Esfand 9 1399 - February 27 2021
Buried for 4,000 years, this ancient culture could expand the 'Cradle of Civilization'

Flooding in 2001 near Jiroft, Iran, exposed the ruins of an ancient necropolis from a Bronze Age culture that flourished alongside Mesopotamia. -Antomio Ratti, National Geographic 02/26/21

NIAC Applauds Reintroduction of the NO BAN Act

NIAC Action issued the following statement after the reintroduction of the NO BAN Act, which would guard against any President issuing discriminatory immigration orders: "President Biden fulfilled his promise to end the Muslim ban on day one, but Trumpism and xenophobia remain strong forces in American politics. Just as Biden wiped away the ban, a successor administration could reimpose it without further action. That is why Congress needs to pass the NO BAN Act quickly and send it to President Biden for his signature. 02/26/21

Iran Slams Israel for Recent Activity at the 'Region's Only Nuclear Bomb Factory'

New satellite analysis by the Associated Press of Israel's nuclear facility in the Negev desert provides fresh evidence of recent, major activity at at the site. Israel, which has not signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), has never officially declared its nuclear weapons program but is believed to have an arsenal of an estimated 90 nuclear warheads. -Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams 02/26/21

Food (and wine) for the soul: Darioush winery keeps busy in the pandemic

It was a heady moment walking up to Darioush Winery for a first actual, not virtual, meeting in months. Even the tasting tent, billowing lightly the wind, seemed to be waving a welcome now that guests can return - outdoors for now - to Napa Valley wineries. -Sasha Paulsen, Napa Valley Register 02/26/21

Photos: 'Valila' village in Savadkuh County, N. Iran

'Valila' is a village in Kaseliyan Rural District, in the Central District of Savadkuh County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. -Havva Ahmadi, Mehr 02/26/21

Iran's Latest Indigenous Drone Is A Predator Lookalike

Iran has unveiled its new Kaman-22 drone, which seems to be modeled on the U.S.-made MQ-1 Predator, with other features from the more advanced MQ-9 Reaper. The development comes over four years after Iran showed an example of what was apparently a captured U.S. military Predator, which Tehran erroneously described as a U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle. -Thomas Newdick, The Drive 02/26/21

Airstrikes in Syria kill 22 in Joe Biden's first military act as president

Joe Biden has carried out his first military action as president, with airstrikes targeting Iranian-backed fighters in Syria, in what the Pentagon said was retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a US service member and other coalition troops. The overnight strikes killed 22 people after hitting three trucks loaded with munitions near the border town of Abu Kamal, a war monitor said on Friday. -Guardian 02/26/21

The Real Regional Problem With the Iran Deal

As U.S. President Joe Biden explores returning to the Iran nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-two of only three countries in the world that opposed the agreement-insist that they must be included in future negotiations over its fate. Their inclusion, representatives of the two countries argue, would rectify the agreement's supposed flaw: its failure to rein in Tehran's regional policies. -Trita Parsi, Foreign Affairs 02/26/21

Iran threatens to end deal with IAEA over U.S.-led push to criticize it

Iran is threatening to end a deal struck with the U.N. nuclear watchdog last weekend temporarily salvaging much monitoring of its activities if the agency's board endorses a U.S.-led push to criticise Tehran next week, an Iranian position paper shows. -Reuters 02/26/21

Iran Reiterates That It's Up To U.S. To Move First On Saving Nuclear Deal

The United States should take the first step toward saving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Iran's ambassador in Geneva told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on February 24. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh spoke a day after Iran officially began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities in a bid to pressure European countries and Washington into lifting economic sanctions and restoring the landmark nuclear deal. 02/25/21

CHIP Fellowship For Young Iranian-Americans: Apply For Summer 2021 By March 15th

PAAIA's Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP) is a program designed to promote increased civic participation among young Iranian Americans. The program supports qualified Iranian American college students or recent graduates in their internships in congressional offices, where they will learn more about the legislative process. 02/25/21

Poll: Iranians support nuke deal but no further concessions

Most Iranians favor resuming full compliance with the 2015 international nuclear deal but only if the United States returns to the agreement and meets its obligations first or at the same time, according to a phone poll of Iranians. The Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland and the independent Toronto-based agency IranPoll surveyed more than one thousand Iranians by phone conducted between January 26 and February 6. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 02/25/21

Biden Risks Playing into the Hands of Iranian Hardliners

"Iran kept the nuclear deal alive, but the deal died and its stench offends people," hardline Iranian parliamentarian Javad Karimi Ghodousi declared in January. "It was the revolutionary parliament with its revolutionary law that buried the deal." Ghodousi was addressing Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in parliament and grilling him over his support of negotiations with the United States. Zarif left parliament that day with two "yellow cards," a reprimand from the majority conservative body that weakened his political standing. -Sina Toossi, Just Security 02/25/21

Israeli Military Preparing to 'Take Action' Against Iran

On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing to take "action" against Iran's nuclear program. "The IDF is currently working to build up our forces and is preparing itself for any scenario, including one in which we would need to take action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons," Gantz said at a graduation ceremony for new IDF officers. -Dave DeCamp, Antiwar 02/25/21

Lawyer: French tourist detained in Iran on security charges

Iran has detained a French tourist for nine months, his lawyer said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of detentions of foreigners at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the West. The detainee's lawyer, Saeed Dehghan, described the charges against the French tourist held in Iran as "paradoxical," involving murky security-related accusations. He identified the male tourist only as a 30-something French citizen named Benjamin, declining to give any further details. -AP 02/25/21

Recent drone attack on Saudi royal palace launched from Iraq

Explosive-laden drones that targeted Saudi Arabia's royal palace in the kingdom's capital last month were launched from inside Iraq, a senior Iran-backed militia official in Baghdad and a U.S. official said. -AP 02/25/21

Iran is "considering" joining the US for informal nuclear deal talks

Iran's leaders are signaling they're open to participating in informal talks with the United States, brokered by the European Union, to keep the sputtering 2015 nuclear deal alive. The Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear pact in 2018, leading the US to reimpose crushing sanctions on Tehran, and Iran to enrich uranium beyond the agreement's caps. -VICE 02/24/21

Botulism Kills 10,000 Birds In Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay, Iran

Some 10,000 bodies of lifeless migratory birds that died as a result of botulism poisoning have been found so far around the Miankaleh peninsula and Gorgan Bay, located in the extreme south-eastern part of the Caspian Sea. Botulism disease, which for the second consecutive year has caused the death of a large number of migratory birds in Miankaleh and Gorgan Bay, has reached Ashuradeh Island 02/24/21

Lawmaker: Three people killed in clashes in southeast Iran

Three people were killed over two days in clashes in the southeastern Iranian town of Saravan near the border with Pakistan, the semiofficial ILNA news agency reported. An angry mob stormed the district governor's office Tuesday, a day after shootings of fuel smugglers at the border left at least two people dead. -AP 02/24/21

Kourosh Ahari's Thriller 'The Night' Sets Theatrical Release In Iran, Becomes First U.S.-Produced Film To Hit Iranian Theaters In 40 Years

After its stateside theatrical release of the IFC Midnight's The Night in January, the Kourosh Ahari-directed thriller is set to have its theatrical premiere in Iran on February 24. Mammoth Pictures and Ayat Film Company's release of the pic marks a historic moment as it is the first U.S.-produced film to have a wide theatrical release in Iran since the country's revolution 40 years ago. -Deadline 02/24/21

Iran's rulers close ranks, raise pressure on Biden to lift sanctions

An Iranian state newspaper, taking aim at hardline lawmakers' intervention in Tehran's nuclear row with the West, warned on Tuesday that overly radical actions may lead to Iran's isolation after a new law ended snap inspections by U.N. inspectors. -Reuters 02/24/21

Experts accuse Iran of rights violations in shooting down Ukraine airlines flight

Iran committed multiple human rights violations in shooting downing Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752 last year and in the aftermath of the deadly attack, two independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Tuesday. -UN News 02/24/21

China says Iran nuclear issue at 'critical point'

Developments surrounding Iran's nuclear program are at a "critical point" and lifting sanctions on the country is key to breaking the deadlock, China's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's comments came a day after Iran officially began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities in a bid to pressure European countries and the U.S. into lifting crippling economic sanctions and restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. -AP 02/24/21

Diplomacy has only a narrow window of opportunity, as the nuclear debate inside Iran remains volatile.

Both Iran and the US have declared that they are willing to come back into full compliance with the nuclear deal. However, as each side is waiting for the other to take the first step, there is an increasing risk of ending up with no nuclear compromise at all. Europeans should be careful not to overestimate Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's readiness to hold on to the JCPOA while underestimating the role of nuclear discourse in the Islamic Republic. -Azadeh Zamirirad, RUSI 02/23/21

Biden attempt to resurrect Iran nuke deal off to bumpy start

The Biden administration's early efforts to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are getting a chilly early response from Tehran. Though few expected a breakthrough in the first month of the new administration, Iran's tough line suggests a difficult road ahead. -Matthew Lee, AP 02/23/21

Will Biden's Iran Diplomacy Become a Shakespearean Tragedy?

ast Thursday, Iran's U.N. mission, which is on the thirty-fourth floor of a high-rise in midtown Manhattan, received what is known as a "diplomatic note" from the U.S. mission, seven blocks away. The Biden Administration, the e-mail said, was lifting restrictions imposed by the Trump Administration that had confined the movement of Iranian diplomats and their families to the mission, the United Nations, their homes, or John F. Kennedy Airport. -Robin Wright, New Yorker 02/23/21

The Future of Iran Depends on Instagram

A battle is raging inside the corridors of power in Iran. Not over sanctions, not over the country's nuclear programme, but over Instagram. The Facebook-owned app, along with WhatsApp, is one of the few Western social media apps to not be outright blocked in Iran, with Facebook, Telegram, Twitter and YouTube only accessible via VPNs. -Mohammed Rasool, VICE 02/23/21

Family of US citizens held in Iran press for their release

The families of United States citizens detained in Iran are pushing President Joe Biden's administration to secure their release before talks about returning to a 2015 nuclear deal. Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners, including several US citizens, in recent years, mostly on espionage charges. Rights groups accuse Iran of trying to use the detentions to win concessions from other countries, though Tehran dismisses the charge. -Al Jazeera 02/23/21

Iran deal with U.N. nuclear inspectors buys time for diplomacy as Biden pursues negotiations

An agreement announced late Sunday that would allow the U.N. nuclear watchdog to continue some monitoring of Iran's atomic program has momentarily eased a standoff between Tehran and Western nations and may provide a narrow opening for diplomacy as the Biden administration attempts to restart negotiations with Iran. -Kareem Fahim, Washington Post 02/23/21

Iran's Political Prisoners Are Dying Due to Denial of Medical Care

The death of prisoner of conscience Behnam Mahjoubi, who died on February 21, 2021, after untreated medical conditions that included serious neurological issues, reflects the continued crisis in Iran's prisons, where prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, are denied proper medical treatment. 02/23/21

IAEA and Iran strike three-month deal over nuclear inspections

The UN's nuclear inspectorate has struck a three-month deal with Iran giving it sufficient continued access to verify nuclear activity in the country, opening the space for wider political and diplomatic talks between Tehran and the US. Iran will go ahead with its threat to withdraw this week from the additional protocol, the agreement that gives inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) intrusive powers. -Guardian 02/22/21

Hawks in Iran and Israel agree: Biden's bid to salvage nuclear deal must not succeed

For sworn enemies, Iran and Israel have much in common. Both are regional powers, projecting their interests beyond their borders. Both are beholden, in different ways, to shifting US policy. Both have secretive nuclear programmes. And both are heading towards national elections - in Israel next month, in Iran in June - that could decide whether cold-hearted enmity turns into hot-blooded war. -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 02/22/21

Iran Web and Mobile Festival Selects Outstanding Startups

The 13th Iran Web and Mobile Festival wrapped up on Friday by introducing Iran's top startups and entrepreneurs. Unlike previous years, the event was held online due to Covid-19. Iran's startups and knowledge-based companies competed during IWMF, which is organized by the private sector, the festival's website reported. -Financial Tribune 02/22/21

Iranian-made coronavirus vaccine 90% immunogenic: study

Tests performed on volunteers who received the Iranian-made COVID-19 vaccine showed that the immunogenicity of "COVIRAN BAREKAT" is about 90 percent. COVIRAN BAREKAT, the first coronavirus vaccine made by Iranian researchers of the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, was unveiled and injected into three volunteers during a ceremony on December 29, 2020. -Tehran Times 02/22/21

South Korea agrees to partial release of blocked Iranian money

South Korea has agreed to release "a part" of billions of dollars of Iranian money it had blocked in its banks for years because of United States sanctions. In a statement, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said South Korean Ambassador to Tehran Ryu Jeong-hyun announced the news in a meeting his embassy called for. -Al Jazeera 02/22/21

US sanctions inflicted $1 trillion damage on Iran's economy: FM

Unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States inflicted $1 trillion worth of damage on Iran's economy and Tehran expects compensation, its foreign minister said. Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday after the US takes action to restore Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers through lifting sanctions, Tehran will want to negotiate on the damages it has suffered. -Al Jazeera 02/22/21

Iran Sees Hypocrisy as West Mum on Israel's Nuclear Expansion

For years, anything Iran does even tangentially related to its civilian nuclear program elicits gasps of horror from Western leaders. This is true particularly when those actions have nothing to do with nuclear arms... Iran's FM Javad Zarif couldn't help but notice hypocrisy among leaders when reports emerged of substantial expansion of Israel's nuclear program, which is already known to include a nuclear arms component, and which the West continues to ignore. -Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com 02/22/21

White House says U.S. communicating with Iran over detained Americans

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday the United States had begun to communicate with Iran over the country's detention of American citizens, calling the matter a "complete and utter outrage". Sullivan told CBS News' "Face the Nation" that it was a "significant priority" of President Joe Biden's administration to get those Americans "safely back home." -Reuters 02/22/21

Iran nuclear deal: US agrees to join talks brokered by EU

The US has agreed to take part in multilateral talks with Iran hosted by the EU, with the aim of negotiating both countries' return to the 2015 nuclear deal that is close to falling apart in the wake of the Trump administration. The state department spokesperson, Ned Price, said the US would accept the EU high representative's invitation for discussions with Iran and the five other countries that agreed the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), by which Iran accepted strict constraints on its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief. -Guardian 02/19/21

First steps toward returning to the Iran nuke deal. But what's next?

Something is going very wrong with President Joe Biden's Iran policy and it's not clear why. Unless he corrects course, Biden risks losing a vital agreement and putting the two nations back on a path towards war - at precisely the time he wants to focus on the multiple domestic crises gripping America. In his first month in office, Biden quickly reversed the most damaging of Donald Trump's policies on climate, immigration, health care, and many others. But he has left untouched Trump's Iran policy. -Joe Cirincione, Responsible Statecraft 02/19/21

Iranian women's ski coach barred from going to world championships by husband

Samira Zargari, the coach of the Iranian women's Alpine skiing team, has been barred by her husband from travelling to Italy for the world skiing championships, according to reports in the Iranian press. The squad left for Cortina d'Ampezzo, where the championships are being held, on Wednesday, but without Zargari, who was replaced by another athlete, Marjan Kalhor. -Guardian 02/19/21

How Artist Hadi Fallahpisheh "Paints With Light" Without a Camera

Often commenting on conditions of displacement, the work of Tehran, Iran-born multimedia artist Hadi Fallahpisheh questions the ability of representation to convey truths, revealing the gaps between public perception and personal experience. Most interestingly, his photographs are made without the use of a camera, but in his darkroom where he employs a flashlight and exposes objects, ideas, concepts and, perhaps, even dreams to photosensitive paper. -Cultured Magazine 02/19/21

Iranian journalist Nooshin Jafari begins 4-year jail term on propaganda and insult charges

Iranian authorities should immediately release Nooshin Jafari and stop imprisoning members of the press for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On February 16, police arrested Jafari at her home in Tehran and took her to the city's Qarchak Prison to begin serving a four-year sentence -CPJ 02/19/21

Injuries Reported As 5.6 Earthquake Shakes Southwestern Iran

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 shook southwest Iran near the town of Sisakht late on February 17, with at least 40 people injured, Iranian media reported. Iranian state TV quoted an official in the region as saying, "People in Sisakht and the town of Yasuj left their homes in panic. Water and electricity have been cut off in Sisakht." 02/18/21

Iranian skier makes appeal for women's rights in her country

Iranian skier Forough Abbasi accomplished one goal Thursday merely by completing her giant slalom run at the skiing world championships. It made no difference to her that she crossed the finish line nearly 25 seconds behind American favorite Mikaela Shiffrin, the first-run leader. Still, Abbasi was just getting started. -AP 02/18/21

Sepi Shyne Paves a Way as the 1st Queer Iranian Elected Official

Sepi Shyne made history in November as the first out LGBTQ+ Iranian-American elected to public office in the U.S. Now, as a member of the West Hollywood City Council, where she's also the first queer woman of color to serve, she's fighting for social justice and inclusivity as well as changing the narrative around Iranians and Iranian-Americans. -Trudy Ring, Advocate 02/18/21

Iran nuclear deal hangs in balance as Tehran turns screw on US

The future of the Iran nuclear deal is hanging in the balance as the west prepares its response to Iranian plans to increase pressure on Washington by banning snap intrusive inspections of its nuclear sites. The German, French and British foreign ministers are to confer urgently with the US secretary of state, Tony Blinken, on how to respond to Iran's plans, which it is expected to implement on Tuesday. -Guardian 02/18/21

Biden's snub of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a 'warning' signaling a relationship downgrade

President Joe Biden's press secretary delivered a striking message to Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, this week. Jen Psaki told a news conference, using diplomatic language, that the U.S.-Saudi relationship - particularly that with the kingdom's crown prince - is being downgraded. -CNBC 02/18/21

They Thought, Why Not Iran? The Decision Upended Their Lives.

In 2017, an Iranian-American couple drew up a list of cities in the United States and Europe where they could settle now that both their daughters had left for college. An extraordinary idea struck the couple, Emad Shargi and Bahareh Amidi Shargi. Move to Iran. They had an attachment to the language, culture and traditions of a homeland they had both left as children. They had traveled to Iran several times over the years and felt a welcoming vibe. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 02/18/21

Photos: 10th Fajr Fashion and Clothing Festival in Azadi Tower 2

The 10th Fajr Fashion and Clothing Festival officially started at the Azadi Tower Cultural and Artistic Complex in Tehran. -Honar online 02/18/21

"I Will Never Perform Just for Women!": Golnoush Khaleghi Passes Away in Exile

Golnoush Khaleghi, first Persian woman conductor and daughter of legendary composer Rouhollah Khaleghi, passed away on February 14. She was 80. Khaleghi was the conductor of the NIRT (National Iranian Radio & Television) Choir in the 1970s. Shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ms. Khaleghi moved to the United States and founded the Rouhollah Khaleghi Orchestra in Washington DC to preserve Persian music. BBC's Pejman Akbarzadeh has reviewed her career. 02/17/21

A Love Letter to Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

On now through March 6, James Cohan Gallery in New York presents a two-part solo exhibition of the late Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's work. For Cultured, Iranian American creator Pari Ehsan pens a letter of love and appreciation to Farmanfarmaian and presents a fashion editorial inspired by the artist's work. -Cultured 02/17/21

'We just want to play': Iran gamers battle reality of US sanctions

Iran's millions-strong legion of gamers revel in online worlds, but they have to fight daily real-life obstacles imposed by US sanctions in their quest to level up and keep playing. "It's a problem between governments and a pain for the consumer," said 24-year-old gamer and game journalist Amir Golkhani. "We have no political demands. We just want to play," he told AFP. -AFP 02/17/21

Photos: Breathtaking scenery of Meighan Wetland in central Iran

Meighan Wetland in Markazi province is one of the most important wetlands in Iran, and its diverse wildlife and desert nature have given a special effect to this wetland. -Behnam Yousefi, Mehr 02/17/21

India joins Iran-Russia joint navy drill; China also to take part

Iranian forces have launched a two-day navy exercise with Russia in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, with India also joining in and China expected to take part, too. Forces and vessels from the navy divisions of both the Iranian army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) participated in the drill, which kicked off on Tuesday, alongside several vessels from the Russian navy. 02/17/21

Iran-Taliban growing ties: What's different this time?

It could not have been a more striking picture: a Taliban delegation visiting Tehran in late January and being received by senior Iranian officials. They reportedly discussed "relations between both countries, the situation of the Afghan migrants in Iran, and the current political and security situation of Afghanistan and the region." -Fatemeh Aman, Atlantic Council 02/17/21

Women's share in research, development up to 39% in Iran

The participation of Iranian women in higher education's research and development projects has increased from 27 percent in 2000 to 39.6 percent in 2017, Science Minister Mansour Gholami has said. In all levels of education, the share of women has risen from 5.3 percent in 1978 to over 50 percent or even 60 percent during the past seven years, he noted, IRNA reported on Sunday. 02/16/21

Is Biden Committing Diplomatic Suicide Over the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

American neocons and hawks, including those inside his own administration, appear to be flexing their muscles to kill Biden's commitment to diplomacy at birth, and his own hawkish foreign policy views make him dangerously susceptible to their arguments. -Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J.S. Davies, Common Dreams 02/16/21

48 hours of border chaos: Inside a CBP crackdown on Iranian Americans

Hours after a U.S. military drone killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, one of the most powerful men in Iran, the head of field operations for the border in Washington state gathered her senior staff on an emergency conference call. It was the first Friday in 2020 - still a holiday for many - and director Adele Fasano spoke from home about the email she'd just received from U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters advising "heightened vigilance" following the airstrike. -Lauren Gardner, Politico 02/16/21

France's female dervish takes transcendence online

One of the world's few female whirling dervishes, Rana Gorgani has opened up Sufism to a wider audience, and is now making surprising spiritual connections over Zoom thanks to the pandemic. French-Iranian Gorgani, 37, used to think of whirling -- a sort of "moving meditation" through which Sufis seek to commune with the divine -- as something that should remain behind closed doors. -AFP 02/16/21

Reviving the Nuclear Deal Gives the U.S. More Leverage Over Iran

As officials in Washington consider returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, much of the debate has centered on whether the U.S. government will lose leverage. Some experts and officials argue that if the Biden administration rejoins the deal-also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)-the United States will squander the leverage built in recent years through former President Donald Trump's maximum pressure strategy. -Mahsa Rouhi, Bourse & Bazaar 02/16/21

Shirin Neshat on telling complex stories through art

In my artworks I approach beauty as a way to escape the mundane. Beauty isn't just the physicality of my characters, but their raw emotions, dignity and humanity. As an Iranian, I was born into a culture that is deeply rooted in poetry and mysticism, where beauty means a heightened sense of emotions and spirituality -- it's a way to cope with the hardship and ugliness of tyranny and everyday life. -CNN 02/16/21

Iran Warns Of Fourth COVID Surge Due To Mutant Virus

The Iranian health minister has warned about a fourth COVID-19 surge in Iran due to the spread of a mutated virus in his country. Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told state television that "alarm bells were ringing for a fourth coronavirus wave" as at least nine cities and towns in southwestern Iran were declared high-risk "red" zones after a rise in cases on February 12. 02/15/21

Iranian Immigrants Place Hopes In Biden To Reverse Muslim Travel Ban

President Joe Biden says he is reversing the barriers to immigration the Trump administration imposed on several majority-Muslim countries, and the White House is reviewing just how to undo those complex restrictions. Among those most often rejected for visas in the last three years are Iranians, according to State Department figures. That has disrupted life for them and, in some cases, relatives already in the U.S. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report. 02/15/21

Toward a 'knowledge-based' socio-economic growth

The law for promoting and supporting knowledge-based companies was approved by the Majlis (Iranian parliament) in 2010, paving the way for a jumpstart in the march toward scientific progress. Over the past couple of years, the concept of 'knowledge-based company' has changed to 'knowledge-based society', meaning that supporting knowledge-based companies will lead to many social and economic advantages for the public. -Mehdi Garshasbi, Tehran Times 02/15/21

ConsenSys Grants Help Iranian Women Learn Solidity

Seven female coders from Iran got scholarships and graduated from a bootcamp of ConsenSys Academy, Ethereum startup incubator's educational branch. The scholarships, a part of ConsenSys' global program to help developers start coding on the Ethereum blockchain, might provide additional opportunities for people in the country largely cut off from the international tech community. -Anna Baydakova, Coindesk 02/15/21

Pregnant Iranian Nurse Dies of Coronavirus before Seeing Her Baby

he novel coronavirus has led to the death of a pregnant Iranian nurse before she delivered her baby. The devoted nurse left her infant alone before savouring the taste of being a mother, said the Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei in a note marking the death of Mahshid Goodarz, the pregnant nurse who worked at Tehran's Loqman Hospital. 02/15/21

Economic sanctions are damaging the environment

President Joe Biden has been elected on a promise, among others, to move the United States towards an ambitious new climate agenda - a feat that will require a radical transformation of thinking and practices across all areas of American policymaking. -Shirin Hakim & Barney Bartlett, Al Jazeera 02/15/21

Bandar Khamir on its way to become sustainable travel destination

The southern Iranian port city of Bandar Khamir, which has recently joined the UNESCO Network of Learning Cities, seeks to be a sustainable travel destination. Situated in Hormozgan province and bounded by the Persian Gulf, Bandar Khamir is the only city located on the coasts of the Khorkhoran Wetland, one of the largest and most important marine environments in Iran. 02/12/21

Dismantling the 'sanctions wall' myth

Since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20, Iranian and U.S. officials have postured in public remarks over who should make the first move in returning to the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Underlying this debate, however, are questions of how each party can come back into compliance with the deal and what barriers stand in the way. Iran will need to reverse a number of steps it has taken in ramping up its nuclear program. The Biden administration, on the other hand, must contend with a series of sanctions and designations that were inherently designed to make returning to the JCPOA more difficult. -Shervin Ghaffari, Responsible Statecraft 02/12/21

The evil empire

The title of this exhibition is a bit misleading. Forgotten Empire, the British Museum calls its spectacular resurrection of ancient Persia. Yet the Persians are as notorious in their way as Darth Vader, the Sheriff of Nottingham, General Custer, or any other embodiment of evil empire you care to mention. They are history's original villains. -Jonathan Jones, Guardian 02/12/21

The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Deal on Poverty in Iran

The Iran nuclear deal is once again becoming a focus of foreign policy discussions because of President-elect Biden's desire to rejoin it. A renewed deal and the sanction relief that would come along with it, could help the millions of Iranians who live in economic turmoil. Even a "freeze-for-freeze" policy - a temporary easing of U.S. sanctions in exchange for a temporary ceasing of nuclear activity on Iran's part, could help to stabilize the economy, especially in the wake of the disruption that COVID-19 has caused. -Brooklyn Quallen, Borgen 02/12/21

Regime changers love to think Iran is always on the 'brink of collapse'

February 11 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution of 1979, which ousted a despotic monarch and ushered in what many Iranians hoped would be the independence and freedom they had fought to attain for so long. These hopes were not fulfilled, however, and under the Islamic Republic, Iranians have had to continue their fight for freedom. Their efforts have at times been undermined by outside pressure, driven by the false narrative propagated by opponents of diplomacy in the United States that the Islamic Republic is on the brink of collapse. -Assal Rad, Responsible Statecraft 02/12/21

Encyclopedia of Iranian herbs, medicinal plants unveiled

An encyclopedia of herbs and medicinal plants endemic to Iran was unveiled in a ceremony on Wednesday. In this line, data related to 7,400 different plants in the fields of botany and ecology, pharmaceutical plants, and edible plants have been gathered in the encyclopedia along with some 9,000 pictures, ISNA reported. 02/11/21

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Kick Off Drills Near Iraq Border

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched ground forces drills in the southwest of the country near the Iraqi border. IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said on February 11 that drones, helicopters, and artillery are to be used in the drills, dubbed Great Prophet 16, according to Press TV. 02/11/21

After U.S. Immigration Battle, Musician Kayhan Kalhor Returns To Iran

When Kayhan Kalhor first left Iran, at age 17, he walked - more than 2,500 miles, to Italy. He carried only two items with him: a small backpack and his main musical instrument, the kamancheh. This was during the Iranian Revolution. Kalhor was the only one of his family - who are of Kurdish descent - to leave the country. -Julia Gunther, NPR 02/11/21

Photos: Tehran Bazaar on 4th February

Although officials have warned about the beginning of the fourth wave of the coronavirus, crowds of people still go shopping in the Tehran Bazaar. The reported cases of the coronavirus are on the rise, but lots of people go shopping in this part of Tehran, while most of them do not follow social distancing and health protocols. -Erfan Khoshkhoo, ISNA 02/11/21

'Sun Children' by Iranian director Majid Majidi shortlisted for 2021 Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the shortlists for nine categories for the upcoming Oscars, according to Variety. Iranian feature 'Sun Children' directed by acclaimed filmmaker Majid Majidi has been shortlisted for the 2021 Academy Awards. 02/10/21

How To Repair The U.S.-Iranian Relationship

The U.S.-Iranian relationship is at one of the lowest points in its history. In the last few years, there have been several incidents that brought the two countries closer to open war than ever before. The lack of diplomatic relations and normal channels of communication make it likely that there will be more near-misses in the future unless there is a fundamental change in that relationship. The Biden administration has a short time to salvage the nuclear deal... -Daniel Larson, American Conservative 02/10/21

A Toast to Everything Yara Shahidi Accomplished Long Before Her 21st Birthday

Actress and activist Yara Shahidi hasn't been idling away her youth. In honor of her 21st birthday Feb. 10, we're celebrating all the ways the Grown-ish star has made her mark. The eldest of three kids, Yara grew up immersed in the arts and became a voracious reader thanks to her Black model mom Keri Salter Shahidi and Iranian-American photographer dad Afshin Shahidi, who made sure their daughter was absorbing a diverse array of perspectives. -E 02/10/21

Iran activates game plan for oil comeback in 2021 in test for Biden administration

Emboldened by the change in US presidency, Iran is pushing more oil onto the market, even as sanctions remain in place, as it looks ahead to a full return to the global oil market as demand recovers from the pandemic. -S&P Global 02/10/21

Iran Launches COVID-19 Inoculation Campaign With Russian Vaccine

Iran has kicked off its vaccination campaign against COVID-19 using the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine. "The first person to receive the Russian Sputnik vaccine is my own child," Health Minister Saeed Namaki said at a ceremony at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Hospital, broadcast live on television on February 8. 02/9/21

Ruins of majestic historical gateway unearthed near Persepolis

The ruins of a majestic historical gateway, built upon the order of Cyrus the Great, who was the founder of the mighty Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550 - 330 BC), have been unearthed near the UNESCO-registered Persepolis in southern Iran, Iranian researchers said on Monday. Supervised by a joint mission of Iranian and Italian archaeologists and cultural heritage experts, the dig uncovered vestiges of a massive gateway measuring 30 by 40 meters with a height of approximately 12 meters. 02/9/21

Regime changers don't want Biden to re-join the Iran nuclear deal

Several proponents of regime change and war - as well as a Saudi prince and intelligence chief - signed a letter asking President Joe Biden to be "bipartisan" by continuing the Trump administration's pressure campaign against Iran. The letter was organized by United Against Nuclear Iran, a pressure group that received funding from recently-deceased Republican Party megadonor Sheldon Adelson, and Thomas Kaplan, an investor whose companies looked to profit from unrest in the Middle East. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 02/8/21

90 percent of Chabahar coral reefs are dying: Iranian official

Up to 90 percent of coral reefs in Chabahar waters along the Sea of Oman have been bleached and are dying, an official with the Department of Environment has said. A rise in temperature of the water has had a negative effect on the ecosystem so that 90 percent of coral reefs in this region have been bleached and are dying, IRNA quoted Davood Mirshekar, deputy chief of the Department of Environment for marine ecosystems, as saying on Wednesday. 02/5/21

Legends Of Tomorrow's Zari Is A "First" The MCU Should Learn From

Originally hailing from a very grim future that saw her parents persecuted and ultimately killed because they were Muslim, Zari joins the Legends on their time traveling adventures at the beginning of Legends of Tomorrow season 3. In an alternate timeline, the original Zari is replaced by a version who grew up with her family in season 5. It's kind of complicated, but it works. As an Iranian-American, Zari is the first Middle Eastern superhero on television and in DC Comics' live-action slate. -Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant 02/5/21

The label paving the way for Iran's nascent fashion industry

Founded by two self-taught sisters Shiva and Shirin Vaqar, LVMH Prize-shortlisted Vaqar is dispelling conservative perceptions of what Iranian fashion looks like. Like so many of the much-feted, independent designers you'll speak to in London, Paris, New York or Berlin, running their own label was a dream that dated back far into the Vaqar sisters' youths -- one that eventually came true in 2013. -Mahoro Seward, i-D 02/4/21

Persian New Year Festival to unveil 'Haftseen'art

In honor of the Celebration of Life Nowruz - Persian New Year - the third annual Arizona Persian New Year Festival will unveil interactive art installations for public viewing instead of hosting an in-person festival. -Scottsdale Independent 02/4/21

Tehran hosting national festival of creative, entrepreneur women

Iran's first national festival of creative and entrepreneur women opens on Tuesday in Tehran both in person and virtually, according to the National Innovation Fund. Coinciding with National Women's Day, the two-day event is held aiming to emphasize the successful presence of women in the development of a sustainable economy in recent years and honor those who are working toward a sustainable economy. 02/2/21

Publication of 'Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period'

The Iran Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce the recent publication of a book entitled Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period, edited by John Curtis, the Academic Director of IHF. The book is published by James Clarke & Co and has been sponsored by IHF. 01/28/21

Yale Program in Iranian Studies - Spring 2021 Iran Colloquium

The Iran Colloquium is a forum of the Yale Program in Iranian Studies, directed by Professor Abbas Amanat. Currently in its 13th year, the Iran Colloquium provides a platform for scholars (and some practitioners) in fields related to Iran, Persian and Persianate studies to share their scholarship and other work with the Yale community. 01/26/21

7 Iranian companies join United Nations Climate Technology Centre and Network

Seven Iranian companies and technology groups have joined the United Nations Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The CTCN is the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism, hosted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). 01/25/21

Petition to U.S. President Joe Biden: End Sanctions on Iran

In violation of legal bans on collective punishment, U.S. sanctions on Iran harm ordinary people, not the Iranian government. These crippling sanctions have robbed the people of their livelihood, violating individuals' right to health, making the Coronavirus pandemic more lethal, and causing unnecessary suffering and death. Many members of the U.S. Congress have expressed their urgent concern. -Action Network 01/22/21

Photos: Vermal citadel In Hamoon, Sistan-Baluchestan Province of Iran

Vermal citadel is one of the greatest archeological masterpieces in the province and is being destroyed by natural erosion. Recent studies show that Vermal citadel due to the fact that it has all the characteristics of traditional Sistan-Baluchestan Province architecture such as ventilation system, space division, beautiful decorations and the presence of Asbad, prison is not seen any other structures of Sistan. -Hamed Gholami, IRNA 01/20/21

Iranian government submits 'violence against women' bill to parliament

The Iranian government has submitted a long-awaited bill for the protection of women against violence to the parliament. The bill titled, Protection, Dignity, and Security of Women against Violence, had been under review since September 2019. It criminalizes any act or behavior that causes "physical or mental harm" to women "as a vulnerable gender". 01/15/21

Archaeologists to make final attempt to unearth Laodicea Temple in Nahavand, Iran

Iranian archaeologists will be making a final attempt to unearth the ruins of the enigmatic Laodicea Temple, believed to be buried under the modern town of Nahavand in Hamedan province, west-central Iran. The sixth and the last archaeology season has been scheduled to possibly unearth the main structure of Laodicea Temple, Nahavand's tourism chief Mohsen Khanjan announced on Sunday. 01/12/21

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation's 2020 Report

UK based Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation (PKCF) has been founding many projects and good causes in Iran and elsewhere. Following is a list of the projects funded by PKCF in Iran and elsewhere in 2020 along with a brief report of the ongoing activities. 12/30/20

Exhibition: Epic Iran

Opening in February 2021, Epic Iran will explore 5,000 years of Iranian art, design and culture, bringing together more than 300 objects from ancient, Islamic and contemporary Iran. It will be the UK's first major exhibition in 90 years to present an overarching narrative of Iran from 3000 BC to the present day. Epic Iran is organised by the V&A with the Iran Heritage Foundation in association with The Sarikhani Collection. -IHF 12/18/20



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last updated on Fri Feb 26 11:44:00 EST 2021