: UCLA Film and Television Archive | UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema, Farhang Foundation