Mordad 13 1399 - August 03 2020
UN's Bachelet alarmed by threats against prominent Iranian NGO

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said today she was alarmed by the Iranian Government's increased pressure on a prominent civil society group working on poverty and social protection, and the arrest of its founding member. Iranian authorities have pressured Imam Ali Popular Students' Relief Society (IAPSRS) to change its structure, in what appears to be an attempt to close down the organisation. 7/31/20

Iran COVID-19 update, July 31: 2,674 new cases, 197 deaths

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected 2,674 people and claimed 197 lives in Iran in the past 24 hours, a senior health official said. Iran's Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Lari made the announcement on Friday, saying that the number of total coronavirus cases in the country has so far reached 304,204 with the death toll standing at 16,766. 7/31/20

Photos: Afrand Gallery Shows Artworks by Mohammad-Bagher Ziaei

Curated by Semia Sighali, a virtual art exhibition by Mohammad-Bagher Ziaei, titled Be Healthy, was underway in Afrand Gallery in Tehran until 10 August. Ziaei has used organic materials and colors for his paintings. 7/31/20

Iranian and Turkish women join black-and-white Instagram challenge

Iranian Instagram feeds have been overrun with black-and-white photos of women joining an international online campaign against gender-based violence, using the hashtags #WomenSupportWomen and #ChallengeAccepted. The campaign follows an outcry against a number of high-profile "honor killings" in Iran over the last two months. -ABC News 7/31/20

Iran: Leaked official letters reveal state denial of COVID-19 crisis in prisons

The organization reviewed copies of four letters signed by officials at Iran's Prisons Organization, which operates under the supervision of the judiciary, to the Ministry of Health, raising the alarm over serious shortages of protective equipment, disinfectant products, and essential medical devices. The Ministry of Health failed to respond, and Iran's prisons remain catastrophically unequipped for outbreaks. -Amnesty International 7/31/20

Supreme leader says Iran won't negotiate with US

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday his country will not negotiate with the United States because America would only use talks for propaganda purposes. The Trump administration has said it is willing to talk with Iran "with no preconditions," but that the U.S. will continue its campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic. -AP 7/31/20

US frowns upon Iranian supermarket in Venezuela's capital

U.S. officials frowned upon the opening of an Iranian supermarket in Venezuela's capital, saying Thursday that any presence of Iran in the Western Hemisphere is "not something we look very favorably on." The new Megasis supermarket, in the east of Caracas, was launched Wednesday amid a tightening of the coronavirus quarantine. -AP 7/31/20

Iran COVID-19 update, July 30: Cases pass 300,000, deaths reach 16,569

The Iranian Health Ministry announced 2,621 new cases of infection with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours, putting the total number of cases in the country at 301,530. Speaking at a daily press conference on Thursday, Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Lari put the death toll from the coronavirus in Iran at 16,569, saying the disease has taken the lives of 226 patients over the past 24 hours. 7/30/20

Photos: Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

In the hot days of summer and difficulties caused by the coronavirus, people of Isfahan visit Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the evening in order to have fun and get some rest. Although the dangers of the new coronavirus still threaten people, the peaceful atmosphere of Naqsh-e Jahan Square attracts them to visit there. -Morteza Zangane, ISNA 7/30/20

Iran struggles to buy food in a world wary of touching its money

Iran, creaking under the impact of U.S. sanctions, a collapse in oil sales and a severe COVID-19 epidemic, is scrambling to buy food and medicine to avoid a supply crunch. But it's a struggle. Despite such supplies being exempt from sanctions, banks and governments are reluctant to transfer or take Iranian money because they fear unwittingly breaching the complex U.S. restrictions, according to five trade and finance sources. -Reuters 7/30/20

Iranian Communities Should Stand With Black Lives Matter

As federal police pour into U.S. cities, the Trump administration's crackdown on racial justice protests has taken its most authoritarian turn yet. At the same time, during a global pandemic, the Trump administration has continued to ratchet up devastating sanctions on Iran, while edging toward more overt military confrontation. Iranian-Black Solidarity is a must now more than ever. -Niloofar Adnani, FPIF 7/30/20

Iranian Workers Strike Amid Worsening Economy, Deadly Coronavirus Crisis

Amid crushing economic conditions, demonstrations and strikes by workers have sprung up in Iran recently over unpaid wages and poor working conditions. Factory and city employees, coal miners, as well as health-care workers are among those who have been protesting in Iran in recent weeks. -RFE 7/30/20

Iran imposes fresh limit on cash withdrawals from banks

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has ordered a new limit on withdrawal of cash from banks amid toughening of rules on money laundering and also concerns about hoarding money because of the new coronavirus pandemic. A CBI decree issued on Tuesday said banks should observe a daily limit of 150 million rials ($652) for all customers, meaning that companies and legal entities would also be covered by the new law. -Press TV 7/30/20

Iran COVID-19 update, July 29: 2,636 cases, 196 deaths registered in 24 hours

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected 2,636 people and claimed 196 lives in Iran in the past 24 hours, a senior health official said. Iran's Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Lari made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that the number of total coronavirus cases in the country has so far reached 298,909 with the death toll standing at 16,343. 7/29/20

International Tiger Day: Silent roar of Caspian tiger is regrettable

Tiger is an endangered species whose surviving population in natural habitats is less than 4,000 individuals, and preventing them from extinction and preserving its habitat is one of the greatest concerns of the international community for the protection of biodiversity. Therefore, July 28 is designated as International Tiger Day to further emphasize the importance of protecting this valuable species because experts believe that if this remarkable animal could not be saved from extinction, what hope could there be for rescuing more unknown species? -Faranak Bakhtiari 7/29/20

Iran's Judiciary Has Blocked Prominent Jailed Lawyer's Bank Account, Husband Says

Iran's judiciary has blocked the bank account of prominent imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in a move aimed at adding pressure on her and her family. Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was sentenced last year to 38 years in prison over her defense of political prisoners 7/29/20

Iran launches underground ballistic missiles during exercise

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles as part of an exercise involving a mock-up aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, state television reported Wednesday. It was the latest barrage in a drill that the previous day saw two American bases temporarily go on alert over the launches. -AP 7/29/20

Iran: UNSC, ICAO must break silence on US aerial terrorism

President Hassan Rouhani has denounced the US harassment of an Iranian civilian flight over Syria as an act of "aerial terrorism," calling on the UN Security Council, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and regional states to break their silence on Washington's "dangerous mischiefs." On Thursday, two US F-15 warplanes conducted a dangerous maneuvering close to Mahan Air's Flight 1152 that had taken off from Tehran and was heading to Beirut. -Press TV 7/29/20

British embassy in Tehran resumes processing visas

The British embassy in Tehran in a Twitter message late on Monday announced it has resumed processing visas for Iranian applicants. "We are pleased to announce that the Tehran Visa Application Center reopened yesterday (Sunday) to provide British visa services. Visa applicants now need compliance with health protocols to keep themselves and the visa application staff healthy," the message read. 7/29/20

Iran missiles target fake carrier as US bases go on alert

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched missiles Tuesday targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a drill that included such a barrage of fire the U.S. military temporarily put two regional bases in the Mideast on alert amid tensions between the two countries. 7/29/20

Iran produces anti-coronavirus medicine "Tocilizumab"

The drug "Tocilizumab", confirmed to be effective in the coronavirus treatment, has been produced in Iran and will be distributed in hospitals in the next two weeks, IRNA reported on Monday. In addition to Remdesivir, Tocilizumab has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help partially improve COVID-19, Heydar Mohammadi, an official with Food and Drug Administration said. 7/28/20

The Beginning of the U.S.-Iran Hot War?

In the face of overt aggression from the Trump administration, Iran has alternated between restraint and careful counter-escalation. As the Iranian economy has come under a brutal chokehold, Iran has responded in calibrated fashion to demonstrate the costs of maximum pressure while isolating the U.S. internationally and keeping the nuclear deal alive. -Sina Toossi, Juan Cole 7/28/20

Booming stock market in Iran is a national security project

Against this gloomy backdrop, something bizarre is happening. The benchmark Tehran Stock Market index (TEDPIX) is booming. It has surged seven-fold during the past year. In the spring of this year stock prices increased 1.6 percent per day on average. One may ask how that might help the Iranian population? -Shahir Shahidsaless, Atlantic Council 7/28/20

A China-Iran partnership would make China the Middle East arbiter

If President Obama succeeded in bringing Israel and the Gulf Arabs closer together in the face of their common Iranian enemy, President Trump is on the verge of successfully bringing China and Iran together in the face of their own common enemy - the United States. As has been widely reported, the Iranian parliament is reviewing a 25-year agreement between Tehran and Beijing that, if approved, would provide for $400 billion in Chinese investment, the discounted supply of Iranian oil, and joint military and technological cooperation. -Dov S. Zakheim, The Hill 7/28/20

Kylie Moore-Gilbert: Lecturer jailed in Iran moved to remote prison

A British-Australian woman serving a 10-year sentence in Iran for espionage has been transferred to a notorious prison in the desert, officials say. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer at Melbourne University, has been in jail since September 2018. She was tried in secret and strongly denies all the charges against her. -BBC 7/28/20

Ancient human skeleton, possibly Parthian woman, unearthed in Isfahan

The remains of an ancient person, believed to date back to the Parthian era (247 BC - 224 CE), has been discovered during an archaeological season which is underway at Tepe Ashraf, the sole archaeological hill in Isfahan, central Iran. Though the gender of the skeleton has not been determined yet, it is likely that it belonged to a Parthian woman based on specifications of its burial site, IRNA quoted senior archaeologist Alireza Jafari-Zand as saying on Saturday. 7/27/20

First Swiss deal with Iran via humanitarian channel has gone through: Swiss government

A Swiss pharmaceutical company has completed the first transaction under a new humanitarian trade channel with Iran, the government in Bern said on Monday. The Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) channel to bring food and medicine to Iran started trial operations in January, helping supply Swiss goods to the struggling population without tripping over U.S. sanctions. -Reuters 7/27/20

Will Foreign Investment Return to Iran's Automotive Sector?

Iran produced just 770,000 automobiles in 2019, down from 1,418,550 just two years prior. The re-imposition of U.S. secondary sanctions interrupted new investment in Iran's automotive sector, particularly by European automakers such as Renault, Peugeot, and Volkswagen. -Hassan Karimi Sanjari, Bourse & Bazaar 7/27/20

How will Iran respond to renewed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

Conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been longstanding. The last time the two states clashed and exchanged fire was a set of skirmishes in 2016, which lasted for four days. Now, the conflict has heated up again, but in different way. This time, the clashes are taking place outside the disputed district of Nagorno-Karabakh and have spilled over to the territory of Armenia. -Saeid Jafari, Responsible Statecraft 7/27/20

It is time for the US to pursue a new path in the Middle East

Why, after three decades of heavy U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, is the region more insecure and unstable than before? That is the question motivating a new report by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, "A New U.S. Paradigm for the Middle East: Ending America's Misguided Policy of Domination." Currently the U.S. has 55,000 troops spread across 53 bases and shared military installations, and engaged in direct combat in at least three countries while waging proxy war in others. -Sara Bakhtiar, Responsible Statecraft 7/27/20

Strange Bedfellows: Iran's Ex-President Woos Saudi Crown Prince as Pen Pal

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known in the West for his Holocaust denial and disputed re-election in 2009, writes a warm letter to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calling him a man of peace. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 7/27/20

Passengers injured as US fighter jet comes close to Iranian plane

Several passengers on an Iranian airline have been injured over Syria after the pilot changed altitude to avoid collision with a US fighter jet, according to Iranian media, but the United States military said its F-15 kept a safe distance. -Al Jazeera 7/24/20

Iran, sanctions, and the COVID-19 pandemic

This week, Iran announced its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in February. The uptick in cases and deaths is the result of a new wave of infections that began May 3rd, two weeks after the gradual easing of the country's partial lockdown in mid-April. Coincident with the upsurge has been a drop of 13% this past month in the value of Iran's currency, reflecting not only the economic impact of the virus, but a disinclination by exporters to repatriate their foreign currency. -Roxane Farmanfarmaian, ELN 7/24/20

Sardar Azmoun wins RPL Golden Boot

Zenit striker Sardar Azmoun ended the 2019-20 Russian Premier League (RPL) season as top scorer. He scored a goal in the 2-1 win against Rostov Wednesday night. Both Azmoun and teammate Artem Dzyuba played 28 games, with both forwards scoring 17 goals, but the Iranian was ahead of the Russian striker by virtue of fewer goals from the penalty spot. 7/24/20

Iranian foreign minister's visit aggravates Iraqi-Saudi rapprochement

All the details were carefully planned for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's first foreign tour since taking office. Saudi Arabia, strongly supported by the United States, was selected as the first destination for the untested Iraqi leader, who is facing insurmountable challenges on the home front...The Iranians, who want to aggravate the Iraq-Saudi rapprochement, sent their Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to Baghdad two days prior to Kadhimi's travel to Riyadh... -Abbas Kadhim, Atlantic Council 7/24/20

Mysterious events in Iran raise questions about Trump strategy

While US news feeds are dominated by unspeakable tragedies and trivial Trump pursuits, a series of events unfolding in Iran warrants close attention. Over the last few weeks, as the world has grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple explosions and fires have occurred at Iranian nuclear military and industrial facilities. Alleged cyberattacks have targeted other sites in Iran - including a port - and standoffs with Iran are happening in other theaters, including at sea. -Sam Vinograd, CNN 7/24/20

138 healthcare workers in Iran lose lives to COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of 138 healthcare workers so far in Iran, most of whom were doctors and physicians, Hossein Kermanpour, the director of public relations of Medical Council, has announced. The healthcare workers who lost their lives in the fight against coronavirus are called martyrs of health. 7/23/20

Iran urged to release rights activist with COVID-19 symptoms 'before it is too late'

A group of independent UN human rights experts has called for Iran to urgently release an activist who reportedly is ill with COVID-19 symptoms "before it is too late". They said Narges Mohammadi appears to have contracted the virus in Zanjan Prison, located in the capital, Tehran, where she is serving a 16-year sentence stemming from her work on human rights. 7/23/20

How a hawkish Washington 'think tank' is promoting ethnic strife in Iran

As Iran is riled by a series of incidents, of which some bear all the hallmarks of a novel, and audacious, sabotage campaign, traditional forms of pressure on the country persist. Among those are attempts to promote ethnic strife in a society where various minority groups account for almost half of the population. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 7/23/20

WHO delivers 16 CT scan machines to assist Iran combat COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered 16 CT scan machines to strengthen Islamic Republic of Iran's emergency response to COVID-19. CT scanning is a key component of clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 patients. The units, worth more than US$ 4 million, were procured by WHO through support from the governments of Japan and Kuwait. 7/23/20

The JCPOA at 5: How the U.S. squandered an unprecedented diplomatic opening with Iran

Why are governments willing to invest more time in sanctions and war than they do in diplomacy? I pondered this question as the five-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran nuclear deal, passed last week. What would relations between the United States and Iran look like had diplomacy been given its due, and the Iran deal honoured for longer? -Mahsa Rouhi, Responsible Statecraft 7/23/20

History repeats itself in Iran's currency exchange market

The Iranian rial continues to lose value against foreign currency, as exporters face high costs due to sanctions and the government continues a policy of forcing them to accept low exchange rates. -Ali Dadpay, Al Monitor 7/23/20

World Artists Welcoming Iran's First International Online Student Puppet Festival

The first 'virtual International puppet theatre festival' started its work on 9th May 2020 by enrolling participants' works on Instagram page of the festival: "We have corresponded with most Iranian students and universities around the world, and fortunately, we have received a great response. So far, more than 30 plays have been submitted to the festival from about 12 countries." 7/22/20

Sadaf Khadem: 'The problem is boxing, not the hijab - in Iran they say men only'

The 25-year-old is forging a growing reputation in France and dreams of Olympic gold but laments her exile from Iran, where the idea of a woman boxing is frowned upon. Sadaf Khadem came from the mountains and underground gyms of Tehran to Royan, a seaside town in south-west France, so that she could have the freedom to fight. She came alone. In the salty air of Royan, she respectfully replaced the hijab with a blue headguard and gumshield. Khadem had already pulled on a vest and shorts and boxing boots. -Donald McRae, Guardian 7/22/20

Iran-China Deal Must be Green

Iran has not been "lost" to China. The Iranian nation is an independent, highly educated, resource rich country with vast potential hobbled by a long list of critical problems it has to solve. And it has to do this without the interference of regime change warmongers or traitors that falsely claim they are patriots. The Iran-China deal can be a mutually beneficial arrangement if great care is taken in drafting an agreement that is not lopsided and exploitive plus avoids a debt-trap for Iran. -Daryan Rezazad, Counterpunch 7/22/20

Iraq PM vows he 'won't allow threats' to Iran from Iraqi soil

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on a trip to Tehran on Tuesday that Iraq would not allow any aggression against Iran coming from its territory. Speaking at a news conference alongside Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, al-Kadhimi alluded to Iraq's concern not to become a battlefield between arch-enemies Iran and the United States. -Al Jazeera 7/22/20

When China Met Iran

Leaked news this month that China and Iran had come to the verge of signing a 25-year trade and military partnership agreement struck like a geopolitical storm in Washington - a rising rival of America and a longtime foe joining forces to threaten the United States's predominant position in the Middle East. The agreement ambitiously promises to bring a huge Chinese presence into Iran's economic development, in exchange for a regular supply of heavily discounted Iranian oil. -Michael Singh, New York Times 7/22/20

THE FAIRIES: An opera banned in Tehran is released in Amsterdam

The Persian Dutch Network presents a recording which has been banned in Tehran for three decades: an opera based on a famous poem by Ahmad Shamlu, known as the 'Poet of Freedom' in Persia (Iran) Shamlu was an outspoken advocate for freedom of speech in his homeland, which caused serious restrictions to his activities, imposed by both the monarchy and the Islamic regime. Shamlu was given a Freedom of Expression award by Human Rights Watch in 1991. His poems have been translated into various languages. 7/21/20

Afghanistan sends first transit consignment to China via Iran's Chabahar Port

Afghanistan's first transit goods to China via Iran's southeastern Chabahar Port was shipped, the director-general of Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, where Chabahar lies, announced on Sunday. Behrouz Aghaei said the shipment was carried out through Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar 7/21/20

Iraq's new premier visits Iran, his first visit abroad

Iraq's new prime minister was in Iran on Tuesday, his first official visit abroad since taking office more than two months ago, Iranian media reported. State television showed footage of Mustafa al-Kadhimi landing at Tehran's Mehrabad airport. The TV said al-Khadhimi would meet top Iranian leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. 7/21/20

The forest fires in Iran that won't stop burning

Iran has been ravaged by hundreds of brush and wildfires spreading across thousands of acres since May 22. The phenomenon is not entirely new but, the number of fires have increased by 2.5 percent compared to last year at this time. The fires have raised questions and concerns as to whether they were caused by accident or arson. -Tahereh Hadian-Jazy, Atlantic Council 7/21/20

Iran stays execution of anti-government protesters on death row

Iran's supreme court has agreed to suspend the executions of three men on death row for their participation in anti-government protests in November, whose sentences sparked an online outcry last week. Lawyers for the men - Saeed Tamjidi, 26, Mohammad Rajabi, 28, and Amirhossein Moradi, 26 - said in a statement on Sunday the country's supreme court had agreed to examine the men's application for a retrial. -Guardian 7/20/20

Commentary: Trump's epic fail: His gambit with Iran drives Tehran toward China

In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal because it was "defective at its core." But if Tehran were willing to negotiate a better agreement, he would be "ready, willing and able" to join them. Last week, Iran announced that it was ready for a new deal. Unfortunately, that deal would be with China, rather than the United States. -Ivo Daalder, Chicago Tribune 7/20/20

Between the Lines: Seeking solace in the work of the thirteenth-century Persian poet Hafez

"I wouldn't wish being Iranian on my worst enemy," my friend Marjan posted on Instagram in mid-January. Like many Iranians, Marjan is stuck in visa limbo. An economics professor in New York, she traveled to Iran in August of last year, and by the time her return visa was finally issued, coronavirus restrictions meant she was stuck in Iran. But her post was about more than just travel frustrations. -Nilo Tabrizy, Guernica 7/20/20

Iran's First 'Gallery Alley' Opens in Qavam Orangery of Shiraz

The first "gallery alley" of Iran has been opened in the historical passage of Qavam Orangery, Shiraz. Sponsored by Shiraz municipality, the gallery alley includes murals by Iranian artists like Adel Yazdi, the painter and sculpture. These murals have turned the alley into a gallery -IFP 7/20/20

'My only desire is to hold my son': the grief of indefinite detention

Iranian refugee Masoumeh Torkpour with her son Daniel, in the last picture they had taken together. They have not seen each other in 10 years and Daniel lives in Canada. Masoumeh, who is now 60, says: 'My only happiness is having a phone and waiting for my son to call me'. A 60-year-old Iranian refugee has spent more than eight years in Australia's immigration detention system despite a court ordering her release. -Saba Vasefi, Guaedian 7/20/20

Newly unearthed workshops may push back history of Isfahan by millennia

Archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of two workshops, estimated to date from the Parthian era (247 BC - 224 CE), in Isfahan in a significant discovery that may push back the history of the central Iranian city in time by millennia. 7/17/20

Israel keeps blowing up military targets in Iran, hoping to force a confrontation before Trump can be voted out in November, sources say

Israel is involved in an extended campaign to pressure or damage Iran before President Donald Trump can be voted out of office in the November election, a former Israeli defense official and a current European Union intelligence official told Insider. -Mitch Prothero , Business Insider 7/17/20

A pragmatic partnership: Why China and Iran try to collaborate

Iran's rumoured talks with China on a partnership agreement could have significant economic benefits and provide it with valuable geopolitical bargaining chips. -Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR 7/17/20

Mud volcanos of Golestan, Iran

A mud volcano is a landform, consisting of one or several volcanic craters, that continuously erupts a mud-like substance. Some experts think that mud volcanos are related to volcanic activities, but most scientists believe that the phenomenon emerges as a result of a non-volcanic activity. These photos have been taken from a mud volcano located in Golestan Province of Iran. -Mohammad Ghajar, ISNA 7/17/20

Why Iran Wants To Help Build Up Syria And Iraq's Air Defenses

Iran has recently taken a notable interest in helping Iraq and Syria build up their limited air defenses, aiming to give them the capability to counter Israeli airstrikes. An agreement struck in July to improve Syrian air defenses authorizes Iran to deploy two of its air defense missile systems on Syrian soil, according to a report by the newspaper Raialyoum cited by The Tehran Times -Paul Iddon, Forbes 7/17/20

The undeclared war against Iran

A series of violent attacks, involving explosions and fires, has been hitting Iran. The incidents have been too frequent and intense to be random accidents. They are part of an organized effort. Caution is always advisable in attributing responsibility for such unclaimed acts, especially for all of us outside the government channels that possibly have better information about what is going on. But circumstances point strongly, as some mainstream press reporting reflects, to either or both of two suspects: the Netanyahu government in Israel, and the Trump administration in the United States. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 7/16/20

Yara Shahidi Has Been Preparing For This Moment Since Birth

"A lot of the work that I'm hoping to do is about pointing people toward the organizers and the people on the front lines of this (Black Lives Matter) movement." -Kaitlyn Greenidge, Elle 7/16/20

To understand the China-Iran deal, forget the hype and look at the context

The news of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement secretly signed between the Iranian government and China has been the hot topic of the last few weeks, generating a considerable amount of speculation, exaggeration, and politically biased interpretation. In reality, the accord does not seem to have the potential to revolutionize the path of China-Iran relations, which has been quite consistent since 1979. -Jacopo Scita, Responsible Statecraft 7/16/20

Will Iranian sea corridor compete with Suez Canal?

Iran has announced a sea corridor for commercial exchange with Russia and India as an alternative to the Egyptian Suez Canal, which raises questions about the impact this corridor will have on one of the main national economic resources in Cairo that has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. -Mohammad Hanafi, Al Monitor 7/16/20

Iran COVID-19 updates, July 15: 2,388 new cases, 199 deaths

The Iranian Health Ministry announced 2,388 new cases of infection with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours, putting the total number of cases in the country at 264,561. Speaking at a daily press conference on Wednesday, Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Lari put the death toll from the coronavirus in Iran at 13,410, saying the disease has taken the lives of 199 patients over the past 24 hours. 7/15/20

Outcry after Iran's judiciary upholds death penalty for three protesters

Iran's judiciary has upheld the death penalty for three men accused of involvement in last November's massive anti-government protests, sparking an outcry from human rights groups and a swell of activism against capital punishment on social media. The confirmation that their death sentences had been upheld on Tuesday sparked a surge of online protests including from prominent Iranian social media influencers, actors, film-makers, reformist politicians and athletes, who posted the men's names or the hashtag "Don't execute" in Farsi. -Michael Safi, Guardian 7/15/20

50 Inspiring Iranian Women, a book beautifully illustrated by Roshi Rouzbehani

Within just 12 hours of launching her Kickstarter campaign to bring her book to life celebrating 50 remarkable Iranian women, London-based illustrator Roshi Rouzbehani more than reached her target. The illustrated biography pays tribute to Iranian women who have played significant roles in art, science, sport, education and philanthropy. -Katy Cowan, Creative Boom 7/15/20

Kourosh Ahari's Thriller 'The Night' Becomes First U.S.-Produced Film To Receive License For Theatrical Release In Iran

The Kourosh Ahari-directed psychological thriller The Night has landed a license for theatrical release in Iran. This is a historic benchmark for the country's filmmaking community as it is the first U.S.-produced film to receive a license for theatrical release in Iran since the revolution. -Deadline 7/15/20

US relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran need a rethink, not reset

As the chances are growing that a Biden administration could take the reins in Washington come January 2021, so is the scrutiny of its prospective policy proposals. When it comes to foreign affairs, there seems to be little doubt among his supporters that some reassessment of U.S. priorities in the Middle East is in order. At the heart of it lies what Daniel Benaim, fellow at the Democrat-aligned Century Foundation calls in a recent paper the failure of President Donald Trump's twin policies of the "maximum pressure" against Iran and "maximum latitude" towards Saudi Arabia. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 7/15/20

Documentary "Lift-up" to chronicle life story of Iran's history-making woman weightlifter

Iranian filmmaker Reza Surani is making the documentary "Lift-up" about the life story of Pupak Basami, who is the first woman from post-revolution Iran to compete in an international weightlifting tournament. Basami wrote her name into the history books as the first Iranian woman who participated in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in April 2019. 7/14/20

Iran's Rohani Calls For Temporary Ban On Weddings, Funerals As Coronavirus Cases Rise

Iranian President Hassan Rohani called for large public gatherings such as weddings and funerals to be temporarily banned to slow a rise in coronavirus infections, but he shied away from recommending another round of curbs on economic activity. The country's Health Ministry on Monday reported more than 203 new fatalities and almost 2,349 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 259,652, with 13,032 dead. 7/13/20

Sabotage, sanctions and the bullying of Iran is bound to backfire on the west

t now seems fairly certain that Israel or its agents blew up Iran's main nuclear fuel enrichment facility at Natanz on 2 July. A "Middle Eastern intelligence official" who told two American newspapers that Israel was behind the explosion was identified in Israeli media reports last week as Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad spy agency and a close confidant of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 7/13/20

Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership

Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration's efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions. -New York Times 7/13/20

Photos: Reza Abad desert, a tourist resort in northeastern Iran

Reza Abad desert, located 70 kilometres from the city of Shahroud in Iran's Semnan province, is among the most beautiful desert areas in central and eastern Iran. The nomadic town of Reza Abad is located next to the desert. -Amin Rahmani 7/10/20

Iran is beautiful: Lar National Park in photos

Mount Damavand is not considered a simple mountain for Iranians. Being the highest peak in Iran with the height of 5,671 meters, is not all the greatness of Mount Damvand among Iranians because the Mount has a special place among Iranian mythology and culture and is the symbol of endurance and invincibility. Lar National Park, located in the foothills of Mount Damavand in Mazandaran Province, is a nature reserve which boasts different plant and animal species as well as glorious weather and impressive scenery. -Pouria Pakizeh 7/9/20

Sohrab Mohebbi to Curate 2022 Carnegie International

Writer and curator Sohrab Mohebbi has been named curator of the Carnegie International's 58th edition, set to open in 2022. Mohebbi, who is thirty-nine and grew up in Iran, is the first Western Asian person to helm the contemporary art survey in its 124-year history -Art Forum 7/9/20

Photos: Oldest settlement in Iranian Plateau

Archaeologists uncovered 21 historical sites in Sadrabad Village located in Zarandieh County of Markazi Province nearly a month ago in what is called the 'most extensive' systematic field research so far conducted in the central Iranian plateau. -Hadi Zand 7/8/20

Mount Damavand Day: The iconic mountain is grappling with environmental issues

Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, is located northeastern Tehran, but today, it is facing many environmental problems and challenges. Environmental enthusiasts believe that with the inclusion of Damavand National Day in the official calendar of the country, more attention should be paid to this unique natural phenomenon, while unfortunately no action has been taken so far. -Faranak Bakhtiari 7/7/20

Iranian-American Organization Pars Providing COVID-19 Financial Assistance to Community

As the pandemic continues to cause unprecedented trauma and profound financial hardship, Pars Equality Center (Pars) strives to support the community through various initiatives. Thanks to the generosity of private donors, philanthropic foundations and government grants, Pars offers the following assistance to qualified individuals and households. 7/3/20

Iran Safety NGO Says Killer Blazes Are Due To Violations, Lack Of Enforcement

The chairman of Iran's National Safe Society Association (NSSA) warned about inadequate safety measures in public buildings which led to the death of nineteen people in an explosion in a medical clinic in Tehran on Wednesday. The explosion at the clinic was caused by a gas leak and faulty electrical wiring in the basement of the building where oxygen tanks were stored. 7/2/20

Discover Ghadamgah: A millennia-old place of worship embedded beneath rock cliff

Ghadamgah is a millennia-old subterranean temple that was repurposed to be a mosque. The temple is said to be a place of worship where the ancient Mithraism rituals observed before the advent of Islam. The place of worship, which sometimes is referred to as a cave, is situated at the upstream of Ghadamgah's graveyard, near Badamyar village, from environs of Azarshahr in the northwestern West Azarbaijan province. 6/30/20

A Travel Writer Who's Seen It All Still Finds Surprise and Awe in Iran

Our burly driver in the baseball cap kept his eyes on the road as my unfailingly suave guide, Ali, chatted away. We'd barely left the holy metropolis of Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, on our way to the small, ancient town of Tus, and already Ali was discoursing on flowers and mystics and philosophers and empire. Other than a quick hello, our driver, perhaps 60, said not a word. It would be almost an hour before we reached our destination: the quiet tomb of Iran's beloved chronicler, Ferdowsi. -Pico Iyer, Bloomberg 6/29/20

Tabas Geopark in Iran moves closer to possible UNESCO registration

An extensive dossier, which is an essential prerequisite for possible UNESCO inscription of a site, has almost been completed for the gigantic Tabas Geopark, which is situated in east-central Iran. "Tabas Geopark can be the largest geopark in terms of the area because the whole county of Tabas is the largest county in the Middle East (West Asia). Given the [historical, natural and geological] values of this county, we decided to consider the whole county as the geopark," said Alireza Amrikazemi, who is a UNESCO assessor. 6/25/20

Composer Loris Tjeknavorian creates "memorable" piece in home quarantine

Loris Tjeknavorian, the 82-year-old Iranian composer, has said that he has created one of the most memorable pieces of his life during the home quarantine. Speaking to Mizan on Tuesday, he said, "I have worked on a special piece over the past four months for which I have not selected a name as yet, but it is the outcome of contemplation and mediation during the home quarantine. I believe it will be one of the most memorable works of my professional life." 6/25/20

A Maximum Pressure Exit Strategy: Returning to & Building on the Iran Nuclear Deal

In November 2018, we warned that President Trump's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement had substantially damaged U.S. national security interests, credibility with allies, and global leadership.[1] To mitigate the long-term damage to the U.S. and salvage the nuclear accord, our previous report urged lawmakers and Presidential contenders to announce their commitment to returning the United States to compliance with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)-the nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran, and other major world powers. -NIAC 6/24/20

PHOTOS: Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake in Qom, Iran turns red

Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake is located in Qom Province of Iran. Because of heavy rainfalls, more tributaries fed the Lake in spring and as a result, the water level of Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake increased. The rapid growth of algae in the Lake that react with the evaporation of water, turned Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake red. The algae produce beta carotene during the reaction so that the water of the Lake turns red. -Ahmad Zohrabi 6/23/20

PHOTOS: Eye-catching beauty of Lar National Park in Mazandaran, Iran

Lar National Park is a protected area in Mazandaran Province and Tehran Province, in northern Iran. The 30,000-hectare park which is in the Central Alborz mountain range, at the foot of Mount Damavand has stunning beauty in late spring and early summer. 6/23/20

Important message from the Chair and CEO of Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation

Your generous support has meant that PKCF has been able to do the following. Food and Sanitation Packages, Iran: Our representatives in Iran are distributing monthly packages of essential food and sanitary items to families below the poverty line across five provinces. To date our packages have reached 642 families. Oxygen Producing Unit for Talaghani Hospital, Tehran: In collaboration with Nikan Mammut Charity, our NGO partner in Iran, we purchased an Oxygen Production Unit for Taleghani Hospital, a key COVID-19 treatment centre in Tehran... 6/19/20

Sa'adi Foundation runs virtual course on Persian language teacher training

A Tehran-based organization that promotes the Persian language abroad has launched a virtual teacher training course. Sa'adi Foundation said the virtual training course is aimed at promoting the Persian language, supporting the Persian language centers across the world, enhancing the quality of Persian language teaching and facilitating teachers and enthusiasts' access to such course. 6/18/20

Photos: Pink-colored Maharloo Lake in Shiraz, Iran

Maharloo Lake with an area of 600 sq. km is situated on the outskirts of Shiraz, southern Iran, and is a perfect stopover for tourists and nature lovers. Duo to high evaporation rate, the lake's bed has been covered by salt. The color of Maharloo Lake turns pink because of the activity of special algae. The algae grow rapidly in the salty water and cover the surface of the Lake. -Mohammadreza Dehdari 6/17/20

The doves and hawks are here to stay: Time for the E3 to show bold leadership on Iran

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will convene its Board of Governors virtually for the first time in its history. In the weeks leading up to the meeting, much attention has been given to the Agency's outstanding request to visit two sites in Iran where there may have been undeclared nuclear activity, suspected to have occurred in 2003. These requests are based on the Israeli-obtained "atomic archive" which Mossad allegedly stole from a warehouse outside of Tehran in early 2018. -Sahil Shah, European Leadership Network 6/17/20

PHOTOS: Newly hatched turtles on Kish Island, Persian Gulf

A group of hawksbill sea turtles hatched out on Kish Island in Persian Gulf and made their way into the sea. Each mother hawksbill sea turtle can lay up to 120 eggs which will hatch after nearly 90 days. -Nasrin Faegh 6/10/20

Iran's 'butterfly children' impacted by sanctions and corruption

Described by US dermatologists as "the most painful disease you've never heard of," EB is caused by a genetic mutation and occurs in every 1 in 30,000 to 50,000 live births globally. Characterised by extreme fragility of the skin and mechanically induced blistering, EB patients are often referred to as 'butterfly children' because their skin appears as delicate as that of a butterfly wing. There is no cure. -Shenaz Kermalli, Atlantic Council 6/10/20

Photos: Aladaghlar (Rainbow) Mountains in Iran

If you are looking for a natural place to be amazed, you should take a trip to Zanjan Province in Iran and see the colorful Aladaghlar Mountains. ''Ala'' in Azeri Turkish language means colorful and ''Dag'' means mountain. The Aladaglar rainbow mountains and hills are tucked into the northwest of Iran, 25 kilometers in the northeast of Tabriz between Ahar and Khajeh. Along the road of Ahar-Tabriz, the landscape begins to switch step by step. -Amin Rahmani 6/3/20

Bani Adam (Children of Adam): World musicians release solidarity music video during pandemic

A music video inspired by Persian poet Sadi's famous poem "The Sons of Adam Are Limbs of Each Other" has been released with the voice of Iranian vocalist Alireza Qorbani in collaboration with several Italian singers and overseas musicians during the pandemic. The music video has been released to promote the message of peace and friendship, the Italian theater and cinema actress Pamela Villoresi has said in an introduction to the music video. 5/20/20

As Iran Faces Virus, Trump Admin Fails to Use Swiss Channel to Ease Medical Exports

Just a few days after Iran announced its first deaths from COVID-19 in February, the Trump administration's Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook was asked during a briefing for an update on the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), a payments channel intended to ease the sale of medicine and medical devices by Swiss companies to Iran. Hook acknowledged that no further transactions had been processed since a pilot transaction involving a $2.55 million sale of medication a month earlier, but insisted that there were "more transactions coming."Two months later, over 6,000 Iranians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the Swiss channel has yet to process any further transactions. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj & Image of Sahil Shah, European Leadership Network 5/6/20

70+ Groups Demand Trump Immediately End US Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Others During Covid-19 Crisis

Over 70 civil society groups representing more than 40 million people called on President Donald Trump Thursday to issue immediate sanctions relief for numerous countries-including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea-for at least the duration of the coronavirus crisis which threatens to kill thousands in the hard-hit countries. The "urgent appeal" came in the form of an open letter sent by the groups to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin calling for curtailing the sanctions regime for the duration of the pandemic. -Common Dreams 04/24/20



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last updated on Fri Jul 31 12:28:53 EDT 2020