Wednesday, February 01, 2006

# Posted 7:27 AM by Patrick Belton  

HODER CONTRA MUNDUM: Last summer at a conference at St Antony's on the modern Iran, I had the very pleasant opportunity to meet Iranian blogfather Hossein Derakhshan, an awfully decent and immensely likeable bloke who has with courage and dash been building up a community of Iranian blogs, as a free space of liberal debate in Iran to permit uncensored spread of information and argument. He is this week in Israel, to encourage Iranian Jewish emigrants to write in Farsi to speak to liberal Iranians and contribute to the dialogue at popular level between the two countries. Haaretz writes about it here:
Last June, after a brief visit to his native Iran, Hossein Derakhshan wanted to return to Canada, but was delayed at Tehran airport for questioning. For seven hours he was interrogated by an Iranian Information Ministry officer concerning the blogs he writes in English and Farsi. He was told that he could no longer criticize the Ayatollah Khamenei and was asked to make a public apology or be banned from leaving the country. Derakhshan apologized but continued his activities undeterred. This week he succeeded in angering the Iranians again, when he decided to visit Israel in order to present Israel to his Iranian readers through his moderate eyes.
Well done, you. Que viva blogistan!
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