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Guide to Online News in Iran

Portals to Persian/Farsi news online

There are a growing number of news portals in Persian/Farsi. [Persian is the English word for Farsi, also called Dari and Tajik, and spoken with different accents in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, respectively. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages that include Indic, Iranian, Germanic, Romance, and Slavic languages. Persian has a large volume of Arabic loan words and is written in the Arabic script, except in Tajikistan where it is written in the Cyrillic script and includes Russian loan words as well.]

The four most useful ones with links to all the major print/online media, radio/TV are: Gooya. A well-organized, no fuss, portal. Iranian. Its A-Z list of online media indicates where they are published. IranMania. This is a comprehensive portal cum search engine on everything Iranian. NetIran. An illustrated Who's Who and database of Iran's state structure and public media, complete with contact information. Payvand. This site lists 72 papers, complete with the names of their editors, contact information, and URLs, and links to an excellent selection of daily news in English from sources around the world.

Also worth mentioning is ParsTimes, a nonprofit and noncommercial news magazine with extensive links to Iranian and Middle Eastern sites. The Iranian index is one of the most comprehensive available online. Its emphasis is on business and finance, with up to date links to sports (the site started as a soccer link), arts and entertainment, and many other subjects.

Iranian news agencies

There are two major Iranian news agencies with up-to-date coverage of world events:

IRNA, the Iranian Republic News Agency, is in English. ISNA, the Iranian Students News Agency is produced by Tehran University, in Persian, with a focus on student-related news. It reports current affairs in English and Persian.

Persian script and file types

If Acrobat Reader can't read the files, download the script from the Web site itself, install it in your Fonts folder, double click the file; then in your browser under View, Encoding, More, click User Defined, and you should be OK. Once you get in, you'll find that most of the files are in PDF format. Navigation can sometimes feel like a slow nightmare.

Categories of Online Sources in Persian/Farsi

Hardliners

Represents the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's vision of a radical/fundamentalist, militant, anti-Western, populist Islam.

Entekhab. Very anti-American; mouthpiece of Ayatollah Shahroudi, Chief Justice; believes that the Supreme Leader overrides the Constitution; and the judiciary can override the president and arrest the members of Parliament. Iran Daily. English; published in Iran. Jomhouri-e Eslami. A state paper closely representing the views and promoting the powers of Ali Khamenei. Kayhan. Ultra reactionary, dogmatic, and sensationalist; belligerent and fascist in tone; publishes flagrant lies and misinformation. Resalat. An organ of the influential bazaar merchants Tehran Times. English; mouthpiece for the conservative Mo'talefeh Camp. Disinformation; tabloid; sensationalist. Reformists/Loyal Opposition

Representing Khatami's camp/Dovvom-e Khordad group, and dominating the Parliament, they may question the regime, but not the revolution. Their members have strong ties to the hardliners and differ with them chiefly in operational/procedural rather than ideological matters.

Aftab-e Yazd. Reflects the views of the Dovvom-e Khordad Front, which refers to the general reformist agenda and their representatives in the parliament and in society in general. Hambastegi. Very similar to Aftab-e Yazd (above). Hamshahri. Founded by the former mayor of Tehran as an organ of the City Hall, it currently reflects the views of Rafsanjani and the Islamic technocrats in whose view economic development has priority over social and political freedom. Hayat-e No. The editor, Hadi Khamenei, is the brother of the Supreme Leader, but has a strongly reformist position. Mosharekat. Banned until recently, this daily paper represents the Islamic National Participation Front, headed by Mohammad Reza Khatami, brother of the president and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. Nowruz. Also representative of reformists.

Opposition/Iran

These sites represent centrist, popular sentiment, from the national-religious variety to the secular. Most have been banned since February/March 2001.

AKU. Published at Amir Kabir Technical University by a student organization, this site posts news and dissenting editorials, including protests by political prisoners. Asr-e no. An organ of the Iran Freedom Movement, founded by Mehdi Bazargan in 1979, and now headed by Ibrahim Yazdi who was tried in absentia and is currently in the U.S. The site includes links to the Web sites of about 30 political parties and movements. Mahnameh Aftab. This is a banned monthly magazine. Bayan. This site and the next four listed daily opposition publications have been banned by the Iranian government. Bahar. Banned. Dowran-e Emrooz. Banned. Hammihan. Banned. Jameah. Banned.

Opposition/abroad

Nationalist/secular. Iran National Front, USA/Jebhe Melli Iran. The site is published by Iran's main secular pro-democracy organization out of New York. Their Washington, DC chapter hosts a separate Web site as well. Centrist: Nimrooz is a periodical, with a daily newspaper under construction. It is the voice of intellectuals and statesmen. Satire: Hadi Khorsandi. A famous satirist now in exile; pokes fun at people and events across the board. Monarchist: Keyhan London. Sensationalist and tabloid in tone; published by the former chief editor of Keyhan in pre-revolution Iran. Communist/secular: Tudeh. This is a 60-year-old Communist Party publication in Germany. Communist/secular: Fedayee Guerillas. (Second Web site.) This is militant movement active in the early years of the Islamic revolution, with fading popularity over the years. They maintain two Web sites. Communist/Islamic: Iran Mojahedin. This is an Islamic-Marxist group with a self-appointed president and government, stationed in Iraq.

International

BBC Persian provides standard BBC quality, up-to-date news in Persian. Etella'at. The international edition is published in New York in Persian, with an English summary of salient features, and relative impartiality. Bulletin Boards: An increasingly popular venue for interaction, in English, that is found on most news portals, such as Payvand. Another popular site is PostIran, which is probably based in London. One person posted a 12-page paper called, 'Bin Laden, Iran, and the KLA: How Islamic Terrorism Took Root in Albania.' Updated: February 11, 2002.

 

News briefs from around the world give you the latest developments that affect online journalism.

30 political parties and movements

Aftab-e Yazd

AKU

Asr-e no

Bahar

Bayan

BBC Persian

Dowran-e Emrooz

Entekhab

Etella'at

Fedayee Guerillas

Gooya

Hadi Khorsandi

Hambastegi

Hammihan

Hamshahri

Hayat-e No

hosts a separate Web site

Iran Daily

Iran Mojahedin

Iran National Front

Iranian

IranMania

IRNA

ISNA

Jameah

Jomhouri-e Eslami

Kayhan

Keyhan London

Mahnameh Aftab

Mosharekat

NetIran

Nimrooz

Nowruz

ParsTimes

Payvand

Payvand

posted a 12-page paper

PostIran

protests by political prisoners

Resalat

Second Web site

Tehran Times

Tudeh