Azar 16 1400 - December 07 2021
Welcoming Brighter Days on Yalda With Pomegranates

On Shab-e Yalda, the Iranian celebration of the winter solstice, elders take turns reading from a book of poetry by the celebrated 14th-century Persian poet Hafez, and interpret the rhyming couplets as a form of fortunetelling. Their families listen and tell stories by candlelight, sing, laugh and fill the house with light and warmth while gathered around the korsi to graze on trays of delicately cracked clusters of pomegranates, sparkling bowls of their ruby red seeds and cool, crisp watermelon slices. -Naz Deravian, New York Times 12/7/21

Searching for Iran, Through Pictures

Bar Liberty manager and photographer Dominic Xavier travelled throughout Iran, documenting its people and places. The result is a new book and exhibition that looks to challenge Western perceptions of the country. -Broadsheet 12/7/21

The Iran nuclear deal will be kept alive - but barely

Everything unfolded according to the script at the Iran nuclear talks last week in Vienna. Iran, led by new President Ebrahim Raisi's government, adopted a much harsher negotiating position, which the U.S. and the Europeans predictably rejected as the blame game officially began. Despite the harsh rhetoric from the Biden administration, this is how everyone expected this round to start and end. -Trita Parsi, MSNBC 12/7/21

Trade, Not Investment, is Iran's Sanctions Relief Must-Have

Last week, the seventh round of the negotiations over the fate of the JCPOA saw Iran table an initial proposal on sanctions relief. The proposal led to complaints from Western officials that the Iranian negotiators were being unreasonable. Iranian officials responded by insisting their proposals were "pragmatic." The initial exchange suggested to some that disagreements over sanctions relief issue are going to prove the intractable because what Iran wants-significant investment-is impossible for the P5+1 to guarantee. -Esfandyar Batmanghelid, Bourse & Bazaar 12/7/21

Artist Ardeshir Mohasses back home with posthumous show

Drawings and cartoons by Ardeshir Mohasses, a great Iranian artist who spent the last 30 years of his life in New York, will be showcased in an exhibition in Tehran 13 years after his death. A collection of rarely seen works by the artist will be put on view in the ten-day exhibition opening at Artibition Gallery on Friday. -Tehran Times 12/7/21

Illegal Attacks on Iranians Won't End the Impasse

If the nuclear deal isn't going to be salvaged, that does not have to mean war or proliferation, but it will give Iran hawks an opening to start a war that will likely end with more proliferation. Salvaging the nuclear deal was still the best way forward, but there is clearly no political will in Washington or in European capitals to do what is necessary to save it. -Daniel Larison 12/7/21

Witnesses say Iranian police 'intentionally targeted' heads and eyes of protesters in Isfahan

Iranian security forces carried out a violent crackdown on November 26 on farmers who had been peacefully protesting the redirection of a vital river in the town of Isfahan for several weeks. Dozens of protesters lost an eye or sustained head injuries. Photos and eyewitness accounts, including those by our Observer, support the theory that security forces aimed and fired directly at people's faces. -France 24 12/7/21

Top Israeli military officials say Trump's Iran deal exit was a 'mistake,' bad for Israel

The United States, its allies, and Iran have returned to negotiations this week in Vienna aimed at restoring the JCPOA. All parties are expressing pessimism regarding the current round of talks. President Joe Biden is feeling pressure from Congress and from Israel to find ways to "improve" the deal, while the new, more hardline Iranian leadership is holding firm to its demands that Washington lift all sanctions imposed since 2018 immediately and offer a guarantee that it will not renege on its commitment to the deal, as President Donald Trump did. -Mitchell Plitnick, Responsible Statecraft 12/7/21

Hackers pretending to be Iranian govt steal credit card infomation and create botnet

Hackers in Iran have convinced citizens using SMS messages to download malicious applications by claiming judicial complaints have been filed against them. -ZDNet 12/7/21

Gharibshi and Aminzadeh claim debut golds on superb day for Iran at World Para Powerlifting Championships

Iran's Aliakbar Gharibshi marked his World Para Powerlifting Championships debut in style as he broke the world record to win gold in the men's up-to-107 kilograms event in Tbilisi. Gharibshi dethroned defending champion and Paralympic gold medallist Sodnompiljee Enkhbayar of Mongolia with a lift of 245kg. Once his victory was confirmed, he then broke the world record by hoisting 251kg. -Inside the Games 12/6/21

Iran beaten by Norway in 2021 World Women's Handball

Iran lost to European champions Norway 41-9 in their second match in the 2021 World Women's Handball Championship Sunday night. Iran had started the campaign with a 39-11 loss against Romania in Group C. Iran goalkeeper Fatemeh Khalili Behfar was named Player of the Match due to her outstanding saves. -Tehran Times 12/6/21

Iran Currency Falls as Nuclear Talks Seem to Hit Roadblock

The Iranian rial currency dipped on Saturday but remained above historic lows after news that talks with world powers to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord may have run into difficulties. Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off on Friday until next week, with European officials voicing dismay at sweeping demands by Iran's new, hardline government. Washington said Tehran "does not seem to be serious". -Reuters 12/6/21

An exploration of five millennia of Iranian art

Persian culture is in the spotlight in an exhibition at the James Simon Gallery in Berlin. The artifacts feature unexpected multicultural influences. Even though our perception of Iran is influenced by current political issues, the country's historical and cultural significance is undeniable, points out Stefan Weber, director of the Museum of Islamic Art and co-curator of the Berlin exhibition. -DW 12/6/21

Iran imposes restrictions on unvaccinated in new COVID plan

The Iranian government has launched a "smart protocols" plan that will impose some restrictions on those unvaccinated against COVID-19, as it aims for the country to learn to "co-exist" with the coronavirus. The plan was rolled out on Monday across the country, where a fifth deadly wave of the pandemic has been contained but concerns remain over another spike in infections, according to the health ministry. -Al Jazeera 12/6/21

On bombing Iran, Israel needs to cool its threats

Today, as Iran and global powers carry on past the seventh round of this year's nuclear negotiations in Vienna, which ended on December 3, Israel has been calling on all parties to halt the talks at once. But it would behoove the Israelis to understand that a revived JCPOA is now the most realistic pathway toward ensuring that Iran freezes and, if possible, reverses its nuclear program to the levels prescribed by the 2015 nuclear deal. -Giorgio Cafiero, Responsible Statecraft 12/6/21

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran reach gas trade deal

The agreement was presented by both Baku and Tehran as proof that their recent political crisis had been overcome. Has it? Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to a deal to swap natural gas along with Turkmenistan, solidifying their economic rapprochement shortly after a serious political rupture between the two neighbors. The presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran met on November 28 in Ashgabat, after which the agreement was signed.-Joshua Kucera, Responsible Statecraft 12/6/21

UAE's top security official visits Iran to develop 'warm ties'

The UAE's top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan is on a visit to Iran for high-level talks that are seen as a possible sign of thawing relations between the two countries. Sheikh Tahnoon, a brother of the country's de facto ruler and Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, discussed improving bilateral ties and developments in regional affairs in the capital Tehran on Monday. -Al Jazeera 12/6/21

US seeks Russian and Chinese support to salvage Iran nuclear deal

The US is hoping pressure from Russia, China and some Arab Gulf states may yet persuade Iran to moderate its negotiating stance in regards to the steps the Biden administration must take before both sides return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Talks in Vienna faltered badly last week, when the new hardline Iranian administration increased its levels of uranium enrichment and tabled proposals that US officials said at the weekend were "not serious"since they had gone back on all the progress made in the previous round of talks. -Guardian 12/6/21

Iran slams France for selling arms to UAE, 'destabilising' region

Iran on Monday accused France of "destabilising" the Persian Gulf region after Paris signed a record 14-billion-euro deal with the United Arab Emirates for 80 Rafale fighter jets. "We must not ignore France's role in destabilising the region," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference. "We expected France to be more responsible -AFP 12/6/21

Iran's RQ-170 Clone Crashes Suspiciously On 10th Anniversary Of The Real One Falling Into Its Hands

At first glance, in what seems like something of a hugely ironic flashback to the headline-making loss of a secretive American RQ-170 Sentinel in Iranian territory exactly a decade ago to the day, one of Iran's rather crude sub-scale knock-offs of the basic Sentinel airframe (we can't stress basic enough here) appears to have crashed in the Iranian province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. -Tyler Rogoway, The Drive 12/6/21

Iran explosion near Natanz nuclear facility a controlled test

A loud explosion was heard near Iran's main nuclear facilities in Natanz, which have previously been targeted by sabotage attacks, but state media said it was part of a controlled test. A major explosion and flash of light in the sky were reported around 8:15pm local time (16:45 GMT) on Saturday in Badroud, 20km (12 miles) from where the enrichment facilities are located. -Al Jazeera 12/6/21

Talks with Iran on restoring 2015 nuclear deal suspended

The first formal talks between western powers and the new Iranian regime on how to restore the 2015 nuclear deal were suspended on Friday, with Europe warning that Iran had walked back all previous diplomatic progress and fast-forwarded its nuclear programme. It now seems possible the talks will collapse next week if Iran does not modify its demands, potentially risking an attack on Iran by Israel. -Guardian 12/4/21

Iranian Docs Honored at IDFA: Jafar Najafi's "Make Up Artist" wins the FIPRESCI Award

Iranian movies "Makeup Artist" and "Water, Wind, Dust, Bread" have been honored at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). "Makeup Artist" by Jafar Najafi won the FIPRESCI Award. "Water, Wind, Dust, Bread" by Mehdi Zamanpur Kiasari received a special mention in the IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary. 12/3/21

U.S. and Iran pessimistic about reviving nuclear deal

The United States and Iran both sounded pessimistic on Thursday about the chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with Washington saying it had little cause for optimism and Tehran questioning the determination of U.S. and European negotiators. "I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don't give us a lot of cause for ... optimism," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Stockholm, saying he could judge in a day or so if Iran would engage in good faith. -Reuters 12/3/21

Afghanistan situation: Emergency preparedness and response in Iran

669,492 people have been internally displaced in Afghanistan in 2021, of which 15% are families, 21% are women and 59% are children. Afghans continue to make their way to Iran informally through unofficial borders. UNHCR is aware of 23,964 Afghans who arrived in Iran from 1 January to 27 November, though the numbers are much higher. -Relief Web 12/3/21

The Persian cosmopolis: Iran and its diverse ethnicities, explained

With several minority groups living in harmony, the Islamic nation is a melting pot of people and cultures. Mohammad Taqi Bahar, considered one of Iran's finest poets, described the country's highest peak, Mount Damavand, as the "dome of the world". The 20th century poet was, however, not just writing about a geographical landmark but describing the country's status in the world from a nationalist perspective. Recorded in history books as the once-mighty and prosperous empire of Persia, Iran in its pinnacle of glory was indeed the dome of the world. -TRT 12/3/21

6 Iranian films to be screened in Strasburg festival

Six films from Iran's cinema will be screened at the 3rd International Strasburg Film Festival in the United States. "The Badger" by Kazem Mollai, "Dedicated to Tehran" by Ali Bateni and Armin Tahmasbi, "The Eleventh Step" by Maryam Kashkulinia, "The Rotation" by Hazhir As'adi, "The Snow Calls" by Marjan Khosravi and "The Wound" by Sahar Nurmonavar will compete in the different sections of the festival, which is currently running online. -Honar Online 12/3/21

As Israel bids to nix nuke talks, Iran says delegates not taking orders from Bennett

Iran lashed out at Israel Thursday after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called for an immediate halt to talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry charged that Israel was showing its "true color" by opposing negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which placed curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The talks resumed this week after a months-long pause. -Times of Israel 12/3/21

Iran says nuclear deal 'within reach' if West shows goodwill

Iran's top diplomat says an agreement to revive his country's nuclear deal with world powers was "within reach" but that this depended on the goodwill of the West. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter on Thursday that negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna, were "proceeding with seriousness" and that the removal of sanctions was a "fundamental priority". -Al Jazeera 12/2/21

Iran doubles down on abortion and contraception restrictions

Iranians long had degrees of access to free contraception at public health facilities, part of family planning policies aimed at limiting population growth. In recent years, policy shifts have whittled away such programs. The changes have culminated under a new law - meant to address an emergent demographic shift - which critics have decried as a major setback for women's and reproductive rights. -Miriam Berger, Washington Post 12/2/21

Iran's powerlifter Jafari takes silver at Tbilisi 2021

Iranian Para powerlifter Amir Jafari Arangeh seized a silver medal at the 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championships on Wednesday. He finished in second place with 193kg. Hocine Bettir of Algeria won the gold medal with 194kg. -Tehran Times 12/2/21

Peninsula Woman's Nonprofit Helps Battle Extreme Poverty In Bay Area, Around The Globe

This week's Jefferson Award Winner is a Peninsula woman helping to make a difference in the battle against extreme poverty in the Bay Area and around the globe. Real estate asset manager Delfarib Fanaie gets ready for her volunteers to pack hundreds of holiday food boxes for low-income families. -CBS, San Francisco 12/2/21

Iran preparing to enrich uranium, nuclear deal talks in Vienna told

Iran sought to heighten pressure on western negotiators in Vienna through increasing its use of advanced centrifuges as talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal carried on for a third day on Wednesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Wednesday that Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to up to 20% purity with one cascade, or cluster, of 166 advanced IR-6 machines at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, which is about 20 miles north-east of Qom. -Guardian 12/2/21

Women's football discussed as Infantino meets Iranian football chief in Doha

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has met Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) President Shahabaldin Azizi Khadem in Doha, with talks over women's football claimed to be on the agenda. FIFA has faced issues with the FFIRI in recent years, with government interference and Iran's policy of banning women from entering stadiums among key issues. -Inside the Games 12/2/21

Iranian press review: Conservatives open 'sins rehab clinic'

A poster advertising a clinic for "sins rehabilitation" under the guidance of conservative clerics and a hardline deputy minister has prompted anger and mockery on Persian social media. The poster advertised a 40-day rehabilitation programme consisting of 25 lessons, four online conferences, four Q&A workshops and a daily checklist for the sinners. -MEE 12/2/21

Iran and Taliban forces clash in border area

Clashes erupted between Iranian soldiers and Taliban forces near the Afghanistan-Iran border, but appear to have led to no casualties and was later described as a "misunderstanding". Multiple videos on Wednesday showed Taliban troops mobilising. Gunfire can be heard while one shows Iranian forces firing artillery shells in response to Taliban fire. -Al Jazeera 12/2/21

An Earthquake Has Broken Tehran, but She's Looking for a Different Fix

When Mahsa Mohebali's novel "In Case of Emergency" was first published in Iran in 2008, its antic portrait of a mind and a city on edge ruffled pious sensibilities. Written Farsi, like Arabic, is an ornate, almost courtly language, and the book's use of colloquial slang struck many critics as libertine and louche - certainly unliterary. -Negar Azimi, New York Times 12/1/21

He led IDF intel gathering on Iran, was ignored and fears Israel is now paying price

Several months after the 2013 election of former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Aviv Kohavi submitted a position paper to then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he pointed to a significant, strategic shift underway in the Islamic Republic. Kohavi, who currently serves as IDF chief of staff, was the head of the Military Intelligence unit at the time, and he relayed his assessment that Iran was becoming more moderate and willing to negotiate an agreement with world powers that would enshrine restrictions on its nuclear program. -Times of Israel 12/1/21

Photos: Traditional laundry house in NW Iran

Rakhtshooy Khaneh is a traditional laundry house in northwest Iran. The house is the only building in the world specially designed for women to hand-wash clothes. Built over half a century ago by two brothers named Akbar and Esmail, the building is on the list of Iran's national heritage. -Amir-Hossein Nasooti, IRNA 12/1/21

FUZZY LEGACY: Who is mathematician Lotfi Zadeh?

MATHEMATICIAN Lotfi Zadeh made numerous contributions to math, science, and education. With many of Zadeh's theories and findings utilized in many higher education settings, his legacy lives on. Iranian-American engineer Lotfi Zadeh was born Lotfi Aliaskerzadeh in the previously Soviet nation of Azerbaijan SSR. He was born on February 4 of 1921. Lotfi Zadeh passed away on September 6, 2017 at the age of 96. -The Sun 12/1/21

Facing mounting global crises, Biden risks addiction to sanctions

President Biden has a full plate of global problems. In Ethiopia, a brutal, year-long civil war between the government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray People's Liberation Front has plunged Africa's second largest country into destitution. Along the European Union's eastern border with Belarus, up to 2,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa, some supplied with wire cutters courtesy of the Belarusian government, are camped out in a no-man's land... -Dan DePetris, Responsible Statecraft 12/1/21

Hackers targeting and stealing billions from Iranian citizens in texting scheme

Financially motivated hackers likely based in Iran are successfully targeting and stealing billions in currency from Iranian civilians through a texting campaign, new research released Wednesday found. Israeli-American cybersecurity company Check Point Research found evidence that tens of thousands of Iranians had been targeted in the scheme, which involved the hackers sending texts to Android users that impersonated branches of the Iranian government. -The Hill 12/1/21

Vintage cars show racy past of Iran's toppled royalty

Before they were ousted by the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran's royal family enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with a taste for fast cars quite unlike any ever built. ADVERTISING Now, after half a century hidden away, the royal racers are back on show, with the Iran Historical Car Museum drawing in thousands since it opened to the public in recent weeks. -AFP 12/1/21

'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

As negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program convened in Vienna on Monday, more than three years after the U.S. walked away from an international agreement, anti-war groups called on the Biden administration "to choose the proven path of peace" and re-enter the pact for the benefit of Iranians, Americans, and the global population. -Julia Conley, Common Dreams 11/30/21 completes 45sqm suspended villa at the heart of iranian forest

located in a forested and mountainous area of guilan, iran, the 'tiny home' by is a charming, 45sqm villa that suspends over land like a tree canopy with its trunk. despite its small size, the project features practical and suitable spaces that are ideal for weekend escapes. the economic situation in the region, however, has de-popularized the value of tiny homes over the years. in light of that, the architects behind 'tiny home' attempted to revive small-scale architecture with the lowest costs. -designboom 11/30/21

Iranian water protests a 'wake-up call' for regime

Farmers demanding water for their crops, protesters with blood pouring down their faces and riot police shouting at them to disperse - in recent weeks the scorched riverbed at the heart of the historic city of Isfahan has been the site of Iran's biggest ever environmental protest. Riot police patrolled Isfahan this weekend after clearing the dried up river Zayandeh Roud of thousands of demonstrators who had made a camp there. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 11/30/21

There Is No Evil review - passionate plea against Iran's soul-poisoning executions

Maybe you don't go to Iranian cinema for nail-biting action and suspense. But that's what you are given in this arresting portmanteau film, the Golden Bear winner at last year's Berlin film festival. It is written and directed by film-maker and democracy campaigner Mohammad Rasoulof, who has repeatedly been victimised by the Iranian government for his dissident "propaganda" - most recently, in 2020, with a one-year prison sentence and two-year ban on film-making. -Peter Bradshaw, Guardian 11/30/21

A Hacking Spree Against Iran Spills Out Into the Physical World

Hackers have targeted the country's trains, gas stations, and airline infrastructure, as cyber conflict with Israel continues to escalate. -Wired 11/30/21

Preview of a first-of-its-kind exhibition on Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam at the Italian Embassy in Tehran

The Italian Embassy in Tehran hosted today, in the residence of Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone, the preview of the exhibition "Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam. Unrealized Projects. Dynamic Sculptures from Small to Monumental 1968-2018" to be held at Argo Factory from November 26. The exhibit showcases interactive sculptures by Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam, by many considered to be the champion of modernist painting in Iran. -Tehran Times 11/30/21

Iranian women win three medals at World Taekwondo Women's Open

Iranian women taekwondo players claimed three medals at the first edition of the World Taekwondo Women's Open Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Zahra Sheidaei won a gold medal in the in the under-57kg final on Friday. She defeated Russia's Margarita Blizniakova in the golden point period. -Tehran Times 11/29/21

Photos: Renovation of Taq Kasra kicks off

The renovation operation of Taq Kasra also called the Arch of Ctesiphon - remnants of a Sasanid-era Persian monument dates back to c. the 3rd to 6th-century - has been kicked off. The Iranian-made masterpiece of architecture is located 15 kilometers south Baghdad, Iraq. November 26, 2021. -IRNA 11/29/21

Why the new German coalition pact doesn't bode well for Iran

Anyone hoping for a more creative policy that recognizes all bad actors in current Middle East crises will be disappointed. If proponents of engagement with Iran in the United States hoped that European allies would push the Biden administration towards bolder steps in that direction, they are likely to be disappointed. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 11/29/21

Reviving the Iran nuclear deal is the key to regional stability

Iran's new administration has concluded its lengthy internal review on how, and with what new strategies, to return to the Vienna nuclear talks, to find out practical solutions to the current impasse in reviving the 2015 agreement. The negotiations have been halted since Iran's presidential election in June 2021 but are set to resume on Monday. -Yousof Azizi, Responsible Statecraft 11/29/21

Israel and Iran Broaden Cyberwar to Attack Civilian Targets

Millions of ordinary people in Iran and Israel recently found themselves caught in the crossfire of a cyberwar between their countries. In Tehran, a dentist drove around for hours in search of gasoline, waiting in long lines at four gas stations only to come away empty. In Tel Aviv, a well-known broadcaster panicked as the intimate details of his sex life, and those of hundreds of thousands of others stolen from an L.G.B.T.Q. dating site, were uploaded on social media. -New York Times 11/29/21

Iranian banks notch win in dispute over sanctions enforcement

An arbitration panel has ruled in favor of two Iranian banks in a financial dispute over the 2015 closing of a Bahraini financial institution accused of helping Iran skirt U.S. and U.N. economic sanctions. The Hague-based tribunal's three arbitrators ordered the government of Bahrain to pay more than $270 million in compensation for losses and legal fees stemming from its decision to close Future Bank -Washington Post 11/29/21

Iran riot police arrests scores in Isfahan water protests

Iran's riot police were deployed in force in the city of Isfahan on Saturday, a day after dozens were arrested during protests over the drying up of a river. Security forces fired tear gas on Friday at demonstrators, who threw stones, during a protest in the dry bed of the Zayadneh Rood river that crosses the city, Fars and ISNA news agencies said. -MEE 11/28/21

Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in Iranian city

Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people in a central Iranian city who were protesting to demand government action over a drought, media reported. Some videos on social media appeared to show police and protesters clashing in the dry bed of the Zayandehrud River. The video corresponded to known features of the area, though original posters of the material could not be immediately reached by The Associated Press. Other videos showed similar unrest in nearby streets of Isfahan. -AP 11/26/21

America's abyss of weapons and warmaking

There can't be the slightest doubt: America worships its Pentagod and the weapons and wars that feed it. Who is America's god? The Christian god of the beatitudes, the one who healed the sick, helped the poor, and preached love of neighbor? Not in these (dis)United States. In the Pledge of Allegiance, we speak proudly of One Nation under God, but in the aggregate, this country doesn't serve or worship Jesus Christ, or Allah, or any other god of justice and mercy. In truth, the deity America believes in is the five-sided one headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. -William J. Astore, Responsible Statecraft 11/26/21

Photos: Opening of Tochal Ski Resort in Tehran, Iran

These photographs show the Tochal Ski Resort in Tehran, which has been reopened and is ready for winter sports enthusiasts. -Mohammad Reza Bolandi, ISNA 11/26/21

Two Years After Iran's Deadly Crackdown On Protests, Victims' Families Still Fighting For Justice

For the past two years, Mahboobeh Ramezani has been grieving the loss of her son while calling for justice over his death at the hands of Iran's security forces. Pejman Gholipur was shot and killed during a November 17, 2019, protest in Tehran triggered by a sudden rise in the price of gasoline. He was 18. Ramezani has kept her son's bloody clothes as evidence that he was murdered. -RFE/RL 11/26/21

Iran loses 300,000 university graduates to better prospects abroad

Ehsan Ghazizadeh, member of the Iranian parliament, reported on Tuesday a massive exodus of university-educated people from Iran. Over the past three years, some 4,000 doctors and about 300,000 academics with masters or PhD degrees have left Iran. Hossein-Ali Shahriyari, chairman of the parliamentary health commission, recently wrote a letter to Ali Khamenei, head of the Islamic Republic, expressing his concern about the increasing exodus of doctors. -Qantara 11/26/21

Frustrated with CIA, Trump administration turned to Pentagon for shadow war with Iran

In the final month of his presidency, Donald Trump signed off on key parts of an extensive secret Pentagon campaign to conduct sabotage, propaganda and other psychological and information operations in Iran, according to former senior officials who served in his administration. The campaign, which was to be led by the military's Special Operations forces, was designed to undermine the Iranian people's faith in their government as well as shake the regime's sense of competence and stability, according to those former officials. -Zach Dorfman, Yahoo 11/24/21

Body Double: The mysterious Safarani Sisters draw back the curtains at the Morris Museum

This exhibition features the work of identical twin Iranian artists Bahareh and Farzaneh Safarani in their first solo museum exhibition, opening on November 12, 2021. As interdisciplinary artists and collaborators, their creative practice exists at the intersection of visual art, new media art, and performance. -Morristown Green 11/24/21

Iran-Azerbaijan: A new cold war?

The short-term crisis between the two neighbors has dissipated. But in the longer term, relations have gotten a lot more complicated. As tensions subsided following weeks of saber-rattling and hostile rhetoric, the foreign ministers of Iran and Azerbaijan had a November 5 phone call in which they blamed "ill-wishers" for trying to exploit "recent misunderstandings between the two neighbors," as the Iranian readout put it. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 11/24/21

Iran appeals ban from judo for avoiding Israeli opponents

The Iran judo federation's appeal against a four-year ban from international events for refusing to let its athletes face opponents from Israel was heard on Tuesday. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said the Iranian appeal against an International Judo Federation ruling was held by video link. A verdict is expected to take at least several weeks. -AP 11/24/21

Iran visitors must be vaccinated or COVID-free, official says

Inbound passengers must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to enter the Islamic Republic of Iran, the head of the safety and quality assurance department of Imam Khomeini International Airport City has announced. In line with the latest instructions of the Ministry of Health, all non-Iranian travelers older than 12 years of age entering the country must show a negative coronavirus PCR test result, issued at most 96 hours before arrival, along with a complete vaccination certificate. -Tehran Times 11/24/21

Israel signals readiness to escalate Iran confrontation

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has signalled a readiness to step up Israel's confrontation with Iran, reiterating on Tuesday, his country would not be bound by any new Iranian nuclear deal with world powers. Indirect negotiations will begin on November 29 on reviving the 2015 accord, which former United States President Donald Trump withdrew from, deeming it insufficient to shut down projects with bomb-making potential - a view shared by the Israelis. -Al Jazeera 11/24/21

How Iran sees the Biden doctrine for the JCPOA and Persian Gulf

Iranian experts in Tehran see the Joe Biden administration's approach toward Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the context of his government's overall foreign policy and its desire to extricate itself from military conflicts in the Persian Gulf. -Javad Heiran-Nia, Atlantic Council 11/24/21

Argo Factory: Contemporary Art Museum & Cultural Centre by Ahmadreza Schricker Architecture - North Tehran

Enriched with historic houses and old buildings turned into vibrant coffee shops and new galleries, revitalized parts of Tehran are responding to an emerging generation of artists and art seekers looking for spaces to gather, socialize, and create. Argo Factory: Contemporary Art Museum & Cultural Centre is one such venue, a nearly 100-year-old abandoned factory that has found a new life after art patron Hamidreza Pejman bought and transformed the building into a museum and gallery space for contemporary art. -Architectural Record 11/23/21

'NYT' often cites thinktank on Iran without saying it was founded to promote Israel's image

The New York Times and other media frequently quote experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and identify FDD as a hawkish thinktank. But they fail to say what the FDD told the IRS: it was founded to promote Israel's image in the United States, the investigative journalist Eli Clifton says. He characterized the omission as bordering on "journalistic malpractice." -Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 11/23/21

I was forced to marry an older man at 12-years-old. By 14, I was a mother. This is my story.

'The Heartbeat of Iran' is a new book by award-winning journalist Tara Kangarlou. It features a collection of 24 stories of everyday Iranians living inside their homeland - from the story of a transgender woman in Tehran, to the country's first female race car driver, or a blind environmental activist in the country's poorest state of Sistan and Baluchestan. Here, Tara shares the story of Mina Khanoom, who was forced into child marriage within the rural and conservative communities of Iran - a practice that exists to this day. -Glamour 11/22/21

'One of the high peaks in human experience' - royal treasures from ancient Persia

To the Shah of Iran, these gold reliefs of mythical beasts represented the pinnacle of Persian culture. To the scholar Arthur Upham Pope, they ranked among the greatest artworks in history. Specialist Chanel Clarke sheds light on their 2,500-year history -Christie 11/22/21

'Hero girl': Tehran puts up huge posters hailing Iranian women's goalkeeper

Iran has put up huge posters across the capital Tehran hailing the goalkeeper of the Iranian women's football team as a 'heroic girl' after the Jordanian FA accused her of being a man. Zohreh Koudaei, 32, saved two penalties in a 4-2 shoot-out victory over Jordan in Uzbekistan on September 25, meaning the Iranian women's team qualified for its first ever Women's Asia Cup. 11/22/21

Iran's Farhadi threatens not to represent Iran at Oscars

Iranian double Oscar winning film director Asghar Farhadi has launched a scathing attack on Tehran authorities and threatened not to represent Iran at the next edition of the prestigious awards ceremony. ADVERTISING "How can I be associated... with a government whose extremist media have not stopped these past years from destroying me, marginalising me, stigmatising me?" he asked on his Instagram page. -AFP 11/22/21

Iran is 'leapfrogging our defenses' in a cyber war 'my gut is we lose': Hacking expert Kevin Mandia

To Kevin Mandia, the CEO of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, Iran's success in the hacking realm is no surprise, as the nation has been upping its cyber-offensive capabilities for years to take advantage of U.S. weaknesses. Iran has progressed well beyond the first few stages of cyber evolution - defending its government in cyberspace and targeting its closest geographic foes, the immediate threats, which in Iran's case would include the back and forth between itself and Israel in the cyber realm. -CNBC 11/22/21

5 Women at the Forefront of Next-Gen Innovation

Iranian-American landscape designer Nahal Sohbati is building something beautiful using technology. After earning her interior design degree in Dubai, she left the Middle East, a place famous for its spectacular natural landscapes and impressive architecture, to experience what the U.S.-specifically Santa Barbara, California-had to offer a young landscape designer. -Architectural Digest 11/19/21

"White Torture": Why We Must Oppose Solitary Confinement

Narges Mohammadi, vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran, has been held in solitary confinement on and off from 1998 and 2020 for her human rights advocacy. On Tuesday night, Mohammadi was arrested by Iranian security forces during a ceremony honoring a victim of Iran's deadly response to November 2019 protests. She was taken to the notorious Evin prison. -Ms. Magazine 11/18/21

Americans Must Demand 'Maximum Peace' With Iran

In Vienna, at the end of November, the indirect talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will resume. Of the original P5+1, five states remain within the nuclear deal: Iran, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Of course, the missing country is US. The JCPOA was inked during the Barack Obama administration. It is seen as a bright spot-a true accomplishment-on a foreign affairs record that was otherwise bloody, imperialist, often treasonous, and even genocidal. -Connor Freeman, Libertarian Institute 11/18/21

Iran deal hanging by a thread as talks set to resume

Did Washington overplay its hand by not brokering with the more moderate government in Tehran when it had the chance? Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 for reviving the agreement for limiting Iran's nuclear program are expected to resume on November 29. Last year during his presidential campaign President Biden said multiple times that his administration will quickly rejoin the JCPOA, but over a year after his election, that has yet to materialize. -Muhammad Sahimi, Responsible Statecraft 11/17/21

Iranian musical rebel risks prison (again) over new album

A haunting cello melody cuts through a somber bass background like a sharp saw biting into ancient, hardened wood. "Whip on a Lifeless Body," the dark opening track of "Coup of Gods," the latest album by Iranian composer and producer Mehdi Rajabian, plumbs the deepest meaning of music -- and may turn out to be the renegade Middle Eastern artist's last cry of protest. -Nikkei Asia 11/17/21

Food writer Mayukh Sen: 'Immigrants have labored to shape the way America cooks and eats'

Over the last five years, Mayukh Sen has been writing about figures on the margins of the American food world. His profiles act as counternarratives to a food canon long unconcerned with the accomplishment of non-white chefs. His new book, Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America continues this theme by resurfacing the stories of outsider food figures, some of whom were disappeared by a ruthless restaurant economy and an indifferent media. -Guardian 11/17/21

Guerilla Opera to perform works by Iranian women composers at the Museum of Science

For one night only, the Guerillas of Boston present "FRACTURED" at the Museum of Science, a collection of two exhibition performances composed by Iranian women that focus on fractured experiences. "Distorted Attitudes III/ Scattered," written and composed by Anahita Abassi, is performed by baritone Brian Church and percussionist Mike Williams. The world premiere of "SALT: A woman at the edge" is composed by Bahar Royai with libretto, or text, by Deniz Khateri. -Boston Globe 11/17/21

Group A: IR Iran tighten grip with victory over Syria

Iran stayed well on course for a third successive appearance in the FIFA World Cup following a 3-0 win over Syria in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar on Tuesday. 11/16/21

The women of Iran's underground metal scene

Iran might seem an unlikely hotbed of heavy metal music, especially as western pop has been officially banned there since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Yet despite the risk of floggings and long jail terms, the genre continues to thrive in secret underground venues. -BBC 11/16/21

Being Persian

To be Persian before nationalism was to belong to a generous, plural identity woven through language, kin and manners -- At the end of the 19th century, under the looming shadow of European colonial encroachment, political and intellectual elites in Iran began to draw on nationalist forms of belonging as a way to unify the various ethnic and religious groups that lived within its territory. -Mana Ki, Aeon 11/15/21

Sharp relief: Automatic benefits and the Iran nuclear deal

Parties to the Iran nuclear deal should focus on how to normalize their economic relationship in the long term -- Later this month, negotiators from Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany (P5+1) will resume talks intended to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Responsible Statecraft 11/15/21

The Fascinating History of Iran's Rich Artistic Output Is Now on Display in Montreal

The exhibition "Discover Iranian Artists' Taste" at Eran Gallery is meant to introduce Montreal audiences to the rich range of Iran's artistic output, to through the work of 11 artists. A wide span of Iranian Modern and contemporary art is on view-from the artist Nasser Ovissi's decorative depictions of women which are rooted in the traditions of Persian miniature painting, to Siamak Azmi's controversy-courting canvases, which recontextualize cartoons characters and pop culture mascots. -artnet 11/15/21

Spotlight: How Persian Miniatures Influence Contemporary Iranian Painter Dariush Hosseini

Dariush Hosseini (b. 1970) is one of Iran's leading contemporary painters, making images that fluctuate between figuration and abstraction, sometimes within a single canvas. In October, SARADIPOUR Art Gallery, based in Mahshahr, Iran, presented a solo exhibition of work from Hosseini's "Wide Shut" series at KIAF 2021 in Seoul, marking the first display of the artist's work in Korea. -artnet 11/12/21

The Tentacled Butterfly Ray Comes Back from the Dead

The tentacled butterfly ray hadn't been documented since 1986, but in 2019 Mohsen Rezaie-Atagholipour started finding them hidden as by-catch in Iranian shrimpers' catch. Presumed extinct, scientists were shocked to find the species holding out in the water off Iran. -Priyanka Runwal, Hakai Magazine 11/10/21

"Mother of Iran's environment" Mahlaqa Mallah dies at 104

Mahlaqa Mallah, known as the "mother of Iran's environment" for dedicating her life to protecting the environment, passed away at the age of 104 on Monday. After studying philosophy, social sciences, and sociology at the University of Tehran, Mallah was awarded an MA in Social Sciences in 1958. In 1966, she moved to Paris to study for a Ph.D. at the University of the Sorbonne, which she graduated from in 1968. During her time in Paris, she also studied librarianship at the National Library of France. 11/9/21

Miss Earth 2021 welcomes its first candidate from Iran

Despite its virtual set-up for the second straight year, the Miss Earth pageant has managed to draw 88 global beauties in its roster this year. This includes the first candidate from Iran in its 21-year pageant history. Hami Zaker, 27, made her first impact at the pageant's eco-video preliminary competition where she introduced herself as a veterinarian and advocate of water and food security amid drought in her country. -ABS-CBN News 11/5/21

The treasures of Elam, a civilisation gone but not forgotten

A digital dossier of artefacts collected by Macquarie University's authority on the art and archaeology of the Near East is putting the ancient civilisation of Elam back on the map. From the ancient civilisation of Elam came a burst of social engagement that would, with many twists and turns, see some of the world's first cities evolve into complex societies, kingdoms and empires. -Javier Alvarez-Mon, Macquarie University 11/5/21

Iranian woman Soraya Motaharnia nominated for Global Teacher Prize 2021

Soraya Motaharnia, an Iranian teacher, has been placed among the top 10 nominees for the Global Teacher Prize 2021. Motaharnia, an outstanding teacher of mathematics, Persian language, art, science, and theology, has been praised in Iran for helping the most vulnerable students in rural parts of the country. She helps students in need of medical treatment and multiple special surgeries and provides financial assistance to hundreds of poor students. 11/4/21

Groups call on Biden to ease sanctions on Iran to jumpstart nuke talks

More than three dozen grassroots advocacy and policy organizations across the country are calling on the Biden administration to alleviate sanctions on Iran for the purchase of vaccines and other humanitarian supplies as a gesture of goodwill, and to potentially jumpstart stalled negotiations for both parties to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. -Ben Armbruster, Responsible Statecraft 11/3/21

Persian Leopard Project Wins The Platinum Impact Award From The International Association of Facilitators

The Persian leopard project has been chosen as the winner of the International Facilitation Impact Award (FIA), Arezoo Sane'ei, head of the Persian Leopard Research center, has said. The Persian leopard project from Iran was introduced as the winner of the first level award (Platinum) in terms of the effectiveness of executive methods in terms of quantity and quality and innovation in planning and designing actions with the appropriate benefit of the group process facilitation approach, according to Sane'ei. 11/2/21

The impact of sanctions on medical education in Iran

Iran has been targeted by waves of unilateral and multilateral economic sanctions for four decades. While in recent decades these have exempted humanitarian transactions, a well-established body of research shows that the sanctions have gone well beyond the intended economic impact on targeted industries to affect various aspects of livelihood. -Orkideh Behrouzan & Tara Sepehri Far, Johns Hopkins University 10/27/21

Revealed: Biden rejected way forward in Iran deal talks

Iran's delay in rejoining talks in Vienna to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement has fueled speculation that the new Ebrahim Raisi government has lost interest in the accord. Its deepened mistrust, optimism about its China option, and confidence that it can weather American sanctions have shaped this conclusion, leaving Washington with no choice but to publicly threaten its own shift to more coercion under an undefined Plan B, the narrative goes... -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 10/21/21

Over-compliance with US sanctions hurting Iran's 'butterfly kids'

Over-compliance with United States-imposed sanctions against Iran is harming the right to health, and people with a rare skin disease are among those affected, many of them children, experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Tuesday. These patients suffer from epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a severe and life-threatening skin condition, which causes extremely painful wounds. Many are children, who are often referred to as "butterfly kids" because of their fragile skin. -United Nations 10/20/21

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last updated on Tue Dec 7 11:20:21 EST 2021