Payvand Iran News... Day 26 1397
January 16 2019
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Iranian Startups Offer Opportunities In An Unstable Economy

- The past decade in Iran has witnessed a surge in the number of startups, larger Internet companies, and digital-service providers. Owing to the impact of American sanctions, Iranians are often left to their own devices when it comes to Internet services. Amid the country's rapid digitization and the fact that more than 62 percent of all households were connected to the Internet as of March 2017 -- a staggering leap from 21 percent in 2013 -- there is clearly increasing demand. 01/16/19

Brussels, Not Tehran, In Pompeo's Crosshairs

- During his trip to the Middle East the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an international summit in Warsaw on February 13-14 to "promote freedom, peace and stability in the Middle East." Such objectives, judging by his own rhetoric, seem to be reduced almost exclusively to confronting Iran's "malign behavior" in the region. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 01/16/19

UK Foreign Secretary: Iran's Treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe "Breach of Human Rights"

- UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt summoned Iran's ambassador to Tehran on January 14, 2018, the day Iranian British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and fellow prisoner, human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi, began a planned hunger strike in Tehran's Evin Prison. -CHRI 01/16/19

Journalist Working For Iran's Press TV Reportedly Detained In U.S. By FBI

- U.S. authorities have detained a journalist and television presenter working for Iran's English-language Press TV on unspecified charges, the state-run broadcaster reported on January 16. Press TV said Marzieh Hashemi was detained on January 13 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in the state of Missouri. -RFE/RL 01/16/19

Looking At Iran's Past To Understand Its Future

- Next month brings the fortieth anniversary of Iran's 1979 revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew back from exile in Paris on February 1, meeting such big crowds in Tehran that the 78-year-old cleric abandoned his station wagon for a helicopter. A public holiday is now marked every February 11 with rallies, marches, and speeches round the country. -Gareth Smyth, LobeLog 01/16/19

Iran to open bunkering terminal in blow to UAE's Fujairah

- Iran will start bunkering operations at a newly-built ship fueling terminal on the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm by next month, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) said Wednesday. The 52,000-tonne capacity terminal will give Iran access to traffic on one of the world's biggest shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports pass. -Press TV 01/16/19

How the Exiled Iranian Opposition May Actually Be Helping the Iranian Regime

- The Islamic Republic of Iran has no shortage of opposition groups, many with adherents in the large Iranian diaspora. From the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to secular republicans to ethnic separatist organizations, they are all bent on overthrowing the Iranian regime and replacing it with what they claim will be a more inclusive system. -Maysam Behravesh, The Atlantic 01/16/19

Iran govt. gets clearance for $5 billion Russian loan

- The Iranian government has been allowed to get a $5 billion loan from Russia for infrastructure projects, a parliamentary spokesman said on Tuesday. Mohammad Mehdi Mofatteh, the rapporteur of parliament's ad-hoc budget review committee, said the panel also gave the government the green light to secure up to $30 billion in finance from foreign lenders. -Press TV 01/16/19

Don't Rule Out The Possibility Of War With Iran

- According to press reports, Iran has all but despaired of the European Union's ability-or, perhaps more accurately, willingness-to work out a system of financial transactions that could facilitate Tehran's trade with Europe. Not only that, largely under pressure from Denmark and Holland, the EU imposed sanctions on Iran's ministry of intelligence and two individuals on charges of plotting to kill leaders of the Ahwaz separatist movement in Europe. This group was involved in the bombings that took place in Ahwaz in September 2018. -Shireen T. Hunter 01/15/19

Musician Ali Ghamsari Banned From Performing in Iran After Refusing to Remove Female Singer

- After the Iranian authorities banned musician Ali Ghamsari from performing "until further notice" for refusing to remove a female singer from his most recent concert in Tehran, he announced on his Instagram page that he "wasn't sorry at all." -CHRI 01/15/19

Featured Video

Doosh Doosh - Ali Ghamsari - Haleh Seifizadeh

Video: Iran launches satellite into space - Iran has launched a domestically-built satellite into space with an aim to collect environmental information to boost the country's forecasting system; however, technical problems that occurred during the final stage of the launch prevented the spacecraft from reaching orbit. 01/15/19

Sufi Woman Jailed in Iran Sentenced to 148 Lashes For Criticizing Gharchak Prison Conditions - Elham Ahmadi, an imprisoned member of the Sufi Gonabadi Order in Iran, has been sentenced to 148 lashes for speaking out about the denial of medical treatment and poor living conditions in Gharchak Prison located south of Tehran in the town of Varamin, where she is currently serving a two-year prison sentence. -CHRI 01/15/19

IRAN: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Targets General Qassem Soleimani - Iranian Quds Force Chief Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani has been on the receiving end of both comments by Israel and a critical letter by former Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. In a letter, Ahmadinejad accused Soleimani of acting as a go-between in favor of the brother of Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, recommending that the authorities release him. -Radio Farda 01/15/19

Empty car shows and stalled solar as sanctions keep Iran dirty - Innovation flees after Trump reimposes sanctions, environmentalists and government say that puts the country on a dangerous path -Climate Home News 01/15/19

Iran, Iraq's Kurdistan call for enhanced ties - Iran and Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have emphasized the importance of expanding bilateral relations in various sectors, particularly in the economic field. The calls for stronger ties came during a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil, on Tuesday. -Press TV 01/15/19

Iran art auction rakes in millions amid pressure over sanctions - Monir Farmanfarmaian, the grand dame of Tehran's vibrant art scene, has set a new record for a local female artist after an untitled mirror mosaic of hers fetched almost $1m at an art auction in the Iranian capital. -Mohammad Ali Najib, Al Jazeera 01/15/19

Iran's Syria war blockbuster: cinema in the service of politics - Does pop culture move politics? The war movie 'Damascus Time' represents the fruit of a long effort by Iranian conservatives to gain supportive voices in the arts. But its impact may be limited. -Scott Peterson, CSM 01/15/19

Iran Cargo-Plane Crash Near Tehran Leaves 15 Dead, Army Says - A cargo plane coming from Kyrgyzstan has crashed near the Iranian capital, with the country's military saying only one person of the 16 on board survived. The Boeing 707 exited the runway and hit a wall while trying to land in bad weather at Fath airport near the city of Karaj, 40 kilometers west of Tehran, reports said on January 14. -RFE/RL 01/14/19

National plan for safeguarding Caspian seal drafted in Iran - Caspian seal, the sole marine mammal inhabiting the Caspian Sea, is endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), as recently demonstrated to have declined by more than 90 percent since the start of the 20th century. 01/14/19

Man Forces Children To Eat The Flowers They Are Trying To Sell - Iran's State Welfare Organization, the minister of labor and Kerman's city administration have reacted to a video showing a man forcing two children to eat the flowers they are trying to sell. A video circulated on social media shows a man, who directly or indirectly works for the city of Kerman, forcing two flower-selling children to eat the flowers and films the scene. -Radio Farda 01/14/19

Iran to send Amirkabir University's 'Payam' satellite into orbit in coming days - He said homegrown 'Payam' satellite will be put into orbit at an altitude of 600 kilometers above Earth on a satellite-carrier rocket in the coming days. President Rouhani added that the two are made by Iranian scientists at Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT). 01/14/19

Pentagon Officials Fear Bolton's Actions Increase Risk of Clash With Iran - Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that President Trump's hawkish national security adviser, John R. Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops. -New York Times 01/14/19

Iran artist puts spotlight on water shortage through music - Electronic musician Saba Alizadeh hosts shows at dried-up reservoirs to call attention to growing scarcity of water. -Saeed Jalili, Al Jazeera 01/14/19

Crazy rich Iranians face blowback at a time of sanctions and economic stress - The lives of Iran's privileged youths -- including expensive holidays, glitzy parties and access to cash and jobs -- have sparked public anger in recent months as U.S. sanctions squeeze the economy. - Erin Cunningham, Washington Post 01/14/19

Iran taking first steps to design 20% modern nuclear fuel: nuclear chief - Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says the country has broken new ground in the field of nuclear technology and is now taking preliminary steps toward production of 20-percent modern nuclear fuel. -Press TV 01/14/19

Iranian Political Prisoners, Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Baha'i Azita Rafizadeh, Refuse Phone Calls in Solidarity With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - Two political prisoners held in the same ward as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran's Evin Prison have given up their right to phone calls until the authorities lift newly imposed restrictions targeting the Iranian UK dual national as well her fellow inmates in the Women's Ward. -CHRI 01/13/19

Famed Iranian Playwright Mohammad Rahmanian Charged for Allegedly Featuring Female Soloist - Prominent Iranian theater director and playwright Mohammad Rahmanian has been charged with "propaganda against the state" based on a complaint by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for allegedly featuring a female soloist in his play. He was also detained and released later that day after responding to a summons to appear at a court in Tehran on January 6, 2018, to answer questions about the play, "Old Songs: Paykan Javanan." 01/13/19

'Like LA with minarets': how concrete and cars came to rule Tehran - With nearly 10 million people doing daily battle with some of the world's highest levels of congestion and air pollution, headscarves should be the least of the authorities' worries -Oliver Wainwright, Guardian 01/13/19

Iran summons Polish envoy to protest US 'circus' in Warsaw - The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned Polish chargé d'affaires in Tehran, Wojciech Unolt, to protest an anti-Iran US summit which Warsaw is set to host on February 13-14. -Press TV 01/13/19

Wall Street Journal: White House requested plans last year from Pentagon to attack Iran - The White House's National Security Council asked the Pentagon last year for plans for launching a military attack against Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported early Sunday, citing current and former US officials. The request from the council, which is led by national security adviser John Bolton, came after an attack in September on the US Embassy in Baghdad by a militant group aligned with Iran, according to the Journal. -CNN 01/13/19

Pompeo's Blind Revisionism In The Middle East - In Cairo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked his audience to accept the (false) "truth" that "America is a force for good in the Middle East" because ignoring it results in "bad choices." However, the reverse is true. -Laila Ujayli, LobeLog 01/13/19

America is trying to get more out of its relationship with Iraq - President Donald Trump thinks America is being ripped off. "We have spent $7trn-trillion with a T-$7trn in the Middle East," he told a crowd last year, exaggerating slightly. "You know what we have for it? Nothing. Nothing." To right this perceived wrong, Mr Trump has long favoured seizing Iraq's oil. -Economist 01/13/19

The Man Who Humbled Qassim Suleimani - "We struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit." So says Gadi Eisenkot about the Jewish state's undeclared and unfinished military campaign against Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. For his final interview as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces before he retires next week, the general has decided to claim responsibility and take at least some of the credit. -NY Times 01/13/19

Pompeo In Cairo: Anti-Obama, Anti-Iran, And Little Else - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a campaign speech in Cairo that seemed written to please an audience of one-President Donald Trump-along with the domestic political base to which Trump's own rhetoric is designed to appeal. The main theme was the familiar one that U.S. policy before the Trump presidency was uniformly awful and, since then, the current administration has spectacularly turned everything around for the good. -Paul Pillar 01/11/19

Labor Activist's Revelation of Torture During Detention Prompts Wave of Reports of Abuse in Iran's Prisons - Labor activist Esmail Bakhshi's public letter in which he revealed his torture in an Intelligence Ministry detention center in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, has generated a wave of revelations about torture committed against political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and unleashed a debate among Iranians on social media. -CHRI 01/11/19

Stop The Trump Travel Ban - Share videos of your personal story about how Trump's ban has directly impacted you or the lives of your loved ones. You can even make your videos anonymously, so don't hesitate and share your story. The more stories, the more power behind our mission. 01/11/19

'Miss Marple Needed' To Solve Mystery Of Death Of Former Iranian President Rafsanjani - Commemorating the memory of her influential father, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Tehran MP Faezeh Hashemi says, "Two years after my father's passing, there are a lot of ambiguities concerning the cause of his death." "If Miss Marple were living in Iran, she could have found a clue about the cause of my father's death," she added. 01/11/19

Iranian TV Host 'Sorry' For Perceived Racism Toward Afghans - When an Afghan TV host highlighted censorship on neighboring Iran's state-controlled broadcaster, it didn't go down well with everyone. Former soccer player-turned-sportscaster Ali Ansarian responded by suggesting that Iranians are better off than Afghans. He said his Afghan counterpart, Amanullah Qaisari, should stick to reporting and refrain from commenting on the state of affairs in Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 01/11/19

Iran's Reform Camp Is in Crisis - During the 2013 presidential elections and again in his 2017 campaign, Rouhani took a radical, reformist stance against hardliners in order to mobilize the social base of Iranian reformers. Since 2017, however, Rouhani has gradually--though assuredly--distanced himself from the reformist camp. He has adopted a policy of silence and compromise in his interactions with the conservatives, which has sparked intensifying criticism from influential reformists. -Shahir Shahidsaless, Atlantic Council 01/11/19

The first annual Iranian Film Festival New York: Jan 10-15, 2019 - 1st IrFFNY presents a selection of acclaimed and award-winning films from one of the world's most vital and distinguished national cinemas. The festival aims to unite two strands of Iranian moviemaking - the classic art-house Iranian cinema beloved by cinephiles around the world, and new cutting-edge works that showcase the adventurousness and daring nature of younger Iranian directors. 01/10/19

Mother of Imprisoned Iranian Activist Describes Beatings and Threats by Interrogators to Kill Family - In the wake of revelations of the torture of labor activist Esmail Bakhshi, others have stepped forward to join the public outcry over abuses committed against detainees in Iran by detailing their own experiences of torture in Iranian prisons. The mother of imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi recently spoke to Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) about the abuse directed against her daughter. 01/10/19

Bolton Counters Syria Withdrawal, Hires Iran Hawk - National Security Advisor John Bolton is bringing reinforcements into the White House to bolster his push for war with Iran, just weeks after Donald Trump announced U.S. troops will be leaving Syria. -Ben Armbruster, LobeLog 01/10/19

Death Of A Young Woman And Suspicions Surrounding A Lawmaker - The death of a young woman in Malekan, northwest Iran, has led to controversy and suspicions of possible involvement by a lawmaker. The body of Zahra Navidpoor was discovered January 6 in her mother's house and the prosecutor's office in Malekan issued a statement saying it was an "apparent suicide". But investigations are underway to determine the actual cause of death. -Radio Farda 01/10/19

Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Testifies In Lawsuit Against Iran - The Washington Post reporter who was held in an Iranian prison for 18 months told a U.S. court that he was arrested as a way to pressure Washington in nuclear negotiations. Jason Rezaian testified on January 8 as part of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Tehran. -RFE/RL 01/10/19

Iran Confirms It's Holding U.S. Navy Veteran - Iran says it is holding a U.S. Navy veteran, confirming media reports about a case that risks further escalating tensions with Washington. The New York Times reported on January 7 that Michael White, 46, was arrested while visiting Iran and had been held since July on unspecified charges. -RFE/RL 01/10/19

Iran's space tech development won't wait for other countries: Communication Minister - Iran will not hold off development in the field of space technology and cannot wait for other countries to meet its needs, the information and communication technology minister told the Tehran Times during a press conference at the Iranian Space Research Center (ISRC) on Sunday. 01/9/19

Iranian scientist Baharvand among winners of 2019 TWAS Prize - Hossein Baharvand, an eminent Iranian scientist, won The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) 2019 prize in biology, ISNA news agency reported. Baharvand is a professor at Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology. In 2004, he received a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Khwarizmi University. 01/9/19

Iran turns to traditional partners as EU tarries on bypassing US sanctions - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran is working with its traditional partners such as China, Russia and India to circumvent the US sanctions. Zarif told reporters in New Delhi Tuesday that the European Union is moving more slowly than expected to facilitate non-dollar trade with Tehran through a mechanism called the special purpose vehicle (SPV). -Press TV 01/9/19

Focus Iran 3 : Contemporary Photography and Video - Organized in collaboration with Farhang Foundation, Focus Iran 3 (at Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles) is the third exhibition in this juried biennial series that features photography and video works that relate to Iranian culture. 01/9/19

Iran kicks off AFC Asian Cup 2019 with 5-0 victory over Yemen - Iran national football team started their AFC Asian Cup campaign with a 5-0 win over debutants Yemen at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the UAE on Monday. Iran will play Vietnam On Jan. 12 at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi and face Iraq four days later at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. 01/8/19

Iranian Journalist Sentenced to Six Years in Prison Without Lawyer - Political journalist Hamed Aynehvand has been sentenced to six years in prison without the presence of his lawyer on the basis of charges brought by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC), the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 01/8/19

Iranian Pop Singer Gagged, Under Fire Over Antiwar Video - Iran's Culture Ministry says it is considering action against an Iranian pop singer and his recording company amid accusations that Mehdi Yarrahi sullied the "martyrs" and ideals of past conflicts. The ministry last week dismissed reports that it had already blacklisted Yarrahi, saying it was awaiting a response from the company that produced the clip in question for the song Torn Rock. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 01/8/19

India Takes Over Operation At Iran's Chabahar Port - India has started its commercial activities in Chabahar within the framework of a trilateral deal, also including Afghanistan, aimed at developing the southern Iran port into a regional trade hub. "This is the first time India will be operating a port outside its territories," the Ministry pointed out. -Press TV 01/8/19

Imprisoned Iranian activist slams jailers, US 'concerns' - Iranian political prisoner and human rights activists Farhad Meysami has written an open letter from inside Iran's Evin prison, criticizing his treatment at the hands of Iranian courts and rejecting stated US concerns for the human rights situation in Iran and for his own case in particular. -Al Monitor 01/8/19

PHOTOS: Celebrating Birth of Jesus Christ at Saint Mary Church of Tabriz - The anniversary of the Jesus Christ's birthday was celebrated in a ceremony attended by Iranian Christians on Sunday in Saint Mary Church of Tabriz. Saint Mary Church, Holy Mother of God Church or Surp Mariam Asdvadzadzin Church is an Armenian Apostolic church in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran completed in 1785. -Mina Noei, Mehr 01/7/19

Activist's Torture Complaint Raises Sensitivity, Mobilizes Some Politicians In Iran - Outspoken MP and deputy speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Motahari has called on Iran's intelligence Minister to order an investigation into the allegations of ministry agents torturing a labor activist. In a commentary in reformist daily newspaper Etemad on Sunday January 6, Motahari asked Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi to probe into the complaints made by labor activist Esmail Bakhshi and to declare if there was a legal basis for what has allegedly been done to him by intelligence ministry agents. -Radio Farda 01/7/19

Iranian Official Says Trump Statement That Iran "Is Doing Very Poorly And Wants To Talk" Is False - Iran says Donald Trump's statement that Iran wants talks with Washington is "false and an impossibility". On January 6, the U.S. president told reporters that "Iran is doing very poorly. Once I took the horrible Iran nuclear deal off, it has had a massive effect in Iran; they are pulling back troops all over the place. They are not doing well. They want to talk." -Radio Farda 01/7/19

Arrivals of Americans in Iran up 27% in 7 months on year - A total of 1,665 U.S. nationals visited Iran during the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2018), an increase of 27 percent year on year. "1,665 Americans visited Iran during the first seven months of the year, up 27 percent in comparison to the same period a year earlier," said Vali Teymouri, a senior tourism official, ISNA reported. -Tehran Times 01/7/19

Draft bill prepared to cut four zeroes from Iran's national currency - The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) submitted the draft of a bill to slash four zeroes from the national currency, rial, to the cabinet, Tasnim news agency quoted the governor of the CBI as saying on Sunday. "The government submitted the bill on crossing out four zeroes of the national currency to the parliament on Saturday and we hope to reach a good result as soon as possible," Abdolnasser Hemmati said answering the parliament members' questions. -Tehran Times 01/7/19

Why Iranian teachers are protesting - Iranian teachers are raising their voices to demand better conditions both for themselves and their students, and the struggle is moving forward with both protests and engagement with the authorities. -Mohammad Reza Niknejad, Al Monitor 01/7/19

Belqeys Citadel in North Khorasan, Iran sees 55% more visitors - The ruined citadel, which is sometimes referred to as Shahr-e Belqeys ("The city of Belqeys") is located in northeastern North Khorasan province. It lies at a short distance from the city of Esfarayen. Remnants of the citadel, family lodgings, irrigation channels, a cistern, and a hypostyle hall are amongst objects so far been unearthed in Belqeys during rounds of excavation. 01/6/19

This Winter Is Not Cold: Yalda Summit 2018 In Tehran, Iran - The main hall of the Milad Tower hosted 1,800 startup activist in yalda Summit 2018 -Shanbe Magazine 01/6/19

Iran's Expediency Council passes law on combating money laundering - Iran's Expediency Council has approved a domestic bill on combating money laundering. Council member Gholam-reza Mesbahi Moghddam told Fars news agency on Saturday that the bill, which had been declared flawed by the Guardian Council, was finalized based on the constitution and would be sent to the parliament speaker for referral to the government. 01/6/19

Judicial Official Announces Order to Block Instagram Less Than a Year After Banning Telegram Messaging App - Eight months after Iran blocked the country's most widely used messaging app, Telegram, a deputy prosecutor has announced a judicial order to also filter Instagram due to what he described as over-usage of the social media app. Instagram had not been blocked as of January 4, 2018, and it is unknown when the order will go into effect. -CHRI 01/6/19

Baha'i Woman Sentenced to 11.9 Years in Prison, Banned From University in Iran - Yekta Fahandej Sa'di was sentenced to 11 years and nine months in prison for her Baha'i religious beliefs by a preliminary court in the city of Shiraz in south-central Iran on December 30, 2018, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI 01/6/19

Iran navy to send flotilla to Atlantic on 5-month mission - Iran's navy says it is to dispatch a flotilla, including the country's most advanced destroyer, to the Atlantic Ocean on a five-month mission. The fleet will depart for the waters early next year on the Iranian calendar, which begins on March 21, Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani-Moqaddam, the Navy's deputy commander told IRNA on Friday. -Press TV 01/6/19

Labor Activist Smaeil Bakhshi Tortured by Agents of Rouhani's Intelligence Ministry - The beating and torture of the labor activist Smaeil Bakhshi (also spelled Esmail Bakhshi), while he was in detention by agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry, is a blatant violation of international and domestic Iranian law, and the authorities in Iran should immediately investigate and prosecute any officials involved, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. -CHRI 01/6/19

Pompeo warns Iran against space launches, using as justification a UNSC resolution abandoned by U.S. - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed a new US claim that Iran's launch of space rockets and missiles breaches a Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal, saying Washington has already violated that UN document and thus cannot comment on it. -Press TV 01/4/19

Open Letter From Evin Prison: Mohammadi and Zaghari-Ratcliffe to Hunger Strike for Access to Medical Treatment - Political prisoners Narges Mohammadi and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe have written an open letter warning that they will go on hunger strike if the authorities continue to deny their requests for medical treatment. The letter, dated December 30, 2018, was published in Farsi by the Iranian Defenders of Human Rights Center on January 2, 2019. -CHRI 01/4/19

Iran: Details Surface Of Khamenei's 2009 Meeting With Mousavi - More details have been revealed about the last meeting between Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the leader of Iran's Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi. The meeting took place a day after the 2009 controversial election that officially led to the victory of incumbent President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. -Radio Farda 01/4/19

US wants Iranians to 'have better lives' with sanctions: Pompeo - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington's tough sanctions against the Islamic Republic are aimed at giving the Iranian people a chance to have better lives. "The sanctions on Iran have this ultimate goal: creating an outcome where the Iranian people can have better lives than they have today," Pompeo told Newsmax TV on Thursday. -Press TV 01/4/19

What the Departure of James Mattis Could Mean for Trump's Iran Policy - The retired Marine general had policy differences with the president about Iran as well. While a supporter of containment, Mattis advocated remaining within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His departure tilts the balance in Trump's national security team in favor of more hawkish individuals who have openly advocated regime change as the ultimate solution to US differences with the Islamic Republic. -Barbara Slavin & Sina Azodi, Atlantic 01/4/19

CLOSING THE CIRCLE OF LOVE FOR MUSIC: Inspiring Story of An Iranian Son, Unveiling the Voice of Mother - I went to see the first performance of 'Maman Shamsi Love Songs', a musical performance by Ziba Shirazi, Mehrdad Arabi, an internationally acclaimed master of Persian music, and faculty of ethnomusicology department at UCLA and Hamed Poursaee, a composer and classical guitarist in Los Angeles. While I knew my good friend and well-loved artist of the City of Angels Iranian community, Ziba Shirazi, would be the main singer in the musical, I did not know what to expect. -Elahe Amani 01/3/19

Iran's Football Coach Carlos Queiroz: Protect us from crocodiles - Iran national football team coach Carlos Queiroz has asked the Iran football federation President Mehdi Taj to protect Team Melli from crocodiles! Iran will leave Qatar for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup on Wednesday after completing two-week training camp in Doha. -Tehran Times 01/3/19

As Mystery Foul Odor Engulfs Tehran, Investigations Are Underway - Hours after Tehran was engulfed by an "obnoxious smell" its source still remains a mystery. An expert team has been set up to find the source of an unpleasant smell which started bothering the citizens of the Iranian capital on Wednesday evening, an official with the Environment Department of Tehran Province announced. -Radio Farda 01/3/19

Political Activist Hengameh Shahidi Held for Six Months in Solitary Without Access to Lawyer - Imprisoned political activist Hengameh Shahidi has been held in solitary confinement for six months with extremely limited access to a lawyer since June 26, 2018, the day she was taken to Tehran's Evin Prison. "...She has...only had two visits with her family and her lawyer," attorney Mostafa Tork Hamadani added in an Instagram post on December 24, 2018. -CHRI 01/3/19

Instagram Next Up For Iranian Censorship? - A senior Iranian official has said the country is prepared to block Instagram once authorities sign off, a move that would deny 24 million users -- including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rohani -- access to the popular social-media platform. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 01/3/19

Iranian president approves resignation of Health Minister - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accepts the resignation of his health minister, Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, days after the official announced his decision to leave the cabinet over budget issues. -Press TV 01/3/19

Bike sharing program to develop in Tehran: Mayor Pirouz Hanachi - Bicycle sharing program will be developed in the capital city of Tehran in a bid to reduce air pollution, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi said on Tuesday. Developing the bike sharing program as well as public transportation would play a key role in cutting air pollution as well as diseases [linked to physical inactivity] in the capital, IRNA news agency quoted Hanachi as saying. -Tehran Times 01/3/19

No foreign power can make decisions on legitimate EU-Iran trade ties: Mogherini - European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc will not allow any foreign meddling - even from its closest ally - in its legitimate trade ties with other countries amid US attempts to kill Europe's business relations with Iran following its withdrawal from a multilateral nuclear deal. -Press TV 01/2/19

Iranian Retirees And Farmers Protest For Their Share Of State Money - Iranian government retirees in Tehran and farmers in Isfahan held protests on Wednesday, demanding money they believe is due to them from the state. Retirees gathered in front of parliament demanding to see separate appropriation in next year's budget for higher pensions, to address rising prices. -Radio Farda 01/2/19

Iran's Khademalsharieh Claims Silver At Women's Section Of World Blitz Championship - Sarasadat Khademalsharieh from Iran claimed a silver medal at the World Blitz Championship on Sunday. Russian Kateryna Lagno won the Women's Section and repeated her success of 2010. She collected 13.5 points. Khademalsharieh took the silver with 13 points and the bronze medal went to Chinese Lei Tingjie who scored 12.5 points. -Tehran Times 12/31/18

IRAN: President Rouhani Deputy Speaks Against Child Marriage - An advisor to Iran's president criticizing early marriage laws says if thirteen-year-olds can get married then they can also vote or get a driver's license. Ma'asoumeh Ebtekar, Hassan Rouhani's deputy on family and women's affairs criticized on Monday the rejection of a bill by a parliamentary commission that would have banned child marriages in Iran. -Radio Farda 12/31/18

Iranian security forces clash with students at bus crash protest - Security forces clashed with students in Iran on Monday in the third day of protests over a deadly bus crash, online videos showed, adding to officials' fears that rising public unrest could threaten national security. -Reuters 12/31/18

Iran confirms hosting Taliban delegation for peace talks - Iran says it has hosted a delegation from Taliban to discuss possible ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran on Monday that the extensive meetings between Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and the group on Sunday were coordinated with the government of Afghanistan. -Press TV 12/31/18

Iranian students must pay tuition fees in cash following US sanctions - Iranian students such as Parsa Sadat at the University of Reading may be suspended if they are unable to pay their tuition fees, after money transfers out of Iran have been affected by US sanctions. -Izy Gibson, The Boar 12/31/18

Peaceful Iranian Teachers Protesting Heavy Sentence Against Mohammad Habibi Met With Tear Gas, Arrests - Teachers who were peacefully protesting a fellow colleague's heavy prison sentence were met with tear gas by anti-riot units who made "several arrests" in the Iranian city of Isfahan on December 27, 2018, a trade unionist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 12/30/18

Shahr-e Sokhta yields rare 4000-year-old relics - Iran's UNESCO-registered Shahr-e Sokhta has yielded tens of rare relics which date back to over 4000 years ago, IRNA reported on Tuesday. "A total of 26 burial chambers have been unearthed recently that led to discovery of potteries, beads, small metal objects and a piece of marble torch," said Seyyed Mansour Seyyed Sajjadi who led the site's 17th archaeological season. 12/28/18

Iranian windmills a step closer to UNESCO listing - Iran's cultural heritage body has almost completed preparations for a chain of ancient vertical-axis windmills for possibly becoming a UNESCO World Heritage. Vertical-axis windmills, which are locally known as "asbads" can be found in Sistan-Baluchestan, South Khorasan and Khorasan Razavi provinces, southeast, south, and northeast of the country, respectively. 12/28/18

Twenty Thousand PhD Graduates Are Unemployed In Iran - Iran's Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology for educational affairs says 20,000 Ph.D. holders in Iran are unemployed and jobless. Dr. Mojtaba Shariati Niasar has also noted that 100,000 students are currently studying for a Ph.D., but only 4,000 of them have been employed by the universities, so far. -Radio Farda 12/27/18

University Bus Accident Controversy Heats Up In Tehran - Tehran's city councilor in charge of safety affairs has blamed privatization and politicizing matters for a university bus crash that killed ten, including the driver, leaving 25 other students injured. The bus was carrying 30 students along a mountainous road within the science research campus of Islamic Azad University in northwestern Tehran when it came off the road and hit a concrete post on Tuesday. -Radio Farda 12/27/18

Iran's saffron farming system wins FAO world heritage status - A traditional saffron cultivation system in Iran has won recognition from FAO as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). Titled "Saffron Farming System based on Qanat irrigation in Gonabad, Iran", the credit reflects a unique way to produce nutritious foods and/or spices using traditional knowledge and skills while improving local people's livelihoods and preserving biodiversity, FAO website reported on December 21. -Tehran Times 12/26/18

Makhmal Kuh: rugged, towering mountain of "velvet" in Lorestan, Iran - Makhmal Kuh, literary meaning velvet mountain, is an eye-catching and popular mount that dominates Khorramabad, the capital of Lorestan province, western Iran. The name "velvet" comes from what the natural scenery induces its passersby to think about, "A foothill beneath velvet blankets"! -Ali Karimi, IRNA 12/24/18

Aga Khan Museum in Toronto hosts an Exhibition of Persian Art in Qajar Era - The Toronto-based Aga Khan Museum has launched an exhibition of Persian art in Qajar era. The exhibition brings together rare paintings, lacquerware, lithographed manuscripts, photographs, musical instruments, and textiles from a host of prominent international and national collections. 12/24/18

PHOTOS: The 6th Biennale of Urban Sculptures Exhibition in Tehran - The sixth Biennale of Urban Sculptures Exhibition is underway at Saba Cultural and Art Institute in the Iranian capital Tehran until 26 December. -Mehran Riazi, Mehr 12/13/18

Pak Charkh (Clean Wheel): Bike-sharing scheme gets underway in Tehran - Bike-sharing scheme, proposed by an Iranian startup through a system based on Internet of Things (IoT), has started to be implemented in the capital, YJC reported on Wednesday. Some 500 bikes are currently provided for use in district 2 of the city, the head of board of directors of Pak Charkh Iranian Company, Hossein Qasemi, announced. (Pak Charkh is Persian for Clean Wheel) 12/12/18

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation: Reflection On Achievements, Vision For The Years To Come - This year we mark the 20th anniversary of PKCF, an important milestone made possible by your sustained and generous support over the years. When we founded PKCF we did not imagine that the PKCF family would grow to encompass thousands of supporters and volunteers across the globe, and yet here we are twenty years later with a clear mission and dedicated supporters that have allowed us to execute on our ideals. We would like to take a moment to reflect on our achievements and outline our vision for the years to come. 12/3/18

Over 1,000 Iranian Activists Back Jailed Environmentalists in Letter to Judiciary - More than 1,000 Iranian civil society activists have signed a letter to Iran's judiciary chief urging him to resolve the case of eight environmentalists jailed since January and February on suspicion of being spies. -Michael Lipin, VOA 11/16/18

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last updated on Wed Jan 16 12:25:42 EST 2019