Laleh Seddigh – Iranian female racing driver

Remarkable people with Iranian roots

A PhD student from Tehran, she has been nicknamed “a little Schumacher” after the German Formula One champion. She has been given the title of Iran’s best female racing driver. The story is featured in a BBC TV documentary called “Girl Racer”.

The documentary can be viewed here:

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She earned international fame by fending off a host of male competitors to become Iran’s national rally champion in 2005.

More infos:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laleh_Seddigh
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/international/middleeast/14seddigh.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

The best posts on Iranian women:
http://theotheriran.com/tag/women/

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Abdol Hossein Sardari – The Iranian Muslim that saved the lives of thousands of Jews from the Nazis

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Abdol Hossein Sardari: Iranian Schindler

An Iranian official risking his life to save Jews? This scenario, while implausible nowadays, actually happened during the Holocaust. Meet Abdol Hossein Sardari, a diplomat at the Iranian mission in Paris during the 1940s. Known as the “Iranian Schindler,” he helped thousands of Jews escape certain death – by turning the Nazi race ideology on its head. […] Born into a privileged Iranian family, Sardari was a junior diplomat at the Paris embassy who enjoyed fine dining and the company of pretty women. After the Germans invaded France and the Iranian ambassador left the capital and went to Vichy to reconstitute the embassy there, Sardari was put in charge of consular affairs in Paris. When the Nazis started implementing anti-Jewish decrees in occupied France, Sardari made it his mission to protect his fellow Iranians in the region, regardless of their religion. […] Writing on the letterhead of the Imperial Consulate of Iran, Sardari tried to convince the authorities that according to “an ethnographic and historical study,” the members of the Jewish communities of Persia and central Asia were not Semitic but rather Aryan, like the Germans themselves. […] Sardari’s plan actually worked. When Jews were forced to wear the yellow Star of David, a directive was issued that Iranian Jews should be exempt. In addition, Sardari gave out between 500 and 1,000 Iranian passports, without the consent of his superiors. This saved 2,000 to 3,000 Jewish lives, as passports were issued for entire families.

Sardari never took any credit for what he did. When Yad Vashem asked him in 1978, three years before he died a poor exile in London, about his wartime activities, he responded: “As you may know, I had the pleasure of being the Iranian consul in Paris during the German occupation of France, and as such it was my duty to save all Iranians, including Iranian Jews.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and other Jewish institutions have posthumously honored Sardari for his actions. Read more: Beating the Nazis at their own game | The Times of Israel
The BBC adds:
When Britain and Russia invaded Iran in September 1941, Sardari’s humanitarian task become more perilous. Iran signed a treaty with the Allies and Sardari was ordered by Tehran to return home as soon as possible. But despite being stripped of his diplomatic immunity and status, Sardari resolved to remain in France and carry on helping the Iranian Jews, at considerable risk to his own safety, using money from his inheritance to keep his office going. […] Fariborz Mokhtari, the author of “In the Lion’s Shadow: The Iranian Schindler and his homeland in the Second World War,” a new biography about Sardari states: “Here you have a Muslim Iranian who goes out of his way, risks his life, certainly risks his career and property and everything else, to save fellow Iranians,” he says. “There is no distinction ‘I am Muslim, he is Jew’ or whatever.”

Photo Series: Spring in Iran – Kaleybar, East Azerbaijan Province

Kaleybar is a city of 9.030 inhabitants (2006) in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. This county produces beautiful pomegranates, excellent figs and grapes that are dried on fires (because the sun is always obscured by thick clouds). In recent year the city has become a tourist destination thanks to its proximity to Babak Castle.

History
Kaleybar was the stronghold of Babak Khorramdin who in 816 AD revolted against the Arabs. Babak’s resistance was ended in 836 when he was defeated by the Iranian General Afshin. The events of the two decades long tumultuous times subjected the town to the reports of early Islamic historians.

Language
The spoken language in Kaleybar is the Azeri dialect of Turkish. The name Kaleybar could have Tati origins, meaning a town built on rocks. The Kaleybar region with mountainous terrain, shepherding and cultivation of hillside possess the isolating features for the development of a sophisticated whistled language. The majority of males are able, and perhaps addicted, to masterfully mimic the melodic sounds of musical instruments using fingerless whistle. Melodic whistling, indeed, appears to be a private version of the Ashug music for personal satisfaction.

Ashugh music
The mountainous region of Qaradagh, due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, was a guardian of Ashugh music. This frequent allusions of this music to mountains, with the intention of arousing an emotional state with a tone of mild melancholy, is consistent with the geography of Kaleybar.

Aşıq Hoseyn Javan, born in Oti Kandi near Kaleybar, is a legendary Ashik. Hoseyn Javan’s music emphasizes on realism and beauties of real life in line with the mainstream world view of Arasbaran culture.

Surroundings
The locals cherish the landscape of their town mingled with the vivid yellow blossoming zoghal (cornelian cherry) trees in early spring. The berries will be sun-dried on flat roof tops and sold to the market as an ingredient of ash reshteh. Unfortunately, the local version of this thick soup is not offered in restaurants. In recent years, the regional government has organized zoghal festivals as a means of promoting tourism.

The relatively well preserved Babak Castle at an altitude of 2300m is located some 3km away from Kaleybar. This Sassanid era fortress is named after the ninth century Iranian resistance leader, Babak Khorramdin, who resisted Arab armies until year 839.

The mountain ranges south-west of Kaleybar are still used as summer camp of pastoralists belonging to Arasbaran Tribes. This provides an opportunity for observing the relaxed idyllic life style of bygone times. They generally welcome visitors as long as their cultures and mode of life is not ridiculed. The visit should be on sunny days when the shepherd dogs feel lethargic.

Further links:

  1. The other Iran | Castles in Iran since pre-Islamic times
  2. The other Iran | Photo Series: Spring in Iran – Arasbaran, East Azerbaijan Province

Sources: Mehr News Agency | Photos, Wikipedia | Kaleybar

Iran’s Tehran Province: Chitgar Lake (photo gallery)

Chitgar Lake is an (artificial) recreational lake located in the north of Chitgar Park, north-west of Tehran City, Iran. Also known as the Lake of the Martyrs of the Persian Gulf, this complex has a total area of about 250 hectares; 130 hectares across the lake and 120 hectares on its coastal zone and resorts.

About 80% of the lake water comes from the Kan Creek. The remaining 20% comes from central areas and surface runoffs of the district.

History
Back in 1968 it was planned to construct a lake in western Tehran but due to technical and budgetary constraints the construction of the lake remained dormant for many years. From 2003 to 2010 were the uncertainties of the plan reviewed and operations of the lake area started in September 2010. The operations of the coastal zones started in June of 2012.

Interesting locations near Chitgar Lake
Chitgar Forest Park , Letmal-e Kan Forest Park, Eram Park, Chahar Bagh, the Azadi Sport Complex, Chitgar Equestrian Complex, Alborz waterfall (Abshar-e Alborz) and Kan Creek

Sources: Wikipedia | Chitgar Lake, Tehran Picture Agency | Chitgar Lake (photos by E. Rafati), tishineh.com | Tehran | Persian Gulf Martyrs Lake (Chitgar), ISNA | Photos 1 (by B. Ghasemi), ISNA | Photos 2 (by B. Ghasemi), Farhang News | Persian Gulf Martyrs Lake

Photos: The 28th International Book Fair kicked off in Tehran!

The event started on Wednesday May 6, in a 120,000 square meter venue at Tehran’s Grand Mosalla, and will continue until May 16, 2015.

Over 2800 publishers from Iran and 65 other countries have presented their latest publications at the fair. 300,000 Iranian books and 160,000 non-Iranian books were presented this year. The foreign publishers substantially offer their materials in English or Arabic however titles in French, German, Chinese, Korean or Japanese are also available.

Millions of visitors inspect the fair every year, including thousands of university students, scholars and families. It is currently the most significant cultural event in Iran as well as one of the most significant events of its kind in Asia and the Middle East. Heads of international book fairs from Oman, this year’s special guest, Paris, Bologna, Moscow, and other places are attending the 28th edition of TIBF.

Hundreds of cultural projects are carried out during the event as sidelines activities, including book review sessions, face-to-face meetings with Iranian authors, lecture sessions, and writing workshops.

Monday May 11, 2015 has been designated as Day of Africa  at the 28th TIBF. To mark the day, African exhibitors will hold an array of cultural programs. As part of the programs, a panel discussion will be staged in the TIBF section of Men of Letters’ House on existing cultural exchanges between Iran and African nations, sponsored by friendship associations established among Iran and a number of African nations, namely Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Comoros.

The works of illustrators participating at the 52nd Bologna International Children Book Fair will be displayed in an exhibition titled “Tehran-Bologna 2015”. According to IBNA (Iran’s Book News Agency), the illustrations which participated in the latest Bologna Children Book Fair as well as the illustrations by Roger Mellow, the winner of 2014 Hans Christian Anderson Award, will be showcased. Moreover, the works of the Iranian illustrators whose works have participated in the editions of Bologna Fair during the last 10 years are going to be put on public display in this event.

Tehran Metro and the public bus service boosted their cooperation during the 28th TIBF to facilitate the transportation of the visitors. Extra trains are being used and the arrival times of the trains is also reduced to 5 minutes at the weekends. The subway is deploying its maximum manpower particularly at the Beheshti and Mosalla stations, said Mohsen Nayebi, Head of Tehran urban and suburban Railway Operation Company. Public buses, dedicated particularly to transportation of the Book Fair visitors, are plying between the venue and the city’s main squares.

Sources: TIBF on Instagram, TIBF Official Site | News 1, TIBF Official Site | News 2, Tasnim News Agency| Tehran International Book Fair, Press TV | Tehran International Book Fair, irib.ir | Photogalleries, Tehran Municipality | News 1, Tehran Municipality | News 2,Expo Road | Tehran International Book Fair, Mehr News Agency | Photos by H. Razaqnejad , Tasnim News | Photos by M. Hassanzadeh, IRNA | Photos 1IRNA | Photos 2, ISNA | Photos by A. Khosroshahi

3rd International Bayan Programming Contest in Tehran, Iran

A total of 10,266 computer programmers from 103 countries participated in the competitions hosted by Bayan knowledge-based company.

After a qualification round held online during October 9-12, 2014 and an elimination round that took place online on October 19, sixty contestants from the top 20 countries advanced to the finals.

The finals took place in Tehran on May 1st, 2014. Evgenii Kapun from Russia, Ali Haghani from Iran and Nikola Djokic from Switzerland stood first to third respectively. Full scoreboard here: contest.bayan.ir | Final scoreboard

A total of 4,910 contestants from 54 countries participated in the contest during 2012-13.

About the contest
Talented programmers compete in solving problems inspired by real-world scenarios. Contestants are free to choose their programming language, which is not limited because of the output-only nature of problems. All accommodation expenses are covered by the company, while the flight expenses of the top ten participants will be met by the organizers.

About Bayan
Bayan is a privately held Information Technology and consulting company specializing in large-scale web applications. Bayan has developed many products and services since its establishment, including Blog.ir (hosted blog service), Hod.ir (web-mail service), BayanBox.ir (file hosting service), Sana (smart cloud storage system) and Salam.ir (meta search engine, focusing on retrieving relevant results for Persian search queries).
Awards: Best Iranian Software Company, Outstanding Iranian Brand in Information Technology, Organizational Excellency Award

Sources: Press TV, Iran Daily, Bayan | Contest, bayan.blog.ir, codeforces.com | Egor, codeforces.com | BYN, ISNA | Photos

Video: Awarded Iranian American Chef Ariana Bundy’s beautiful introduction to Persian cuisine on TV at Nat Geo People on May 8th

Ariana Bundy, an award winning Iranian-American chef and cookbook author of ‘Pomegranates & Roses’, visits the vast and fascinating country of Iran to re-discover her heritage. From the lush green mountains of the Caspian sea, to the golden deserts of Yazd, Ariana eats her way through Persian delicacies in Bazaars, pastry shops, restaurants, and people’s homes.

Cooking alongside local women in palatial homes, countryside and in villages. She meets chefs, bazaar traders, farmers, food bloggers and home cooks and recreates the recipes she picks up along the way in her home in Dubai, by using common ingredients and short cuts to create exotic feasts.

About Ariana Bundy
TV Chef and cookbook author Ariana Bundy was brought up in New York, London, Switzerland and Paris. She inherited her love of food and cooking from her grandparents – who grew cherries, plums, apricots, apples, wheat and barley, bred sheep and goats for dairy, and had beautiful vineyards producing prized grapes – and from her father, who owned the first fine-dining French restaurant in Iran and later in Beverly Hills.

Ariana was Head Pastry Chef for the Mondrian Hotel in LA. Graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and Le Notre in Paris, she trained at Fauchon Patisserie and attended the European Business School in London. She has cooked for celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, President Clinton, Brad Pitt and Madonna to name a few.

Sources: Payvand News of Iran, Tehran Times