Iranian Lili Golestan received France’s Order of Academic Palms

French Order of Academic Palms awarded to Lili Golestan
Source: Tehran TimesIranian translator Lili Golestan, who is also the curator of Tehran’s Golestan Gallery, received France’s Order of Academic Palms during a ceremony at the Embassy of France in the Iranian capital on Monday November 17, 2014.

Iranian translator and artist Lili Golestan (R) with the French Ambassador Bruno Foucher.
(photo by Shargh daily)

French Ambassador Bruno Foucher delivered a short speech before honoring Golestan with the order, which is awarded by the French Minister of Education to those who have rendered eminent service to French education and have contributed actively to the prestige of French culture, Honaronline reported on Tuesday.

“In the animated and rich cultural atmosphere of Tehran, in which you can find no day without an event, Golestan Gallery has a special place,” Foucher stated.

He also praised Golestan for the efforts she made to introduce French writers, including Albert Camus, Jean Giraud and Romain Gary, to Persian readers.

“Your achievements show that you are among the very eminent women and France praises such persons. Indeed, such brilliant activities in the promotion of Iranian art and such a will for the introduction of French literature luminaries deserve appreciation,” he added.

Foucher then presented the order to Golestan and she also made a short speech.

“French literature is part of my soul,” she said and added that she has tried to introduce it to Persian readers.

“I have had a small gallery in this mega city for over a quarter of a century. This night’s meeting caused me to take a glance at the past and for the first time to ask myself exactly how many times I have organized exhibitions at this gallery. The result surprised me and I also felt more exhausted: 1040 exhibits. But, due the decoration I received tonight, I feel that it’s time to forget the 1040 exhibitions and also to shelve the forty books that I translated and the 340 articles that I wrote for newspapers and magazines, in order to ease my exhaustion for a while, only for a short while,” she stated.

She translated many books from world literature into Persian. Among the works are Eugene Ionesco’s “Story Number 3″, Maurice Druon’s “Tistou of the Green Thumbs”, Miguel Angel Asturias’ “The Man that Had it All, All, All”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “The Smell of the Guava Tree” and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”.

Iranian author Mahmud Dowlatabadi was also awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in Tehran on Sunday evening.

France has decorated three Iranian personalities with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honors over the past six months.

Vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian received the order in June. Cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh and filmmaker Dariush Mehrjuii are the other honorees.

Awarded Iranian movie Melbourne by Nima Javidi, is to be screened at Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina


Melbourne chronicles the story of a young couple on their way to the eponymous Australian city to continue their education, but just a few hours before their departure, they become involved in a tragic event.

The movie recently garnered two awards at the 2014 Stockholm International Film Festival in Sweden.

Melbourne also received critical acclaim at the 71st Venice International Film Festival in Italy. The film had its international premiere at the festival.

“Some international critics participated in the festival believe that Melbourne conjures up the mood and tone of the British film director Alfred Hitchcock’s works,” said Javidi.

Mar del Plata International Film Festival is scheduled to take place from Nov 22 to 30, in various categories including documentary, experimental and narrative fiction.


Iranian author Mahmud Dowlatabadi receives France’s Chevalier of Legion of Honor

Iranian author Mahmud Dowlatabadi, mostly famous for his novel “Kalidar”, received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor during a ceremony held in Tehran on Sunday evening. The medal, which is the highest decoration awarded by the French government, was presented to the author by French Ambassador Bruno Foucher during a ceremony at his residence in Tehran.

The ambassador gave a brief speech about the life and works of Dowlatabadi. He also praised his artistic career in theater and storytelling.

Wearing the medal, Dowlatabadi talked about French literature and civilization in his short speech, and pointed to the issues of writing and the pains of writing.

Iranian author Mahmud Dowlatabadi (R) stands beside French Ambassador Bruno Foucher before receiving the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor at the ambassador’s residence in Tehran on November 16, 2014.

A number of scholars and literati including Dariush Shayegan, Kambiz Dermabakhsh, Omid Rohani, Lili Golestan, Javad Mojabi and Hassan Kianian attended the ceremony.

Born in 1940, short-story writer and novelist Dowlatabadi was the most prominent Iranian novelist of the 1980s. Self-educated and forced to work from childhood, he spent part of his younger adult years as a stage actor in Tehran.

“The Colonel”, “Kalidar”, “Desert Strata”, “The Trip”, “The Legend of Baba Sobhan”, “The Cowherd”, “Aqil”, “Man” and “Missing Soluch” are among Dowlatabadi’s credits.

Iranians Rahman and Javanmardi top IPC’s “Athlete of the Month” vote

2014 IPC Athlete of the Month (October 2014) - Javanmardi-Rahman

October 2014 IPC Athlete of the Month (from right to left): Siamand Rahman (1st place) and Sareh Javanmardi (2nd place)

Iranian powerlifter Siamand Rahman has been named the Athlete of the Month for October 2014 after his incredible performance at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games in South Korea.

The world’s strongest Paralympian made history at the competition, breaking his own world record three times on his way to gold in the men’s over 107kg category.

Rahman received 63.9 per cent of the public vote to finish ahead of his compatriot, shooter Sareh Javanmardidodmani, who received 34.3 per cent of the vote after breaking two world records on her way to double gold in the P2 (women’s 10m pistol SH1) and P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1) in Incheon.

Gambian athletics star Demba Jarju came third, after he became the first wheelchair racer to win the Gambian Marathon.



Iran’s Book and Book Reading Week: Museums in Tehran host events for children to encourage book reading


Museums in Tehran host events for children to encourage book reading

The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Research Center is to implement a “Seven Museums, Seven Tales” plan as of Saturday [November 15] to mark the national Book and Book Reading Week.

The plan which is to be carried out in seven museums in the capital aims to promote book reading and introduce [Iran’s] legends and myths as a symbol of oral and intangible heritage.

It also intends to create more attractiveness in museums and revive the art of storytelling.

Creative instructors of storytelling and members of Children’s Book Council will come together in seven museums, namely Iran’s Post Museum, National Museum of Iran, Golestan Palace Museum, Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran Peace Museum, Moghadam Museum and Bagh-e-Negarestan [Complex] to host Iranian children and their parents as well as other guests between November 15 and 21.

The museums will open their doors to visitors at 11:00 a.m. local time.

Source: Iran Front Page

ABC Australia – Misunderstanding shields us from Iran’s reality

Don’t believe all the stereotypes: the mood inside Iran is hopeful for change and increased positive engagement with the West…

When I told my friends I was travelling to Iran they didn’t believe me.

“That’s the sort of place people go missing and don’t come back,” they said.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured them, “I’m white and Jewish, nobody will be able to miss me, and they won’t be wanting me to stay.”

I was right on the first count, wrong on the second.

Despite a sophisticated English-language tourist infrastructure, there are almost no Western visitors, so Iranians are especially excited to meet Europeans or North Americans. Seemingly insecure, many would ask us whether we were enjoying Iran, responding with scepticism when we said yes.

In a dusty desert town in the centre of the country, a father encouraged his young daughter to ask my Dutch colleague for a photo with him.

“You look just like Louis Tomlinson from One Direction,” she told him excitedly.

People on the street were constantly stopping us, they would ask where we were from, give us drinks, and generously welcome us to their country.

The image of Iran as being full of wild-eyed Arabs chanting ‘death to America’ is wrong on many levels, not least of all because Iranians aren’t actually Arab (and they’re sick of pointing that out).

In the cafes of Tehran the headscarves are skimpy and men and women laugh together over cans of coke, you’re more likely to see iPhones in the streets than AK-47s, and while it’s true that you’d better keep homosexuality behind well-padlocked doors, the prosecution and persecution of gay people isn’t a popular public sport the way it is in a number of other countries.

Don’t get me wrong, Iran is no liberal Mecca, but it’s no worse than many other countries where the West has chosen to use engagement, rather than isolation, to encourage progress.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Tehran itself has a lively and well-educated youth population which bucks at the regime at every turn.

Iranians have access to illegal alcohol, openly mount banned satellite dishes, hold lively house parties, and hack their way around internet restrictions on social media.

Indeed, when we spoke with a group of young Iranians, the only topics off limits were spoilers to the season finale of Game of Thrones.

Even on Israel, the views we encountered were surprisingly moderate. Broaching the subject with one group made them bashful. They thought that as Westerners we would be offended by their ‘extreme’ views.

They supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 border agreement. Imagine their surprise when I told them this was roughly official US policy.

Misunderstanding, it seems, goes both ways.

Western leaders talk tough on Iran to make themselves look strong and Israeli politicians exploit Iran’s nuclear intentions to gain traction internationally.

We have short memories in international affairs, only 35 years ago Iran was ruled by a relatively liberal dictatorship and was a key Western ally, but our distorted perceptions are not entirely our fault. Stereotypes have been encouraged not only by films like Argo, but by authority figures with their own agendas.

Western leaders talk tough on Iran to make themselves look strong and Israeli politicians exploit Iran’s nuclear intentions and poor engagement to gain traction internationally.

Even Iran’s own leaders are prone to spout hatred of the West to pander to their own support bases of hardliners and clerics.

Such statements will gladly be emphasised and taken out of context by those on the other side, and so the cycle continues.

One Iranian told me when he was a kid they were offered the day off school if they would take a bus to Tehran to shout anti-western slogans for international cameras. The kids were enthusiastic because they got the day off school, but when the cameras were off even adults went up to journalists to ask about US culture and tell them how much they wanted to visit New York.

The gap between the rhetoric on Iran and the reality amongst Iranians is perhaps best demonstrated by this month’s inauguration of the country’s new president.

Hassan Rohani was the most liberal of the six candidates permitted to run, and he won just over 50 per cent of the vote.

Rohani is a former nuclear negotiator, has appointed numerous women to high-level government positions, and spoke of the US-Iranian relationship as a ‘wound which must be healed’.

The mood inside Iran is hopeful for change and increased positive engagement with the West, but it would be wrong to say most are optimistic.

A Narrow Path

Iranians have had their hopes crushed before. Every young person we met in Tehran had a friend who was killed in the green movement protests against the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2009 re-election.

The demonstrations were brutally crushed by the regime, and many of the protestors who weren’t killed have simply vanished, their friends have no idea where they’ve gone.

Iran is a proud country with many sophisticated and well-educated people who remember their liberal past, but it is also a country with a clandestine religious government, not impervious to its own internal power struggles.

With Rohani assuming the presidency, and still holding the goodwill of the people and the religious leadership, now is an opportune moment for the West and for Iran.

The path to a peaceful resolution of tensions is narrow but walkable, and will and restraint is required from both sides.

Remaining cool and rising above provocation isn’t naïve and it doesn’t excuse the often brutal Iranian government, but it does offer the best chance of progress for both the West, and the millions of Iranians who suffer from their regime’s intransigence.

Information about the author:

Ben Winsor is a Law and International Studies graduate currently undertaking a placement with the Presidency of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is studying a Masters in Law at the Australian National University. All views expressed are his own and do not reflect those of his employer. View his full profile here.

Sistanagila – The Rare Place Where Israelis And Iranians Play Together

by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson for npr

What do you get when three Israelis, two Iranians and a German walk into a room? A Berlin-based world music ensemble known as Sistanagila, named after an Iranian province — Sistan and Baluchestan — and the popular Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila."

What do you get when three Israelis, two Iranians and a German walk into a room? A Berlin-based world music ensemble known as Sistanagila, named after an Iranian province — Sistan and Baluchestan — and the popular Jewish folk song “Hava Nagila.” (courtesy of Sistanagila)

Like many Iranians, Babak Shafian cringed over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his country’s former president, rhetoric about Israel. The 33-year-old computer scientist says the diatribes ignored thousands of years of shared history between Jews and Persians.

“The main thing which annoyed me really is that Ahmadinejad was presented in the Western media as the main voice of Iranian society,” says Shafian, who moved to Germany 14 years ago.

He decided the best antidote would be a musical collaboration with the alleged enemy. The problem, however, is that he didn’t know how to play a musical instrument. So three years ago, Shafian talked to friends and scoured the Internet to find Israelis and Iranians living in Berlin who did.

Yuval Halpern, a 34-year-old lsraeli composer there, recalls getting Shafian’s invitation through, a website that connects travelers with locals offering a place to crash.

“At first I thought he’s a terrorist wanting to kidnap me, as most Israelis think when they think of Iran,” Halpern says. “But then I thought I would just meet him and see how it is because I thought the idea was a nice one, and that is how it started.”

Shafian, his German wife, two other Israelis and two Iranians now form the band Sistanagila, which plays what members describe as world music with improvisations and a folksy flair. The name, like the group, is a mix of Israel and Iran, combining the names of an Iranian province and a popular Jewish folk song played at bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs and weddings.