Archive for Iran

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2020 by xi'an

Iran is facing a catastrophic toll from the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. sanctions should not be contributing to this humanitarian disaster. As a caring nation, we must lift any sanctions hurting Iran’s ability to address this crisis, including financial sanctions.” Bernie Sanders, 20 March

“The whole world should know that humanitarian assistance to Iran is wide open, it’s not sanctioned (…) The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice,” Mike Pompeo, 20 March

“Expelling Médecins sans Frontières [from installing a  field hospital in Isfahan] will be a decision based on wisdom because their presence is a cover for non-humanitarian activities. As France has in practice repeatedly proven its enmity against Iran, the question is why our officials allowed the group to enter in the first place,” he said, describing the permit as “dangerous recklessness.” Hossein Shariatmadari, 24 March

“We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose thousands of people per year to automobile accidents.” DT, 24 March

“The economic sanctions are working. If we didn’t have these sanctions in place, literally Iran would have tens of billions of dollars. They would be using that for terrorist activities throughout the region. There is no question that by cutting off the economics to the regime we are having an impact” Stephen Mnuchin, 10 Jan

“…we have [the coronavirus pandemics] totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine..” DT, 22 Jan

“I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along.” DT, 18 Feb

“I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” DT, 9 March


freedom for women jailed in Iran

Posted in Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2019 by xi'an

Three women are currently on hunger strike in Iranian jails to protest against their arbitrary detention under espionage charges and the dire conditions of these detentions. Two of them, Fariba Adelkhah and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, are dual nationals with Iranian nationality, whose second nationality is not recognised by Iranian authorities and makes their release from jail the more unlikely. On the French side, Fariba Adelkhah, anthropologist, along with Roland Marchal, sociologist, is a researcher at Sciences Po Paris. They were arrested in June 2019. On the British side, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (jailed in April 2016) is working with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Canadian news agency Thomson Reuters‘ charitable arm and Kylie Moore-Gilbert (jailed since October 2018) is a  Middle East Lecturer at the University of Melbourne‘s Asia Institute. Petitions have been launched to support them, but I wonder at the possibility to move the Iranian cynical stance other than through the respective governments of these women. (Obviously, there are many many other women and men jailed in Iran for political or other discriminatory reasons who should equally be freed.)


and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2019 by xi'an

“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy” M. Menezes, US Secretary of Energy

“NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part)” DT,, 7 June

“I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.) [sic], the Prince of Whales [re-sic]” DT, 13 June

“[Sarah Sanders] is going to be leaving the service of her country and she’s going to be going  (…) She’s a very special person, a very, very fine woman, she has been so great, she has such heart, she’s strong but with great, great heart, and I want to thank you for an outstanding job.” DT, 13 June

“…when I asked, ‘How many will die?’ ‘150 people, sir’, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not … proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.” DT, 21 June

“The reason we have tragedies like that on the border is because that father didn’t wait to go through the asylum process in the legal fashion and decided to cross the river and not only died but his daughter died tragically as well,” K. Cuccinelli, head of US Immigration and Citizenship Services, 28 June

“If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III. But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television.” DT, 24 June

Quarta Família: Héptagno

Posted in pictures with tags , , , on December 27, 2014 by xi'an

Opium came before oil… in the 19th Century

Posted in Books, Statistics with tags , , , , , , on November 13, 2010 by xi'an

Courrier International is a French weekly I have been a regular subscriber from its start, twenty year ago. It is actually made of a selection of articles from newspapers from all around the world (that are translated into French except for a few English and Spanish exceptions). There are obvious biases in this selection, both geographically and politically, in that a majority of articles is about/from either Europe or North-America and that the orientation is more (French) liberal than its ownership by Le Monde would suggest… Translations are sometimes visibly botched, especially in scientific and economic sections, and the choice of scientific issues often verges on the pseudo-science with a brave-new-world flavour… Anyway, I nonetheless enjoy the diversity of views Courrier International provides as well as the access to translations from languages other than French and English. (Articles from the US press are in majority taken from the New York Time which is fine with me!, except that I have read most of them weeks before.) Anyway again, I was thus reading the special 20th anniversary issue of Courrier International and a so-so paper about the youth in Iran, when I stumbled upon the sentence

Opium has been used for centuries in Iran, and cultivation of opium poppy was a large part of Persia’s gross national product in the 19th century, before oil, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

This struck me as a particularly dumb statement, either from the authors of the paper if they made this up or from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime if this is a figure appearing in their statistics. Indeed, (a) there was actually no [whatsoever] oil exploitation in Iran in the 19th century, so any contribution to the GNP would have been larger than oil!, including rose water and (why not!) shoe laces…, and (b) I have doubts about the accuracy of the evaluation of the Persian GNP in the 19th century, even though Persia was a mostly stable country by the early 1800’s. This is only a minor point in a minor article, but Courrier International should know better than using non-sensical statistics.