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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

10 Years after Iraq: a retrospective #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Precisely ten years ago, the Iraq War began, as limited strikes against Iraqi palaces in an attempt to initially “kill the head of the snake” and killing Saddam Hussein. These attacks were unsuccessful and so on March 21st, whose 10-year […]

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Eid intolerance

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

While the decision of when to observe Eid can be messy at times, that messiness is at least the process of honest decisions and judgement by Muslims free to make their own religious choices. However, not all Muslims have that […]

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Iran’s nuclear ambiguity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It seems that every year, there’s a breathless report that Iran is a year ortwo away from having nuclear weapons. Once again: Two of the nation’s top military officials said Wednesday that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least […]

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Text of Senate resolution honoring Nowruz

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier, the House passe a resolution honoring the Iranian new year holiday of Nowruz. A similar resolution, cosponsored by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) will be introduced to the Senate today. Here’s the pending text of that resolution, […]

nuclear Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Daniel Larison has a February 11th/22nd Bahman post-mortem: The case for real, sustained engagement with Tehran is more compelling now than it was before. Nothing has better demonstrated the lack of U.S. influence than the meaningless debate here at home […]

Revolutionizing the Iran Revolution

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran – the original one in 1979 which  overthrew the Shah and ushered in the era of theological “vilayat-e-faqih” rule by the Ayatollah. There’s probably no better resource on the history […]

Groundhog Day, Daniel Pipes, and Bombing Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ah, it must be Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray wakes up every day to the same day, where everything happens over and over again. In real life, conservatives argue for bombing Iran as if the Iraq war or […]

Mousavi is not Husain; Ahmadinejad is not Yazid

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I was saddened to hear of the violence in Iran during Ashura, in which Ali Mousavi (the nephew of reform candidate Mir Hosein Mousavi) was among the protestors who were shot and killed by the security forces. Police denied however […]

outrageous, but laughable: Iran confiscates Ebadi’s Nobel Prize

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is not just heavy-handed and the perfect stereotype of police-state thuggery, but also oddly clownish and pathetic: Iranian authorities confiscated Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi’s medal, the human rights lawyer said Thursday, in a sign of the increasingly drastic […]

No, they aren’t serious

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is the key foreign policy critique made of Obama by Republicans, in this case well-summarized by GOP Representative Mike Pence: On the foreign stage, the American people know that weakness arouses evil. They know that bowing and kowtowing […]

doing business with Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The seizure of mosques and a skyscraper yesterday was ostensibly because the rental income from the skyscraper was being sent to a bank in Iran which is allegedly used by the Iranian government to fund its covert (and denied) nuclear […]

Government seizes 4 mosques and a skyscraper – alleges Iranian conspiracy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a bizarre development indeed: Federal prosecutors Thursday took steps to seize four U.S. mosques and a Fifth Avenue skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government. In what could […]

Is Ayatollah Khamenei dead or in a coma?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Take this with a heavy dose of salt, as it may more reflect wishful thinking on the part of the American Enterprise Institute (which is neocon central), but there are supposedly rumors in Tehran that Khamenei has died: Rumors that […]

video: Katie Couric interviews President Ahmadinejad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last night, Katie Couric interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on CBS. I think this could have been a good thing, but ultimately was totally meaningless. Couric is not a seasoned interviewer like Barbara Walters, in terms of getting the “big […]

Iranian Baha’i and Saudi Shi’a

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

With all the attention paid to by the global muslim community towards Uyghurs, Iranians, Rohingya, and other oppressed yet largely unknown muslim minorities, it’s easy to forget that there are examples much closer to the muslim mainstream, but which receive […]

translation of Rafsanjani’s speech, links

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s a running translation from another blogger of Rafsanjani’s sermon, along with a compilation video of the reaction in Tehran: The moazzen is saying the azan. Rafsanjani just got introduced to the podium. Sound of loud chants we can’t make […]

Rafsanjani’s big day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A few weeks ago, the post-election friday sermon by Supreme Leader Khamenei gave a preview of the Iranian regime’s response to the Green Revolution. Khamanei starkly warned the protestors that they, not the regime, bore responsibility for what would happen […]

the moral arc of the universe: a thought experiment

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Via Eric Martin at American Footprints – a brilliant thought experiment that clearly illustrates the vapidity of the call by Republicans such as John McCain upon President Obama to intervene more forcefully with rhetoric about the events in Iran: But […]

Iran: If scholars and politics collide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Haroon Moghul. Events over the last few days have deeply concerned me. Watching the Grand Ayatollah at the top of the Islamic Republic deliver a sermon in which he made no meaningful concessions to […]

Iran 3.0: slower, please

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Two questions worth asking: What if the Green Revolution fails? And what if it succeeds? If it fails, I argued that we still have to engage Iran, just like we continued to engage China after Tiananmen Square. Doing otherwise will […]

Baharestan is Tehran’s Tiananmen?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: Another eyewitness claims to have been at Baharestan Square and saw no violence, though the scene was “tense”. At this point it is impossible to know what to believe. We have to wait for the mainstream media to do […]

The Next Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The fact that Iran could “promote” its own democracy should be enough of a refutation in and of itself to the neoconservative agenda. — LOG true indeed, even if the Green Revolution falters. In the end, the seeds of the […]

ya Neda! ya Hussein! Tehran is Karbala, now

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Supreme Leader of Iran, last week: The race has endedwhoever has voted for these candidates will receive divine reward.they all belong to the statethey have gotten closer to god by voting, they havethere were 40 million votes for the […]

Why do we care so much about Iran?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Something that struck me about the Green Revolution in Iran is how invested the world is in it. It touches on all the right narratives: telegenic, courageous youth facing off against dour mullahs on the streets, straight out of the […]

live transcript and word cloud of Khamanei’s friday khutbah (sermon)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

An enteprising Iranian blogger offers a translation in real time – partly his own and partly from the government-controlled channel Press TV – of Ayatollah Khamanei’s friday sermon. The transcript is repeated below with a word cloud I generated from […]

video debate on Iran by Reza Aslan and Eli Lake

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Bloggingheads has posted a debate between Reza Aslan and Eli Lake on the Green Revolution that was quite informative. I am embedding the debate below, it’s amazing how much more informative a video debate can be sometimes than just reading […]

Iran doesn’t need Obama to speak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

John McCain, who at one time joked about bombing Iran in song, now has joined the Republican chatterwagon calling for President Obama to Do Something to help the Green Revolution in Iran along. It seems that the Republicans, who were […]

New America prefers the Old Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I mentioned how neoconservatives are rallying to push the narrative that Ahmadinejad may have legitimately won the Iranian election, with the assumption that Ahmadinejad is preferable as a foil for their agenda and Israeli interests. Now, it seems that […]

Would an Ahmadinejad victory be good for Israel?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There are always those who prefer to see world events through the narrow lens of their own political interest rather than universal principles of freedom and justice. Case in point: the extremists running Israel, whose entire narrative about Iran is […]

The Green Revolution in Iran doesn’t need US political fertilizer

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama pointedly did not comment on US preferences for the Iranian election during his Cairo speech, and was careful not to make any official statement of suppoort for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi over the weekend. Vice president Biden […]

Iran Election: The Green Revolution will be Twittered

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The events in Iran over the weekend have been dramatic and surreal. This is literally history in the making, and the course of the decades ahead turns on the actions of the men and women in the streets of Tehran, […]

May God watch over Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post from Fatemeh Fakhraie. (June 13th, 2009). In the U.S., several university commencements were held today. Outside my window, college graduates and their families are celebrating and looking forward to their futures. Iran is not celebrating […]

Iran votes for hope and change

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a historic day and potentially a turning point for the future of the Middle East – Iran is voting. If you want to play political junkie, stay tuned to Twitter, where you can follow #IranElection tweets out of […]

Iran as Amalek: Netanyahu pulls an Ahmadinejad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The threat is painted in stark terms: a rogue nation, flouting international law and human rights of its minorities, with nuclear capability, led by an ultra-nationalist leader who invokes religious symbolism and who makes existential threats against its regional neighbor, […]

Walk like an Egyptian: Obama goes to Cairo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s long-anticipated foreign policy address, from the venue of a major muslim capital, has been finalized – he will deliver his speech in Cairo on June 4th. In many ways this was the obvious, “safe” choice, though my personal […]

Iranian nuclear program: assessment and policy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eric Martin at American Footprints points to this great, detailed assessment of the Iranian nuclear program (PDF) by the American Foreign Policy Project. Here’s a key excerpt: Although we often hear it said or implied that Iran is clearly pursuing […]

Pakistan mosque bombing

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A suicide bomber atttack at a mosque in the frontier town of Jamrud, Pakistan has destroyed the building and killed dozens of people during Friday prayers: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers […]

smart power: Obama’s video to Iran provokes fear

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke extensively of “smart power” in her description of how America’s foreign policy would seek to engage the world. Obama’s video message to Iran, on the occassion of Nowruz, is destined to become a case […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s Nowruz message to Iran (with word cloud)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the transcript and word cloud of Obama’s video to the Iranian people for Nowruz, which goes far beyond the general Nowruz statements issued by previous Presidents Bush and Clinton.The word cloud is notable in that the words “New” […]

VIDEO: Obama’s Nowruz message to the Iranian People

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There is something simply amazing about this. The video even has subtitles in Farsi. It is often said that the Internet allowed Obama to bypass the Washington DC media establishment and reach out directly to the American people; now he […]

Iranian blogger Omid Reza Misayafi dies in prison

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

InnaLillahi Wa inna Ilahi Raji’un Hamid Tehrani at Global Voices Online brings the tragic news that a jailed Iranian blogger, Omid Reza Misayafi, has died. It seems that he may have committed suicide. Apart from the personal tragedy his family […]

Baha’i persecution in Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Imagine an ethno-religious group that is treated as second-class citizens by their host country, and actively persecuted, with accusations of divided loyalties and sympathies to enemies of the state. Arabs in Israel? no – the Baha’i in Iran, who have […]

Saudi Arabia’s Iran Obsession

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(This is a guest post by my friend and Islamsphere scion Ali Eteraz) I woke up this morning and found a comprehensive Middle East peace plan being offered by Saudi Arabia in the pages of the Washington Post. Putting aside […]

Rick Warren Invocation: a slap in the face of the mullahs

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Rick Warren is not your typical Christian evangelist pastor. Still, according to progressive left standards, he’s persona non grata for his views on homosexuality (identical to Obama’s himself). Obama’s decision to invite Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration […]

Save Hoder: more on Derakshan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Talk Islam and City of Brass seem to have been the first to report on Iranian blogfather Hossein Derakshan’s arrest in Tehran last week, but the A-list bloggers are now awakening to the story, as are some of the journalist […]

Blogger Hossein Derakshan arrested in Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Celebrated blogger Hossein Derakshan is literally the godfather of the Iranian blogsphere. Iran is one of those countries where speaking out requires courage, and where speech is anything but free. He has been living in Canada recently, but returned to […]

Nixon and China redux: Only Obama can go to Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A young woman votes in the second runoff of the Iranian Parliamentary elections this past April (via Faith Today). Iran is not our enemy. The reaction from Iranians to Obama’s election has been one of cautious optimism and anticipation: Iranians […]

Remembering Mohammed Mosaddeq

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Mosaddeq was the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, a political moderate who was overthrown from power in a CIA-directed coup, after daring to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. Al Ahram Weekly tells the story, and points out how our […]

Previous Posts

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Eid Mubarak!
By the Fatimid calendar, today is Eid al Fitr, 1436! I've explained my position on the calendar vs. moonsighting debate in detail - and this year there is a lot more divergence on the date than usual. Crescentwatch nicely ...

posted 7:53:00am Jul. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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