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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/26/2010

A bank that proudly does business in Iran

By Jennifer Rubin

The international bank HSBC says it is pulling an ad that juxtaposes a plug for the bank's ability to find "potential in unexpected places" with a factoid about Iran: "Only 4% of American films are made by women. In Iran it's 25%."

A reader e-mailed me about the ad last week. The implication that Iranian women -- who are tortured, beaten, murdered and imprisoned for exercising rights of free speech -- are better situated than their American counterparts was simply preposterous.

When I contact HSBC on Thursday, spokesman Robert Sherman denied that the ad suggested the bank was exploring investment opportunities in Iran. "The ad makes no such statement," he claimed via e-mail. Why bring up Iran then?

As for the comparison of women filmmakers in Iran and the U.S., Sherman offered this justification:

HSBC offers no opinion on the lives of artists in any country. This is not a topic that's germane to an ad campaign for a global bank. The ad needs to be considered in the context of our "Unlocking the World's Potential" campaign. As with our prior "Values" campaign, this campaign intentionally makes no judgment. The intent is only to emphasize surprising facts based on geographic diversity, as a way to facilitate a conversation about the world's potential. Other surprising facts featured in this campaign: Holland earns more exporting soy than Japan; USA has more Spanish language newspaper readers than Latin America.

A "surprising fact" not in the ad was reported last week by The Post : "Prominent Iranian director Jafar Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films, writing scripts, giving interviews and traveling abroad for the coming 20 years, his lawyer said Tuesday." But I suppose that comparing the number of Iranians (is it in the hundreds? thousands?) jailed for artistic "crimes" with Americans in the same situation (zero) would not help the bank hawk business in the Middle East or even with anti-American elites in Europe.

The U.S. State Department's human rights report provides more facts about Iran not in the ad:

The government censored cultural events with stringent controls on cinema and theater and a ban on Western music. A 2006 NGO report noted that censorship by authorities and a culture of self-censorship strongly inhibited artistic expression in the country. The government monitored cultural associations and continued to crack down on underground music groups (i.e., any group that failed to obtain a recording license from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance), especially those it considered inspired by Satan such as heavy metal or other Western-type music....

As the main source of production funding, the government effectively censored domestic filmmaking. Producers were required to submit scripts and film proposals to government officials in advance of funding approval. Movies promoting secularism, feminism, unethical behavior, drug abuse, violence, or alcoholism were illegal, and some domestic directors were blacklisted. The government prevented distribution of citizen Bahman Ghobadi's film on censorship, No One Knows About Persian Cats.

Josh Block, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute and a principal at the consulting firm Davis-Block (also a long-time advocate of sanctions against Iran), had this response to my inquiry about the ad:

It defies logic and common decency that HSBC would engage in this outrageous pro-Iran, anti-American propaganda at a time when the regime in Tehran is the leading human rights violator and state sponsor of terror in the world. I wonder what the noted Iranian human rights dissident Shirin Ebadi, or Sakineh Ashtiani - who was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, or the mothers of those who the regime has murdered in its torture dungeons at Evin Prison and other hell holes we never even heard of, would think about this ad? When HSBC Bank says "we find potential in the most unexpected places" they are obviously quite serious. I think they are likely provoking outrage in some highly expected places with this ad, as well. Namely all across the United States of America, and in particular at the Treasury Department and up on Capitol Hill.

A day after I contacted HSBC, I received a follow-up e-mail from Sherman that read: "The ad was meant to encourage debate and discussion, and we certainly did not intend to cause offense. Subsequent to hearing some recent concerns, we are removing the ad from our global campaign."

The number of complaints was tiny, according to a source at the bank, which makes me wonder whether the prospect of this report contributed to the change of heart.

As to HSBC's Iran operations, the bank contends: "HSBC's Iran policy remains the same: no new deals, no activity not permitted under existing sanctions. We continue to follow the letter and spirit of laws, regulations and sanctions related to Iran, in all jurisdictions." In other words, the bank continues to have existing business in Iran.

It is not clear precisely what business activity HSBC continues to conduct in Iran. What we do know from SEC filings is that the bank maintains an office in Iran. And it scaled back some of its activities there in 2007, in response to growing concern about Iran's activities and actions by the U.S. Treasury Department.

But of late, HSBC's practices have drawn the attention of various regulators. The bank is being probed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office. It has hired Deloitte to examine transactions related to a money laundering investigation. And the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a "cease and desist" order to HSBC's North American unit in October, ordering the bank to enhance its risk management procedures. Regulators found that the bank's compliance program was ineffective and created "significant potential" for money laundering and terrorist financing. This opened HSBC to the possibility that it was conducting transactions on behalf of sanctioned entities. The cease and desist order did not impose any penalty on the company, but it required HSBC to take several steps to ensure full compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and other financial regulations.

Moreover, Rep. Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) recently wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calling for increased enforcement of prohibitions on banks and other financial institutions doing business with Iran, and citing HSBC as an example of part of the problem. Rep. Joe Baca (D.-Calif.) sent a similar letter.

A spokesman for House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen indicated that issues raised by the HSBC ad would be reviewed. He reiterated that for the congresswoman, "Full enforcement and implementation of sanctions laws has been and will continue to be a top priority."

A Treasury Department spokesperson could not be reached for comment. But Stuart Levey, the Treasury undersecretary in charge of financial sanctions, testified before the House Foreign Affairs committee earlier this month and detailed laborious efforts to expose Iranian banks and companies involved in illicit activities and to persuade banks in the U.S. and Europe to cease activities that might facilitate Iran's nuclear or terrorist activities. Levey explained:

The vast body of public information demonstrating the scope of Iran's illicit conduct and deceptive practices -- practices that have facilitated its proliferation activities -- makes it nearly impossible for financial institutions and governments to assure themselves that transactions with Iran could not contribute to proliferation-sensitive activity....

What we are seeing thus far is very positive - even banks that had been willing to maintain accounts for designated Iranian banks are now reversing course or cutting ties with Iran altogether. Nevertheless, we know that Iran continues to search for work-arounds, and we must and will remain vigilant in enforcing this law....

In the course of our travels, we have encountered a growing number of financial institutions, driven by increased awareness of Iran's illicit and deceptive conduct, that are shying away from doing any kind of business with Iran. Many institutions have simply stopped dealing with Iranian banks altogether, in light of Iran's established history of using deceptive financial practices to mask the real nature of, or the true parties involved in, their transactions.

But not HSBC. No, sir. Its execs are certain all is in order. So while other banks and businesses are pulling out of Iran, HSBC's policy "remains the same." What's more, it doesn't make "value judgments." But by continuing to do business with a murderous regime, the bank certainly is displaying its corporate values.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 26, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Iran  
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Iran says market oil balanced and prices likely to increase
TEHRAN | Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:14am EST

(Reuters) - Iran's OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said on Sunday that the oil market was stable and the crude prices could reach $100 per barrel, the Oil Ministry's website SHANA reported.

"It is unlikely that OPEC holds an emergency meeting ... There is a balance between supply and demand in the market ... It is possible that the price of crude reaches $100 per barrel," Khatibi said, SHANA reported.

Oil hovered around its highest levels in more than two years on Friday, supported by cold weather across the globe, appetite for risk assets and signals from OPEC it would not arrest the rally.

"In the opinion of the experts there is no need for an emergency OPEC meet under stable oil market conditions," Khatibi said.

Analysts said oil could continue its rally on strong global demand and falling inventories in 2011, which promises to be a strong year for risk assets as confidence about the global economic recovery picks up.

Khatibi said various issues could increase the price of oil.

"The outbreak of unprecedented cold in Europe, America and China, the weak dollar and increased demand for fuel due to the holiday season have raised the price of oil to more than $90," Khatibi said.

Posted by: clownsandliars1 | December 26, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

One would think HSBC's advertising/corporate identity campaign based on "Unlocking the World's Potential" would, at minimium, use "surprising facts based on geographic diversity" that are based on actual examples of HSBC's business financing ventures. A bit more digging, and are we to discover that HSBC has a woman-owned business commitment that makes it easier to fund female filmmakers in Iran than in the U.S.?

I am still curious if "films are made by women" means films PRODUCED or films DIRECTED. Well, not that curious - I assume the copywriter is one of WikiLeaks' anti-American post-modern, post-national multi-culturalists who had too many lattes, or a Turk.

Of course "Holland earns more exporting soy than Japan" - Japan most likely consumes most of it's soy crop; why should Japan export any soy or rice when they can export high-value-added automobiles and electronics?

As to the real issue - HSBC and their business in/with Iran - why should HSBC not align themselves with Turkey and Lebanon in hedging their bets on Iran's quest for regional hegemony?

Posted by: K2K2 | December 26, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer,

Your articles are so funny. The more you beg people to hate Iran (without it working) the more you make Iran look like the powerful good guy.

I doubt your attempt to shame HSBC will work and you'll continue to look powerless.

Most of your comments, such as "by continuing to do business with a murderous regime, the bank certainly is displaying its corporate values", could most readily by applied to the US and its allies, no?

Of course, you're just an agent of those paying you for this dribble. But they should realize that the value of these articles is precisely zero.

Person

Posted by: Person321 | December 26, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

60% of scientists in Iran are woman, only 5% of scientists are women in the US.

70% of university students are women in Iran.

Sex is not used to sell things in Iran, so women do not grow up surrounded with pervasive images of women being valued only for their bodies.

As a result, woman are valued for their education and contribution they make to Iranian society.

For example, the Iranian women are at the main contributors of the Nuclear program.

Posted by: David_Roth | December 26, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It is very kind of you to write another extreme anti-Iranian article. Of course that is your job and you are trying to excel in it, but know this people see through propaganda eventually some day. United States of America has been lying about Iran for 32 years now all the while the US navy was fighting for Saddam against Iranians. It is not expected of you to understand the male chauvinism prevalent in US film industry nor appreciate Iranian progress after progress. Your strong prejudices against other people, culture and religion does not let you to see the truth. Even if artists commit crimes they are bound to be punished. No one is above the law. Simply trying to dilute the crime of criminals by calling it "freedom of speech" is the classic case of propaganda. There are more females on death row in US than in Iran and there are more artists in US prisons than there are in Iranian jails. I am sure we can also apply the rule of "freedom of speech" to their case too. Your hypocrisy is astounding while living in a country that has the highest imprisonment per capita of the world. It is better to put your house in order first than trying to advance your colonial imperialist ambitions against far away people just like your forefathers used to do.

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps no country in the has helped Iranian regime and governments to get so powerful as the US.The United States has helped Iranian adminstration to get so powerful with their immature policies towards Iran and the Middle East.

Posted by: fereydoun | December 26, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

By the way do you really think that by such arm twisting and propaganda you and your ilk can side line businesses to leave lucrative markets? Iran is a rich country sitting on top of the minerals, oil and gas with current market value of over 50 trillion dollars. A country that has the world's fastest growth rate in science and technology and being an aspiring space power, can not be side lined with such funny stories. Do you really think a country such as US which is the most indebted nation in history of mankind to tune of 150% of world's GDP is going to be be able to assure businesses around the world what is best for them? Wow, you surely need to go and read Adam Smith. Iran is one of the least indebted nations in the world today with a positive trade balance. A country where sex is not defining the destiny of a nation but rather grander goals of self reliance in science and technology is propelling it forward. By the way how is the market for Chinese/Korean/Taiwanese products in US? You should write something about that too one of these days. United States is now literally in bondage with Chinese government forever. The dilemma I have heard is only one will survive. United States or the dollar. Both can not make it. Iran is doing much better. Their country has been around for 7000 years and it is a safe bet that they will see the turn of the millennium. The cooked up charges and propaganda against them has lost its flavor and is no more effective. Go figure.

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

This is in responce to Iran's OPEC Governor's comment on oil prices.Will oil prices reach and stay at $100 per barrel in 2011.

Posted by: fereydoun | December 26, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I am continuously amazed at the provincialism and ignorance of the left. To get an idea of the difference between Iran and the U.S., Person321 might fly to Tehran to organize a Gay Pride parade.

Posted by: Skeptic20 | December 26, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Also I recalled this since you mentioned "freedom of speech" in your article. In your previous article about Iran I had written a comment detailing the history of US Iran relations from Darci oil deal, operation Ajax to US support for Saddam against Iran. You censored my comment. My question is why? You believe in freedom of speech dont you? Then why you did not tolerate your readers to see my comment?

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@ Skeptic20,
I am sure US problems are all solved now that last week US allowed more rights to gay community and now gays can hold a "gay parade" in US military bases. I wonder how low this propaganda against Iran can go. They are now even exploiting personal sexuality to make a context to invade and consume another land much like when they consumed "red Indians". Is that going to be the destiny of US? preaching about sexuality to other nations? you accused "left" so I assume you are "right" but is not right wing politics religion based? What Bible and Vatican say about gay pride parades?

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"United States is now literally in bondage with Chinese government forever."

SharpDiamond: Literally??

Peter Shalen

Posted by: shalen | December 26, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

If we invade Iran, I'm sure the cost will be recovered through oil revenues within 24 months.

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 26, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

If we invade Iran, I'm sure the cost will be recovered through oil revenues within 24 months.

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 26, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

One last thing these terrorism allegations against Iran are baseless. United States has been perpetrating terror in Iran for a long time since operation Ajax, support for Saddam, support for Jundallah and even killing Iranian scientists. There are even allegations that 9/11 was a false flag operation of gigantic proportions.

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@ Peter Shalen,
Is there any other way you can think of to illustrate accurately this relationship? It is not romance or love as I understand.

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Let me see now, according to the commentator SharpDiamond, the United States is really hell on earth for it's citizens and the greatest threat to civilization in existance while Iran is God's little acre, a literal garden of Eden for Iranians, and a beacon of culture and humanity for the rest of the world. I am sure that most Iranians will be surprised to find out that they are living in an enlightened paradise and they didn't even know it. I am equally sure that since SharpDiamond has shown us that the United States is the greatest oppressor of women, the poor, and everybody and everything else in the world, that now all of the other Arab and Islamic states in the Middle East as well as Israel, who were terrified by the Iranian nuclear program, the Iranian funding and arming of terrorist groups, and the Iranian threat to both regional and local stability, will now see that their only real, and indeed their greatest enemy, is that imperialist and oppressive United States of America.
Gosharootie SharpDiamond, for decades now the US has been successfully masquerading as an enlightened and progressive nation, championing human rights and freedom both at home and abroad, and attracting immigrants from all over the world who want to enjoy the the opportunities that America has to offer while according to you SharpDiamond, the United States is really the single greatest threat to civilization and humanity and no one knew it.

Posted by: Beniyyar | December 26, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Your article is misleading.

Josh Block is quoted as saying "Tehran is the leading human rights violator and state sponsor of terror in the world"

How can you print such a thing when facts especially after 9/11 point to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan as being the centers for world terror. All 3 countries are US allies.

John Block insinuates that Sakineh Ashtiani is a human rights lawyer who is being sentenced to death by stoning. She is not. The regime claims that she murdered her husband. The judiciary in Iran which is controlled by the Mullahs is reviewing the case at the behest of the presidents office. The executive branch in Iran has strong disagreements with the judiciary and the clerics.

Iran has many problems especially for women however, the fact remains that Iran has many female film directors ( more than the US as a percentage ) and this is something to celebrate and be proud of. There is so much you can do to help people in Iran criticizing HSBC for pointing to something that is positive in a society where little else is is simply shameful of you.

Posted by: Cyrusy | December 26, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes we can not accept or believe that we're living in the 21St. century.Issues like sanctions are no more relevant in this century.They could be effective foreign policy tools of decades ago but not today.

Posted by: fereydoun | December 26, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@ Beniyyar,
Is that why US kills (colored) humans by millions? Is that why US supports terrorism against its political opponents eg. Taliban against Russians? Is that why west has killed and enslaved more humans in the past 500 years than all other races combined? Is that why US has to run such a huge propaganda machinery? Is that why 9/11 has not yet been investigated?

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@ fereydoun,
That is right. Sanctions are only effective if a nation does not have enough raw materials or technology. If a nation comes up with even mediocre amounts of these then sanctions have no effect. Those who are promoting sanctions do not know anything about economics. The most powerful force on planet earth is the power of markets. No amount of military or political power can stand up to forces of markets as recent recession has shown. Iran is progressing while those who are sanctioning others are going down.

Posted by: SharpDiamond | December 26, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

SharpDiamond has caught the US out again, this time with murdering millions of "colored" people. It is a good thing too. This information will certainly save the lives of tens of thousands of "colored" Mexicans, Haitians, and Cubans who are risking their lives to illegally immigrate to America. Now that these people know that they will be murdered once they arrive they will certainly stop trying. And of course America has everybody fooled regarding terrorism too, SharpDiamond has revealed the TRUTH, yes, that's right, America is the biggest and most dangerous terrorist state in the world.
Come on SharpDiamond, you can't really believe this nonsense?

Posted by: Beniyyar | December 26, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Baghdad Bob, is that you?!

Posted by: Sapience1 | December 26, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

It would appear that Area51 now allows inmates access to the internet. SharpDiamond comment December 26, 2010 4:25 PM has the highest number of conspiracy theories I have ever seen in sixty-four words.
There is no vaccine for imaginary racism.

I wonder if a woman directed the documentary "Prostitution in Iran"?

Posted by: K2K2 | December 26, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Rubin should consider that she proudly embraces the corruption of the left, that lies about being motivated by poverty, but are demanding that poor US citizens be thrown from their jobs and made homeless. Who hasn't written one word about the untold millions of homeless US citizens, the tent cities we haven't had since the great depression.. perhaps because it wouldn't play so well with her demands our borders be flung open wide, and illegal aliens be allowed to violate our laws and displace US citizens. Nor has she bothered to speak out against the misogyny, hatred and despotism of Islamic countries (oops, will that escape the Post's fascistic censors?) You know, the ones Obama spends billions propping up, and kissing their backsides, trying to infer they invented things they didn't.

She certainly hasn't reported about how the Somali Muslim immigrants Obama's been bringing in by the plane load, who work in meat packing plants across the US, are now threatening to use their posistions to "kill all Americans". This was exposed in Shelbyville, TN, at a Tyson plant and the Obama administration is seeking to hush it up. Google to read local news reports before they're censored.

Posted by: jenn3 | December 26, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Skeptic20,

If I think these articles are a joke and that the US and its allies are the biggest human rights violators then that means I'm on the left? So, according to you, there's only left and right. And I'm provincial?

Maybe you're really Jennifer Rubin in disguise.

Person

Person

Posted by: Person321 | December 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

This racism from jewish extremists like Rubin needs to stop. The world does not revolve around you neoconservatives. iranians are people too. and i dont mean the tyranical regime but the people being oppressed by their leaders and neocons who want to bomb/sanction them into submission.

Posted by: wpost16 | December 26, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

In the 1930's (the formative years of "The Greatest Generation"), Leni" Riefenstah was a top film maker in Germany while there was no woman in the US writing, directing and starring in her own films. Ford, Chevrolet and a whole host of US corporations were doing business with Germany at the time, and indeed,continued to reap profit from their German subsidiaries right through the war years. HSBC is no more or no less immoral than other corporation. It's goal is to make a profit when and where it can. It's error here was to create a stupid and illogical advertisement as an attempt to justify the the bank doing business with a repressive regime which has competing interests with our own.

The difference here with Iran and Nazi Germany is that Germany was; A)white, B)Christian. Were Iran a Christian nation, I think that the political right in this country would have no more problem with HSBC doing business with Iran than it did with Chevrolet's Opel division turning out tanks for Hitler.

The adage "There is nothing new under the sun" is proven once again.

Posted by: senigma | December 26, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Josh Block is quoted as saying "Tehran is the leading human rights violator and state sponsor of terror in the world""

What do you expect from a former AIPAC employee?

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 27, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

@ Beniyyar

"I am sure that most Iranians will be surprised to find out that they are living in an enlightened paradise and they didn't even know it."

Well, it's at least as good as anything Israel has to offer, seeing as 25,000 Iranin Jews have rejected bribes from Israel to move to Israel.

"..that now all of the other Arab and Islamic states in the Middle East as well as Israel, who were terrified by the Iranian nuclear program"

Actualy they're not. 80% of the Arab world revealed in a poll that they think that a nuclear armed Iran would be good for the region.

"...the Iranian funding and arming of terrorist groups, and the Iranian threat to both regional and local stability, will now see that their only real, and indeed their greatest enemy, is that imperialist and oppressive United States of America."

Don't worry, the US and Israel are funding terrorist groups like the MEK, Jundula and the PKK (all listed by the State Department as terrorist groups) as they set off bombs in Tehran.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 27, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

"But by continuing to do business with a murderous regime, the bank certainly is displaying its corporate values."

Nice cherry picking Jennifer.

It's a pity you haven't bothered to mention that the US government has granted numerous companies (like Boeign for example) permission to continue doign business with Iran.

I guess you don't want to go upsetting your friends in the arms industry who fund you necons now do you?

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 27, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: K2K2 | December 26, 2010 5:26 PM

" I have ever seen in sixty-four words.
There is no vaccine for imaginary racism."

Perhaps the planet you're from doesn't have news putlets, but here on planet earth, everything SharpDiamond mentioned has been reported in main stream news sources.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 27, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

I find darkly hilarious the letters above in support of Iran. When the U.S. begins slaughtering its own people in the streets, imprisoning dissidents, and running terror squads we can talk.

Until then, you only reveal your moral depravity and willful ignorance by suggesting--even remotely--an equivalence between Iran and the United States.

Which is not to say that the current regime in power in the United States wouldn't love to exercise mullah-like powers over us all. Indeed, it has taken more than a few baby steps in that direction with unelected czars, vastly expanded warrantless wiretapping, and extra-legal actions by the TSA and EPA.

Posted by: pburich | December 27, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Funny how they assume that a 25% participation rate by women in film making is an indication of enlightenment. Perhaps it is because Mohammad hated art and women, and put that in his religion. Perhaps, male satisfaction with Islam means they shun filming also. Perhaps female dissatisfaction is driving them to express themselves via this medium.

Perhaps it's just a sham statistic by a totalitarian state.

This seems to be something that these criminal regimes like to tout and emphasize. Like the Soviets and Chinese about how many women they had in the armed forces, etc.

A totalitarian government, since it controls the economy, can get any stupid result it wants.

Posted by: TheEcoDude | December 27, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Skeptic20, your suggestion to a commenter that he fly to Tehran is superfluous. I suspect several of the commenters on this article are frequently in Tehran, to pick up paychecks, for example.

Posted by: mtkennedy | December 27, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Let's see now. There were 4 films shot in Iran (not to mention 10,000 people) and 1 was shot by a woman. Divide 1 by 4 and, yes!, it equals 25%. By golly HSBC was right after all. Why all the fuss?

Posted by: rwc3 | December 27, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Free Enterprise is not Free;businesses have to deal with disagreeable customers constantly in order to survive.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 27, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pburich | December 27, 2010 11:23 AM

"Until then, you only reveal your moral depravity and willful ignorance by suggesting--even remotely--an equivalence between Iran and the United States."

Yes, let's not draw equivalence between Iran and the United States. We can't have the same standards apply to the US that we apply to Iran. That's just....depraved.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 28, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: TheEcoDude | December 27, 2010 11:25 AM

"Perhaps, male satisfaction with Islam means they shun filming also. Perhaps female dissatisfaction is driving them to express themselves via this medium."

You have got to love this logic.

In the case of the Taliban, the fact that films are banned proves that Islam hates women.

In the case of Iran, the fact that so many Iranian films are made by women proves that Islam hates women.

Brilliant reasoning.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 28, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

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