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Tehran Times - Iran's Leading International Daily

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    Noruz, the Iranian New Year! Even hearing the sound of the words gives me a warm feeling that spring is finally coming.  Here in Denver, Colorado in the United States, the winter snow has just begun to melt, it is cold outside and morning temperatures still dip below 0 Celsius.  
     
    Last week with the frost on the rooftops and the ground covered with ice and snow, the scene outdoors looked more like it could be the week before Yalda Night rather than a few weeks before Noruz. Nevertheless, I told myself, it is time to start growing Sabzeh, the beautiful green sprouts of wheat or lentils to decorate the Sofreh-ye Haft Seen, the special Noruz table.
     
    Likewise, the time has come for me to recall all the special symbolic items, each one beginning with the Persian letter Seen, necessary for our Sofreh. Let me see; in addition to sprouts (sabzeh), I need apples (sib), wheat sprout pudding (samanu), garlic (sir), vinegar (serkeh), sumac (sumaq), and Lotus tree fruit (senjed), but that’s hard to find here so maybe I’ll use coins (sekkeh) instead. Also I have to buy a hyacinth (sonbol) at the florist and some eggs to color, an orange to place in a bowl of water, a bottle of rose water, and clean the house, and…
     
    Wait a minute, Yuram, you say. OK, fine, you converted to Islam over 10 years ago, and you adopted the Shia mazhab, but, you’re not from Iran, so why are you doing all these preparations for Noruz? An excellent question; let me try to explain. How did I arrive at this point? Indeed, Allah works in mysterious ways.  
     
    There are two main reasons. First, my introduction to Islam came from someone who studied in Qom and whose family hails from Iran, Dr. Ibrahim Kazerooni. I spent many wonderful Saturday afternoons with him at his home learning about Islam, Iran and the Middle East while enjoying chai Irani (Iranian tea). Second, my disgust over Washington’s post 9/11 Middle East policies pushed me to become an activist.  
     
    When the rhetoric against Iran ramped up after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, I began sending letters of protest to newspapers here in the U.S., but no one was interested in publishing my views. So much for the vaunted First Amendment, I thought to myself. By 2006, my letters had expanded into full-blown op-eds, and still no takers, so I expanded my scope and sent some articles to a few English language news sites in the Middle East, among them the Tehran Times.
     
    Then one day, I received an email from Hamid Golpira of the Tehran Times, with a link to an article I had submitted earlier entitled “Unbalanced U.S. Policy on Palestine”. That was in June of 2006, and after two more years of writing articles, Hamid asked me if I could also do a little editing to which I responded, “hatman!”(sure!). Today, over 8 years and 120 articles later, I’m still writing and editing for the Tehran Times.  
     
    Every morning, 6 days a week, I receive an email with news files in English for editing from Mr. Mousavi, with whom I try to communicate exclusively in Persian, so this is like having a personal daily lesson in Farsi live from Tehran! And after editing, by my rough calculation, some 10,000 of his news articles, I can honestly say that his English is far better than my Persian. Nevertheless, I still keep trying and learning.
     
    In 2012, my wife, Batyah, and I had the privilege of visiting Iran and we both fell in love with the country and the people. After we stopped in at the Tehran Times, we went on to Mashhad to visit the Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) and then to Shiraz, Isfahan and Qom. We both hope someday to return, and, if the Foreign Ministry accepts us as resident aliens, to reside in Iran. 
     
    So you see, it’s only natural that I celebrate Noruz, and if I’m counting correctly, this is our tenth year of sharing this most beautiful Iranian way of welcoming spring and the New Year. Next year, Noruz in Iran, insha’Allah.
     
     
    YAW/
    END
     

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    * Actor Nasser Gitijah (1935–April 8, 2014)
     
    He played memorable roles in the popular TV series “Morad Barghi” and “Haft Dokhtaroon” directed by Parviz Kardan and “Tenth Night” by Hassan Fat’hi.
     
    His role in Reza Attaran’s acclaimed movie “I Feel Sleepy” brought him an honorary certificate at the 30th Fajr International Film Festival in 2012.
    * Tar and setar virtuoso Mohammadreza Lotfi (1947–May 2, 2014)
     
    His collaboration with prominent Iranian vocalists and musicians, including Mohammadreza Shajarian, Shahram Nazeri, and Parviz Meshkatian resulted in creation of songs that became hits of traditional Iranian music during the 1980s. 
     
    Lotfi performed widely in concerts in countries across Asia, Europe and North America.

    * Photojournalist Hossein Partovi (1942-May 18, 2014)
     
    He shot to fame for his photograph that depicts a group of students from Iran’s air force academy saluting the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini on February 11, 1979.

    * Actor Baqer Sahrarudi (1941-June 29, 2014)
     
    Famous for his unique style of performance, he played roles in several movies including “Non-profit Police Station”, “Kingdom of Solomon” and “Marriage, Iranian Style”.
     
    He also appeared in several acclaimed TV series, including “Alley of Acacia” and “Garlic and Vinegar”. 
    * Poet Simin Behbahani (1927-August 19, 2014)
     
    Mostly known for the new rhymes she innovated in modern Persian ghazal (ode) form, she wrote over twenty anthologies of poetry. 
     
    Her first collection “The Broken Setar” was published in 1951 and her last, “The Collection of Simin Behbahani’s Poems”, came out in 2012.
     
    A selection of her poems rendered into English by Iranian translator Ismail Salami was published in a book entitled “Maybe It’s the Messiah” in 2002.

    * Khorasan regional music maestro Gholam-Ali Purataii (1941-October 4, 2014)
     
    He was mostly known by his song “Navaii, Navaii”. Purataii used many poems by Rumi and Ferdowsi during the numerous concerts that he performed in Iranian and international events.

    * Pop singer Morteza Pashaii (1984–November 14, 2014)
     
    He made his debut album in 2010 with “There Is Someone”. He also recorded three other albums “One-Way Road”, “Breathe” and “Worship”. 
     
    Pashaii died of gastric cancer in Tehran at the age of 30.
    * Actor Majid Bahrami (1977–15 November, 2014)
     
    Bahrami died after some three years of battling blood cancer. 
     
    He starred in many plays, movies and TV series, including “The Capital 2” and “Less than Few Minutes”. He was one of the leading actors in Mehdi Naderi’s war drama “Farewell Baghdad”, which was Iran’s submission to the Academy Awards in 2010.

    * Actor Anushirvan Arjmand (1941-December 14, 2014)
     
    He played in several films and TV series, however he is mostly famous for his roles in historical and religious TV series, including “Imam Ali (AS)” and “Mokhtarnameh” by Iranian director Davud Mirbaqeri.

    * Actor/writer Morteza Ahamdi (1924–December 21, 2014)
     
    He was one of the few artists who possessed expertise in Iran’s traditional theatrical performances such as ru-hozi, pardekhani and siah-bazi.
     
    Ahmadi played roles in many films and TV series, including “The Sultan of Sahebqaran”, “Grand Cinema”, “Waiting for Satan”, “”Autobus” and “The Man who Knew Too Much”.

    * Voice actor Ahmad Rasulzadeh (1931-January 9, 2015)
     
    He was famous for lending his voice to the characters of Mexican American actor Anthony Quinn in several movies.
     
    Rasulzadeh also dubbed over Orson Welles’s voice in “The Long, Hot Summer” directed Martin Ritt and “A Man for All Seasons” by Fred Zinnemann.

    * Poet Moshfeq Kashani (1925-January 18, 2015)
     
    One of the restorers of Persian classical poetry, he composed over ten collections of poems and books, including “Ballade of Life”, “Memoires”, “Wine of Sun”, “Lightening”, “The Mirror of Imagination”, “The Red Spring of Ballade” and “The Mystery of Winter”.
     
    His works were highly regarded by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
    * Film critic, author and filmmaker Zaven Qukasian (1950–February, 20 2015)
     
    He was the author of a large number books and biographies of prominent Iranian filmmakers and stars, including Bahram Beizaii, Masud Kimiaii, Abbas Kiarostami, Bahman Farmanara, Khosro Sinaii, Golab Adineh, Reza Arham-Sadr and Fatemeh Motamed-Arya. 
     
    He made his debut feature film “All My Children” in 1984. 
     
    MA/YAW
    END
     

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    * UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visited Iran in late April. She visited several Iranian historical sites registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during her sojourn in Iran. 
     
    The Bam Citadel in Kerman Province, the mausoleums of Hafez and Sadi in Shiraz, and Chehel Sotun Palace and Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan were among the sites she visited.
    * The 5200-year-old Burnt City located in southeastern Iran was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee on June 22.
     
    A 10-centimeter ruler with an accuracy of half a millimeter, an artificial eyeball, an earthenware bowl bearing the world’s oldest example of animation and many other artifacts have been discovered among the ruins of the city in the course of the many seasons of archaeological excavations conducted by Iranian teams.

    * Several Iranian musicians and literati received France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. The medal is the highest decoration awarded by the French government.
     
    Vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian received France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on June 24, 2014. Iranian cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on October 27, 2014. Derambakhsh was the first Iranian visual artist to have received the award. 
     
    Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjuii received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 10, 2014. Mehrjuii is known outside of the country as one of Iran’s new wave directors.
     
    Iranian author Mahmud Dowlatabadi, mostly famous for his novel “Kalidar”, received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 18, 2014.
     
    Iranian translator Lili Golestan, who is also the curator of Tehran’s Golestan Gallery, received France’s Order of Academic Palms on November 19, 2014.
     
    However, Iranian tar virtuoso and composer Hossein Alizadeh, who has worked with many Iranian and foreign musicians, refused to accept the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 30, 2014.
     
    In an open letter, Alizadeh said that he does not need any decorations and added that he derives satisfaction from his good name.

    * Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad won one of two jury grand prizes at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Award for her acclaimed social drama “Tales” on December 13, 2014.
     
    However, she plans to sell the award during an international auction to raise funds for homeless women.

    * The Cinquantenaire Museum - Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels returned a collection of Persian artifacts, which had been taken by a Belgian diplomat 35 years ago. The treasure arrived in Tehran on December 25.
     
    The collection, which contains over 300 ancient items, was restituted to the Iranian Embassy in Brussels after a Brussels appeals court ruled that the Iranian artifacts must be sent back to Iran. 

    * Renowned Japanese musician Kitaro gave concerts in Tehran in October, 2014. The concerts by the Grammy award-winning musician were warmly welcomed by the Iranian concertgoers.

    * Iranian stage director Behruz Gharibpur and architect Mohammad-Mansur Falamaki each received the order of Stella d’Italia (Star of Italy) for their lifetime achievements on February 16.
     
    Gharibpur’s cultural activities and stage performances in Italy were said to be the reasons for the honor, and Falamaki is a prominent architectural advocate promoting true Iranian architecture. 

    * The southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz was designated Iran’s Book Capital from among ten nominations competing for the position on February 21, 2015. 
     
    Nine other nominations were Bushehr, Yazd, Tabriz, Shahr-e Kord, Qom, Kashan, Kermanshah, Gonbad-e Kavus and Neyshabur.

    * A collection from the “Rainbow” series by German artist Otto Piene (1928–2014), one of the leading figures in technology-based art opened at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art on February 25, 2015.
     
    His first ever exhibit in the Middle East, the exhibit reveals a variety of artworks ranging from paintings to light sculptures, smoke and fire paintings, and beautiful environmental “sky art”. The exhibit runs until April 17, 2015.

    * Iranian maestro Ali Rahbari returned to his homeland to restore the Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO), a mission that he had left unfinished in 2005.
     
    He began on March 5, 2015, and plans to perform the Symphony No. 9, Ludwig van Beethoven’s final complete symphony, during his new collaboration with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra.
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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  • 03/18/15--14:04: Art news in brief
  • Serbian town hosts Iranian film festival
    TEHRAN -- Prokuplje, a town located in the southern part of Serbia, is playing host to a festival of Iranian films, which opened on Tuesday.
     
    The three-day festival is screening a lineup of acclaimed films, including “The Kingdom of Solomon” directed by Shahriar Bahrani, “Here without Me” by Bahram Tavakkolo, and “Superstar” by Tamineh Milani.
     
      
    Iran’s Siavash to perform at UNESCO HQ
    TEHRAN -- Iranian traditional music ensemble Siavash will perform a concert at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris tonight.
     
    Vocalist Homayun Shajarian and composer Sohrab Purnazeri, who is also the leader of the ensemble, have prepared a repertoire of seven songs based on poems by Hafez, Rumi and several other literati.
     
    Daf player Hossein Rezainia, santur player Mahyar Tarihi, percussionist Aiin Meshkatian, tar player Azad Mirzapur and cellist Atena Eshtiaqi will also accompany Shajarian and Purnazeri during the concert.
     
    The concert is a prelude to the International Day of Noruz, which will be held at UNESCO HQ on March 24. 
     
     
    Director grants copy of “Hush…” to Monash University 
    TEHRAN -- Iranian filmmaker Puran Derakhshandeh has granted a copy of her film “Hush… Girls Don’t Scream” to the archive of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
     
    Derakhshandeh presented the copy of the film on Monday after her speech at the Conference on West and Central Asia, which was held at the Faculty of Arts of Monash University from March 14 to 16.
     
    The film was also screened at the conference. 
     
    “Hush… Girls Don’t Scream” is about a young girl named Shirin who is supposed to get married in a couple of hours, but she unexpectedly murders a man. The cause of the crime is rooted in her nightmarish childhood.
     
    MMS/RM/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – Nomads from various regions of Iran will gather in Tehran’s Sadabad Cultural Historical Complex to celebrate Noruz, the Iranian New Year, with a series of exhibits and live music performances during the holiday, which will begin on March 21. 
     
    Handicrafts from different Iranian regions including Lorestan, Kordestan and Khorasan will go on display in several exhibits at the complex, director of the complex Yusef Mansurzadeh said in a press conference on Wednesday.
     
    Live traditional and pop music performances by different local ensembles have also been arranged for the visitors, he added.
     
    Visitors can also tour the complex on traditional coaches, he said.
     
    The complex is home to sixteen different museums introducing the history of Iran over the past century, and the visitors will have the opportunity to visit the museums during the holiday, he added.
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     
     
     
     

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    TEHRAN – The Iranian ensemble Kahbod has won the first prize at the 4th International Mugham Festival, which is currently underway in Baku, Azerbaijan.
     
    Vahid Taaj, singer of the ensemble, was also named best vocalist at the festival, Persian media reported on Wednesday.
     
    The ensemble features Isa Shokri on daf, Hamid Khansari on oud, Shima Bolukifar on kamancheh, Sepehr Lajevardi on tar and Marjan Mehraban on qanun.
     
    Iranian musician Dariush Talai was a jury member of the festival, which runs until March 18.
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – Artists from twelve countries will come together at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on March 21 to celebrate Noruz, the Iranian New Year festival.
     
    The artists are from Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Iraq, all of which observe Noruz as a national celebration.
     
    A large number of diplomats and officials of the countries will also attend the festival, Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization announced in press release on Tuesday. 
     
    Iranian band Nasut is scheduled to perform a rich repertoire of pieces of traditional Iranian music during the celebration.
     
    Exhibitions of Persian handicrafts, books, photos Iranian tourist attractions, have also been arranged by Iranian artists.
     
    Noruz has been registered on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a common element from Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan in 2009.
     
    Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Kazakhstan added to the Noruz file during a four-day meeting in Tehran in early March.
     
    The countries must obtain UNESCO approval for the new members of the file.
     
    MA/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- Fatemeh Motamed-Arya said on Tuesday that she will join in the Eighth Seen: Sarpanah, a charity auction which has been organized by some Iranian cineastes to raise funds for the construction of shelters for homeless people in the country.
     
    In a press release published on some Persian news websites, Motamed-Arya added that she will donate the Crystal Simorgh for best actress that she received for her role in “Gilaneh” at the Fajr International Film Festival in 2005 to the charity auction.
     
    “I present the dearest award I have ever received to the women and men of my homeland who are deprived of a home,” she stated.
     
    “I present my award to this charity, because I think this social movement, like any other movement in the four corners of the world, is of an humanitarian origin and causes people with any belief and any financial asset to unite for a great social event,” she added.
     
    The charity auction was initiated by director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad on March 6 when she announced her plan to sell the award she won for “Tales” at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards in 2014 during an international auction to raise funds for homeless women.
     
    The auction will be organized during spring by the Toloo Bi-neshanha Society, a Tehran-based charity institute that prepares food for homeless people
     
    Actors Reza Kianian, Parviz Parastuii, Bahram Radan and Mahnaz Afshar and director Bahman Farmanara have joined the charity, which is entitled “The Eighth Seen: Sarpanah”.
     
    The title refers to the Haft Seen table, which is set by Iranians during Noruz, the celebration of the Iranian New Year.
     
    The table includes seven items that begin with the Persian letter “seen” which is pronounced in the same way as “s” in English. 
     
    The items are sib (apple), samanu (a sweet pudding made from wheat sprouts), seer (garlic), sekkeh (coins), sumac (a spice), serkeh (vinegar) and sabzeh (green sprouted seeds).
     
    “Sarpanah” in the title means shelter.
     
    Photo: From left to right, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Bahram Radan, Jaleh Sameti and Baran Kowsari act in a scene from “Gilaneh”.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – Illustrations by three Iranian artists will be showcased at the 4th Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations (SECBI), which will be held at the Expo Centre in Sharjah from April 22 to May 2.
     
    The artists are Pejman Rahimizadeh, Peyman Rahimizadeh and Reza Dalvand, whose works have been published in the books “Rustam and Esfandiar”, “Zahhak” and “Something Black” respectively, Iran’s Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) announced on Monday.
     
    The works have been sent to the exhibition by the IIDCYA. 
     
    The exhibition has received over 1200 submissions from 35 countries, which will be evaluate by a jury composed of Egyptian critic Salah Beesar, Lebanese illustrator Maya Fedawi and Sudanese artist Al Tayeb Saeed.
     
    Three winners of the competition will receive cash prizes of $8000, $6000 and $4000 respectively. 
     
    MA/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – The Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO) resumed concerts at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on Monday evening after a five-year hiatus by performing the national anthem.
     
    Maestro Ali Rahbari conducted the orchestra during the performance, which was warmly welcomed by Iranian officials.
     
    First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati, Former Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Deputy Culture Minister for Artistic Affairs Ali Moradkhani attended the concert.
     
    A large number of Iranian musicians, including Shahram Nazeri, Farhad Fakhreddini, Shahin Farhat and Davud Ganjei, were also in attendance at the concert.
     
    “I must admit tonight is the best night of my life when I witness the reopening of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra after many years,” Vienna-based maestro Ali Rahbari said in his short speech addressing the audience. 
     
    “Several years before the victory of Islamic Revolution (1979), I began work with the fathers of these musicians and now after all these years, I continue with their grandchildren. Believe me, they are your own children and if you abandon them, you have committed a great sin. I am very happy to have such musicians in my country, Iran,” he asserted. 
     
    Rahbari called members of the orchestra a great treasure of the art and culture of the country and asked officials to help support the orchestra and pave the way for better activities for the talented musicians.
     
    He also expressed his thanks to President Hassan Rouhani, the culture minister and all the individuals who have made efforts to restore the orchestra. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    Noruz, the Iranian New Year! Even hearing the sound of the words gives me a warm feeling that spring is finally coming.  Here in Denver, Colorado in the United States, the winter snow has just begun to melt, it is cold outside and morning temperatures still dip below 0 Celsius.  
     
    Last week with the frost on the rooftops and the ground covered with ice and snow, the scene outdoors looked more like it could be the week before Yalda Night rather than a few weeks before Noruz. Nevertheless, I told myself, it is time to start growing Sabzeh, the beautiful green sprouts of wheat or lentils to decorate the Sofreh-ye Haft Seen, the special Noruz table.
     
    Likewise, the time has come for me to recall all the special symbolic items, each one beginning with the Persian letter Seen, necessary for our Sofreh. Let me see; in addition to sprouts (sabzeh), I need apples (sib), wheat sprout pudding (samanu), garlic (sir), vinegar (serkeh), sumac (sumaq), and Lotus tree fruit (senjed), but that’s hard to find here so maybe I’ll use coins (sekkeh) instead. Also I have to buy a hyacinth (sonbol) at the florist and some eggs to color, an orange to place in a bowl of water, a bottle of rose water, and clean the house, and…
     
    Wait a minute, Yuram, you say. OK, fine, you converted to Islam over 10 years ago, and you adopted the Shia mazhab, but, you’re not from Iran, so why are you doing all these preparations for Noruz? An excellent question; let me try to explain. How did I arrive at this point? Indeed, Allah works in mysterious ways.  
     
    There are two main reasons. First, my introduction to Islam came from someone who studied in Qom and whose family hails from Iran, Dr. Ibrahim Kazerooni. I spent many wonderful Saturday afternoons with him at his home learning about Islam, Iran and the Middle East while enjoying chai Irani (Iranian tea). Second, my disgust over Washington’s post 9/11 Middle East policies pushed me to become an activist.  
     
    When the rhetoric against Iran ramped up after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, I began sending letters of protest to newspapers here in the U.S., but no one was interested in publishing my views. So much for the vaunted First Amendment, I thought to myself. By 2006, my letters had expanded into full-blown op-eds, and still no takers, so I expanded my scope and sent some articles to a few English language news sites in the Middle East, among them the Tehran Times.
     
    Then one day, I received an email from Hamid Golpira of the Tehran Times, with a link to an article I had submitted earlier entitled “Unbalanced U.S. Policy on Palestine”. That was in June of 2006, and after two more years of writing articles, Hamid asked me if I could also do a little editing to which I responded, “hatman!”(sure!). Today, over 8 years and 120 articles later, I’m still writing and editing for the Tehran Times.  
     
    Every morning, 6 days a week, I receive an email with news files in English for editing from Mr. Mousavi, with whom I try to communicate exclusively in Persian, so this is like having a personal daily lesson in Farsi live from Tehran! And after editing, by my rough calculation, some 10,000 of his news articles, I can honestly say that his English is far better than my Persian. Nevertheless, I still keep trying and learning.
     
    In 2012, my wife, Batyah, and I had the privilege of visiting Iran and we both fell in love with the country and the people. After we stopped in at the Tehran Times, we went on to Mashhad to visit the Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) and then to Shiraz, Isfahan and Qom. We both hope someday to return, and, if the Foreign Ministry accepts us as resident aliens, to reside in Iran. 
     
    So you see, it’s only natural that I celebrate Noruz, and if I’m counting correctly, this is our tenth year of sharing this most beautiful Iranian way of welcoming spring and the New Year. Next year, Noruz in Iran, insha’Allah.
     
     
    YAW/
    END
     

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    * Actor Nasser Gitijah (1935–April 8, 2014)
     
    He played memorable roles in the popular TV series “Morad Barghi” and “Haft Dokhtaroon” directed by Parviz Kardan and “Tenth Night” by Hassan Fat’hi.
     
    His role in Reza Attaran’s acclaimed movie “I Feel Sleepy” brought him an honorary certificate at the 30th Fajr International Film Festival in 2012.
    * Tar and setar virtuoso Mohammadreza Lotfi (1947–May 2, 2014)
     
    His collaboration with prominent Iranian vocalists and musicians, including Mohammadreza Shajarian, Shahram Nazeri, and Parviz Meshkatian resulted in creation of songs that became hits of traditional Iranian music during the 1980s. 
     
    Lotfi performed widely in concerts in countries across Asia, Europe and North America.

    * Photojournalist Hossein Partovi (1942-May 18, 2014)
     
    He shot to fame for his photograph that depicts a group of students from Iran’s air force academy saluting the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini on February 11, 1979.

    * Actor Baqer Sahrarudi (1941-June 29, 2014)
     
    Famous for his unique style of performance, he played roles in several movies including “Non-profit Police Station”, “Kingdom of Solomon” and “Marriage, Iranian Style”.
     
    He also appeared in several acclaimed TV series, including “Alley of Acacia” and “Garlic and Vinegar”. 
    * Poet Simin Behbahani (1927-August 19, 2014)
     
    Mostly known for the new rhymes she innovated in modern Persian ghazal (ode) form, she wrote over twenty anthologies of poetry. 
     
    Her first collection “The Broken Setar” was published in 1951 and her last, “The Collection of Simin Behbahani’s Poems”, came out in 2012.
     
    A selection of her poems rendered into English by Iranian translator Ismail Salami was published in a book entitled “Maybe It’s the Messiah” in 2002.

    * Khorasan regional music maestro Gholam-Ali Purataii (1941-October 4, 2014)
     
    He was mostly known by his song “Navaii, Navaii”. Purataii used many poems by Rumi and Ferdowsi during the numerous concerts that he performed in Iranian and international events.

    * Pop singer Morteza Pashaii (1984–November 14, 2014)
     
    He made his debut album in 2010 with “There Is Someone”. He also recorded three other albums “One-Way Road”, “Breathe” and “Worship”. 
     
    Pashaii died of gastric cancer in Tehran at the age of 30.
    * Actor Majid Bahrami (1977–15 November, 2014)
     
    Bahrami died after some three years of battling blood cancer. 
     
    He starred in many plays, movies and TV series, including “The Capital 2” and “Less than Few Minutes”. He was one of the leading actors in Mehdi Naderi’s war drama “Farewell Baghdad”, which was Iran’s submission to the Academy Awards in 2010.

    * Actor Anushirvan Arjmand (1941-December 14, 2014)
     
    He played in several films and TV series, however he is mostly famous for his roles in historical and religious TV series, including “Imam Ali (AS)” and “Mokhtarnameh” by Iranian director Davud Mirbaqeri.

    * Actor/writer Morteza Ahamdi (1924–December 21, 2014)
     
    He was one of the few artists who possessed expertise in Iran’s traditional theatrical performances such as ru-hozi, pardekhani and siah-bazi.
     
    Ahmadi played roles in many films and TV series, including “The Sultan of Sahebqaran”, “Grand Cinema”, “Waiting for Satan”, “”Autobus” and “The Man who Knew Too Much”.

    * Voice actor Ahmad Rasulzadeh (1931-January 9, 2015)
     
    He was famous for lending his voice to the characters of Mexican American actor Anthony Quinn in several movies.
     
    Rasulzadeh also dubbed over Orson Welles’s voice in “The Long, Hot Summer” directed Martin Ritt and “A Man for All Seasons” by Fred Zinnemann.

    * Poet Moshfeq Kashani (1925-January 18, 2015)
     
    One of the restorers of Persian classical poetry, he composed over ten collections of poems and books, including “Ballade of Life”, “Memoires”, “Wine of Sun”, “Lightening”, “The Mirror of Imagination”, “The Red Spring of Ballade” and “The Mystery of Winter”.
     
    His works were highly regarded by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
    * Film critic, author and filmmaker Zaven Qukasian (1950–February, 20 2015)
     
    He was the author of a large number books and biographies of prominent Iranian filmmakers and stars, including Bahram Beizaii, Masud Kimiaii, Abbas Kiarostami, Bahman Farmanara, Khosro Sinaii, Golab Adineh, Reza Arham-Sadr and Fatemeh Motamed-Arya. 
     
    He made his debut feature film “All My Children” in 1984. 
     
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    * UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visited Iran in late April. She visited several Iranian historical sites registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during her sojourn in Iran. 
     
    The Bam Citadel in Kerman Province, the mausoleums of Hafez and Sadi in Shiraz, and Chehel Sotun Palace and Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan were among the sites she visited.
    * The 5200-year-old Burnt City located in southeastern Iran was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee on June 22.
     
    A 10-centimeter ruler with an accuracy of half a millimeter, an artificial eyeball, an earthenware bowl bearing the world’s oldest example of animation and many other artifacts have been discovered among the ruins of the city in the course of the many seasons of archaeological excavations conducted by Iranian teams.

    * Several Iranian musicians and literati received France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. The medal is the highest decoration awarded by the French government.
     
    Vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian received France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on June 24, 2014. Iranian cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on October 27, 2014. Derambakhsh was the first Iranian visual artist to have received the award. 
     
    Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjuii received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 10, 2014. Mehrjuii is known outside of the country as one of Iran’s new wave directors.
     
    Iranian author Mahmud Dowlatabadi, mostly famous for his novel “Kalidar”, received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 18, 2014.
     
    Iranian translator Lili Golestan, who is also the curator of Tehran’s Golestan Gallery, received France’s Order of Academic Palms on November 19, 2014.
     
    However, Iranian tar virtuoso and composer Hossein Alizadeh, who has worked with many Iranian and foreign musicians, refused to accept the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on November 30, 2014.
     
    In an open letter, Alizadeh said that he does not need any decorations and added that he derives satisfaction from his good name.

    * Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad won one of two jury grand prizes at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Award for her acclaimed social drama “Tales” on December 13, 2014.
     
    However, she plans to sell the award during an international auction to raise funds for homeless women.

    * The Cinquantenaire Museum - Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels returned a collection of Persian artifacts, which had been taken by a Belgian diplomat 35 years ago. The treasure arrived in Tehran on December 25.
     
    The collection, which contains over 300 ancient items, was restituted to the Iranian Embassy in Brussels after a Brussels appeals court ruled that the Iranian artifacts must be sent back to Iran. 

    * Renowned Japanese musician Kitaro gave concerts in Tehran in October, 2014. The concerts by the Grammy award-winning musician were warmly welcomed by the Iranian concertgoers.

    * Iranian stage director Behruz Gharibpur and architect Mohammad-Mansur Falamaki each received the order of Stella d’Italia (Star of Italy) for their lifetime achievements on February 16.
     
    Gharibpur’s cultural activities and stage performances in Italy were said to be the reasons for the honor, and Falamaki is a prominent architectural advocate promoting true Iranian architecture. 

    * The southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz was designated Iran’s Book Capital from among ten nominations competing for the position on February 21, 2015. 
     
    Nine other nominations were Bushehr, Yazd, Tabriz, Shahr-e Kord, Qom, Kashan, Kermanshah, Gonbad-e Kavus and Neyshabur.

    * A collection from the “Rainbow” series by German artist Otto Piene (1928–2014), one of the leading figures in technology-based art opened at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art on February 25, 2015.
     
    His first ever exhibit in the Middle East, the exhibit reveals a variety of artworks ranging from paintings to light sculptures, smoke and fire paintings, and beautiful environmental “sky art”. The exhibit runs until April 17, 2015.

    * Iranian maestro Ali Rahbari returned to his homeland to restore the Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO), a mission that he had left unfinished in 2005.
     
    He began on March 5, 2015, and plans to perform the Symphony No. 9, Ludwig van Beethoven’s final complete symphony, during his new collaboration with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra.
     
    RM/YAW
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  • 03/18/15--14:04: Art news in brief
  • Serbian town hosts Iranian film festival
    TEHRAN -- Prokuplje, a town located in the southern part of Serbia, is playing host to a festival of Iranian films, which opened on Tuesday.
     
    The three-day festival is screening a lineup of acclaimed films, including “The Kingdom of Solomon” directed by Shahriar Bahrani, “Here without Me” by Bahram Tavakkolo, and “Superstar” by Tamineh Milani.
     
      
    Iran’s Siavash to perform at UNESCO HQ
    TEHRAN -- Iranian traditional music ensemble Siavash will perform a concert at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris tonight.
     
    Vocalist Homayun Shajarian and composer Sohrab Purnazeri, who is also the leader of the ensemble, have prepared a repertoire of seven songs based on poems by Hafez, Rumi and several other literati.
     
    Daf player Hossein Rezainia, santur player Mahyar Tarihi, percussionist Aiin Meshkatian, tar player Azad Mirzapur and cellist Atena Eshtiaqi will also accompany Shajarian and Purnazeri during the concert.
     
    The concert is a prelude to the International Day of Noruz, which will be held at UNESCO HQ on March 24. 
     
     
    Director grants copy of “Hush…” to Monash University 
    TEHRAN -- Iranian filmmaker Puran Derakhshandeh has granted a copy of her film “Hush… Girls Don’t Scream” to the archive of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
     
    Derakhshandeh presented the copy of the film on Monday after her speech at the Conference on West and Central Asia, which was held at the Faculty of Arts of Monash University from March 14 to 16.
     
    The film was also screened at the conference. 
     
    “Hush… Girls Don’t Scream” is about a young girl named Shirin who is supposed to get married in a couple of hours, but she unexpectedly murders a man. The cause of the crime is rooted in her nightmarish childhood.
     
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    TEHRAN – Nomads from various regions of Iran will gather in Tehran’s Sadabad Cultural Historical Complex to celebrate Noruz, the Iranian New Year, with a series of exhibits and live music performances during the holiday, which will begin on March 21. 
     
    Handicrafts from different Iranian regions including Lorestan, Kordestan and Khorasan will go on display in several exhibits at the complex, director of the complex Yusef Mansurzadeh said in a press conference on Wednesday.
     
    Live traditional and pop music performances by different local ensembles have also been arranged for the visitors, he added.
     
    Visitors can also tour the complex on traditional coaches, he said.
     
    The complex is home to sixteen different museums introducing the history of Iran over the past century, and the visitors will have the opportunity to visit the museums during the holiday, he added.
     
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    TEHRAN – The Iranian ensemble Kahbod has won the first prize at the 4th International Mugham Festival, which is currently underway in Baku, Azerbaijan.
     
    Vahid Taaj, singer of the ensemble, was also named best vocalist at the festival, Persian media reported on Wednesday.
     
    The ensemble features Isa Shokri on daf, Hamid Khansari on oud, Shima Bolukifar on kamancheh, Sepehr Lajevardi on tar and Marjan Mehraban on qanun.
     
    Iranian musician Dariush Talai was a jury member of the festival, which runs until March 18.
     
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    TEHRAN – Artists from twelve countries will come together at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on March 21 to celebrate Noruz, the Iranian New Year festival.
     
    The artists are from Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Iraq, all of which observe Noruz as a national celebration.
     
    A large number of diplomats and officials of the countries will also attend the festival, Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization announced in press release on Tuesday. 
     
    Iranian band Nasut is scheduled to perform a rich repertoire of pieces of traditional Iranian music during the celebration.
     
    Exhibitions of Persian handicrafts, books, photos Iranian tourist attractions, have also been arranged by Iranian artists.
     
    Noruz has been registered on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a common element from Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan in 2009.
     
    Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Kazakhstan added to the Noruz file during a four-day meeting in Tehran in early March.
     
    The countries must obtain UNESCO approval for the new members of the file.
     
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    TEHRAN -- Fatemeh Motamed-Arya said on Tuesday that she will join in the Eighth Seen: Sarpanah, a charity auction which has been organized by some Iranian cineastes to raise funds for the construction of shelters for homeless people in the country.
     
    In a press release published on some Persian news websites, Motamed-Arya added that she will donate the Crystal Simorgh for best actress that she received for her role in “Gilaneh” at the Fajr International Film Festival in 2005 to the charity auction.
     
    “I present the dearest award I have ever received to the women and men of my homeland who are deprived of a home,” she stated.
     
    “I present my award to this charity, because I think this social movement, like any other movement in the four corners of the world, is of an humanitarian origin and causes people with any belief and any financial asset to unite for a great social event,” she added.
     
    The charity auction was initiated by director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad on March 6 when she announced her plan to sell the award she won for “Tales” at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards in 2014 during an international auction to raise funds for homeless women.
     
    The auction will be organized during spring by the Toloo Bi-neshanha Society, a Tehran-based charity institute that prepares food for homeless people
     
    Actors Reza Kianian, Parviz Parastuii, Bahram Radan and Mahnaz Afshar and director Bahman Farmanara have joined the charity, which is entitled “The Eighth Seen: Sarpanah”.
     
    The title refers to the Haft Seen table, which is set by Iranians during Noruz, the celebration of the Iranian New Year.
     
    The table includes seven items that begin with the Persian letter “seen” which is pronounced in the same way as “s” in English. 
     
    The items are sib (apple), samanu (a sweet pudding made from wheat sprouts), seer (garlic), sekkeh (coins), sumac (a spice), serkeh (vinegar) and sabzeh (green sprouted seeds).
     
    “Sarpanah” in the title means shelter.
     
    Photo: From left to right, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Bahram Radan, Jaleh Sameti and Baran Kowsari act in a scene from “Gilaneh”.
     
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    TEHRAN – Iranian photographers Saleh Rozati and Ako Salemi have been honored at the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards, which is the world’s biggest photography competition.
     
    Rozati’s “Don Bohlul”, which depicts a man wrapping a tablecloth around himself, won first prize in the People category of the Open Competition section. 
     
    Salemi was presented with the third prize in the Mobile Phone competition section for his aerial shot entitled “Fighting” which shows a young boy wrestling with a goat.
     
    More than 10,000 competitors submitted phone images this year after the category was introduced for the first time.
     
    The award-winning photographs will be showcased in an exhibition at Somerset House in London from April 24 to May 10. 
     
    MA/YAW
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  • 04/03/15--12:23: Art news in brief
  • French movie theaters to screen “Facing Mirrors” 
    TEHRAN - “Facing Mirrors”, an Iranian drama about the transgender issue, will go on screen at 30 movie theaters in France beginning May 13.
     
    Directed by Negar Azarbaijani, the film is about Rana, who has chosen a path in order to support her family, while Adineh has fled his home and city to escape his complicated situation as a transsexual man prevented by his family from living as his true self. They find themselves on the same journey and compelled to know each other in a better way.
     
    The Persian language film will be screened with French subtitles in Paris, Lille, Clermont-Ferrand, Nice, Bordeaux and several other cities. 
     
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