Tehran Hamayesh, A Step in Right Direction


by varjavand

Despite what some of us think, I believe the Great Conference of Iranians Living Abroad (Hamayesh Bozorg) was a step in right direction. It was, I believe, a much needed attempt by government to reach out to its friends as well as its foes to solicit their cooperation in various areas including direct investment in Iranian industries. I think the gathering achieved its intended objectives with some degree of success.

Propaganda aside, I think the gathering provided a good opportunity for the Iranian government officials to hear the diverse, often opposing, viewpoints expressed by participants, to build a much needed bridge between the intellectual communities in Iran and their counterparts abroad, and to explore the possibilities for future cooperation.

I don’t know the exact cost of putting together such a massive elaborate gathering, but I am guessing it is in vicinity of about 20 Million dollars. I can say with some confidence that each guest may have cost government up to $5000, multiplying this amount by 1200 result in a total of $6,000,000 for transportation and accommodation alone, plus, the cost of logistical supplies and services. As economists always say, there is no free dinner; even if you can obtain something free of charge it is not economically free. The costs of such an expensive undertaking can be thought of in terms of the value of other things government could have done with the money it decided to spend on this conference. Don’t ask me if the money was well spent because I am not the person who set the priorities for the government.

Since its inception, the IRI has been in a kind of odd relationship with the Iranians living abroad especially those in academia, the conference was a clever ploy to win their mind and their heart, an effective means to solicit their cooperation as well as encouraging them to invest their money in Iran. There is no way that this regime isolated by sanctions can crawl out of the cocoon of finitude unless it is connected to the outside world especially to the Iranian intellectuals living abroad. The conference provided a glimpse of hope, a windows of opportunity through which the light of plausibility could be injected into the system which is accused of being mesmerized by public proclamations and slogans.


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by Henry on

Although the conference seems to be in the "Right Direction", It was just a shadow made by the Iranian officials to hide the corruption inside the country. It is hard to believe that the government is interested in academic collaboration with Iranians abroad or is interested in foreign investment inside the country while the ministry of industry says "by publishing scientific articles in international journals, Iranian scientists give their scientific achievements to the West for free" this is such a ridiculous statement made by a government official. (Source: //ce.sharif.edu/~ghodsi/PaP/mansuri.pdf).
It doesn't matter how much they have spent for this event, it is definitely less than the money they send (or waste) for isolating the country by filtering and blocking the media or the money they spend for torturing
The conference was just a show-off by the government to pretend that they have a nice attitude toward their citizens (especially those living abroad), while the country is in a terrible economic situation in terms of inflation, and economic growth.
When we (people living abroad) travel for a short period of time to our country (after probably 4-5 years), we are tricked by lots of luxury cars in the Capital city (Tehran), lots of banners and ads for top brands, restaurants, etc. But, we are not aware of the corruptions taking place inside the system.
We should be aware of how the intellectual people in Iran are striving to flee the country to work/live/study. To get an Idea, we can take a look the statistics for applications sent by Iranian students to grad schools in the US, or the immigration applications sent to Australia and Canada. If the country is really interested in attracting living-abroad citizens, why the government don’t make plans to attract peoples who are in Iran but are eagerly looking for way to immigrate?
We should see how our fellow citizens are humiliated by foreign government officers at the ports of entry to Europe, US, and Canada when they show their Iranian passport with a “hart-to-get “ short-term single entry visa stamped in it. 
Let’s wait for a year and see how many of these people will make investments in Iran, it will show how “Right” was that “Direction”.


Can you read Benross?

by divaneh on

Then read my comment again. I did not claim that there was no existing division between the seculars and the proponents of monarch dictatorship (and not those monarchist who believe in conditional monarchy) or member of the Rajavi-is-god sect, or any other group who promotes its own version of one-person-at-the-helm VF. Perhaps these groups have to revise their beliefs and get closer to proponents of the democracy in Iran.

Now, what is happening is very important and we need to have at least a healthy debate and hope that our collective wisdom would provide the best answer. There is more than one way to skin a cat and engagement could be another way of changing the nature of the beast. We can all be bitter with what is happening in the prisons, streets and every corner of the Iran. We however should not allow that bitterness to stop us from thinking freely and examine the merits of each strategy. Here is what I think  AN camp is trying to achieve with its new interest in the Iranian heritage.

- Appeal to the patriotism of Iranians living internally and externally and tap into this big resource.

- Create division between the opposition resulting in a weaker opposition.

- Change the agenda from Islam to Iran to weaken the ultra Islamist camp around Larijani bros.

This is all happening at the time that Iran is faced with the threat of a war which could totally destroy it. Should diaspora engage with AN faction and use the resulting influence to change the nature of the regime and avert the war? Would such action benefit Iran or just divert the opposition from its main task of bringing the IRI down? Would a weak and frightened IRI lead Iran into a losing war?

These are the question that we should now be debating instead of accusing and insulting each other.

Hoshang Targol

تاسیس ٢۸ مرکز جاسوسی در خارج کشور تحت نام خانه نخبگان

Hoshang Targol

معاون علمي و فن‌آوري احمدی نژاد از تاسيس 28 مرکز جاسوسی در خارج کشور تحت عنوان " خانه نخبگان ايراني" خبر داد و گفت: به دنبال اين هستيم كه امكان فرصت‌هاي اشتغال دانش‌بنيان براي متخصصان‌ را در قالب شركت‌ها و تعاوني‌هاي دانش‌بنيان فراهم كنيم كه در اين راستا بايد فن‌آوري‌هاي نو كه مي توانند نقش آفرين حتي در عرصه سياسي باشند، مورد توجه قرار گيرد.
 هدف رژیم از تاسیس این نوع مراکز، آنگونه که تجربه در سال های گذشته نشان داده است، شناسائی و کنترل ایرانی ها در خارج کشور و جاسوسی در باره آنها است.
 خبرگزاری حکومتی ایسنا در این باره می نویسد:  دكتر نسرين سلطان‌خواه در دومين روز از چهارمين گردهمايي دانشجويان فعال ايراني خارج از كشور كه در مشهد برگزار شد، خاطرنشان كرد: معاونت علمي رييس‌جمهور آمادگي دارد كه با كميته‌هاي علمي انجمن‌هاي دانشجويان خارج از كشور همكاري داشته باشد و به آنها كمك كند كه دانشجويان خارج از كشور موضوعات پايان‌نامه‌هاي خود را بر اساس نيازهاي داخل كشور تعريف كنند و در واقع ارتباطي دوسويه بين معاونت علمي و فن‌آوري رياست جمهوري و تشكل‌هاي دانشجويي خارج از كشور ايجاد شود.
وي تصريح كرد: از سوي ديگر بنياد ملي نخبگان وظيفه و ماموريت جذب و شناسايي نخبگان كشور را در هر كجاي دنيا را بر عهده دارد و در اين نهاد از اينكه بتوانيم با دانشجويان نخبه ايراني در خارج از كشور تعامل و ارتباط بيشتري داشته باشيم و آنها را شناسايي كنيم، استقبال مي‌كنيم.
سلطان‌خواه در ادامه افزود: هم‌چنين از سوي ديگر شوراي عالي ايرانيان خارج از كشور تصميم دارد كه 28 خانه ايرانيان در 28 كشور تاسيس كند و با مذاكراتي كه با شورا داشتيم تصميم گرفته شد كه در زيرمجموعه‌ي خانه ايرانيان، خانه نخبگان ايراني نيز تاسيس شود كه امكان و فرصت براي ارتباط با نخبگان ايراني در اقصي‌نقاط مختلف دنيا بيشتر فراهم شود.
وي با بيان اين‌كه تك تك دانشجويان ايراني خارج از كشور سفيران جمهوري اسلامي ايران در آن كشورها هستند و نماينده‌ ملت ايران محسوب مي‌شوند، اظهار كرد: كار فرهنگي كار بسيار ارزشمند و مفيدي است و البته براي انجام كار فرهنگي بايد در ابتدا خودمان را بسازيم و از اين نظر آمادگي كامل داشته باشيم



by varjavand on


It is good to hear at least a few sensible comments. Thanks to those who made them.  Many who post comments here on this site are only concerned about their lost goat! they don’t give a damn about what is being said or discussed. They just want to bring down the regime. Who are “we” to bring this regime down? Are we the ones who brought them to power? I believe, mudslinging (by biased media), confrontation, hostility, and accusations do not solve any problems, they create more. We need to reach out and I think that the IRI has shown its willingness to do that by putting together event like this. We should have the courage to acknowledge that and hope that this conference serves as a prelude to more cooperation and similar useful gatherings in the future. There is no question that we can foster the common understanding among ourselves through dialogue, dialogue based on inclusion and freedom of speech, and mutual respect. A cherished attribute of Islamic tradition is its communitarian vision.  We can capitalize on that. And, it is the task of the intellectuals to create an environment that is conducive to a dialogical approach.  




by Agha_Irani on

Since you decided to mention me in your posting...lets continue our debate:

First this regime is by far the most corrupt in Iranian history

Second it is ideologically and morally bankrupt

Third its leaders have gained their positions through repression of the Iranian people, by terror, by lying and through corruption.

Most of the civilized world abhors this regime and its behavior - now who is it that needs to change???

BTW you still haven't answered the questions on the Bushehr posting from yesterday - is that because you are also a liar and can find no evidence to back up your propaganda? 



Varjavand, you have it correct

by Abarmard on

When politicians do something right they should be cheered and when they don't they should be booed.

The voting for a politician doesn't always mean that people expect his promises to be realized but rather what he or she stands for. Voting, for example is a way to express the ideas that people like in that period.

When something beneficial, in this case a peaceful gesture comes at you, first agree to it before spitting toward it.

People can gain greater results from participation than to sulk.

The Iranian government will benefit by having more support from Iranians abroad. looking at it from this  angle they can move to satisfy humane demands that we may have. However it won't be fair if we just demand without putting forth what we would do in exchange.

If I can have a promise from one of the officials to do what we perceive as value, then I let them fight my battles. After all, that's the idea of representative democracy. This is not a democracy, that's not what I am saying here. The idea can form a gradual picture if there are understandings and communication. Let's see if this trend continues.

Communication is a good thing and I agree with you that this was a good move.

Niloufar Parsi

varjavand khan

by Niloufar Parsi on

thanks for the sober blog. it is heartening to see a cool and reasoned piece on the event.

this kind of bridge-building is important for several reasons. let's hope we will see more of them.

minor point: i think the cost would have been closer to $3-4 million in total. also, (to javadagha) paying invited guests for travel and accommodation costs is standard practice for many global events.


Maryam Hojjat

Mr. Varjavand, I disagree too!

by Maryam Hojjat on

We must all try to remove this barbaric regime from power to run IRAN.


Clarification? You must've meant "justification"

by comrade on

اون شعار معروف، که شاید ایکاش آن روز‌ها مصداق پیدا نمیکرد، امروز
مصداق واقعی خود را پیدا کرده:" ما میگیم خر نمی‌خوایم، پالون خر عوض
می‌شه..." مساله ما با این حکومت با ویولن زدن حل نمی‌شه عزیز. من و من
نوعی، برای شناخت درد و یافتن درمان معطل نسخه نیویورک تایمز نیستیم. 

“The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”



I totally disagree

by cyclicforward on

This is the government that is killing it's citizen for minor offenses and is waiting for some fairytale Mehdi to come in. How can you even think by giving help to such animals you can possibly improve them. They will use you and learn from you and once they are done they throw out and get back to their no good deeds. Don't be fooled by them. They have been at it for 31 years and won't change now either.



by varjavand on

I decided to post this blog after I read the New York Times article //www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/world/middleeast/08iran.html?_r=1 which I thought was inundated with inaccuracies and unfortunately the source of information, albeit biased, for many of us. I thought some clarifications are in order. A few of us have decided to popularize this article by posting its link on their Facebook pages nonetheless. The article says “The event did not exactly go as planned”, not true, overall, every event did go as planned. Understandably, for the event as complicated as that, problems related to timing are usual.
“Hardliners condemned them (visitors) as traitors” says the article. That is totally untrue, which hardliner did that? I haven’t heard of any such condemnation.
“When female musicians played for the crowd, two clerics left the hall in protest” first of all, based on my observation, only one cleric left, and there is no evidence that he left in protest, even if he did, why such irresponsible action should be interpreted as an indication of failure of the conference?
“Tehran City Council removed all banners and billboards advertising it”, a blatant lie, I could see the conference publicity banners everywhere from the airport to the streets of northern Tehran. You can see the pictures of some of them in my Facebook page. I don’t understand why some of us should succumb to the propaganda by Western media against our country and not to bother to find the facts ourselves.



It may be a step in the right direction, but is it a step in

by aynak on

correct direction?

What was the purpose of this Hamayesh?

1-To brain-storm?

Well, there appears to be many in prison as we speak.   I would like to refer you to the letter by the 100+ proferssors inside Iran, who warned about what is going right after the stolen election/coup.   Unfortunately several had to take early retirment and one got murdered (remember the nuclear scientist?).

Basically, the regime does not want to be accountable for anything.   There is ample brain power in Iran, but they are jailed.  An own government study, 2 years ago showed that only 3 out of 97 Nokhbeh, who leaves Iran will return.    Would it not make sense to stop them from leaving (or rather force them to leave) in the first place?

2-To get investment?

That has to be a joke.  Had Iran not been making so much in oil revenues, (say it was a few years back when it was still producing 1.5 million barrels and the bit of extra was selling at 10-12 dollars.   But at $80 per barrel?

Don't think so.

What is the intention of Ahmadi-Nejad by this Hameysh?     I truly believe Ahmadi-Nejad is a psychopath.  He is a lunatic, and he is destroying the country, and that is the only thing he is methodical at.  I would not be surprised, if one day we woke up and he claimed he is the missing Mehdi.

So to sum up, he is probably doing this because Mashaee or another advisor told him this is a good thing to do, but what tangible gain,  you will see there will be zero.

(Technically, it won't be zero, because some got free tickets and got to see their families on Iranian people's expense).



من نمیدونم کی‌ به شما گفته که ما ملت، یه مشت قُرُمساقیم


Thanks for clarifying the status of those who attended the infamous gathering. As you said it they are the IRI's friends. Now Mr. Varjavand , since you are here as a real person( not a mere avatar ) I have to be very careful with my words. You see Sir, We are in the process of identifying every single one of those friends.

Your contribution to this process will be appreciated too.

I, with utmost respect , say I have no time for the rest of your ( can I say hogwash here?)

“The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”



Involvement of the some of

by benross on

Involvement of the some of the diaspora with the IRI will certainly divide the opposition

'will'? You mean it's a new phenomenon to you?

Khar khodeti. 


Should diaspora help?

by divaneh on

The regime is now reaching to Iranians living abroad. If he can tap to this vast resource, it can solve many of its technological and managerial problems. Should the diaspora seize the opportunity to influence the regime and try to change it just in the same way that we changed the moguls? or should the regime be left to its own devices even if it means more destruction?

Involvement of the some of the diaspora with the IRI will certainly divide the opposition and one wonders if that is another of IRI objectives.

This is where we need a united front and a leadership committee to analyse the outcome of both strategies (helping or ignoring IRI) and make recommendations.


Thanks for your post. I am all for exchange&open communication

by Javadagha on

Thanks for this post.  So far, many moftkhors who were not invited are complaining.  I was invited but decided not to go for my own reasons.  I know more than 50 who attended.  They are in high positions in their professions.  When Nixon went to China, some people barked, but many good came of that trip. I was told by the organizers they would pay me $800 whereas people from the USA and Canada received $1,500 for their air tickets.  If I were to guess, the cost per person cannot be greater than 1,500 pounds about $3,000US.   It is unfortunate, as I have said before, this sort of embezzlement happened during Shah, it is happening now, and will happen again unless people such as Fred, Amir, and agha_irani change. 

I am for exchange and open communication.


Saving the lovely IRR

by Fred on

Those “intellectuals” in search of a way to save the Islamist Rapist Republic or as you put it:

“There is no way that this regime isolated by sanctions can crawl out of the cocoon of finitude unless it is connected to the outside world especially to the Iranian intellectuals living abroad.”

Did not need to be wined (spiked tea?) and dined on Iranian people’s money to the tune of $300 million (according to their Keyhan newspaper) to go to Tehran to find the way.

They could have done the finding a way to save the lovely Iran and Iranian friendly IRR with their own money.