Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz says a nuclear Iran could be “the greatest threat to world peace.” From the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Anthony:
“There is no doubt that if the real intention of the Iranian authorities is to reach capability to attain nuclear weapons [then] it would be greatest threat to peace not only in this part of the world… but theoretically it can be the greatest threat to world peace,” Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in his office in the Polish parliament.
This quote does not appear in today’s New Duranty Times. In fact, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz has not been mentioned in its august pages since November 2004. However, this does appear: “For Iranian Women, Dress Code Is Still Modest, but Golf Friendly” (thanks again to Anthony):
TEHRAN – The ban on women at Tehran’s lone golf course proved superfluous for a couple of decades after the Islamic revolution owing to one simple fact: women found it basically impossible to swing a golf club while enveloped in yards of billowing cloth.
But as the laws demanding modest dress eased in recent years to allow minimalist head scarves and body-hugging tunics, women have begun venturing onto the fairways now open to them. Don’t imagine, however, that golf here exactly matches the game elsewhere – not least because of the strong official sentiment ever since the revolution in 1979 that aping the West constitutes a sin.
You know you are playing golf in the Islamic Republic when:
1. The rule book starts, “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate.”
2. There are only a dozen holes. Tehran’s only golf course used to have the regulation 18 holes, but 6 were considered such prime real estate that the Revolutionary Guards confiscated them to build office blocks and residential complexes.
3. “Referees” are dispatched with nearly every golf party because players prefer to cheat rather than scavenge for their balls in the high grass, deep fissures and drifts of trash on the unkempt fairways.
4. Perhaps most surprisingly given the obstacles they face, most of the players on any given day are fit young women from 16 to 30, whose other activities include things like fencing for the national team.
[Whether it will stay that way is anyone’s guess since the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative, as president on June 24.]
“I used to think of golf as a sport for old fogies, chiefly men,” said Rabieh Alikhasy, 30, an aerobics instructor with an engaging smile who overflows with the zeal of a new convert. “But I think golf is the sport I had been looking for my whole life – I had never found one this satisfying. Playing golf makes me even happier than going to a great party.”
Sports for women were almost universally banned, or at least heavily discouraged, in the first years after the revolution. During those fervent times, when women were expected to wear the long, flapping black robe known as the chador, golf was impossible to contemplate. By the 1990’s, when the chador was replaced with ample raincoats and hoods, women were swathed in just too much cloth to play.
Firouzeh Zamani tried. Swinging turned into an exercise in frustration, however. “I thought I couldn’t have a good time here, so I stopped,” said Mrs. Zamani, who admits only to being about 30. She learned while living outside Iran and is now the No. 1 golfer on the four-member women’s national team.
Everything changed two years ago when the official sports federation began urging women to play. International women’s sports competition had been reintroduced to Iran in the early 1990’s by Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, then president. But outside their own country, Iranian women were expected to play in open arenas, and the hard-liners balked.
“In Islam, women are considered delicate creatures, and they should have jobs and play sports with a view toward this delicacy,” says Hamidreza Taraqqi, the editor of the weekly Shoma, a mouthpiece of the staunch conservatives. “Women have a very high value, and by exposing themselves in different positions during sports, it damages their image, so they just shouldn’t do it.”
After President Mohammad Khatami came to power in 1997, Islamic dress started shrinking and finally became a simple head scarf and tunic. (The tighter or more slit the better, and preferably pink this year.) Iran was looking for ways to take part in international women’s events without abandoning Islamic dress.
“We cannot row or play volleyball when we are covered like this,” said Farideh Shojaei, the vice president of the Golf Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, indicating her own black hood and voluminous cloak, still the uniform of Iranian officialdom. “But we can participate in golf with these same clothes, and there is no difficulty.”
Ha ha, those nutty mullahs. Isn’t it funny, this golfing in “black hood and voluminous cloak”? Sure, they can’t play volleyball, but they can golf! State terror? Institutionalized discrimination? Come now: let’s just hope the “conservatives” don’t get them! This Hogan’s Heroes vision of life in the Islamic Republic is matched only by another story, “Iranian Leader Denies He Took Embassy Hostages,” from the New Duranty Times of July 2:
Yet friends, supporters and neighbors here describe the diminutive, bearded man as humble and caring. Mr. Ahmadinejad has a small circle of aides, one that appears a bit overwhelmed by all the demands and preparations ahead. Nasser Hadian-Jazy, a political science professor at Tehran University, said that he had known the president-elect since childhood and that Mr. Ahmadinejad was not involved with the student hostage takers. He said they grew up together in East Tehran, and Mr. Hadian-Jazy described his old classmate as among the brightest in the neighborhood.
He called Mr. Ahmadinejad “self-confident, committed and absolutely incorruptible.” He said he is very religious, but modern in his thinking. If there is a negative quality, Mr. Hadian-Jazy said, it is that he is very set in his views, and can be hard to persuade otherwise.
“If you can force him to sit down and listen, he has the capability to understand,” the professor said.
While Mr. Ahmadinejad maintained a humble life style as the appointed mayor of Tehran, that is likely to change, if for no other reason than security. He lives at the end of a dead-end street, more of an alley that runs alongside a school. The alley opens onto a circle, with a small park in the middle with benches and a field of grass that now attracts those who come to ask favors of the president-elect, and serves as a spot for neighbors to socialize. These days, cars packed with sightseers drive around the circle, stopping to look down the alley, a far cry from the palatial and off-limit homes of other Iranian leaders.
On Friday, the day of prayer and rest in most Muslim countries, some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s neighbors sat on a bench, talking about their favorite son. It is almost a rule that when someone is asked about Mr. Ahmadinejad, the first thing said is that he is a modest person who has never lost touch with his roots. Security is very tight in the neighborhood, and with soldiers and plainclothes agents around, the neighbors were afraid to give their names.
One older man, who said he had lived in the neighborhood for 15 years, said that every year for the Iranian New Year, Mr. Ahmadinejad invited the neighbors over for a celebration. He is described as a devout man who lives in a three-bedroom house with two sons and a daughter. His family has little furniture, they said, and has machine-made carpets, not the more expensive hand-woven ones commonly owned by the better-off.
One son is finishing high school, and the two other children are studying in the university, the neighbors said.
Since he became mayor of Tehran, the city has had a driver pick Mr. Ahmadinejad up for work every day. But on his days off, neighbors said, he still drives the same 1977 Peugeot, without air-conditioning, that is parked in the alleyway beside the house.
People are quick to offer stories about Mr. Ahmadinejad, almost as if he was a religious figure. They say, for example, that he always brought his own lunch to work because he did not want the city to have to pay for his meals.
At the municipal building, Ahmad Esmali’s job is to deliver tea to the offices. “This mayor was better than the others,” he said recently. “He saw managers and workers with one eye.”
In the park on Friday, one neighbor said the mayor had given money to the local butcher, at a shop called Zand, so the butcher could give poor and needy people meat at a discount. Two young men working in the butcher shop said they believed it was true.
It is a common practice in many Middle Eastern cultures for leaders to have audiences with citizens seeking help, or to accept their petitions for assistance. Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to take that custom to heart.
What a sweet guy. Hostage taker? Naaah, he couldn’t have been. Look: he gave poor people discounted meat. This kind of story reminds me of puff pieces about Hitler published in the 1930s: the FÃ¼hrer with his beloved dogs, admiring comments about his personal warmth from his inner circle, etc. Only I don’t think even the New Duranty Times stooped that low in those days.
New Duranty Times? Walter Duranty was the New York Times correspondent in the USSR in the 1930s. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. In March 1933 he wrote that there were in the Ukraine “serious food shortages,” but “no actual starvation” — just “widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.” Behind the scenes, he reported to the British Embassy that ten million had died in Stalin’s famine, but he never reported that in the New York Times. Duranty, a Communist sympathizer, wanted Americans to think that the idea that Stalin had engineered a famine in the Ukraine was “a sheer absurdity.”
The Times never did get around to reporting much about the Ukrainian famine, or about Hitler’s genocide against the Jews. Now it is going 0-for-3, declining to speak honestly about the real nature and causes of the global jihad, but making sure we know what a nice guy the thug Ahmadinejad is and how much fun golf is in Iran. That’s why we call it the New Duranty Times, and why you should too.