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Photos: Ahvaz air pollution gets worse beyond measure
Air pollution in Ahvaz has grown five times worse since Tuesday's air quality registers led to school closures, forcing them remain shut. Hospital emergency rooms have reported an unprecedented rise in the number of patients arriving with respiratory problems, while the head of the Khuzestan Department of the Environment reported that they are no longer able to gauge the level of dust particles in the air, because the measurement has gone beyond the range of their equipment. - 1/31/15

Photos: Ahvaz's severe pollution a hot topic on social media
The severe pollution in Ahvaz, Iran is currently a hot subject on the social media. Ahvazi people are venting their frustration and concerns through public posts or private messages often with a satirical tone. One such message reads: "Hello, can you tell me the date and the year for today, since when I woke up there was 8 inches of dust covering me. It is my right to know how long I've been sleep." - 1/31/15

Iran's Communications Minister sees losing battle in blocking social websites
Iran's Minister of Communications says internet social networking sites cannot be blocked because the country cannot replace them. The Fars news agency reports that in a speech in Khoramshahr on Thursday January 30, Mahmoud Vaezi said: "We cannot block social networking programs because we cannot replace them." - 1/31/15

Iran government faces balancing act
The Iranian government is grappling with a steady slump in oil prices and President Hassan Rouhani is hard pressed to balance the sheet. According to new official figures, Iran's crude oil prices skidded to around $50 per barrel over the two months leading to January. That was 30% down from their value in October, the statistics released by the Central Bank of Iran show. - 1/31/15

Anger in Ahvaz over government inaction on dust pollution
Ahvaz residents took to the streets on Friday January 30 to protest the lack of any effective government action to combat the previous day's dust storm, which pushed the concentration of air particles to more than 66 times the acceptable level. - 1/31/15

New Iran Sanctions?
As usual, Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now (APN) explains and analyzes everything relevant that has happened to date on the Senate side with respect to sanctions on Iran. Following is an excerpt from her weekly Legislative Round-Up -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/31/15

Iranian film on prophet Muhammad set for premiere
As controversy swirls on how the prophet Muhammad is depicted, a multimillion-dollar biopic about his youth - Iran's most expensive and lavish film to date - is set to premiere on Sunday. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 1/31/15

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back for Iran Sanctions Bill
After a three week showdown between supporters of the nuclear negotiations with Iran and Senators bent on passing new sanctions that would upend the talks, the pro-diplomacy crowd won the day - for now. -Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 1/30/15

Iranian MP Motahari points to intensified attack on free speech
Tehran MP Ali Motahari says freedom of speech has become more strained under the Rohani administration and self-censorship has become more common in the media. He stressed that continued pressure on the Rohani administration is the chief cause of the strain on the media. - 1/30/15

Photos: Saving an injured Goshawk
Environmental guards were able to rescue and treat a goshawk which had been wounded in the Shahroud region of Iran's Semnan Province. Goshawk is a medium-large bird of prey which inhabits the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. -Mansoureh Ghalichi - 1/30/15

Iran's High Court Confirms Exile Sentences For Dervishes
The Supreme Court has upheld the sentence issued to seven dervishes by the Shiraz Revolutionary Court, according to media outlets linked to Gonabadi Dervishes. The seven dervishes have been found guilty of "enmity with God" and "corruption on earth"; three of them are sentenced to lifetime exile and the other four are to spend 28 years in exile. - 1/30/15

Event in Los Angeles: "Iranian Photography: Past and Present"
Join Kaveh Baghdadchi, photographer and editor-in-chief of (Iran's most popular photography site) for a discussion about the history of photography in Iran, from the arrival of the camera in the Royal Court to present day. - 1/30/15

Cities' waste worsens pollution in Anzali Lagoon
Industrial and residential waste and sewage from six cities has critically increased water pollution in the Anzali Lagoon in northern Iran. The Anzali Lagoon is registered as an endangered lagoon, and in 2010, Iran began a project in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to save it. - 1/30/15

The False Gospels That Threaten the Iran Nuke Talks
The interim nuclear agreement with Iran has made the world a safer place. Iran is further away from a nuclear bomb and the United States is further away from bombing Iran. But this interim deal is not sustainable. Unless the paradigm guiding the ongoing negotiations shifts, a final deal is unlikely to be reached and the gains of the interim deal will be lost. -Trita Parsi, National Interest - 1/30/15

Iran's interest in Lebanon has nothing to do with Israel
Neither Hezbollah and Iran nor Israel want an escalation on the Golan Heights, but the violent dialogue in which they are engaged could still lead to just that. -Haaretz - 1/30/15

Iranian President to Tax-Exempt Groups: Pay Up
Iran's economy has been limping badly. The U.S.-driven sanctions imposed because of Iran's nuclear program have curtailed its oil exports and cut off its banks from global financial networks. A 58 percent oil price slump since June has done damage, and the government is revising a draft budget that will lower the assumed price of oil to $40 a barrel from $72. -Bloomberg - 1/30/15

Freer and Sackler Galleries Celebrate the Persian New Year and Iranian Art Exhibitions with a Free Family Festival
The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will present its seventh annual "Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration" free family festival Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Throughout the day, visitors of all ages can learn, play and feast at a celebration encompassing both museums to mark Nowruz, the beginning of the new year of 1394 in Iran, Afghanistan and many other countries, coinciding with the first day of spring. - 1/29/15

ABC Picks up BoomGen's "Of Kings and Prophets"
The secret is finally out. We're thrilled to announce that our TV franchise based on one of the most significant stories of the ancient world, Of Kings and Prophets, has been picked up by ABC Network! -Mahyad Tousi and Reza Aslan, Founders, BoomGen Studios - 1/29/15

Iran set to cancel Geneva pact if new sanctions emerge
Iranian Parliament's national security and foreign policy commission has announced it is preparing a bill to cancel the Geneva nuclear agreement if new sanctions are imposed against Iran. - 1/29/15

Iran: Detained U.S. journalist to go on trial soon
Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist detained in Iran, will soon go on trial, the Chief Justice of Tehran has told reporters. He added that Rezaian is in contact with his family and has been visited by them. - 1/29/15

Iran: Prominent Human Rights Activist Detained and Kept from Seeing VP of German Parliament
Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi was detained by security agents for several hours as she tried to meet with the Vice President of the German Parliament, Claudia Roth, in Tehran on the afternoon of January 25, 2015, according to Saham News. She was released at midnight, after she was interrogated and threatened with imprisonment. - 1/29/15

Iran Names New UN Ambassador After Controversy Over Initial Candidate
Iran has named career diplomat Gholamali Khoshroo as its new ambassador to the United Nations. Khoshroo, a former deputy foreign minister, is currently serving as Iran's ambassador to Switzerland, according to the country's official news agency, IRNA. - 1/29/15

Khamenei Adviser Meets Putin
A top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises Khamenei on international affairs, also held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak. - 1/29/15

Netanyahu Speech Could Hurt Talks With Iran, Pelosi Warns
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's scheduled speech to the U.S. Congress in March could damage the Obama administration's attempts to broker a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons development, the senior U.S. House of Representatives Democrat said Wednesday. -Reuters - 1/29/15

Opinion: Iran Talks Give US More Options
Over the past 18 months, the U.S. and Iran - Saudi Arabia's rival -- have conducted a high-level bilateral dialogue that belies their 35-year lack of formal diplomatic relations. The near-daily negotiations that are going on now in Europe in an effort to reach a nuclear agreement are unprecedented in duration, depth and intimacy. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 1/28/15

Iranian Weekly publication "Setareh Sobh" closed after printing MP's letter
The Setareh Sobh weekly has been shut down by order of the Culture and Media Court for publishing Ali Motahari's letter to the Head of the Judiciary demanding action on the house arrest of opposition leaders. - 1/28/15

NIAC Applauds Successful Efforts to Halt Senate Sanctions Bill
Today, the chief Democratic sponsor of new Iran sanctions legislation, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), relented in his effort to pass new sanctions. He announced that he and a group of his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to the President in which they pledged to vote against new sanctions prior to March 24, the target date for a political agreement with Iran. - 1/28/15

Iran Says It Warned Israel Via U.S. Officials
Iran says it has sent a warning to Israel through U.S. officials over the recent killing of a senior paramilitary commander in an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria. Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying that Iran told Americans that Israel crossed Iran's "red lines" by killing Allahdadi. - 1/28/15

Photos: Airborne dust forces flight cancellations in Khuzestan, Iran
Flights from Abadan and Ahvaz in southwestern Iran have been cancelled due to poor visibility caused by increased dust in the air. The Tasnim News Agency reports that the head of the Khuzestan Meteorology office said: "Rainfall has declined by 30 percent compared to last year and this is one of the main reasons for dry soil all across the province and the increase in airborne dust particles." - 1/28/15

Carlos Queiroz to stay in Iran as national team's football coach
Carlos Queiroz is going to stay as Iran football coach until the end of the 2018 World Cup. Team Iran failed to advance to the 2015 Asian Cup semi-final under tutelage of the Portuguese coach, being beaten by Iraq 7-6 on penalties. - 1/28/15

Analysts on Iran: Time to Move Beyond Sanctions
Arguing that sanctions have served their purpose, and that the promise of sanctions relief is key to securing Iran's agreement to a comprehensive nuclear deal, three top foreign policy analysts were critical on Monday of congressional efforts to levy new sanctions against Tehran. In particular, they took aim at the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, which has undergone several revisions aimed at overcoming President Barack Obama's threatened veto. - Derek Davison, LobeLog - 1/28/15

Toronto MP issues apology after comments anger Iranian-Canadians
At one point, Leung is heard asking someone, "Let me ask you, if you like Iran so much, then why do you come to Canada?" He continues: "Why are you here? What are you fleeing from?" Leung's comment angered some attendees. One of them fired back: "And I can tell you, go back to China." -CTV Toronto - 1/28/15

Twitter adds Iran, Cuba and 26 other countries to location options
Twitter has implemented a change that allows users in Iran, Cuba, and 26 other countries to select their location in their account settings, an option which wasn't previously available. Iranian users, in particular, have been vocal about this issue in the past. -Mashable - 1/28/15

Let Nuclear Sanctions on Iran Serve Their Final Purpose
The kerfuffle over congressional moves to impose additional sanctions on Iran is obscuring a question that requires attention. Have the US and EU understood that the nuclear negotiations will not yield the non-proliferation measures that the US and EU need if they refuse Iran the sanctions relief that Iran needs? -Peter Jenkins - 1/27/15

US lawmakers introduce resolution against new Iran sanctions
A group of US senators have introduced a resolution against imposing more sanctions on Iran over Tehran's nuclear program amid talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group. The resolution was presented on Monday by 10 Democratic senators and an independent, who caucuses with Democrats, Reuters reported. - 1/27/15

Iranian MPs Move to Permanently Ban Journalists Connected to Shuttered Publications
A few days after the Iranian Judiciary ordered the reformist Mardom-e Emrooz newspaper banned, ultra conservative members of the Iranian Parliament are working on legislation to permanently ban journalists who have worked for reformist publications that were shut down by the authorities. The measure is meant to ensure that such journalists will not resurface and continue their work in another publication. - 1/27/15

Iran's economy can grow by over 8% if sanctions lifted: Finance Minister
Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia said on Monday that the Iranian economy can grow by over eight percent if the sanctions against the country are lifted. Achieving this goal requires making use of all economic capacities in the country, the Fars news agency quoted Tayyebnia as saying. - 1/27/15

Where Does MOSSAD Not Have Influence in Iran?
It would be very strange if the discovery of MOSSAD's penetration into the highest leadership of Lebanese Hezbollah a few days ago does not create a security-political storm in Iran. Last week, seyed Hassan Nasrallah announced that a senior Hezbollah authority had been a spy for Israel. He was talking about Mohammad Shoorbe (Shawraba), the head of Nasrallah's personal detail and the commander of Hezbollah's foreign military operations. -Farzaneh Roostaee - 1/27/15

Controversy swirls around tourists hunting rare birds in Iran
Iran's Department of the Environment denies having issued any hunting permits for rare birds to tourists from Arab countries. Ahmad Ali Keykha, the department deputy head, said on Monday January 26 that the organization has never issued any permits for foreign nationals to hunt rare birds in Iran. - 1/27/15

Bob Menendez needs to face up to his role in creating the Mideast mess
That mess stems from the actions endorsed by Menendez and several other senators whom I hereby dub "The Axis of Lunacy." The axis is bipartisan, including Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona. -Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger - 1/27/15

Looking Two Steps Ahead into Saudi Arabia's Future
Much has been written about King Abdullah's legacy and what Saudi Arabia accomplished or failed to accomplish during his reign in terms of reform and human rights. Very little has been written about the role that Muhammad bin Nayef, the newly appointed deputy to the crown prince, could play in the new Saudi Arabia under King Salman. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 1/27/15

A Portal Between Tehran and NYC: Open For Conversation
Without a doubt, the lack of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran creates a serious hurdle for Iranians and Americans to meet one another. But artists in NYC and Tehran launched a project, known as Portals, that solves that problem. - 1/25/15

Bread gets more expensive in Iran as controls loosen
Bread prices have gone up once again in Tehran and other cities as the second phase of deregulating bread prices begins. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Saturday January 24, the second phase of lifting the cap on bread prices will be implemented. - 1/25/15

Middle Eastern Turmoil and the Scaremongering on Iran
It has not been a smooth month for those who want to keep Iran in pariahdom forever and thus seek to kill any international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions bill that is the deal-killers' principal vehicle at the moment and is in the Senate banking committee has not been attracting the hoped-for Democratic co-sponsors. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/25/15

We are very close to nuclear agreement: President Rouhani
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani says the country is "very close" to clinching a deal with global powers on its nuclear program. At a Sunday meeting with visiting Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Rouhani said that Iran has been involved in satisfactory negotiations with P5+1. - 1/25/15

Allies, Lawmakers and Officials Warn Against New Iran Sanctions
Key allies, policymakers and members of Congress have recently warned about the impact that new Iran sanctions legislation would have on efforts to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. -Ryan Costello, NIAC - 1/25/15

Photos: Iran's Nature Cleaners
The 46th provincial program of Iran's Nature Cleaners took place in Toushan Village in Gorgan, with the participation of over 60 eco-friendly citizens. The organization comprises people who volunteer to clean up rubbish discarded in nature. -Mohammad Cheraghali - 1/25/15

Iranian Foreign Minister Summoned To Explain Walk With Kerry
Iranian state media reported on January 25 that parliament has summoned Foreign Minister Javid Zarif to appear and explain his recent stroll with U.S. counterpart John Kerry during nuclear negotiations in Geneva. - 1/25/15

Poet of Persia
For one with knowledge of Parviz Tanavoli's status as one of the most important and highest-grossing contemporary Iranian artists, it is difficult, to say the least, to match the man in the flesh with his grandiose reputation. -Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient - 1/25/15

Iranian school principal latest victim of violence near Pakistani border
Media sources in Iran report that a school principal was killed in Saravan in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The Entekhab website reports that unknown assailants shot and killed school principal Kamal Gomshad Zehi while he was on his way to work in the southern region of Sistan-Baluchistan. - 1/25/15

Obama's State of the Union Address and its Bearing on US/Iran Relations
When it comes to America's foreign policies, It's too bad that trying to do what's good for America is so often blocked by special interest groups and elected officials who owe their positions, hence their loyalties, to influence peddlers with different agendas. Watching the proceedings of January 21st Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on C-SPAN exemplified this tragic state of affairs. -Kam Zarrabi - 1/24/15

Female Asiatic Cheetah, 3 Cubs Sighted In Turan National Park
Head of Khar Turan National Park in Shahrud has announced the sighting of four new Asiatic Cheetahs, including a female and her three cubs. Ali Akbar Ghorbanlou told Mehr News that the frequent sightings of Asiatic cheetahs have considerably raised the hopes among environment and wildlife lovers. - 1/24/15

Iranian Acid-Attack Punishment Delayed As Physicians Refuse To Administer Sentence
In a very rare ruling, a man who threw acid on another man in Tehran about a decade ago has been sentenced to be blinded based on the Islamic eye-for-an-eye retribution law. But his punishment has been delayed as physicians have refused to administer the sentence, according to an Iranian judicial official who recently spoke to domestic media. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/24/15

Oil price rise after Saudi ruler's death is seen as temporary
Oil prices went up following the news that Malek Abdullah had passed away. Reports indicate that the rise in prices is temporary and Saudi Arabian oil policies will not change before the OPEC meeting in June. - 1/24/15

King Abdullah's Mixed Legacy
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who died early Friday morning at the age of 90 or 91, left a very mixed legacy - stability, prosperity, and widespread popularity at home, but war and crisis all around the kingdom's borders and a foreign policy in disarray. -Thomas Lippman, LobeLog - 1/24/15

U.S. is prime destination for Iran's international mail
Iranian Postal Services announced that the highest volume of outgoing mail it handles goes to the United States. IRAN reports that the head of Iranian Postal Services, Hossein Mehri, told reporters on Wednesday January 21 that the largest amount of incoming mail arrives from Germany, China and England. - 1/24/15

Iran announces record gas production
Iran said on Saturday that it has been able to produce a total of 105 million cubic meters of sweet gas per day (mcm/d) from five prioritized projects in the country's energy hub of South Pars from June 2013. - 1/24/15

Iran loses to Iraq in penalties, misses Asian Cup semis
Iranian national football team has missed the chance to play in the Asian Cup semifinals after it suffered a defeat to Iraq in the penalty shootouts. The two west Asian neighbors faced each other in Canberra Stadium on Friday in the most fascinating match of the competition that saw Iraqi eagles win the game 7-6 in the penalty shootouts. - 1/23/15

Photos: Students shave heads in sympathy with teacher diagnosed with cancer
Mohammadreza Ghaderi, a physical education teacher in an elementary school in Hamedan and a cycling champion in Iran and Asia, has recently been diagnosed with cancer. To express sympathy with their teacher, the school's students shaved their heads bald. - 1/23/15

Iranian teachers begin strike to protest wages, inadequate budget
Teachers from across Iran have begun a strike in the past two days to protest their wages as well as reports that the education ministry will only get a 14-percent budget increase in the coming year. - 1/23/15

Iran's Security Forces Block Service To Remember Republics' First PM
Security forces prevented a special commemoration service planned for the twentieth anniversary of the passing of the Islamic Republic's first prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan. Commemoration services for Bazargan were banned over the past seven years under the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bazargan passed away in Zurich in 1995 at the age of 87. - 1/23/15

Chutzpah Squared, Bibi and Boehner
As Mitchell Plitnick pointed out on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11, although now it appears that Bibi would like to put off the occasion until March 3, when AIPAC will be holding its annual policy conference and unleashing its 12,000-plus attendees on Capitol Hill. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/23/15

Saudi Arabia's Controversial Death Sentence
Last October, Saudi Arabia's Special Criminal Court sentenced Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr-a popular Shi'ite cleric and outspoken political dissident-to death. This was not an ordinary criminal trial, even considering Saudi Arabia's liberal use of capital punishment. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 1/23/15

Looking Beyond a Nuclear Agreement with Iran
After more than three decades of estrangement, the US and Iran aren't likely to quickly normalize their relationship even if-which is still a big if-they reach a nuclear deal in the coming weeks or months. The animosity and mutual distrust run too deep, according to new policy brief released by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) Friday. -David Shams - 1/22/15

Opinion: Deepening Israel-Iran Conflict Likely to Bring More Violence
Two developments this week linked to the long-running conflict between Israel and Iran are likely to generate even more violence and uncertainty at a time when threats are already multiplying from Sunni Muslim extremists. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 1/22/15

Iranian Judiciary Shuts Down Newspaper for Publishing "I am Charlie Too" Quote
Two days after the conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan demanded judicial authorities close down reformist newspaper Mardom-e Emrooz, which was only in operation for 16 days, the newspaper was shut down by orders from Branch 2 of Media Court of the Iranian Judiciary for publishing "I'm Charlie" on its front page. - 1/22/15

Iran's Hard-Liners Irked By Zarif's Geneva Stroll With Kerry
A 15-minute stroll in Switzerland with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has landed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in hot water. The two men took a stroll in downtown Geneva and along the Rhone River on January 14 as part of bilateral talks to reach a lasting deal over Iran's nuclear program. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/22/15

Latest attack in Sistan-Baluchistan kills three
A police officer and two other people were killed in an armed attack in Sistan-Baluchistan Province, the head of the province's security forces reports. Hossein Rahimi told the Fars News Agency on January 21 that police officers were called to the scene of a road accident but upon arrival the officers were shot at from the vehicle. - 1/22/15

Hills, hairpins, harmonies: On the road in Iranian Kurdistan
"Yavash, yavash," the small, gray-haired doctor says, leaning across from the passenger seat to put a hand on his friend's shoulder, imploring him to slow down the black Toyota as we approach another hairpin bend in the dusty road. -CNN - 1/22/15

Boehner, Netanyahu conspire to push war on Iran
House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next month about negotiations with Iran, a visit that would come right at the time that Congress is debating controversial bills that would tighten Iranian sanctions. -Jay Bookman, AJC - 1/22/15

Iranian Ex-Vice President Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison
Iran's Supreme Court has sentenced a former vice president to five years and three months in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 10 billion rial ($360,000). Rahimi was a top aide to Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who was president from 2005 to 2013. - 1/22/15

Iran's IRGC Warns Israel Following Air Strike That Killed Iranian Commander
The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned on January 20 that Israel should expect "devastating thunderbolts" in response to the January 18 air strike in Syria that killed an IRGC general and several members of the Lebanese Hizballah militia. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/21/15

War On Satellite Dishes: 6,000 Receivers Destroyed In Shiraz, Iran
Six thousand satellite receivers and dishes have been destroyed in a stadium in the city of Shiraz, according to reports by Iranian news agencies that posted photos of the police action, in the latest phase of Iran's ongoing war on banned satellites. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/21/15

Obama Says 'Shadow Of Crisis Has Passed'
In his annual State of the Union address on January 20, Obama said: "Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran...But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails..That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom." - 1/21/15

Iran football players warned: Don't take selfies with female fans in Australia
Iranian football players have been warned not to take selfies with female fans in Australia, as it is against the country's "moral principles." The Telegraph reported that officials in Iran have been shocked at the dress code of local Australian women, which starkly contrasts with strict Islamic-dress requirements -Mashable - 1/21/15

Iran will face no problem even with $25 oil: Finance Minister
Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia says the administration will face no problem even if oil price drops to $25 a barrel. "For the time being, predicting oil price fluctuations is not possible. So, the administration is preparing itself to deal with any probable situation," - 1/21/15

Iran asks UN for help with increasingly arid climate
The head of Iran's Department of the Environment says forecasts indicate that dry weather and a lack of precipitation in Iran will increase eleven fold by 2050. - 1/21/15

Iran, Russia agree to solve S300 missile system issue
The Iranian and Russian defense chiefs agreed on Tuesday to expand defense relations in order to resolve the issue concerning the S-300 air defense missile systems. In 2010 Russia refused to deliver the missile systems under a pressure by West. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Iran on Wednesday. - 1/21/15

Josh Block Misrepresents New Iran Sanctions Bill In SOTU Talking Points
I just received a copy of the talking points Josh Block, the head of the Israel Project, distributed to journalists and pundits ahead of tonight's State of the Union address. The talking points, which are focused exclusively on pushing Iran sanctions and attacking the Obama administration, have some...serious problems. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 1/21/15

Iran's Supreme Leader regrets prevailing discrimination in U.S.
In a message posted on his official twitter account on the occasion of the Martin Luther King Day, the Leader also marked the birthday of the prominent American civil rights activist and lamented that minorities are still treated unfairly in the United States. - 1/21/15

Theresa May accused of jeopardising Iran embassy deal
Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused by the Foreign Office of blocking attempts to reopen the British embassy in Tehran by refusing to back down on her immigration demands. Mrs May is said to be delaying progress by refusing to reopen a visa office at the embassy - a key demand by Tehran - until 4,000 Iranians are deported from Britain. -Telegraph - 1/21/15

Iranian-Swiss Woman Nominated For Oscar For Her Short Film "Parvaneh"
Iranian-Swiss film director and screenwriter Talkhon Hamzavi has been nominated for an Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards in the Short Film (Live Action) category for her work "Parvaneh" along with the producer Stefan Eichenberger. - 1/20/15

Photos: People in Varzaneh Pray For Rain
When all else fails, turn to God -- The people of the farming town of Varzaneh gathered on Friday January 16 to pray for rain. Like other countries in the region, Iran has been dealing with severe drought and water shortages in the last few years. Many farmers have lost their jobs or are on the verge of doing so. -- Will God hear the people of Varzaneh? -Hamidreza Dastjerdi - 1/20/15

Iran lauds meeting with Kerry for advancing nuclear talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told IRNA that in his meeting with U.S. State Secretary John Kerry, they discussed the details of an agreement to finalize the nuclear negotiations. - 1/20/15

Russia, Iran Sign Military Cooperation Deal
Russia and Iran have signed an agreement to expand military cooperation during Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit to Tehran. Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Dehqan, signed the document on January 20. - 1/20/15

First Iranian-made electric car "Sabrina" unveiled
Iranian carmaker Diyar Khodro has launched trial production of the electric car, which is projected to be produced in large scale in the next Iranian calendar year, starting on March 21, the Fars news agency reported. The car can travel more than 250 kilometers per charge. - 1/20/15

Why WaPo Gets the Iran Sanctions Fight Wrong
With the fight over whether to pile on more Iran sanctions heating up in D.C., the Washington Post has weighed in. It will not come as a surprise to regular readers of the editorial board that the paper is holding its usual liberal-hawk line: the editors tacitly endorse Congress's push for more pressure on Iran. -Ali Gharib - 1/20/15

Basij students in Tehran protest Charlie Hebdo cover
A group of Basij students gathered in front of the French embassy in Tehran on Monday January 19 to protest the latest Charlie Hebdo magazine cover depicting the Muslim Prophet. Protesters called for the closure of the French Embassy. - 1/20/15

Photos: Gucci shines as Iran wins group contest in Asian Cup
Iran has defeated United Arab Emirates 1-0 to win the group stage of the Asian cup Australia 2015. A late header by Reza Ghoochannejad put Carlos Queiroz's men on top of group C of the games in Brisbane on Monday. - 1/19/15

Iran Nuclear Talks End With 'Limited' Progress
Diplomats say the January 18 nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva have ended with "limited progress." Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city. - 1/19/15

AIC Statement: Menendez-Kirk Sactions Bill
While Iranian and American officials are negotiating over the nuclear issue, the US Congress is pushing for new sanctions legislation. Even before it is finalized, drafts of the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015," co-sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), are in circulation. This threat of potential new sanctions has sparked an intense public debate between Republican and pro-sanctions Democratic Senators on one side and the Obama administration on the other. -American Iranian Council - 1/19/15

Iran's Clean Air Day: Ebtekar vows no leniency for polluting industries
The Department of Environment spares no leniency for polluting industries, the department's chief Masoumeh Ebtekar said on Sunday. Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the "Clean Air Day" in Tehran on Sunday, Ebtekar also admitted that the metropolis of Tehran is still grappling with heavy air pollution. - 1/19/15

Terrorist Attacks on Charlie Hebdo
Despite all the reporting and commentary on the terrorist attacks on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, political pundits and mainstream media have failed to shed any light on some of the submerged factors that might have provoked those heinous attacks. Indeed, the simplistic and politically expedient explanations such as "incompatibility" of Islam with the modern world or "good vs. evil" have shed more heat than light on the issue. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 1/19/15

Iran's IRGC confirms killing of its general in Syria's Golan
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) confirms the killing of one of its generals in an Israeli airstrike on the occupied Golan Heights in Syria that also killed six members of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah. - 1/19/15

Tehran, Moscow ink deal to build 2 more nuclear plants in Iran: Salehi
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says Tehran and Moscow have signed an agreement for the construction of two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic, Press TV reports. - 1/19/15

A Sanity Check from London on Iran
Those who want to maintain endless tension and animosity between the United States and Iran, and who thus have been endeavoring to kill any diplomatic agreement between the two countries, are racing ahead with their latest project and will be very busy during the week ahead. That project, the AIPAC-promoted Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, will be the subject of a Senate banking committee hearing, with only anti-agreement witnesses so far announced, on Tuesday, to be followed by the committee's mark-up of the bill on Thursday. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/19/15

Photos: Rouhani unveils smuggled Iran artifacts returned from Belgium
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has opened an exhibition showcasing hundreds of ancient Iranian artifacts returned to the country from Belgium after decades of legal battles. The artifacts were displayed at the National Museum of Iran on Saturday in the presence of Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials. - 1/18/15

Iran, World Powers Hold Fresh Talks In Geneva
Iran and world powers began a new round of talks in Geneva to discuss Tehran's nuclear program. Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city on January 18. - 1/18/15

Iranian MPs lodge complaint against outspoken colleague Ali Motahari
Fifty Iranian MPs have filed a complaint with the Supervisory Board of Representatives against Ali Motahari, the outspoken Tehran representative who has been very critical of the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard with no judicial proceedings. - 1/18/15

Former Iranian leader calls on UN to promote "reconciliation"
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has issued an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General calling for immediate action to "achieve historic reconciliation" in response to growing extremism across the world. - 1/18/15

PAAIA Announces 2015 Public Policy Advisors
PAAIA is pleased to announce that Collin Anderson, Computer Scientist and Independent Researcher on Internet Freedom, Andy Halataei, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Information Technology Industry Council and former Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Randy Forbes, and Maryam Mujica, Public Policy Manager at Twitter and former communications officer for the U.S. State Department, have joined PAAIA's cadre of Public Policy Advisors. - 1/18/15

Update on Iran Sanctions Legislation
The sponsors of the latest Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions bill appear determined to move the legislation as quickly as possible, although it has yet to be formally introduced. Of course, both Obama and visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron came out strongly against any sanctions legislation during their joint press appearance at the White House Friday -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/18/15

US, Britain Oppose New Iran Sanctions
President Barack Obama is calling on the U.S. Congress to hold off slapping new sanctions on Iran, saying penalties at this point could derail nuclear negotiations and raise the risk of war. The president's warning came after two days of meetings with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. -Luis Ramirez, VOA - 1/17/15

Iranian reformists make plans for 2016 parliamentary elections
Iranian reformists gathered on Thursday January 15 to prepare for the parliamentary elections announced this week for March 2016. The Coordination Council of the Reformist Front issued a statement calling for guarantees that the elections will be free and fair. - 1/17/15

Iran Calls For 'Political Will' To Advance Nuclear Talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says "political will" is needed to make progress in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program but that he believes such progress is "possible." Zarif returned to Geneva late on January 16 following talks in Paris with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. - 1/17/15

New Iranian school policy welcomes Afghan children
Iran's Education Minister says the administration's new policy states that no Afghan child should be denied the right to education in Iran. Ali Asghar Fani told Fars News: "Our objective is to give Afghan students a chance to be educated and empowered in our schools so they can return to their countries with the best of abilities." - 1/17/15

Iran planning to lower oil price in budget to $40 a barrel: Finance Minister
The Iranian administration is planning to lower the crude oil price for the next year's budget (March 2015-March 2016) to $40, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia stated. - 1/17/15

EU, Iran hold high profile talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels on Thursday. - 1/17/15

U.S. Fails to Use Leverage on Bahrain
Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, is a key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). It is also an authoritarian island kingdom that continues to crack down on its pro-democracy opposition. The U.S. government claims to lack sufficient leverage to influence Bahrain's human rights policy. In reality, Washington is simply unwilling to use its influence for fear of compromising its military alliance. -Matar E. Matar, LobeLog - 1/17/15

Iran's Zarif To Meet Kerry In Paris
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on January 16 to discuss Tehran's nuclear program. Zarif told reporters shortly before leaving Geneva that he would meet briefly with Kerry in Paris. He said he would also meet French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to discuss bilateral and regional issues as well as extremism and Islamophobia. - 1/16/15

In defense of freedom of expression
The Wednesday edition of Charlie Hebdo (a week after the barbaric attack by two deranged terrorists on its premises) carried a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad, with a caption "Je Suis Charlie", with a tear drop on his face announcing, "all is forgiven". It is not clear who is forgiven and for what, but if it refers to the terrorists it certainly is not appropriate. -Farhang Jahanpour - 1/16/15

Deciphering Iran's Strategic Vision
With nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers set to resume on January 18 in Geneva, no breakthrough in the talks is in sight. This deadlock begs the questions: what is the logic behind Iranian foreign policy, and why do Iran's policymakers appear so intractable in the face of an unprecedented sanctions regime? -Sina Toossi - 1/16/15

"Timeloss" by Iranian theater group Mehr to go on stage in New York and Los Angeles
The Mehr Theater Group led by Iranian director and writer Amir-Reza Kuhestani will perform "Timeloss" in the American cities of New York and Los Angeles. "Timeloss", a fiery story about the passage of time, is another version of "Dance on Glass", which Kuhestani staged in 2001. - 1/16/15

Official Claims of Smart Internet Filtering Overblown, but Efforts to Monitor Iranian Users Grow
Despite recent claims by state officials that the government has developed the ability to selectively block "inappropriate and illegal" content and that smart filtering would be installed on the country's Internet gateways, and their assertion that they have already implemented such smart filtering on social networks such as Instagram, research by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran indicates that social networks continue to be blocked through traditional methods such as blocking Internet addresses and IP's. - 1/16/15

Cotton Makes Aim of Iran Sanctions Legislation Kristol Clear
As foes of a nuclear deal with Iran prepare new sanctions legislation that the Obama administration firmly opposes, Arkansas's new Republican senator, Tom Cotton, told a policy conference at the far-right Heritage Foundation Tuesday that the pending bills, which could be unveiled at any moment, are intended to sabotage the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/16/15

The Senate's Gift to ISIS: Sanctions on Iran
The Islamic State has many enemies and very few friends. But sometimes, even declared enemies of the Caliphate (or ISIS) can lend it a helping hand. That is essentially what is happening now as Senators Mark Kirk and Bob Menendez push to undermine the nuclear talks with Iran -- a key adversary of ISIS. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 1/16/15

Hard-Line Iranian Weekly Welcomes 'Blessed' Charlie Hebdo Massacre
In Iran, a weekly publication linked with Hizbullah has welcomed the recent deadly violence in France as a blessing amid silence by authorities and hard-liners who have been quick to call for tough action against a daily that featured a picture of actor George Clooney on its front page with the headline "I Am Also Charlie." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/16/15

Azmoun's goal against Qatar sends Iran through Asian Cup quarterfinals
Iran has made it two wins out of two games in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 with a sole goal from Sardar Azmoun proving enough to send Iran through to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Iran overpowered Qatar 1-0 in its second match of the competition Thursday in a hard-fought match in Sydney. - 1/15/15

US, Iran Envoys Hold Unscheduled Late-Night Meeting
GENEVA-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent all day Wednesday in Geneva talking about Iran's nuclear program with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. They held morning and afternoon sessions and an unscheduled evening meeting, for which Kerry postponed a flight to Bulgaria. A U.S. official said the talks were substantive. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 1/15/15

US Journalist Jason Rezaian Indicted by Tehran Revolutionary Court, Says Prosecutor
During a press conference today, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told reporters that the imprisoned Washington Post correspondent, Jason Rezaian, has been indicted and that his case has been forwarded to a Tehran Revolutionary Court. The Prosecutor's announcement, after 170 days of "temporary detention" of the journalist, did not include a statement about the charges Rezaian is facing. - 1/15/15

NIAC Warns Against Diplomacy-Killing Senate Sanctions
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is deeply concerned by reports that the Senate will begin considering new Iran sanctions next week and warns that passage of new Iran sanctions into law would violate the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) and dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the prospect of striking a comprehensive nuclear accord. - 1/15/15

The Origin of Islamic radical fundamentalism and its plausible eradication
Global resurgence of violent Islamic fundamentalism can only be circumvented with full comprehension and acknowledgment of what has historically gone wrong, and the educational achievements, socio-economic empowerment, indigenous political progress, and blind justice leading to equality in the Muslim countries. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 1/15/15

Video: Iranian Cartoonists and Satirists Speak Out on Charlie Hebdo
In the wake of the January 7 attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a video today, featuring nine prominent Iranian cartoonists, satirists and comedians expressing their solidarity with the victims of the attack and the defense of free speech. - 1/15/15

GOP Mega-Donor Sheldon Adelson Funds Mysterious Anti-Iran Pressure Group
Nearly one-third of anti-Iran pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran's 2013 budget came from the country's foremost Republican mega-donor, a man who invested a reported $98 million to defeat Barack Obama in the 2012 election, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson routed his $500,000 donation to UANI through his family foundation, according to tax documents. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 1/15/15

Iran denounces Charlie Hebdo's latest depiction of Prophet
Iran's Foreign Ministry has spoken out against the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo, declaring that in the West there is abuse of freedom of speech. - 1/15/15

Filmmaker asks Iranian officials to watch "A Few Cubic Meters of Love"
Filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh has asked Iranian officials to watch "", a drama on migration and love directed and produced by Afghan brothers Jamshid Mahmudi and Navid Mahmudi who have lived in Iran for the past 30 years. - 1/14/15

Islamic Reformation: The Antidote to Terrorism
The horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has once again raised the question about violence and Islam. Why is it, some ask, that so much terrorism has been committed in the name of Islam, and why do violent jihadists seek justification of their actions in their religion? -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 1/14/15

Iranian website "Khabar-on-line" rebuked for blog posting about corruption
The Iranian judiciary announced that the Khabar-on-line website has been charged with provoking public anxiety by publishing an article about corruption in the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). - 1/14/15

Third Annual Iran Web and Mobile Conference in Tehran
Founded three years ago, Iran Web and Mobile Conference is one of the biggest Tech Conferences in Iran. Held annually, it brings together internationally re-known experts and the best and brightest minds of the Iranian tech community for 2 days to discuss the global and national trends in web technologies and internet businesses. - 1/14/15

Urge Your Senator to Stop New Iran Sanctions
A group of hawkish Senators is racing to kill the Iran negotiations by passing new Iran sanctions. If they build enough support in the Senate, they will pass the sanctions with a veto-proof majority before the U.S. and Iran can reach a nuclear deal. This would "blow up" the negotiations, according to President Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice. - 1/14/15

Iranian MP complains of thwarted speech about house arrests
Two days after Parliament fell into turmoil when Tehran representative Ali Motahari took the stand to speak out against house arrests, Motahari has issued a statement condemning his treatment in Parliament. This comes as a number of MPs announced their plan to hold a demonstration against Motahari following this week's Friday Mass Prayers. - 1/14/15

Plunging oil prices cost Iran billions
The fall in the price of oil has led to a $5.2-billion decline in Iran's oil revenues. The Tasnim website reports that according to OPEC, the price of Iranian oil has fallen by $60 a barrel since last June. - 1/14/15

Sussan Deyhim Performance at UCLA: The House is Black
Sussan Deyhim, performance artist/vocalist and composer presents her latest work, inspired by the life and poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad, one of Iran's most influential feminist poets and filmmakers of the 20th Century. - 1/14/15

Netanyahu Playing Politics with Paris
Not only was Benjamin Netanyahu an uninvited guest in the arm-and-arm chain of leaders positioning themselves in front of the 3 million plus Parisians taking to the streets this weekend in anti-terror demonstrations. The Israeli Prime Minister was actually asked not to come at all. He did anyway. -Marsha B. Cohen, LobeLog - 1/14/15

GRAND HYPOCRISY: Where is Solidarity When it really Matters?
The impressive show of solidarity in Paris over the weekend was, at least in the mind of this observer, one of the greatest open exhibitions of mass hypocrisy anywhere. No, I am not in any way condoning the terrorist acts by some extremist elements against the publishers of some silly, distasteful and blatantly racist cartoons. -Kam Zarrabi - 1/13/15

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh on the State of Human Rights in Iran
Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, was jailed in Iran from 2010 to 2013 for the charge of "acting against national security". During her imprisonment, she went on several hunger strikes to force the authorities to accept her legitimate demands. - 1/13/15

Carlos Queiroz: Iranian footballers "victimized" by politics
The former Real Madrid and Portugal coach, has seen his team play only two matches since last year's World Cup. "It's been very difficult," Queiroz told AFP. "We suffer a lot to prepare friendly games and to move internationally to prepare the team and players. After the World Cup the situation is getting worse and worse. The players are victimized by the limitations of the sanctions." - 1/13/15

Iran's NPT Withdrawal Option
The risk of failure in the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program has increased after the most recent meetings in Oman and Vienna. The resolution of the key remaining points of contention-about Iran's enrichment capacity and, even more problematic, the timetable for lifting sanctions-calls for daring political decisions from both negotiating teams that run counter to the positions of their respective establishments. -Francois Nicoulaud - 1/13/15

Iran Daily Reruns Saudi 'Death' Headline After Official Warning
An Iranian daily facing a court hearing over a headline deemed offensive to Saudi Arabia has republished the same headline on its front page one day after the paper was warned by Iran's Press Supervisory Board. "News Of His Death" read the headline of the January 6 front-page story of hard-line Vatan-e Emrouz -- a derogatory, colloquial Persian expression that can be interpreted as "May I Hear News Of His Death." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/13/15

Sanctions and Symmetry in the Iran Negotiations
Notwithstanding the obvious asymmetries in soon-to-resume nuclear negotiations with Iran (it's Iran's nuclear program, not the U.S. one, that is being restricted; it's the United States, not Iran, that is sanctioning someone else's economy) the perceptual and political similarities that Americans and Iranians have brought to this encounter are striking to anyone who has been following the subject closely. -Paul R. Pillar - 1/13/15

US Envoy to UN: New Sanctions Could Torpedo Iran Nuclear Deal
NEW YORK-- It is still possible to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, but new U.S. congressional sanctions could seriously undermine prospects for an agreement and end up isolating Washington instead of Tehran, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Monday. -Reuters - 1/13/15

Iranian Parliament erupts over talk of detained opposition leaders
Iranian Parliament fell into turmoil when Ali Motahari stood up to question the house arrest of MirHosein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard, and the session was finally brought to an end by the order of the deputy speaker. - 1/12/15

Iran condemns violence in any part of the world, Rouhani tells Cypriot FM
President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran strongly condemns violence and brutality against people with any race or religion in any part of the world. He made the remarks during a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides in Tehran on Sunday. - 1/12/15

Zarif: Tehran Wants to 'Speed Up' Nuke Talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Iran and the United States will explore ways to move nuclear talks forward when their chief diplomats meet in Geneva on January 14. - 1/12/15

Rather Than Focus on Poverty and Hopelessness: Measures to Deprecate Divorce in Iran
At a meeting with senior cleric Javadi Amoli who is also the Friday imam of Ghom, a deputy minister at the ministry of youth and sports announced on Friday that, "In Iran for every five marriages there is one divorce, while in Ghom the ratio is four to one and in Tehran it is three to one. Eighty percent of people who get divorced in the country are under the age of thirty." -Niusha Saremi - 1/12/15

Asian markets see further fall in oil prices
Oil prices in Asian markets have experienced a further drop as the demand is weak and a continued oversupply puts more pressure on the prices already at their lowest in five and a half years. - 1/12/15

Statue of Amir Kabir unveiled in Tehran museum
A life-sized silicon statue of Mirza Taqi Khan Farahani (1807-1852) known as Amir Kabir, the chief minister of the Qajar king Nasser ad-Din Shah, was unveiled at the Museum of Luminaries of Tehran's Milad Tower. - 1/12/15

Photos: Iran defeats Bahrain 2-0 in AFC Cup opening match
The Iranian men's national football team has earned a hard-fought victory in the opening match at the 16th edition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in Australia, defeating the Bahraini side 2-0. - 1/11/15

Yes, Words Can Hurt You: They Just Did! An Essay on Freedom of Expression
It is a pity that the entire world doesn't subscribe to some unified code of conduct or civilizational values - some code of conduct such as the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you'd have done unto you. To be even more specific; wouldn't it be nice if the whole world subscribed to OUR codes of conduct in order to avoid disagreements and confrontations? Unfortunately that's not the way our species has evolved! -Kam Zarrabi - 1/11/15

185 Iranian Journalists Condemn Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack
One Hundred eighty-five Iranian journalists condemned the January 7, 2015 terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices in Paris, which led to the deaths of 12 individuals. "We, Iranian journalists, condemn the January 7 terrorist attack that took the lives of several journalists and citizens in Paris," said the statement. - 1/11/15

New Republican Majority Wants A Say On Obama's Iran Talks
Should U.S. President Barack Obama and Western powers reach a nuclear deal with Iran, they could face a new hurdle: a Republican Congress. Republicans are eyeing various Iran-related measures, including legislation to impose fresh sanctions should talks fail and to require congressional review of any deal. -Luke Johnson, RFE - 1/11/15

Charges against Washington Post journalist imprisoned in Iran remain a mystery
Five weeks after being charged in a Tehran court, Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist imprisoned in Iran, still does not know the exact nature of the allegations against him and remains unable to speak to a lawyer, the reporter's family said after visiting him twice last month. -Missy Ryan, Washington Post - 1/11/15

Rohani adviser touts intentions to teach minority dialects
Hassan Rohani's adviser on ethnic and religious minority affairs says the many languages in Iran are like branches of the Academy of Persian Language, stressing that the Rohani administration is determined to have Iran's local languages and literatures taught in the country's schools and universities. - 1/11/15

Iranian President Condemns Terrorism
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has condemned the deadly attacks in Paris and emphasized that Islam is a peaceful religion. Rohani said in a statement posted on his website on January 10 that "we condemn all forms of terrorism, no matter whether in Lebanon or Palestine or in Paris and the United States." - 1/10/15

US-Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Zarif, Kerry to meet on January 14
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry will meet for bilateral talks over Iran's nuclear program in Geneva on January 14, a top Iranian nuclear negotiator announced on Friday. - 1/10/15

Muslim Press Reacts To Charlie Hebdo Attack
Media in the Muslim world have published a wide variety of reactions to the deadly attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. In Iran, the morning papers offered very diverse coverage of the event. Although overall coverage was low-key compared to Western media, some newspapers covered the attack on their front pages. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 1/10/15

Make Sure Iranian Americans Are Counted- Tell the Census Bureau You Support the MENA Test
In October of 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it will test a new Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) ethnic category as part of its mid-decade research for possible inclusion in the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is now soliciting public comments in the Federal Register on the MENA category. - 1/10/15

Nicolas Maduro visits Tehran: Iran, Venezuela stress expansion of all-out relations
In a Saturday meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rohani and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in Tehran, the two sides stressed promotion of economic, political and cultural ties. - 1/10/15

Tehran Imam condemns Paris attack, partly blames West
Ahmad Khatami added however that the West should be held partly culpable in the attack, saying: "The weapons of these terrorists are provided by U.S. dollars, British pounds and the EU euros. You have reared these beasts in you own sleeves." - 1/10/15

Iran's New Drone "Homa" Makes Maiden Flight
Iran flew a new homegrown Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), dubbed Homa, suitably equipped for patrol and reconnaissance missions. Furnished with cameras for both day and night, the pilotless aircraft can send online data to a ground control station. - 1/10/15

With Iran's Ban On Hip-Hop, This Rapper's Dream Of Performing In His Family's Homeland Is In Jeopardy
For hip-hop artists of Iranian descent, like Azad Right, this is a devastating blow. Azad grew up in Los Angeles, after his parents fled from Iran in the 1980s - first landing in Turkey, then France and eventually Venice Beach - but he still has dreams of being able to perform in his native country one day. -Nadeska Alexis, MTV - 1/10/15

Charlie Hebdo: Middle East Blowback?
The recent attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left a dozen editors and cartoonists dead, has renewed concerns that blowback from the latest round of fighting in Syria and Iraq is finally reaching Europe. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 1/10/15

Tehran Visit Leaves Former U.S. Congressman 'Guardedly Optimistic'
Jim Slattery, a former congressman from Kansas, made a rare visit to Tehran last month in which he addressed a conference on extremism and held discussions with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rohani's chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandia. Slattery told RFE/RL's Golnaz Esfandiari that his visit left him guardedly optimistic about the prospects of a nuclear deal with Iran. - 1/9/15

Young Iranian Scientist's Ten-Year Sentence Upheld despite Supreme Court's Rejection of Legality of His Case
An appeals court in Tehran has upheld the ten-year prison sentence of the young scientist Omid Kokabee without regard for the earlier opinion of the Supreme Court or the reasoning set forth in their ruling on the case. - 1/9/15

Iranian Journalists Stopped From Showing Solidarity With Paris Victims
Security forces in Tehran have thwarted efforts by Iranian journalists to stage a demonstration to show solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Journalists tried to gather on January 8 near the building which had housed the Association of Iranian Journalists before it was shut down by former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's government in August 2009. - 1/9/15

Basij Chief Alludes to Rouhani as a "Fake Revolutionary"
Less than a day after Rouhani called opponents of the nuclear talks "illusionary" and his emphasis that "Our ideals are not dependent on centrifuges," a deputy IRGC the commander and the head of the para-military Basij force which operates under its command responded to these remarks and without naming Rouhani by name called him "unwise" and "fake revolutionary" who talks of "ending the struggle." -Bahram Rafiei - 1/9/15

A rebel for Iranian cinema
Kaveh Daneshmand, the artist director of the Festival of Iranian Films (FIF), started the festival in Prague when he was in his 20s and has seen it grow to a full-fledged event that since last year has a competition section and since this year's fourth edition also has screenings in Brno. -Prague Post - 1/9/15

ISIS forces were 40 km from Iranian border
The head of Iran's security forces said on Thursday January 8 that extremist forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria had advanced as close as 40 kilometres from the Iranian border near Qasr-e Shirin in the Iranian province of Kermanshah, however their advance was repelled. - 1/9/15

How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers
If there ever was doubt about the strategy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its wealthiest members are putting that issue to rest. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait stressed a dozen times in the past six weeks that the group won't curb output to halt the biggest drop in crude since 2008. -Grant Smith, Bloomberg - 1/9/15

Iran's Judiciary Blocks WhatsApp, Other Communication Apps
Iran's official IRNA news agency says the country's judiciary has ordered three personal-communication software applications to be blocked, in a move that has long been opposed by President Hassan Rohani's administration. The report says the judiciary ordered that the LINE, WhatsApp, and Tango apps all be shut down, and that the order would go into effect later on January 7. - 1/8/15

Islam not religion of extremism, violence: President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that Islam is not the religion of 'extremism and violence'. "Iran supports any Muslim group confronting violence, terrorism and occupation," he said in the 28th International Conference of Islamic Unity titled 'Unified Islamic Ummah: Challenges and Solutions" on Wednesday. - 1/8/15

Former Assyrian Church Leader and Two Christian Converts Arrested in Tehran
Iranian security agents arrested an Assyrian pastor and two Christian converts who were his guests at his Tehran residence on December 26, 2014, according to Mansour Borji, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Iranian Churches. - 1/8/15

Trading sanctions for ideals will not be accepted: Iran's Supreme Leader
TEHRAN - Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran should be immunized against sanctions and it is the only way to restrict the enemy's power. He described immunization of the country against sanctions as the "actual meaning" of the resistance economy and "the main responsibility" of the Iranian officials. - 1/8/15

Iran starts mass production of Sa'eqeh fighter jet
The spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) has announced that Iran has started mass-producing Sa'eqeh fighter jet. Sa'eqeh is an Iranian built jet fighter. It is a joint product of the IRIAF and the defense ministry. - 1/8/15

"Change is inevitable in Iran"
Nazila Fathi grew up in Tehran before and during the Iranian Revolution, and began working as a fixer for foreign journalists, including New York Times reporter Judith Miller, in the early 1990s. She went on to become the Times' longest-serving Tehran correspondent, covering the rise and fall of the reform movement under President Mohammad Khatami, and security forces' smashing of the reformist Green Movement in 2009. -Roland Elliott Brown, IranWire - 1/8/15

The Story Behind Iran's Censorship Redirect Page
Imagine you are in Iran and trying to access, a website blocked by Iranian authorities. You open up your browser and then search for the URL. But instead of being taken to the BBC's website, you arrive at a screen that looks something like this... -Masha Alimardani, PBS - 1/8/15

Iran Accuses Saudis of Oil Conspiracy
Iranian hard-liners are lashing out at Saudi Arabia, accusing it of conspiring with the West to keep oil prices low in a bid to harm the Islamic Republic's economy and pressure the country to conclude a nuclear deal with West. In retaliation, Iranian hawks are urging restive Shia Muslims in eastern Saudi Arabia to rebel against the ruling House of Saud. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 1/7/15

Analysts Weigh In On Rohani's Call For Referendums
A call by Iranian President Hassan Rohani for possible referendums on key issues and a greater say in state affairs for the Iranian people has created a debate in Iran and among Iran watchers. "As the enforcer of our constitution, I would like -- even just once -- to see conditions ripe for the implementation of a tenet of the fundamental law [the constitution] calling for major economic, social, political, and cultural issues to be put to a public referendum,"Rohani said in his January 4 speech. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/7/15

Iranian MPs convinced as Zarif clarifies nuclear policies
Zarif said the government and the negotiating team have not and will not pursue "political" and "factional" goals in the nuclear talks. He stated that "factionalizing" the foreign policy will lead to its defeat, saying pursuing "political and factional" goals at the expense of the national interests is an "unforgivable sin". - 1/7/15

New version of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam published
A new version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam has recently been published in Iran. This version has been inscribed by veteran calligrapher Abbas Akhavein based on a collection of Khayyam's quatrains, which have been compiled by Persian literature expert Mazaher Mosaffa. - 1/7/15

News Analysis: Rohani Makes His Move
After being subjected to relentless attacks by conservatives for months, Iran's president has finally dropped his soft line and lashed out at his critics. In a remarkable speech on January 4, Hassan Rohani called for taxing huge economic enterprises and conglomerates that currently are exempted from taxation but constitute close to half of Iran's economic turnover. -Mardo Soghom, RFE - 1/7/15

Three Caspian States To Hold First Joint Naval Drills
The Russian military says Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan will hold joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea for the first time this summer. A spokesman for Russia's Southern Military District, Colonel Igor Gorbul, said on January 6 that the exercises will be held in the central part of the inland sea in June and July. - 1/7/15

The Trials and Tribulations of an Iranian Fashion Model
Twenty-six-year-old Pegah Biglui has an unusual job for a woman in Iran: she is a fashion model. True, there are many dedicated models around the world. But what makes her story unusual is the fact she has chosen the profession in the Islamic Republic, a country that is obsessed with how women are perceived in the public space. -Shima Shahrabi, IranWire - 1/7/15

For Saudi Arabia, Supply and Demand Trump Geopolitics
The nearly 50-percent plunge in global oil prices since June 2014 has provoked a variety of analysis and speculation. Some see the hand of Saudi Arabia behind this drop, as part of an effort to squeeze Iran, its regional rival, at a particularly vulnerable moment. -Sara Vakhshouri - 1/7/15

Photos: The Sistan Bread
Traditional bread making is still practiced in many villages across Iran. These photos by Hamed Gholami show the bread making process by the women in Sistan and Baluchestan province, from grinding the wheat to preparing the dough and baking the bread in the mud ovens. - 1/6/15

New Optimism Over Iran Talks Tempered by Threat of Incoming Congress
The new year may have brought with it some signs of progress toward a comprehensive deal between world powers and Iran, lending credence to one of Graham Fuller's 2015 predictions for the Middle East. However, any movement toward a nuclear agreement must now contend with a potentially game-changing complication: the desire of a new and more hawkish Republican-led Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran regardless of how the talks are progressing. -Derek Davison - 1/6/15

Rare brown bear killed in road accident in Iran
A brown bear died on Friday January 2 after a road accident occurred between Ardebil and Parsabad in northwestern Iran. ISNA reports that the news was confirmed by the head of the Ardebil Department of the Environment, who said that despite the efforts of rangers, the rare animal died some hours after the collision due to the severity of its injuries. - 1/6/15

Prominent Iranian Musician Banned From Traveling Abroad
A prominent Iranian musician and composer says authorities are preventing him from traveling abroad. Majid Derakhshani told the Iranian daily Etemad on January 5 that security officials confiscated his passport at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport over the weekend while he was on his way to Dubai. Derakhshani quoted the officials as saying he was banned from leaving the country. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/6/15

Iran has marked a 40-km red zone inside Iraqi border: Commander
The commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces says Iran has marked a 40-km red zone into the Iraqi border to warn terrorists of any infiltration attempt into Iranian territories. - 1/6/15

British-Iranian publisher to establish literary award
Candle & Fog, a British-Iranian publishing house that publishes translations of Persian works, plans to honor translators of Iranian works to other languages. The Candle & Fog World Literary Award will be launched next year, Candle & Fog director Afshin Shahnetabar told the Persian service of ISNA on Monday. - 1/6/15

Political Islam and US Policy in 2015
This year Arab political Islam will be greatly influenced by US regional policy, as it has been since the Obama administration came into office six years ago. Indeed, as the US standing in the region rose with Mr. Obama's presidency beginning in January 2009, so did the fortunes of Arab political Islam. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 1/6/15

How Iran Can Escape Its Nuclear Deadlock with the U.S.
PARIS -- The nuclear deadlock between Iran and the U.S., from the Iranian side, is a result of multiple deadlocks in which the regime has trapped itself. One is the consumerist nature of the Iranian economy, which is based on exporting Iran's natural resources and importing goods... -Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, Huffington Post - 1/6/15

President Rouhani Urges End to Iran's Isolation
"We want a sustainable, comprehensive and continued development. It is not possible to say we want economic development but want to be politically restrictive," said Rouhani, speaking at Iran's first National Economy Conference in Tehran. - 1/5/15

Iran's Women's Affairs Chief Feels Powerless To Act
Shahindokht Molaverdi, the head of women's and family affairs, told the eighth meeting of women's affairs advisors and executives that she feels she is completely blocked from taking any action in her governmental capacity. - 1/5/15

Winners of 9th National Biennial of Persian Painting announced
The participants competed in the five categories of illumination, tash'ir, a form of simple illumination decorated with tiny disordered patterns, gol-o-morgh, a unique style of Persian painting featuring bird and floral motifs in different colors, drawing and Persian painting. - 1/5/15

Iran: Guardian Council votes down law for volunteer morality enforcers
The Guardian Council has voted against new legislation that supports plainclothes volunteers acting as morality enforcers, saying it contradicts provisions of the constitution. The legislation proposes to give legal support to the volunteers, who have been operating mostly under the guidance of Basij forces, and it had been approved by Parliament with a vote of 156 to 23. - 1/5/15

Iran oil dependency under 30% in new draft budget
Iran expects to slash its dependency on oil revenues to all-time lows, the country's vice-president for scientific and technological affairs says. Iran is faced with an unprecedented downfall in the prices of oil at the international markets which, accompanied by West's sanctions on Iran's oil exports, could further shrink the country's actual earnings. - 1/5/15

Tehran to host first Italian exclusive exhibit
he First exclusive exhibition of Italian companies in Iran will open today at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds. The event, which is the first exclusive exhibition of a European country in Iran, will host over 50 Italian companies - 1/5/15

Graham Fuller's Five Middle East Predictions for 2015
2. The role of Iran as an actor in the region will grow. Despite all the hurdles, I feel optimistic about US negotiations with Iran. Both parties desperately need success in this regard. Normalization is ludicrously long overdue and necessary to the regional order. -LobeLog - 1/5/15

Iran's Rohani Says International Isolation Harming Economy
During a televised speech to leading economists on January 4, Hassan Rohani said "we can't have sustainable growth while we are isolated." He also called for reduced state involvement in the economy and greater transparency in order to end Iran's international isolation. - 1/4/15

Iran-China trade hits $47.5B in 11 months
Trade between Iran and China amounted to $47.5 billion from January to November 2014, a 36 percent rise year on year, according to the Chinese General Administration of Customs. - 1/4/15

Iran rejects report of nuclear deal with P5+1
Iran has rejected a Western media report that it has reached a nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of world powers to ship an enriched uranium stockpile to Russia. "No agreement has been reached yet on any of the issues [being discussed] during nuclear talks" between the Islamic Republic and six world powers, said Iran's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, on Saturday. - 1/4/15

Justice Minister warns against trial for Iranian opposition leaders
Since February 2011, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi (candidates in June 2009 Presidentail Elections), as well as Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, have been under house arrest, completely cut off from the outside world. - 1/4/15

Iran closes down 17 satellite channel offices
The Islamic Republic has closed down the offices of 17 foreign-based satellite channels for their attempts to "create division" in the country, a senior Iranian intelligence official says. The channels were producing programs aimed at creating sectarian rifts and "intensifying division in the Muslim World to damage the image of Shiism," - 1/4/15

Guardians Council Rejects Controversial New Iran Hijab Law
An Iranian draft law giving more powers to police to enforce women's compulsory wearing of the hijab has been ruled unconstitutional. Iranian state media reported January 3 that the powerful Guardians Council, a 12-member group that examines legislation, rejected the draft law. - 1/3/15

Iranian Activist Jailed Without Charges Demands Her Freedom
Mahdieh Golroo, the Iranian student and women's rights activist currently jailed in Evin Prison, has refused to accept any belongings from her family and demanded her release. - 1/3/15

'Saudi Arabia enjoying perfect storm in oil market': Analyst
Oil prices have plunged about 50 percent since June on mounting supplies by certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC), and lackluster global economic growth. - 1/3/15

Rohani deputy slams former administration over oil revenues
Eshagh Jahangiri, the chief deputy to President to Hassan Rohani, says Iranian economy was " at the bottom of the pit" when the new administration took over, but they have managed to "lift it ten steps" closer to the top. - 1/3/15

Photos: Parasailing in Kish Island
Kish Island lies like a pearl across the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf and offers relaxation combined with adventure in a place unspoiled by commercialization. Jet-skiing, sailing, fishing, parasailing, reef walking, coral viewing, boating and water skiing are just a few popular ways to enjoy yourself during your visit to the Island. - 1/2/15

Iran is no Cuba
President Barack Obama's move towards normalization of relations with Cuba has generated lots of hope and analyses that a similar development may take place with Iran. Jim Lobe, founder of the Lobe Log and Washington Bureau Chief of the Inter Press Service, is one such observer. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 1/2/15

Youth hit hard as unemployment rises in Iran
Iran's Census Bureau reports that unemployment rose to 10.5 percent in the fall of 2014, which marks a one-percent increase compared to the summer and a two-percent rise compared to fall of last year. - 1/2/15

Architectural design for mausoleum of Shams of Tabriz unveiled
The architectural design for the mausoleum of Shams of Tabriz was unveiled during a ceremony on Wednesday in Khoy, which is home to the mausoleum of the tutor of the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi. The design was created by the acclaimed Iranian architect Nader Ardalan who is a senior research associate at Harvard University. - 1/2/15

Iranian Official Urges Saudis To Act To Stop Oil Price Slide
An Iranian Foreign Ministry official says falling oil prices will hurt Middle Eastern countries and Saudi Arabia's decision not to reduce production is a mistake. World oil prices ended 2014 at a 5 1/2-year low, with the price for a barrel of oil decreasing nearly 50 percent since June. - 1/2/15

Iran-Turkey preferential trade agreement takes effect
The preferential trade agreement, which was signed last year between Iran and Turkey, goes into force on January 1, 2015. Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammadreza Nematzadeh and Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci endorsed the agreement in a ceremony in Tehran on Wednesday. - 1/2/15

Lower Oil Prices Will Not Turn Producers into Pushovers
The steep drop in the price of oil during the latter half of 2014 has generated much comment about how this development has weakened major oil-producing countries and supposedly made their governments more pliable on issues that separate them from other countries. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/2/15

Video: Celebrating the New Year Around the World
People around the world welcomed the New Year with fireworks, glitter, song and dance, and well-wishing. At least for this day, the world seemed to have one unique goal - to join in celebration, although it was subdued in Indonesia, where people mourned those killed in this week's AirAsia plane crash. Zlatica Hoke reports that world leaders took the opportunity to broadcast messages of peace. - 1/1/15

Two Endangered Persian Leopards Die Within 10 Days
In less than ten days, two dead leopards have been found in east and west of Golestan province. The leopards are believed by Department of Environment experts to having died of hunger; they further speculate that the motorway crossing the national park would also play a role in the deadly incident. - 1/1/15

New burials discovered in Burnt City (Shahr-e Sukhteh)
A team of archaeologists has discovered new burials in the 5200-year-old Burnt City (Shahr-e Sukhteh) in southeastern Iran. During a new season of excavation at the cemetery of the ancient site, the team has unearthed a skeleton of woman, who died between the ages of 28 and 30, buried with her child and a marble goblet - 1/1/15

Iranian Judiciary Calls Opposition House Arrests Constitutional
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani head of Iran's judiciary says the house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi are not unconstitutional and can be described as being in accordance with the rights of the National Security Supreme Council in Article 176 of the constitution. - 1/1/15

Iran, U.S. Deny Prisoner Swap Report
The United States and Iran have both denied reports that Washington proposed a prisoner swap for a former U.S. marine jailed in Iran.​ - 1/1/15

Iran Condemns Latest U.S. Sanctions
Iran has strongly condemned the latest round of U.S. sanctions that was announced by Washington on December 30. U.S. Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said on December 30 that the move was part of efforts to enforce the existing sanction regime. He said Washington does not support imposing new nuclear-related sanctions. - 1/1/15

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