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Detained British Iranian's Husband Appeals to Rouhani at London Vigil
British human rights activists have held a vigil outside the Iranian embassy in London to appeal to Iran's president to free a British Iranian woman detained for nine months on unspecified security charges. Richard Ratcliffe, husband of detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, spoke to VOA's Persian service from the scene of Monday's vigil, saying he wrote a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appealing for the release. -Michael Lipin & Hooman Bakhtiar - 1/17/17

The Death of Rafsanjani in Iran
Based on my own observations over the years here are a few comments that seem worth adding to the flood of commentary. First, Rafsanjani was truly a pragmatist. He seemed to believe genuinely that Iran's revolutionary system would survive only if it engaged with the outside world. There was never any doubt about his devotion to the system that he had done so much to shape. But he was willing to go beyond stale dogma in pursuit of rescuing a system that he recognized was performing very badly. -Gary Sick - 1/17/17

EU Diplomat Says Bloc Will Stand By Iran Nuclear Deal
The European Union head of foreign affairs says the EU will stand by the nuclear agreement with Iran, setting up a potential conflict with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has condemned the deal. Federica Mogherini on January 16 insisted that the accord serves Europe's security needs and is "proof that diplomacy works and delivers." - 1/17/17

President Rohani Dismisses Trump's Criticism Of Nuclear Deal, Says Iran Won't Renegotiate
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has dismissed criticism from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump about Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers, vowing that Iran will not renegotiate the agreement that came into effect a year ago. - 1/17/17

Bahrain and "Iranian-Backed Terrorism"
In its just-published 2017 World Report, Human Rights Watch warned against the Bahrain regime's "accelerated repression" of peaceful activists and the continued detention and prosecution of human rights protesters. The report called on the government of Bahrain to "reinvigorate a stalled process of political reform by reversing the dissolution of al-Wifaq, releasing high-profile political detainees, and ending its harassment of activists." -Emile Nakhleh - 1/17/17

Will Trump Shred the Iran Nuclear Deal?
Stack up the op-eds and essays on the disasters that await the world once Donald Trump moves into the White House and you'll have a long list of dismaying scenarios. One that makes the lineups of most pundits involves a crisis with Iran. -Rajan Menon, LobeLog - 1/17/17

Grad student hopes to break misconceptions of Iran with travel memoir
Shawndeez Jadalizadeh embarked on a four-month solo journey through her home country, which she had never visted before, in the spring of 2015. "I was slightly terrified, but I put aside my fears and fantasies to enjoy the present, to enjoy Iran," wrote Shawndeez, a graduate student in gender studies, in a memoir about her travels. -Lauret Scott, Daily Bruin - 1/17/17

PROFILES: Iranian woman motorcycle racer Baran Hadizadeh
Up at the crack of dawn Baran Hadizadeh starts her day of motocross practice, a routine she goes for three times a week. Motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits. Taking her heavyweight motorbike in tow, she drives to the racing track in Hashtgerd, outskirt of Tehran, to live her dream, one day at a time. -Marjan Golpira - 1/16/17

Iranian Air Defense Forces fire at drone in central Tehran
"This afternoon, a quadcopter that was approaching the no-fly zone in Tehran from the Valiasr Square district was identified," an official with Iran's Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base told Tasnim news agency on Monday. He added that it was as of yet unclear who owned the drone. "But, because the drone had approached the no-fly zone region, it was shot at with the timely vigilance of the Army's Air Defense Base," the official said. - 1/16/17

Iranian President Scrambles To Sell Nuclear Deal As A Win For Tehran
Iranian President Hassan Rohani was riding a wave of optimism one year ago. The long-negotiated nuclear deal with world powers he had sold to Iranians as an end to their economic woes was finally being implemented. But as the first anniversary of implementation day approaches on January 16, Rohani has been saddled by the high expectations he set, as Iran's economy continues to struggle and the great boost in foreign investment and other benefits he envisioned has so far failed to materialize. -Frud Bezhan - 1/16/17

Local Bay Area Attorney Wins District Delegate Seat By Two Votes
The recent Presidential election was a wake-up call for Nima Rahimi, a deputy district attorney and San Francisco resident. He saw plainly the consequences of political disengagement. So he decided to take matters into his own hands. -Pouya Parsian, NIAC Action - 1/16/17

Women to take center stage at Iran's 35th Fajr Film Festival
Iran is getting ready to host the 35th edition of its most prestigious cultural event in February, this time showcasing works by women filmmakers and films on women's issues more than ever before. One reason for this new trend may be that cineastes have become more sensitive toward women's issues in the society and it remains to be seen if the films will be successful in reaching their objective, which is to leave a positive impact on various levels of society and find solutions to the current problems that women are facing. - 1/16/17

IAEA confirms Iran's removal of excess centrifuges from Fordo nuclear facility
The UN nuclear agency confirms that Iran has removed "excess centrifuges and infrastructure" from the Fordo enrichment facility in line with its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement. "Iran has carried out these steps within the timeframe stipulated under the JCPOA," the IAEA chief said. - 1/16/17

Iran Says Nuclear Deal Will Not Be Renegotiated
The landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers "will not be renegotiated," Iran's deputy foreign minister said on January 15, ahead of the first anniversary of the agreement's implementation. Abbas Araghchi told reporters in Tehran that "the new U.S. administration cannot abandon the deal," saying international laws required Washington to implement the agreement. - 1/16/17

Iranian Women Arrested for Riding Motorcycle; Video Fuels Backlash
Iranian police have arrested two women for riding a motorcycle in a western city - an incident that went viral when images appeared online and sparked a social-media backlash against the country's political and religious authorities. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 1/14/17

PHOTOS: The 1st Tehran Jewelry Exhibition of Contemporary Art
The 1st Tehran jewelry Exhibition of Contemporary Art opened in Aria gallery on January 6 and will run until January 24. - 1/14/17

Tehran Prosecutor Goes on the Defensive Over Hunger-Striking Political Prisoners
In an apparent response to growing pressure to resolve the issue, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi has criticized media coverage of a wave of hunger strikes in Iran by political prisoners, as well as the request by a conservative member of Parliament for the Judiciary to review the case of Ali Shariati. - 1/14/17

President Obama Renews Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran For One Year
In an executive order late January 13, Obama renewed the non-nuclear sanctions but affirmed the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions that occurred a year ago, saying Iran's 2015 nuclear accord with world powers has been successful. - 1/14/17

Iran to receive 130 tons of uranium: Atomic Energy Organization Official
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the country is soon to receive as much as 130 tons of uranium from abroad. The Joint Commission monitoring the implementation of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries approved the purchase on the part of the Islamic Republic during a meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Wednesday. - 1/14/17

Supporter of Persecuted Spiritual Leader Arrested at Tehran International Airport
Masoumeh (Pegah) Zia, a follower of imprisoned spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri, was arrested on January 6, 2017 at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport by an unknown security agency after returning to Iran from a trip to Turkey. She is currently being held in Evin Prison, but her family has been struggling to confirm who abducted her and what she has been charged with. - 1/14/17

Iran sees Pompeo, Mattis wiser than most American politicians: Expediency Council Secretary
The secretary of Iran's Expediency Council has said Iran is not concerned about Donald Trump's picks to lead the Pentagon and CIA, as they are "wiser than most American politicians." "Mike Pompeo and James Mattis, the famous American generals who are going to lead the CIA and Defense Department respectively, are two of the most important and sensitive faces among Trump's cabinet picks," said Mohsen Rezaei in an Instagram post on Friday. - 1/14/17

Could the world's most expensive spice help farmers in Vermont?
Small farmers in the US state of Vermont are concerned traditional business won't sustain their farms, but see potential in an unlikely and very expensive spice. The snow-covered plains of Vermont are one of the last places you'd think saffron would grow. -Shirin Jaafari, BBC - 1/14/17

PHOTOS: 'Historic Day' as Iran's first Airbus jet lands in Tehran
The first of 100 planes that Iran is expected to receive through a landmark deal with the European aviation giant Airbus has landed in the country's capital Tehran. The arrival of the plane - Iran's first new aircraft in about four decades - was marked by a special ceremony to celebrate what is seen as a historic day in the country's aviation industry. - 1/13/17

IMVBox: A whole new world of Iranian movies at your fingertips
IMVBox.com is the world's leading online distributor of high-quality Iranian cinema. Its Video On Demand service houses the largest legally-assembled library of Iranian feature films, documentaries, TV shows and short films. Thousands of hours of content all easily accessible across multiple devices, all offering a high-quality playback experience. The platform uses a subscription-based model that requires members to pay either a monthly or annual fee. One month of premimum subscription free of charge for payvand.com visitors! - 1/13/17

Iranian-Swedish Disaster Medicine Expert Held in Iran Jail for Nine Months, on Hunger Strike Since December 25
In yet another case of a foreign resident or dual national from a western country grabbed and imprisoned in Iran without access to a lawyer or any other aspect of due process, Iranian-born Swedish resident and expert in emergency disaster medicine Ahmadreza Jalali has been held in Evin Prison for almost nine months. He is now approaching three weeks on hunger strike in protest against his detainment. - 1/13/17

Iranian Activist Saeed Shirzad on Hunger Strike Against Poor Prison Conditions Hospitalized
Imprisoned civil rights activist Saeed Shirzad, who was on hunger strike for more than a month at Rajaee Shahr Prison, was rushed to Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran on January 12, 2017 after his blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels, an informed source told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 1/13/17

The Bride's Side
Separate celebrations for women and men mean twice the business for Iran's growing wedding industry. -Tacita Vero, Slate - 1/13/17

The outspoken women behind late Iranian President Rafsanjani
The recent death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani leaves the outspoken women in the reformer's family in a sort of political limbo. -PRI - 1/13/17

Trump Appointee Crowley Espoused Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theories
President-elect Donald Trump's decision to name Monica Crowley to lead communications for the National Security Council (NSC) has resulted in a plagiarism scandal for the Fox News personality and Washington Times columnist. A CNN review of her columns for the Times revealed at least seven instances of plagiarism. Politico found that she also plagiarized sections of her PhD dissertation for Columbia University. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 1/13/17

As Trump guns for Iran Deal, can its Reformists survive death of Hashemi-Rafsanjani?
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani's death on Sunday January 8 in Tehran at the age of 82 marks the end of an era in Iran's post-revolutionary history. After the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, in 1989, Hashemi-Rafsanjani's death will have the most significant impact on Iranian politics. -Farhang Jahanpour - 1/12/17

IRAN: Wife of Imprisoned Activist Arash Sadeghi Resists Order to Return to Prison
Political prisoner Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who was released on January 3, 2017 after her imprisoned husband Arash Sadeghi's 71-day hunger strike resulted in a promised case review for his wife, is refusing to obey an order to return to Evin Prison. - 1/12/17

Iran Officials Vow To Look Into Public's 'Jamming' Fears
Officials in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz have pledged to look into suggestions of a link between public health risks and the jamming of communications in the area, after residents took to the streets to complain of ailments that could stem from technology used to block foreign broadcasts. - 1/12/17

Two Iranian Graphic Designers Win Awards At New York Contest
Two Iranian graphic designers have won awards at a graphic competition in New York. Mehdi Mahdian's poster titles 'Scope Of Meaning' and Touraj Saberivand's poster titled 'Freedom of Language' received awards in the poster section of "Graphis 2017," held in New York. - 1/12/17

Tillerson Backs 'Full Review' Of Iran Nuclear Deal
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state says he supports a "full review" of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which the incoming president has previously pledged to renegotiate or scrap altogether. Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said during a January 11 confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he would recommend such a review if he is confirmed as Trump's secretary of state. - 1/12/17

Will Iran's Alliance With Russia Last?
At Tuesday's funeral in Tehran of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key figure in the 1979 Islamic Revolution who later pushed for reconciliation with the West, reformist mourners not only chanted for the release of hunger-striking rights activists held in Iranian jails but also called for an end to their country's burgeoning alliance with Moscow. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 1/12/17

World Bank Forecasts 5.2 Percent GDP Growth For Iran In 2017
The World Bank, in its recent report titled Global Economic Prospects, forecasted a 5.2 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for Iran in 2017. The report put the country's GDP growth at 4.6 percent in 2016, while it predicted 4.8 percent and 4.5 percent growth for the country in 2018 and 2019, respectively. - 1/12/17

IranAir Takes Delivery Of First Airbus Passenger Jet
The head of IranAir has taken delivery in France of the first Western airliner under an international sanctions deal. The 189-seat A321 was handed over in a January 11 ceremony at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. "It's a new, magnificent chapter and a great day" for ties between Iran and Europe, IranAir Chief Executive Officer Farhad Parvaresh said. - 1/12/17

The Legacy Of Iran's Rafsanjani
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the man known as the "order's pillar" (sotun-e nezam), died from a sudden heart attack on Sunday. He leaves behind a legacy as complicated and multifaceted as the order (and associated institutions) that he more than anyone else was responsible in erecting. Rafsanjani shaped most of the new institutions established by the Islamic Republic in 1979, from the office of the Leader to the Islamic Revolution's Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Expediency Council (which he chaired almost from its inception until he died). -Farideh Farhi - 1/11/17

Rafsanjani's Death Reshuffles the Political Deck in Iran
The public funeral of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, on January 10, 2017, led to the outpouring in Tehran of public calls for the release of opposition leaders held under house arrest and political prisoners in a resurgence of support for reformist issues that have been harshly suppressed in Iran for the last decade. - 1/11/17

Iran's Telegram Registration Requirement Widens Governmental Snooping Powers
In the latest attempt by Iran's security and intelligence establishments to censor and control internet usage in Iran, administrators of popular Iranian-owned channels on the widely used Telegram application are now being required to register with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance or face prosecution. - 1/11/17

$250M allocated to Lake Urmia restoration program
The lake which used to be a natural habitat for migratory birds, and a tourist attraction is facing a dramatic decline for years now. The decline is generally blamed on a combination of drought, damming of the rivers that flow into it, pumping of groundwater from the area, and increased water diversion for irrigation of farming lands within the lake's watershed. - 1/11/17

What Rafsanjani Takes To His Grave
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died of heart failure on January 8 at the age of 82, was an architect of the Islamic establishment in Iran whose image transformed from shark to voice of reason. Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, may have taken the answers to some of the Islamic republic's biggest mysteries to his grave. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 1/11/17

Iran Decides Against Upsetting Nuclear Deal Over US Sanctions Extension
Iran decided not to escalate a stand-off over the extension of U.S. sanctions at a meeting of diplomats overseeing the nuclear deal it reached with world powers in 2015, senior Russian and Iranian diplomats said after the session Tuesday. -Reuters - 1/11/17

Exploring the Iranian outback
VENTURING off the usual rainforests and hiking trails for a change, we bring you a story about the canyons and unusual landscapes of Iran. Back in November and December, my travel partner Natasha and I travelled through Iran, and while the big names like Isfahan and Shiraz beckoned, our target was the island of Hormuz, off Bandar Abbas in the south. -The Star - 1/11/17

PHOTOS: Iran's Rafsanjani Laid To Rest In Tehran
The funeral of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is being held in Tehran. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians jammed streets around Tehran University, where Rafsanjani was laying in state on January 10. A national holiday has been declared. - 1/10/17

Rafsanjani: The Death of the Ayatollah Machiavelli
In October 2013, I was part of a delegation of the Social-Democratic Group of the European Parliament (EP) to Iran. Among the Iranian officials that the delegation, led by the then-Social-Democratic-Group President Hannes Swoboda, met with in Tehran was the Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani... On a personal level, in a marked contrast to some decidedly dour characters representing the Islamic Republic, he came across as a gregarious man clearly at ease with a European delegation that comprised several female MPs. -Eldar Mamedov - 1/10/17

VIDEO: Iranians Protest Transmitter Jamming In Shiraz
A large crowd gathered in the Iranian city of Shiraz to protest against the government's use of broadcast jamming equipment. On January 9, demonstrators stood outside the provincial governor's headquarters complaining about the health effects of using electromagnetic pulses for disrupting broadcasts. Some chants called the jamming a "betrayal" of the nation. - 1/10/17

UN To Discuss Iranian Complaints About U.S. Non-Nuclear Sanctions
Five global powers that are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council will meet on January to review Iranian complaints that the United States has reneged on the sanctions relief promised under the Iran nuclear deal. - 1/10/17

Oil Prices Plummet On Fear OPEC-Russia Output Cuts Will Unravel in 2017
World oil prices have plummeted over concerns that a deal to curb production reached between OPEC, Russia, and other producers will not hold for much longer. - 1/10/17

Reformist Iranian Journalist Convicted of "Propaganda Against the State" Completes One-Year Prison Sentence
Reformist journalist Reyhaneh Tabatabaie was released from Evin Prison in Tehran on January 5, 2017 after serving a one-year sentence for interviewing Iranian Sunni leaders, posting critical commentary about conservative politicians on Facebook, and publicly supporting reformists. - 1/10/17

The mystical poet who can help you lead a better life
The mystical poet who can help you lead a better life The 14th-Century Persian poet Hafiz's work is not just very beautiful - it is useful too. Hafiz can teach us how to get the most out of our lives, writes Daniel Ladinsky. -BBC - 1/10/17

Congress Takes Up Iran, Israel, UN in 2017
Welcome to the 115th Congress! Based on this first week, it seems safe to say: fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a very very very bumpy ride. (As we have over the past two years, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran.) -Lara Friedman, LobeLog - 1/10/17

Iranians Pay Last Respects To Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani
Iran has begun three days of mourning for former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died on January 8 of a heart attack at the age of 82. President Hassan Rohani and his administration on January 9 paid respects to Rafsanjani at northern Tehran's Jamaran prayer hall, where Rafsanjani's body was laid out. - 1/9/17

30 Iranian Fools Outside Trump Tower Begging For A Regime Change Handout
30 Iranians "liberals and activist" have sought refuge at the Trump Tower begging the President-elect to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement, institute even tougher sanctions on their homeland, and to bring about regime change there. -Ali Moayedian - 1/9/17

DEEP OATH: Painting exhibition by Narenj Kazemi
If it is bread that you seek, you will have bread \ If it is the soul you seek, you will find the soul \ If you understand this secret, \ you know you are that which you seek - 1/9/17

Death Of Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Causes Anxiety For The Reformists
A pivotal politician in Iran's internal struggles for reform and the former president of the country, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani dies in Tajrish hospital after a heart attack. Hashemi was 82 years old. - 1/9/17

Conservative Tehran MP to Judiciary: Review Case of Political Prisoner on Hunger Strike
Conservative member of Parliament Ali Motahari has publicly asked the Judiciary to review the case of ailing political prisoner Ali Shariati, who has been on hunger strike for more than two months in Evin Prison. The Tehran MP made the call after a 71-day hunger strike by imprisoned rights activist Arash Sadeghi resulted in the Judiciary agreeing to Sadeghi's request for a review of his imprisoned wife's case. - 1/9/17

US Navy Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Boats Near Persian Gulf
A U.S. Navy ship fired three warnings shots at Iranian boats near the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, a U.S. defense official told VOA. Four Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels were "traveling right at" the USS Mahan in the Strait of Hormuz at a "very high rate of speed," the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. - 1/9/17

US, Italian firms to save Iran's troubled appliance brands Arj and Azmayesh: Report
Iran says it has started talks with major American and Italian companies to form partnerships with some of its oldest brands of household appliances in what appears to be a policy to prevent their demise. The announcement was made by Abbas Hashemi, the director general for household devices affairs of the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade. - 1/9/17

Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Former Iranian President, Dies at 82
Iranian state media report that former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has died in a Tehran hospital, after suffering a heart attack. He was 82. - 1/8/17

Iranian Political Prisoners Suffer through Hunger Strikes for Minimum Rights
Iranian political prisoner Arash Sadeghi ended his 72-days hunger strike after his wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was given furlough from prison on $150,000 bail. Ali Shariati, Saeed Shirzad and several other prisoners still remain on hunger strike. - 1/8/17

Iranian indoor field hockey team crushes host in Croatia Indoor Cup 2017
The Iranian men's national indoor field hockey team has preserved its winning streak in the Croatia Indoor Cup 2017 and registered a resounding victory against a squad of players from the host nation's top-ranked clubs. - 1/8/17

Iran Football Federation fails preparation plan for World Cup, says coach Carlos Queioz
Iran National Team's head coach Carlos Queioz has revealed that after the Iranian football federation failed to fulfil its promise he presented a resignation letter and will not continue his job. - 1/8/17

Iran Accepts First Airbus Passenger Jet
Iran has accepted its first new Airbus passenger jet, and the A321 aircraft is expected to be delivered within a few days. Iran has ordered some 200 commercial airliners, including 80 from U.S. producer Boeing, since the sanctions were eased in exchange for restrictions on Iran's controversial nuclear program. - 1/8/17

PHOTOS: Iranian teenage girl pulls 3 cars with her teeth
Iranian 16-year-old girl, Faezeh Sarlak, has pulled three cars with her teeth 4.06 meters to register her name in the World Federation as the first female Iranian athlete in the field. She is the first Iranian female athlete who has been able to drag three cars with teeth, but her record still needs to be recognized by the Guinness World Records. - 1/8/17

The story of an Iranian soldier who lost a limb saving a dog trapped in minefield
Mohammad Bakhtar, a 19-year-old Iranian soldier, has been highly lauded after losing his leg while trying to save a dog trapped in a barbed wire fence around a minefield. Mohammad's story, has gone viral in the country since the incident which happened in a garrison in Ajabshir, northwestern East Azarbaijan province, the Department of Environment official website reported. - 1/7/17

Iran football coach Carlos Queiroz resigns, Branko being considered as replacement
Carlos Queiroz has resigned from Iran national coach on Saturday, according to a member of the board of directors of Iran's Football Federation. Amir Abedini said that they have received the Portuguese coach's resignation letter on Saturday. Persepolis head coach Branko Ivankovic could replace Carlos Queiroz if the Portuguese leaves his role at Team Melli, according to Croatian media. - 1/7/17

PHOTOS: Iranian-Armenian Contemporary Art Exhibition "Solidarity" opens in Tehran
An Exhibition of Armenian Pioneer artists titled Meeting (Didar) opened on January 6, 2017 at Maryam Art Gallery in Tehran. The exhibition, held with the cooperation of Ardak Manoukian Museum, is to honor the influence of Armenian artists on Iranian contemporary art. - 1/7/17

Top US Senator: Trump Administration Won't Toss Iran Deal
The chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that abrupt rejection of the Iran nuclear deal by the incoming Trump administration could create "a crisis" and that he did not expect such an approach. "To tear it up on the front end, in my opinion, is not going to happen. Instead, we will begin to radically enforce it," Senator Bob Corker told reporters on Friday at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. -Reuters - 1/7/17

Persian leopard captured on camera in Taleqan
According to Iran Environmental Watch and Wildlife, two environment collaborators crossing their village near the city of Taleqan, found new leopard footprints on the snow. After a few minutes, they saw a mature leopard only a short distance away, which did not attempt to scape and the two men could capture the image of this endangered animal. - 1/7/17

Iran cashing in on OPEC oil output cut: Report
Reports suggest that Iran has managed to sell nearly half of oil that it had long held on tankers at sea as it capitalizes on OPEC oil cut to sell millions of barrels, courting new customers around the globe. Tehran has sold more than 13 million barrels of the crude it had held in floating storage. - 1/7/17

Photos: Earthquake Kills Afghan Laborers In Iran
Iranian media has reported that a magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit a village in the country's south, killing four people, according to state television. State TV said the earthquake struck in the early hours of January 6 in the village of Saifabad near the town of Khonj, about 1,000 kilometers south of the capital, Tehran. - 1/6/17

Rohani Corruption Spat Could Herald Rough-And-Tumble Iranian Presidential Campaign
President Hassan Rohani has traded barbs with hard-line officials from Iran's judiciary in a highly public spat in which each side appears determined to tar the other with accusations of corruption in an election year. The feud appears to have been smoldering since the president's rise to power in 2013 on calls for reform and the arrest of one of Iran's wealthiest men, Babak Zanjani, months after Rohani took office. Golnaz Esfandiari - 1/6/17

Footprints of Prehistoric Industry around Persian Gulf
Objects unearthed in the historical site of Tom Maroon, in Hormuzgan Province on the Persian Gulf, indicate that the communities inhabiting the region during the Bronze Age were involved in industrial activities such as metalwork, glass-work and pottery. - 1/6/17

Secretary Kerry Warns Trump Against Scrapping Iran Nuclear Deal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned the incoming Trump administration against scrapping the Iran nuclear deal, saying it has made the world safer by leaving Tehran technically unable to build a nuclear weapon. - 1/6/17

CONCERT: Songs of My Homeland
"Diaspora Arts Connection" and "Gilgamesh Art & Culture Foundation" Are pleased to present a very unique combination of World Music of Shirazi, Assyrian, Ghoochani, Armenian, Kurdish, Jewish, Gorgani, Azeri and Persian cultures, under the baton of Honiball Joseph. The concert will feature talented solo singers, "Iranian Choir of America" and "Gilgamesh Philharmonic Orchestra". - 1/6/17

Poll: Nearly 2/3 of U.S. Public Opposes Withdrawing from Iran Nuclear Deal
Amid growing speculation about a Trump administration's intentions regarding the Iran nuclear deal, a new poll has found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. public opposes withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated 18 months ago between Iran and the P5+1. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/6/17

Iran's First Female Judge and Nobel Laureate Calls for Resignation of Judiciary Chief
Amid the ongoing wave of life-threatening hunger strikes by political prisoners in Iran, Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi has called on the chief of the country's Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to resign. - 1/6/17

Iranian Startups: Maman Paz delivers 200,000 orders of "mom-made" food in Tehran
Shanbe magazine talks to Tabassom Latifi who has employed housewives and launched Maman Paz, a startup that delivers home foods to people (in Tehran, Iran) who are not at home most of the time or don't want to cook. - 1/5/17

PHOTOS: Fereydounkenar Hosting Migrant Siberian Geese
Migrant Siberian geese have arrived in Fereydounkenar, Iran's Mazandaran province to seek refuge during winter. The geese are protected and are fed by the forest rangers and local people. -Amir Ali Razzaghi - 1/5/17

Modernizing Islam: Iran's Reformists and Reconstructionists Square off
About a year ago, a group of diaspora Muslim intellectuals were sitting around a blazing fire by a muddy river in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, debating strategies of modernizing traditional Islam. The worldwide Islamic reform movement, undaunted by the lurid cruelty of Islamic extremism, forges ahead. Its anxious debates may sound Byzantine to Western ears, but since they may very well presage the arrival of Islam's own brand of reformation, they deserve a hearing. -Mahmoud Sadri - 1/5/17

Iran football in jeopardy due to coaches feud
Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic and Iran national team coach Carlos Queiroz have renewed hostilities once again. Branko criticized Queiroz for holding a useless five-day camp in the UAE because he will have not his six players in mid-season training and former Real Madrid coach has expelled the Persepolis players from the camp just one day in Dubai in response to the Croat's allegations. - 1/5/17

Persecution of Dual Nationals: Businessman Serving 10-Year Prison Sentence In Iran After Coerced Confession
Iranian-Austrian dual citizen Kamran Ghaderi is entering the second year of his 10-year prison sentence in solitary confinement in Tehran after being coerced into confessing to espionage in 2016, an informed source told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 1/5/17

Vitol, World's Largest Oil Trader, loans One Billion Dollars To Iran
The world's largest independent oil trader Vitol has signed a deal to provide Iran with a major loan worth $1 billion - a landmark move that can help expedite the country's crucial plans to boost its production of crude oil. - 1/5/17

Iran Says Japan's Inpex Tipped To Win Azadegan Oil Field Contract
Japan's largest oil and gas exploration and production company is reportedly trying to win a contract over the development of a major oil project in Iran that it abandoned in 2010. Kyodo news agency quoted an Iranian official as saying that Inpex had started intense talks with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to develop the Azadegan oil field in Iran's southwestern oil-rich province of Khouzestan. - 1/5/17

Iranian political prisoner ends his hunger strike after his wife is granted temporary furlough
Arash Sadeghi, a political prisoner who was on hunger strike for 72 days, has ended his strike after his demands were met and his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was granted a temporary leave of absence from prison. - 1/4/17

Meet An Entrepreneur Iranian Woman: Carpet Weaving Expert Nahid Hosseini
Nahid Hosseini, 49, is a carpet weaving instructor who exports hand-woven carpets made by her trainees to European countries. Hosseini learned carpet weaving in her childhood from her father, Seifoddin Hosseini, who himself was an exemplary carpet producer and a top carpet weaving instructor. -Mojtaba Heidari - 1/4/17

Iranians are trending the demands of political prisoners on Twitter
After the #SaveArash successful twitter campaign in support of Arash Sadeghi, Iranians are now showing solidarity with Ali Shariati, a reformist political prisoner who is serving a five-year sentence for taking part in a protest apposing serial acid attacks against women in Isfahan, Iran. - 1/4/17

Maternal mortality rate in Iran far below UN SDG target
The maternal mortality rate in Iran is far below the target set by the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Safieh Shahriari-Afshar, a founding member of the Family Health Association of Iran (FHA Iran), told a press conference on December 27. - 1/4/17

Imprisoned Iranian Civil Rights Activist Released After 65-Day Hunger Strike, With a Catch
Azeri rights advocate Morteza Moradpour has been hospitalized in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province, while he recovers from the 65-day hunger strike that led to his conditional release from prison. However, his legal battle is far from over because his release order requires him to report back to prison every night. - 1/4/17

The Woman Building Iran's Civic Tech Sector
Firuzeh Mahmoudi founded the first civic tech startup focused on Iran. She and her team are building apps like a Yelp for rating public officials and women's health trackers-in heritage languages that are currently banned from official use. She is using entrepreneurship and technology to help create a more free society. -Leah Hunter, Forbes - 1/4/17

37 Top U.S. Scientists Urge Trump To Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal
Dozens of top U.S. scientists have called on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to uphold the nuclear deal reached with Iran, calling it "a strong bulwark against an Iranian nuclear-weapons program." The letter was organized by physicist Richard L. Garwin, known for helping design the world's first hydrogen bomb. The 37 signatories of the letter include a Nobel laureate, former White House science advisers, and prominent academics. - 1/3/17

Iranian MPs vote to end "Mehr" housing project
Iran's media on Tuesday cheered as the Parliament voted to end a hefty housing project that President Hassan Rouhani had previously blamed for shooting up inflation to above 40 percent over the past years. The Parliamentarians in their debates over Iran's Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2020-2025) voted to have Maskan Bank allocate the required funds for completing the remaining phases of 'Mehr' (kindness in Persian) housing project which was a main brainchild of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013). - 1/3/17

How much we know about cetaceans of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman?
Unlike whales which are currently extremely rare cetaceans were abundant in the Persian Gulf. Some anecdotal reports of stranded whales have been received, usually without an identification of the species. It seems cetacean populations have declined significantly in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. This is probably because of three factors: a reduction of fish stocks due to commercial exploitation, water contamination primarily due to discharge of petroleum products into the Persian Gulf, and a global decline in numbers. -Farnaz Heidari - 1/3/17

Iran Approves European, Asian Companies For Oil, Gas Projects
Iran has issued a list of 29 companies from Europe and Asia that have the government's approval to bid for oil- and gas-development projects in the energy-rich country. The Iranian Oil Ministry said on January 3 that the National Iranian Oil Company will soon hold tenders for energy exploration and production, something made possible due to Tehran's signing of a nuclear deal with six world powers in 2015. - 1/3/17

World Bank reports major drop in Iran's debts
A report by the World Bank titled "International Debt Statistics 2017" showed that Iran's debts for 2015 stood at $6.32 billion. The figure was slightly higher than 2014 but was nonetheless around 64 percent lower than the debts in 2011 ($17.34 billion). - 1/3/17

A Witness to Iran's Intensifying Struggle with Climate Change
Ako Salemi took the first photographs of his career when he was a teen-ager, growing up in northern Iran. His earliest subject, a river near his family's home, is now mostly dirt. In Salemi's native country, as in much of the water-scarce Middle East, climate change has led to desiccation. -Carolyn Kormann, New Yorker - 1/3/17

Protest Outside Tehran Prison In Support Of Hunger Striking Activist Arash Sadeghi
Dozens of Iranians have taken part in a rare demonstration outside Tehran's Evin prison to express their support for a jailed activist on hunger strike, Arash Sadeghi. Sadeghi, a philosophy student who is serving a 15-year prison sentence on security charges, has reportedly been refusing to eat for more than two months to protest the October 24 arrest of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi. - 1/2/17

Photos: Sculptor Qodratollah Aqeli's new exhibit criticizes social behavior
"The Peculiarity of Creatures", an exhibition of sculptures by Qodratollah Aqeli, has criticized the daily social behavior of people. The exhibit, which opened in Tehran's Sareban Gallery on Friday, showcases a collection of about twenty busts and sculptures. - 1/2/17

Turkmen Cutoff Of Iran Leaves Dwindling Gas Options For Ashgabat
It looks like Turkmenistan might be left with just one customer for its natural gas. The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said in a statement on January 1 that Turkmen state company Turkmengaz "suddenly and...in an illogical manner, contrary to the agreement, halted gas deliveries to Iran this morning..." -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 1/2/17

PHOTOS: New Year Celebration at Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran, Iran
Iran's Armenian Christian community held a ceremony at Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran on Saturday evening to celebrate the New Year 2017. During the ceremony, special prayers were said and candles were lit. This was also a chance for some to pose with Santa! -photos by Majid Haghdoust - 1/2/17

Rohani Reassures Iranians Amid Currency's Drop
President Hassan Rohani says that the exchange rates of the rial against foreign currencies "will not remain at current levels." President Hassan Rohani has told Iranians the government will work to protect the country's market stability amid a downfall in the Iranian currency to record lows. - 1/2/17

Hefty Fine, Insurance Policy Reduces Persian Leopard Casualties In Iran
Increasing the fine for killing leopards by 16 times to 800 million rials (nearly $20,000) and insuring the animals against any possible threat has resulted in fewer casualties in Iran. From 2005 to 2014 some 156 leopards were killed in Iran, 20 leopards a year on average, which decreased to 14 over the last Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2015 to March 19, 2016), according to the Department of Environment. - 1/2/17

China Finances 5 Iranian Petrochemical Projects
Marzieh Shah-Daei, Director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) of Iran, announced that five ongoing petrochemical projects, which are being implemented in Mahshahr, Asaluyeh and other regions, have received Chinese financing. - 1/2/17

New project will study development of Iran's economy
Stanford's Iranian Studies Program launched the Stanford Iran 2040 Project about eight months ago to conduct interdisciplinary research on economic and technical matters related to the country's long-term, sustainable development and evaluate their possible implications in a global context. The project is called Iran 2040 because of its forward-looking nature and focus on long-term analysis. - 1/2/17

PHOTOS: Mehrastan Castle in Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran
Mehrastan Historic Castle located in Sistan and Baluchistan province dates back to more than 400 years ago. The castle is on the verge of destruction and needs special attention of officials to allocate budget for repair. - 1/1/17

Iran's car output rises over 39%
The number of automobiles manufactured in Iran during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year (ending December 20) registered a 39.1 percent increase compared to the same period last year, Tasnim news agency reported. - 1/1/17

Asalouyeh featuring Iran's petrochemical progress
Iranian port of Asalouyeh demonstrated some of its new changes to a group of reporters and journalists who visited the area during a two-day media tour organized by the National Petrochemical Company (NPC). - 1/1/17

ATR to deliver 5 aircraft to Iran within months
Deputy roads minister said an airplane purchase contract will be inked with ATR aircraft manufacturer in a few days and Iran will receive five passenger planes in three months. The official underlined that the deal with ATR would be worth 400 million dollars and covers purchasing of twenty ATR 72 aircraft which has 70-passenger configuration. - 1/1/17
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