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(Formerly: Iranian Anti-Defamation Alliance - IADA)
TO: Los Angeles Times
The comments of your sport staff writer, Mr. Mike Penner, in the Los Angeles
Times, on Tuesday June 9, 1998, "forecasting" the outcome for Iran's national
team in the World Cup Soccer in France ended with the phrase:
"Forecast: Three games and back to sand soccer."
This kind of totally inappropriate, derogatory and patronizing statement was
reserved, exclusively, for Iranian national team and not for any other 32
Cup teams. It seems this remark was made deliberately to reinforce the
stereotyping of an image of Iran and Iranians that are both false and
Unfortunately, this practice of stereotyping of different nationalities in our
society, because of ignorance or certain political agenda, has had bitter
consequences for the Americans from these nationalities and the people of
ancestral lands. Our hope was, and still is, that the sport contacts of the
American and Iranian national teams, among other people-to-people contacts,
would pave the way toward goodwill and solidarity between these two great
peoples - above and beyond politics.
It is very distressing to us that a major national newspaper, located in the
area with the largest population of Iranian-Americans in the U.S.A., shows
abject insensitivity. The people of Iranian Heritage, no matter where they may
be in the world, take a special pride in the individual as well as team
achievements of national soccer team of Iran. We think this time Los Angeles
Times has, badly, misjudged the strength and the depth of all
Iranian-Americans' positive feelings toward both Iranian and American soccer
teams and the significance of the desired goodwill from their match.
Please do the right thing and publish an apology to all the Iranian-Americans
and the national soccer team of Iran and all Iranians world over and forward a
copy of this apology to our e-mail address below.
Board of Directors
Alliance Against Defamation of Iranians (AADI)
To all who are concerned about the defamation of Iranians:
Please write your own letter or send the above letter with your return address
included. Please be polite but firm in your letters otherwise your effort
will be counterproductive to our common cause.
Following are the names and the addresses at LA TIMES:
Times Sport Staff Writer
Mark H. Willes
Publisher and Chairman
Donald F. Wright
President and Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square
Los Angeles, CA 90053
Alliance Against Defamation of Iranians (AADI)
Source Shahrvand Issue 359 Friday June 16, 1998
dr ahvaz Ghar jvan bh jrm tvhn bh Kmny v Kamnh~ay aedam Sdnd
ahvaz: bamdad rvz GharSnbh 71 jvn (72 Krdad) Ghar jvan bh namhay:
kaXm svaedy 22 salh - jmeh Cady 22 salh - bny ebat 91
salh v frHan Hdry 22 salh bh atham~hay gvnagvn v bvJh bh jrm
tvhn bh At~allh Kmny v At~allh Kamnh~ay bh Hkm dadgah anqlab
Kvzstan aedam Sdnd!
Subj: Protest Against Suppression of Press In Iran
Date: 98-06-18 23:57:23 EDT
From: About Iran
To: About Iran
About Iran has asked its readers and active members to protest against suppression of journalists in Iran by sending a fax to the following individuals. Please distribute this appeal as widely as possible and please join us in sending a fax in support of freedom in Iran.
For more information, please contact:
P.O. Box 768
Morton Grove, IL 60053
Telephone: (847) 729-5925
Fax: (847) 729-5926
Urgent Action Appeal: Suppression of Freedom of Press in Iran
The Honorable Mary Robinson, the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights,
Fax # 01141-22-9170123
The Honorable Vaclav Havel,
President of Czech Republic,
Fax # 01142-02-24310851
The Honorable Maurice Danby Copithorne,
Special Representative on Iran,
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights,
Switzerland, Fax # 01141-22-9170123
Mr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International, New York, Fax # (212) 627-1451
Mr. Hanny Megally, Middle East Watch, New York, Fax # (212) 972-0905
Ms. Karen Kennerly, Pen American Center, New York, Fax # (212) 334-2181
I am writing to you to ask for your urgent help on behalf of freedom of press in Iran. In the last weeks, two new dailies have been closed and some of their publishers and editors have been arrested, prosecuted and banned from holding similar positions. _ On June 9, Mr. Mohammad Mahdavai Khorrami, the publisher of the new daily, Gozaresh Ruz, was arrested after allegedly failing to appear in court for the prosecution of his paper’s publication of several anti-state materials, including an illustration and an article on the fearful condition of friendship among teenagers. A few days earlier, after being charged with printing offensive material, Mr. Khorrami, apparently fearing harsh punishment, stopped publication of the newspaper. He has reportedly been released on bail since June 13.
_ Since Mr. Khorrami’s release, Mr. Mohammad Aghazadeh, the editor-in-chief of Gozaresh Ruz, has been summoned by the judicial authorities. Besides publishing the above mentioned article, his charges include printing a translated story from a Paris-based Arabic newspaper in which it was reported that the authorities of the Islamic Republic are transferring money to outside countries.
_ On June 10, a court in Tehran revoked the publication license of a popular daily, Jamaeh, convicting it of printing false stories and reports and defaming the leaders of the Islamic Republic. Mr. Hamid Reza Jalali-Pur, the editor of Jamaeh, has been banned from assuming a similar position for one year, and he was fined 16 million rials. It is noteworthy that since its first publication in February 1998, Jamaeh’s offices have been attacked several times by government sponsored mobs, none of whom have been prosecuted!
I am very concerned about the prospect of increased repression against any independent press - albeit small - in Iran. My fears have been especially heightened since the threats made by the chief of Revolutionary Guards, Mr. Yahya Rahim Savafi, who has stated that his forces are awaiting the opportune time for suppressing all writers, students and people who are either dissidents and/or advocates of democracy in Iran. Mr. Safavi has literally vowed to cut the "necks" and "tongues" of the dissidents! In fact, throughout the past 19 years, the authorities of the Islamic Republic have harshly and brutally suppressed any journalist whom they deem as unfit! In 1996, they banned the publication of the monthly Gardoon and forced its publisher/editor, Mr. Abbas Marufi, to leave Iran for exile in Germany. In that same year, they abducted, jailed and tortured Mr. Faraj Sarkuhi, the editor of Adineh. In 1997, Mr. Ebrahim Zalzadeh, the publsiher of Meyar magazine, was abducted and later found brutally murdered, his ears and face mutilated! Please help to ensure the safety and security of all Iranian writers, especially those associated with Jamaeh and Gozaresh Ruz. Thank you very much for your help.
Tuesday, June 23, 1998
Iran and US use football to score diplomatic goals
By Lara Marlowe
It wasn't by chance that President Clinton and the US Secretary of State, Ms Madeleine Albright, made speeches friendly to Iran in the run-up to Sunday night's Iran-US World Cup match.
Ms Albright began the initiative on June 17th, when she publicly hoped for "normal relations" between the two countries. President Clinton confirmed the softer approach the following day, saying that Iran was changing for the better "and we want to support it". Just hours before Sunday's match, Ms Albright said it was "understandable" that Iranians felt resentment towards the US.
Would the meeting of Iranian and US teams in the Lyon stadium have been so emotionally charged without Washington's verbal groundwork? The Iranians presented bouquets of white flowers and a silver tea tray to the US team, receiving triangular banners from their opponents.
Instead of posing as two separate teams for photographers, the Iranians and Americans put their arms around each others' shoulders. Many in the stands were crying. For the Iranians, it meant a return to normality, acceptance in the eyes of the world.
For the US, it signified a willingness to consign the wretched saga of the 444-day captivity of 52 US diplomats in Tehran in 1979 and 1980 to the past. Football diplomacy - like ping-pong diplomacy in 1970s China - had triumphed.
Above all, the rapprochement marks the end of the policy of "dual containment" hatched by pro-Israeli US officials in 1990 to cripple both Iran and Iraq. Nearly 20 years of US hostility and intelligence operations aimed at destabilising Tehran have failed to destroy the regime.
With Washington now convinced that the Israeli Prime Minister is sabotaging peace between Arabs and Israelis, it is difficult for the Clinton administration to accuse Tehran of blocking peace.
The region is a dangerous one - endemic civil war in Afghanistan and the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan make Iran look rational by comparison. The economic stakes are also high: too: next month the Iranian government will launch 20 international bids for tender for contracts worth $6 billion, and the Iranian oil company, NIOC, has said it would welcome US participation.
Sunday night's match doubtless meant more to Iran than it did to the US. The trial on trumped-up corruption charges of Tehran's mayor was postponed until after the match to avoid distracting the Iranian public.
Men and women celebrated the 2-1 win in the streets of Tehran until dawn yesterday, singing and beating drums. To lose to the US would have been humiliation. Defeat would also have opened President Khatami's government to criticism from hardliners.
June 22 1998
NY Daily News
Despite Overture, There'll Be No Quick Fix in Iran
By FOUAD AJAMI
Daily News Columnist
'I speak to my daughter-in-law so my neighbor could hear me," goes a Middle Eastern proverb. The call last week by Secretary of State Albright "for a road map leading to normal relations" with Iran was intended for that country and others beyond.
The Clinton administration, reeling under the impact of nuclear explosions in India and Pakistan, challenges in Kosovo and turmoil in the Asian financial markets, was in need of a dramatic display of inventiveness, boldness and authority.
But it is, in truth, a false trail, this promise of a new accommodation with Iran. Diplomacy may be harder to come by than friendly engagements on the soccer field. Precious little will come of this opening to Iran.
The case for a new policy toward Iran rests, first and foremost, on the election of President Mohammad Khatamiin May of last year. There, at the helm of the Iranian state, was now an enlightened cleric with his own Web site, a leader who called for a "dialogue between civilizations" and hailed the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock as an example of the search for religious freedom.
By all available evidence, this new Iranian leader reigns but does not rule. Yet for all his weakness, Khatami had come onto the scene at the right time. The policy of "dual containment" of Iran and Iraq was wearing thin; the primacy of America in the Persian Gulf was eroding by the day.
An administration casting about for a new way, eager to cover up the setbacks handed it by Saddam Hussein, was vulnerable to the temptation of a quick fix in Iran. A foreign policy team with great ambivalence and uncertainty about its own view of the world was caught in the crosscurrents.
Iran's Power Continues
It made believe that it was enforcing the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (a piece of legislation enacted by congressional Republicans) but let the word out that it did not have its heart in the sanctions regimeand that it sympathized with the free traders out to dismantle the sanctions because Iran now sits at the hub of a world of commerce and oil and pipelines.
Beyond the sanctions and their failure, there was no easy way that the weight of Iran, and the interests of Iran, could be annulled in its neighborhood. Iran had worked its way into the order of states around it. It had repaired its relations with its erstwhile rival, Saudi Arabia; it had made its peace with Turkey.
The American presence in the Persian Gulf had been scaled back; that presence had grown burdensome and expensive. The wily rulers in the Persian Gulf saw through the American ambivalence; their peace with Iran was an accommodation to the imperial retreat of Pax Americana.
No great effort was invested in the U.S.' new opening to Iran, besides the administration's proclivity for "dialogue and multi-lateralism." There is no evidence of seriousness of purpose. It is hard to reconcile this sort of initiative with the State Department verdict designating Iran as a sponsor of terrorism and maintaining that Iran's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction goes on unabated.
What is known is the addiction of this administration to pollsters and poll results. The pollsters had told of the growing public unease with the Clinton administration's custodianship of foreign policy. This half-baked initiative toward Iran was one adjustment to the troubles.
One day the young men and women of Iran who voted for Khatami in large numbers may have their day and overwhelm the clerical reactionaries. Iran is not there yet. The hard-liners are possessed of great resources; their enmity toward the United States remains a pillar of their power.
What we have, in this American initiative, is a diversion, a hope against hope, that one dramatic announcement will reorder a treacherous Iranian landscape that time and again has eluded and frustrated U.S. power and teased the American imagination with false hints of moderation.