Mehr 6 1399 - September 27 2020
Iran's Persepolis defeats UAE's Sharjah to seal Group C top spot in ACL

Persepolis of Iran football team defeated Emirati side Sharjah 4-0 on Thursday to seal top spot in Group C of the 2020 AFC Champions League. Persepolis and Sharjah needed a win to book their berth in the knockout stage but the Iranian team dominated their opponents from the start of the match. 9/25/20

NIAC Statement on New Visa Restrictions on Iranian Students

Jamal Abdi, Executive Director of National Iranian American Council Action (NIAC Action), issued the following statement on new restrictions proposed by the Trump administration that would target international students, including a 2 year maximum visa for Iranian students and other nationals of countries whose governments have been designated by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism 9/25/20

Photos: Hossein Azadi sculpture exhibition at Etemad Gallery

An exhibition of sculpture by Hossein Azadi is currently underway at Etemad Gallery 1 in Tehran. The exhibition titled "Crumpledness" will run until September 29. Hossein Azadi was born in 1979 in Hamedan, Iran and received his Painting B.A. from University of Art in Tehran in 1999. 9/25/20

How Joe Biden can solve the Iran crisis

If elected, Joe Biden will have an overwhelming agenda to repair the damage of the previous four years. Iran will be one of the few national security issues that rises to the top of his list. The solution to the crisis is simple: come back into compliance with the Iran nuclear agreement and related United Nations Security Council resolutions, then work with our allies to build upon them, addressing through diplomacy our other disagreements with Iran. -Joe Cirincione, Responsible Statecraft 9/25/20

A naked image of the truth

Iran's capital city, Tehran, is firmly in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. The cultural scene is suffering because of it too. But in the face of adversity and the often arbitrary interventions by the censor, books are still being published - such as the diaries of David Rubinowicz, who was murdered by the Nazis. Mahmoud Hosseini Zad translated the book. He spoke to Gerrit Wustmann about his work and the current situation in Iran -Qantara 9/25/20

The Trump administration's fantasy about snapping back sanctions on Iran

The Trump administration's obsession with Iran degenerated some time ago into aimless hostility that has yielded nothing but negative results. With a track record of well over two years, the Trump policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran has resulted in increased, not decreased, Iranian nuclear activity. The policy has resulted in increased, not decreased, aggressive Iranian actions in the Middle East, including attacks on neighboring states' oil facilities that Iran never had attempted before the U.S. administration's attempt to destroy Iran's own oil trade. The policy has increased, not decreased, the political power of hardliners in Tehran. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 9/25/20

Mike Pompeo is trying to provoke U.S. conflict with Iran to boost his own presidential aims, not just Trump's

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, is already running for president in 2024. To that end, he is trying to provoke Iran into a conflict in the days and weeks to come. The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Nimitz just steamed through the Straits of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf, the first American capital ship there in nearly a year. The Trump administration has already illegally imposed harsh sanctions against Iran, and reserves the right to board Iranian (or other) vessels to enforce them. -James North, Mondoweiss 9/25/20

In sign of frustration, US shortens sanctions waiver to Iraq

The United States has extended a sanctions waiver that enables Iraq to continue importing gas from Iran but this time granting a significantly shorter waiver period, Iraqi officials and the U.S. State Department said Thursday. The development is a sign of unease in U.S.-Iraq relations amid near-daily attacks targeting American presence in the Mideast country and underscores the standing U.S. demand that Baghdad wean itself off dependence on Iranian oil. -AP 9/25/20

Iran's Esteghlal defeats Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli, gets into 2020 ACL Round of 16

Iran's Esteghlal football team defeated Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia to book a place at the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16. Esteghlal beat Al Ahli 3-0 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Doha in Group A. 9/24/20

Academics Against Sanctions

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) joins dozens of prominent academics in calling on the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to reform overly broad sanctions that hamper academic exchange. The letter comes amid disturbing reports of Iranian students being dropped or deferred by U.S. universities amid new COVID-19 restrictions. -Medium 9/24/20

Iran: The double jeopardy of sanctions and COVID-19

U.S. sanctions have hobbled Iran's response to the pandemic. In March 2020, Iran became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic outside China. In late February, after hushing up the news of the arrival of the virus, the government admitted to two deaths from the disease in the holy city of Qom. However, by then the pandemic had spread to other parts of the country. Suddenly, Iran's leaders found themselves fighting on two separate fronts: one to save the economy from U.S. sanctions and the other to save lives and the economy from the pandemic. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 9/24/20

UK, France and Germany summon Iranian ambassadors over prisoners

France, Germany and the UK are summoning Iranian ambassadors in a coordinated diplomatic protest against Iran's detention of dual nationals and its treatment of political prisoners. The Iranian ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, was summoned by the Foreign Office on Tuesday to meet senior officials, and the Iranian ambassadors in Paris and Berlin are also being called in this week. A letter handed to Baeidinejad and seen by the Guardian says Iran's policy of arbitrary detention is seriously undermining its international standing. -Guardian 9/24/20

Iranians break taboos with their own version of #MeToo

Tehran, Iran - Countless Iranians have taken to social media in recent weeks to recount their experiences of sexual abuse, bringing to the fore a topic that remained taboo for years. Iran's version of the #MeToo movement has seen candid accounts of sexual trauma - some dating back decades - being shared, and has already led to at least one arrest. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 9/24/20

Report: Iran's Guard flew surveillance drone over USS Nimitz

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard force has managed to fly a surveillance drone over the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier which last week transited through the Strait of Hormuz, an Iranian news agency said Wednesday. The semi-official Tasnim news agency, which is considered close to the paramilitary Guard, published images of the Nimitz, saying they were taken by Iranian-made drones, and showing fighter planes parked on the carrier's deck. 9/24/20

Iran's shadow looms large over southeastern Iraqi Kurdistan

The recent bust of a major fraud and smuggling network at one of Iraqi Kurdistan's border crossings has drawn attention to the power wielded by Iran in that area, both on the local economy and on local water supplies due to dams built in recent years. -Shelly Kittleson, Al Monitor 9/24/20

COVID-19 cases in Iran at all-time high as 'third wave flares up'

The new cases of coronavirus in Iran hit an all-time high on Tuesday amid a warning by Health Minister Saeed Namaki that the third wave of the pandemic has just flared up in the country. Over the past 24 hours, 3,712 new cases of the disease were identified and 178 deaths were registered, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima-Sadat Lari announced on Tuesday. The total number of fatalities so far has reached 24,656, she confirmed. 9/23/20

State Department Cut Funding for Controversial "Iran Disinfo" Project - but Kept Working With Its Creators

IN JUNE 2019, the State Department suspended a contract for a counterpropaganda program called the Iran Disinformation Project, widely known by its combative Twitter handle, @IranDisinfo. The project had come under scrutiny because, on Twitter, it was dedicating a significant amount of its output to attacking U.S. critics of President Donald Trump's Iran policy. Within days of complaints being brought against Iran Disinfo, the project was suspended; by early June, the remainder of the $1.5 million contract had been terminated. -Negar Mortazavi, Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept 9/23/20

Race to watch: Iranian-American activist faces Texas conservative

A congressional race between staunchly conservative House Republican Dan Crenshaw and Iranian American progressive Sima Ladjevardian has garnered national attention while encapsulating the shifting Demographics in the one-time Republican bastion of Texas. Crenshaw and Ladjevardian are competing to represent the state's second congressional district, which includes parts of northern and western Houston. - Joseph Stepansky, Al Jazeera 9/23/20

Narges Mohammadi's Letter from Prison: "The lives of people on death row are in danger"

Prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned in Iran since 2015 for her peaceful defense of civil and political liberties, has written an impassioned letter from prison in which she speaks out against "not only the killing of protesters in the streets in recent years, but also the execution of young protesters." -CHRI 9/23/20

Iran strikes defiant tone at UN under crushing US sanctions

Grappling with a weakened economy and the Middle East's worst coronavirus outbreak, Iran's president delivered a defiant and fiery speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly as he insisted it would be the United States that surrenders to Iran's resilience. Hassan Rouhani spoke in a prerecorded speech to the virtual summit just days after Iran's currency plunged to its lowest levels ever against the U.S. dollar due to crippling U.S. sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump -AP 9/23/20

European Envoys, Tehran mayor ride bikes to mark Car-Free Day

Ambassadors of four European countries to Tehran along with the city mayor Pirooz Hanachi hit the streets on Tuesday on the occasion of the World Car-Free Day. Hanachi accompanied the ambassadors of France, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany riding bicycles on the route from Laleh Park to Shahr Park. Then they visited Tehran Peace Museum to mark the International Day of Peace on September 21. 9/23/20

Iran: Young, blind woman helps others - including those with disabilities - fight COVID-19

For 30-year-old Samaneh Shabani, a former intern at UN Information Centre-Tehran, COVID-19 suddenly rendered her primary sensory connections to the world. The deathly silence of empty city streets was not only disturbing, but disorienting to her ability to navigate her way, and her need to get her bearings by touching surfaces puts her at greater risk of possible infection. But Samaneh's determination in setting and achieving her goals has never been deterred by her blindness or by society's prejudice toward people with disabilities. She has steadfastly refused to accept any notion of limitation. -UNIC Tehran 9/22/20

Golriz on Ghazaleh

My friend Ghazaleh Golbakhsh is a film-maker, a writer, actor, Iranian, Kiwi, woman of colour, citizen of the world, and wild dreamer. Her new book of essays examines the impact of her identity and its formation, on everything from dating to growing up in war torn Iran. I released my memoir, a bit of the journey to becoming that so called first so-called "Refugee MP", this year too. She's a prominent character in that story, and we compared notes a lot as we wrote our accounts. -Golriz Ghahrman, Newsroom, NZ 9/22/20

The 2020 Presidential Election Will Decide the Future of U.S.-Iranian Relations

One event, more than any other, has shaped the contemporary U.S. political attitude on Iran: the U.S. embassy seizure by Iranian students on November 4, 1979. Images of Americans blindfolded, with their hands tied, were seared into the American psyche. This event continues to color how some Americans see Iran, as evidenced by a tweet earlier this year from President Donald Trump, in which he threatened to attack fifty-two Iranian cultural sites, one for every American held hostage all those years ago. -Assal Rad, National Interest 9/22/20

A Conversation With Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran

Foreign Minister Zarif discusses Iranian relations with the United States, the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and prospects for peace in the Middle East with Host, Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN; Member, Board of Directors, Council on Foreign Relations 9/22/20

Alone among nations, US moves to restore UN Iran sanctions

The United States slapped additional sanctions on Iran on Monday after the Trump administration's disputed unilateral weekend declaration that all United Nations penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had been restored. But few U.N. member states believe the U.S. has the legal standing to restore the sanctions because Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. -AP 9/22/20

Trump's scorched-earth doctrine

It is a recent tradition among occupants of the White House, as they head out of office, to play a few practical jokes on their successors. The Clinton administration jesters, for instance, removed all the Ws from White House keyboards before handing over the keys to George W. Bush's transition team. The Obama administration left behind books authored by Barack Obama for Trump's incoming press team. Donald Trump has no sense of humor. His "gift" to the next administration is dead serious. -John Feffer, Responsible Statecraft 9/22/20

Europe pushes ban on weapons to repressive Persian Gulf regimes, why can't the US?

The European Parliament has adopted a motion on EU arms exports control demanding to put an end to the sales of European arms, as well as surveillance technology and any other equipment that could facilitate internal repression, to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. The resolution, approved September 17, reminds us that, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the EU-28 was collectively the second largest arms exporter to Saudi Arabia and UAE for the period 2015-2019, and that both countries, among other parties, are perpetrating international crimes in Yemen. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 9/22/20

European leaders warn US move to reimpose Iran sanctions is legally void

European leaders have warned the US that its claim to have the authority to reimpose sweeping UN-mandated sanctions on Iran has no effect in law, setting up a major legal clash that could lead to Washington imposing sanctions on its European allies. In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany and the UK (E3) said any attempt by the US to impose its own sanctions on countries not complying with the reimposed UN ones was also legally void. -Guardian 9/21/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh in Hospital, Condition Deteriorating, Family Denied Access and Information

The imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been on a hunger strike since August 11 to free Iran's political prisoners, has been hospitalized as of September 19, 2020, with her condition worsening, and the family is being denied access to her and any information on her condition, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned, after speaking with her husband, Reza Khandan on September 20, 2020. 9/21/20

Free The Namazis: Open Letter on the Continued Detention of Iranian Dual-Nationals

As the 75th Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly opens in tomorrow, we, the undersigned, are writing to raise serious concerns about the continuing, prolonged detention of Iranian-American citizen Siamak Namazi and other dual nationals in Iran who have been unjustly convicted on vaguely and arbitrarily defined national security charges, without due process and in unfair trials. 9/21/20

Paria Farzaneh echoes 'troubles in America' at London fashion week

The strangest London fashion week yet continued on Sunday with a show that brought drones, explosions and military garb to an idyllic spot in the Buckinghamshire countryside. The show was produced by Paria Farzaneh, a rising British star who has described her work in fashion as "merely a platform for something bigger". It was the latest and most unusual fashion week attempt to reflect current, discombobulating times, while also sticking to social-distancing guidelines. -Hannah Marriott, Guardian 9/21/20

Iranian-German movie 'Bandar Band' sends message of hope

Iranian director Manijeh Hekmat expected the production of her latest movie to go ahead as planned - but then she found herself having to improvise. The resulting film is more than just an homage to Iran's landscapes. -Deutsche Welle 9/21/20

Iran: nuclear deal with world powers worth preserving

The head of Iran's nuclear agency said Monday that the landmark 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers on his country's atomic program is struggling since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal, but is still worth preserving. Ali Akbar Salehi told delegates at a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna that the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, has been "caught in a quasi-stalemate situation" since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out in 2018. -AP 9/21/20

The political convergence of Trump and Netanyahu

The political careers of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have become increasingly linked. The linkage goes well beyond the parallel personal interests they have in such things as the hyping of recent diplomatic developments involving Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. It extends to a similarity of political methods that over the long term works to the detriment of both Americans and Israelis. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 9/21/20

Iran's rial hits record low as tension spikes with the U.S.

The Iranian rial fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Sunday, a day after the U.S. President Donald Trump's administration declared all United Nations sanctions on Tehran had been restored. The dollar was offered for as much as 273,000 rials, up from 267,800 rials on Saturday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com, which tracks the unofficial market. -Reuters 9/21/20

Iranian-American Candidates

The 2020 Election may be the most critical vote in our lifetime. It is more important than ever that Iranian Americans and our allies have a powerful voice at the ballot box. And this year, we have an opportunity to elect more Iranian Americans into office than ever before. Below are all the Iranian-American candidates running for office this election. -NIAC Action 9/18/20

All-women band in Iran struggles to break through

The men in the audience clapped and the women ululated as the band finished singing: it would have been commonplace except the venue was in Iran and the group on stage were all women. The catchy rhythmic music they played that balmy night is known as "bandari". Its lyrics are from ancient folkloric songs, passed down the generations and familiar to many at the concert in an amphitheater in the southern port of Bandar Abbas. -AFP 9/18/20

Iran appears to be in grip of 'third wave' of coronavirus outbreak

Iran appears to be in the grip of a "third wave" of the coronavirus outbreak, with the number of new infections above 3,000 a day - as high as at any point since the virus first hit in February. Iran was one of the first countries to be struck by the virus outside China. Its officials brought the disease under a form of control by early May, but then experienced an increase at the start of June that drifted down to fewer than 1,600 new cases a day in late August. -Guardian 9/18/20

Honour killings and violence against women in Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic

The incidence of violence against women has increased worldwide since lockdowns to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 were implemented.1 Iran already had high levels of violence against women, with a reported 8000 so-called honour killings between 2010 and 2014. -Bijan Pirnia, Fariborz Pirnia & Kambiz Pirnia, The Lancet 9/18/20

'No Regrets': Ex-Iranian President Ahmadinejad On His Presidency, State Violence, His Tweets -- And Trump/Biden

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, differ on most foreign policy issues, including on how to deal with Iran. But former Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told RFE/RL in an exclusive interview that regardless of which man wins the November 3 presidential election, Washington's policies are unlikely to change. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 9/18/20

JUST THINKING

The day began, as usual, with turning the TV on, flipping back and forth between MSNBC and CNN. I avoid FOX; I simply cannot tolerate FOX and Friends who assume, and rightly so, that they are addressing closed-minded, gullible ignoramuses who'd swallow the garbage they are routinely fed. But then, what do we get out of CNN or MSNBC that is different and more credible? -Kambiz Zarrabi 9/17/20

Biden's proposed Iran policy doesn't go far enough

The Democratic nominee produced, for the first time, a coherent set of views that will presumably guide his Iran policies. Whoever hoped that it would open a way to rescue the U.S.-Iran non-relationship from unremitted hostility will have been disappointed. To the contrary, the article presents a boilerplate of standard platitudes about Iran being a malign actor, and preciously little in a way of more realistic thinking about the U.S. policy towards that country. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 9/17/20

Showdown set as US to declare UN sanctions on Iran are back

In defiance of overwhelming opposition, the United States is preparing to declare that all international sanctions against Iran have been restored. Few countries believe the move is legal, and such action could provoke a credibility crisis at the United Nations. Virtually alone in the world, the Trump administration will announce on Saturday that U.N. sanctions on Iran eased under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in force. -AP 9/17/20

Is Mike Pompeo preparing an October Surprise?

With less than seven weeks left until the U.S. presidential elections, the faction within the Trump administration aligned with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to be preparing the ground for an October Surprise - a confrontation with Iran that will be cast as both defensive and lawful. The first direct clash may take place as early as this coming Monday. -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 9/17/20

Iran's rap battles: youth with a 'pure love' for rap

The young people gathered are in their twenties, dressed in oversized tee-shirts, hoodies, chains and durags. In short, they look like any young people immersed in rap and hip hop culture. But when they launch into their flow, the words are in Persian. Rap has been popular in Iran for the past twenty years but, recently there has been an increasing number of rap battles staged in quiet streets and parks, and videos are popping up online. -France24 9/17/20

US sanctions 'ruining lives', Iran tells United Nations court

Iran urged the UN's top court on Wednesday to hear its bid to overturn US nuclear sanctions, saying they were destroying the Iranian economy and "ruining millions of lives". The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is hearing arguments this week from Tehran and Washington before deciding whether it has jurisdiction to deal with the case. -Al Jazeera 9/17/20

"Most non-Iranians only know about kebabs": One Toronto woman's quest to elevate her culture's cuisine and raise money for charity

I grew up surrounded by good cooks, but I only started cooking seriously in my mid-twenties. I'm Iranian and my family would always make elaborate dinners to bring people together. I was born in Tehran, but we moved to Toronto when I was 12. -Toronto Life 9/16/20

Iranian journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni begins 7-year jail term

Iranian authorities should release journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni immediately and cease arbitrarily jailing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On September 9, Borojeni, a freelance columnist, was taken to Tehran's Evin Prison to begin a seven-year jail term -Committee to Protect Journalists 9/16/20

Kashan, home to architectural wonders, labyrinthine bazaars

A photo collection depicts variety of architectural wonders such as atmospheric houses, covered labyrinthine bazaars, public bathhouses, madrasas, caravanserais, mudbrick wind-towers, cisterns, Persian gardens and boutique hotels scattered across the oasis city of Kashan. Many travelers opt to bypass Kashan on their journeys between Tehran, Isfahan and Yazd, to visit its must-see destinations on the edge of one of the most beautiful deserts in central Iran. -Samira Nazari, Tehran Times 9/16/20

Al Nassr top group after Al Sadd held in Asian Champions League thriller

Saudi club Al Nassr stormed to the top of Group D with a 2-0 win over Iran's Sepahan on Tuesday after Qatar's Al Sadd were held 3-3 by Al Ain in a thriller on the second day of Asian Champions League action in the Doha hub. The group stage of the western half of the continent's premier club competition resumed in Qatar on Monday after a seven-month coronavirus shutdown. -Reuters 9/16/20

Iran: 'Secret execution' of champion wrestler 'deeply disturbing' - UN rights experts

A group of five independent UN human rights experts have strongly condemned the summary execution in Iran on Saturday of a former champion wrestler convicted of murdering a security guard during anti-government protests in 2018. The Special Rapporteurs raised the alarm on Monday that Navid Afkari's execution marks the latest in a series of death penalty sentences handed down in relation to protests in 2018 and 2019. -United Nations 9/16/20

Iran To Alter Schoolbook Cover After Anger Over Girls' Removal

Iran's education ministry said Tuesday the new cover of a schoolbook which removed girls from an illustration would be modified next year, following widespread criticism on social media. After the ministry distributed textbooks for the new school year on September 5, parents saw the cover of the third-grade mathematics book had changed. Two girls had been removed, leaving only three boys under a tree made up of numbers and mathematical signs. -Amir Havasi, AFP 9/16/20

Israel, the UAE, & Bahrain didn't sign peace deals, they're military alliances to counter Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in Washington on Tuesday. Brokered by the Trump administration, these deals represent two of the most broadly popular developments for both Trump and Netanyahu in many years. These agreements are called "peace deals," although Israel has never been at war with either the UAE or Bahrain. --Mitchell Plitnick, Responsible Statecraft 9/16/20

WHO provides Iran with COVID-19 antibody tests

The World Health Organization (WHO), through a donation by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany, has provided Iran with over 67,500 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests. The tests, which measure the number of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in individuals, will be used for research and surveillance in Iran. 9/15/20

UNICEF-procured items help Iranian children without effective caregivers living in SWO's centres

UNICEF has procured 421 pulse oximeters, 293 digital gun thermometers, 76,500 latex gloves, 4,000 N95 masks, 2,354 boxes of diapers and 6,640 litres of surface sanitizers which were distributed among SWO rehabilitation centres and nurseries. -Bahareh Yeganehfar, UNICEF 9/15/20

13th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco: September 19-25, 2020

This year Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco, presents a record-breaking 52 films, in two days, from Iran, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden...ranging from fiction, documentary, short, animation...to music video. We are happy and proud to continue our mission to discover and support the next generation of Iranian filmmakers living and working around the world, while we honor the veteran filmmakers for their distinguished careers. 9/15/20

When it comes to Iran, how many failures is enough for Pompeo?

For many years Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has worked to bring Iran to heel, if not to destroy the Islamic Republic altogether. He would presumably prefer to accomplish those ends through economic and political warfare, but it is unlikely he would object to military attacks if that is what it takes. As a Congressman from Kansas as early as 2014, he was urging Washington to attack Tehran's nuclear facilities, noting it would take "under 2,000 sorties," or bombings, to do the job. "This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces," he said. -Muhammad Sahimi, Responsible Statecraft 9/15/20

South African Intel Source Denies Report of Iranian Plot to Kill US Ambassador

After a dubiously sourced report from Politico claimed Iran is considering assassinating the US ambassador to South Africa, an intelligence source told the South African newspaper Daily Maverick that the plot was "not likely to be real." The source said that with November approaching, the story could have been an effort by the Trump administration to distract the public from its failures, or as the source put it, a "weapon of mass distraction" and an instance of "the tail wagging the dog." -Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com 9/15/20

Photos: Armenians Holy Cross ceremony in Tehran

Tehran's Holy Cross Cathedral hosted the Holy Cross ceremony on Monday. This cathedral was built in 1970 by one of the Armenians of Tehran near Valiasr square in Karimkhan street in downtown Tehran, and it is now the main center of the gathering of Armenians in Tehran. -IRNA 9/15/20

Joe Biden: There's a smarter way to be tough on Iran

When Donald Trump ran for President, he promised a "better deal" to constrain Iran's nuclear program and pledged to pressure Tehran into curbing its aggressive behavior across the Middle East. Like so many of President Trump's promises, these proved to be just empty words. Instead, he recklessly tossed away a policy that was working to keep America safe and replaced it with one that has worsened the threat. -Joe Biden, CNN 9/14/20

Reformist Iranian Cleric Ayatollah Yousef Saanei Dies In Qom

Ayatollah Yousef Saanei, a pro-reform Iranian cleric and a critic of the establishment who sided with the opposition movement following the controversial 2009 presidential election, has died. He was 83. In 2009, Saanei had supported opposition figure Mir Hossein Musavi and criticized hard-liner Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who beat Musavi in that year's disputed election 9/14/20

European Union condemns execution of Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari

The European Union says it condemns "in the strongest terms" the execution of Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari. Afkari was executed in Iran on Saturday, according to Iran's state-run news agency IRNA, despite a high-profile international campaign calling for the sentence not to be carried out. -CNN 9/14/20

The Man Who Refused to Spy

In the spring of 2017, an Iranian materials scientist named Sirous Asgari received a call from the United States consulate in Dubai. Two years earlier, he and his wife, Fatemeh, had applied for visas to visit America, where their children lived. The consulate informed him that their requests had finally been approved. The timing was strange: President Donald Trump had just issued an executive order banning Iranians from entering the U.S. on the very kind of visa that Asgari and his wife were granted. -Laura Secor, New Yorker 9/14/20

Paintings by Shiva Kakavandi at Etemad Gallery

Shiva Kakavandi is hanging her latest paintings in an exhibition titled Ultimate Order at Etemad Gallery in Tehran. The show runs until 15 September: Disorder has quite a contradictory relationships with order; essentially concealing in a way that makes it quite unpredictable... -Honar Online 9/14/20

U.S. asks World Court to dismiss Iran sanctions case

Lawyers for the United States on Monday asked judges at the United Nations' highest court to dismiss a case brought by Iran seeking to lift sanctions. Lawyer Marik String said Iran had wrongly introduced a subject uncovered by a 1955 bilateral pact, the Treaty of Amity, which Tehran cites as the basis for going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court. -Reuters 9/14/20

Iran's secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs

Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution was a defining event that changed how we think about the relationship between religion and modernity. Ayatollah Khomeini's mass mobilisation of Islam showed that modernisation by no means implies a linear process of religious decline. Reliable large-scale data on Iranians' post-revolutionary religious beliefs, however, has always been lacking. -Pooyan Tamimi Arab & Ammar Maleki, The Conversation 9/11/20

Iranian PhD scholarship recipients granted Australian student visas after waiting on average a year for response

Hundreds of Iran's brightest minds have been waiting for more than a year to take up their university scholarships in Australia but after enquiries from SBS News, many have now been granted their visas. -Catalina Florez, SBS News 9/11/20

A Chef's Childhood in Iran Shaped His Cooking in the Pandemic

In times of crisis, the California chef Hanif Sadr learned to forage and preserve food, and use it to heal. Mr. Sadr, the chef and majority owner of Komaaj, a pop-up restaurant and catering company in Berkeley, Calif., first discovered these treasures in the summer of 2013, a little more than a year after arriving in the United States. He has been foraging there ever since. -Leena Trivedi-Grenier, New York Times 9/11/20

Massiah Foundation challenge gift to fund UCI chair in Zoroastrian studies

The University of California, Irvine has received a $1.5 million challenge commitment from the Massiah Foundation to establish the Ferdowsi Presidential Chair in Zoroastrian Studies - the first of its kind in the United States. Additionally, the University of California will support the chair with up to $500,000. The Massiah Foundation was founded by Fariborz Maseeh, Ph.D., an Iranian American businessman and pioneer in the field of microelectromechanical systems who lives in Newport Beach. 9/11/20

Tehran Stock Exchange: The end of an illusion

In an economy besieged by sanctions and handicapped by corruption, the Tehran Stock Exchange offered a rare opportunity for making profits and creating wealth. That opportunity, however, has proved to be a mirage. From a peak index of 2,065,114, the exchange - known as the TSE - fell to 1,631,941 last week, signaling a 20% drop, erasing millions of dollars of value of different portfolios and financial asset holdings. -Ali Dadpay 9/11/20

World medical community, by its oath, has a duty to help lift Iran's sanctions: Health Minister

In a letter to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki called for a global call to remove Iran's drug and food sanctions, noting that the world medical community, by its oath, has a humanistic duty to take action in this regard. "Despite our all-out fight against COVID-19, Iran is facing a unilateral, unlawful, and flagrant violation of international laws by the U.S. government, which withdrew from JCPOA, to initiate extensive, comprehensive and cruel sanctions against the citizens of my country." Namaki wrote. 9/10/20

The Persian Invasions of Greece Reconsidered: Online talk by Professor Nicholas Sekunda

The 2500th anniversary of the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis in 2021 and that of Plataea in 2022 provides a good opportunity to reconsider the Persian invasion of Greece in the light of modern scholarship and a critical analysis of the Greek texts. This lecture seeks to demonstrate that the number of Achaemenid forces sent against Greece is unknown, and that the figures given by Herodotus are falsely constructed. The defeats of Salamis and Plataea are undeniable, but they have to be put into their context of an already overstretched Empire fighting on the absolute periphery of its possibilities.​ -Iran Heritage Foundation 9/10/20

Director Shahram Mokri: Iran sanctions big obstacle for joint film projects

Iranian director Shahram Mokri, whose latest drama "Careless Crime" was screened at the 77th Venice Film Festival, has said the U.S. sanctions on Iran have put a big obstacle in the way of the countries and companies eager to cooperate with Iran in the film industry. He made the remarks in the program "European Union for the Future of World Cinema" held at the Spazio Incontri on Sunday on the margins of the festival. 9/10/20

Jacqueline Saper's "From Miniskirt to Hijab" is a story for our times

As Jacqueline Saper shopped for a gift for her husband on a sunny Tehran boulevard in 1979, she had no idea that she was about to witness history. The young Iranian wife had already lived through events that seemed to shift the earth on its axis. In her lifetime, Jacqueline had endured hardships that few can imagine, but also joys and privileges that Americans would find surprisingly familiar. -Teme Ring, Chicago Now 9/10/20

Third Parthian skeleton unearthed in Isfahan

Iranian archaeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient human in a prehistorical mount in Isfahan, central Iran, saying that is "the third Parthian skeleton" being unearthed there over the past couple of weeks. The Parthian Empire (247 BC - 224 CE), also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. 9/9/20

Swiss FM visits historical palace in Tehran, urges deepening cultural ties

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis paid a visit to the Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex in Tehran on Monday, emphasizing the need to deepen and strengthen cultural relations between the two countries. The complex, covering an area of about eleven hectares, is composed of several landmark buildings, museums, and monuments constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries during the Pahlavi and late Qajar eras. 9/9/20

Sun Children review - Iranian street kids strike gold

Sun Children, by the Iranian director Majid Majidi, gives us a prison-break drama that is escaping to nowhere, and a knockabout school comedy gone horribly wrong. The acting is broad, the plot gears often creak, but it has guts and heart and a grubby, street-smart charisma. It's one of the finest films playing in this year's Venice competition. -Xan Brooks, Guardian 9/9/20

Iranian director calls Venice premiere 'like a new life'

Restricted travel, quarantine and positive COVID-19 tests meant that Majid Majidi's appearance at the Venice Film Festival for Iranian drama "Sun Children" (Khorshid) was an achievement in itself. The film follows the story of Ali and his three friends on the streets of Tehran, as they try to find hidden treasure, digging a tunnel underneath a local charity school for street kids and child laborers. -Louise Dixon, AP 9/9/20

Selling the Revolution to Iran's Next Generation

Despite considerable literature about post-revolutionary Iran, including work exploring more than 40 years of attempts to export the revolution to its neighbors, Tehran's continuous efforts to market the regime to its own citizens command disproportionately little attention beyond cursory media coverage of the routine passion plays that pass for pro-regime rallies. Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic, a new book by Johns Hopkins University professor Narges Bajoghli, offers a glimpse of this important aspect of the Islamic Republic's remarkable durability. -Suzanne Maloney, War On The Rocks 9/9/20

Photos: Flamingos caught in salt rescued in Lake Urmia

Six flamingo chicks unable to move on the western shore of Lake Urmia due to the salt crystals on their bodies were rescued by environmentalists on Saturday September 5, 2020. Lake Urmia was in danger of drying up. However with mitigation efforts and better rainfall in the last few years, the lake's water level is now at 1.272m and the volume of the water stands at 5.3 billion cubic meters. That's why around 20,000 flamingos have returned to the lake this year. -Taha Asgharkhani 9/8/20

Archaeological survey finds prehistorical hatch to Apadana Palace in Persepolis

Archaeologists have recently discovered a prehistorical hatch to Apadana Palace, a majestic ruined royal complex within the UNESCO-registered Persepolis, southern Iran. "The hatch was discovered in the eastern part of Apadana Palace, and it was created during the Achaemenid period to repel the surface water of the courtyard, and after this period, it was hidden due to the destruction of the complex," said archaeologist Ali Asadi who leads a survey at the ruined palace 9/8/20

'Mantis man' drawing captures ancient fascination with insects

"Mantis man" may sound like a pirate version of Marvel's superhero, but it's actually the nickname given to an unusual petroglyph discovered in central Iran. Prehistoric rock art depicts a six-legged figure that appears to be inspired by the insect known as the praying mantis. Archaeologists and entomologists teamed up to analyze the petroglyph. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Orthoptera Research, suggests that the figure may be a combination of a praying mantis and a man. -James Ashley, The Bulletin Time 9/8/20

Iran begins new school year under strict health protocols

Over 15 million students attended schools nationwide on Saturday for the new school year under strict health protocols to protect teachers, staff, and students against the coronavirus pandemic. The opening bell of the new academic year was rung symbolically by President Hassan Rouhani at a girls' high school in downtown Tehran. 9/7/20

Indian defense minister visits Tehran, meets Iranian counterpart

India and Iran are understood to have explored revival of regional approach model involving India-Iran to stabilise Afghanistan as US plans to exit Kabul and give Taliban a stake in governance. This issue figured prominently when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Iranian counterpart Brig General Amir Hatami in Tehran Saturday enroute to Delhi from Moscow. -Economic Times, India 9/7/20

Another Opinion Columnist Pushing War With Iran Who Doesn't Actually Exist

There is at least one more foreign policy opinion writer from the Mujahideen-eKhalq (MEK) whose existence is dubious, based on a study by a social media analyst and statements from a defector from the group. Amir Basiri, who contributed to Forbes 9 times, the Washington Examiner 52 times, OpenDemocracy, Algemeiner, and The Hill once also appears to be a fabrication. -Arthur Bloom & Paul Brian, American Conservative 9/4/20

U of O PhD student's smartwatch a timely innovation in COVID fight

Azadeh Dastmalchi's search for a user-friendly blood pressure test triggered a decade-long research effort that ultimately spawned a groundbreaking wearable device and led the University of Ottawa PhD candidate to launch her own company. On Wednesday, the biomedical engineering student and budding entrepreneur earned some well-deserved time in the spotlight. -David Sali, Ottawa Business Journal 9/3/20

'We are part of the tapestry': Black Iranians launch collective

Education campaign touches on topics such as Iran's history of slavery, which was only abolished in 1929: The animated series Siyaa Zibaast (Black is Beautiful) is one of many works that will be featured by the Collective for Black Iranians, a newly launched group which focuses on amplifying representation of Black and Afro Iranians - something that is long overdue, explains the founder, Priscillia Kounkou-Hoveyda. -Behdad Mahichi 20 hours ago, Al-Jazeera 9/3/20

Over 20 Asiatic cheetahs sighted in north-central Iran

Twenty-one Asiatic cheetahs have been observed in the north-central province of Semnan since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21), Amir Abdous, head of the provincial department of environment (DOE), has announced. Emphasizing that the plan to preserve the cheetahs in Iran is to protect it in its natural habitat, he said that the success achieved in the reproduction of the endangered species in their habitat is greater than that of the captive breeding projects. 9/1/20

Interview: Composer Aida Shirazi On Music, Success And Her Iranian Upbringing

For centuries, the classical music "canon" has been dominated by European male figures. Times are changing, though, and many diverse voices are finally finding a foothold in the genre - and one need look no further than Davis. Iranian musician Aida Shirazi came to the United States four years ago to pursue a Ph.D in composition at UC Davis. Lately, she's been getting a lot of national attention not just for her music, but also for her role as a co-founder of the Iranian Female Composer's Association. -CapRadio 9/1/20

A Look Inside the Housing Crisis of Tehran

Hashem Shakeri's work Cast Out of Heaven takes a look at the largest state-funded housing plan in the history of Iran and seeks to underline the negative domino effects linked to massive population growth in new towns outside the country's capital. -PHmuseum 8/31/20

How U.S. Drove Iran and China Into Tighter Embrace

Since its Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran's foreign policy motto has been "neither East nor West," based on first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's warning to avoid dependence on outsiders. Under the pressure of U.S. measures aimed at crippling its economy, however, Iran has grown ever closer to America's principal rival, China, and vice versa. The two are said to be contemplating a 25-year strategic partnership. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 8/28/20

An Iranian-born progressive unseating a Trumpist veteran in Texas? It could happen.

Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who received a Purple Heart in the war in Afghanistan, is considered one of President Trump's most reliable surrogates. He's currently fighting for reelection against Sima Ladjevardian, an Iranian-born lawyer turned political activist who was a key adviser to Beto O'Rourke in his surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). - Jason Rezaian, Washington Post 8/27/20

Gelareh Zadeh becomes first female chair of neurosurgery at University of Toronto

Gelareh Zadeh speaks about the first time she observed a brain operation the same way one might describe discovering a precious jewel. As a medical student in the early 1990s, she recalls being mesmerized by a skillful neurosurgeon delicately working on the unruly snarl of blood vessels of an arteriovenous malformation. "It was so tantalizing," she says, explaining how the experience put her on the path to choosing it as her specialty. "Technically, it's really a beautiful field." -Wency Leung, Globe and Mail 8/26/20

'Coup 53' Tells The Story Of A 1953 Campaign By MI6 And The CIA To Oust Iran's Leader

Co-directed by Taghi Amirani and renowned film editor Walter Murch, Coup 53 tells the story of Operation Ajax, in which Britain's MI6 and the American CIA engineered the forcible removal of Mohammad Mosaddegh, Iran's elected prime minister. The shockwaves of this 1953 coup rattle our history to this day. -John Powers, NPR 8/19/20

Darak, where desert meets sea, added to Iran's National Heritage list

The coastal village of Darak in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan has recently been inscribed on the National Heritage list, CHTN reported. Located between the two important port cities of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas, Darak is one of the few places in the world where the sea and the desert meet. Darak or Darag in the local language means settling along the sea. 8/18/20

3 Designs from Iranian architects competing for Dezeen Awards 2020

Three projects by Iranian architects have been selected by the Dezeen Awards 2020 as the world's most popular and influential architecture and design competition has announced its longlist. The projects are Pardis Khaneh, the Kohan Ceram Central Office, and the Noor E Mobin Primary School, and a jury composed of Norman Foster, Joyce Wang, Michael Anastassiades and Paola Antonelli will be judging the designs. 8/13/20

It's time to end senseless, endless sanctions

Despite developing more targeted "smart sanctions" aimed primarily at group and national leaders, elongated sanctions episodes continued to wreak disastrous consequences on civilians through the present day. The Trump Administration's use of maximum pressure sanctions, which some see as targeted, plus trade sanctions on steroids, have devastated civilians in North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, thus solidifying wide acceptance that sanctions constitute economic war. -George A. Lopez, Responsible Statecraft 8/11/20



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last updated on Fri Sep 25 12:47:46 EDT 2020