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The Tally Ho

Monday, August 02, 2004

The "Yellow Cake Trial" / Iran and Transexuality

First, if you have been following the Niger-Yellow Cake issue, check out Sunday's blog by Joshua Marshall on Talking Points Memo. This is Mr. Marshall's introduction:

Today, the Sunday Times of London reports that the Italian middle-man who provided the notorious Niger uranium documents to Italian journalist Elizabetta Burba (she
later brought them to the US Embassy in Rome, you’ll remember) was himself given the documents by the Italian military intelligence service, SISMI.

I can vouch for the accuracy of this account since I have been working on this story for six months. In fact, I interviewed the Italian middle-man in question two months ago at a restaurant in mid-town Manhattan -- the details of that interview I describe below.

This all requires a bit of explanation. So here goes …

Keep Reading...

Did you see Nazila Fathi's article, As Repression Lifts, More Iranians Change Their Sex, in the Sunday NY Times? I just found it especially interesting. Fathi writes:
Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there was no particular policy regarding transsexuals. Iranians with the inclination, means and connections could obtain the necessary medical treatment and new identity documents. The new religious government, however, classed transsexuals and transvestites with gays and lesbians, who were condemned by Islam and faced the punishment of lashing under Iran's penal code.

But these days, Iran's Muslim clerics, who dominate the judiciary, are considerably better informed about transsexuality. Some clerics now even recommend sex-change operations to those who are troubled about their gender. The issue was discussed at a conference in Tehran in June that drew officials from other Persian Gulf countries.

One cleric, Muhammad Mehdi Kariminia, is writing his thesis on transsexuality at the religious seminary of Qum.

"All the clerics and researchers at the seminary encouraged me to work on the subject," he said in an interview. "They said that my research can help change the social stigma attached to these people and clarify religious decrees on the matter."

This is an interesting read.

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