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Subject:I'm back!!
Time:09:40 pm
Normal service will now resume. So sorry for my extended absence, due to unreal techinical hitches since we moved house. But I'm back now. Especially sorry to those who requested membership while I was offline. Hope everyone's well.
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Subject:Iran bans foreign films
Time:09:00 am
http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1600883,00.html

Staff and agencies
Wednesday October 26, 2005

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Leading the charge against western cultural invasion... Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photograph: AP

A committee of Islamic clerics in Iran, led by the country's new hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this week banned foreign films in an effort to wipe out what they called "corrupt Western culture".

Elements that were specifically named as affronts to the government's vision of Iran's Muslim culture included alcohol and drugs, secularists, liberals, anarchists and feminists.

The ban, which follows Mr Ahmadinejad's campaign promise to promote Islamic culture and confront what he called a cultural invasion by the west, aims to distance the state from the open cultural policies undertaken by former reformist president Mohammad Khatami that encouraged cultural coexistence and dialogue among civilisations.

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Many experts and officials say the ban will only cause Iranians to turn to the black market for western videotapes or to foreign satellite television broadcasts. It is understood that the ban will have little effect on cinemas where few Western films play anyway, but it could dramatically change television, where all channels are controlled by the state and overseen by religious hardliners.

State-run television has hitherto shown foreign films after censoring many scenes deemed immoral or offensive. Films considered hostile to the Islamic values preached by the ruling establishment are already banned altogether.

"This new ban appears to be part of a campaign to push Iran back to the 1980s and to impose the same restrictions that were only just eased under Khatami. But it will be impossible to take Iran back to the 80s again," said international relations professor Davoud Hermidas Bavand.

Under President Khatami, Iran's 70 million citizens, more than half of whom are under 30, enjoyed growing social and political freedoms and were exposed to western popular culture through satellite television. The dishes are officially banned but tolerated by authorities. Many residents in Tehran hide them under tarpaulins or disguise them as air-conditioning units.

Western music, films and clothing are widely available in Iran, and hip-hop tunes can be heard on Tehran's streets, blaring from car speakers and music shops. Bootleg videos and DVDs of films banned by the state are widely available on the black market.

Already, the state-run television station in the holy city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran has reported that police closed several video clubs last week on grounds that they were offering films inconsistent with Islamic culture.
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Subject:Iranian Satelite Launched
Time:08:04 am
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4381436.stm

First Iranian satellite launched
Kosmos 3M rocket launches, Esa
The Iranian satellite was joined by others from China and Europe
Iran launched its first satellite into space from Plesetsk in northern Russia on Thursday, joining a select club of countries.

A joint project between Iran and Russia, the Sina-1 satellite will be used to take pictures of Iran and to monitor natural disasters.

It blasted off aboard a Russian Kosmos 3M rocket early on Thursday morning.

The satellite was built for Iran by Polyot, a Russian company based in the Siberian city of Omsk.

Director General of Iran Electronic Industries Ebrahim Mahmoudzadeh said Sina-1 was the result of years of research and 32 months of construction.

Research activities

Mr Mahmoudzadeh said the $15m research satellite would contain a telecommunications system and cameras that would be used for monitoring Iran's agriculture and natural resources.

It could also be deployed after disasters such as earthquakes.

He stressed, however, that the satellite represents only the first step in Iran's space programme.

"Considering that the satellite weights 170kg and is carrying a camera, it is an initial model as far as technical know-how and experience are concerned."

The launch had initially been scheduled for the end of September, but problems with the Iranian satellite forced a delay.

Iran's former defence minister, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, unveiled his country's space programme in 1998.

The launch makes Iran the 43rd country to possess its own satellites.

Sina-1 shared the ride with other satellites from China, Russia and Europe.
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Time:06:06 pm
Hi Everyone, here's my intro:

Sara, age 25, born in Tehran, living in Canada studying electrical engineering. My first language is Azeri and I was born muslim by default, but neither of my parents nor I are muslim. I'm an atheist and I practices a form of buddhist meditation called vipassana. I'm also a feminist that does not believe in gender-defined roles.
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Subject:Welcome!
Time:05:22 pm
Welcome to anyone who wants to join me here in being Persian, or part Persian, or interested in anything Persian, without being a Muslim.

About me:

Name: Liz
Age: 37
Location: UK
Marital/family status: married, one child
Brief bio: I was born in Tehran. My dad is Persian, my mum is English, we moved back to the UK when I was about a year old.

Looking forward to meeting some of you soon. I won't be online much for the next week or so as I'm moving house so don't worry if I don't respond to a request to join straight away. Same goes for sorting out this rather basic layout!
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[icon] Non Muslim Persians
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