New Updates

You might have noticed some changes in the website. In fact over 300 hours were spent to update and maintain the site this year. First, we made a serious attempt to maintain the site. A link checking software was used to fix broken links. Also, naviagation shortcusts were added to all the key pages. You should be able to find what you’re seeking much faster than before.

Second, we have launched new pages such as a worldwide directory of Persian restaurants because of numerous requests:

http://www.parstimes.com/cuisine/restaurants/

The sports and football pages were extensively updated and a page specially dedicated to women’s sports were launched:

http://www.parstimes.com/sports/women/

Third, most of our real videos were converted to the flash format. Again, this was because you requested it. We now have over 800 online videos. That’s more than most Persian TV stations.

Iran used to constitute a third of our traffic. Therefore, for years we had self censorship in order to have contact with Iranian civil society. We still have a few visitors from Iran. Our stats show that they’re browsing the site with their mobile phones or using proxies.

The copyright issue is the most serious issue affecting us. It mainly has to do with our images. But, webpages are also saved and uploaded to other sites for commercial gain. In other words, we have to compete with our own work. In additon, our Pagerank drops as a result and we lose our top positioning in search engines.

We have officially registered the site with the U.S. Copyright Office. But, defending copyright via the web is next to impossible.

Numerous cease and desist letters were sent to other sites including government sponsored sites. One can infer that the Iranian-American community is totally lawless and just values wealth and has no respect for labor.

I have collected an enormous amount of intelligence on the community in the past 10 years. The unpublished content (audio, video, images, etc..) can be made public in a few seconds. Hence, reversing all of your image-building efforts.

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Changing our focus

Last year, the society & culture section was greatly expanded. New indexes for music, theatre, humor, diaspora, etc. were added:

http://www.parstimes.com/music

http://www.parstimes.com/theatre/

http://www.parstimes.com/humor/

http://www.parstimes.com/diaspora/

The Site was launched as an economic and political portal. Now, we’re positioned to compete with the other Iranian-American portals on all subjects. Because we avoid tabloid-like content the Site is less popular than our direct competitors. Our main goal is to keep ths Site clean. There is no advertising, nudity, profanity or hate speech.

Yet, you cannot comment on any of the pages. This is mainly due to our lack of resources. It’s possible to take the Site to another level. But, it would mean comprising our independence. For now, you can consider other outlets available to you.

We have made the content more accessible. For example, older videos were converted to the flash format because you requested it. Of course, this task was very labor intensive but had to be done to keep us more competitive.

We have sporadically covered local events in Southern California in the past years. The coverage includes A&E events, Persian festivals, lectures & seminars and film festivals. This has provided us with unique content which has made us differentiated than others.
We strive to work with objectivity while keeping our independence and dignity. We have never covered events by the Farhang Foundation. First, it’s because they professionally document their events and don’t need our coverage. Second, We have serious issues with their management team. They have opted to advertise at a heavily commercialized website that features offensive content. It’s my analysis that nepotism and favoritism is inherent in their management. I can get into specifics and details but this is not a forum for it.

We have a more cautious approach and will not comment on areas beyond our scope of work. I am an analyst and editor and nothing more. My educational background is in engineering and finance.I attended college for over 11 years but never took coursework in theology. Religion has always been our redline. We simply don’t cover it because it may offend people. To put it in simple terms, I don’t wish a fatwa on my head. Our motto has always been “Nothing Like the Sun”.

Keep in mind that running this Site has been a huge task and burden for me. Over the years, we have had numerous hacking attempts and received viruses & disturbing emails. Furthermore, our competitors object to our coverage of events and have gone after our contributors. They have used dirty tactics and defamation to keep their competitive edge. It’s truly a “mafia” type atmosphere. Our content is used without permission or even accreditation. This is happening despite our non commercial orientation. We simply don’t compete with them in terms of selling ads.

The news page has always been our most popular section. It would take money and staff to expand it on par with other sites. For now, it is updated with daily links to main stream news sources. Hence it is nonpolitical and unbiased. We have a policy of not posting pictures of politicians in our news page in order to preserve our neutrality.

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To clarify and set the record straight

I have never contributed to Iranian Dot Com nor registered as a user there. Yet, friends and family members have mistakenly confused me with a poster at that site who has a similar profile and based in LA:

http://www.iranian.com/main/member/q

For the record, I have never met him nor know anyone else that has ever heard of this person. Most likely, he is using a “Pen Name”.

Although some people choose to use their real name it’s also fairly common that posters use a handle to remain anonymous. For example, another poster at that site has chosen the name of a Persian dish for a handle:

http://www.iranian.com/main/member/ghormeh-sabzi

One cannot even determine whether this poster is a male or female. But, the website owner surely knows the real identity of the posters. First, they must register with a real email address. Second, users log in with a unique IP address and unless they use a proxy, their identity could be tracked.

My cousin Anahid is a blogger at that site:

http://www.iranian.com/main/member/anahid-hojjati

She first raised the issue with me in May and I provided her with the same explanation. I don’t use a Pen Name or a handle to post at other websites. Because, It’s a huge task to update and maintain my own site. As you can see, I have made only a few post at my editor’s blog.

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The rise of the Green Movement in Iran and our mission.

This is a non-partisan and totally independent website. The site is not overtly political. We have never endorsed nor displayed political banners for anyone or any political group.

Our news page is culled from main stream UK/US news sources. We have sporadically published our own editorials. We keep an archive and you can see that the site has been consistent in posting unbiased news links.

The rise of the Green Movement in Iran changed all the factors. Enormous pressure was placed on us to join the movement. The local supporters made it clear “either join us or we will isolate and defame you”. This group compromised their principles because their desire to win was great. Hence, it became impossible to have any contacts with the Iranian community. For this reason, we stopped the coverage of local events for several months. I will not comprise our independence.

Over the past nine years, I have collected an enormous amount of information on the local Iranian community and will divulge soon.

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Copyright Permission Policy

From our terms of use:

Written permission is required if you plan to use our own copyrighted images and sound & video files.

In general, we don’t grant permission to political and heavily commercialized websites. In the past years, numerous requests have been approved for educational and news purposes. Furthermore, we have sent high resolution images for printing purposes to publishers.

We rarely receive permission requests from Iranian sites. It’s obvious that they don’t respect copyright laws. So far, only VOA Persian has contacted us for permission use.

In most cases, the copyright notice has been embedded in the photos. You don’t have permission to display, crop, create derivative works of and modify our images. All images are protected under US copyright law.

You don’t need permission to use thumbnail size images (100×125 pixels) for editorial purposes. You can use 150×150 pixels provided that you credit us. This is usually done by hotlinking to our site. Here is an article on Thumbnail Photos and Fair Use:

http://www.bsu.edu/library/article/0,1894,95111-6558-58973,00.html

Some websites have strict guidelines for Image use – See Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Image_use_policy

It has come to my attention that many sites, publications and TV stations violate our terms of use policy. In the past years, I have sent numerous cease and decease letters. This includes government sponsored media in Europe. Our images have been used in their website or TV program without permission or accreditation. In some case, our copyright notice has been cropped. One can see credits in small prints which is also unacceptable. I have contacted but no action has been taken. For the record, we have neither approved nor sent any images to them. Hence, we have no association with these media outlets.

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Our Focus

This site is basically an Economic Portal. There is heavy emphasis on business topics. We aim at providing comprehensive information pertaining to Iran and the Middle East. There is less emphasis on social issues.

We have skipped a few topics. But, we have a people index:

http://www.parstimes.com/people/

We list an Ethno-Religious Mix. It’s beyond the scope of our work to decide on recognition. I am simply not in a position of power to do so.

For the record, Assyrians, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians are officially recognized and protected by the constitution of Iran.

We list unrecognized groups because they exist as people. Their recognition rests with the people of Iran. I will not compromise on this issue because it’s a matter of principle.

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Intro

Originally posted on 08.23.06

I have set up this blog because there is a need to occasionally communicate with you about new site updates. Also, it would be great to share some of my experiences in running this Site.

I have just finished validating all the links of the website. This is a difficult and tedious process that take over two weeks to finish. This is done on every quarter.  I use a program to identify and fix broken links. Otherwise, the directory part of the site would have fallen apart by now.
The analog for this site is the CIA’s World Fact Book for Iran:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html

We cover the same topics but the information is presented differently. For example, CIA just lists the International Organization participation by Iran:

ABEDA, CP, ECO, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW…..

Now, here is the same information presented differently:

http://www.parstimes.com/int_organizations.html

Our goal is just to present facts without political bias. Numerous educational and government Sites link to our resource pages because of this fact. The Site has a very high page rank and is among the top Iranian portals based on Alexa’s statistics. It has never made a penny nor received any contributions from visitors. Therefore, it’s among a few totally independent Iranian websites.

Your expectations are sometimes too high. We’re classified as a guide and directory:

http://www.google.com/Top/Regional/Middle_East/Iran/Guides_and_Directories/

But, you expect us to be like an online magazine. This website is simply a gateway. I don’t have the time to update the site everyday.  You have enough outlets to express your political and social views on the Internet.  Besides, your contributions are bread and butter to commercial webistes. You cannot expect someone to just work for free.

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