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April 24 2015
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The Triple Fear of Persian Gulf Elites

- Since the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, UK, France + Germany) powers began to engage in nuclear talks with Iran, Western leaders have sought to allay the security concerns of their allies in the Gulf over a possible deal. But what often is missed is a distinction between the security of the peoples and security of the elites and regimes in the Gulf. -Eldar Mamedov 4/24/15

Has Yemen Reshaped the Middle East Geopolitical Map?

- Does anybody remember the old Cold War geopolitical concept of the "Northern Tier states?" They consisted of three countries-Turkey, Iran and Pakistan (sometimes Afghanistan) that lay along the southern border of the Soviet Union; they were perceived in the West as a potential bulwark against Soviet aggression southwards into the Middle East. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog 4/24/15

Prospect Of Iranian Nuclear Deal Stirs Hope For Detained Americans

- When Iran and the United States found some common ground at the negotiating table earlier this month, it gave Naghmeh Abedini a welcome glimmer of hope. Her husband, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012 on charges of threatening the country's national security through private religious gatherings. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 4/24/15

Iranian Expats Face Arrest upon Return to their Homeland

- The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a video today highlighting the plight of the thousands of Iranians who wish to return to their homeland, yet fear likely imprisonment upon arrival for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, art, or lifestyle. 4/24/15

The European Union, The Southern Corridor, And Turkmen Gas

- The European Union is more active lately in searching for new sources of natural gas, motivated in no small part by its rocky relations with Russia over the Kremlin's involvement in Ukraine. The EU's Southern Gas Corridor project to bring gas from the Caspian Basin to Europe is getting new attention and taking on increased importance, which can be seen in the increased contact among officials from the EU, gas exporters Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and transit countries Turkey and Georgia. -Bruce Pannier, RFE 4/24/15

Dust storms continue onslaught on Iran's western provinces

- Iran's western provinces have been suffering the impact of dust storms since Wednesday April 22, with limited visibility and disruptions to daily life being felt from Eastern and Western Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Kermanshah, to Khuzestan, Lorestan, Ilam, Chahar Mahal Bakhtiyari, and today also in Fars province and the City of Shiraz. 4/24/15

Adelson Holds Court as Kristol Blasts Corker, AIPAC

- Casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson will once again host the annual convention and ring-kissing ceremony of the Republican Jewish Coalition. It will begin Thursday night in Las Vegas with a private dinner for the RJC's board and top donors, as well as special (gentile) guests, Mitt Romney and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 4/24/15

Prominent Iranians' Views on Impact of Nuclear Agreement on Human Rights

- "Our next agreement will be on our civil rights!" was one of the slogans people chanted in Tehran only hours after a nuclear agreement was reached on April 2, during their street celebrations. During his election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly pledged to observe citizens' rights, end the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders, and release all political prisoners... 4/23/15

Tikrit: Threat or Opportunity for Iran's Regional Hegemony?

- Although Iraq's regular army, along with U.S.-led coalition aircraft, eventually restored Baghdad's control over Tikrit last week, major credit for the victory over the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) belonged to Iraq's eastern neighbor. It was the paramilitary Popular Mobilization forces (or Hashd al-Shaabi), led mostly by veteran Iranian commanders, that brought the fight to the militants. - Arash Reisinezhad 4/23/15

US Lawmakers Urge Tough Stance as Iran Nuclear Talks Resume

- House lawmakers on Wednesday called for U.S. negotiators to be tough with Iran, as talks resumed to finalize the details of a landmark framework deal aimed at curbing the scope of Tehran's nuclear programs. -Cindy Saine, VOA 4/23/15

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Iran: Right of Return Not for Everyone!

Iran Seeks China's Help to Build New Nuclear Plants - The framework nuclear deal between Iran and global powers has opened up new investment possibilities in an economy that has been stunted by international sanctions. Last week, a top Iranian atomic energy official said in addition to Russia, China will also help it build additional nuclear power plants. -William Ide, VOA 4/23/15

Iranian Media on the Nuclear Issue - Certain conservative media outlets are an important platform for Iran's security and military services such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence. These media function as tribunes for the hardline political groups close to the Iranian Supreme Leader. -Pupak Mohebali and Saeed Aganji, LobeLog 4/23/15

Moderate Iranian candidates face threats from conservative group - Ansar-e Hezbollah, the ultra-conservative group dedicated to preserving Islamic principles in Iran, has announced that if Hassan Khomeini and Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri arrive in Gorgan for a speech, they will receive the same reception that outspoken MP Ali Mortahari got in Shiraz. 4/23/15

Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran - When diplomats at the Iran talks in Switzerland pummeled Department of Energy scientists with difficult technical questions - like how to keep Iran's nuclear plants open but ensure that the country was still a year away from building a bomb - the scientists at times turned to a secret replica of Iran's nuclear facilities built deep in the forests of Tennessee. -New York Times 4/23/15

The Best Case Against the Iran Deal Has Some Holes - There's a lot wrong in Vox's interview with Michael Doran, the neoconservative Hudson Institute scholar, on diplomacy with Iran, which bears the very Vox-ish headline "This is the case against Obama's Iran deal that everyone should hear." Let's start with just one problem. -Ali Gharib 4/22/15

U.S. Warns Iran About Shipping Weapons To Yemen - President Barack Obama says the U.S. government has warned Iran against delivering weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic in the region. "We've been actually very straightforward to them," Obama said in an MSNBC interview on April 21. 4/22/15

Saudis announce end to bombing in Yemen - The Saudi-led regional coalition has announced an end to its air strikes on Yemen on Tuesday night, April 21, adding that its operations in Yemen will now focus on politics. 4/22/15

Iran Nuke Deal Would Be a Mixed Bag for Azerbaijan - A lot still has to happen before a deal to monitor Iran's nuclear program can be implemented. But if it goes through, Azerbaijan could face a diplomatic quandary. From Baku's point of view, a nuclear deal, along with a possible rapprochement between the West and Iran, would have its advantages and disadvantages. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 4/22/15

Iran: Metal wall being built around Parliament raises concerns - Iranian MPs have spoken out against the construction of a wall around the parliament building that began in March. The wall is meant as a security measure against protest gatherings. 4/22/15

More migrant boats in danger as Europe grapples with problem - As boats carrying asylum seekers continue to head for Europe despite repeated catastrophic accidents, the International Organization of Migration announced that its offices in Rome received calls on Monday April 20 about three more vessels carrying migrants in the Mediterranean that met with trouble and sought aid. 4/22/15

FIVB Volleyball Men's World League 2015: U.S. to host Iran in Los Angeles - The U.S. Men's Volleyball Team, the 2014 FIVB World League champion, will begin defense of the title in Southern California and Hoffman Estates, Ill., this summer. USA Volleyball will host Iran at the Galen Center in Los Angeles (May 30-31) 4/21/15

Iran Charges US Reporter With Spying - A U.S. reporter jailed in Iran is being charged with four crimes, including espionage. A lawyer for Jason Rezaian told The Washington Postthat Rezaian also faces charges of "conducting propaganda against the establishment" and "collaborating with hostile governments.'' 4/21/15

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off - Rising tensions over the conflict in Yemen appear to be pitting the United States against Iran in a sensitive showdown in the Gulf of Aden. Citing current instability and the need to ensure that vital shipping lanes in the area remain open, U.S. naval officials said Monday they are sending two more ships to the waters off the coast of Yemen to take part in "maritime security operations." -Aru Pande, Jeff Seldin, VOA 4/21/15

Iran Teaching Head Sent To Jail - The secretary-general of Iran's Teachers' Organization was arrested on April 20 and transferred to Tehran's Evin prison to serve a five-year sentence, Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency reported. Alireza Hashemi was sentenced to prison in 2010 for "pursuing union demands" and "meeting with relatives of jailed teachers," his deputy, Tahereh Naghiyi, told ILNA. 4/21/15

US carmakers ready to invest in Iran market: Report - Secretary-general of the Iranian Auto Parts Manufacturers Association says American carmakers have voiced their readiness to enter Iran's car market once sanctions against the country are lifted. The automobile industry is seen as Iran's biggest non-oil sector. It accounts for nearly 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). 4/21/15

Yemen and the American Impulse to Take Sides - A strong Manichean streak runs through American perceptions of the outside world. That streak involves a habit of seeing all conflict and instability in binomial terms, a presumption that one of the perceived two sides is good and the other bad, and an urge to weigh in on the presumptively good side. -Paul R. Pillar, National Interest 4/21/15

Reimagining the Middle East - Once Iran concludes a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the Middle East would be ripe for bold, creative, and courageous policy moves by the United States. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 4/21/15

Iranian-Americans: A Bridge to Understanding and Peace - On the last day of March, about a hundred distinguished Iranian-Americans gathered at the Willard, Washington, D.C.'s most storied hotel, over authentic Persian cuisine and classical music, to celebrate the arrival of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. -Jahandad Memarian, Huffington Post 4/21/15

Pars Equality Center Celebrates 5th Anniversary with the Official Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Daryabari Iranian Community Center - On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Pars Equality Center (PEC) - a Bay Area-based non-profit organization providing social and legal services to the Iranian-American community - celebrated its 5th Anniversary with the Official Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the new Daryabari Iranian Community Center, located at 1635 The Alameda in San Jose. 4/20/15

Photos: Protests grow over film of stray dogs dying in agony - The killing of stray dogs in Shiraz has triggered widespread protests across Iran and they continued today, with large groups of animal rights activists in Tehran gathering in Pardisan Park, across from the Department of the Environment. Protesters wanted the department to identify and prosecute whoever killed the dogs. 4/20/15

Where Does Hillary Stand on the Iran Agreement? - There is little indication to suggest that Hillary Clinton has chosen to oppose the deal brokered between the P5+1 and Iran. But Clinton's ties to Saban will be an important relationship to keep an eye on as she rolls out her campaign's foreign policy positions and announces her support or opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran. -Eli Clifton 4/20/15

US trade delegation studying post-sanctions Iran potentials in rare visit - Reports have emerged in the media that a delegation of American businessmen has traveled to Iran to explore the avenues for investments after the sanctions against the country are removed. 4/20/15

Khamenei: US Created 'Myth' of Iranian Nuclear Weapons - Iran's Supreme Leader lashed out at the United States on Sunday, accusing Washington of inventing the "myth" of Tehran's nuclear weapons threat. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also urged "defensive preparedness" for Iranian armed forces after a top U.S. general warned last week about military action against Tehran's nuclear sites. 4/20/15

Iran Legislation: Winners and Losers - Editor's note: As we have done recently, we are posting excerpts of the latest Legislative Round-Up of the week by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now. Readers of this blog will be particularly interested in the analysis regarding Sen. Corker's legislation on congressional oversight of any Iran deal. -Lara Friedman, LobeLog 4/20/15

Afghanistan, Iran To Work Together Against 'Macabre' IS Threat - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rohani have vowed increased cooperation between their predominantly Muslim countries to counter the threat from militant group Islamic State (IS). Ghani arrived in Tehran on April 19 for a two-day state visit, his first official trip to the neighboring country since taking office in September. 4/20/15

Divorce on the rise in Iran, marriages in decline - Iran's divorce rate has risen by five per cent, with 19 divorces being registered each hour, according to reports from the Census Organization. Ali Akbar Mahzoon, the head of the Statistics Bureau, told IRNA that in addition to the five-percent increase in divorces, there has been a 6.5-percent decline in registered marriages. 4/20/15

Iran starts testing Iraq gas pipeline - The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday that preliminary tests have been carried out over 50 kilometers of the final stretch of the pipeline which has been installed to take gas to Iran's western neighbor. 4/20/15

Obama Says Iran Bill Will Not Derail Negotiations - U.S. President Barack Obama said on April 17 he does not see proposed legislation in Congress derailing negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. Obama called the bill allowing Congress to review any deal a "reasonable compromise" that he planned to sign. 4/18/15

Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran - The Iranian trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is set to start soon, but Rezaian has yet to meet with his lawyer, and his family still does not know the exact charges against him. His brother, Ali Rezaian, told VOA's Persian service Friday that despite reports in the Iranian media that Jason has been charged with espionage, the precise indictment has not been made public. -Molly McKitterick, VOA 4/18/15

Animal-Rights Activists In Shiraz Protest Apparent Stray-Dog Killings - A group of animal-rights activists protested on April 17 in the city of Shiraz, the capital of Iran's Fars Province, against animal cruelty and abuse of stray dogs. The rare protest, in front of the building of the provincial department of environmental protection, was organized after a disturbing video emerged on social media showing four men giving stray dogs what appeared to be lethal injections. 4/18/15

Iran, Saudis on Collision Course over Yemen - Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia continued to escalate Saturday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slamming Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. "You planted the seeds of hatred in the hearts" of people in the region, said Rouhani at Iran's National Army Day ceremony, in comments directed at Saudi Arabia. "And you will see the response sooner or later," he added. 4/18/15

Open Letter from Yemen Scholars Protesting War - We write as scholars concerned with Yemen and as residents/nationals of the United Kingdom and the United States. The military attack by Saudi Arabia, backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council states (but not Oman), Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, the UK and above all the US, is into its third week of bombing and blockading Yemen. This military campaign is illegal under international law 4/18/15

Iran's Justice Minister joins call against "dirty money" in campaigns - The Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had previously expressed concerns about "dirty money" backing parliamentary candidates in the coming elections, and now Mostafa PourMohammadi has expressed disappointment that there is no strict legislation to ensure transparency in election campaign funding. 4/18/15

Story of Esther inspires new philharmonic piece - Composer Behzad Ranjbaran drew from the biblical story and the Persian mythology of his native Iran for the piece premiering Saturday at the Binghamton Philharmonic. 4/18/15

Iran Hawks Clearly Unhappy With Corker - Three days after the Obama White House surprised many of its staunchest foreign-policy supporters by lifting its veto threat over a watered-down Corker-Menendez bill, it's become quite clear that hard-line neoconservatives and their congressional allies are unhappy. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 4/18/15

Princesses of Persia: Unveiling Iran's Female Ninja 'Assassins' - Sputnik unravels the truth about Iran's all-female squad of martial artists three years after Western media published a story claiming Tehran was training ninjas to kill enemies of the Islamic Republic. 4/18/15

Official: Iran needs 500 passenger planes - Iran needs to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years to renovate its aging fleet, head of the country's aviation organization says. A number of plane manufactures have traveled to Iran over the past year, discussing possible agreements and assessing the market, Ali Reza Jahangirian said, without naming the airlines. 4/18/15

Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli's 'Heech Garden' Exhibit Mixes Old With New - It has been 39 years since Parviz Tanavoli, one of Iran's most well-known contemporary artists, held a solo exhibit in the United States. Today, the creator of "Heech" (the Persian word for naught or nothing) walks around ruminating his memories in the "garden of his naughts" at the Davis Museum in Massachusetts. -Sara Dehghan, VOA 4/17/15

Worsening Conditions for Women in Iran Begin to Draw Attention - Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran. 4/17/15

Iranian News Agency, U.S. Spokesman Spar Over Jailed Reporter - The continued detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran on security charges has led to an online spat between a Persian-speaking U.S. State Department spokesman and an Iranian news agency affiliated with the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). 4/17/15

IMF forecasts Iranian economy to grow 0.6 percent in 2015 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast the Iranian economy to grow in the years to come. In its World Economic Outlook 2015, the international creditor noted, "Growth in the Islamic Republic of Iran is projected to be 0.6 percent in 2015 and 1.3 percent in 2016, a downward revision from the October 2014 WEO." 4/17/15

Teachers' silent protests held across Iran on Thursday - Thousands of Iranian teachers gathered in silence in dozens of cities across the country in front of the ministry of education and governor's buildings on Thursday April 15. 4/17/15

Aerospace companies keen on establishing Iran footing: Official - The head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) says many aircraft manufacturers have visited the country in the past year, even before the recent Tehran-P5+1 statement in Switzerland on the Iranian nuclear program, which laid the ground for further negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear deal. 4/17/15

Putin, Netanyahu, and the S-300 Missile Sales to Iran - There have been numerous reports about how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently called Russian President Vladimir Putin to express Israeli displeasure with Moscow ending its embargo on the sale of Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. Putin reportedly responded by telling Netanyahu that these missiles are "purely defensive" and so "pose no threat to Israel." -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog 4/17/15

Obama's Triple Crown - It was only a couple years ago that I was bemoaning Obama's failure to fulfill his promise to resolve major confrontations in the world diplomatically. "Smart power," in the Obama lexicon, had largely been window dressing on the same old exercise of hard power - the widespread drone strikes, the surge in Afghanistan, the intervention in Libya, the Special Forces operations in Africa and elsewhere, the Pentagon's "pivot" to the Pacific.-John Feffer, LobeLog 4/17/15

Rugby a surprise boost for Iran's underprivileged girls - Rugby is a very rare sport in Iran, and it's even rarer for women and children. But a NGO working with girls from rough neighbourhoods has found that the sport is boosting their self-esteem in ways they hadn't predicted. -France24 4/17/15

President Rohani: Iran Not Negotiating With U.S. Congress - Iranian President Hassan Rohani says the Islamic republic is not negotiating with the U.S. Congress on a potential nuclear deal. "Our counterpart is not the U.S. Senate or the Congress, our counterpart is the group known as P5+1," Rohani said in an April 15 speech in the northern city of Rasht. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 4/16/15

Congress Learns to Compromise on Iran? - One of the most striking things about the congressional discourse about the Iran talks had been the overwrought denunciations of diplomacy by Republicans. You don 't have to look hard. Mark Kirk, the Illinois senator, takes every chance to compare diplomacy with Iran to the Munich agreement that handed the Sudetenland over to Hitler. -Ali Gharib 4/16/15

Putin: Iran's 'Flexibility' Fueled Decision to Lift S-300 Ban - Russian President Vladimir Putin says Iran's willingness to try to reach a settlement over its nuclear program was behind his decision to clear the way for the possible sale of an S-300 air defense system to Tehran. 4/16/15

Economics Will Decide the Fate of the Iran Deal - Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a terrible record in predicting the future of Iran's nuclear programme, but it's hard to argue with his suggestion that last week's accord between Iran and the P5+1 countries will "bolster Iran's economy". -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, LobeLog 4/16/15

Iran wins 'pistachio war' with US - Iran ousted the US as the leading producer of pistachio nuts last year and reclaimed the position which it has long held to its credit, an official has said. Production of the nut surpassed 235,000 tonnes thanks to satisfactory precipitations and Iran's implementation of development measures for better yield, an official with the agriculture ministry, Ali Mohseni said. 4/16/15

Israel's Netanyahu Likens Iran To Nazi Germany - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the world is "closing its eyes" toward Iran's aggressive policies in the Middle East, as it has done toward Nazi Germany. 4/16/15

US Would 'Welcome' Iran Engagement, Under Certain Circumstances - Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. would welcome broader engagement with Iran, if an Iran nuclear agreement wound up helping Iran change its approach to the region and to the world. -Pamela Dockins, VOA 4/16/15

Russia's No. 2 oil firm reopens Iran office - Russian oil company Lukoil has reopened its offices in Iran in anticipation of the removal of economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. Lukoil Deputy Vice President Ravil Maganov said the company was back in Iran, UPI reported Wednesday. 4/16/15

Two Presidents and the Ayatollah - Despite appearances, Ayatollah Khamenei and Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani are not worlds apart in their thinking on US-Iran relations. In the aftermath of announcing the parameters of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, each of the men took to the podium. -Ellie Geranmayeh 4/15/15

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Decision to Give Congress a Veto on the Iran Deal - Earlier today (April 14), Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) negotiated compromise language that makes very minimal adjustments to the earlier version of Corker's bill, S. 615, "The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015." The revised bill was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will go to the floor of the Senate and eventually the House in the coming weeks. -Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Now 4/15/15

Iran pitted against Oman in 2018 World Cup qualifiers - Team Iran avoided a difficult group in its Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in the ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday. Iran has been drawn with Oman, India, Turkmenistan and Guam in Group D. 4/15/15

Alleged Assault On Iranian Teens Stokes Anti-Arab Sentiment - Awave of public fury and anti-Arab sentiment has engulfed Iran after the alleged sexual assault of two teenage Iranian pilgrims traveling through Saudi Arabia's Jeddah airport last month. The two boys were on their way back to Iran after performing the Umrah Islamic pilgrimage when they were allegedly assaulted by Saudi officers during a security search. -Frud Bezhan, RFE 4/15/15

Iran's annual inflation rate hits 14.8%: Official - The inflation rate for the past Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20) hit 14.8 percent, the Tasnim News Agency quoted Iran's Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, as saying on Tuesday. 4/15/15

MPs grill Iranian Communications Minister on increasing internet bandwidth - Iranian Parliament was not persuaded by the Communications Minister's explanations for "increasing internet bandwith before the launch of the National Internet" and gave him a yellow card. IRNA reports that of the 195 MPs present, 99 voted against, 70 voted for and 11 abstained in response to the explanations offered by Mahmoud Vaezi. 4/15/15

Kerry Confident About Iran Nuclear Deal's Prospects - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he is confident about reaching a final nuclear agreement with Iran, after President Barack Obama pledged to sign a bill that would subject the deal to U.S. congressional review.Kerry spoke ahead of a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Germany that was expected to include discussion of the negotiations, which yielded a framework deal earlier this month. 4/15/15

Obama Administration Not Swaying US Lawmakers on Iran Deal - CAPITOL HILL- Initial Obama administration pleas that U.S. lawmakers set aside legislation giving them a say on a final Iran nuclear accord appear to be falling on mostly deaf ears in the Republican-led Congress. -Michael Bowman, VOA 4/14/15

Russia Flexes Missile Diplomacy With Iran - Russia's potential delivery of anti-aircraft S-300 missile systems to Iran has long been shrouded in controversy and contradictions. But with Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree allowing shipments of these high-precision systems to Tehran, will Moscow finally make good on these deliveries? -Carl Schreck, RFE 4/14/15

Iran's says oil output to reach pre-sanctions levels "very fast" - Iran said on Tuesday it can increase its oil production to pre-sanctions levels "very fast". Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters the country has already carried out necessary tests to increase production from its producing fields. 4/14/15

Iran beats the United States to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup - Iranian wrestlers overpowered the US squad competing on home soil to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup. Iran's wrestling team managed to beat the Americans 5-3 on Sunday at the Forum in Los Angeles to win the prestigious international title for a fourth time in a row. 4/13/15

Climate change threatening Iran's food security - Iran is facing growing warnings that its deteriorating water crisis could eventually undermine its food security. Renowned American environmental analyst Lester Brown has warned that Iran needs to revise its food security policies by taking into consideration the future impacts of environmental changes. 4/13/15

Will A Nuclear Deal Bring The U.S. And Iran Together? - "What should I wear, now that we will be hanging out with the Americans?" It's a joke that was making the rounds among Iranians after a framework nuclear deal with world powers was hammered out after lengthy negotiations in Switzerland. And it reflects the wish of many Iranians for a normalization of ties with the country their leaders have branded "the Great Satan." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 4/11/15

AIPAC's "No One Wants War" in Iran Claim Debunked - After Iran and world powers announced a framework agreement last week laying out guidelines for a final nuclear deal due by the end of June, opponents of a deal went immediately on the defensive. One group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was perhaps the most explicit. Their next-day "memo" reportedly circulated in temples over Passover, one of the many famous policy documents they release to activists framed opposition to the framework agreement as rebuttals to arguments in favor of it. -Ali Gharib 4/8/15

Fun Farsi Games App - When Leyla Pope, the creator of Fun Farsi Games, wanted to download an interactive iPhone application for her three year-old daughter to teach her Farsi she was disappointed to find games for French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish but none for Farsi. 4/8/15

Tehran Professor Decries Iran's Criticism of UN Human Rights Expert - The following is a translation of Tehran University Professor Sadegh Zibakalam's letter to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Marzieh Afkham, responding to her statements on the latest report of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. 4/8/15

Why Iran's Revolutionary Guard Supports the Nuclear Deal - With the framework of the Iran nuclear accord now in place after eight days of intensive negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, the specter of conservatives in both Iran and the United States derailing a final deal looms large. Journalists and pundits point to Iran's conservative Revolutionary Guard and paramilitary Basij organization as potential forces that could disrupt the hard work of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. -Narges Bajoghli 4/7/15

Photos: Nature Bridge in Tehran - Inaugurated in 2014, Iran's largest pedestrian bridge called "Tabiat Bridge" (Nature Bridge) has a unique structure designed by Leila Araghian. The design of this three-level, 2,000-Ton Structure pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views. 4/6/15

Israel PM sticks to 'bad deal' illusion over Iran's nuclear agreement - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again denounced a joint statement issued by Iran and the P5+1 countries in Switzerland as a "bad deal" which will endanger Tel Aviv's survival. 4/5/15

Iran: A Lesson in the Art of Building Confidence - Much of the comment on yesterday's "decisive step" towards a "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA), which will ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, has been based on the factsheet put out by the White House. -Peter Jenkins 4/4/15

This Is a Framework that Can Be Defended in Tehran - What a day it was and on sizdeh bedar no less, the thirteenth and last day of the Nowruz holidays! So, whether planned or not, for the "government of hope and prudence," the name used to distinguish Rouhani's government from the Islamic Republic's previous administrations, it was an especially auspicious day to announce an agreed framework. -Farideh Farhi 4/4/15

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: April 25 to May 16, 2015 - UCLA Film & Television Archive presents the "UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema," which will screen Saturday, April 25 - Saturday, May 16 at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village. This year's program will include works from well-known Iranian filmmakers as well as up-and-coming directors. Filmmakers Rakhshan Banietemad, Sharam Mokri, Kamran Heidari and Sepideh Farsi will attend in-person to discuss their work. 4/1/15

iBRIDGE Berlin Conference - High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges - iBRIDGE Berlin is a three-day event to be held on June 4-6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany that is organized by iBRIDGES. It will bring together European and American entrepreneurs and their counterparts in Iran to explore the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in Iran's economic development and diversification. The event will be comprised of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, as well as visits to local incubators in Berlin. 03/30/15

2015 Farhang Short Film Festival Winners Announced - Maryam Farahzadi's The Role of Each Fret (Iran) was this year's winning short film and awarded the top prize of $10,000. Commotion (Osyan) (Canada) by KAJART was the runner up and recipient of the $5,000 award. Rounding out the top three was Ali Azimi's & Arash Ashtiani's Prelude (Pishdaramad) (UK), which nabbed the $3,000 award. 03/28/15

Photos: Norouz travelers flock to the ancient ruins of Persepolis - One of the favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays is the the ancient ruins of Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid). Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE). Persepolis is situated 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. 03/28/15

Photos: Village Students in Chabahar Looking For Philanthropists To Help Their Schools - These photos are from the schools at Kamb and Tiss Koopan villages in the district of Chabahar town in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province. At the age of the internet, the students at these schools are still deprived of the basic educational facilities. With their their government having failed them, these students have now turned to philanthropists and asking for their help so their schools can meet the minimum educational standards. 02/12/15

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last updated on Fri Apr 24 14:12:09 GMT 2015