For every 100,000 babies born, 6,500 mothers die in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan due to unavailable or inadequate medical care. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violent conflicts over control of its rich mineral deposits have killed more people than the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur combined.
If Arash Saghian's recent marriage had taken place in the late 1980s or early 1990s, he would likely have faced ostracism from Los Angeles' Iranian Jewish community. The family of the 25-year-old businessman might have also frowned upon the match, all because his spouse Maya was Ashkenazi.
The Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles is reacting to a U.S. intelligence report that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 with emotions ranging from deep suspicion to utter disbelief.
A sampling of often-opposed activists in the largest Iranian Jewish concentration in the United States, who stay in constant contact with their former homeland and are familiar with the mentality of its leaders, yielded opinions that differed mainly in emphasis and nuance.
When former Israeli President Moshe Katsav pleaded guilty to charges of sexual harassment and resigned his post late last month, no one was more surprised and saddened than his strongest supporters in Southern California, the Iranian Jewish community.
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As Reza Pahlavi, son of the former shah of Iran, took the stage, the overflow audience of Iranian Jews rose as one. They waved Iranian, American and Israeli flags, broke into rhythmic clapping, and shouted in Farsi, "Long live the shah" and "We love you."
President Moshe Katzav, Israel's eighth head of state, will visit Los Angeles June 4-6 and meet with community leaders, civic officials, and members of the local Iranian Jewish community.