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MEA Weekend: Iranian vs Western Etiquette

I left Iran at the age of fourteen. The year was 1987. At that age, and with the experiences of living in a country surrounded by memories of revolution and war, I arrived in the UK with all the mannerisms and etiquette of a conservative Persian. I was told that British people are polite, so I automatically expected them to understand all of our traditions, which show politeness.

One such Iranian tradition is ‘Tarof’. According to this tradition, you must never accept food which is offered to you, until it has been offered three times.

Soon after my arrival, more than once, I left the houses of British friends starving hungry. I used to turn up there, and they used to offer me food. Of course according to British tradition, they politely offered once, and according to Iranian tradition I had to refuse, because the whole goal of Tarof is to show dignity and restraint. In some cases some even offered twice. I stuck to my Persian traditions. They did not know any better, nor did I. So after a while, I started stuffing my face before going to houses of my British friends, knowing full well that this is the only food I am going to get for the whole evening.

After a while I just had to stop because I realized that I was offending some people by not eating at their home.

That was one of the difficult aspects of adapting to life in the UK. Sharing classes with girls and openly going on dates (something I could not do in Iran back then) was a much easier one, which definitely made up for it. Thats another story for another day. But as Gerry Seinfeld said “I always even out”.

Here is a fantastic clip by the famous Iranian – British comedian Omid Djalili, explaining his experiences with the tradition of Tarof in Britain. Enjoy and have a great weekend. Regards,  Meir Javedanfar


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Posted on : Apr 29 2010
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Is nuclear armed Iran a foregone conclusion?

“Get ready to live with nuclear Iran” was the title of a recent article by H.D.S. Greenway, in the Boston Globe.

Greenway is not alone in thinking that Iran’s nuclear program is unstoppable. The article below examines the question whether it is simply too late, and the world should switch from preventing a nuclear Iran, to containing it.


Two part panel interview with France24, about the question of nuclear terrorism, Iran, The Pakistani nuclear program and Obama’s new nuclear doctrine.

Part 1


Part 2


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Posted on : Apr 22 2010
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Happy Birthday, Dear Israel

In 1948 we had to fight for our very survival. In 2010 we have to make peace for our longevity. A Palestinian state, based on the territories captured after 1967 is not a detriment to our survival. Its something that will assure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state. For Israel’s sake, we must strive for a Palestinian state.

How the times and options for our survival have changed, to our advantage.


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Posted on : Apr 19 2010
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MEA Weekend: Welcome to Tel Aviv.

Hope you enjoyed last week’s 3 minute trip to Tehran. It wasn’t what you expected, right?

This week I am going to take you around my new home city, Tel Aviv. Its an amazing place.

Jerusalem is for saints, and Tel Aviv is for sinners. Its such a vibrant city that even saints would want to sin here.

Should Moses ever come back again one day, he would want to live here. In fact, Jerusalemites would have to fight him and his stick to drag him away from Tel Aviv’s vivacious night life.

Also, this place is the business center of Israel. Just imagine it “Big Mo’s Weekend Jeep trips to Cyprus”.

“But what about the Mediterranean sea?” I hear you say. Ah no problem, the special Moses package includes parting the Med for the weekend, so you can go and do your shopping and gambling for the weekend, load up your jeep with lots of duty free goodies, and return to the holy land.

From “Red Sea pedestrians” to “Med Sea Jeep trekkers” in a space of 5000 odd years. No bad ha?

Of course some members of the right wing of Israeli politics may want to convince Moses to use his magic parting skills to return parts of “Greater Israel” which may be under the sea. Knowing our luck, the fish will take Israel to the UN Security Council. Knowing Israel’s current diabolical diplomatic capabilities, we are very likely to lose against them.

So here we go, here is the city of Tel Aviv, in all her glory. Wishing you a great weekend, Meir Javedanfar


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Posted on : Apr 15 2010
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East Jerusalem, not the NPT

East Jerusalem, not the NPT, is the biggest reason for the cancellation of Netanayahu’s trip to the nuclear summit.


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Posted on : Apr 09 2010
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MEA Weekend – Thursday, April 8th, 2010

The Middle East is more than just about conflicts that you see on TV. This region is made up from a wonderful mosaic of cultures, which includes its own music, literature and sense of humor. Starting from this Thursday, The Middle East Analyst (MEA) site will start the MEA weekend. On every Thursday, at 1 pm Tel Aviv time and 2:30 pm Tehran time, we will be sharing clips and articles from other people in the region, or by foreign artists about the Middle East. The subjects covered will be music, comedy, politics and art.

To start things off, allow me to take you on a 3 minute 40 seconds tour of my wonderful city of birth, Tehran.


Have a great weekend.

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Posted on : Apr 08 2010
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On Karzai’s Taliban Strategy

What are the internal and external factors which are behind Karzai’s anti-western outbursts? Has he already given up on the West?


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Posted on : Apr 06 2010
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For Human Rights in Iran, Sanctions Are Needed.

Why sanctions are now needed more than ever to force Iran back to the negotiation table, to discuss not only the nuclear program , but also human rights.

Article in Persian, discussing Israel’s diplomatic encirclement of Iran policy.


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Posted on : Apr 01 2010
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