The Cyrus Cylinder on tour in USA in 2013


Cyrus Cylinder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most interesting objects from the ancient times, is the famed Cylinder of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia (600 BC – 530 BC). The cylinder was discovered in Babylon (modern Iraq) in 1879 during a British Museum excavation (and unfortunately damaged). It now resides in the British Museum in London, but it will be on tour in five major cities across the United States from March through December 2013.

Cyrus Cylinder is a source of pride for Iranians as it’s a reminder of the glorious past of the ancient Persian empire under the rule of Cyrus. More >

Iran & Iranians — a bit of distant history

The extent of Persian Empire in Achaemenid era, via Wikipedia
Early History

Iranian cultures and arts are rich and diverse, and have their roots in the ancient civilizations that developed as early as the fourth millennium BCE — about 4,000 years before any theistic religion came to existence — across the Iranian plateau.

Cyrus Cylinder, via Wikipedia

Iran has a long and complex history. Cyrus the Great (~ 600 BC – 530 BC), king of Persia during Achaemenid dynasty and the founder of Persian empire, conquered much of the known civilizations and expanded the Persia which spread from More >

Alamut, Ismailis and the Legend of Hassan Sabbah


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.


Ismail lion

In 765 Shiism gave birth to a new branch, which arose from a dispute over succession of its 6th Imam. Today’s dominant and the main stream of Twelver-Shiites believe that their 6th Imam, Jafar Al-Sadigh, instead of choosing Ismail (his first and oldest son) nominated Ismail’s younger half-brother, Musa Al-Kazim as the 7th Imam. Jafar’s decision was not endorsed by More >

Ethnic jokes in the Persian culture


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 Dasht’e Kavir, to the cold climate of high mountain chains such as Alborz and Zagros, to the verdant north coast (Shomal) along the Caspian Sea with mild four season climate with high humidity and precipitation.

Ethnically Iran and Iranians are also quite diverse. Many of us use the terms Iranian and Persian More >

Solstices & Equinoxes, and the Persian tradition


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 significance among certain people and cultures of the world such as Persians.

An equinox occurs when the length of the day and night is equal. More technically, the tilt of the earth with respect to sun is at its minimum at an equinox. Vernal equinox occurs on March 20 or 21, and it marks the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere of earth and the beginning of Fall in the southern hemisphere. More >

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


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. The proposal still has to go through further approvals and the timeline is not set yet. But the idea of this statue in LA should be pleasing to most Iranians. And I think it is a wonderful idea as a tribute to one of the greatest leaders in the history of world civilizations — for more More >

Where did Mazda get its name from?

Image via Wikipedia

A friend sent me a link to Mazda (the automotive company) website today where it talks about the origin of its name. I thought it is noteworthy to write about and share. I quote the relevant section on its name verbatim:

“The origin and meaning of “Mazda”

The company’s name, “Mazda,” derives from Ahura Mazda, a god of the earliest civilizations in West Asia. We have interpreted Ahura Mazda, the god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony, as the symbol of the origin of both Eastern and Western civilizations, and also as a symbol of automobile culture. It incorporates More >

Mohammad Mossadegh and the 1953 Coup in Iran


Mossadegh, circa 1965

In light of the screening of Shirin Neshat’s new film, “Women Without Men” that deals with the 1953 US staged coup in Iran and the lives of a few women at the time, I thought it is appropriate to write this note in memory of our great past national hero, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the Prime Minister of Iran in 1951-1952.

It is a shame that as a kid in school in Iran I never even heard of him. Past lots of math and hard sciences such as physics and chemistry, in the primary and secondary schools we were mostly being fed Shah’s “White Revolution” and we had to often More >

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