Tourist & Resident Guide to Iran

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MAHAK – Iranian Cancer Charity for Children

The Society to Support Children Suffering from Cancer, known as MAHAK, is a strictly non-governmental organisation founded in 1991 by socially motivated volunteers. The main objective of this Society is to alleviate pain in children suffering from cancer and bring hope to their devastated families.

During the past fourteen years, MAHAK has helped more than 8000 cancer-stricken children all over the country as well as the children of Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

MAHAK has recently achieved one of its main objectives and constructed its own specialised Mega Hospital and Rehabilitation Complex in Tehran with the ability to provide care for 120 children with accompanying parents.

The complex is designed to offer treatment and a range of rehabilitation possibilities beside other facilities such as an auditorium, a playground and dining hall.

In order to find out more about the society, please visit

Cancer is not only painful, but also costly

Currency Account No.: 140056 BANK SADERAT Branch #1445

Currency Account: Bank Saderat, Regional office, Main Branch: 125050
United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Dubai, SWIFT: BSIRAEAD

Contact information

PO BOX: 19395-5445, Tehran, Iran
Email: info[at]
Telephone: (+98 21) 2249 0544
Fax: (+98 21) 2244 5454

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Book: All The Shah's Men

By Steve Kinzer

All The Shah's Men by Steve KinzerIran’s recent development of uranium enrichment facilities has been referred to in the official national media as an event even more significant than the nationalisation of the oil industry in 1951. But while borrowing the historical imagery of Iran’s first great victory against imperialism, nothing is said by the country’s leaders of the man who led the charge, Mohammad Mossadeq.

“All The Shah’s Men” is a pulsating account of the rise of this champion of Iranian nationalism, his nationalisation of the oil industry and his subsequent downfall at the hands of the CIA in 1953 that shows just how big a part US foreign policy played in the creation of a “rogue state”. This book is essential reading for understanding the combination of reverence and injustice that many Iranians still feel having been robbed of their great nationalist hero, and why Iran’s current regime now has no place for him in their own national mythology.

Kinzer paints a sympathetic picture of this man who coughed blood seemingly as a direct consequence of the injustices that the British were being allowed to perpetrate in his country through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and later still, British Petroleum). For a people raised on the idea of personal martyrdom, the fainting fits, coughing blood and involuntary tears of this highly emotional character all added to his popular appeal.

Since oil had been discovered in Iran by British engineers in 1908, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and later still, British Petroleum), had become one of the key elements of the Empire. Safeguarding oil supplies ran parallel with protecting the entire imperial ideology whose foundations in monopolising the riches of other countries had already begun to look tenuous. Thus, to arch-imperialists such as Churchill and Eden, Mossadeq was a man who might have brought down an empire.

Across the Atlantic, two radically different ideologies were doing battle over how best to approach the threat of Communism. While Truman had thought it best to ride the wave of nationalist movements and help them to stand independently against the red tide, the incoming Eisenhower administration preferred a more “hands-on” approach. The British knew that the fear of Communism could drive the incoming president to extreme action and it was their encouragement that paved the way for the birth of the regime change rationale that was to characterise much of US foreign policy in the decades that followed.

Complete with its swashbuckling anti-hero, CIA agent, Kermit Roosevelt, at the helm of anti-Mossadeq operations on the ground, Kinzer’s book reads more like a spy thriller with political punch than it does a straightforward history. And it is indeed the good-natured ease with which he approached his job that highlights just how callous an approach to world politics his masters in Washington were taking. Covert action seemed, at the time, to be a satisfyingly direct and cost-effective device to ensure a more favourable regional situation, it is clear that with the Islamic world currently rising up in anger against US heavy-handedness, the real price of the coup is clearly still being paid.

Following the story of this national hero to its conclusion in the Mossadeq family estate where he spent his final years under house arrest, Kinzer gives touching accounts of the quiet memories that still echo around the village to which he was kind patron and generous benefactor. There is no escaping the question of what might have been if he had been allowed to lead the whole of Iran. What could have been if the British hadn’t been so intransigent, if the Truman doctrine had not given way to Eisenhower. If a national hero had been allowed to rule the country that had wanted him, that needed him and who had elected him.

Buy All The Shah's Men by Steve Kinzer from Amazon

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Iranian Embassy Tokyo

Iran Embassy, Tokyo

Iran Embassy, Tokyo

3-13-9, Minami Azabu,
Tokyo 106-0047
Tel:(03) 3446-8011/15

Hiroo Station on the Hibiya Line (15 mins walk) or Shiroganetakanawa Station on the Nanboku Line (10 mins walk).

Friday, April 07, 2006

National Museum of Iran

National Museum of Iran, Tehran

The National Museum of Iran is an archaeological and history museum in central Tehran and preserves some of the world's most valuable Persian antiquities.

The collection is a must-see on any visit to Tehran. The museum opened in 1937 and the building housing the pre-Islamic period collection was designed by French architect Andre Godard and is modeled on a Sassanian palace.

The National Museum of Iran is actually made up of two separate buildings: Godard's building contains pre-Islamic period exhibits, the second building next door (opened in 1996) consists of the post-Islamic collection - Islamic period art, books, calligraphy, carpets, ceramics, minatures and textiles from over 1000 years of the Muslim history of Iran.

The collection of ancient Persian art contains pieces from Shush, Persepolis, Ismail Abad, Rey and Turang Tappeh.

Relief Sculpture, National Museum of Iran, Tehran

National Museum of Iran, Tehran

© Camille-Hélène Lemouchoux

Statue, National Museum of Iran, Tehran

National Museum of Iran, Tehran

© Camille-Hélène Lemouchoux


National Museum of Iran
Open 9am-1pm; 2pm-4pm
Closed Tuesday
14-16 672061-6 Emam Khomeini Avenue,
Si-e-Tir corner, Tehran
Tel: 620 2061

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Noruz Table

Noruz Table

A traditional Noruz table (Sofreh haft-seen) consists of seven kinds of food, each beginning with the letter S or sin in Farsi, which represent the virtues of abundance, health, life, love, patience, purity and wealth.

Noruz table

Sabzeh - wheat or lentil sprouts symbolizing rebirth.
Samanu - a creamy wheat germ pudding with sacred connotations.
Seeb - apples represent beauty and good health.
Senjid - dried fruit of the lotus tree symbolizing love.
Serkeh - vinegar represents longevity and the virtue of patience.
Sir - garlic symbolizes good health due to its medicinal properties.
Somagh - sumac berries symbolize the brightness of the sun and the ultimate victory of good over evil.

Noruz table

Flowers such as hyacinths Sonbol and tulips Laleh can also be placed on the Noruz table and represent Spring.
Painted eggs are symbols of fertility.
The mirror represents the life reflected, candles reveal happiness and goldfish symbolize life and energy.

Images kindly provided by Mohammed, an Iranian Msc student at Metropolitan University, London

Iranian food