October 21st, 2010
01:16 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Reza Taghavi

The retired Iranian-American businessman from Los Angeles, California, traveled to Iran frequently to visit family and friends, so in April 2008, when he was asked by Imran Afar, an acquaintance, to take $200 to give to a cash-strapped friend in Tehran, Reza Taghavi thought nothing of it.

Taghavi, who was traveling to Tehran with his wife, did not know the person who was getting the money. Two weeks after he delivered it, Taghavi was detained by Iranian authorities, while the recipient of the cash was arrested on charges of association with the anti-regime group, Tondar.

Taghavi's lawyer said his release this week was the result of three trips to Iran, meetings with Iranian officials in New York and Europe, and about 300 e-mails with Iranian officials.

Attorney Pierre-Richard Prosper said Afar gave him information he shared with the Iranian government that proved that Taghavi was not part of Tondar. The group claimed responsibility for the April 12, 2008, bombing of a mosque in the Iranian city of Shiraz.

Taghavi, 71, came to the United States in 1979, before the Iranian Revolution. He taught himself English, and started a video game company in his garage, which grew into a successful corporation.

Naheed Nenshi

Although many thought a win was a long shot, Naheed Nenshi made history by becoming the first Muslim to head a major Canadian city. The 38-year-old business professor and son of immigrants defeated two better-funded candidates and delivered his victory speech in a basement donated by a supporter at the last second.

Nenshi survived a smear campaign and phone failure in the final days and hours before the victory was announced. His candidacy was called the "Purple Revolution," named for his campaign color and fueled by a broad demographic that included strong youth support. "

The mayoral race attracted the highest voter turnout in 30 years, according to "The Globe and Mail," and marks what many observers thought impossible: an academic, visible minority elected to lead Canada's most conservative city.

""The color of my skin, my faith, the neighbourhood I grew up in, my education, my experiences and ideas are all part of the crazy package that makes up Naheed and part of the crazy package that makes up Calgary," Nenshi told CTV.

Juan Williams

The NPR commentator lost his job over remarks he made Monday on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" about Muslims.

The comments arose during a discussion with host Bill O'Reilly over political correctness.

"Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous," he said.

NPR issued a statement late Wednesday about its decision to let Williams go.

"His remarks on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR," it said.

Williams, who writes frequently about race, has been a Fox News contributor since 1997. An article on NPR.org says that Williams' appearances on Fox News programs had been a point of contention with NPR news executives. His role changed from staff correspondent to analyst after he took visible stances about public policy on television and in newspaper opinion pieces.

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Filed under: Canada • Iran • Most Intriguing People • Politics
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Marco

    Why do you have to personally fly all the way to Iran to deliver just $200.00 to a friend in need?

    October 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ash

      Oh that's just what we call pillow talk, baby, that's all.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ifjoeijfioej

      did you not read the article?
      He goes on business trips and so since he was going, someone gave him some money to give to someone. It only makes sense. Your cynicism is makes you look stupid

      October 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      you have no idea what $200.00 mean to people outside america.. thank god for what you have and for once try not to be an a$$-h0l3

      October 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ray gibbs

    Lessons learned. Welcome home & get some rest. Keep doing your thing here in America.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ray gibbs

    Juan Williams should keep his "fears" to himself.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    not only was he going to iran but bc of sanctions set forth by the US u cannot transfer money into iran. get it now?

    October 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      I wonder what mr juan has to say if i expressed my nervousness on sharing the streets with his grandchildren walking around in sagging pants. your turn mr juan

      October 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. USAmerica1st

    Hilarious!! juan Williams gets nervous when he boards an airplane and sees people who look like they're Islamic? Other people, in the spirit of the black Shoe Bomber and the black Underwear Bomber, probably get nervous when they see a person who looks like Juan Williams boarding the plane. Cool out, Juan. And don't worry Fox Network will probably give you another show to fail.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Nowadays, getting a job in media seems to be directly proportional to stupidity. The more stupid you are, the better the chances of getting rich and famous. Atleast it applies to faux news quite well!

      October 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Samuel Ross-Lee

    Juan Williams knew, I believe, that his remarks were going to be bigoted, as he tried to cover himself with, "You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country.", as if said work protects him from ever being biased, or are even suppose to for that matter. If academics and journalist are suppose to be dispassionate critic, why would "the kind of books" he's written matter concerning his personal opinion.

    His remarks were, in fact, bigoted and unworthy of a National PUBLIC Radio station. They fit perfectly with Fox News, however. He "reported" his views, and we (the public) have decided...that he should go.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Prentiss

    To Frankly Speaking- You sir are an idiot. "Faux News" as you so cleverly call it is the only balanced reporting available. Better watch out, your liberal slant is showing. I am an independent and know where to go to get truthful reporting. You probably just call up your far left junky/freeloader firiends in between bong hits.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      If "faux news" is that good, why not stick to it ? why read cnn ??..oh wait, you are a hypocrite and a liar just like your favorite news channel..good luck with your mood swings and go scare some gullible nuts like "faux news" watchers, wont work here!

      October 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      and for gods sake, stop calling people "an idiot" or "stupid" if you cant express yourself well enough. some education might help, just an advice which i know you will never take 🙂

      October 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daniella

    Ya Naheed Nenshi!!!

    October 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Thank you for including the amazing Naheed Nenshi, but you might want to add which city he became the mayor of...

      October 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sunnie

    I understand why Juan Williams gets nervous. I would get nervous when I would go to the bus station in Houston to pick someone up and there would be people hanging around trying to sell illegal drugs. At one time I had one who happen to be black following me and the older person I was picking up to my car. I had to turn around, pretend that I had a gun in my jacket and confront him. It helped that I had an HPD hat on.
    My point is that when certain nationalities are associated with more crimes, generally people who observe who and what is around them, become less trusting of those nationalities.

    October 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      "At one time I had one who happen to be black following me.." you should be scared of mr juan coz he is black too..

      and as for "My point is that when certain nationalities are associated with more crimes.."..going by todays article right here on cnn about domestic violence in america, i should be scare of every man i see.

      For your last breath could be in the best of comforts you might be living, stop living in fear. Infact, your behavior/nervousness prompts more discomfort if anything..mr juan is a LOSER, not a bigot not stupid just plain LOSER

      October 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Corinne

    The "Conservative City" Mr. Naheed Nenshi has been elected Mayor of ... Calgary, Alberta. We can't wait for him to be sworn in next week! The color of his skin and his faith make it news he was elected ... but what matters is his education, ability and his platform ... Mr.Nenshi is going to make a terrific mayor to our city of over 1.1 Million people.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim Brieske

    I defend Juan Williams though his opinions on FoxNews Sunday are laughable but Charles Krauthammer is sitting next to him to inject logic into the topic.
    What Juan Williams said is true. I feel the same way. Any non Muslim who says, the thought of Muslim dressed passengers being terrorists does not enter their mind IS A LIAR. Flying automatically puts passengers in a vulnerable position. Combine that with the seemly endless coverage of the September 11th, it's perfectly normal to think what Juan Williams said.
    What is not normal is for NPR to fire him. It's the act of a cowardly little Hell bound man named George Soros.
    His meddling (and I am not referring Juan Williams being fired, that just offers a glimpse into the mind of George Soros) and attempt to peddle his influence has resulted in the near destruction of the United State of America.
    I can't kill George Soros but that doesn't mean his dying won't be the best thing since sliced bread.
    There, now I am done defending Juan Williams and our country.
    jim

    October 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gilbert

    I don't think that Reza Taghavi is intriguing.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim Brieske

    Elizabeth. I disagree. To me it appears as if Naheed Nenshi abused his position as a professor to brainwash young university students. These are individuals who know nothing about life and are easily influenced by someone with an agenda.
    Just another example of liberal educators run amok.jim

    October 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ACinRC

      Youth does not automatically preclude intelligence. The students in question have attained both the age of majority and acceptance at a university so they are most likely capable of rational, critical thought. I applaud their sense of civic awareness. Perhaps your assessment of Mr. Nenshi has to do with his religion or origin. If so, that is unfortunate. If not, I apologize.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Jim, do you live in Calgary? 40 percent of our city voted for him and only a small percentage of them were University Students. The person who first introduced me to him was my 65-year-old father-in-law, who usually votes conservative. I think you need to give Calgarians the benefit of the doubt - we voted for policy, not for party politics.

      October 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D.Moore

    Im sorry I have to agree with juan I do get nervous and look twice..Im sorry Im not at ALL a biggot or racist Im just scared no aware! No I dont treat them differently and juan wasnt saying he did hes saying he feels afraid.

    October 22, 2010 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim Brieske

    AcinRc. Youth are book smart and easily impressionable because their lack of life experiences makes them naive. This is why throughout history men have used them to obtain power, time and time again. It is very sad because many times they have betrayed those who truly love them.
    Their parents and other family members.
    jim

    October 22, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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