Ornamental fish farming, entrepreneurship with small investment
Ornamental fish farming is among the small businesses which can potentially become profitable if developed.
The job market has become so competitive and saturated these days that it’s almost impossible to find a profitable job that requires a small investment to launch. So much so that some would say it’s no less than a dream. Ornamental fish farming, however, has not been saturated yet and, regardless of these circumstances, can be a dream come true for those that seek a job marked by such characteristics, especially in developing countries.
Secretary of the Committee for Ornamental Aquatics in Iran’s Aquatics Production and Trade Union told Iran Daily in an exclusive interview that the aquarium and ornamental fish industry is relatively small, but the financial turnover has been high, even in developing countries.
Alireza Khiabani added that this industry, in the first place, has played a role in reducing poverty and unemployment across the world, and, in the second place, has generated wealth as an emergent multi-faceted profession.
What would you say are the benefits of farming ornamental fish?
The aquarium and ornamental fish industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in more than 125 countries. More than 2,500 species of ornamental fish are being traded in this industry, over 60 percent of which are freshwater fish. Today, two particular approaches in this industry have changed: For one thing, exporting ornamental fish now originates in modern markets, rather than the traditional markets. For another, ornamental fish are now farmed in captivity rather than caught in nature. These two changes can be considered parts of a broad and strategic procedure that have been developed, to the delight of the friends of the environment. What is more, they in turn led to the economic growth and formation of various companies that aim to secure the supply chain of ornamental fish.
In addition, ornamental fish farming does not require a huge investment and can be done on various scales, ranging from small (home-based) to large (mass-production). Given the fact that these varieties of fish grow relatively fast on the farm, they can be released to the market sooner than aquatic fish. Plus, ornamental fish can be farmed all year. These benefits have turned this business into a part-time or potentially full-time profession that is also pursued by some female heads of household, in particular.
How is value added in this business?
It’s hard to say, because there are many species of fish in this industry and their economic values are completely different from each other. However, it can be said that there is a great difference between farming a certain species of fish and selling the same species. Everywhere you go, the average profit for distributing aquarium fish is between 100 and 125 percent, while retailers reap up to 200 percent profit. About 15 percent of the income generated in the industry pertains to selling ornamental fish, whereas the remaining 85 percent goes to selling fish as food, aquariums, plants, devices for producing light and heat, filters, medication, etc.
How is ornamental fish farming doing as a small business in Iran? Does it pay well?
According to statistics presented by Iran Fisheries Organization (IFO) in October 2019, there were 1,600 active units of ornamental fish farming in the country, 30 percent of which were small units. The other 20 percent (around 300 units) are the largest farmers that can produce over 1 million to 5 million ornamental fish annually. Each exported fish unit is, on average, worth three to five times more than the price for which they are being sold inside the country. If fish farmers would avoid focusing solely on the domestic market, they may have a better chance to seize the markets abroad and bring in more profit.
How do you assess the capacities of ornamental fish farming in Iran?
The history of the aquarium and ornamental fish trade in Iran goes back to early 1961. Yet the business relatively expanded in 1981. However, in the past three decades, the industry has been placed under the spotlight and many advances have been made in it. In light of the outstanding potential that this industry enjoys in Iran (including the appropriate climate, technical knowledge and the loving expert workforce that it has), it is expected that Iran will become the hub of ornamental fish farming and its related industries in the Middle East in the near future, if only it would be well-supported. That is why we have formed the Committee for Ornamental Aquatics to usher this industry to prosperity and a higher employment rate, following the footsteps of successful countries.
Theater reaches parts of our unconscious Instagram and TikTok cannot
By Ali Amiri*
Because of the global pandemic, it has taken Babak Hajari and his group two years to bring this little play to the stage, and this has added to the total cost of its production which is roughly $1,000. The play ran from December 10, 2021 until January 7, 2022, with four young, talented actors bringing the characters to life. This report is based on the performance of January 6, 2022.
More than a dozen people sit waiting in the lobby of Hilaj Film School for the play to begin. It’s a black box theater dedicated to small plays produced by the institute’s students or any other group willing to rent it out. Inside the room, the cast is working hurriedly in order to prepare the set. Actors are walking about the stage with their make-up on, greeting the newcomers. They are a small, intimate group of people who sound very excited to be back on stage performing their art. The director seems a bit anxious since they’re running late for the night. Little by little, pieces fall together and eventually the audience comes in to fill the hall. They take up half the seats and the rest remains empty. There’s no excitement in the air as the lights fade and the play begins.
‘Good Night and Day’ is written and directed by Babak Hajari. It’s an adaptation of the 1962 novel ‘Aura’ by Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, which turned into a hit in Iran after Abdollah Kosari’s translation was published. It tells the story of Felipe Montero, a young historian with a knowledge of French who enters a house to be employed by an aged widow to edit the memoirs of her deceased husband, the general. There Felipe falls in love with the ethereal, green-eyed Aura who is the widow’s niece. What follows is a chilling whirlwind of confusion and dismay. The story is narrated from the second person point of view and is regarded as a great achievement in magic realism. Since the publication of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ in Farsi, Iranian readers have shown an unsurprising thirst for this literary genre.
The performance gets a standing ovation; though in the last decade this has become the norm rather than the exception. So, despite my belief that so much of the performance could’ve been better, I stand up to join the crowd. Then I wait for everybody else to leave so I can get down to my interview with the director.
Please tell us a short account of your play, from its conception to performance.
It might seem like a trivial answer, but whenever I read a play or a novel, I unconsciously fantasize it on stage. Naturally, when we read a story, we picture it in our minds, but I fantasize it on stage. Especially on stages I have access to, namely the black box theaters. And when I’m reading, I somehow get the feeling that I want to perform this special scene myself. So, when I was reading this novel a long time ago, I knew I wanted to perform it one day. I thought about it for a long time, then I wrote the play and finally we prepared it with the group and now we’re performing it.
Can you tell me why ‘Aura’? What spoke to you specifically in this story?
Let me tell you that my subjective world isn’t a very realistic one. And of course, Latin American literature, or magic realism, appeals to me a great deal. Perhaps this specific characteristic of the novel spoke to me in such a personal way. And it must have happened unconsciously, too, because when I decided to adapt it, I didn’t search for elements that tempted me to do it. But the main factors were magic realism and its interpretability.
How did you try to overcome the challenges of turning such an ambiguous story into a play?
I use a notion in my directing, in this play and the previous one, which I attribute and owe to [Ahmad] Shamlou, who is my favorite poet. There are bits and pieces in his poetry that are absolutely untranslatable, because they make no sense. But we understand them because those combinations give us a general idea. I really like to use this in my directing. To put some elements together, such as an image, a color, a voice, an action; combined they create for the audience a special atmosphere but provide them with no meaning. I want the audience to know what’s going on but not to be able to explain it. I think in turning this novel to a series of images, this notion has helped me a lot.
Very interesting. How was the reception?
Taking our situation into account, I can say it was a success. This theater hall is not really well-known and it’s not located where theatergoers usually hang around. Also, our performance lacks those popular elements that are present in the box office hits. So, in light of all this, it was a good reception. Especially the fact that we didn’t lose money and therefore can perform our next play satisfies me. But I must thank the cast and crew because they were all very accommodating and didn’t ask for much money. Without them I couldn’t have done
What do you think about small, low-budget plays in general? What are the challenges and rewards here?
These sorts of small, low-budget plays which are done usually by students and lesser-known artists are really my taste. I adore them and I wish I can do this kind of theater forever. Personally, I don’t like it when productions get big, even as big as Broadway which I was able to watch on the internet during the pandemic. Those big productions turn to work. You wake up, go to the set, do your job, then come back home and sleep and it starts all over the next day. But in the world of small plays, we see passion. People like us enjoy working alongside each other. It’s very pleasing for me. I hope I can always do this.
How are the financial aspects handled?
This is indeed our biggest challenge. If we want to see some cash return, we have to follow some rules; rules that I might dislike. Still, I don’t know how much longer we can keep working like this. Recently I have been grappling with some questions regarding this matter. I don’t know if the cast and crew will work with me again on another project for no or little money; or else, am I selfish enough to ask them to? Does the joy of being a part of this overrule the poor financial aspect? The truth is I have no answer for them.
What do you think small groups like you can do to appeal to a generation of Instagrammers and TikTokers whose mental states are essentially far from this primitive art
I’m not sure if I understand your question here; but I believe that there are things in our unconscious mind, in what we call our collective unconscious, which I don’t think would be accessible through Instagram or TikTok. But theater, because of its history, and because it has developed alongside humanity, has this ability to reach that part of our unconscious. Although it’s true that people today are impatient, and they like to work with those applications you mentioned, so they can scroll and skip even short videos. Perhaps episodic works would appeal to them, but in general I think theater still has the ability to speak to humanity on another level.
*Ali Amiri is a staff writer at Iran Daily.
Iran to UN: US, Israel preventing Syria from returning to normal
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that the US military presence and Israeli strikes in Syria are hindering a political solution to the crisis gripping the Arab country, calling on the United Nations to act against such unlawful activities.
In a meeting with visiting United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen in Tehran on Sunday, Amir-Abdollahian hailed the Norwegian diplomat’s efforts to promote national dialogue, peace and stability in Syria, and underlined that the Islamic Republic has greatly contributed to such attempts.
He also reiterated Iran’s stance on the settlement of the Syrian crisis through political means and said Tehran views the UN as the body responsible to help put a peaceful end to the conflict in the Arab nation.
Amir-Abdollahian criticized the illegal presence of US occupation forces in Syria as well as Israeli airstrikes on the war-ravaged country, stating that such practices derail the political settlement process.
He called on the international community and the United Nations to take effective measures in this regard.
The foreign minister pointed to the Syrian refugee crisis and sanctions imposed on the Damascus government, saying that the Syrian conflict cannot be resolved adequately if these issues are not addressed properly.
Pedersen described the status quo in Syria as stable, saying: “Neither side is currently mulling over regime change in Syria.”
He stressed Syria’s national sovereignty, political establishment and territorial integrity.
Continued on Page 2
JCPOA experts discuss sanctions removal in Vienna
EU’s Mora hails delegations’ ‘commitment to success’
Talks for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers continued at the expert level in the Austrian capital on Sunday, two days after Iranian and European chief negotiators returned home for consultations.
The working group on the removal of sanctions met at a luxury hotel in Vienna where two rounds of negotiations have been held since late November with the aim of bringing the US back to compliance with the tattered deal, known as the JCPOA.
Enrique Mora, the European Union’s political director who chairs and coordinates the Vienna talks, said the success of the negotiations “is still uncertain”.
“But, as coordinator, I can’t but commend delegations’ commitment to a success,” Mora tweeted.
The negotiators are expected to return to Vienna today to resume talks.
Iran and the remaining JCPOA parties – France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China – seek to reach a “good deal” on the multilateral accord which has been moribund since former US president Donald Trump pulled out of it in 2018 and unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign by imposing “toughest ever” sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The Vienna talks are at a critical stage.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Friday a “good deal” would be within reach “as soon as possible” should the Western side continue the talks with a “realistic approach” and show initiative.
“I would like to say it out loud that Iran welcomes a good deal in the shortest possible time, but achieving such a deal depends on the Western sides,” said Amir-Abdollahian.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Saturday that an agreement to resurrect the JCPOA remained “possible” as the talks advance in a “better atmosphere”.
Borrell said a final deal could be concluded “in the coming weeks”.
Peter Kuznick: Trump was an embarrassment to human species
Iran Daily: Almost five years ago, at the very beginning of former US president Donald Trump’s presidency, Peter Kuznick* told in an interview that Trump, among other things, “is a rash, impulsive,
unpredictable, and unstable human being.” We asked him how he sees Trump’s (hopefully only) term in the office: Did Trump live
entirely up to his prediction?
Peter Kuznick: Trump was indeed as bad as I predicted, but, fortunately, the worst-case-scenarios never happened. Domestically, Trump was a disaster. He used his position to fatten his own coffers. He behaved in ways that no other president would dare. He lied constantly. He spread misinformation. His behavior during the pandemic was disgraceful, leading to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths. His policies widened the gap between rich and poor. He appointed three reactionaries to the Supreme Court, who are already undermining rights that Americans have fought for and won over decades of struggle. He catered and appealed to the worst and most bigoted and hateful elements in American life. And then he tried to stage a coup to overthrow the results of the 2020 elections and has been lying that he won ever since.
Let’s also look at his foreign policy, which weakened and isolated the United States and sent all the wrong messages to the world. Trump surrounded himself with generals and militarists, many of whom were warmongers. But they didn’t start any new wars, which is rare for American presidents. They certainly came close though. First up was North Korea. Trump responded to troubling North Korean bomb and missile tests with threats and provocations of his own, that simply deepened the conflict and escalated the situation. As North Korea perfected and tested its ICBMs that could hit the US mainland and tested what appears to have been a hydrogen bomb 17 times as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Trump issued sanctions, threats, and insults. Kim Jong-un responded in kind. The two militaries girded for battle. The prospects were terrifying. Some predicted a million could perish in the first day of a war. Nuclear war seemed imminent in late 2017. Richard Haass, the head of the Council on Foreign Relations, believed that there was s 50-50 chance of war. Trump and Kim exchanged further insults as their name-calling intensified.
Fortunately Moon Jae-in took his own initiative to defuse tensions and then Trump and Kim had a series of meetings. Although no progress was made toward denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, they were at least talking and sharing photo ops. Negotiators, however, were frustrated by the lack of progress. But Kim understood how to flatter the shallow, narcissistic Trump who talked about the beautiful love letters that Kim sent him. So, nothing was ultimately resolved and North Korea has resumed its shorter-range missile tests, including hypersonic missiles, but at least the war was averted and the world breathed a sigh of relief.
Trump threw down the gauntlet on North Korea’s main ally – China. He declared and waged a destructive trade war and bitterly condemned China for its inflexibility in the South China Sea, crackdown in Hong Kong, and repression against the Uyghurs. He took Obama’s Asia pivot containment policy toward China one big step further. In 2018, the Pentagon announced that the main threat to US national security was no longer international terrorism but Russia and China. Administration officials made clear that China was the principal threat and Russia the secondary one.
Trump spoke warmly of Vladimir Putin, but he acted aggressively toward Russia, increasing sanctions, sending lethal aid to Ukraine, and bombing Syria. My Russian colleagues soon agreed with my warnings that Trump would ultimately turn out not to be a friend toward Russia. Unfortunately, they had to learn the hard way. Trump withdrew the US from the Open Skies and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaties. He failed to extend the New START Treaty, which was about to expire in February 2021, leaving the US and Russia without any agreement to limit deployment of nuclear arms.
Trump coddled dictators and fascist forces around the globe. He spurned America’s traditional allies. He ignored human rights abuses. He gave legitimacy to some of the most anti-democratic forces in the world with his racist, hyper-nationalist, America First policies.
Trump was a disaster when it came to climate change. He pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accords and did everything he could to increase dependence on fossil fuels.
He elevated the use of nuclear weapons and asked what was the use of having nuclear weapons if we couldn’t use them. To most people that would mean we should get rid of them. To Trump that meant making them more useable, which he did.
The one area that all of Trump’s advisors agreed upon was their aggression toward Iran. Even the ones who were considered “adults,” like General Mattis, were hawks when it came to Iran. Mattis had actually been eased out by Obama because of his hawkish views toward Iran, but he was the voice of moderation in the Trump administration given the role of Bolton and the other extremists. Trump constantly sought an excuse to start a war with Iran. As he became more and more desperate in the final days of his administration, many of us feared that he would initiate hostilities. He withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 in a move that was widely condemned by the other signatories.
All in all, I was clearly correct in my previous evaluation of him. Trump was not only an embarrassment to himself, to his family, to his party, and to his country. Trump was an embarrassment to the human species. We’re just lucky that he didn’t cause more damage than he did.
*Peter Kuznick is professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at the American University.
Fight against global arrogance, an asymmetric one, for good reasons
By Mojtaba Koohsari*
Instagram is still removing posts and shuts down or otherwise restricts accounts which, in their personal capacities, promote the late Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The reason? He was commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by former president Trump, and Instagram as a subsidiary of Facebook operates “under US sanctions laws,” according to a spokesperson of the company.
That constitutes an interesting twist in the complicated story of free speech in the US, a story riddled with paradoxes, especially in the age of the new media.
Seen in the wider context of the eternal fight of the downtrodden against the arrogant, however, it’s not utterly surprising. If there should be any chance of fighting back, the weak can’t play in the field and by the rules set by the powerful. They, of course, can, but it’s a losing game. Such a game is essentially rigged in favor of the status quo.
“To rend the roof of the sky and cast a new way to the heaven,” as Persian mystic and poet Hafiz once put it, the weak need to find other ways to hit the arrogant where it hurts.
This is not meant to dissuade social media users sympathetic to the cause advocated by Qassem Soleimani from promoting him, and having their access to the platform automatically circumscribed. The effort has its own merits in that it better exposes the hypocrisy with which the media moguls run their business. Over time, it helps accumulate enough evidence to convince any unbiased observer that the rules set for the game are not fair, making an army of conscientious objectors whose voice will be more openly heard.
But cries of injustice have rarely, if at all, kept tyrants from conducting their business as usual. By all accounts, they don’t seem to lose a minute of sleep over such moral outcries of insignificance as long as they are winning the game. If anything, begging for mercy might even provoke a sadist to double down on their brutality, as evidenced by psychological research which demonstrates they sometimes enjoy their position of control and authority more than the physical pleasures they derive from the act of brutality. The tables need to be turned and, for their own good and for the good of others, the arrogant need to taste the medicine they have historically administered to the weak. That is more likely to convince them that the globally united front of the downtrodden is a force to be reckoned with.
Continued on Page 2
Twitter shuts account linked to Iran’s Leader over Trump assassination video
Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s Leader that shared a video calling for taking revenge of those responsible for the assassination of top Iranian commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020 that assassinated Gen. Soleimani, the then commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutuion Guards Corps (IRGC).
The video, titled ‘Revenge is Definite’, shows a robot and a drone targeting Trump. It was also posted on the Leader’s official website khamenei.ir.
“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.
Several media outlets interpreted the move to be triggered by the video. While Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s main Twitter accounts in various languages remain active, there has been a precedent to the move in which another similar account was suspended last year by the social media giant over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.
In its selective approach to banning violent contents, however, the platform failed to take action against many accounts who celebrated the actual assassination two years ago, which was carried out in violation of international laws.
Five days after the US targeted killing, the IRGC fired a volley of ballistic missiles at American forces based in Iraq. Ayatollah Khamenei described the strike “only a slap” in the face of the US, promising “harsh revenge” for the assassination.
On January 1, ahead of the second anniversary of the strike, Ayatollah Khamenei said that Gen. Soleimani’s assassins, including Trump and his associates, “will be lost in the dustbin of history, of course, after paying the price for their worldly crime”.
Two days later, President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi vowed revenge unless Trump, his secretary of state Mike Pompeo and others involved in the assassination were put on trial.
Use this QR code to watch the video on the website of Iran’s Leader.