Tag Archives: Iran

The Ziggurat of Choga Zanbil

The Egyptians had pyramids, the Mesopotamians had ziggurats, which are massive brick structures with raised platforms with successively receding levels. Nobody knows what they stood for, but it’s presumed that they once contained shrines dedicated to the gods and had living quarters for priests. The Great Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq is one fine example of a ziggurat. But Choga Zanbil is one of the few ziggurats that lies outside Mesopotamia, and it’s the largest one among them. The ziggurat stands at the site of the ancient city of Elam, in today’s Khuzestan province in southwest Iran.

Choga Zanbil was built around 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha to honor the great god Inshushinak. But before the ziggurat could be completed, the king died and construction … Read the rest

In Letter from Prison, Iranian-American Art Dealer Details Charges Against Him

Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari (image via Center for Human Rights in Iran)
Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari (image via Center for Human Rights in Iran)

In a letter smuggled out of Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison last month, the Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari outlined the charges he was convicted of and pleaded for international pressure to secure his and his wife’s release.

The letter — dated January 20, posted on his sister’s blog earlier this month, and translated in part by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) — explained that Vafadari was convicted of “collusion in plots against national security,” “storing smuggled foreign alcohol,” “possessing my father’s opium pipe,” and “having 124 ‘inappropriate’ CDs,” six packs of playing cards, and marijuana.

“Those acts are indeed illegal under Iranian penal code, but it seems that authorities … Read the rest

West sent lizards as nuclear spies, claims Iran defense official

Enlarge / A senior military advisor to Iran’s supreme leader claims reptiles can be used for nuclear espionage because they “attract atomic waves.” (credit: Dorit Hockman)

The senior military advisor to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed in a press conference in Tehran today that Western nations had deployed reptiles as nuclear spies. Agence France-Presse reports that Hassan Firuzabadi, previously chief of staff of Iran’s military, justified the recent arrest of environmentalists by claiming that the West had used scientists and environmental activists to spy on Iran’s nuclear program by deploying lizards that could “attract atomic waves.”

There has been a recent wave of arrests of prominent Iranian environmentalists. Kavous Seyed Emami, a sociology professor and environmental activist who also held Canadian citizenship, was

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