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August 17 2018
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Iran Action Group: New US Iran Policy Chief Lays Out Agenda

- The Trump administration's new special representative for Iran says his team will focus most of its work on changing Tehran's behavior on issues of nuclear weapons, terrorism and detention of Americans. Brian Hook was speaking Thursday at the State Department, where U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Hook's appointment to the role that heads a new U.S. team known as the Iran Action Group. -http://www.payvand.com/news/14/dec/1953-CIA-Coup-in-Iran-i.jpg 8/17/18

19 University Students in Iran Issued Long Prison Sentences as One More is Tried in Tehran

- At least 17 students from universities in Tehran and two others from Tabriz have been issued harsh prison sentences ranging from one to 12 years in preliminary rulings by the Revolutionary Court system for attending protests earlier this year. 8/17/18

Renowned Iranian actor Entezami dies at 94

- Ezzatollah Entezami, one of the most prominent actors of the Iranian cinema and theater, has passed away at the age of 94. Entezami was the first-ever Iranian actor to win an international award. In 1971, he received the Chicago International Film Festival's Silver Hugo for Best Actor for his debut performance in Dariush Mehrjui's acclaimed movie The Cow. 8/17/18

German firms ignore EU appeal, end Iran projects

- Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Bahn, two state-owned German companies, are following car manufacturer Daimler and mechanical engineering company Herrenknecht to withdraw from Iran because of US sanctions. The exodus flies in the face of the EU implementing a "blocking statute" which is purported to protect firms against possible fallout from breaching US sanctions on Iran. 8/17/18

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For Iranian Villagers, A Dam Uproots a Rural Way of Life

- The second-place winner of the 2018 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest depicts the upheaval that comes to a village in northern Iran when construction of a hydroelectric dam forces the resettlement of the population. -Yale Environment 360 8/17/18

Iranian Judicial Official Refuses to Lift Ban on Twitter Despite Growing Use by State Officials

- After several state officials called on President Hassan Rouhani to make Twitter accessible in Iran, a hardline judicial official has said doing so would be a "crime." In May 2018, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Education Minister Mohammad Bathaei, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, Justice Minister Alireza Avaie, Science Minister Mansour Gholami, Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Abbas Salehi, as well as two Members of Parliament (MPs), Ramezanali Sobhanifar and Mohammad Kazemi, signed a letter urging Rouhani to lift the state's ban. 8/17/18

US says ready to sanction China for buying Iran's oil

- The United States says it is prepared to impose sanctions on all countries that continue to buy Iran's oil -- including China -- after Washington starts restoring bans on the Islamic Republic's energy sector. The announcement was made on Thursday by Brian Hook, the head of US State Department's newly-established Iran Action Group, after he was asked by reporters about the group's plan for dealing with China 8/17/18

The Book of Kings: The book that defines Iranians

- Completed by Abolqasem Ferdowsi in the early 11th Century, the Shahnameh (Book of Kings) is not only a literary masterpiece, but also a book that has for centuries helped define Iran and the Iranian peoples, as well as safeguard the existence of the Persian language. -Joobin Bekhrad, BBC 8/17/18

Iran and the Doomsday Machine

- In Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "Dr. Strangelove", any mention of the Doomsday Machine was verboten. However, back in May 2018 the intrepid Pepe Escobar, who tends to ignore verboten warnings, presented some raw reality... -Daryan Rezazad, Counterpunch 8/17/18

Iran's President Rouhani Defends Caspian Sea Convention, Saying No Sell-Out

- President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members lined up on Wednesday to defend a Convention signed by the littoral states of the Caspian Sea. Responding to reports and speculations that question the possible benefits and advantages of the convention for Iran, Rouhani and his ministers tried to draw a rosy picture out of the treaty, presenting it as a "great national achievement" for the Islamic Republic. 8/16/18

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Meybod, Yazd

Meybod, Iran: Open-air museum of ancient watermills - Some 50 kilometers north of Yazd, central Iran, lies the sprawling mud-brick city of Meybod, whose tourism officials are planning to internationally promote it as the "city of watermills". Meybod seeks UNESCO status for long being a cradle of watermills and for its cultural evolution of water supply through the millennia, ISNA reported. 8/16/18

Nasrin Sotoudeh's Lawyer: "They Came After Her From Three Directions" - Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh once defended political prisoners but she is now trying to avoid becoming one herself as she wades through the complicated case Iran's judiciary has built against her. Sotoudeh was caught off guard when she was suddenly transported from her home to Evin Prison in Tehran on June 13, 2018. Later she was informed that she was detained due to a five-year prison sentence that was issued against her in absentia in 2015 by Revolutionary Court Judge Mohammad Moghiseh. 8/16/18

Iranian Minister Shocked By $250 Billion Of Import Requests - Iran's Minister of Industry, Mines and Business says, fluctuations in the local forex market in the past four months have tripled the number of applications for import licenses worth $250 billion dollar. Describing the figure as "unbelievable", Mohammad Shariatmadari has insisted that a "number of" profiteering individuals are trying to "fish in troubled waters", referring to the current currency and economic crisis. 8/16/18

Where Is Your Kid? Iranians On Social Media Target Nepotism - A newly launched social media campaign is pressuring Iranian officials to come clean about potential privileges their children enjoy due to their influence and connections. The campaign, under the hashtag #Where_is_your_kid?, follows reports of the children of Iranian politicians being promoted to top state jobs despite a lack of experience and living "luxury" lifestyles at a time when many Iranians are struggling to make ends meet due to a plunging national currency and concerns over newly reimposed U.S. sanctions that are likely to make their lives even more difficult. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/16/18

More Bad News For Iran As Afghan Water Dispute Heats Up - As Iran's domestic tensions in some regions are on the rise over water shortages and persistent drought, the country has another challenge to overcome: a dispute over transboundary waters with its South Asian neighbor, Afghanistan. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog 8/16/18

Tehran's Armenian archbishop denounces Trump's JCPOA exit - Sebouh Sarkissian, the Armenian archbishop of Tehran, has condemned Donald Trump's behavior toward Iran including his exit from the 2015 nuclear agreement that Tehran signed with the 5+1 nations, ISNA reported on Wednesday. 8/16/18

Reformism weakens as factional interests reign supreme in Iran - The lack of broad embrace of former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami's call for change signifies not just continued conservative refusal to enter "national dialogue," but also the Iranian public's increasing disregard for the pro-Reform camp. -Saeed Jalili, Al-Monitor 8/16/18

Iran Is Throwing a Tantrum but Wants a Deal - Even in its afterlife, the Iran nuclear deal continues to polarize. Those who supported the agreement proclaim loudly that Iran will never negotiate any adjustment to it, while its opponents argue U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of it will produce a better deal. -Dennis Ross, FP 8/16/18

Why the Supreme Leader Banned Direct Talks with the US - "There will be no war, nor will we negotiate with the US," the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei announced to an audience of supporters at his office on Monday, August 13. He also "confessed" to having made a mistake about the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 8/16/18

Iranians vent anger at Trump as the wheels come off their economy - While economic hardships have led to sporadic protests across Iran over the past eight months, it is far from clear that this new US approach is undermining Rouhani's comparatively moderate administration. In fact, many Iranians we spoke to -- with a government-appointed translator sometimes present -- said they blame Trump for Iran's turmoil, rather than their own officials. -CNN 8/16/18

As Currency Drops Iran Faces Shortages Of Medications - Iran's health ministry spokesman has admitted that the country is currently suffering from shortages of foreign-made medications, but, insisted that "it can be overcome". Blaming chaotic fluctuations in Iranian forex market and nosediving national currency, Iraj Harirchi says, "Since forty-fifty types of foreign medications have recently become scarce in Iran, the government has allocated $3.5 billion to purchase drugs." 8/15/18

US to blame for burning bridges with Iran: President Rouhani - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has once again dismissed Washington's offer of talks, which followed its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying the US, itself, burned its bridges for negotiations with Tehran. Currently, the Islamic Republic is holding talks with the entire world, the Iranian chief executive told a government meeting on Wednesday. Rouhani, however, said, "The US itself has acted in such a way that has destroyed the circumstances required for negotiations. It has burned its bridges." 8/15/18

Vets Unable To Save Asiatic Cheetah Cub Injured In Car Crash In Semnan, Iran - The Asiatic cheetah cub which had been injured on August 7 in a car crash on Abbasabad-Mayami road, north-central Semnan province, has lost life despite the efforts of the veterinary team at the Department of Environment, IRNA reported on Wednesday. 8/15/18

Economic Crisis In Iran Leading To Job Cuts And Inflation - Iranian Auto parts manufacturers says 450 thousand workers in this industry are likely to lose their jobs as a result of Iran's foreign currency crisis. At the same time, Iranian media report that rising prices of foodstuff and cost of housing on a daily basis make life harder for most Iranians. 8/15/18

Iranian students protest US visa slowdown - The rate at which the US government grants visas to prospective students from Iran has declined dramatically during President Donald Trump's time in office, according to US government data. And the visas that are granted take more time to arrive, according to a group of Iranian students that is petitioning the Trump administration to speed up the process. -Sara Reardon, Nature 8/15/18

Rouhani's Telecom Minister Has Not Fulfilled Most of the Nine Pledges He Made Since Starting His Post - Since Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was approved by Iran's Parliament as the minister of Information and Communications Technology on August 20, 2017, internet control, censorship and surveillance by the state have expanded significantly according to a review by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 8/15/18

UK's Quercus halts Iran solar project after US threat - UK renewables investor Quercus has halted a deal worth over half a billion euros to build and operate a 600-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Iran, the company said on Tuesday. "Following the US sanctions on Iran, we have decided to cease all activities in the country, including our 600 MW project. We will continue to monitor the situation closely," Quercus chief executive Diego Biasi was quoted as saying. 8/15/18

New Caspian Accord Resolves Some Issues, Not All - Ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the five states bordering the Caspian Sea (Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran) have been unable to reach agreement on a legal regime for the body of water--until just recently at a summit meeting of their presidents in Aqtau, Kazakhstan on August 12. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog 8/15/18

Why sanctions against Iran won't make America safer - Don't count on sanctions to drive Iran to Donald Trump's bargaining table. Bill Clinton tried that gambit 20 years go. It led to a decade of grief and misery for the Iranian people and set the world even closer to a nuclear-armed Iran. -CNN 8/15/18

Judiciary's Intensifying Crackdown on Defense Attorneys in Iran Must End - An intensifying state crackdown on human rights defenders in Iran, in which the authorities have denied attorneys the ability to represent their clients and jailed them for attempting to do so, violates Iran's domestic laws and international obligations and must end, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. 8/14/18

Will Iran Benefit from Lack of Coordination in Trump Administration's Multiple Sanctions? - If assuring the success of the economic sanctions against Iran is one of Trump administration's top foreign policy priorities then there must be a good explanation for why it is simultaneously engaging in trade wars and imposing sanctions on some of Iran's major trade partners. Does U.S. expect Turkey, Russia and China to cooperate with U.S. sanctions and cut back their economic ties with Iran while they are themselves being punished by tariffs and economic sanctions for various reasons? -Nader Habibi 8/14/18

IRAN: Khamenei Blames President Rouhani For Economic Crisis, Forbids Negotiating With U.S. - At the same time he ruled out a military confrontation with the U.S. "Recently, American officials have been talking blatantly about Iran ... they are talking about war and negotiations ... They are exaggerating about possibility of a war with Iran. There will be no war ... We have never started a war and they will not confront Iran militarily," Khamenei retorted. 8/14/18

Iran Offers Oil Discounts To Keep Asian Customers - An official at the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has told state-run news agency, IRNA, that the company was reducing its prices for September sales to Asia to their lowest level in 14 years, compared with Saudi crude. The discount has been offered at a time that the second batch of renewed US sanctions, targeting Iran's oil exports, is scheduled to be implemented on November 4. 8/14/18

Love brought him, a nation fascinated him: A lively Iran, from NYT's Tehran reporter - "Once upon a time, on a dusty road, I met a girl. It was in one of the most isolated countries in the world. Seventeen years later, I'm still here." So begins "Our Man in Tehran," an unusually personal Frontline series by New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink. The first part aired last night and it concludes tonight on PBS. 8/14/18

Tourism Projects Worth $10B Underway In Iran - Some 1,884 tourism projects valued at 430 trillion rials (nearly $10.2 billion) are underway in Iran, tourism chief Ali-Asghar Mounesan said on Sunday. Projects including construction of hotels and eco-lodges as well as projects aiming at attracting tourists are already underway and herald good days for tourism industry of the country, CHTN quoted Mounesan as saying. 8/14/18

Iran unveils new generation of precision-guided 'Mobin' missiles - Iran has unveiled a new generation of precision-guided missiles capable of striking ground and seaborne targets in surgical operations. The Fateh-e Mobin missile was showcased and entered the production line on Monday in the presence of Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami. 8/14/18

Iraq will not abide by US sanctions against Iran: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says his government will only refrain from using the dollar in transactions with Iran without complying with the full scope of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic. "Our commitment in the Iran issue is to not use the dollar currency in transaction, not abiding by the US sanctions," state television quoted the premier as telling a news conference in Baghdad on Monday. 8/14/18

Iranians Resent Caspian Deal Engineered By Russia - The leaders of Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan's signed a regional convention regarding the legal regime of the Caspian Sea during their summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan on Sunday August 12. While Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has described the summit as one of great "importance," some Iranians are worried that Iran's rights in the Caspian Sea could be compromised by the new agreement. -Radio Farda 8/14/18

Caspian Sea Countries Summit Delivers Less Than Expected - The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan met in Aqtau, Kazakhstan, on August 12 for what was supposed to be the long-awaited signing of a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. The leaders met, and signed the convention, but after more than 20 years it was clear that some of the same issues that have prevented an agreement that suited all five countries remained. -Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL 8/13/18

Iranian Film Festival, San Francisco: September 22-23, 2018 - Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran, which showcases independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians from around the world, will present 48 films at its 11th annual event September 22-23, 2018. The films range from fiction, documentary, animation, short....to music video. 8/13/18

Iran Arrests 67 People In Drive Against Financial Crime - Iran's judiciary says the authorities have arrested 67 people in a drive against financial crime as the country faces renewed U.S. sanctions and public outcry against widespread corruption. "Sixty seven suspects have been arrested, some of whom were released on bail, and more than 100 people including government employees and officials, as well as private employees and others have been given travel bans," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said in remarks carried by state television on August 12. 8/13/18

German Economy Minister: US cannot tell us with whom we can do business - Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier says the United States is in no position to tell Berlin with which countries it can do business, vowing support for companies doing business with Iran. The German minister made the remarks in an interview with Bild am Sonntagnewspaper on Sunday, emphasizing that Berlin would not let the Washington dictate its trade rules on it. 8/13/18

Iran's Guardians Council Approves Anti-Money-Laundering Measures - A top Iranian constitutional body has approved measures passed by parliament to bring the country more into line with international anti-money-laundering norms. The Guardians Council, which vets legislation passed by parliament, gave its approval to the legal amendments on combating the funding of terrorism, the body's spokesman, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted as saying by Iranian state media. 8/13/18

Iran's Long List of Grievances Against the United States - On May 8 President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be leaving the nuclear agreement that Iran signed in July 2015 with P5+1 - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany - officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Muhammad Sahimi, Antiwar 8/13/18

American sanctions bring more agony to Iran's dysfunctional economy - It took two years to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran--and a few strokes of a pen to undo it. On August 6th President Donald Trump signed an executive order restoring sanctions aimed at Iran's car industry, its trade in gold and its access to dollars, among other things. -Economist 8/13/18

Saudi Human Rights: Never An Issue For The US - No one should have been surprised by the tepid response from the U.S. government to the latest arrests of prominent activists in Saudi Arabia. It has been U.S. policy since the administration of Harry S. Truman to avoid clashing with Saudi Arabia over human rights issues. -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog 8/13/18

Trump's Sanctions Will Hurt The Wrong People In Iran - In August 2013, a group of 466 Iranian dissidents, including dozens of political prisoners, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama chastising him for his Iran policy. The unprecedented sanctions Obama had mustered against Iran, they argued, were not only debilitating the Iranian economy but suffocating Iranian civil society and prospects for peaceful democratic change within the country. - Jamal Abdi and Sina Toossi, NIAC 8/11/18

Iran's Currency Starts The Week With Another Decline Against Dollar - The Iranian currency started the new Iranian week on Saturday with another decline, trading above 10,500 rials to the dollar. This is another indication that the new foreign currency market policy of the government has failed to stop the rapid decline of the rial. 8/11/18

Iranian FM Says No Meeting With U.S. Officials Planned - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says no meetings are planned with U.S. officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Asked about the likelihood of such a such meeting, possibly on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Zarif told the semiofficial Tasnim news agency that "no such meeting is planned." 8/11/18

Iranian Football Fans Clash With Police In Tehran, Crowds Chant Opposition Slogans - Reports from Iran indicate an "intense clash" between security forces and angry fans attending a football match in Tehran on Friday. Reports from Tehran also say thousands of football fans at Tehran's Azadi Stadium chanted anti-government slogans in the course of the clash which appeared to be not politically motivated in the first place. 8/11/18

How US Sanctions Impede the Women's Movement in Iran - While the world's attention was on US President Donald Trump's Twitter war with Tehran the other week, some good news in Iran escaped notice. A group of women's rights activists arrested in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs on International Women's Day were acquitted, after initially being charged for planning and participating in a protest on the economic situation of women. -Sussan Tahmasebi, Atlantic Council 8/11/18

Neocons Concoct Threat of "Iranian Hackers" to Justify Preemptive "Counterattack" Against Iran - Recent warnings of an imminent Iranian cyberattack on the U.S. are dubious at best -- aimed at ending the U.S.' isolation through dishonest intelligence, while justifying a U.S. "preemptive counterattack" on Iran's infrastructure in a bid to further destabilize the nation. -Whitney Webb, MPN News 8/11/18

Turkish Currency Lira Plunges As Trump Piles On The Pressure - The embattled Turkish lira tumbled almost 20 percent to new record lows against the dollar on Friday as strains with the United States intensified, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defiantly proclaimed Turkey would emerge victorious in an "economic war". 8/11/18

Saudi Arabia And Iran Woo Pakistan's Khan - A populist, Khan appears to be something of an enigma when it comes to Saudi Arabia, a close ally, and Iran. Saudi Arabia likely takes heart from the fact that Khan appears to be socially a conservative. But in terms of Iran, Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the most votes in July 25 elections, has suggested that he may adopt a more independent course. -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog 8/11/18

U.S.-Iran Sanctions Give China Lead in World's Biggest Gas Field - China National Petroleum Corp. is expected to take the lead on a $5 billion project to develop Iran's share of the world's biggest gas deposit, taking over from France's Total SA, which halted operations after U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 8/11/18

A Landmark Caspian Agreement (To Be Signed On August 12) -- And What It Resolves - It has taken more than 20 years. But on August 12, the leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan will meet in the Kazakh port city of Aqtau, reportedly to sign a new convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Iran is arguably the loser under such an arrangement, as it would get only about 13 percent of the Caspian -- and the deepest and saltiest part at that. -Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL 8/10/18

Iran's State TV Must End Its Use of Families to Discredit Journalists, Dissenters - Iranian authorities should immediately stop harassing and threatening the families of activists and journalists as a means to silence dissent and criticism, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and Justice for Iran (JFI) said in a joint statement today. 8/10/18

Iran's Water Can Run Out Sooner Than Its Oil - The looming water crisis in Iran is "much more severe" than what has already been predicted, the head of Islamic Republic's Department of Environment (DoE) and deputy President, Isa Kalantari has said, warning, "There will be no water in Iran within less than fifty years". 8/10/18

IRAN: Local Authorities Say They Will Investigate Shooting Death of Protester in Karaj - A judicial investigation is underway in Iran to determine how 26-year-old shopkeeper Reza Otadi died from a bullet wound during a protest rally near Tehran on August 3, 2018, according to local officials. Iranian authorities typically blame the deaths of protesters on alleged bad actors among the protesters or suicide while pressuring the victim's family to avoid speaking publicly about the case. 8/10/18

Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad Calls On Rouhani And Others To Step Down - Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again called upon the heads of the Islamic Republic's three branches of government to step down. In a video message posted on his Telegram Channel, hardliner former President tells his "moderate" successor, Hassan Rouhani, that people do not "accept" him anymore and the continuation of his presidency will be detrimental to the country, as well as to himself. 8/10/18

Global powers condemn US sanctions against Iran and encourage businesses to ignore the Trump administration - Several global powers have decried President Donald Trump's administration for reinstating tough economic sanctions against Iran, while actively calling on businesses to ignore the White House over the coming months. -CNBC 8/10/18

Trump's Bumbling Middle East Dance - Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump wanted to change US policy toward both Israel-Palestine and Iran. When Obama arrived in the Oval Office, he brought an ambitious foreign policy plan with him. He wanted to diminish the heavy U.S. footprint in the Middle East, "pivot toward Asia," and rebuild the confidence in the United States as a sober actor on the world stage that George W. Bush had undermined with his calamitous invasion of Iraq. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog 8/10/18

Iranian coffee shop empowers disabled people, combats prejudices - In Iran, where the unemployment rate is currently 12.5 percent, work is hard to find - especially for those with disabilities. But one coffee shop in Tehran is providing new opportunities for people with down syndrome and autism. -Mohammad Nasiri, AP 8/10/18

Afghans return home in record numbers as Iran currency plunges - A record 442,344 Afghans have voluntarily returned or been deported from Iran this year as looming US sanctions -- which began to be reimposed this week -- fuelled a run on the rial and spurred inflation. -AFP 8/10/18

Iranian Currency Nosedives As New Forex Policy Seems Ineffective - Only days after the announcement of President Hassan Rouhani's new forex policy, the value of Iranian national currency rial nosedived once again on the country's open market. While the dollar surpassed 10,000 rials, the private forex market is struggling with unexpected fluctuations, specifically over the value of the dollar, reports say. 8/9/18

Iran hints trade guarantees from Europe are coming - Iran says it will in all likelihood receive the necessary trade and banking guarantees from Europe to sustain a 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States has withdrawn from and which Washington has been attempting to break up.Iran says it will in all likelihood receive the necessary trade and banking guarantees from Europe to sustain a 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States has withdrawn from and which Washington has been attempting to break up. 8/9/18

Iran's Child Protection Bill Includes Kids With Disabilities But Fails to Close Legal Loopholes - A bill in the final stages of Iran's legislative process addresses the country's legal vacuum regarding the abuse of children with disabilities but includes loopholes that put those children at risk, according to experts. 8/9/18

Iranian Minister, MPs Trade Charges of Corruption, Blackmail During Impeachment - Debates at the Iranian parliament (Majles) on Wednesday August 8 shed light on a web of alleged corruption, blackmailing, embezzlement, bribery and mishandling of public funds, Iranian press and social media activists say. 8/9/18

With 450,000 foreign nationals, Iran among top host countries for refugee students: Official - Over the past 4 decades Iran has been faced with crowds of refugees due to the wars and conflicts in the region and currently Iran is among the countries with the highest refugee population and refugee students, deputy for international affairs department of the Ministry of Education said. There are some 450,000 foreign national students studying at schools in Iran of which 420,000 are Afghan nationals, Gholamreza Karimi told in an interview with the Tehran Times and Mehr news agency. 8/9/18

Iran, Iraq, Syria to join hands against Sand and Dust Storms (SDS) - A plan on combating sand and dust storms (SDS) is scheduled to be prepared in a collaborative initiative with three countries of Iran, Iraq and Syria under the auspices of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the current Iranian calendar year (ending on March 20, 2019), head of national working group on SDS has said. 8/9/18

Can EU's Efforts Protect European Companies Dealing With Iran? - Following the re-imposition of United States' sanctions against Iran on August 7, the US has been adamant to exert its utmost pressures on Tehran to enter comprehensive negotiations with Washington, while the EU has been following measures to salvage the Iran nuclear deal US pulled out of in May. 8/9/18

What It Would Take for Iran to Talk to Trump - The problem facing Iran is not that talking to Trump is futile, but that selling the idea at home is difficult. In Tehran, rival factions openly jockey for power and influence. The nuclear deal was a victory for moderates; its demise has favored conservative hard-liners. Iran's rulers cannot afford to enter talks looking like they were duped by America in the first nuclear deal, and then bullied into negotiating for a second one. -Vali Nasr, The Atlantic 8/9/18

Chinese Car Makers Poised to Fill Gap in Iranian Market as US Sanctions Bite - China appears poised to fill the gap in Iran left by French automakers who closed their Iranian operations before the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran. The Chinese move could open yet another dispute between Washington and Beijing, adding to the acrimony between the two, which are locked in an escalating trade dispute. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA 8/9/18

French cows herded out of Iran by U.S. sanctions, Senator says - A project to export cattle to Iran from Normandy in northern France has been halted due to the United States' renewed sanctions against Tehran, a French Senator said, as Washington's policy takes its toll on its European allies. -Reuters 8/9/18

China, Russia defend trade ties with Iran after US sanctions - China and Russia have repudiated new US sanctions on Iran, pledging to maintain trade ties with Tehran after President Donald Trump warned countries against doing business with the Islamic Republic. "China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, addressing Trump's decision Monday to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. 8/8/18

Iran Hawks: Get Over Your Coup Allergy And Embrace Regime Change - Just a few months ago, Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the hawkish think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, was trying to argue that he had nothing to do with Donald Trump's decision to kill the Iran nuclear deal, and that instead, he actually wanted to save it. Of course, anyone who's been paying the least bit of attention to this issue over the years knows that's complete nonsense. -Ben Armbruster, LobeLog 8/8/18

Sanctions Buster? Iran Eyes Cryptocurrency To Blunt U.S. Deterrents - With real-world problems sparking a "death spiral" for the rial currency, Iran's government is turning toward the cyberworld to help skirt U.S. sanctions that will further tighten the economic screws on Tehran. The underlying blockchain technology used in digital currencies eliminates the need for a third party, thus allowing for transactions to be made quickly, irrevocably, and in a secure environment. 8/8/18

German Auto Giant Daimler Quits Iran, Citing U.S. Sanctions Threat - German auto giant Daimler halted its business activities in Iran hours after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to block any company operating in Iran from selling in the vast U.S. marketplace. "We have suspended our already limited activities in Iran in accordance with the applicable sanctions," a Daimler spokeswoman said on August 7. 8/8/18

Outspoken Iranian MP Demands Explanation On Judiciary's Funds - Outspoken Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi has said that a number of employees of Iran's General Inspection Organization (GIO) have been arrested for "accidentally" auditing bank accounts of the Justice Department. "The lack of transparency in the state-run departments' interaction with the people has created a rift between the nation and the ruling establishment and led to decreasing the public trust in the regime to its lowest level," Sadeghi said. 8/8/18

Sanctions on Iran are morally wrong - and they won't work - America's latest sanctions, courtesy of Donald Trump, fall on Iran this week. Iranians are braced for a massive hit to manufacturing, commodities, energy and finance, with consequences for all aspects of ordinary life. The economy is already tanking with the currency falling. Sanctions are so common a tactic now that we question their utility but rarely their morality. -Afua Hirsch, Guardian 8/8/18

Who Will Last Longer: Trump or Iran's Theocrats? - During a golfing holiday at his New Jersey resort, President Trump on Monday signed an executive order to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran. It is the second of three steps designed to force the Islamic Republic to either negotiate a new agreement to curtail its nuclear program--and halt a host of other activities--or face economic isolation. -Robin Wright, New Yorker 8/8/18

Trump Reimposes Iranian Economic Sanctions - The United States has reimposed economic sanctions on Iran that were originally put in place to pressure the country to limit its nuclear program and later lifted under a 2015 international agreement. President Donald Trump has been a frequent critic of that deal and withdrew the United States from the agreement three months ago, setting in motion the reimposition of the sanctions effective at midnight Monday. -VOA 8/7/18

Lawyer Calls on Iran's President Rouhani to Work For Human Rights Attorney Abdolfattah Soltani's Release - One of Iran's most prominent human rights lawyers, Abdolfattah Soltani, was granted furlough from Evin Prison to mourn his daughter's death on August 4, 2018. Soltani's 30-year-old daughter, Homa, had passed away on August 3 from a heart attack. Video clips posted on social media showed the moment Soltani was reunited with his remaining family at a mourning ceremony for his daughter. One clip shows Soltani breaking down into tears as he embraces his wife, Masoumeh Dehghan, who is wailing. 8/7/18

IRAN: Hardliner Body Calls For Extensive Changes in Rouhani's Cabinet - Iran's hardline-dominated Assembly of Experts has called on President Hassan Rouhani to be accountable for Iran's "chaotic economic situation," and demanded extensive overhaul of his cabinet. In Iran's worsening economic situation, hardliners have been increasingly putting the blame on Rouhani, demanding action. -Radio Farda 8/7/18

Labor Minister Says Unemployment Will Skyrocket In Iran - As the first round of reimposed U.S. sanctions against Iran takes effect, the Iranian economy is taking a beating, and Iran's leaders are expressing concern about maintaining social cohesion in the face of increasing economic pressures. Iran's Minister of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare, Ali Rabiei, has predicted the country will lose one million jobs by the end of the current Persian year on March 20, 2019. 8/7/18

Iran's president says he'll talk to Trump "right now" - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a challenge to President Donald Trump on Monday, saying the Islamic Republic would welcome talks with the US "right now." "I don't have preconditions. If the US government is willing, let's start right now," Rouhani said during an interview that aired on state television late Monday local time, just hours before the US renewed sanctions on Iran. "If there is sincerity, Iran has always welcomed dialogue and negotiations," Rouhani said. -CNN 8/7/18

Iran unveils new currency policies to strengthen rial - As the United States is preparing for the snapback of economic sanctions against Iran, the country has unveiled a much-awaited package of policies that it expects to help strengthen its national currency - the rial - which has lost nearly half of its value against the US dollar since the start of the year. 8/6/18

Iran receives 5 ATR planes from France shortly before US sanctions return - Iran has received five more ATR turboprop airplanes only a day before the return of US sanctions that have already torpedoed the country's plane purchases with other major providers. The planes that had left France's Toulouse earlier in the day landed in Tehran's International Mehrabad Airport on Sunday morning after a short stop for refueling in the northwestern city of Urmia. 8/6/18

Iranian-American woman Shabnam Lotfi running for Wisconsin's 77th District State Assembly - The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), the connected PAC of PAAIA, has announced its endorsement of Shabnam Lofti for Wisconsin's 77th District State Assembly. If elected, she would be the first Iranian American to serve in the Wisconsin Legislature. 8/6/18

She Moves The Mountain - An Interview With Katayoun Khosrowyar - How do women move mountains by themselves? Katayoun Khosrowyar is an epic poem, set against a back-drop of two nations. She is showing the world how. Born in America, to an Iranian family, she was the scrappy kid who always a had a football in hand. She once said that the ball was her barbie doll. She was already organising people into games as a child, so perhaps it was inevitable that she would end up as a manager. She is now the Iranian National Women's Team Under 19s Head Coach. -Football & The City 8/6/18

The Islamic Republic 'Not Going To Collapse', Says Former Iranian President Khatami - Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami has apologized to Iranians for "the country's current situation," however, he stressed that the Islamic Republic "is not on the verge of collapse." In a statement released on his website on Sunday August 5, Khatami said that the suggestion of the regime being on the verge of collapse is part of a psychological offensive, alluding to what the regime calls "foreign enemies". 8/6/18

Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCI-2018 - Join us for the 3rd Annual CELEBRATION OF IRANIAN CINEMA in Orange County at the University of California, Irvine September 15-16, 2018. In collaboration with the Jordan Center for Persian Studies, UCI. Special thanks to our co presenter: The UCLA Film & Televisions Archives. 8/6/18

In The Haute Seat: Glimpse Into Lifestyles Of Iran's Elite Kids Spurs Anger - A glimpse into the conspicuous "luxury" of the wedding of an Iranian ambassador's son has rekindled public criticism of the high times enjoyed by children of Iran's elite while many of the country's 82 million people face acute economic pressure. The atmosphere was already fraught before the recent emergence of the wedding of Amir Mohsen Moradian, the son of Tehran's ambassador to Denmark, and Anashid Hosseini, an Iranian fashion model and designer -- reportedly in the summer of 2017 at a salon advertised as one of the capital's "most luxurious and beautiful" venues, in the upscale Shahrak Gharb neighborhood. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/2/18

Why is MEK Group So Unpopular Among Iranians? - When the U.S. Department of State held a meeting in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed regime change in Iran with prominent Iranian opposition figures on July 22, the exiled Iranian political-militant organization Mojahedin-e Khalqm's (MEK) was not invited. This can be attributed to MEK's unpopularity, not just among ordinary Iranians but rather among Iranian dissidents and opposition figures in the United States. -Babak Taghvaee, Globe Post 8/2/18

Unrealism Risks Landing Iran In War With America - In the last several weeks, the war of words between Iran and the United States has become alarmingly acrimonious. First, President Hassan Rouhani warned Washington that war with Iran would be " the mother of all wars." In response, President Trump tweeted that, if it continued to threaten America, Iran would face consequences that few countries have faced in the course of history. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 7/31/18

Photos: Lunar eclipse at historical Persepolis - Shots of the moon eclipse were captured by IRNA photographer Reza Ghaderi beside the ancient city of Persepolis, near the city of Shiraz in southern Iran. The so-called blood moon was visible at different times in most parts of the world when the sun, earth and moon lined up perfectly, casting earth's shadow on the moon. People gathered to watch the longest eclipse of the century in Iran. 7/30/18

US Sanctions on Iran: The Moral Burden of Unintended Consequence - Thirty years ago, a U.S. navy ship shot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing 290 civilians; we are still bringing planes down with our sanctions 7/29/18

The Ugly Destination Of Trump's Iran Policy - President Trump's belligerent, all-caps tweet about Iran this past weekend is hardly a natural response to anything the Iranians have been saying or doing lately. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did make a speech on Sunday in which he stated, "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," while advising Trump that "to play with the lion's tail" would become a source of "regret." So, Rouhani was saying that he wants peace with America and that moving toward war would be a bad idea. Hardly the stuff that ordinarily would provoke a flaming riposte. -Paul Pillar 7/24/18

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last updated on Fri Aug 17 13:09:22 EDT 2018