Monday, January 20, 2014

My Speech at Friday Prayers

I was invited to deliver a speech on the occasion of the Clean Air Day at the Friday Prayer ceremony in Tehran. Friday Prayers are an important aspect of religious and political life in Iran, since sermons are devoted to contemporary issues and Friday Leaders provide analysis and insight into national and international developments. In the final hours on Wednesday, they informed me that my speech was not possible . Speculation on why I was first invited  and then banned from speaking filled the press 
I published my full speech a day later.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tree planting with Christians in Iran

The Ararat Club is a large sports and cultural foundation dating to over 7 decades ago. Armenians who  founded the Club in Tehran, manged to allocate an excellent location several years later. Armenians are the major Christian minority residing for centuries in Iran. On the occaision of Christmas and the New Year I was invited last week, to plant a tree and speak at the Club . Hundreds had attended.    We planted the tree in the campus and went back to the hall for the ceremony. "We are planting a tree of peace and friendship for the world, as opposed to enmity and hatred, we hope for peace with nature in 2014 as well." I said in my speech. I continued, "For centuries Christians and other minorities have lived in peace and frienship in Iran and I hope those ties of friendship will remain for ever."