Kubideh Kitchen

Kubideh Kitchen is an Iranian take-out restaurant that serves kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil. Developed in collaboration with members of the Pittsburgh Iranian community, the sandwich is packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Iranians both in Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects ranging from Iranian food and poetry to the current political turmoil.


Hooman Majd on The Daily Show

Journalist and author Hooman Majd on The Daily Show, discussing nuclear enrichment, Iranian sentiments towards the U.S., and etc. with Jon Stewart. His book is The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran.

Using Popular Discontent to Create an Unpopular Government

Reza Pahlavi
In 1979, Iran witnessed the creation of an unpopular government based purely on popular discontent. In 2007, another group of people – Solidarity Iran – are seemingly attempting to ferment similar change by using popular discontent in order to create a government in Iran based on their own wishes. Never, except for possibly once in the 1950s, has any authority in Iran come to power purely with the vision of instituting a government on the bases or desires of the Iranian people. Each has come with its own self-serving agenda in mind, which is why each has also failed to satisfy the people of Iran. The group of exiles launching the movement “Solidarity Iran” are no different. It is because almost every dissident group comes with an agenda, comes with a perceived method that places themselves in power, and comes from a perspective of egoism rather than civil service, that each inevitably fails to achieve not only the popular support of Iranians but also experiences internal conflicts.

As noted by Ahmad Ra’fat, “What Iranians outside are fighting for is quite different from what Iranians inside the country want.”

Iranians on the outside want a form-based government. They want to see a constitutional monarchy, like Reza Pahlavi’s; or they want to see a socialist government, like the MKO. They desire structures and persons. They’ve decided on their presidents and representatives, should they come into power. They are not content driven, and even if they are, the content of rights which they seek to give Iranians are overshadowed by the the form in which they wish to place those rights. Reza Pahlavi, for example, talks about content (human rights, democracy, and freedom) but will always be overshadowed by form (the creation of a monarchy). Rightfully so, we should never fully trust an individual who conflates personal interests with the interest of others – it’s like trusting a director of a corporation who is trying to persuade the rest of the board to agree to a contract with another company he owns. The conflict of interest is so large, it’s impossible to ignore. In the same way, our exiles have too many conflicts of interest to ignore. Nor should they be ignored, for to ignore them risks creating a situation dreadfully similar to 1979.

In the end, should we trust Solidarity Iran? No. We can never trust any organization which wishes to use foreign powers to accomplish its own objectives. The fact that the Solidarity Iran movement is filled with persons whose objective is coupled with how successful they are at persuading European and American powers, is all the indication we need that they cannot be trusted as actually desiring to fulfill the needs of Iranians everywhere.

The Iranian Government is Targeting the Diaspora, not the United States

I wrote about this issue on Iranian Truth, but I think it’s relevant to address this matter in a more direct way, given that there have been various theories posited in regard to Iran’s recent arrests of Iranian-Americans. These arrests are not an attack against America. They are an attack against us, the Iranian diaspora. They are a method being used to silence our dissent and our efforts to discuss democracy and human rights openly and without fear. They are part of a process being used to make us second-guess our efforts, our thoughts, our beliefs, and our hopes. See the effect:

In a recent NY Times interview Professor Abbas Milani, the director of the Iranian studies program at Stanford University, is quoted as saying, “People don’t want to come to conferences, they don’t even want to talk on the phone. The regime has created an atmosphere of absolute terror.” The National Iranian American Council notes that Iranian-Americans are hesitant to go to Iran this summer due to the arbitrariness of the arrests and detentions. As a result, in fact, the State Department has gone so far as to specifically advise Iranian-Americans to “consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning to travel to Iran.”