Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stiglitz & Arrow on Global Warming

The Economists' Voice has two articles by Joseph Stiglitz and Kennet Arrow on global warming. Kenneth Arrow explains why something must be done to limit global warming even if the Stern Report inadequately discounted future costs. Joseph Stiglitz presents his plan for getting the United States and the Developing World to address global warming, and argues that by failing to address this problem, the United States is implicitly subsidizing energy usage and engaging in unfair trade practices. The articles could be found here:
1. Arrow, Kenneth J. (2007) "Global Climate Change: A Challenge to Policy," The Economists' Voice: Vol. 4 : Iss. 3, Article 2. Available at:

2. Stiglitz, Joseph (2006) "A New Agenda for Global Warming," The Economists' Voice: Vol. 3 : Iss. 7, Article 3. Available at:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Do Iranians Believe in Maximizing Utility?

One of the fundamental assumptions in microeconomics is that any individual is maximizing his or her utility. This means that individuals seek “satisfaction” in their behavior by choosing between their available options. All options are not available due to limited resources, means or income. This constrain is usually referred to as “budget line”. There is no doubt in my mind, and any other microeconomist for that matter, that any individual indeed acts accordingly.

My question however is of a different nature. Given the cultural values in Iran do Iranians consider maximizing satisfaction a legitimate goal? By this I mean do we, Iranians, believe in each other’s right to have a fulfilled life, to act according to our desires and to maximize our satisfaction?

Growing up in Iran during a time of war your correspondent witnessed a culture of “self-sacrifice.” mother for her children, father for his family and an individual for the welfare of country and its defense should forsake their desires. Thus assuming or accepting that an individual should, could or would do something for “pleasure” and “satisfaction” was not advocated. Today I wonder if that has resulted in an illusion where any analysis based on maximizing utility could be rejected. I just wonder if my compatriots believe or accept this fundamental assumption.

Qeysar Aminpour Passed Away

He came by the migrating birds and he left for his star catching another flight of falling leaves. Qeysar Aminpour Iranian poet passed away last night in Tehran at age 48.

Born in 1959 in the city of Dezful in south west of Iran, he studied Persian literature under supervision of Dr. Shafi’i Kadkani at University of Tehran and received his doctoral degree in 1997, defending his thesis on “Tradition and Modernity in Iran’s Contemporary Poetry”.

Most known as a young adults’ poet in 1988 he became chief editor of Soroush e Nojavaanaan; Teenagers’ Soroush, a monthly young adult magazine dedicated to poetry, literature and art. For many high school students Soroush e Nojavaanaan was more than just a magazine. It was the place to read the history of Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry’s Little Prince, the adventures of Le Petit Nicholas, and the stories of Keschner. It was a place to read about the latest movies and animation productions, although they would not have been shown in Iran. Your correspondent had read an interview with Macaulay Culkin in Soroush e Nojavaanaan a few years before watching "Home Alone."

Soroush e Nojavaanaan left its mark on Iran's literal and intellectual history. Many of those who became the journalists of reformist era started to write as amateur teenagers in this magazine. Dr. Aminpour resigned from Soroush e Nojavaanaan in 2003. He was made a member of Persian Literature and Culture Academy in the same year.

Dr. Aminpour was widely published. Among the collection of his poetry one can mention: In the Avenue of Sunshine, The Noon of 10th day, the Morning Breath and Sudden Mirrors II. He taught in Tehran University and Azzahra University. His students will miss him greatly.
Today many paid tribute to him: children for whom he was someone who never became an adult, poets and intellectuals, the former President Khatami and members of current cabinet such as Mr. Saffar Harandi minister for Ershad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is Mottaki Resigning?

Rumors have it that Mottaki, Iran's foriegn affair minister is likely to resign. Who will be his successor? Mr. Hashemi Samareh or Dr. Velayati?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Le Figaru: Increasing danger of war through Incomprehension between United States and Iran

Le Figaru article is very insightful and offers a good summary:

Commentary by Renaud Girard
It must be acknowledged that in connection with the Iranian nuclear question a single line is now taking shape, and it is that of confrontation. It is as though two crazy trains were rushing headlong towards each other on the same track, without anyone being able to halt them or divert them onto a different track. The engineer on the US train is called Dick Cheney (the conservative vice president who orchestrated the disastrous attack on Iraq in 2003,) and the engineer on the Iranian train is called Mahmud Ahmadinezhad (the highly nationalistic and religious president of the Islamic Republic.) In English, this is what is known as a collision course. ... Read More: Link

Returning Home Early?

President Ahmadinejad left Armenia one day ahead of his schedule and returned home. The photo shows him speaking to Dr. Velyati, a close advisor of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenie and a former foreign affairs minister. Photo is from Fars News Agency. For more photos see:

Links about Dr. Larijani

The cartoon is from Etemad Melli a reformist daily in Tehran, its citation says: " Another chair is available, Mr. Elham..." Mr. Elham is a close advisor to the President and government spokeperson who has been taking over more responsiblities as time goes by. The cartoon highlights that.

The Economist: My Way

The Economist has a very interesting article on the recent resignation of Dr. Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s High Council of National Security.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tightens his grip on Iran
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has further strengthened his position within Iran's multipolar political system by effecting the removal of Ali Larijani, one of his most potent rivals, from the position as head of the Supreme National Security Council, which includes leading the team negotiating on matters relating to Iran's nuclear programme. In a similar fashion to the recent dismissals of the oil minister and the governor of Bank Markazi (the central bank), Mr Ahmadinejad has replaced relatively independent figures with his own men—in this case Saeed Jalili, a deputy foreign minister known to be a close associate of the president. The increased input of Mr Ahmadinejad appears likely to increase the risk of confrontation over the nuclear issue, as it will further restrict the space available for negotiation…. Read More.
Russian whispers
Mr Larijani has been at odds with the Iranian president for some time, and is reported to have submitted his resignation on several previous occasions, complaining that Mr Ahmadinejad's uncompromising and adversarial stance towards the West has left Iran with precious little room to manoeuvre in its negotiations on the nuclear issue. Hitherto, Mr Larijani has been able to count on the support of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to secure his position.
However, on this occasion it seems that he had left himself open to a claim from Mr Ahmadinejad that he had misrepresented the position of the supreme leader on the nuclear question. Mr Larijani said that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had made fresh proposals on resolving the nuclear dispute during a meeting in Tehran with Ayatollah Khamenei—Mr Putin was in Iran in mid-October for a summit conference of Caspian littoral states. This prompted speculation that Mr Putin may have suggested a suspension of sanctions on Iran in return for Iran agreeing to suspend uranium enrichment, thereby creating a positive atmosphere for fresh negotiations about the future of the programme. However, Mr Ahmadinejad immediately poured cold water over this, stating that the supreme leader had made clear to the Russian president that Iran's nuclear programme—which he emphasised was devoted entirely to civilian ends—was irrevocable, and that no new proposals had been discussed. Barring a statement from Ayatollah Khamenei contradicting Mr Ahmadinejad, which would have risked igniting a constitutional crisis, Mr Larijani's position appeared to be untenable.
No soft touch
Mr Larijani, who was appointed to the Naitonal Security Council post after Mr Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005, had initially been dismissive of the approach of his predecessor, Hassan Rawhani, who had agreed to a two-year suspension of the nuclear programme during negotiations with a team of three UE member states about how to create effective guarantees against the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. Mr Larijani maintained that Iran had offered major concessions and had received nothing in return. Mr Larijani has nevertheless succeeded in keeping negotiations alive, and has come to be viewed as a valuable interlocutor by both Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and by Javier Solana, the EU foreign affairs commissioner, both of whom have made clear that they would regard a breakdown in negotiations and a slide towards military conflict as a catastrophic outcome. After the UN Security Council passed two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran, Mr Larijani, succeeded in winning more time for Iran by agreeing with the IAEA to enact a work plan to clear up unresolved questions has, in effect, put the process of building up diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran on hold. Much will now depend on what answers the IAEA will be able to extract.

The IAEA has pledged to Iran that the questions that it is posing as part of the work plan cover all areas of concern, implying that if it receives satisfactory answers it will be able to declare that adequate safeguards are in place to guarantee the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. The IAEA has, moreover, stated that it has been able to verify that no declared nuclear materials have been diverted at the enrichment plant, and that it has concluded that this facility remains in peaceful use. However, the IAEA has also emphasised that, even if it obtains satisfactory answers to all its questions about the history and the current nature of Iran's nuclear programme in a timely and comprehensive manner, it will still seek assurances "regarding the absence of undeclared activities"—in other words to establish that there is no covert parallel programme underway. This can only be achieved through the kind of inspections that would be authorised under the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran has yet to ratify this protocol.
If the IAEA comes out with a broadly positive assessment of the work plan, Iran is not necessarily in the clear, given its failure to adhere to the Security Council's demand that it suspend enrichment and owing to the continued concerns of the Vienna-based agency about the possibility of undeclared nuclear activities. That suggests that a further tightening of sanctions is in prospect. France, in particular, has pressed the case for ramping up the pressure on Iran, in part so as to persuade the US of the potential of economic and diplomatic pressure to extract concessions, and thereby warding off the resort to military means.
Bad timing
The departure of Mr Larijani at this critical moment in the IAEA discussions, and just days ahead of a scheduled meeting between him and Mr Solana does not bode well for the chances of a compromise. Mr Jalili has not previously served on the National Security Council, and he has not taken part in the negotiations with the IAEA or with the EU commissioner. The manner of his appointment suggests that his role is to follow the instructions of Mr Ahmadinejad to the letter, and the Iranian president has thus far not shown any sign of flexibility on the nuclear question.
As for Mr Larijani, he can be expected to bide his time until the next presidential election, in the hope that he can perform better against Mr Ahmadinejad than he did as a candidate in 2005.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Iranian Chemically Wounded Veterans Gathering

According to Fars News Agency 300 Iranian veterans, who are suffering from lung wounds caused by chemical weapons used by Saddam during Iran-Iraq war, gathered in Isfahan with their families for a series of medical seminars. Iran’s foundation for Veterans and the Wounded believes that there are 50’000 individuals in the country who are suffering from chemical wounds. 350 of them have severe lung damage.

It has been a policy of Iran’s governments to send veterans abroad to seek treatment. That policy is changing now in favor of inviting international experts and physicians to Iran. According to the officials 7 medical expert visited Iran during last year and 5 did so in 2007. Official goal is to have an attending physician for every 20 chemically wounded combatants.

Isfahan seminars include seminars on tests and procedures for lungs that could be done in households with the help of family members. The goal of these gatherings is to improve the health standards and to decrease the response time to the emergencies that these veterans are facing.

International community and the USA never condemned Saddam’s use of chemical weapons during Iran-Iraq war. It was only after invasion of Kuwait that global community remembered and condemned Saddam’s extensive use of chemical weapons in the strongest terms. Still few foreign official ever expressed sympathy for the plight of Iranian wounded and their families.

Friday Links

Reuters: Afghanistan says no proof Iran gov’t arming TalibanAFP: Israel PM upbeat after Iran talks in Russia
Washington Post: Bush's War Rhetoric Reveals the Anxiety That Iran Commands
Herald Sun: Terry McCrann: Oil price poser for low yuan
Times Online: AA warns of more misery as diesel hits £1 a litre
American Chronicle: Iraq and Iran, Oil, Politics and Religion

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Midwest Econometric Group Meeting 2007

This last weekend Midwest Econometric Group members gathered for their annual meeting at the John Cook School of Business at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. Midwest Econometric Group is one of the few regional groups dedicated to theory and methods of econometrics in the USA and unlike Econometric Society gatherings its annual meetings are not too crowded, so one actually meets and chats with other fellow researchers and econometricians.
The sessions were organized in a way that micro or macro sessions did not have any conflict. There were a number of sessions on Time Series and Panel data with one session dedicated to finance. The papers were very high quality and the authors emphasized that paper is 70% or 60% complete. Despite this fact most of the papers were motivated by some original ideas. I noticed that there are a growing number of econometricians who dedicate their research agenda to the study of non-parametric models in econometrics. Those researchers who work on Bayesian applications and methodology in econometrics are seeking economic interpretations for different Bayesian concepts and methods. Overall MEG 2007 leaned toward theory more than application. It was a true educational experience.

Peter C. B. Phillips from Yale University was keynote speaker. Many, your correspondent included, enjoyed his talk immensely. He said: “Economic trends are like Hamlet, you do not know what they will do next.” He added:

“We never know what is coming next. Terms such as “if the current trend continues” or “long term trends” do not have any factual meaning. They just mean: if there is some continuation of current points.”

He highlighted how far practitioners have come in their econometrics works. Using Picasso’s famous quote on art he said: “Econometric models are lies that seek to reveal the meaning within data.” I made sure that I wrote down that sentence.

MEG 2008 is going to be in Kansas University. This is truly a great conference to attend.

Thursday Links

New York Times: Putin Is Said to Offer Idea on Standoff Over Iran
Tehran Times: Iran studying Putin’s nuclear proposal: Larijani
AFP: Larijani, Solana to hold talks on Iran's nuclear programme
AP: Olmert to Discuss Iran With Putin
Baltimore Sun: Bush only 'making a point' with 'World War III'
AFP: Iran brushes off Bush 'World War III' warning
The Hindu: Lanka lends support to Iran's right to nuclear technology

Bloomberg: Iran, Venezuela Form Oil Venture to Rival Shell, Eni (Update1)
The Moscow Times: Gazprom Goes to Iran for Talks

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Putin in Tehran

Australia, Herald Sun: Putin to visit embattled Iran
Russia, Pravda: Suicide terrorists prepared to assassinate Putin during his visit to Iran
UK, Guardian: Iran death threat fails to discourage Putin
International Herald Tribune: In Iran, Putin warns against military action
Russia, Interfax: Putin hails decision to allow only coastal countries' vessels into Caspian Sea

Council of Foreign Relations: Top of the Agenda: Putin in Iran
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran today, the first visit to the country by a Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin in 1943. Putin will attend a summit of nations bordering the Caspian Sea, the focus of which seems likely to be Iran’s nuclear program (BBC). Thus far, the meetings have been overshadowed (RFE/RL) by an apparent plot to assassinate Putin while he is in Iran.

Still, analysts remain hopeful that progress can be made on the nuclear question, particularly given Russia’s strong regional influence in energy markets. Bloomberg reports that initial energy talks between Putin and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad focused on how to divvy Caspian energy resources among the countries that border the sea. Russian press report that Ahmadinejad told Putin that he hopes the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program will be resolved in the near future (RIA Novosti).

Reuters: Putin gives no guarantees on Iran atom plant fuel: TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin declined to give any guarantees on when Russia might start delivering fuel to Iran's first nuclear power plant on Tuesday, saying it would happen after differences over the contract were solved… Read more.

Photo is From ISNA

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Immortality of an Ordinary Life

I finished a conversation and then looked around my small apartment to do some errands, the housekeeping ones: categorizing papers, cleaning and dusting. Then phone rang, the number was a long distance one, the one my family use to call me. I answered; surprised since the time was almost 2:00 AM in the morning Tehran time. It was my sister.

My sister said hi. And I said hi. She asked how I was doing and I asked how she was doing.
-“I am fine”
-“I am good a bit tired though.”
A bit of small talk followed and then she said:
-“Mom and dad are visiting Uncle Mohammad, he is not feeling well.”
- Why? what happened?
- He is not good, he is not feeling well.
- What happened?
- He had a heart attack, he is in hospital
- How is he feeling?
- Not good. (her voice trembled)
- He is not feeling good or…?
- He is…

It is over. The forgotten reality of life strikes. He is with my dear grandmother now, chatting in their Farsi with Shahroudi accent.

My uncle was what seemed to be an ordinary man. He did not go to college. He had a high school diploma, served his mandatory obligation as a private before revolution and then went back to his hometown. A provincial city south of Eastern Alborz Mountains, called Shahroud. There he worked in a pharmacy and then in a small agricultural firm started by a cousin. He was quiet and kept to himself most of the time; a calm looking man who wore a thick black moustache and dark rim glasses with thinning hair which became silver in the later years. It was impossible to guess what he was thinking about.

That was not all. He played as an amateur actor in plays produced by the city theatrical groups, formed by enthusiastic fans like him. His passion was his library and his music. He had a collection of Iran’s traditional and folklore music that was coveted by everyone in the family. He never missed an issue of Film magazine, Iran’s prominent monthly publication on movie and art industry. He loved movies and followed the industry very closely or as much as he could.

He did not have any child of his own, so he spoiled his nieces and nephews. He never showed up empty handed. He always had books, something remarkable and thought provoking. My small library as a teenager owed him and his generosity a great debt of gratitude. He brought me books by Jules Verne, Turgeniev, Jalal Al Ahmad, Simin Daneshvar and other renowned authors. He never seized to encourage us, the noise making bunch of wild rebels. He took pride in our achievements, in my cousin admission to medical school, in my sisters’ and my cousins’ academic and professional achievements and in my graduate studies. Last time we talked he addressed me as “Shoma”; the formal way of saying “You” in Farsi. I was embarrassed. I dreamed of the day I gave a seminar in Shahroud that he could come to, I wanted him to see me as an economist.

Was he a religious man? Yes he was in a very old fashion way. He went to Mecca and served as a Khadem[1] in a local Tekeyeh[2]. He also kept an open mind; I never heard a word of judgment about anyone from him. His rule was simple: “be good”. My uncle certainly knew the difference of good and evil. His politics was simple like millions of Iranians: hoping for better days and believing that hope is a good thing.

He was not rich. His means were limited and his life utterly simple. But he was generous with his friends and family. He never claimed to be an “intellectual”. But he was always learning or reading. His library kept growing and growing. “Dayee[3] Mohammad” managed to live above and beyond the society, without any claim to grandeur or any pretense of talent. His share of history is not larger or smaller than that of other Iranians, yet as remarkable. In a turbulent time he did what he could to keep life memorable and to bring a little sunshine to this world. There rests the secret to immortality of his life..... I sure miss you a lot Dayee Joon.

[1] Literally it means “server” but in Iran it is used for people who work in Mosques, holy shrines and Tekyehs.
[2] A place of gathering in Ashura and other holy occasions for people who mourn the martyrdom of Shiite Imams, particularly Imam Hussien, the mourners are usually served by food and tea, donated by members of Tekeyeh.
[3] Dayee: Mom’s Brother, Uncle

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Satureday News

Tehran Times: Swiss proposalon Iran's nuclear program worth study: Majlis speaker
AP: Iraqi Shiite Leader Seeks US-Iran Talks
New York Times: At New York Film Festival: Upheaval in Iran, Fiasco in Westchester
AFP: Expo in Ahmadinejad's Iran showcases avant-garde art
The Hindu: Indian women to take on Iran

The headlines do not update properly so i thought to add this here.

Eid Mobarak!

Happy Eid :) It seems even in the USA there was not a global agreement as to when is the first day of Shavval, when Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan. Some mosques celebrated yesterday and some today. Today, Satureday, also is the Eid day in Iran. So Happy Eid to everyone :) .... sometimes one wonders how significant a scientific observation could be :))

Eid Mobarak!

Photo is from Canada Post.

Ali Farahbakhsh is Free

Ali Farahbakhsh an Iranian journalist and economist who has been arrested last year on his return from an international gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, was released Tuesday after 318 days of imprisonment.

Ali Farahbakhsh collaborated as an economist columnist with several reformist daily papers during his career as a journalist, among them: Sobh-e Emrouz, Shargh and Yaas-e No, where he was the editor for economic affairs desk. He was charged by “espionage” and “receiving funds from foreign institutions”. Last February a court found him guilty and condemned him to 3 years of imprisonment. He and his family paid equivalent of three times of the fund he had received to attend a conference in Bangkok as penalty. He still denies the charges brought against him in the court.

His freedom is a blessed news. The photo is from Kosoof.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Birthplace of Literature Nobel Laureate

One of those little tricks of fate or history that makes it interesting and intriguing. Dorris Lessing the winner of Nobel Prize in literature was born in October 22, 1919 in Kermanshah, Iran, whose international name at the time was Persia.
Her citation reads:
"that epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny."

There are some interesting link about it:

International Herald Tribune: Excerpts from the Citation for the 2007 Nobel Prize in literature

For Photos of Kermanshah see here:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

18th Annual Festival of Films from Iran

The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 18th Annual Festival of Films from Iran, October 6 through November 5. This year's festival represents an exceptionally diverse selection of films, from new work by major directors to popular comedies rarely seen outside of Iran. All fourteen films are Chicago premieres; eight of them are U.S. premieres.

The enjoyable omnibus film PERSIAN CARPET provides a survey of the artistic range of Iranian cinema in miniature through fifteen shorts, all around the theme of the carpet, by directors including Abbas Kiarostami, Bahman Farmanara, Jafar Panahi, Majid Majidi, Dariush Mehrjui, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and many more. Films distinguished by awards and critical accolades at major film festivals worldwide include: HALF MOON, RAAMI, UNFINISHED STORIES, THOSE THREE, and A FEW DAYS LATER. For those who think of Iranian cinema as essentially somber and serious, check out RULE OF THE GAME and DEPORTEES. Unique and personal variations on the documentary include THE RED CARD and 10 + 4.

This year we initiate a series of mini-discussions following selected Saturday evening screenings, moderated by well-known authorities on Iranian cinema. Director Amir Hamz appears in person with his film SOUNDS OF SILENCE on October 27 and 28. Meet the director following the show on October 27, at a free reception sponsored by Pasfarda Arts & Cultural Exchange.
The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the many individuals, companies, and agencies in Iran and in the U.S. whose invaluable efforts, good will and support have made this year's festival possible. .... See more here:

and some events community organized:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Iran Oil Industy's 25 Untouchables

According to Tehran Times, Iran Ministry of Petroleum announced that 25 firms are off privatization list. These are National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), Pars Special Economic Energy Zone Co., National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), National Petrochemical Company (NPC), National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC), National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC), National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company (NIOEC), Iranian Fuel Conservation Organization (IFCO), Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company (IGEDC), National Iranian Oil Pipeline and Telecommunication Company (NIOPTC), Petrochemical Terminal and Tank Farm Company (PTTC), and South Pars Gas Complex (SPGC) are among the companies.

These companies are major operators in Iran’s oil industry and include firms in all aspects and levels of operation; manufacturing, expansion, distribution and development. It must be emphasized that Iran Oil Ministry other companies are tapped for privatization. This announcement also means that privatization will go ahead in oil industry, at least for some companies. Given the vital significance of this industry for Iran’s domestic economy, many politicians oppose a complete privatization of this sector. In the presence of such formidable opposition a partial privatization still is a victory for privatization process in Iran.
For more information see:

Chicago Marathon

In an unbelievable heat Chicago runners started their annual Marathon. It started like this:

And ended after runners made to 20 Miles -33K point, only 6 miles left. Many were disappointed and angry. The heat was predicted, the question is why it was not canceled earlier and why it canceled when many were only an hour away from the finish line:

Photos are taken by the author.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Boston Globe: US, Iran play with fire

Ramesh Thakur has written this piece for Boston Globe; It is very interesting and I quote this part:
"There is a long history of Western interventions in Iran. Tehran received neither understanding, sympathy, nor support from the West as the victim of Iraqi aggression, including the use of chemical weapons."

Ramesh Thakur, a former UN assistant secretary general, is a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, Canada

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Iran Economy and Market Overview – August 2007

The inflation rate for the 12 months to August stood at around 15.4%. Although this figure has dropped in comparison to the previous month, it is 3% higher than the inflation rate recorded for the previous Iranian calendar year (which ended on 20 March). The main reasons behind the rise in the inflation rate since the start of the year are:
1. the government’s budget deficit,
2. excessive withdrawals from the country’s Oil Stabilization Fund,
3. excessive obligatory loans provided by the banks and
4. the interest rate cut that was imposed on the state-owned as well as the privately-owned banks by the government.

Read more here:

A 17.5% Increase of Non-Oil Exports from Iran to Iraq

IRNA: Iraq is considered Iran's second trade partner thanks to a 17.5 percent increase of non-oil export in the first four months this year compared to the same period last year, deputy Commerce Minister said on Tuesday.

Mehdi Ghazanfari said that the volume of Iran-Iraq trade stood at dlrs 1.216 billion last year which included only dlrs 16 million import from Iraq. Last year's export to Iraq included 7.5 percent of the total non-oil export from Iran, he noted. Ghazanfari, who is also director general of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI), added that Iran supplies 56 percent of requirements of Iraqi markets including aquatic products, vegetables, fruits, carpet, shoes, ceramics and glass vessels.

Dispatching trade delegations, holding solo exhibitions and taking part in international fairs will pave the ground for more presence of Iranian businessmen in Iraq, he noted. Pointing to potentials in exporting technical and engineering services to Iraqi markets as TPOI future programs, he said that according to the current situation in Iraq, Tehran prefers to export technical and engineering services through bolstering Iranian active companies. Ghazanfari further noted that the organization is to make active Arvand Free Trade Zone and invest in its infrastructures aimed at expanding trade ties with Iraq.

According to the official, Khorramshahr, Khuzestan province, enjoys the best geographical potential to turn into an actual free trade zone. The TPOI head also underlined the need for boosting links between banks of the two countries as well as permanent exhibitions of export commodities in Iraq particularly in Kurdistan province. Turning to the existing needs of Iraqi people to different types of commodities as well as technical and engineering services, he noted that Iran gives priority to expansion of economic and trade ties with Iraq more than any other regional country.

Wednesday Links... Economy

Reuters: UPDATE 3-Turkey to fund $3.5 bln Iran gas deal alone-sources
Reuters: Iran gets over 85 pct oil income in non-US currencies
Economic Times (India): India, Iran review ties
Press TV: Iran, India in petrochemical deal

Wednesday Links... Politics

MSNBC: Is the U.S. planning to strike Iran?
Daily Camera: 'Limited' strike on Iran?
BBC: Iran college asks Bush to speak
International Herald Tribune: EU's Solana warns Iran it needs to progress in negotiations with UN, EU over nuclear program
International Herald Tribune: Prodi: agreement between Iran and UN nuclear agency is window of opportunity
Christian Science Monitor: Are U.S. and Iran headed for war?
Arab News (Saudi): Is the ‘Bomb, Bomb Iran’ Brigade Winning?
Eureka Street (Australia): Australia needs distance from US Iran attack planning

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FILM PREMIERE: Iran: Seven Faces of a Civilization

University of Chicago Oriental Institute Presents:

Iran: Seven Faces of a Civilization,
A Membership and Public Event
Date: 10/7/2007
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: Oriental Institute, Breasted HallContact
Phone: 773-702-9507
Join us for the United States premiere of a major new documentary that uses the latest technology to showcase the celebrated art and architecture of Iran over 7,000 years of history. Produced by the makers of Persepolis Recreated, this film features spectacular graphic reconstructions superimposed on images of actual architectural remains. Don’t miss this cinematic adventure that brilliantly recaptures the ancient treasures of Iran in ways never possible before. Farzin Rezaeian, the fllm’s director, will be with us to discussion the production and its companion book, which will be available for purchase at the event. This film premiere is co-sponsored by the Oriental Institute Membership Office and the Museum Education office.
Reception to follow film screening.
Free Admission. No registration required.
This film is shown in conjunction with Chicago Science in the City 2007, a citywide initiative sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.
Related Sites: Oriental Institute Membership

Dr. Naficy at University of Maryland

If you are in DC area this will be an interesting lecture to attend:
University of Maryland, School of Languages, Litratures, and Cultures,
The Center for Persian Studies Presents:

The Poetics and Politics of
the Desired and the Dreaded:
Women's Presence in Iranian Cinema

A Public Lecture By
Professor Hamid Naficy
John Evans Professor of Communication
Northwestern University
Time: 7 PM Saturday October 6, 2007
Place: Tyser Auditorium, Van Munching Hall, UMCP

Hamid Naficy is John Evans Professor of Communication, teaching film and media studies
courses in the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at Northwestern University. His areas of research and teaching include documentary and ethnographic films; cultural theories and studies of diaspora, exile, and postcolonial cinemas and media; and Iranian and Middle Eastern cinemas. He has published extensively on these and allied topics. His English language books are: An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton University Press), Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place (edited, Routledge), The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles (University of Minnesota Press), Otherness and the Media: the Ethnography of the Imagined and the Imaged (co-edited, Harwood Academic), and Iran Media Index (Greenwood Press). His forthcoming book is Cinema, Modernity, and National Identity: A Social History of a Century of Iranian Cinema (Duke University Press). He has also published extensively in Persian, including a two-volume book on the documentary cinema theory and history, Film-e Mostanad (Daneshgah-e Azad-e Iran Press). He has lectured widely internationally and his works have been cited and reprinted extensively and translated into many languages, including French, German, Turkish, Italian, and Persian.

The rationale of Richard Bulliet

Although he didn't get in the news much, the man who orchestrated the Ahmadinejad visit was none other than domestic animal and ancient wheel expert (and Iranian history specialist) Richard W. Bulliet. Bwog sat down in his posh office in the Middle East Institute to ask him about his reactions to the speech and his reactions to the reactions to the speech. He had a lot to say in between writing an op-ed for The Washington Post and getting ready for a Ramadan iftar with the president of Turkey and Hillary Clinton. Bulliet being Bulliet, his comments used up our tape. Here's what he said-- in the first hour, anyways. Read More here: