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We all have heard of Hassan Sabbah, the supreme leader of Nizari Ismailis order of eleventh century Persia, but only few know about the true history of this controversial branch of Shiite Islam and its leaders. Ismailism In 765 Shiism gave birth to a new branch, which arose from a […]

Alamut, Ismailis and the Legend of Hassan Sabbah

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I first heard about the film Circumstance (also see IMDB and this) during its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was one of the 16 films out of more than 1,100 submissions that was selected for the Sundance film competition, and it went on to win […]

Let no love fall victim to Circumstance

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I am generally not a huge fan of Persian pop music except some old timers like Dariush, Farhad (RIP), Googoosh, Haydeh (RIP), among few others, many of whom have been performing since before the 1979 revolution. Among the newer pop singers I like the Iran-based Mohsen Chavoshi with melancholic love […]

Mehrnoosh, a new voice in the Persian pop music

Shepards in Azarbaijan, near Ardebil, June 2004 3
As I have discussed in About Iranians, Iran is a diverse country both geographically and culturally. Geographically we have it all — from the open seas and hot climate in the south along the Persian Gulf, to the dry and extreme climate of vast central and eastern deserts such as […]

Ethnic jokes in the Persian culture

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There are four special occasions during a year — two equinoxes and two solstices — that have astronomical significance and they mark the beginning of the four seasons. But they also have cultural significances among certain people and cultures of the world such as Persians. An equinox occurs when the […]

Solstices & Equinoxes, and the Persian tradition

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After the revolution of 1979 in Iran and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in the early 1980s, most art forms especially performing arts, were either prohibited (e.g. pop music or singing and dancing by women), or they became very limited and restricted in dealing with certain subject matters such […]

Paintings of Maryam Naghshineh

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Recently an LA local news crossed the wire that I came across: the LA City Council has approved the installation of a bronze statue of Cyrus the Great in LA downtown! Apparently a wealthy Iranian born investor, Ezatollah Delijani, whose family owns several Broadway theaters, will be financing the project. […]

Cyrus the Great, a conqueror or a human rights advocate?

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September 2nd 2010 (9/02/10) had a special meaning for the famed city of Beverly Hills as its zip code is 90210. And the city celebrated the occasion in style with a special program called “Taste of Beverly Hills”, an opening to city’s food festival. The event, as one would expect, […]

Taste of Persia in Beverly Hills