Bahman 6 1398 - January 26 2020
Winner of the Farhang Foundation's 2020 Nowruz Banner Design Competition: Setareh Feylizadeh

This year's winning design was awarded to Iranian artist Setareh Feylizadeh from Paris, France. "Participating in a competition such as this, especially one which connects us to our roots, cultures, and traditions, has been so rewarding." said Feylizadeh. "The ultimate prize of winning this competition is the chance to connect with another community of Persians in another part of the world by spreading the message of Nowruz, which bonds us together and brings us closer to one another. 01/24/20

FOOTBALL: AFC reverses ban on Iran hosting international matches

The Asian Football Confederation, the AFC, has retreated from its initial decision to ban Iranian clubs from hosting international football matches, as the sides reached an agreement to narrow it down to just two encounters. Last week, the AFC had decided to ban the four football teams representing Iran in the AFC Champions League, including Esteghlal, Persepolis, Sepahan and Shahr Khodro, from hosting their ties, arguing that flights over the country are not safe. 01/24/20

U.S. border officers were told to target Iranian-born travellers, officer alleges in email

U.S. border officers working at multiple Canada-U.S. border crossings were instructed to target and interrogate Iranian-born travellers in early January, said a U.S. border officer in an email obtained by CBC News. The allegation follows reports that up to 200 people of Iranian descent travelling from B.C. - many of them Canadian or U.S. citizens - were detained and questioned for hours at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash., during the weekend of Jan. 4. -CBC 01/24/20

The Minimalism and Maximalism of Ali Dadgar

Dark humor is an Ali Dadgar trademark, so his new San Francisco art exhibit is full of it - but if you're looking for a source of that humor, you have to go back four decades to Dadgar's native country. In 1979, when Dadgar was a teenager, Iran was convulsing politically and culturally, and the revolutionary government imposed new norms through the country's currency, when it used the old regime's paper bills but - hastily and surreally - printed dark designs over the Shah of Iran's face. -Jonathan Curiel, SF Weekly 01/24/20

A New Film Investigates How the CIA and MI6 Destroyed Iranian Democracy

In 1953, the overthrow of democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh set a historic, chilling precedent. The coup detat, orchestrated by the CIA and MI6, irrevocably shaped the subsequent 67 years and counting of US interventionism for the worse. Mosaddegh's fight for Iranian autonomy in nationalizing the oil industry - built and exploited by the British - was undermined by his ousting and the West's installation of a puppet leader, the Shah. -Tina Hassannia, Hyperallergic 01/24/20

Maz Jobrani: Just Iranian American

Maz Jobrani, the "just Iranian American" comedian and actor loves the Kennedy Center and D.C. and, obviously, they love him back. His latest Netflix special "Immigrant" was filmed at the Kennedy Center, and, in 2016, he performed at the White House, where he introduced former First Lady Michelle Obama. 01/24/20

Absent Iran faces detente calls from worried West and Middle East

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif skipped this year's Davos, but Tehran was still a hot topic for many Western and Middle Eastern powers hoping for detente less than three weeks after the United States killed Iran's top general. Zarif, normally a regular at the World Economic Forum, canceled on Monday, with his ministry citing program changes. Organizers of the annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort did not comment on the reason given. While Iran was absent from the corridors of the conference center, there was an urge for de-escalation among those present. -Reuters 01/24/20

No War With Iran!: International Day of Action, Saturday, January 25

The People of the World Say: NO WAR! The Trump administration is dragging the United States into a war with Iran that could engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and the gravest consequences. The people of the world need to rise up and stop it. For all who believe in peace, for all who are opposed to yet another catastrophic war, now is the time to take action. On Saturday, January 25 in cities across the globe, there will be protests against a new war in the Middle East. 01/23/20

U.S. Bans Trade And Investment Visas For Iranians

Iranian nationals will no longer be eligible for E-1 and E-2 trade and investment visas, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) announced on Wednesday, January 22. The decision is directly linked with the October 3, 2018 termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights with Iran. -Radio Farda 01/23/20

Iran's cultural heritage reflects the grandeur and beauty of the golden age of the Persian empire

It's simply not possible to do justice to the value of Iran's cultural heritage - it's a rich and noble history that has had a fundamental impact on the world through art, architecture, poetry, in science and technology, medicine, philosophy and engineering. The Iranian people are intensely aware - and rightly proud of - their Persian heritage. -MENAFN 01/23/20

Brooklyn's Iranian diaspora feels the pain of war at home

Makaremi and other anti-war activists helped organize a protest in Foley Square on Jan. 9 to denounce the prospect of a U.S. war with Iran and end sanctions that have left his mother struggling to get the proper dosage of her heart medicine. "By policy there are rights of me that are being nullified," Sadra Shahab said. "I'm a U.S. citizen, but my mom cannot visit me in my own country, that means I'm just not like any other citizen." On his way to the protest in Foley Square, Shahab commented, "I'm not sure there's ever a good time to be an Iranian, but it's a bad time to be an Iranian." -Paul Frangipane, Brooklyn Daily Eagle 01/23/20

Iran FATF-Related Legislation Rejected By Expediency Council

A member of Iran's Expediency Council on Wednesday said the Council's deadline for endorsing the CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) bill has ended and the bill should be considered as rejected. The endorsement and finalization of the bill would allow Iran to join the UN conventions against money laundering and funding terrorism. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has threatened to put Iran on its reactivate counter-measures it had earlier suspended unless Iran finalizes relevant legislation before February. -Radio Farda 01/23/20

It's Not Just Washington State. Iranians Are Stopped At Borders All Over The Country.

Earlier this month, soon after President Donald Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian government official and the nation vowed to retaliate, news broke that U.S. border agents held nearly 200 people of Iranian descent without explanation at the Washington state border with Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection disputed the claim that officers detained Iranian Americans at the Peace Arch border crossing, but dozens of news reports described otherwise. -Rowaida Abdelaziz, Huffington Post 01/23/20

'Unsporty and political': Anger as AFC matches moved out of Iran

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has moved two Asian Champions League matches out of Iran citing security concerns in the country. In a statement on Twitter, the AFC said on Wednesday that two home matches involving Iranian teams "have been moved to neutral venues because of ongoing security concerns and the decision of several governments to issue travel warnings to the Islamic Republic of Iran". -Maysam Bizaer, Al Jazeera 01/23/20

Neither war, nor sanctions, are solutions in Iran

I was surprised to meet Ghanimat Azhdari in Geneva last June. When I was asked to speak at a gathering of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Indigenous Fellowship Programme. She was a young woman from the Indigenous Qashqai community, and despite the obstacles she had most certainly faced on her way, she was at the top of her field. She told me about her work promoting biodiversity and that she was headed to Canada for her PhD. So talented and ambitious. I was heartbroken to find Ghanimat's face among the victims of the Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 that crashed in Iran on Jan. 8. -Leila Arakami, The Star 01/23/20

The Zaghari-Ratcliffes' ordeal: a story of British arrogance, secret arms deals and Whitehall infighting

In the case of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, it seems that she is a pawn in a 40-year dispute between Britain and Iran. This dispute concerns a long-standing 400m pounds debt Britain owes to Iran: the advance payment for a shipment of tanks that was never fully delivered. Quite why that debt has never been paid is a story of British arrogance, secretive arms deals, American sanctions, Whitehall inertia and infighting at the highest level of government. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 01/23/20

Iran's top cultural event jeopardized by artist boycotts

Confronting a boycott by Iranian artists, the Fajr International Film Festival announced the cancellation of its opening ceremony, originally scheduled for Feb. 1. In a statement released Jan. 15, festival organizers cited the "public atmosphere of the community" in sympathy with the grieving families of those killed in Iran's accidental downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8. -Saeid Jafar, Al-Monitor 01/23/20

The US Sanctions on Iran Are Causing a Major Humanitarian Crisis

The reality of life here under the devastating impact of the US "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign is the one big story from Iran that's mostly missing in the headlines. If you haven't heard about this, you are not alone. Nobody, certainly not the main protagonists, seems the least bit interested in talking about the devastation of human life in Iran today. It is as if a conspiracy of silence has been cast over the whole issue. -Ahmad Jalalpour, The Nation 01/22/20

ALL OUT THIS SATURDAY, JANUARY 25: "No War On Iran" Actions Across Canada

Tensions remain extreme in the Persian Gulf following the January 2, 2020 drone attack in Baghdad which killed Iranian Major-Gen. Qasem Soleimani and dozens of others in a blatant and illegal escalation by US imperialism. While the likelihood of further military action has receded at least temporarily, Washington seems intent to ratchet up economic sanctions and its propaganda war against Tehran, and the possibility of overt military aggression remains high. For this reason, peace organizations internationally have called for a Global Day of Protest this Saturday, January 25th, around the theme "No War on Iran!".Canadian Peace Congress 01/22/20

A Northeastern University student from Iran was removed from the US despite an emergency stay

An Iranian student planning to attend Northeastern University was flown out of the United States despite an emergency stay, and Customs and Border Protection said it was not aware a court had temporarily blocked the student's removal. Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, was refused entry to the United States on his student visa when he arrived at the Boston Logan International Airport on Sunday. -CNN 01/22/20

A War in Iran Won't Make us Greater or Safer

We call on President Trump to end the violence and aggression against Iran and instead use peaceful diplomatic channels to deescalate tensions. We support the resolution passed by the House of Representatives that requires President Trump to get the consent of Congress before taking new military action against Iran. -Ben & Jerry's Homemade 01/22/20

Will Europe's latest move lead to the demise of the Iran nuclear deal?

Last week France, Germany and the United Kingdom (the so-called E3) announced that they would trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. This move could well lead to the re-imposition of previous UN sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme, which were lifted as part of the JCPOA. -Dr Tytti Erasto and Dr Tarja Cronberg, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 01/22/20

NIAC Letter Regarding Etsy's U.S. Sanctions Compliance Policies and Discriminatory Treatment Towards Iranian Americans

The National Iranian American Council has sent a letter to Etsy concerning its apparently discriminatory treatment of an American vendor selling "Persian dolls" on its website. These dolls appear to have been made in America with American materials by an American, and under no circumstances should have been flagged as a prohibited item. -NIAC 01/22/20

Iranian students face hardships at home and abroad

Iranian students at Purdue are feeling the ramifications of recent conflict between the United States and Iran, even while on campus. One graduate student, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of potential consequences on future petitions for immigration or jobs, hasn't seen his family in six and a half years. His parents were able to visit his brother, who's living in Canada, but they weren't able to obtain visas to visit him due to the travel ban. And he couldn't go to Canada without having to reapply for a visa. -Sean Murley., The Exponent 01/22/20

Alternatives to War with Iran are Dwindling

President Donald Trump and Iran's leaders, notably the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have long been locked in confrontation. They feed on one another, for reasons both of foreign policy and domestic politics. For the most part, so far the confrontation has been "manageable." That time is moving toward an end, with only a handful of options. --Robert E. Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 01/22/20

Iranian Female Sprinter Farzaneh Fasihi Dreams Of Reaching Olympics

Female sprinter Farzaneh Fasihi, dubbed the Wind Girl, comes close to fulfilling her dream of reaching the Olympic Games. Fasihi has recently secured her place at the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships, running 7.29 second time in the 60 meters event. She has become the first Iranian woman to participate at the World Athletics Indoor Championships. 01/21/20

The New McCarthyism

That is exactly what Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and two other Republican senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Braun of Indiana, have done with a letter calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) for possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, accusing NIAC of acting on behalf of the Iranian regime. This call is baseless, in addition to trying to make the Justice Department even more of a partisan political weapon than it already has become under William Barr. There is no indication, and the senators provide none, that NIAC works on behalf of the Iranian government or any other foreign government. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 01/21/20

Hossein Zenderoudi's Voute Azuree Tops 12th Tehran Auction

Hossein Zenderoudi's painting Voute Azuree was the most expensive work sold at the 12th Tehran Auction on Friday as it fetched 32 billion rials (over $750,000). A selection of 118 lots of modern and contemporary Iranian art was offered during the auction held at Tehran's Parsian Azadi Hotel. 01/21/20

Iran Confirms Two Missiles Fired In Downing Of Ukrainian Plane

Iran's civil aviation authority has confirmed that two missiles were launched at a Ukrainian passenger jet just after it took off from Tehran's international airport bound for Kyiv on January 8. The authority said in a second preliminary report on the crash, which killed all 176 passengers on board, that it was still assessing the disaster. -RFE/RL 01/21/20

'Sculptures are talking': Selkirk man builds snow sculpture in memory of Iran plane crash victims

A retired sculptor who lives in Selkirk, Man., has returned to his craft to construct an icy monument dedicated to the victims of a plane that was shot down in Iran earlier this month... "After I lost friends and the 176 people in that airplane crash ... I thought, 'I have to send a message to the world. To the people who make the decision to go to a war,'" Majid Kermani said. -CBC 01/21/20

Iran basks in 'miracle' of $32 billion in non-oil exports

Iran has exported $32 billion of non-oil goods so far in the current Persian year ending March 21, 2020, shoring up its economy which is under severe pressure from unprecedented US sanctions. "This is like a miracle in the current economic situation of the country," Iran's Deputy Industry Minister Hossein Modares Khiabani told an exports quality summit in Tehran, Fars news agency reported Tuesday. -Press TV 01/21/20


THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S assassination of Iranian military official Qassim Suleimani in Iraq was an act of aggression and an offensive act of war. This week on Intercepted: Jeremy Scahill hosts a live discussion in New York on the unfolding crisis with Intercept Senior Columnist Mehdi Hasan, reporter Murtaza Hussain, National Security Editor Vanessa Gezari, and Senior News Editor Ali Gharib. They discuss what the latest developments mean for Iran and the U.S. and how tensions have rapidly escalated since Donald Trump came to office. Will Trump's current posture hold, or will he order more violence? -The Intercept 01/20/20

Iran slams AFC bias over ban on Iranian football teams hosting home matches

Iranian Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Masoud Soltanifar has slammed a decision by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to ban Iranian football teams from hosting home club matches, blaming anti-Iran media hype for the measure taken by the football governing body. On Saturday, an Iranian legislator censured the AFC's decision to ban four Iranian football clubs from hosting their rivals in the country, saying the move indicates that the Asian football's governing body has been caught in a political trap. -Press TV 01/20/20

"Feverish Climate" at Tehran University After Students Arrested in Dormitory Raid

University of Tehran personnel assisted a raid by state forces on a dormitory that resulted in at least eight students being arrested as they gathered for a protest, an eyewitness told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "The attack on the dormitory by the plainclothes security agents has only further intensified the recent feverish climate at the university," said an eyewitness who resides at the Student Martyrs Dormitory where the raid took place on January 16, 2019. -CHRI 01/20/20

Cut off from family, unable to travel: how US sanctions punish Iranian Americans

ollowing the US assassination of a top Iranian general earlier this month and Iranian airstrikes against US military bases in Iraq, Donald Trump once again imposed biting sanctions against the regime in Tehran. To Iranian Americans, many of whom have lived under sanctions in Iran or have family members there suffering through economic hardship, the fresh round of penalties is a painful reminder of the collateral consequences of escalating conflict. -Sam Levin, Guardian 01/20/20

EU and Iran Drifting Into Uncharted Waters

After weeks of simmering tensions between the European trio of Britain, France, and Germany (E3) and Iran over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), the Europeans finally decided to trigger the deal's Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) on January 14. If no mutually agreeable solution to the dispute is found, the matter will be forwarded to the UN Security Council (UNSC), which could lead to the resumption of UN sanctions against Iran. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 01/20/20

The Iranian Woman In The #IraniansDetestSoleimani Viral Video Was Also A Lobbyist For A Militia In Libya

A viral video titled "Truth From an Iranian," which has amassed more than 10 million views across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, was created by a registered lobbyist who previously worked for a militia group fighting in a bitter civil war in Libya. Nowhere in her video or her television appearances did Saghar Erica Kasraie disclose her work for the army engaged in a civil war in the north African country. -Ryan Broderick & Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed 01/20/20

Tom Cotton, soldier in Bill Kristol's proxy war against evil

Among the things I dislike about each fresh burst of American warmaking is seeing its cheerleaders bask in the spotlight. Consider Senator Tom Cotton, who has been unsettlingly visible since the assassination of Iranian General Qassim Suleimani. Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, is a protege of famous neoconservative Bill Kristol, who played a big role in getting the US to invade Iraq and has since championed various other forms of American belligerence, many of them aimed at Iran. -Robert Wright, Responsible Statecraft 01/20/20

We Need a Strong Anti-War Movement - Yesterday

It is crucial that we are all talking about Iran now, as we stand on the verge of a new chapter of catastrophes - and work to prevent it. But the killing and destruction of the War on Terror is happening around the world, every day. The lack of attention to it is part of what keeps it going, and sets the stage for the current situation involving Iran, Iraq, and the United States. -Khury Petersen-Smith, FPIF 01/20/20

Is Iran An Enemy Of The United States? No; But Efforts Are Underway To Make It One!

It is so noteworthy that any reference to the assassinated Iranian commander of the IRGC, Soleimani, by television commentators, and especially by the members of our Congress and other government officials, begins with the preamble that he was a bad, bad actor who had the blood of so many Americans on his hands. Why? Simple: Without emphasizing that point they might not appear "patriotic" enough! -Kambiz Zarrabi 01/18/20

Sanctions, Scarcity, and the Depressing Reality of Iranian Healthcare

When I visited Iran this summer, severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety-longstanding byproducts of post-traumatic stress disorder-caused me to seek out a trauma therapist. After weeks of contacting Iranian pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and relief organizations, my prescriptions for Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, and Clonazepam remained unfilled. Since the United States exited the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and imposed new sanctions, this kind of shortage has become commonplace. 01/18/20

Letter of Solidarity Standing with NIAC

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and its sister organization NIAC Action, are American civil-society organizations working on behalf of members of the Iranian-American community and the broader American public. At a time when our nation is bitterly divided, NIAC is an important voice in our public debate on issues of enormous consequence for all Americans - and particularly for Americans of Iranian heritage - including heightened tensions in the Middle East and the risk of war, policies like the Muslim travel ban and extreme vetting, the rise in domestic hate crimes, and the protection of civil liberties. 01/18/20

Why This Time the Protests in Iran are Different

Though it is unclear how the coming months will play out, what is amply foreseeable is the maelstrom that is sure to occur were a dramatic collapse to occur. Conflagration, not implosion, is the more likely outcome in Iran. For every Iranian who loathes living under the Islamic banner, there are plenty who count themselves as the nezam's devoted constituency, its willing defenders, unto death, unto the release of martyrdom. -Shervin Malekzadeh, Responsible 01/18/20

Beating the War Drums In Israel

The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani came as a strategic surprise. President Trump's gamble surprised even the U.S. intelligence community. Iran promised "fierce revenge" and Trump responded with threats of "disproportionate" retaliation against vital Iranian targets. Heightened escalation scenarios and drums of war flooded the American discourse. In Israel, perhaps surprisingly, the reaction was muted. The political leadership and the high military echelons preferred to keep their public statements low profile. But this is probably a temporary... -Shemuel Meir, Responsible Statecraft 01/18/20

What It's Like When Your Two Home Countries Are on the Brink of War

I was born in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war [1980 to 1988], in a border town called Ahwaz. My family and I moved to San Francisco when I was very young, but most of my family still lives in Iran. My grandfather forced my mom and my dad to leave Iran during the war. He told them, Your kids can not have a good life here. They will do better things in America. I owe everything to my grandfather and my family who made so many sacrifices for me to be where I am today. -By Mana Mostatabi; as told to Leila Ettachfini, VICE 01/17/20

Filmmaker Shirin Neshat Probes the Iran-U.S. Divide in Surreal New Satire

It has been more than 20 years since the artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat last visited Iran, where she was born in the city of Qazvin in 1957. "I represent a part of the Iranian community and diaspora who voluntarily, and somewhat involuntarily, doesn't go back because the current regime is quite impossible," Neshat says by phone from her studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Most of Neshat's family still lives in her home country, though, and so, as the United States and Iran have moved to the brink of war over the past few weeks, following the U.S. assassination of Qassim Suleimani in Iraq, the artist has been thinking carefully about her choice of words. -Andrew Russeth, Surface 01/17/20

Iranian American Buckeyes reflect on Iran-US conflict

In the face of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, Iranian Americans can be caught in the middle... Nealofar Madani, a third-year in public health and co-leader of the Iranian Cultural Association, said she has concerns about family visiting from Iran. Milad Vedaie, a third-year in environmental engineering and co-leader of the Iranian Cultural Association, grew up in suburban Columbus and is a dual citizen of America and Iran. His parents and siblings all attended Ohio State. He said he has faced discrimination because of portrayals of Iranians in the media. Madani and Vedaie said they embrace both aspects of their identity and want to change media narratives around Iranians. -The Lantern 01/17/20

Iran's supreme leader calls Trump 'clown' in rare Friday sermon

Iran's supreme leader has described Donald Trump as a "clown" who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will push a poisonous dagger into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the mass funerals for Iran's top general, who was killed in a US strike earlier this month, show that the Iranian people support the Islamic Republic despite its recent trials. The "cowardly" killing of Qassem Suleimani had taken out the most effective commander in the battle against the Islamic State group, he said. -Guardian 01/17/20

The divisive legacy of Iran's royal family

Some in the Trump administration appear to be smitten by royal nostalgia - just not the Megxit kind. On Wednesday, the State Department's Twitter feed released a short video extolling Iran's "rich history of human rights from the time of Cyrus up until the 1979 revolution." However, experts on Iran say that is glossing over some major problems - mainly the U.S. - and British-backed reign of the Pahlavi dynasty, which before its ouster in 1979 was a force for social and economic development but also of well-documented political repression. -Miriam Berger, Washington Post 01/17/20

Why Iran's Economy Has Not Collapsed Amid U.S. Sanctions And 'Maximum Pressure'

Since 2017, the Trump administration has placed layers of tough sanctions on Iran in an effort to deprive the regime of financial resources and to force it to negotiate a new nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent speech that the administration's strategy of "maximum pressure" aims to cut off 80% of Iran's oil revenues and that "President Rouhani himself said that we have denied the Iranian regime some $200 billion in lost foreign income and investment as a result of our activities." Yet Iran's economy has not collapsed. -Jackie Northam, NPR 01/17/20

Iran has a 'shockingly strong' war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani's killing - and it could win

Iran says it will pursue war-crimes charges against President Donald Trump at the International Criminal Court in the Hague over this month's assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. A legal expert told Insider that Iran would have a good chance of winning any case at the ICC. Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, tweeted that the bar for justifying lethal action in such circumstances is extremely high and requires a threat level that the US has so far failed to identify. A NATO military attache in the Middle East told Insider that the case against the US is "shockingly strong." -Mitch Prothero, Business Insider 01/17/20

Iran's President Rohani Slams Disqualification Of Candidates Ahead Of Parliament Elections

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized the disqualification of hundreds of people from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying Iranians "need diversity." In televised remarks during a cabinet meeting on January 15, Rohani called for "all parties and groups" to be allowed to run for office, saying the country "cannot be governed by one political wing alone." -RFE/RL 01/16/20

Europe's New Gamble: Dispute Resolution and the Iran Nuclear Deal

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the E3) initiated a new and uncertain phase in the Iran nuclear deal this week by triggering its Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM). They did so in response to Iran's expansion of its nuclear programme, following the reimposition of crippling US sanctions on the country. This is an assertive move by the E3, but it is also a gamble that could save or sink the agreement. The E3 will have to manage the process very carefully if they intend not to "add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region", as they stated in their announcement on the decision. -Ellie Geranmayeh, Responsible Statecraft 01/16/20

Iranian FM Zarif Berates European Countries For Being Bullied By Trump

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday blasted France, Germany and Britain for triggering the dispute mechanism of their nuclear agreement with Iran (JCPOA). In a tweet on Thursday Zarif said the E3 which consists of France, Germany and Britain "sold out remnants of JCPOA to avoid new Trump Tariffs". -Radio Farda 01/16/20

'Space Unites Us': First Iranian-American Astronaut Was Gunship Pilot

Jasmin "Jaws" Moghbeli earned her fierce nickname during her time as a decorated helicopter gunship pilot who flew more than 150 missions in Afghanistan. The Marine Corps major, MIT graduate and college basketball player can now add another accomplishment to her burgeoning resume: the first Iranian-American astronaut. -MSN 01/16/20

'An American dream': singer Andy Madadian becomes first Iranian on Hollywood's Walk of Fame

At age 22, Andy Madadian fled Iran with nothing, moved to Los Angeles and started playing guitar at nightclubs to pay rent. Now 63, the internationally celebrated pop singer says he's ready for another "new beginning": Madadian is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first Iranian artist to earn the honor. -Sam Levin, Guardian 01/16/20

Europe needs to build on the Iran nuclear deal, not jettison it

The three European parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal - France, Germany and the UK (known as the E3) - announced yesterday that they were triggering the agreement's dispute resolution mechanism. In a joint statement, the E3 insisted that the move was undertaken "in good faith" and was aimed at salvaging the accord in response to Iranian breaches, not expediting its collapse. But resorting to the mechanism could set in motion the deal's demise, unless Europe engages both Tehran and Washington. -Ali Vaez, Guardian 01/16/20

NIAC Responds to Baseless Accusations by Senators Cotton, Cruz, and Braun

In response to a letter sent by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Braun (R-IN) to the Department of Justice baselessly urging an investigation into NIAC and NIAC Action, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement: "At NIAC, we are proud of the work we do for our community. We will never stop working to advance peace and diplomacy or fighting for equitable immigration policies and the civil rights of all Americans. 01/15/20

Iran's FM Zarif Admits People Are Angry For Being Lied To About Plane Crash

Iran's Foreign Minister on Wednesday a dmitted that Iranians are angry because they were lied to regarding regarding the real cause of a plane crash January 8, that killed 176 passengers and crew. While the Iranian military knew it had shot down the plane, authorities kept denying they fired an anti-aircraft missile, for three days. 01/15/20

Yes, Iranians can protest against both US intervention and their government

Is Iran a nation of people easily coerced into participating in pro-regime rallies or a country of brave souls willing to risk their lives for justice? Of course, the binary view of Iran that underlies this bewilderment is misguided and reductive. The complex attitudes of protesters are surprising only to those who see the country as a monolith. They have accepted the superficial caricature of a nation in which there can only be one national mood - a fickle place where shouts of "Death to America" are replaced with the anti-regime cry of "Death to the Dictator" overnight... -Reza H Akbari, Guardian 01/15/20

'They treated me like a terrorist': the vetted Iranians deported on arrival to the US

Mohammad Elmi was on his way to fulfill a lifelong dream. On 13 December 2019, the 31-year-old Iranian boarded a flight to Los Angeles to join his wife in the United States and start a PhD program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sixty-five hours later, he was back in the Iranian capital, Tehran, refused entry to the United States by immigration officers at the airport. -Caleb Hampton, Guardian 01/15/20

British Ambassador 'Leaving Iran' Amid Diplomatic Spat

The British ambassador to Tehran has left Iran after being detained by Iranian authorities last week, state-run media reported on January 15. Rob Macaire was detained for three hours on January 11 after attending a candlelight vigil for the victims of the downing by Iran's air defenses of a Ukrainian passenger plane. Iran's official IRNA news agency said the diplomat had left after being given what it described as "prior notice." The report did not elaborate. -RFE/RL 01/15/20

Iran recession to deepen, reserves to fall to $73 billion by March: IIF

Hit by sanctions curbing oil sales, Iran's economy is set to fall deeper into recession this fiscal year and foreign reserves could drop to $73 billion by March, a loss of almost $40 billion in two years, the Institute of International Finance said. The economy shrank by 4.6% in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and the contraction is expected to deepen to 7.2% in the current fiscal year, the IIF, a finance industry body, said this week. -Reuters 01/15/20

Iranian Drama 'Yalda' to Screen at Sundance Without Director Due to U.S.-Iran Tensions

U.S.-Iran tensions have put Iranian director Massoud Bakhshi whose daring drama "Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness," is set to premiere at Sundance, in a tough spot. The film's production and sales companies issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing that Bakhshi will not personally be attending Sundance due to the current U.S.-Iran crisis. But they also denied recent Iranian media reports claiming that the director had pulled "Yalda" from the festival. -Variety 01/15/20

All-out efforts underway to help flood-hit Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province

All the facilities and capacities of the country have been mobilized to assist people in the flood-stricken province of Sistan-Baluchestan, IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday. Unprecedented heavy rainfall which began on January 10 has led to flash flooding in the southeastern province, as 145 stations have recorded rainfall, 95 of which have reported receiving more than 50 mm of rain and 17 stations received some 100-200 mm. 01/14/20

European states trigger dispute mechanism in Iran nuclear deal

Britain, France and Germany have triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a step that over months could result in the collapse of the agreement entirely and the return of European sanctions on Tehran. Officials described the move as one taken more in sorrow than anger and said it was in part prompted by fears that Iran may now be less than a year away from possessing the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb. --Guardian 01/14/20

"They Were Everywhere" Footage, Eyewitnesses Reveal Violence Against Ukraine Plane Crash Protesters

Iranian security forces used what appeared to be live ammunition and tear gas to repress protests in Tehran on January 12, 2020, over the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) "unintentional" downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, according to video footage sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and later verified by the AP. Protesters mainly in the capital and at least one other city (Amol in Mazandaran Province) who chanted slogans against the IRGC and called for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to relinquish power faced a heavy security presence, according to eyewitnesses. -CHRI 01/14/20

Justin Trudeau: US escalation partly to blame for Iran plane deaths

Victims of an Iran-downed jetliner would still be alive were it not for a recent escalation of tensions partly triggered by the US, Justin Trudeau has said. "I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," the Canadian prime minister said in an interview with Global television. He added that the international community had been "very, very clear about needing to have a non-nuclear Iran", but also in "managing the tensions in the region that are brought about by US actions as well". -Guardian 01/14/20

Iran announces arrests over plane crash as Rouhani warns those responsible will be punished

Several people have been arrested in Iran over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that those responsible would be punished. Gholamhossein Esmaili, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary, was quoted by the semi-official FARS news agency Tuesday as saying that an investigation into the crash had started and several arrests had been made. He did not provide details on how many people had been arrested or what their roles in the incident may have been. 01/14/20

The Dawn of War and America's Strategic Fog

One can almost hear the guffaws and back-slapping laughter out of China and Russia rattling around the ether of the international system, as they watch the United States again blunder mindlessly around in the blind alleys of the Middle East, fruitlessly wasting time, money, and political capital to no useful end. Indeed, it must make for good theater in the dictatorial halls of power in Beijing and Moscow. The January 2020 tit-for-tat assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani emphasizes yet again America's confounding inability clearly to think through the role of military force as an instrument of strategy. -James Russell, Responsible Statecraft 01/14/20

Saudi Arabia And Trump's Other Middle East Pals Don't Want More Escalation With Iran

After years of pushing for the U.S. to make tougher moves against Iran, some of America's closest partners in the Middle East now desperately want President Donald Trump to take a more moderate tack. If those countries shift away from confrontation with Iran, it would have huge implications for the stability of the region and its hundreds of millions of people. -Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Huffington Post 01/14/20

2020: Millennium of Persian Poet Ferdowsi

Anniversaries are important; they celebrate legacies and signify presence and continuity. This year, 2020, marks the 1000th anniversary of Ferdowsi's death. This renowned Persian poet died at age 81 in 1020, more than five centuries before Shakespeare was born. Ferdowsi has not only endured for a thousand years but has also defined the very identity and language of his own country - Iran. This is, indeed, a great achievement for a poet or for any person, for that matter. -Rasoul Shams 01/13/20

Iran Film, Theater, Music Artists, Broadcasters Boycott State TV, Festivals

An increasing number of Iranian filmmakers, performing artists, and musicians have been boycotting an annual state sponsored festival as Iran is overwhelmed by a new wave of protests during the past days. Meanwhile several presenters and actors have left the state TV in protest to the downing of a civilian passenger aircraft that claimed 176 lives and the state-controlled media's disinformation to divert attention from the revolutionary guards (IRGC) as the culprit behind the crash. 01/13/20

PHOTOS: Protesters In Tehran Call For Justice Over Iran's Downing Of Ukrainian Plane

Protesters outside a university in Tehran have called for justice after Iran admitted it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8. "Resignation is not enough," protesters chanted outside Amirkabir university on January 11 while demanding a trial for those responsible for the downing of the plane that killed all 176 people on board. 01/12/20

Inside the US Navy's mistaken shooting of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, which killed 290 people

The USS Vincennes was in the middle of a skirmish with Iranian gunboats when it saw Iran Air Flight 655 on its radar and confused the Airbus 300 for a fighter jet. After it failed to respond to the Navy's distress signals, the US shot it down with a missile. Everyone on board was killed. Yet despite this shocking mistake, it's often forgotten in the US. In Iran, it remains a national outrage. Many don't believe that it was a mistake, but a warning from the US. -James Pasley, Business Insider 01/10/20

No War With Iran: Day of Action

We will not be forced into another war. On Thursday, January 9, at 5 p.m. local time, the anti-war majority in this country will get visible to oppose Trump's war and say #NoWarWithIran. Trump's reckless action has needlessly endangered countless lives of U.S. troops, Iraqis, Iranians, and countless other civilians. 01/9/20

Federal civil-rights office opens investigation into Canadian border stops

The Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is opening an investigation into the many reports of people being stopped and questioned for hours over the weekend at the Canadian border, according to a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The civil-rights office verbally confirmed the investigation Wednesday, and said it is sending investigators to Washington state, according to Subhan Cheema, Jayapal's spokesman. -Seattle Times 01/9/20

Iran Launches Missile Strikes At U.S. Troops In Iraq, Casualties Unclear

Iran has carried out a ballistic-missile attack against U.S. forces stationed in Iraq in retaliation for the killing last week of a prominent Iranian military commander. Iranian state television said Iran had fired 15 missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq early on January 8. The U.S. military said at least two Iraqi facilities hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel were targeted in the overnight attack. It is unclear if there have been any casualties. 01/8/20

Ukrainian Plane Crashes In Iran, Killing All 176 People Aboard

A Ukrainian commercial airliner crashed on January 8 soon after taking off from Iran's capital, Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, mostly Iranian nationals, but also Western and Ukrainian citizens. Debris and smoldering parts from the Boeing 737-800NG belonging to Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) were strewn across a field southwest of the Iranian capital's Imam Khomeini International Airport as rescue teams with face masks retrieved bodies. 01/8/20

How anti-terrorism laws equip law enforcement to crack down on Iranian Americans

That the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani will reorder the Middle East is obvious - Iraq's parliamentary vote to expel U.S. forces, along with Iran's declared restarting of its nuclear arms program with "no limitations," offers proof enough. But that the killing will have repercussions within the United States, rattling the lives and liberties of many U.S. citizens and residents, is also a strong possibility - one that's no less ominous. -Aziz Huq, Washington Post 01/8/20

Will This Billionaire-Funded Think Tank Get Its War With Iran?

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies' militaristic influence on US policy toward Iran is working. Suleimani's assassination is evidence of that. On social media, Trump's decision to assassinate Suleimani and al-Muhandis was greeted with praise from the FDD, which gloated, via Twitter, that Iran "thought he [Trump] was a Twitter tiger; he's proven otherwise." - 01/8/20

Coalition Statement on Reports of Mass Detentions of Iranians and Iranian-Americans at the Washington/Canada Border

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and its Iranian American coalition partners today issued the following statement following the recent reports of mass detentions of Iranians and Iranian Americans at the Washington/Canada Border: We write to share extremely disconcerting news and to share important information with you regarding new immigration incidents affecting Iranian Americans and Iranians in the U.S. Please read the below carefully and share this information with your friends and family. 01/7/20

More than 70 Actions Took Place on Sat. Jan. 4 To Demand - No War With Iran!

More than 70 actions took place on Saturday, January 4 across the country to to demand no war with Iran and that U.S. troops leave the Middle East. The Trump administration and Pentagon have moved to start a war with Iran by assassinating Qassem Soleimani, the top military leader of that country. -Answer Coalition 01/5/20

Brighton's Alireza Jahanbakhsh scores stunning goal against Chelsea

Brighton winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh started 2020 in style as the Iranian scored a stunning acrobatic bicycle kick against Chelsea on Wednesday at the Amex Stadium. Jahanbakhsh came off the bench in the 69th minute with his team 1-0 down after Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta's opener early in the game, but salvaged a point with an acrobatic strike six minutes from time. 01/2/20

16 stunning modern architectural wonders in the Middle East you've probably never heard of

Some of the most visited include Petra, the famous archaeological site in Jordan and former capital of the Nabatean kingdom, and Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire in ancient Persia. However the region is fast becoming home to some of the most stunning modern buildings in the world too. -Sahar Esfandiari, Insider 12/30/19

Iranian woman goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi sets new record for not conceding a goal

Vochan Kordestan goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi set a new record in Iran football for minutes without conceding a goal. She extended her team shut-out run to 950 minutes, surpassing Sepahan stopper Payam Niazmand's old mark of 935. 12/27/19

After US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, restored sanctions put cancer patients at risk

Limited access to medicine has frustrated Iranian patients and their families, especially after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018. The U.S. withdrawal led to the return of economic, trade and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. While humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, medication manufacturers in Iran face many challenges because of other sanctions, including banking and transaction restrictions. -Somayeh Malekian, ABC News 12/27/19

Iran's EB patients: The most oppressed victims of U.S. sanctions

Although food and medicine are claimed to be exempted from U.S. sanctions, financial and banking sanctions have limited the life-saving medicine trade which harshly targeted the patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disease that causes painful blistering of the skin. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 12/24/19

Iranian Women Make History: 2019 World Alysh Champions!

Iran's women's team made history by winning the 2019 World Alysh (Belt Wrestling) Championships for the first time on Monday. Team Melli claimed the title with 93 points, followed by Kyrgyz Republic (89) and Kazakhstan (63). The Iranian women won three medals in the competition. 12/24/19

IAPAC Proud to Endorse Yassamin Ansari for Phoenix City Council

Since she was a kid, Yassamin has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to serving others through public service. Yassamin began her career as a John Gardner Public Service Fellow at the United Nations, where she served as the youngest member of the climate team that advised former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and helped to deliver the historic Paris Agreement. Later, she was appointed as the Director of the Climate Action 2016 Summit in Washington, DC, and worked with the Office of Governor Jerry Brown where she served as the Deputy Director of Policy for the Global Climate Action Summit. -PAAIA 12/24/19

Nine Iranian Labor Rights Activists and Journalists Sentenced to Prison Without Right to Appeal

Nine Iranian labor activists were each sentenced to five years in prison on December 14, 2019, on the charge of "assembly and collusion against national security"... The Campaign for the Defense of Haft Tappeh Detainees (CDHTD) identified the defendants as Haft Tappeh sugar mill workers' representatives Esmail Bakhshi and Mohammad Khanifar, activists Sepideh Qoliyan and Atefeh Rangriz, and journalists Amirhossein Mohammadifard, Sanaz Allahyari, Amir Amirgholi, Asal Mohammadi, and Marzieh Amiri. "What this verdict says is, 'We can and will choke you,'" wrote Rangriz in response to the court's decision. -CHRI 12/21/19

PHOTOS: Artistic Fall-Leaf Art Event in Tehran

The third Artistic Fall-Leaf Art Event was held in Tehran's Mashq Square for December 14 to 16, in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the Tehran University of Art, Municipality Office of 12 District, and the Tehran Beautification Organization. -Honar Online 12/18/19

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation's Autumn/Winter Newsletter 2019

First of all, we would like to thank you for your generosity and dedication to the Foundation, which have made it possible for us to continue our work of bringing light to disadvantaged children and communities. In this edition of the newsletter, we would like to update you on the Bachehaye Ma family and also bring your attention to two new initiatives: The Kermanshah Water Project and the expanded reach of the Popli Football Club. 12/17/19

Landmine survivors feel the pinch of sanctions

An estimated 20 million anti-personnel landmines were planted on roughly 16,200 square miles along the 680-mile Iran-Iraq border during the bloody eight-year conflict. Though the war ended thirty-one years ago, it still continues to claim lives. According to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, by 2016, almost 10,000 Iranians had been indiscriminately killed. Still, the average Iranian isn't even aware that these killing fields exist in border provinces such as Ilam, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kurdistan, and West Azerbaijan. -Holly Darges, Atlantic Council 12/17/19

Surena IV, Iran's fourth generation humanoid robot, unveiled In Tehran

At a ceremony held in Tehran University on Saturday morning, attended by the Vice President for Science and Technology Sourena Sattari, and the Chancellor of University of Tehran, a fourth generation 'Sourena humanoid robot' was officially unveiled. Sourena refers to a series of Iranian-made humanoid robots, named after the Parthian General Sourena. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has placed the Sourena Robot among the five most prominent robots of the world after analyzing its performance. 12/16/19

American Drug Companies Obtain Permission To Export Medicines To Iran - Report

A member of Tehran's Chamber of Commerce has told local media that a few American drug companies have obtained permission from the U.S. government to export medicines to Iran. ILNA news website in Tehran quotes Alireza Kolahi as saying that the drug companies have also proposed the names of several Iranian banks as payment channels and the U.S. government has approved two banks. -Radio Farda 12/16/19

Iran: Thousands arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture in chilling post-protest crackdown

Iran's authorities are carrying out a vicious crackdown following the outbreak of nationwide protests on 15 November, arresting thousands of protesters as well as journalists, human rights defenders and students to stop them from speaking out about Iran's ruthless repression, said Amnesty International today. The organization has carried out interviews with dozens of people inside Iran who described how, in the days and weeks during and following the protests, the Iranian authorities have held detainees incommunicado and subjected them to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. -Amnesty International 12/16/19

Book: Tappeh Sialk, The Glory Of Ancient Kashan

Tappeh Sialk on the outskirts of modern Kashan is arguably the most important ancient site in Iran before the rise of the Persian Empire in 550 BCE. Excavations here in the 1930s by a French team and by Iranian teams from 2000 AD onwards have cast light on the history of Iran from 6000 BCE onwards, spanning the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age periods. 12/16/19

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last updated on Fri Jan 24 12:33:30 EST 2020