"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of The Lord spoken by Jeremiah, The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "The Lord, The God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a Temple [see Temples] for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build The Temple of The Lord, The God of Israel, The God who is in Jerusalem."" (Ezra 1:1-3)
My (Sal) first "real" contact with an Iranian was during college. It was my junior year at UMM when I was an RA and would occassionally chat with her when doing "rounds" (walking around to make sure all the 200 estimated residents in the residencial hall were doing "alright"). She would later become a Christian after giving her life to the Lord (see pesonal savior) before going back to your homeland. Last time I heard about her was months after when a friend told me her family disabbandoned her because she became a Christian.
I would later meet more Iranians/Persians after as I became more aware of this ethnic group/people. I even had a dentist who was married to an Iranian, which she would talk about. I met a UMM student who shared some information of his Iranian background too.
"NEW YORK (AP) ?
Sarah Shourd, the American hiker released from detention in Iran after 410 days, addresses the press in New York on Sept. 19, 2010. Fellow US hikers, her fiance Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were captured with Sarah Shourd but have not yet been released.
An American woman who was held in Iran for more than 13 months and accused of espionage said Sunday she and two men detained with her never spied or committed any crime, calling their arrest "a huge misunderstanding."
Discussing her experience at the most length since her release Tuesday, Sarah Shourd underscored her gratitude at being released but said she felt only "one-third free" because her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal remain in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.
"This is not the time to celebrate," Shourd, 32, said at a New York news conference. "The only thing that enabled me to cross the gulf from prison to freedom alone was the knowledge that Shane and Josh wanted with all their hearts for my suffering to end."
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly. He later met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East and efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad told The Associated Press, "We're very glad that that lady was released. (Due) to the humanitarian perspective the Islamic Republic chose to adopt on the subject, she was released on bail. And we hope that the other two will soon be able to prove and provide evidence to the court that they had no ill intention in crossing the border, so that their release can also be secured."
Tying the case to Iran's assertion that some of its citizens are being held unjustly in the United States, he said, "It certainly does not give us joy when we see people in prison, wherever in the world that may be, and even when we think of prisoners here."
Composed but occasionally pausing when her voice wavered with emotion, Shourd thanked Iranians and Ahmadinejad in a carefully scripted return that spoke to the continuing delicacy of her situation. She didn't take questions or discuss the conditions in which she'd been held, walking away from the podium at a Manhattan hotel hand in hand with her mother, Nora, before Fattal's and Bauer's mothers answered reporters' queries.
Shourd grew up in Los Angeles, Bauer is a native of Onamia, Minn., and Fattal grew up in Pennsylvania.
Iran has issued espionage-related indictments against the three of them; the indictments could bring trials for the two men and proceedings in absentia for Shourd.
But Shourd stressed their innocence in a case that has added to the roster of tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
The three University of California at Berkeley graduates were detained in July 2009 after Iranian officials said they intentionally crossed the country's border from Iraq. Echoing accounts their families have given in their absence, Shourd said Sunday that the three had been hiking in a popular tourist area -- near a waterfall in Iraq's Kurdistan region -- and had no idea the border was nearby.
"If we were indeed near the Iraq-Iran border, that border was entirely unmarked and indistinguishable," she said.
"Shane and Josh do not deserve to be in prison one day longer than I was," she said. "We committed no crime and we are not spies. We in no way intended any harm to the Iranian government or its people and believe a huge misunderstanding led to our detention and prolonged imprisonment."
Shourd's mother has said she had health problems including a breast lump and precancerous cervical cells. Shourd said Sunday that doctors in Oman, where she went immediately after her release, had determined she was physically well.
Officials in Oman -- an ally of both Iran and the United States -- mediated a $500,000 bail for Shourd that satisfied Iranian authorities and apparently did not violate U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. The source of the bail payment has not been disclosed.
After 410 days in Iranian custody, "I walked out of prison with my spirit bruised but unbroken," she said.
Shourd left Oman on Saturday for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and took a commercial flight from there to Dulles International Airport, near Washington, the Americans' families said.
Shourd and Bauer had been living together in Damascus, Syria, where Bauer was working as a freelance journalist and Shourd as an English teacher. Fattal, an environmental activist, went to visit them last July, and the three went hiking.
She added that she hoped their experience would provide "an opportunity for Americans and Iranians to realize that an improved relationship would be in the best interest of all people."
Fattal's mother, Laura Fattal, of suburban Philadelphia, said she was encouraged by Shourd's release. But both she and Bauer's mother, Cindy Hickey, said it also had been hard for them.
"It was a very bittersweet moment for me -- sweet because I love Sarah very much ... and very bitter. I mean, the cold hard truth is: Shane and Josh are still in prison, and we want them home," she said at the news conference.
The two said they had asked to meet with Ahmadinejad during his trip in New York, as they have unsuccessfully in the past.
Ahmadinejad's suggestions that the three could be traded for Iranians held in the U.S. have raised concerns that the Americans could be used as bargaining chips as the two countries face off over issues like Iran's disputed nuclear program. The U.S. accuses Iran of hiding plans to build a nuclear bomb; Iran denies that and says it's working only toward building nuclear power plants.
But Laura Fattal said the men's mothers weren't focused on such fears.
"We are mothers, we are not politicians, and we are just very, very eager, clearly, to have our children returned to us," she said."
" (CNN) -- An American journalist detained in Iran has received a visit from an attorney, her father said on Monday.
Journalist Roxana Saberi, shown working in Iran in 2004, was detained more than a month ago, her father says.
"We're relieved" at news of the attorney's visit to Roxana Saberi, said her father, Reza Saberi, from his Fargo, North Dakota, home.
He said he spoke with the attorney shortly after the visit Sunday.
"He [the attorney] said initially her spirits were not good and she was not feeling well. When she started to talk, she cried. But her spirits changed when she heard about the outpouring of support. She had no idea how much attention her arrest is getting," Saberi said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday it delivered a petition bearing more than 10,000 signatures to Iranian diplomats at the United Nations. The petition calls for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to intervene in the situation.
"All of us are anxious to see [Saberi] released as soon as possible," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a written statement. "But at a minimum, she is entitled to basic due process. We call on President Ahmadinejad to ensure that her basic human rights are respected."
Saberi's father has said his daughter called him on February 10 and said she'd been arrested 10 days earlier.
"She said she bought a bottle of wine last year and kept it to take to a friend for her birthday," Reza Saberi said. "She said authorities told her the person who sold her the wine turned her in." Alcohol is banned in Iran.
Asked on March 2, Iran's Foreign Ministry would not confirm that Saberi was in custody or provide details of her alleged arrest. Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi, however, said she had been working there without a permit.
"In fact, her press card was revoked," Qashqavi said. "Without a permit, she should not have been engaged in news and information gathering in Iran."
CPJ, however, said in its Monday statement that a spokesman for Iran's judiciary confirmed on March 3 that Saberi, 31, was being held at Tehran's Evin prison.
Her father said Saberi has freelanced for National Public Radio and other news organizations and was writing a book about Iranian culture. She was almost finished, he said, and planned to return to the United States this month.
The Committee to Protect Journalists launched the petition on the social networking site Facebook on March 2, hoping to collect 1,000 signatures. However, the committee said the public outcry against Saberi's detention was so great that it extended the deadline for signatures.
Reza Saberi said Monday he still does not know when his daughter will be released or what charges she is facing.
"They said she'd be released in the next few days," he said, referring to what his daughter told him in February. "A few days have passed and she's still not out."
109,732 views•Nov 19, 2012
A 2000 episode of ABC's informative "4 Corners" program. "...
4 months ago
The murder of 290 civilians is criminal. I know a few who were on board those warships. Once they realized what the commander of the Vincennes did, they were and remain heartbroken. One Petty Officer 2nd class I knew committed suicide a few years later due to PTSD relating to the 7/3/88 fatal errors. Rogers should have been tried for manslaughter, not given medal. Those who conspired and flat out lied to their commanders, who then relayed this false information to the press, should have also been tried for their roles. Not one individual was held accountable for the loss of life and the families torn apart by the horrific act. Sure my government payed out a little for each life lost, but they never formally apologized.
Had my government admitted the events, fessed up to the lies, and held Rogers and company accountable, the PanAm murders likely would not have happened. ...
Most Americans would agree what happened on 7/3/88 was an avoidable tragedy. The blame lies squarely with Rogers. I honestly believe if he had not wrongly engaged the gunboats, both airline disasters wouldn't have happened. Rogers made two fatal and illegal errors with murderous consequences that day.
As an American civilian, I am so very sorry. I was just 12 at the time. I remember how heartbroken I was when the news hit. The excuses spewing out of Washington were sickening and immediately questionable. Claiming this jetliner was diving towards the US warships was horrendously false and inexcusable. Total BS. Yet nobody was held accountable. I can only imagine how the families of those murdered felt. Irans claims this was intentional were also false. But all they knew was the US was in their waters and shot down one of their passenger jets filled with 290 beautiful children, women, and men, in their own airspace on a well known flight path in broad daylight with clear skies. No attempts to get a visual to identify the aircraft was made. So tragic and completely inexcusable. To this day, the survivors have had no justice. Sure they received some compensation, but no absolute justice. Terror attacks are not justice as most, if not all, of the survivors are peaceful loving people who would wish to harm other innocent families. They know we are not directly responsible for our government's actions. Just as we know they are not directly responsible for their governments actions.
Peace to all...
23.7K subscribers "This year is the 30th anniversary of the terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103. The plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. A bomb had been placed in a cassette recorder in an unaccompanied suitcase. Everyone on the plane died along with 11 people on the ground - 270 people. The dead included 35 Syracuse University students and 10 people from Pennsylvania. Two Libyan intelligence officers were charged with murder. One was convicted. The other was acquitted.
(Video by Deb Kiner/PennLive.com)
" WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two years after a retired FBI agent disappeared in Iran, the State Department said it remains committed to finding him.
Robert Levinson was working as a private investigator when he disappeared during a business trip to Iran.
Sunday marks the second anniversary of the disappearance of Robert Levinson, 60, a father of seven children and grandfather of two.
"We reiterate our commitment to determining Mr. Levinson's welfare and whereabouts, and reuniting him with his family," acting State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.
Levinson disappeared during a business trip to Iran's Kish Island in 2007. Iranian authorities have said repeatedly that they do not know what might have happened to him, but the claim is widely doubted in the United States.
"On several diplomatic occasions when Bob Levinson's name has been brought up to Iranian officials, the standard answer is, 'We don't know anything about that.' But the next thing out of the Iranian officials' mouths are to discuss the matter of the Iranians held by the Americans in Irbil, Iraq," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, told reporters last month. "You can draw your own conclusions."
Nelson and Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Florida, have said they plan to introduce legislation in their respective houses calling on Iran to cooperate with the United States and come up with information about Levinson, their constituent.
Levinson had been working as a private investigator in Dubai. He was last heard from on March 8, 2007, when he checked into a Kish Island hotel and then checked out to return to the United States the following day. After leaving the FBI, he worked as a security consultant specializing in cigarette smuggling, Levinson's wife, Christine, said.
Wexler said Levinson never arrived at the airport for his flight home.
In December 2007, Levinson's wife and other relatives traveled to Iran and met with officials. Christine Levinson has said the Iranian government was polite and guaranteed her family's security on their trip, but provided no details regarding her husband's whereabouts.
The State Department is asking anyone with information about the case to contact the department or the Levinson family via the family's Web site, www.helpboblevinson.com. "
"In June, Sean Penn and two friends traveled to Tehran. It was Penn's first trip to the country. What he found was a culture in conflict. Although the nation is ruled by a very conservative, tradition-bound government, Penn talked to many younger Iranians who have a strong interest in Western culture and want their own country to liberalize its policies on individual rights. Beginning today, The Chronicle will publish a five-day series of his reports from Iran: ..
At 3:30 p.m. Munich-time, Norman, Reese and I boarded Lufthansa Flight 602 to Tehran. The other passengers were about 95 percent Iranian and a few Europeans. Last year, including journalists, fewer than 500 non-Iranian Americans visited Iran. I looked around the plane, full of modern men and women in Western garb, returning from vacations, family visits and business. Alcoholic beverages were served on the plane. But no alcohol sold for duty- free purchase. Iran is an Islamic state and a dry one. Nonetheless, many of these travelers were happy to get in their last swill before landing. ..
Eventually, Norman, Reese and I went forward to the customs booth and presented our three American passports. We were told to "wait," rather abruptly. With that, the young Iranian customs official left his booth with our passports, taking them to another office, out of our line of sight.
The official returned, but without our passports or any explanation. We stood dumbly by, as the remaining Iranian passengers were stamped and passed us.
Over an hour later, we were still waiting in a now-empty customs hall. I sat on the floor. Reese paced. And Norman, Zen as always, stood in place. Suddenly, four uniformed customs officials appeared and hurried us into a small office, where one by one, we were fingerprinted and directed in Farsi. It wasn't clear whether the fingerprinting was leading to our being permitted into the country, or if our passports alone were the reason we were being detained....
After getting our official credentials, we headed off to Friday prayers. Security was very tight around the stadium of Tehran University where the faithful assemble for Namaze Jumeh or Friday Prayers. We surrendered all metallic objects after going through a series of metal detectors. I was subjected to an upper body search, triggered by a cash pouch around my waist. (The interest on credit cards is against Islamic doctrine and therefore, one carries and pays in cash.) Then we were escorted to the press balcony...
As Jannati transitioned toward international policy, he reminded what was largely considered a reluctant voting public that every vote is a shout of death to America. He goaded the crowd to join the chanting calls for "Death to Israel!", "Death to America!" Ten thousand strong of voice. I was struck by the familiar: a cleric guiding his followers in their politics, and toward particular candidates away from others. It has been my observation that this kind of invective speech is common, not only in Iran but in the Arab states as well. According to many with whom I spoke, it had always been clear from the Iranian point of view, that the call is related to American foreign policy and does not intend to target the death of the American people. However, when the supposed purpose of a 10,000-person rally is in the prayer and scruples of Islam, I can say that as an American (a half Jew, by the way), the chant demeans both intent and any religion that aspires to a core of love and reduces it to a cheap political threat of violence. ..
A short history of U.S.-Iran relations
CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, a grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, labored feverishly in Tehran to coordinate a coup that brought down Mussadiq in August 1953 and quickly restored the Shah to the throne. Western oil companies were back in charge of Iran's oil, and the Shah initiated what turned out to be a quarter-century of political repression, torture, and killing.
Author Dilip Hiro wrote:
"America -- a power that most secular nationalists had initially considered
to be benevolently neutral to Iran in its dispute with the British -- had clandestinely allied with Britain to overthrow a government that represented popular nationalist interest. This reprehensible act of the United States left a deep scar on the minds of Iranians, implanting most of them with abiding animosity toward America."
With the 1979 revolution, came the flight of the Shah and the return of Iran's exiled spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini. ..
"TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS) -- A major crackdown against house church Christians is proceeding in Iran.
And while the Islamic government could halt its nuclear program if it wanted to, it's finding it's incapable of reversing the rapid spread of Christianity there.
The idea behind the Iranian revolution was to establish the world's first modern state governed soley by Islamic law.
So writes Gary Lane, CBN News International Correspondent on the website www.coptreal.com , the News Observation Network.
The CBN correspondent says that Ayatollah Khomeini believed a more prosperous society could be created if the Iranian people and their government adhered to tenets of the Koran.
"But nearly 30 years on, the Revolution is faltering and many Iranians are disillusioned," Lane reports.
Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs explains.
"The people look around, they see the poverty, they see the discontent, they're not happy so they have questions. Why isn't it working out, we're doing it the Islamic way, why isn't our country great? So, they are ripe to hear a new way," Nettleton said.
The CBN correspondent goes on to say the new way many are embracing is Christianity.
"But the faith is not new to Iran," he says, adding: "The gospel actually arrived here 500 years before Islam. Persians are believed to have been among those in Jerusalem at Pentecost."
Less than one half of one percent of the Iranian population is Christian, said Lane.
"There were nearly four times as many Christians just before the Islamic Revolution, but many fled the country because of Islamic extremism," he said.
He adds: "Some of those who remain often share their faith with Muslims. As a result, the evangelical house church movement is now growing rapidly."
Nettleton continued: "The church is exploding in terms of numbers, but it is coming with a price. The people are arrested, they're harassed, they're persecuted, in some cases they are beaten severely. It is not an easy pathway."
In the busy streets of Tehran, Christian praise songs blast from the cassette player of an Iranian tax cab. The driver is a Muslim convert to Christianity. Despite risk of arrest and possible death for apostasy, he's unafraid to share his faith, says Lane.
He continues: "A cross hangs from his rearview mirror. He keeps his Bible on the front passenger seat beside a can of STP gas treatment. He shares the gospel with his passengers and gives them a Bible if they want one."
That alone could lead to his arrest, he said.
Lane reports that other Christians have even been martyred for sharing their faith with Muslims. Their suffering and sacrifice is not just a modern day experience here.
In his report, Lane says: "Many have come before them like the missionary Mary Catherine Ironside. She was here until she died in 1921. She was not martyred, but she was one of many Anglicans from the church missionary society sent to share the gospel throughout the Middle East."
An inscription on her tombstone reads, "Will you not follow if you hear the call?"
Lane explains that her grave is given a place of honor at the Armenian Cathedral in the city of Isfahan. It is one of 73 churches registered in Iran.
Lane goes on to say: "It's not established churches that the Iraniain government fears most, but the rapid growth of unregistered churches.
"President Mamoud Ahmadinejad is so concerned that he has made it his aim to stop the house church movement, declaring: 'I will stop Christianity in this country.'"
Lane said Ahmadinejad has launched an unmerciful crackdown against Iranian house churches.
"Just this past summer," said Lane, "a war veteran and his wife died from beatings they received during a raid on their house church meeting in the city of Isfahan.
"A month earlier, Christian Tina Rad and her husband were arrested and severely beaten. Held for four days, they were accused of committing activities against Islam and Iranian national security. Both are former Muslims."
Lane also reports that a house church leader said the crackdown has caused Christians to grow stronger and more serious.
"God is testing our faith because he wants us to become more like Jesus," she said.
The house churches are now meeting in smaller groups.
Nettleton says while Ahmadinejad is trying depserately to halt church growth, his crackdown is actually having an opposite affect because Christians are moving around more.
"We see outreach of people traveling to other cities, they're traveling to other parts of the country and they are in turn planting these little house churches in those cities and in those parts of the country as well," Nettleton said.
What should Christians around the world know about their brothers and sisters in the faith in Iran? The house church leader tells us they should know that Jesus Christ is with Iranian Christians and will never leave them nor forsake them.
And what can believers around the world do for the persecuted Christians in Iran?
"We have to pray for them. That is their first request. Pray for us, pray for us, pray for us? and I challenge people to really pray for the Iranian government," Nettleton said.
"Pray for Ahmadinejad to have a personal meeting with Jesus Christ. Imagine how that would change that country; imagine how that would change the world." "
Iran Calls Second Missile Test a Success (Sunday, April 2nd 2006) "The Iranian-made torpedo ? called the "Hoot," or "whale" ? has a speed of 223 miles per hour, said Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards' Navy.
That would make it about three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and as fast as the world's known fastest, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995. It was not immediately known if the Hoot was based on the Shkval."
"In October 539 BCE, the Persian king Cyrus took Babylon, the ancient capital of an oriental empire covering modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. In a broader sense, Babylon was the ancient world's capital of scholarship and science. The subject provinces soon recognized Cyrus as their legitimate ruler."
"This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. "You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it."Isaiah 45:1-8
*researched this after watching a part of 300, a Warner Brothers Movie on April 20th of 2007
"Xerxes was son of Darius I and Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great (see above).....Invasion of the Greek mainland
Main article: Greco-Persian Wars
Darius left to his son the task of punishing the Athenians, Naxians, and Eretrians for their interference in the Ionian revolt and their defeat of the Persians at Marathon. From 483 BC Xerxes prepared his expedition with great care: A channel was dug through the isthmus of the peninsula of Mount Athos, provisions were stored in the stations on the road through Thrace, two bridges were thrown across the Hellespont. According to Herodotus, Xerxes' first attempt to bridge the Hellespont ended in failure when a storm destroyed the flax and papyrus bridge; Xerxes ordered the Hellespont (the strait itself) whipped three hundred times and had fetters thrown into the water. Xerxes' second attempt to bridge the Hellespont was successful. Xerxes concluded an alliance with Carthage, and thus deprived Greece of the support of the powerful monarchs of Syracuse and Agrigentum. Many smaller Greek states, moreover, took the side of the Persians, especially Thessaly, Thebes, and Argos. Xerxes, with a large fleet and army (Herodotus the Greek historian claimed that there were over 2,000,000 soldiers), set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis. Xerxes was victorious during the initial battles. At the Battle of Thermopylae, a small force of warriors, led by King Leonidas, resisted the much larger Persian forces, but were ultimately defeated. After Thermopylae, Athens was conquered, and the Athenians and Spartans were driven back to their last line of defense at the Isthmus of Corinth and in the Saronic Gulf. At Artemisium, the battle was indecisive as large storms had destroyed ships from the Greek side. The battle was also stopped prematurely as the Greeks learned news of the defeat at Thermopylae and retreated. But Xerxes was induced by the message of Themistocles (against the advice of Artemisia of Halicarnassus) to attack the Greek fleet under unfavourable conditions, rather than sending a part of his ships to the Peloponnesus and awaiting the dissolution of the Greek armies. The Battle of Salamis (September 29, 480 BC) was won by the Athenians. Although the loss was a setback it was not a disaster and Xerxes set up a winter camp in Thessaly. Due to unrest in Babylon Xerxes was forced to send his army home to prevent a revolt leaving behind an army in Greece under Mardonius who was defeated the following year at Plataea in 479 BC. The defeat of the Persians at Mycale roused the Greek cities of Asia" In the Bible "Xerxes is also believed by some scholars to be Ahasuerus, the King in the biblical Book of Esther, though some Jewish scholars are skeptical about this. 
The Judeo-Roman historian Josephus took the historical existence of Vashti and Esther as fact , though the works of Herodotus suggest that Xerxes had a Queen consort named Amestris, daughter to Otanes. This name discrepancy is not necessarily a conflict in accounts, since the word Esther can also be understood to mean "hidden" in Hebrew. Her name is interpreted thus in Midrash (Jewish biblical commentaries), where it is said that Esther hid her nationality and lineage as Mordecai had advised."
...more Women in the bible
Esther - Pt 1 of 10 (Full Movie)
"is the first day of the Iranian solar year, translated literally as "New Day". Since the Achaemenid era (12th B.C.), the official year has begun with the New Day when the sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, a fire sign, signifying the Spring Equinox. .."
"For five centuries prior to the British colonization, Persian was widely used as a second language in the Indian subcontinent; it took prominence as the language of culture and education in several Muslim courts in India and became the "official language" under the Mughal emperors. Only in 1843 did the subcontinent begin conducting business in English. Evidence of Persian's historical influence in the region can be seen in the extent of its influence on the languages of Hindustani (resulting in Urdu), Marathi, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Gujarati, as well as the popularity that Persian literature still enjoys in the region. Additionally, a small population of Persian speakers (mostly of the Dari and Tajik dialects) can be found in the urban and western highlands of Pakistan."
"The 18th largest country in the world, Iran is approximately the size of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined. It has a population of over seventy million people.... Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to take advantage of what he perceived to be disorder in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and its unpopularity with Western governments. The once-strong Iranian military had been disbanded during the revolution, and with the Shah ousted, Hussein had ambitions to position himself as the new strong man of the Middle East. He also sought to expand Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf by acquiring territories that Iraq had claimed earlier from Iran during the Shah's rule. Of chief importance to Iraq was Khuzestan which not only boasted a substantial Arab population, but rich oil fields as well. On the unilateral behalf of the United Arab Emirates, the islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs became objectives as well. With these ambitions in mind, Hussein planned a full-scale assault on Iran, boasting that his forces could reach the capital within three days. On September 22, 1980 the Iraqi army invaded Iran at Khuzestan, precipitating the Iran-Iraq War. The attack took revolutionary Iran completely by surprise.
Although Saddam Hussein's forces made several early advances, by 1982, Iranian forces managed to push the Iraqi army back into Iraq. Khomeini sought to export his Islamic revolution westward into Iraq, especially on the majority Shi'a Arabs living in the country. The war then continued for six more years until 1988, when Khomeini, in his words, "drank the cup of poison" and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations.
Tens of thousands of Iranian civilians and military personnel were killed when Iraq used chemical weapons in its warfare. Iraq was financially backed by Egypt, the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact states, the United States (beginning in 1983), France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, and the People's Republic of China (which also sold weapons to Iran). All of these countries provided intelligence, agents for chemical weapons as well as other forms of military assistance to Saddam Hussein. Iran's principal allies during the war were Syria, Libya, and North Korea.
With more than 100,000 Iranian victims of Iraq's chemical weapons during the eight-year war, Iran is the world's second-most afflicted country by weapons of mass destruction? second only to Japan. The total Iranian casualties of the war were estimated to be anywhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000. Almost all relevant international agencies have confirmed that Saddam engaged in chemical warfare to blunt Iranian human wave attacks; these agencies unanimously confirmed that Iran never used chemical weapons during the war"
Sports: " Iran hence was the birthplace of sports such as polo, backgammon, Varzesh-e Pahlavani, and even indigenous modern martial arts styles such as Shinzen Karate  and Kan-zen-ryu. Tehran was furthermore the first city in the Middle East to host the Asian Games in 1974."
Denise and I were treated like VIP's all the time. Entering the Tehran airport and exiting not one bag was opened not even the cross bag! Unbelievable. We had a very good 4x4 Nissan with a great safe driver and the nicest man as our guide. We had a combined cross walk and tour arranged before we arrived and it worked out wonderfully. In late '97 a handful of U.S. Tourists were permitted to come in tour groups. We may have been the first U.S. Tourists to be given a private trip - a two person tour. Everyone was friendly to us, not one bad word or gesture! Amazing! We encountered no problem carrying the cross in the countryside!!! As ours was a pre-paid trip and we were treated to the best available hotels and food, the hotels were warm in the cold weather and the food good. We were there carrying the cross during the muslim holy month of Ramadan - no problem!
Cyrus the Great, Pasargad and Persepolis
Arthur and the Cross at the tomb of Cyrus the great King Cyrus and Kind Darius of Persia along with other Persian Kings are often mentioned in the Bible (see footnote at end of this report). It was a true historic pleasure to be able to carry the cross to the Tomb of Cyrus who was chosen by God, used by God and came to know the Lord 2,500 years ago! We carried the cross into the old capital of Persia where Cyrus and Darius must have praised the Lord! Glory. Now the cross came in the plan of God! The devil and the 'Prince of Persia' who fought against Daniel, Michael and 'the angel of the Lord' must have screamed in fear as the cross was lifted up in this place! Glory to God. The blood of Jesus and the cross is terror to evil powers.
Crosses in Iran
Painting inn the Catheral Church in Isfahan There are churches open in Iran we saw them and went into them. They are mostly made with a dome similar to a mosque but with a cross on top - in open view for all to see. We saw one car in a city with a cross hanging on the rear-view mirror. In the markets where the local people shop for food, jewelry, etc., there are cross necklaces available, cross key chains etc. Very often you see very lovely wood inlaid pictures of Jesus being crucified, they are in open view in the shop windows. One of the most common pictures in Iranian bazaars and even hotel dining rooms is the 'Lord's Supper' with Jesus and the 12 disciples at the table! One local guide for two days with us was a Jewish man dating his genealogy back to the Babylonian captivity. He goes to his local synagogue.
Tears in a bottle
Tear vases over 3,000 yearas old See Psalms 56:8 'Put your tears in my bottle.' Psalm 56:8 "Put my tears into your bottle; are they not in your book?" As we toured the National museum in Tehran looking at history dating back 6,000 years. I was amazed to see some odd shaped bottles and read the information and heard the guide's explanation. When a husband went off to war the wife or loved one would weep their tears in a bottle, upon their return they would show how many tears they had cried, they were kept in a bottle. David cried to God "put my tears into your bottle". God knows your every pain, your grief. He knows every injustice, hurt, and feeling in you. He keeps your tears as your treasure of love. The hurting lover would hand to her beloved the bottle of tears - they spoke louder than the words 'I love you'. Everything you've gone through in life for God is a treasure for Him whom you love - and He knows it!
Praising Jesus in front of the ex-Hilton in Tehran!
The last night in Tehran Denise and I and some local Iranians were walking around the circular driveway in front of the ex-Hilton with our hands lifted up to the heavens singing the song 'Hallelujah'! And praising the Lord! It was one of the most moving and memorable times of my life. It was cold, snow was on the ground but the Glory of God filled our hearts. One man said with tears in his eyes, "I'll miss the cross!" We left behind brothers in Jesus. We are gone but part of our heart remains. We take with us their great love. King Cyrus and Darius were praising our Lord God two thousand years before America was even discovered! And they still are today!
IRAN IN THE BIBLE
Persia - Medes - Elam
(All in present day Iran and found in the Bible)
Darius King of Persia
Cyrus the Great, King of Persia
1. Genesis 10:22, 14:1,9
2. I Chronicles 1:17, 8:24, 26:3
3. II Chronicles 36:22
4. Ezra (entire book)
5. Nehemiah (entire book) Shushan (Susa) is in Iran
6. Esther (entire book)
7. Daniel 5:25 to end of book
8. Ezekiel 27:10, 38:5, 32:24
9. Isaiah 44:28, 21:2, 45:1-13, 11:11, 21:2, 22:6
10. Jeremiah 49:34-39
11. Haggai 1:1
12. Zechariah 1:1
13. Acts 2:9
(Perhaps the 'wise men' that came to the birth of Jesus were from Persia because the use of 'wise men' was used by Daniel in the book of Daniel 1:20, 2:27, 5:15)
A great Internet site for study of Iran in the Bible - http://www.farsinet.com/iranbibl/
Arthur and Denise on January 27, Denise's birthday. Arthur and the Cross in Pasargad, built by Cyrus the Great.
(Left) Arthur and Denise on January 27, Denise's birthday.
(Right) Arthur and the Cross in Pasargad, built by Cyrus the Great.
Arthur and and Irania man walking on the highway
Arthur and an Iranian man walking on the highway.
Denise with Iranian teenagers.
The Revolution of Denise's Hat!
Denise wearing her famous 'hat' in ancient Persepolis. The women of Iran must wear a scarf to cover the head (all hair and neck covered)! The Koran does not say this but the religious leaders of Iran have interpreted it to mean such. After trying for a few days to keep the head covering from falling down Denise cast it off! What a radical woman! She prayed for God to use her to help be a voice for the emancipation of women. She told God "I am just one woman but you can do anything" and sure enough the senior writer for the new York Times, Washington Bureau saw her and the rest is history! I am so proud of Denise, few people understand how strong, determined, courageous and fearless she is. You may mistake her because of her lovely smile and cheer but she is a woman of godly passion, brilliant in mind, and knowledgeable of world affairs. We celebrated her birthday in Iran, January 27th.
Explain It Again, Please: Who Says I Can't Wear a Hat
By Elaine Sciolino
Illustration By Nancy Carpenter
Drawing of Denise in Iran
PERSEPOLIS, Iran -- It was nothing less than an act of revolution. The woman was wearing a hat.
A soft, floppy, brown, velveteen hat pulled in Islamically correct fashion over her head. And a long white silk scarf wrapped several times around her neck.
Denise Blessitt of Fort Myers, Fla., was traveling as a tourist with her husband, Arthur, on a two-week guided tour through Iran as he did his chosen work: carrying a collapsible 45-pound, 12-foot cross around the world on a privately funded pilgrimage. Mrs. Blessitt, a British citizen, had arrived in Iran in a headscarf but along the way had cast it off and put on a hat.
"I get stared at all the time," she said as she navigated among the pre-Islamic columns dating back more than 2,500 years. "But this is your one woman's crusade against the scarf. I'm glad to be helping with the emancipation of Iran's women. I believe I have God's protection."
I have been traveling to Iran as a journalist for 19 years, and seeing Mrs. Blessitt brought to mind the changes I have witnessed -- and had to deal with -- in women's dress over the years since the Iranian revolution.
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took up residence as an exile in a Paris suburb in the fall of 1978, his aides forced all female visitors, including me, to cover their heads with scarves. When winter came, we got away with big hats.
During the revolution in February 1979, women could go bareheaded. But very quickly they were ordered to cover their heads. At first Iran's women resisted. Eventually they succumbed. So did visitors.
What an Iranian woman wears has often defined her politics. In 1936, Reza Shah barred women from wearing any veiled head covering. Under revolutionary rule, no women's issue has been more widely debated than the "hejab" or Islamic dress. It is the most visible symbol of the regime's power, and it would be the last to go.
Today, if a woman wanted the most anti-regime dress of all, she would first put on any kind of clothing that looks stylish, and then accessorize it with a kerchief that reveals hair.
A more acceptable covering is a loose-fitting, drab-colored longish coat worn over a long skirt or pants, and a hood that covers the head and neck but leaves a hole for the face.
The unassailable uniform, of course, is the classic black chador. It is a garment sewn of two pieces of fabric with no buttons or hooks that is thrown over the head, falls to the ankles and is normally held in place by a hand under the chin. Except, that is, when carrying an object like a baby. Then the chador is held in one's teeth.
A poster hanging at the entrance to the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture, where foreign journalists check in, explains how women should dress: "The body is a tool for the spirit and the spirit is a divine song. The holy tool should not be used for sexual intentions." If the outfit does not cover the body, except for the face and hands, the poster says, wear a chador.
I have never found the chador particularly practical or safe. It can get caught in the spokes of a motorcycle and in the stairs of an escalator. It drags along the ground collecting dust. It's hot in the summer. And try taking notes while holding a chador closed under your chin.
Not to mention the temptation for any Westerner to defy the dress code and just wear something that looks good. Still, there are reasons to follow the rules. One big one is that I don't want Iranians I deal with to get into trouble. A room service waiter could lose his job, for example, if he entered the hotel room of a bareheaded woman. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to make a point.
Some Iranian women are trying to do just that, however. After Iran's soccer team qualified for the World Cup late last year, some women celebrating in the streets threw off their headscarves in full view of the police. The police did nothing.
The first time I wore a chador was when I accompanied Ayatollah Khomeini to the holy city of Qom early in the revolution. I wanted the anonymity and protection a chador would bring. So I customized a black and white print chador with a piece of elastic to hold it on my head and a zipper to keep it closed.
Later, I realized that the idea behind the dress code went beyond just hiding flesh and hair. The point was to nullify allure. When I flew into Tehran from Rome in 1982 wearing a gray Borsalino hat over my headscarf, I was ordered to take it off. I told the customs official it was my national dress. He was not amused. I took it off.
Yet no religious scholar I've met can cite a specific ban in the Koran against hats for women. What the Koran says is that "believing women" should "draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty." They can go bareheaded in front of other women, their husbands, fathers, sons, nephews, servants, slaves and small children who "have no sense of the shame of sex."
But now the new President, Mohammed Khatami, wants people to feel freer in their everyday lives. Many women have interpreted that to mean they can loosen up in the way they dress. So there is more hair showing in Tehran than in at least 15 years, and a lot more makeup. The mother and the wife of the president both wear makeup, so why not other women?
A year ago, my hotel's security guard greeted me politely every day in Persian with the same message: "Fix your covering, madam." I would smile sweetly and tell him I was not a "believing woman" but a Christian and a foreigner. Last month, he just said hello.
And I even dared this time to shed the appliqued raw-silk coat I normally wear (already a stare-getting get-up), and strolled the hotel lobby and some ministries in a pantsuit. No one seemed to mind that I had legs. Next time I may try it on the streets.
The new mood has brought other changes. Handshaking between men and women who are not close relatives is supposed to be forbidden. But one night, the 70-year-old Iranian father of a friend -- a retired ex-deputy minister from the shah's days -- gripped my hand and shook it as he dropped me off at my hotel.
And that brings me back to the hat. For several years, I have been asking people in authority whether women -- foreigners in particular -- can wear hats. I have yet to get a consistent answer.
In an interview 14 months ago with Effat Marashi, the wife of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was then president, I was told I didn't have to wear a scarf. "If it were up to me, I wouldn't have forced you," she said. "Non-Muslim women can go out any way they want in our religion. They should dress just the way they always dress."
"May I go around Iran with no scarf, then?" I asked.
"You may," she giggled. "But you wouldn't."
By contrast, the current first lady, Zohreh Sadeghi, took a harder line last month. "Our culture requires the scarf," she said in an interview. "Usually it is not acceptable that foreign women wear hats."
In fact, photos of bareheaded foreign women regularly appear in the newspapers. One paper recently carried a photo of a group of angry Afghan women -- unveiled -- their fists raised, protesting the excesses of Taliban rule. It reminded me of the pictures in Tehran's newspapers a month after the revolution when thousands of women marched in the streets -- bareheaded -- with their fists raised, to protest Ayatollah Khomeini's order that they wear Islamic dress.
A pilgrim follower of Jesus,
"Following are excerpts from "The Secret of Armageddon," an Iranian television series. In it, Iranian scholars, historians, researchers, academicians, and scholars criticize Christian Zionists, affirm the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, promote various conspiracy theories, discuss the Jews' "genocidal plan for the genocide of humanity," claim that Iranian Jewish and Baha'i communities are plotting to take over Iran, and more.
The series aired on the Iranian news channel IRINN in May and June 2008.
MEMRI, July 2, 2008. ..YouTube - Iran TV Serial: Iranian Jews & World War II - Part 1 of 5
Zero Degree Turn part 1 ???? ??? ????? ??? ???
"TEHRAN, Iran - It is Iran's version of "Schindler's List," a miniseries that tells the tale of an Iranian diplomat in Paris who helps Jews escape the Holocaust — and viewers across the country are riveted.
That's surprising enough in a country where hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned whether the Holocaust even took place. What's more surprising is that government media produced the series, and is airing it on state-run television.
The Holocaust is rarely mentioned in state media in Iran, school textbooks don't discuss it and Iranians have little information about it.
Yet the series titled "Zero Degree Turn" is clearly sympathetic to the Jews' plight during World War II. It shows men, women and children with yellow stars on their clothes being taken forcibly out of their homes and loaded into trucks by Nazi soldiers.
"Where are they taking them?" the horrified hero, a young Iranian diplomat who works at the Iranian Embassy in Paris, asks someone in a crowd of onlookers.
"The Fascists are taking the Jews to the concentration camps," the man says. The hero, named Habib Parsa, then begins giving Iranian passports to Jews to allow them to flee occupied France to then-Palestine.
Based on a true story
Though the Habib character is fictional, it is based on a true story of diplomats in the Iranian Embassy in Paris in the 1940s who gave out about 500 Iranian passports for Jews to use to escape.
The show's appearance now may reflect an attempt by Iran's leadership to moderate its image as anti-Semitic and to underline a distinction that Iranian officials often make — that their conflict is with Israel, not with the Jewish people.
About 25,000 Jews live in Iran, the largest Jewish community in the Middle East after Israel. They have one representative in parliament, which is run mostly by Islamic clerics.
The series could not have aired without being condoned by Iran's clerical leadership. The state broadcaster is under the control of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, who has final say in all matters inside Iran.
Moderate conservatives have been gaining ground in Iran, where there is increasing discontent with the ruling hardliners over rising tensions with the West, a worsening economy and price hikes in basic commodities.
The government even allowed the series to break another taboo in Iran: For the first time, many actresses appear without the state-mandated Islamic dress code. The producers wanted to realistically portray 1940s Paris, and thus avoided the headscarves and head-to-foot robes that all women must normally wear on Iranian TV.
Ahmadinejad sparked widespread outrage in 2005 when he made comments casting doubt on the Holocaust and saying the state of Israel should be "wiped from the map." His government organized a conference of Holocaust deniers and skeptics from around the world in December.
But the series has won support even from hardliners. Some argue that it links the Holocaust with Israel's creation, thus boosting an argument by Ahmadinejad that if the Nazi killing of Jews did take place, the Palestinians who then lived in Palestine should not have had to pay the price for it by the creation of Israel after the war.
"The series differentiates between Jews and Zionism. The ground for forming Israel is prepared when Hitler's army puts pressure on activist Jews. In this sense, it considers Nazism parallel to Zionism," the hard-line newspaper Keyhan said.
However, if the series does aim to make that point, it has not done so overtly. ..
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com: Middleeastern-Israelites Persecuted History
*I don't intend to negatively stereotype Iranians with this movie, but as one of many different stories on this nation
Not without my daughter - trailer
"A trailer for the MGM movie Not without my daughter."
Related Sites: Imdb.com "In the book, Betty Mahmoody and Mahtob escaped Iran thru the northern mountain regions in the dead of winter with severe ice and snow. The producers,planned to film the escape scene in the Eilat Mountain in Southern Israel. However, there was no snow that winter and the escape scene was going to scrapped. Many protests arose because they felt the scene was essential. Sally Field even threatened to quit the project. The producers looked for other locations but either they were too expensive or unsafe for the actors and the crew. Finally, the scene was re written to have Betty Mahmoodey and Mahtob traveling thru the desert in searing heat.."
Not Without My Daughter - Muslim man and Western Woman Marry
*saw this during my July 4th holiday week vacation on Thursday, July 5th of 2007
I read the Book Esther before, but God opened my eyes even more as I read it again while watching the movie. I feel the movie was very timely with what's going on in the Middle East-particulary around Iraq-Iran..."for such as a time"
One Night with the King: Theatrical Trailer
"An epic motion picture set in an ancient and exotic world of adventure, intrigue and romance, which follows a young Jewish orphan who rises from peasant to Queen of Persia only to face the annihilation of her people. "
Reviews: Christian Answers "Hadassah, Esther?s real Jewish name (played with sweet genuineness by beautiful new comer, Tiffany Dupont), was born in Susa (Shushan), a city east of the Tigris River, into a loving and devout Jewish family whose roots lay in the esteemed tribe of Benjamin. When she was just a child her Mother and Father were killed by the armies of the decedents of the evil King Agag of the Amalakites." Fox Faith Movies IMDB Wikipedia
Related Sites: Queen for a Day
In her first leading role, 25-year-old Tiffany Dupont plays the biblical character of Esther in One Night With the King, which she describes as a beautiful love story?and an inspiring film for all types.
by Mark Moring | posted 10/10/2006 (Christianity Today) "Tiffany Dupont: Yes. I go to a Calvary Chapel church out here in Los Angeles. I had been here about two years at the time. I'm very close with my church, very close with the pastor and his wife, and I work with a girls ministry here.
Anyway, I had auditioned like five times for the role, but I still hadn't heard anything. So I'm at church one Sunday, sitting with the pastor's wife. Then the pastor starts talking about this movie, and that they're praying for it, they're excited about it, and all that. All of a sudden he goes, "And one of our own is going to be playing Esther!" And I was like, "What???" I was the only one at our church who had tried out for it, so I knew it was me. And they filmed the whole thing of me getting the role at my church."
Iranian / Afghani Christian Worship Song by Sedayezinda
"As you may know Christianity in coutnries like Iran and Afghanistan is forbidden. This is a Farsi / Afghani Christian song of worship produced by FarsiPraise Ministries, Inc. in 2006. Pass it on to your friends and encourage the persecuted Christians to keep on singing for the Lord"
Persian Praise Song
"A praise song in Persian to encourage persecuted Christians to continue to worship"
" But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."-John 8:7
"BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Stranded in a remote Iranian village, a French journalist is approached by Zahra, a woman who has a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of her death the day before..."
WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) -- In a world of corruption and injustice, a single courageous voice can tell a story that changes everything. This is what lies at the heart of the emotionally-charged movie THE STONING OF SORAYA M.
Movie release notes say the film, based on an incredible true story, is "(a) powerful tale of a village’s persecution of an innocent woman becomes both a daring act of witness and a compelling parable about how people react when someone in their community is turned into a scapegoat: who will join forces with the plot, who will surrender to the mob, and who will dare to stand up for what’s right."
The release notes say that, "At once a classic fable of good vs. evil, THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is an inspiring tribute to courageous women fighting against violence all around the world."
The film was chosen as the runner-up for the Audience Choice Award at the Toronto 2008 Film Festival, behind SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.
The village crowd gathers for the stoning (Courtesy MPower Pictures)
THE STONING OF SORAYA M. stars Academy Award® nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG) as Zahra, a heroic Iranian woman who boldly seeks out Freidoune (Jim Caviezel, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, DÉJÀ VU), a journalist who is temporarily stranded in her remote village when his car breaks down. She tells him the harrowing tale of her niece, Soraya (Mozhan Marnò, TRAITOR, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR) and the terrible incidents that transpired in the village, in the hope that he will share it with the outside world.
A plot synopsis says that Soraya endured an abusive marriage to Ali (Navid Negahban), who repaid her loyalty by asking for a divorce so he could marry a fourteen-year-old girl.
"Soraya refused, fearing that she and her children would be forgotten and starve. Too poor to return Soraya's dowry, as is the custom in Islamic divorce, Ali plotted with the village's mullah (Ali Pourtash) to accuse Soraya of adultery, which carries an unimaginable penalty under Shariah law," says a media release from the movie producers.
The release says that, "Moving through a minefield of deceit, Soraya and Zahra will attempt to prove Soraya’s innocence in a legal system stacked against her. But when all else fails, Zahra will risk everything to use the sole weapon she has left -- the fearless, passionate voice that must share Soraya’s story with the world."
According to the news release, THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is inspired by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s acclaimed international best-seller of the same name which first brought global attention to the real Soraya, who in 1986 was stoned to death by her fellow villagers, in the presence of her children.
The film is directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh from a screenplay by Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh and Cyrus Nowrasteh. Release Date is June 26th, 2009.
STONING producer Stephen McEveety has produced some of the world’s most celebrated films, including Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and others, the release states.
ICON's Passion Of The Christ was the most profitable film of 2004 and one of the most profitable films of all time, it says.
The release explains that McEveety has over 30 years experience as a filmmaker. He launched Mpower Pictures, a film production company in January 2007 with John Shepherd and Todd Burns. With the mission of 'Empowering both the artist and the audience by telling stories that are compelling, bold and uncompromising.'
Director Cyrus Nowrasteh was born in Boulder, Colorado of Iranian parents, and lived in Iran as a young boy, the release says.
A graduate of the USC cinema program, he has worked in the motion picture and television business for over 20 years, including working as an award-winning writer on a number of TV series, documentaries and feature films, most notably on the acclaimed and controversial ABC docudrama, "The Path to 9/11," which aired on September 10th and 11th, 2006, to an audience of 28 million viewers.
The release says Nowrasteh "became the focal point of a partisan political attack," which cast him in the public arena appearing on CNN, FOX news, talk radio, and in print in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. It adds that the DVD release of that film has been suppressed to this day.
The movie is 116 minutes in length, in Farsi and English, Rated R for a disturbing sequence of cruel and brutal violence, and brief strong language. Based on the book "The Stoning of Soraya M." by Freidoune Sahebjam.
TRAILER LINK: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810039981/trailer
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.thestoning.com
"..For God did not send his Son
(Yeshua, Isa, Jesus) into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. -John 3..
Iran " Invincible" photostream..(RIP NEDA)
"Iranian Election Protest photo's via Brave Twitters! SEND THIS VIDEO TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! NO MORE SILENCE!!
"..TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Thousands of defiant protesters swept again Saturday into the streets of the Iranian capital, where they clashed with police armed with batons, tear gas and water cannons...
Unconfirmed reports put the death toll as high as 150 on the seventh day of post-election protests. Sources at one Tehran hospital confirmed 19 deaths Saturday...
"LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- Ata Servati, a well-known Iranian poet, writer and filmmaker who left his homeland in 1975 and settled in the Los Angeles area, believes that the huge street protests that have been taking place in his former homeland, are signs that many in Iran have had enough of the “living hell” they have been experiencing since the “Islamic Revolution” of 1979.
In an exclusive interview with ANS, Servati, who is also author of “In Search of Heaven,” a book about a Christian missionary in Iran, believes that many in his country have had enough of the “hell” they have been experiencing.
“The situation in Iran is very much complicated at this time and few plans can be in working,” said Servati. “First to understand the situation in Iran we must know the power structure at the present time.
“The main power in Iran is held by the Revolutionary Guard which supposedly is controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader. He also is in command of over all state media, the Revolutionary Guard, also a group called Baciji (which are organized by Khamenei). A majority of Baciji has been brought from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria and being paid well for their work for such time. They have no sympathy for Iranians and are just mercenaries.”
Servati told ANS that he does not believe that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has “full control over the Revolutionary Guard which, he said, “took over the power from Iranian conventional army.”
Servati went on to say, “The guards are the armed forces and now are the state and are controlling over 60% of the economy.”
Central to the battle for control of Iran, he said, is Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an immensely wealthy and deeply unpopular ex-president with a wide range of business interests.
Mr. Rafsanjani, a 75-year-old power broker who tells foreign visitors that he was the father of Iran's ballistic missile program, is the unofficial leader of the faction opposing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader. He quietly provided much of the money and organization behind Mir-Hossein Mousavi's campaign for the presidency.
Servati says that Rafsanjani has “some supporters” in the “guard” and this means that “his enemies cannot push him aside so easily.”
He went on to say, “Furthermore, the power is been divided between Rafsanjani, Khamenei, and the revolutionary guard. Of course, the power is shifting toward the guard leaders at this time and they are holding control over economy and political system in Iran.
“There are few other religious factors who have some influence… therefore, the situations are very much complicated, which brought the fight over obtaining more power by different factions at this time.”
He then spoke about the controversial and so-called winner of the election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Ahmadinejad and his allies were surprised by the extreme support for Mousavi,” said Ata Servati. “In fact, people voted for him against Ahmadinejad because he is a pragmatic moderate conservative and people at this time see him as the only choice to gain their freedom and push Ahmadinejat out of power.
“However, the mass of support for Mousavi forced Ahmadinejad to attract Hashimi Rafsanjani, the second powerful clergy in Iran, and other opposition, to get some votes. But his tactic did not work and also he had opened a can of worms which will result in him being brought down.
“Let’s not forget that Rafsanjani and his allies are also very powerful and they would not go away easily. And his disappearance for the last few days does not mean he is out of the game.
“In fact, just few days ago Rafsanjani has organized a meeting at Ghom with several elite members of supreme guard consul of export. Rafsanjani led 86 members, and all were religious males. This is the only force that chooses or removes the supreme leader. So Rafsanjani is trying at this time to master enough supports to remove Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“And what makes the situations more complicated is that there are key people who have been arrested. They include Behzad Navaby, Khamenei’s son-in-law and for speaking openly in support of the protestors, and Rafsanjani’s daughter, for the first time.
I then asked Servati how he sees the situation playing out in Iran over the next few days and he said that he believes an “extreme plan” is in the works to remove Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Those in power have, I believe, a deal in the works whereby Ahmadinejad would be assassinated and then replaced by someone else other than Mousavi,” said the filmmaker. “By doing this it would cause them to save face. Then, if this occurred, power could be shared between Khamenei, members of the Revolutionary Guard, Rafsanjani and some of Mousavi’s allies.”
Servati said another scenario that could play out is that Rafsanjani “will force Khamenei out of the power and place someone else as the supreme leader. Or completely get red of supreme leader positions.”
He went on to say, “In this case, the new leader could order new elections and perhaps Mousavi would step aside and someone else will take his place and the power would then be shared between revolutionary guard and Rafsanjani and his allies.”
A third scenario, he suggested was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would call on the revolutionary guard to use force and “go after all opposition and execute a few of their leaders and also attack some of the demonstrators to scare them to say at home.”
“In this case, Khamenei would have no choice but to give more power to the revolutionary guard leaders who already have the main power and control just about everything in Iran,” he said. “Therefore, Khamenei will practically be powerless and just a puppet and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be the leader.”
He pointed out that if Ahmadinejad stayed in power, this could result in a war with Israel.
Servati said, “The Iranian leadership has already made their biggest mistake by not killing the matter in the first day of the demonstrations. In their mind, they thought the matter would go away. But when, after few days, people kept coming on to street, the protesters got their courage and now it is out of control.: when people came to the street for the first few days and nothing happen; and more people got their courage, and more came out and now it is out of control.
When I asked what he thought about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei strong support of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's, Servati said, “In order to stop the movement, the Iranian leadership must use a strong language. Clearly is because they have no other chose left for them. Also I believe they remember what the late shah did and after he announces to the people that he was sorry that people took it as his weakness and they came into the street with more determination.
“Now he decided to play tough but I am sure it would not work and people are more determent this time than the past and they will show up into the street by masses and more will join with more determinations and I hope they do and I am sure they will. In fact now people know what they have to do to bring down the brutal dictator down and they will. And the leadership’s options are limited to take a strong stand and use violence.
“Military force and this means the killing of many people. In that case, they will lose in large because other countries have no choice but to react toward Iran and also more bloodshed will bring more people into the street and will result of them losing their power.”
Oh, by the way, if you are interested in finding out more about Ata Servati inspiring book, "In Search of Heaven," go to www.assistnews.net/STORIES/2006/s06040077.htm
Ata Servati has provided ANS with this document in Farsi which shows is from the Minister of the Interior to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which he states the vote count.
Also in the same official document are the words of the minister which
says, “Because of your concern for obtaining Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in this hard time. All is set up as you wish and will be announced to the public as you wish. Also we wish to inform you everything has been set up and is under control and all oppositions are under control and security watch. Also we have everything under control for any unexpected protest after announcing the result.
Servati told ANS that “the real and correct results of the elections” are below.
Total votes; 42026078
Refused valet: 28716
The Minister of Interior "
"But I am trusting you, O Lord,saying, "You are my God!"... "-Psalm 31:14
Mr Ahmadinejad warned Muslim leaders not to recognise Israel...
'World without Zionism'
Mr Ahmadinejad told some 3,000 students in Tehran that Israel's establishment had been a move by the West against the Islamic world.
He was addressing a conference entitled The World without Zionism and his comments were reported by the Iranian state news agency Irna.
"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," he said, referring to Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
In 2001, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani called for a Muslim state to annihilate Israel with a nuclear strike
Ahmadinejad questions 9/11, Holocaust, By NAHAL TOOSI, Associated Press Writer (Monday, September 24th of 2007)
*site on 9-11 " NEW YORK - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad questioned the official version of the Sept. 11 attacks and defended the right to cast doubt on the Holocaust in a tense appearance Monday at Columbia University, whose president accused the hard-line leader of behaving like "a petty and cruel dictator."
Ahmadinejad smiled at first but appeared increasingly agitated, decrying the "insults" and "unfriendly treatment." Columbia President Lee Bollinger and audience members took him to task over Iran's human-rights record and foreign policy, as well as Ahmadinejad's statements denying the Holocaust and calling for the disappearance of Israel.
"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause.
He said Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust might fool the illiterate and ignorant.
"When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."
Ahmadinejad rose, also to applause, and after a religious invocation, said Bollinger's opening was "an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here."
"There were many insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully," Ahmadinejad said, accusing Bollinger of falling under the influence of the hostile U.S. press and politicians. "I should not begin by being affected by this unfriendly treatment."
During a question and answer session, Ahmadinejad appeared tense and unsmiling, in contrast to more relaxed interviews and appearances earlier in the day.
In response to one audience, Ahmadinejad denied he was questioning the existence of the Holocaust: "Granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?"
But then he said he was defending the rights of European scholars, an apparent reference to a small number who have been prosecuted under national laws for denying or minimizing the Holocaust.
"There's nothing known as absolute," he said.
He reiterated his desire to visit ground zero to express sympathy with the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, but then appeared to question whether al-Qaida was responsible.
"Why did this happen? What caused it? What conditions led to it?" he said. "Who truly was involved? Who was really involved and put it all together?"
Asked about executions of homosexuals in Iran, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary system executed violent criminals and high-level drug dealers, comparing them to microbes eliminated through medical treatment. Pressed specifically about punishment of homosexuals, he said: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."
With the audience laughing derisively, he continued: "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this."
Bollinger was strongly criticized for inviting Ahmadinejad to Columbia, and had promised tough questions in his introduction to Ahmadinejad's talk. But the strident and personal nature of his attack on the president of Iran was startling.
"You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated," Bollinger told Ahmadinejad about the leader's Holocaust denial.
During his prepared remarks, the Iranian president did not address Bollinger's accusations directly.
Suzanne Maloney, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Ahmadinejad's softer tone on Israel in this speech may reflect backlash in his own country.
"There's been widespread commentary in Iran, even on the far-right, that Ahmadinejad's position on Israel has hurt the country's diplomatic relations," said Maloney. "The fact that he was frankly unwilling to go as far as he has in the past suggests there may have been some consequences for him at home."
President Bush said Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia "speaks volumes about really the greatness of America."
He told Fox News Channel that if Bollinger considers Ahmadinejad's visit an educational experience for Columbia students, "I guess it's OK with me."
Other American officials were less sympathetic.
On Capitol Hill, conservatives said Columbia should not have invited Ahmadinejad to speak. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said "there is a world of difference between not preventing Ahmadinejad from speaking and handing a megalomaniac a megaphone and a stage to use it."
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said he thought Columbia's invitation to Ahmadinejad was a mistake "because he comes literally with blood on his hands."
Thousands of people jammed two blocks of 47th Street across from the United Nations to protest Ahmadinejad's visit to New York. Organizers claimed a turnout of tens of thousands. Police did not immediately have a crowd estimate.
The speakers, most of them politicians and officials from Jewish organizations, proclaimed their support for Israel and criticized the Iranian leader for his remarks questioning the Holocaust.
"We're here today to send a message that there is never a reason to give a hatemonger an open stage," New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.
Protesters also assembled at Columbia. Dozens stood near the lecture hall where Ahmadinejad was scheduled to speak, linking arms and singing traditional Jewish folk songs about peace and brotherhood, while nearby a two-person band played "You Are My Sunshine."
Signs in the crowd displayed a range of messages, including one that read "We refuse to choose between Islamic fundamentalism and American imperialism."
Associated Press writers Karen Matthews and Aaron Clark contributed to this report.
Arab and Iranian Reaction to 9/11 - 5 Years Later - PART 1
"Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, The Middle East Media Research Institute has monitored, translated, and recorded what was said in the Arab and Iranian press about that day. Prominent journalists, members of academia, leading religious figures, and even Arab government officials helped shape conspiracies about what "really" happened. A documentary film about the Arab and Iranian reaction to 9-11 incorporates footage from various TV and satellite stations in the Middle East. It was made with Interface Media Group and narrated by acclaimed actor Ron Silver"
Related Sites: Middle East Media Research Institute
"SURREY, ENGLAND (ANS) -- The Iranian Parliament voted last week for a bill mandating the death penalty for apostasy.
The bill was approved by 196 votes for, seven against, and two abstentions.
According to a news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), news of the approval was withdrawn from the Iranian Parliament?s website just hours after it was published.
However, CSW reported, it was published by official Iranian news agencies, including the IRINN (Islamic Republic of Iran News Network) and morning papers inside Iran such as Resalat. The news was also seen on Radio Farda?s website.
CSW said the progress of this bill through the Iranian Parliament is a cause of grave concern for increasing numbers of Iranians who have left Islam for another religion, and a significant backwards step for human rights in Iran.
The draft bill will add a number of crimes to the list of those resulting in execution, among them, ?establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy.?
CSW said that recently, two Christians from Muslim backgrounds, 53-year-old Mahmoud Mohammad Matin-Azad and 40-year-old Arash Ahmad-Ali Basirat, were charged with apostasy at the Public and Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, Iran and are awaiting the court?s verdict. The men have been in prison since May 15 2008.
CSW said the organization is very concerned that Matin-Azad and Basirat may face capital punishment if the proposed legislation on apostasy passes unchallenged through the final parliamentary processes and is enacted into law.
CSW is calling for their immediate release, and for the charges against them to be dropped in accordance with internationally-recognized human rights law.
The approved bill will be sent back to the Legislative Commission to debate proposed amendments before it is brought before parliament for a further vote.
Alexa Papadouris, Advocacy Director at CSW, said in a news release, ?It is deeply worrying to hear that just days after Matin-Azad and Basirat have been charged with apostasy at a court in Shiraz, the Iranian Parliament is debating a bill that could codify the death penalty for someone choosing their own religion. We call upon the British Government and the European Union to officially respond to this new development and urge the Iranian Government to reject the bill and guarantee the immediate release of all who are detained on the basis of their religious beliefs alone.?
For more information about Christian Solidarity worldwide, go to www.csw.org.uk" Two Christians released in Iran
Posted: 2 October, 2008 (Mission Network News) "Iran (MNN) ― While Iran's proposed apostasy law is still waiting to be ratified, the Christian community received some good news. Two Muslim-background believers were released by authorities.
Glenn Penner with Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) says, "Both Mahmood Matin-Azad and Arash Basirat have been released from an Iranian prison, after they had met with a tribunal who had ruled that the charges against them were invalid."
While the charges were essentially apostasy, says Penner, "It had very much to do with what they called an' offense' to Islam and a diffusion of falsities; in other words, they were spreading lies."
An eye for an eye
"An Iranian woman who was blinded by acid wants the same fate for her attacker. CNN's Reza Sayeh reports" Woman blinded by acid wants same fate for attacker,
updated 9:49 a.m. EST, Thu February 19, 2009 (CNN.com) By Reza Sayah "TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she'll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won't see her eyes, and she won't see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor...."
Testimonies from Iran
"Testimonies from Iran"
Dr Daniel Shayesteh; Why I left Islam to follow Jesus (1/5)
"Dr Daniel Shayesteh is an Iranian immigrant who arrived in Australia with his family in November 1991. Daniel is married to Mary and they have three daughters. He is Director of the organisation "Exodus from Darkness" and a National Evangelist for the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia. His ministry is based out of Hills Alliance Church (Baulkham Hills, Sydney) and the Iranian Alliance Church of Sydney (Auburn). He is also a part time lecturer in International Business at the University of Technology Sydney."