Category: English

Fereydoun Majlessi: Today’s Iranian intellectuals continue to lean to the left, but are free from ideological traps

Fereydoun Majlessi: Today’s Iranian intellectuals continue to lean to the left, but are free from ideological traps

The writer Fattaneh Haj Seyed Javadi and the Persian cover of her novel The Morning After (source: Ketabnews)

An interview with the Iranian author and translator about the specifics of the pre-revolutionary “engaged” literature and about the post-revolutionary changes in Iranian literature

Vladimir Mitev

Fereydoun Majlessi is a former diplomat, who served in Washington DC and in Brussels in the European community before the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Since then he has been a manager and an entrepreneur, as well as a writer and translator. He has translated Gore Vidal and Robert Graves into Persian. 

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On pseudo-artists

On pseudo-artists

Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi (source: Public domain)

Gholam-hossein Sa’edi’s speech on the fourth night of Goethe Institute’s literary nights in Tehran (year 1977)

Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi

In the autumn of 1977, a literary festival was held in Tehran that has gone down in history. The Ten Literary Evenings at the Goethe Institute had an audience of 20,000 people. They brought together the Iranian public with the most important dissident intellectuals of the monarchist period. The unrest that began during these literary evenings is considered the beginning of the series of protests that led to the Islamic Revolution.

During the literary festival, Iranian intellectuals talk about freedom, censorship, true and false art. Below is a speech by playwright Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi (translated by Vladimir Mitev with minor abridgements) about fake artists. Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi is a psychiatrist who cared for the mentally ill in southern Tehran. He is known for his plays influenced by the theatre of the absurd. He was repressed by the authorities both before and after the Revolution. He died in Paris in 1985.

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Iran as a tourist destination

Iran as a tourist destination


A brief glance at some of the tourist attractions of Iran

Javad Amini, cultural attache at the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Sofia

Unlike what the Western media has always been trying to portray, Iran is one the safest countries in the world for foreign tourists and travelers.

Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan to the north, by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south. It covers an area of 1.64 million square kilometers, making it the 17th largest country in the world, and has a population of 86 million.

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Political comparativism and medieval history

Political comparativism and medieval history

Back cover of Syros’ book (source: Sabin Drăgulin)

A review of Vasileios Syros’ book, Medieval Islamic Political Thought in Dialogue with the Humanist Tradition of the Italian Renaissance, edited by Sabin Drăgulin, translated from the English by Antoaneta Ancuța Brașoveanu. Iasi, Junimea Publishers, 2021

Alexandru Ionașcu

Professor and researcher Vasileios Syros’ study, Medieval Islamic Political Thought in Dialogue with the Humanist Tradition of the Italian Renaissance, a long and academic title, is, however, a first in a Romanian space that is not very open to comparative-multicultural projections of history, which is usually monopolized by conservative obsessions. Structured in three chapters and written in an academic style, with extensive footnotes and informative headings by Professor Sabin Drăgulin, it aims to provide as much information as possible for those wishing to broaden their knowledge of a niche subject. The study falls within the field of comparative political theory, more precisely the comparative approach to political theory, or rather, a rapprochement between cultural mentalities, doctrines and various political theories in the broad context of globalisation. Such research is not without its detractors, whose objections are valid and must therefore be taken into account. If we want to overlap two cultures, the first hurdle we will come up against will be language, especially if we are talking about different geographical areas such as Europe, South-East Asia or the Islamic world. As a first barrier, language shapes a society’s ‘internal logic’ and touches political systems, so that different cultures and societies are ‘effectively closed systems’. Which means that we can hardly get out of our unconscious assumptions or prejudices, if we try to compare different cultures such as “Western ideas with Arab or Chinese ones”, we run the risk of reflexively imposing our own “pre-existing categories”. If we cannot be neutral (we cannot place ourselves in a ”free-float” position, as Alasdair MacIntyre, a scholar quoted by Vasileios Syros, puts it), we do not float innocently above socio-cultural realities, so when we try to compare cultures, political doctrines and societies we risk distorting or even advancing imperialist agendas, in any case appearing culturally arrogant, as the Scottish-American philosopher points out.

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Noaptea iraniană Yalda sau Shab-e Chelleh

Noaptea Yalda (sursă: YouTube)

Despre unul dintre cele mai mari sărbători iraniene

Javad Amini, consilier cultural al Republicii Islamice Iran la Sofia

Una dintre cele mai vechi sărbători persane, Shab-e Yalda (Noaptea Yalda), denumită uneori Shab-e Chelleh, este sărbătorită anual la 21 decembrie de iranienii din întreaga lume. Yalda este o sărbătoare a solstițiului de iarnă care are loc la sfârșitul toamnei și în ajunul primei zile de iarnă, care este cea mai lungă noapte din an.

Iranienii comemorează ultima noapte de toamnă ca fiind renașterea soarelui și triumful luminii asupra întunericului, deoarece zilele devin mai lungi și nopțile sunt mai scurte în timpul iernii. La Shab-e Yalda, oamenii se întâlnesc cu prietenii sau rudele, în general în casa bunicilor sau a membrilor mai în vârstă ai familiei, pentru a sărbători cea mai lungă noapte din an, mâncând nuci și fructe, recitând poezii ale renumitului poet iranian Hafiz, exprimându-și urări de bine, conversând și distrându-se reciproc pentru a întâmpina iarna și a-și lua rămas bun de la toamnă.

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Good governance relies on the votes of the majority of the people

Good governance relies on the votes of the majority of the people

Screenshot of the article at Setare Sobh (Morning Star)

Fereydoun Majlessi, an Iranian foreign policy analyst in an interview with Setareh Sobh (Morning Star)

Morning Star, Faezeh Sadr: This year, Student Day is a different experience for the officials who go to the country’s universities as speakers. Because they face serious questions from students. Therefore, the impact of the social atmosphere and recent protests on the officials’ words is evident. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf gave a speech on the occasion of Student’s Day at Tarbiat Modares University. In a part of his speech, the speaker of the parliament mentioned the recent protests and while introducing himself as one of those who contributed to the country’s problems with his mistakes, he said: “…we must prove the effectiveness of religion in the government…” Setareh Sobh made an interview with Fereydoun Majlesi, the analyst, who analyzed the words of the speaker of the parliament, which you can read below:

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Angel Orbetsov: The interest towards researching Bulgarian-Iranian relations is mutual

Angel Orbetsov: The interest towards researching Bulgarian-Iranian relations is mutual

The cover of Angel Orbetsov’s book (source: The Persian Bridge of Friendship)

Transcript of the speech delivered by Bulgarian diplomat Angel Orbetsov at the presentation of his book “Bulgarian-Iranian Relations from Liberation to the end of the 1950s”, held on 29 November 2022 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sofia

The Persian Bridge of Friendship

Angel Orbetsov: I fully agree with the last remark. And, yes, I had the honor of participating in a video promoting the Diplomatic Institute’s library with two other people and I am extremely proud of my participation. The library has taken a very serious step towards professionalization. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Diplomatic Institute, especially to Mrs Mihailova and her colleagues, especially Daniela Peșeva and Nikolai Krumov. Thank you very much for organising this event.

This event is very important because it is part of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Bulgarian-Iranian diplomatic relations, which is part of my research and is described in the first chapter of the book. Today, 1897 is accepted as the year of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Iran. 

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