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Monthly Archive: May 2007
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May 13, 2007

Opening Iran's Domestic Market to International Banking
Guest Auhtor: Ali Dadpay

moneyglobe.jpg Fars News Agency reports that Iran's minister of Economic Affairs and Finance announced last week that Iranian government welcomes international banks' presence in Iranian domestic market. Speaking in a gathering of bank directors he told them that the necessary preparations are completed for international banks to open their branches in Tehran and other Iranian cities. In its latest dispatch Fars News Agency reports that 44 foreign banks have offices in Tehran and most likely they all will be allowed to open branches in Iran to offer consumer level banking services.

This marks a milestone in liberalizing Iranís economy. For long international banks had been considered as the instruments of international capitalism in Iran by intellectuals and revolutionaries alike. The government absolute control of banking sector had been warranted to protect the country. However, Iran's 2020 vision promises an active private banking sector with dynamic links with global banking community. Reluctant to lose their control of economy neither President Khatamiís reformist administration nor President Ahmadenejad's radical cabinet was eager to follow this goal vigorously.

It seems it has become a matter of national prestige to expand such ties and to open Iranian domestic market to global banking. Ironically efforts to isolate the country have crowded out those who oppose an open economy in Iran. Currently many parties are motivated to defy these efforts by inviting foreign banks to operate in Iran. If they succeed this will set up the infrastructure of an open economy in Iran by encouraging Iranian policy makers to accept a private banking sector with international ties.

Ali Dadpay is an economist working as a consultant in the Chicago area. This piece was first published on his personal weblog, Bazar Dispatch, where he writes about Economics, Middle Eastern economies and living in the USA.

May 03, 2007

 Satire 
Innovative technologies can help moral police
Yaser Kerachian  [info|posts]

police.jpgThe recent crackdown in Iran over dress codes has been very disappointing from technological perspective. The way moral police tries to control people is very primitive since it requires police to check every individual. The large population of Iran needs the deployment of thousands of police forces with a very high cost. Advancement in the technology in the last few decades can help moral police to do their job much more efficiently and with considerably lower cost. Below, I propose several technology-based devices for this purpose.

1) Gender detector: There are many places where the moral police expects men and women to be segregated from each other. Controlling the segregation automatically would be very useful for the police. One can make a gender detector using a camera and an image processing hardware. The form of a man's body is distinctly different from a woman's body. An image processor can be used to recognize the form of the body. Then, using neural network technique, one can train the computer to recognize the gender based on the form of the body. This device can be used at the gate of different places to prevent unwanted gender from entering. For instance, one of the challenges of the moral police today is to not let girls enter the soccer stadiums. Police can install gender detectors at the gate of the stadiums to catch the girls even those who dress like boys. This device has potential applications in western countries in the washrooms or fitting rooms.

2) Mixed-voice recognition device: Moral police in Iran tries to prevent mixed presence of men and women in many places. Sometimes police would like to find out if the attendants of an event are mixed without necessarily being at that place. For that, we suggest to use the mixed-voice recognition device. One can easily make a voice recognition device to distinguish between the voice of a man from a woman by the difference in the frequency. Our device is able to hear different voices and recognize whether all of the voices belong to one gender or both genders. One of the application of this device is in the university student buses where university regulation requires them to take only students of one gender. An advanced level of this device can count the number of people whose voices are heard to make an alarm when there are only two people with opposite sex talking to each other.

3) Marriage detector: One of the key responsibilities of the moral police in Iran is to make sure that unmarried couples do not hang out together. For that, currently, police has to stop every suspicious couple and ask them to show their marriage certificate or identity cards. This method is very primitive with many difficulties since many married couples do not carry their marriage certificate with themselves all the time. The solution to this problem is to use RFID technology. People are required to have active RFID tags under their skin in which their marriage information (i.e. spouse's name) are recorded. Police can now use RFID readers to match the names of the the individuals who are at a distance less than the proper distance (let's say 35 cm) and verify whether they are married or not. Such a technique is very effective and precise as it can capture a large group of people simultaneously without the need to stop anyone.

4) Dance detector: As dancing is forbidden in Iran, moral police tries to prevent it from happening. Other than homes, in recent years, people dance in public places such as tour buses or in the hiking trails. Police can install specific cameras that are sensitive to dancing. Nowadays, video motion processing techniques are fairly advanced and can be used to analyze the motion of arms and legs. Again using the neural network technique, this device can easily distinguish dancing from normal motion of legs and arms.