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Iranian-American Zoroastrian Denounces 27-Year "Unjust" Prison Sentence in Letter From Prison
In a letter from Evin Prison obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Iranian-American dual national Karan Vafadari has denounced the "unjust and tyrannical" 27-year prison sentence he was issued in Tehran along with his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison. - 1/31/18

President Rohani Says Iranian Leaders Must Listen To The People
President Hassan Rohani has said that the Iranian people continue to support the clerical establishment despite foreign pressure but insisted that the country's leaders must listen to protesters behind a recent wave of unrest. Rohani made the comments on January 31, hours after President Donald Trump said the United States stands with the people of Iran against the country's "corrupt dictatorship." - 1/31/18

Uncovered 'Girl From Enghelab Street' Picks Up Steam In Iran
Iranians appear to have taken inspiration from a woman who landed in jail late last month for a peaceful protest against Iran's strict Islamic dress code, echoing frustration at official restrictions on women's appearance in public. At least three more women ditched their head scarves again on January 30, more than a month after 31-year-old Vida Movahedi's daring but silent plea for greater freedom for tens of millions of women in Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 1/31/18

Iranian Reformist Leader Tells Khamenei To Bring Reforms, Stop Blaming Foreign 'Enemies'
A prominent Iranian reformist who has been under house arrest for the past seven years has criticized Iran's supreme leader, urging him to introduce and implement major reforms "before it is too late." Mehdi Karrubi said on January 30 that Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needs to stop blaming foreign "enemies" for Iran's problems and, instead, "accept responsibility for your policies of the last three decades." - 1/31/18

Life in the mountains: Skiing in Iran
Iran has long been an international destination for avid powder chasers during winter, while - in total contrast - its arid and semi-arid climate reaches sweltering levels in summer. Maybe not the first that comes to mind, snow-capped mountains above Tehran are home to some of the world's best ski resorts where powder hounds can enjoy famous Iranian hospitality. - 1/31/18

Iranians Denounce Acquittal of Quran Reciter Accused of Sexual Abuse
Iranians have widely condemned the acquittal of well-known Quran reciter Saeed Toosi over charges involving the sexual abuse of minors. Information released about how the judiciary handled the case alleges that the office of the supreme leader intervened before the four-year sentence that was initially handed down to Toosi was dismissed. - 1/31/18

PSA invites Iran Khodro to produce Peugeots in Algeria
French carmaker PSA Group has invited Iran Khodro (IKCO) to set up a production line for Peugeot cars in Algeria, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports. PSA executive vice-president for purchasing, Yannick Bezard, on Tuesday visited Tehran-based Iran Khodro which has signed production deals worth 700 million euros with PSA. - 1/31/18

300 Iranian Women's Rights Advocates Voice Support For Protests, Demand Equality
More than 300 Iranian women's rights' activists have expressed support for the recent anti-government protests in Iran and demanded an end to state policies that discourage women from entering the workforce. "As campaigners against discrimination and advocates of equality, we feel it is our duty to be part of this multi-layered movement and be present in the streets and other public spaces to demand our rights," said a statement published on January 11, 2018, signed by prominent human rights defenders including Shirin Ebadi and Parastou Forouhar. - 1/30/18

Missile Dialogue Between Iran And The West
U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal--known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--is mainly rooted in Iran's missile program and regional policies. Meanwhile, the European powers that seek to preserve the deal have latched onto U.S. concerns about Iran's missile and regional policies in an apparent bid to convince Trump to maintain U.S. commitment to the JCPOA. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian - 1/30/18

Iranian Pastor's Wife Sentenced to Five Years in Prison For "Acting Against National Security"
Shamiram Isavi, the wife of Victor Bet Tamraz, who formerly led Iran's Assyrian Pentecostal Church, has been sentenced to five years in prison. "As far as we know, and based on Mrs. Isavi's own statements, no evidence has been presented in the case to show that she was engaged in spying or disturbing national security. She has denied all the charges," Kiarash Alipour, a spokesman for Article 18, a UK-based organization focusing on Christians in Iran, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 25, 2018. - 1/30/18

US 'evidence' of 'Iranian-made' missile sparks ridicule
Pictures of purported missile fragments presented by the United States as "evidence" that Iranian-made missiles were used by Yemen have sparked widespread ridicule on social media, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offering his own comically amusing take on the images. -Press TV - 1/30/18

America, Russia, And Syria's Many Conflicts
Syria is an arena in which both Trump and Putin want to play a determining great-power role. But the region's growing rivalries--especially between Turkey and the Kurds and between Iran and Israel--may limit America's and Russia's ability to play such a role. These regional rivalries may also have a far greater impact than America and Russia on Syria's future. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 1/30/18

As Delays Mount in Iran, Executives and Employers Face Tough Career Choices
In multinational companies, the prospect of promotion is largely tied to the ability to meet targets and hit milestones with speed. Working on Iran-related projects in the present environment makes this difficult to do. When asked to evaluate the pace of trade and investment as part of a recent Bourse & Bazaar survey, commissioned by International Crisis Group, 83 percent of senior managers at multinational companies indicate that companies "are moving slower than they could" to engage in the Iranian market. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse and Bazaar - 1/30/18

Tehran Airports, Schools Closed Due To Heavy Snow
Heavy snowfalls have forced airports and schools in Tehran to close, while hundreds of cars have been blocked on highways out of the Iranian capital for hours. Tehran's Imam Khomeini International and Mehrabad airports were shut due to poor visibility "until further notice," state television said on January 28. Schools closed in several parts of the country, including the capital, and hundreds of Red Crescent teams were mobilized to bring help to stranded drivers. - 1/29/18

Europe, Don't Go All Wobbly On The JCPOA!
It looks as though Britain, France, and Germany have decided to appease President Donald Trump to discourage him from withdrawing the United States from the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). "After meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May... and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said they had agreed to set up a working group of experts on fixing flaws in the landmark 2015 agreement that President Trump has warned he will walk away from this spring unless adjustments are made to his liking." -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 1/29/18

Iranian-American Briefly Released From Prison Due To Poor Health
An Iranian-American man imprisoned in Iran, Baquer Namazi, has been granted a brief release from prison due to health concerns, his lawyer says. Lawyer Jared Genser said in a statement on January 28 that his 81-year-old client would be out of Tehran's Evin prison on a four-day leave. - 1/29/18

Iran 'Frees' Woman Who Took Stand Against Compulsory Veiling
An Iranian woman who was arrested in Tehran last month for apparently protesting peacefully against the country's mandatory Islamic dress code has been freed, a human rights lawyer says. "The girl of Enghelab Street has been released," lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh wrote in a post on her Facebook page on January 28. - 1/29/18

Persian Beach Soccer Cup: Iran defeats Spain in to reclaim title
Iran national beach soccer team defended their Persian Cup title on Monday. Team Melli defeated Spain 4-2 in the final match in Bushehr, south of Iran. Earlier on the day Ukraine defeated Azerbaijan 4-3 to finish in third place. - 1/29/18

Iranian Women Activists Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee Beaten and Transferred to Different Prison
Political prisoners Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee were beaten by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran's Evin Prison and transferred to Gharchak Prison in the city of Varamin, 37 miles south of the capital. "Atena called us this morning [January 25] and told us what happened," Daemi's mother, Masoumeh Nemati, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 1/29/18

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Say Three Killed In Clashes With ISIS
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says three of its soldiers have been killed and 16 Islamic State (IS) militants captured in clashes in southwestern Fars Province. The IRGC's Sepahnews website on January 27 quoted General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the IRGC land forces, as saying that "several" members of the extremist group were killed in fighting. - 1/29/18

Water And Conflict In Iran
The most important sentence in the Persian language is arguably "Baba ab dad." The sentence means "father gave water." It is the first sentence taught to Iranian children when they are learning to read and write. Beyond its phonetic simplicity, it establishes the sense of obligation to one's parents that is so indicative of an Iranian childhood. It also establishes an expectation that elders will care for young and that the powerful will care for the powerless. In a sense, "father gave water" is the most succinct articulation of the promise of the social contract in Iran. Today, the Iranian fatherland is struggling to give its people water. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 1/27/18

40 Iranian MPs Call for Immediate Release of Detained University Students
Forty Iranian lawmakers have written to President Hassan Rouhani and Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani urging them to immediately release student detainees who were arrested during the weeklong protests that hit several Iranian cities on December 28, 2017. Member of Parliament (MP) Ghasem Mirzaei Nikoo told the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on January 16, 2018, that the lawmakers were particularly focused on the release of female university students. - 1/27/18

Persian Beach Soccer Cup: Iran defeats Azerbaijan 3-2
Iran national beach soccer team started the 2018 Persian Beach Soccer Cup on a high note. Team Melli defeated Azerbaijan 3-2 in in Bushehr, southern Iran. Mostafa Kiani (two goals) and Mohammad Moradi scored for the Iranian team. - 1/27/18

EU-Iran: Dialogue Against Ultimatums
As the US issued its ultimatum to the EU on "fixing" the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action or JCPOA), the European Parliament (EP) hosted Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and National Security Committee of the Iranian parliament. Boroujerdi addressed the Foreign Affairs committee of the EP on January 23. The next day, together with his delegation, he engaged in detailed discussions with European counterparts on such topics of mutual interest as counter-terrorism, climate change, migration, and trade. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 1/27/18

More than 150 Detained Iranian Protesters Have Requested "Pills," Reports Committee
More than 150 people detained in the protests that broke out in Iran in December 2017 have requested opioid addiction treatment pills, according to the Tehran-based Committee for the Defense of the Dey 1396 Detainees. The committee's statement follows credible reports that detainees in Tehran were told to admit to being drug addicts to speed up their release. - 1/27/18

With better risk rating, Iran now stands next to Brazil
Iran's media are reporting that the country's risk classification has improved by one notch in a vital sign of improved investment environment. The English-language Financial Tribune business daily reported that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had upgraded Iran's rating in the country risk classifications of the Participants to the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (CRE) from 6 to 5. - 1/27/18

Billions From Iran's Rainy-Day Fund Tapped For Military
With some Iranians still hopping mad about state spending on religious institutions and foreign military ventures, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has green-lighted the siphoning of $2.5 billion from a currency-reserve fund to boost military spending. The announcement follows by less than two weeks an official clampdown on street protests over rising prices and other economic grievances that spread to more than 90 cities, according to RFE/RL's Radio Farda. - 1/26/18

Latest Victim of Repressed Iranian Protests Identified as 24-Year-Old Man From Karaj
Hassan Shahin Tarkashvand, a 24-year-old man from the city of Karaj, has been identified as another victim of the state-repressed protests in Iran that began in late December 2017. A family member who asked not to be identified told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 24 that security agents immediately buried Tarkashvand after he died from being "shot in the stomach." - 1/26/18

Iran's Supreme Leader Said Eyeing Ways To Muzzle 'Mad Dog' Internet
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met recently with "cyberspace experts" to discuss challenges that the Internet poses to Iran's leadership, the head of the powerful Guardians Council said. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati did not specify when Khamenei's meeting took place, but many Iranian officials have blamed social media for fomenting unrest that erupted in December and January before curbs on mobile networks and apps and thousands of arrests helped authorities put down street protests in dozens of cities. - 1/26/18

Iranian FM Zarif slams Saudi 'vision of light spin', US 'credit-grabbing' for Daesh defeat
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US and Saudi Arabia cannot alter the facts on the ground about their sponsorship of Daesh and Iran's role in defeating the Takfiri terrorist group. In a post on his Twitter account on Thursday, Zarif reacted to latest remarks by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who accused Iran of backing sectarianism. - 1/26/18

Arrivals of Chinese tourists in Iran fall short of expectations
Insignificant numbers of Chinese restaurants, Chinese-language guides or even inappropriate lodging facilities are deemed to be among the main reasons behind [the low number of Chinese tourist arrivals], says Iran tourism body's representative in China. Part of this failure comes from inside Iran, because Chinese restaurants are scanty across the country while the cuisine is of high importance for majority of the Chinese people, ISNA quoted Hossein Khalifi as saying on Friday. - 1/26/18

Iran's Currency Continues to Slump as Further Sanctions Loom
The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against Iran's tuman has had another hike, rising from 3,700 tumans to the dollar in March 2017 to 4,700 tumans to the dollar in January this year. As in the past when there was a marked drop in the value of the national currency, Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seyf tried to reassure people that the tuman will rally. - 1/25/18

Iran Urged To Free Woman Who Took Stand Against Compulsory Veiling
Amnesty International is calling on Iranian authorities to "immediately and unconditionally" release a woman who was arrested in Tehran last month for apparently protesting peacefully against the country's mandatory Islamic dress code. In a January 24 statement, the London-based rights group also reiterated its calls on the authorities to "end the persecution of women who speak out against compulsory veiling, and abolish this discriminatory and humiliating practice." - 1/25/18

A New Film on Ancient Persia: "Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture"
World Premiere of the film "Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture" will take place at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London on 1 February 2018. The film - which is the first-ever documentary on this iconic monument - is directed by Pejman Akbarzadeh, based in the Netherlands. - 1/25/18

"Berlin's Youngest Art Dealer" Anahita Sadighi Revitalizes Asian Art
The Berlin based gallery was founded in 2015 by Anahita Sadighi. Located in the western district of Berlin close to Savigny Platz, the gallery features antique arts of East Asia and the Middle East. The main themes are: Japanese Woodblock Prints, Chinese Furniture, East Asian Ceramics, Buddhist Art, Carpets and Textiles and Islamic Art. 'My aim is to liberate far eastern cultures from their negative and controversial reputation and to awaken again the mesmerisation for the oriental', says Anahita Sadighi. - 1/25/18

Iran: Supreme Leader OKs $4B withdrawal from National Fund for priority projects
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has agreed with a request to withdraw four billion dollars from the National Development Fund for priority projects, particularly projects dealing with water management, environment protection, and boosting defense capability. The announcement was made on Tuesday by MP Ali Asghar Yousefnejad, the spokesman for the special parliamentary committee studying the proposed national budget bill for the next fiscal year 1397, which starts on March 21. - 1/25/18

She Studied Singing in College But is Banned From Performing on Stage in Iran
"I am a professional Iranian singer but I am only allowed to work if I perform with a man, which is something I have never wanted to do," female vocalist Sepideh Jandaghi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in an interview. A vocalist with 12 years of training in traditional Iranian music, Jandaghi spoke to CHRI on January 22, 2018, about discriminatory state policies banning women in Iran from performing on stage except in rare circumstances. - 1/25/18

NIAC Calls For Immediate Accountability For Officers Involved In The Fatal Shooting Of Bijan Ghaisar
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement in response to the release of video footage recorded by Fairfax County Police Department depicting the last moments of Bijan Ghaisar's life before he was shot to death by officers. - 1/25/18

155 Lawyers Call on Iran's Judiciary to Stop Restricting Detainees' Access to Counsel
In the wake of a massive influx of detainees following protests in several Iranian cities at the end of 2017, more than 150 lawyers have called on Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani to stop restricting the detainees' access to legal counsel. "As you are aware, widespread arrests have been carried out by security and law enforcement agencies during protest gatherings in recent days and the judiciary, under your direction, is subsequently responsible for the detainees," said 155 lawyers in a letter published on January 22, 2018. - 1/24/18

Tehran police move in to restore normalcy in exchange market
Police in Tehran have shut down several currency exchange shops and arrested a number of money changers suspected of being behind a recent turmoil in exchange rates. They intervened after the plunge of the Iranian rial which has dropped to around 45,000 against the US dollar from 37,700 in mid-2017, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday. - 1/24/18

Symposium at Yale University explores impact of popular music on Iranian society
"Popular Music & Society in Iran: New Directions," a two-day symposium examining the social and political significance of music in Iran, will take place at Yale University on Jan. 26-27. "The political and sociological study of music in contemporary Iran is a growing field, and this event is the first of its kind to bring together researchers and academics working on the topic," said symposium organizer Nahid Siamdoust, a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in Iranian studies at the Council on Middle East Studies at the MacMillan Center at Yale. - 1/24/18

The House Is Black Media Project
The House is Black is Iranian American artist Sussan Deyhim's multimedia examination of the work of Forough Farrokhzad, one of Iran's most influential feminist poets and filmmakers. Travel through a visual, sonic and theatrical journey into the heart of Forough's prophetic vision, which is as relevant today as it was half a century ago. This thrilling production, first seen at Royce Hall in 2015, features a Persian and Western-influenced score by Deyhim and Golden Globe-winning composer Richard Horowitz. - 1/24/18

Iran's President Rouhani says his government's key failed to open locked social apps
The Iranian president has said his government's measures failed to remove ban on some social apps in the country. Hassan Rouhani made the remarks during a live interview on the national TV late on Monday. Referring to his 2013 electoral campaign symbol of a key to the country's problems, the host asked the president if his key failed to open the locked apps and Rouhani said: "The 11th administration's key [Rouhani's previous administration] could not open them. Let's hope the 12th government succeeds." - 1/24/18

Iran: Protests and threat of renewed sanctions focus economic thinking
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears in the wake of recent anti-government protests to have put his weight behind President Hasan Rouhani's repeated calls for reduced military and Revolutionary Guards involvement in the economy. Mr. Khamenei signalled his support by ordering the military and the Guards to start divesting from commercial holdings and businesses not related to their core tasks except for construction projects considered essential by the government. -James M. Dorsey - 1/24/18

Top U.S., French Diplomats Discuss Iran Nuclear Deal In Paris
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as the U.S. administration is pressing ahead with efforts to convince European allies to address "flaws" in Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. Ahead of the meeting in Paris, the second leg of Tillerson's weeklong trip to Europe, Le Drian insisted that signatories to the landmark 2015 accord curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief "must stand by their word." - 1/24/18

Iran facing race against time to tackle water crisis
Some major Iranian cities are facing water rationing and other mandatory restrictions if the worst dry spell in more than 50 years persists. With a third of the winter already over, the Alborz mountains towering over Tehran which are usually blanketed in a snow covering at this time of the year barely have a dusting over them while the wider Tehran plateau has just seen some sparse rain so far this year. - 1/23/18

Lawyer "Worried" About Detained Iranian Protesters After Officials Claim Two Committed Suicide
A lawyer representing the families of two detainees who died in custody in Iran after being arrested during protests that erupted across the country in December 2017 is concerned about the fate of current detainees. "How could there be so many suicides in the detention centers without any of the authorities being transparent about it?" attorney Hossein Ahmadiniaz told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 20, 2018. - 1/23/18

Iran conducts drills, warns off U.S. warships
The Iranian Army has warned off two U.S.-led coalition battleships during the first day of military exercises involving ground, naval, and aerial forces in southern Iran. The military drills kicked off early on Monday on an order by Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the Army's deputy commander for coordination. The exercises cover an expanse of three million square kilometers in area in Iran's south and southeast, the Makran Coast, and other areas in the Gulf of Oman. - 1/23/18

Pence Underscores US Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reiterated Tuesday the Trump administration's view that the international deal on Iran's nuclear program should be changed, and said moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is a tangible sign of U.S. commitment. As he met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Pence said the U.S. is sending a signal to its European allies about the need to alter the 2015 agreement that brought sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for limiting the country's nuclear program to ensure it would not develop nuclear weapons. -VOA - 1/23/18

Death Sentence Against Iranian-Swedish Academics Ahmadreza Djalali Under Review
Branch 33 of the Supreme Court in Iran is reviewing the death sentence issued to Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born academic and Swedish resident accused of "espionage" charges. The judge has asked a deputy prosecutor to give his opinion in February 2018. "My client's case is currently being studied by a deputy prosecutor in Tehran and his assistant in charge of carrying out court rulings," a member of Djalali's legal defense team, Zeinab Taheri, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 19, 2018. "Both have raised objections to the case similar to Ahmadreza's own objections." - 1/23/18

A New Decision To Go To War In Syria
Behind a facade of continuity, the deployment of U.S. armed forces in Syria for the purposes that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described in a speech this week represents a departure from what such forces were originally sent to Syria to do. The Trump administration is having U.S. troops participate indefinitely in someone else's civil war, for reasons that are quite different from the original stated objective of helping to quash the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/23/18

Iranian Parliamentary Group To Get Access To Detained Protesters
Iranian media are reporting that members of parliament will be allowed access to prisoners who were detained during antigovernment protests that rocked the country, beginning last December. Hassan Norouzi, spokesman for the parliamentary judicial committee, on January 21 was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying, "Our application was today approved." - 1/22/18

Play brings trans people into public eye in Iran
A play that spotlights transsexuals in Iran was staged during the 36th Fajr International Theater Festival in Tehran on Friday night. "The Blue Pink" was staged by a cast of nine actors helmed by the promising young director and writer Sanaz Bayan at Paliz Theater. - 1/22/18

After Protests, Iran Leadership Pushes Hard For 'Homegrown' Apps
Iran's authorities wasted little time squelching their citizens' favorite social media as protests multiplied in December -- including slapping "temporary" blocks on encrypted international apps like Telegram and Instagram, in addition to existing obstacles to Internet access. Such steps paled in comparison to reports of protester deaths in the streets and in custody, thousands of arrests, and official denunciations of demonstrators as puppets of foreign "enemies." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 1/22/18

Iranian Actress Baran Kowsari appointed new ambassador of Yari Foundation
Actress Baran Kowsari has been appointed the ambassador of the Yari Foundation, an Uppsala-based charity organization founded by Iranian expatriates living in Sweden, the organization has announced. -Yari supports street children in Iran, enabling them to attend school, and also raises funds for construction of schools and libraries for children in the country. - 1/22/18

Iranian FM Zarif proposes 'regional dialog forum' amid fresh tension
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has proposed the establishment of "a regional dialogue forum in the Persian Gulf" where "fresh conflict and tension" is brewing despite the defeat of Deash terrorists. In an op-ed published Sunday in the Financial Times, Zarif cited "a dialogue deficit in west Asia" where destructive rivalry was spawning an arms race and "an oligarchy" was emerging among big states. - 1/22/18

In meeting with Kurdistan Regional Government's PM, President Rouhani says Iran backs unified Iraq
President Hassan Rouhani says Iran invariably backs a "united and integrated" Iraq, warning against attempts by certain foreign powers to deal a blow to regional stability and security. At a Sunday meeting with Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), President Rouhani said "all regional countries and ethnicities are duty-bound to defend a federal administration and help secure border demarcations in the region." - 1/22/18

German ambassador to Tehran enjoys 'Ab Gusht cooking lesson'
Michael Klor-Berchtold, German ambassador to Tehran, posted a photo on his Twitter account on Thursday depicting him stirring Ab Gusht (Iranian stew made with lamb, chickpeas, white beans, onion, potatoes, and tomatoes, and dried lime) in a big pot. "Ab Gusht cooking lesson for me by real experts! Delicious!" he wrote on his twitter account. - 1/22/18

Time To Rethink Iran's Strategy
Let's get real for a moment: How would a peaceful Middle East and a less confrontational Iran serve Israel's purpose and, by extension, these days that of the Saud clan and, by default, the presumed interest of the Unites States; who are we kidding? America's default position in Middle East affairs, now even more so than before under the leadership of a clueless leader, has been to follow the Zionist's moneys and political influence rather than what might truly be America's own legitimate and realistic interests. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 1/20/18

Female Musician Prohibited From Performing on Stage in Isfahan, Iran
Iranian singer Salar Aghili performed in the central Iranian city of Isfahan on January 12 and 13, 2018, without the female members of his band due to interference by local officials at the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 1/20/18

Iran To Top Tillerson's Agenda On European Trip
Iran will top the agenda for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as he heads to Europe next week for meetings with allies, a U.S. official said on January 19. Tillerson's trip comes amid behind-the-scenes negotiations over the fate of the landmark agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing crippling international sanctions targeting Tehran. - 1/20/18

Mercedes to resume Iran production soon: ISNA
Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG, will resume production of cars in Iran from the beginning of the new Persian year in March, ISNA news agency has reported. The company is about to produce 2,500 middle of the pack E-class cars in the year, with 20% of the production to be done inside Iran and the rest supplied to the country in the form of CKD (completely knocked down) kits. - 1/20/18

Rare Glimpse Into Inner Workings Of American Empire In Middle East
In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, four former U.S. diplomats provided remarkably candid commentary on recent U.S. involvement in the Middle East, revealing a number of the most closely guarded secrets of U.S. diplomacy. -Edward Hunt - 1/20/18

Second Name Revealed in Shooting Deaths Amid Protests in Sanandaj, Iran
Kianoosh Zandi, 24, has been named the second victim in a shooting case involving conflicting accounts over how and why two young men were killed by security forces amid protests in the city of Sanandaj, the capital of Iran's Kurdistan Province, in early January 2018. - 1/20/18

Majority of Iranian MPs Call For Ban on Foreign Social Media Apps
A majority of Iranian lawmakers have signed a letter calling for a ban on foreign social media apps to support state-led efforts to drive Iranians toward using state-approved domestic alternatives. The letter was published the same week President Hassan Rouhani lifted the ban on the widely used Telegram messaging app. - 1/19/18

Iran's Protests Suppressed, But Not Forgotten
The biggest challenge to Iran's establishment in years fizzled out after a couple of weeks of violent demonstrations, but while widespread discontent has been quieted for now, the calm won't last forever. The roots of the protests -- frustration among the youth over their lack of freedoms and opportunities -- remain just below the surface. And with the younger generation clearly exhibiting its willingness to take to the streets to express its anger over the status quo, the onus is on the Islamic republic's aging leadership to bridge a growing generational divide. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL - 1/19/18

Detained Iranian Protesters Told to Admit Being Drug Addicts to Speed Up Release
Detainees arrested during the protests that began in Iran in December 2017 have been told to tell officials that they're drug addicts, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. In mid-January 2018, a lawmaker in Tehran publicly stated that detained protesters were being forced to take "pills." Soon after, a prominent human rights lawyer told CHRI that detainees in Evin Prison in Tehran had been told to request methadone-a drug used to treat opioid dependence-to speed up their release. - 1/19/18

Iran wins Energy Globe World Award 2017 in water category
Iran secured the first place in Energy Globe World Awards 2017 in the category of water here on Tuesday. Beating the other two finalists, the Philippines and Singapore, Iran jointly with Sri Lanka won the event's top prize in the mentioned category. The Energy Globe Award was founded in 1999 by the Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and is one of today's most prestigious environmental awards. - 1/19/18

The Right Way To Support Human Rights In Iran
When the protests erupted in Iran during the West's holiday season, not a few folks hoped that the US and the EU would bridge their recent differences over the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) and unite in support of the Iranian people fighting the "brutal theocracy." These hopes, however, were comprehensively dashed. If anything, the way both sides read the protests may have deepened the transatlantic divide over Iran. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 1/19/18

US lawmakers table bill meant to 'tighten' terms of Iran nuclear deal
US lawmakers have put forward a bill at the House of Representatives, seeking to "tighten" the term of a 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Iran, despite international warnings for Washington to stop attempts to undermine the accord. The so-called "Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act" was introduced by Republican representative Peter Roskam and backed by his fellow GOP member Liz Cheney, the daughter of scandal-hit former US Vice President Dick Cheney, on Thursday. - 1/19/18

Iranians Pray For Rain Amid Water Crisis
Iranians in some of the regions hardest hit by years of drought have taken to public prayer sessions in desperate bids to end the dry spell and ease the strain on Iran's dwindling water supplies. Religious services have been routinely held outdoors in Iran since the cleric-led revolution in 1979, but the recent rain prayers were unique in their focus, and in at least one case worshipers gathered in a remote, arid location. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 1/18/18

UN Chief Warns Against Endangering Iran Nuclear Deal
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging nations not to damage Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers because of concerns they may have with Iran's nonnuclear military activities in the Middle East. "Issues not directly related to the [nuclear deal] should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement and its accomplishments," Guterres said in a statement on January 17. - 1/18/18

Remember Those Protests In Iran?
Anyway, the most recent protests have died down, and it is not too soon to ask of Pence: "Well, Mr. Vice President, your side was in control of U.S. messaging and policy this time. The administration could say or do whatever it wanted in response to the protests. So what did the administration accomplish?" -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/18/18

Human Rights Watch Calls on Leaders to Fight Back Against 'Authoritarian Populists'
Human Rights Watch accuses U.S. President Donald Trump of pursuing 'anti-immigrant, racially divisive, and pro-drug-war policies' - but says that civic groups, journalists, lawyers, judges, and elected members of Trump's own party have fought back. The White House repeatedly has pointed out that President Trump was elected on a pledge to reduce migration. He has denied holding racist views. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA - 1/18/18

Tillerson Pledges Long-term US Military Engagement in Syria
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined plans for the U.S. to remain engaged in Syria, both diplomatically and militarily, long after the defeat of the so-called Islamic State. Tillerson gave a major policy speech Wednesday on the way forward for the U.S. in Syria at an event at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University in California. He listed a number of reasons why it is crucial for the U.S. to remain in the troubled country, including preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State and al-Qaida terrorist groups. -Cindy Saine, VOA - 1/18/18

Iran exports over $8.5B petrochemicals in 9 months
Iran exported over 16.4 million tons of petrochemical products worth $8.581 billion during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-December 21, 2017), Shana reported on Wednesday citing the data announced by the National Petrochemical Company (NPC). - 1/18/18

The Iran Nuclear Deal At Two: A Status Report
It could have been worse. President Trump's 12 January decision to waive sanctions while threatening to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (the P5+1) -- unless Congress and Europe agree to unilaterally alter its terms, leaves the deal in the state of limbo it acquired shortly after his election. -International Crisis Group - 1/18/18

The Iran Protests, Regime Change, And MEK
When protests broke out in Iran at the end of 2017, most countries maintained a hands-off approach. After all, these countries maintain diplomatic and trade relations with the Iranian government. Even some influential U.S. observers recommended caution. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance, tweeted: "With humility about how little we know about what's happening inside Iran, this much is clear: it's an Iranian moment and not anyone else's. But the rights of people to protest peacefully and voice their aspirations are universal and governments everywhere should respect that." -Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh - 1/17/18

Keeping Iran's Ballistic Missiles In Perspective
The Trump administration's 120-day "stay of execution" for the Iran nuclear deal has temporarily sidelined arguments over the absence of constraints on ballistic missiles as one of the agreement's principal flaws. But if this "flaw" is not quickly put in proper perspective, the issue could help undermine one of the most important non-proliferation achievements of our era. -Greg Thielmann, LobeLog - 1/17/18

Iran Joins Russia, Turkey In Opposing U.S. Plan To Guard Syrian Border
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has joined Russia, Syria, and Turkey in opposing a new 30,000-strong border guard force inside Syria that the United States says is needed to keep Islamic State extremists out of the country. "The new plan that the Americans have in mind for Syria is a violation of international laws and a plot against the sovereignty and security of Syria and the region," Rohani was quoted by Iranian state media as saying on January 16 during a meeting with the visiting Syrian parliament speaker in Tehran. - 1/17/18

Iran's missiles program is not covered by JCPOA: Shireen Hunter
Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, tells the Tehran Times that that "It is generally understood that Iran's missiles program is not covered by the JCPOA. She adds But America, and key European countries such as the UK and France, believe that separate negotiations should begin regarding Iran's missile program aimed at answering the concerns of Iran's regional neighbors and other states." - 1/17/18

Trump Uses Uncertainty Against Iran
Last week, President Trump announced that he would renew sanctions waivers for Iran. But he also imposed non-nuclear sanctions and renewed his call to Congress to "fix" the deal or else. By doing so, Trump fosters uncertainty. This has the same impact on Iran as the US walking away from the deal. -Dina Esfandiary, LobeLog - 1/17/18

Iran's Intelligence Ministry Forces Father of Slain Protester to Repeat Authorities' Version of Events on State TV
Iran's Intelligence Ministry coerced the father of a dead protester into claiming in front of a camera that his son was killed during an armed confrontation with security forces, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. The footage was then aired on state TV. "What you saw in that video is a father's forced confession against his son," a relative of Saro Ghahremani told CHRI. - 1/17/18

Renault's production in Iran hits a record high in 2017
Through manufacturing of over 160,000 vehicles in Iran, Renault hit a record high in 2017, according to a report by the Communications Department of Renault Pars (a joint venture established in 2004 between France's Renault and Iranian car makers Iran Khodro and Saipa). The report said that production of Renault in Iran witnessed a 48-percent growth in 2017 and gaining 11 percent of the Iranian market, the company experienced its most successful year of performance in the Middle East country. - 1/17/18

Why Iran is facing reduced rainfall?
It is all over the news in Iranian media. Iran is unprecedentedly suffering from low precipitation and experiencing a prolonged drought. Deciding whether the use of the word "unprecedentedly" is scientifically accurate or not is not a job that can be done by the press. It certainly needs extensive, reliable geological and meteorological data to confirm the claims. However, what Iranians are experiencing over the current winter, most significantly in provinces located in arid and semi-arid areas such as Isfahan, Tehran, Qom or South Khorasan is way different than winters of few years ago. - 1/16/18

"IRANOME" project inaugurated in presence of Iran's Health Minister
A scientific and technological project dubbed "IRANOME" was opened today in the Rehabilitative and Welfare Sciences University in the presence of Minister of Health Dr. Seyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi and vice president for Scientific and Technological Affairs. With the implementation of this scientific project, researchers succeeded in transferring the highly-advanced sequencing technology of new generation of NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) genomes to the country, the report added. - 1/16/18

Persian Beach Soccer Cup will be a high-level event: Coach Marco Octavio
Iran national beach soccer team head coach Marco Octavio says the Persian Cup will be a high-level tournament with a spectacular atmosphere. The Persian Beach Soccer Cup will take place in Bushehr, south Iran, from January 27 to 29 where the hosts will go up against three of Europe's premier sides, namely Spain, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. - 1/16/18

Airbus announces delay in delivery of planes to Iran
The sales chief of European planemaker Airbus predicted delivery of the remaining jets to Iran could take longer to complete than what was planned under a deal worth $10 billion signed in 2016. "I think those deals will get fulfilled, maybe not on the original schedule," Airbus sales chief John Leahy told Reuters in an interview, referring to the company's agreement to sell 100 planes to Iran Air under a deal signed in Dec. 2016. - 1/16/18

German quartet pays tribute to Iranian sailors at Fajr Music Festival in Tehran
The fifth night of the 33rd Fajr International Music Festival was host to brilliant performances by the Klenke quartet from Germany. The program paid tribute to Iranian sailors and crew who lost their lives in a shipping incident off the Sea of China earlier this week. The program was held at Niavaran Cultural Center in Tehran. - 1/16/18

Huge Oil Spill After Iranian Tanker Sinks In East China Sea
Chinese ships are racing to clean up a massive oil spill after an Iranian tanker sank in the East China Sea. The Sanchi's crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are all believed to have perished in the incident. - 1/16/18

Acclaimed Iranian singer Iraj to perform in Shiraz
Acclaimed traditional singer Hossein Khajeh-Amiri, better known as Iraj, will hold his first ever concert in Shiraz, Fars Province, on January 21. Iraj will be accompanied by Nima Nour Mohamadi as conductor of musicians, in the performance at the amphitheater of the cultural complex of Shiraz University. - 1/16/18

All You Need to Know About Establishing a Company in Iran by Non-Iranians
Due to some unfair restrictions in the recent years, Iran has been put aside from many transnational business opportunities. The JCPOA agreement and the elimination of some of the restrictions have revealed the significant potential of Iran to become a leading part of regional and international developments in areas such as information and communications technology, the energy market (both fossil fuels and clean energy), mining and transportation. -Omran Mohammadi, TechRasa - 1/16/18

International sports film festival opens in Tehran
Dozens of sports films are competing in the 11th Tehran International FICTS Festival that opened at Felestin Cinema on Monday. A lineup of feature-length, short and documentary films from around the world will go on screen during the 4-day event. - 1/15/18

Moscow will not back US attempt to change Iran nuclear deal: FM Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed that Moscow will not back US attempts to change the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries. "We will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran," Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow on Monday. - 1/15/18

Trump's racial slur prelude to era of modern savagery: Iran's Parliament Speaker
Iran's Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani says recent derogatory remarks made by United States President Donald Trump to refer to Haiti and African countries may be ushering in an era of "modern savagery." "I was deeply sorrowed to hear that America's president the other day used humiliating language to speak about certain countries," Larijani said on Monday. - 1/15/18

Agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry Intimidate Family of Slain Farmer Killed at Protest
Nematollah Shafiei was a bystander who was shot and killed during protests in Qahderijan, Isfahan Province, on January 2, 2018, his brother Hossein, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "Intelligence Ministry agents came to our house and told my mother not to scream and make a fuss," Hossein Shafiei told CHRI on January 10, 2018. "They took my brother's ID and told us to come and pick it up after a few days and to have 'a little conversation.'" - 1/15/18

Salafi Mission Calls Into Question Saudi Concept Of Moderation
Plans to open a Salafi missionary centre in the Yemeni province of Al Mahrah on the border with Oman and Saudi Arabia raise questions about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's concept of a moderate form of Islam. The questions are prompted by the fact that Prince Mohammed has so far put little, if any, flesh on his skeletal vow last October to return his ultra-conservative kingdom to "moderate Islam." -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog - 1/15/18

Killing The Iran Nuclear Agreement With A Thousand Cuts
Don't be either fooled or relieved by President Trump's waiving, for now, of nuclear sanctions on Iran, and thus his forgoing of an explicit withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. Trump still is determined to destroy the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), though not necessarily in the way he threatens, or in a way some have feared. He is set on destroying the JCPOA partly because of the same guiding principle, if it can be called that, steering so much of his presidency, which is to tear down any significant accomplishment of his predecessor... -Paul Pillar - 1/14/18

Iran Says Over 400 Protesters Still Detained, 25 People Killed
Iran's judiciary says that about 465 people are still being detained across the country for taking part in a wave of antigovernment protests that began nearly three weeks earlier. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni-Ejei also acknowledged that 25 people were killed in violence surrounding the protests that began on December 28. - 1/14/18

President Rouhani Changes Course and Acknowledges Protesters' Varied Reasons For Discontent
"Some people think that the people are just asking for more money and a better economy. But do you know anyone who would be satisfied with a monthly salary while social media networks are completely cut off and the comings and goings from home are restricted and you don't even have the right to speak? You cannot buy people's freedom and lives with money. Why are some diverting from the truth? That is an insult to the people," said Rouhani during a meeting with senior officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance on January 8, 2018. - 1/14/18

Iran Lifts Restrictions on Messaging App Telegram
Iran has lifted restrictions on the messaging app Telegram, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. The popular service had been blocked during recent public protests, the most serious nationwide unrest in the Islamic republic since 2009. "An informed source announced that the filtering of the Telegram messenger has been ended and it is being used by users," IRNA reported. - 1/14/18

Stricken Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks, 'No Hope' Of Finding Survivors
A stricken Iranian oil tanker that was burning for more than a week following a collision with a Chinese cargo ship in the East China Sea has sunk after drifting into the waters of Japan's economic exclusion zone. Chinese state television reports that the ship sank shortly after another portion of its cargo "suddenly ignited" at about noon local time on January 14. - 1/14/18

Tehran Art Auction 2018 sells out 120 mind-melting lots, signals flourishing market
The 8th edition of Tehran Auction contemporary art sale broke a new record on Friday, January 12, signalling a flourishing market for contemporary Iranian art. The winter sale built on the success of its spring - 14.952 billion tomans to be exact, or over $3 million. Parsian Hotel was host to the 8th edition of Tehran Auction where the best of Iranian art ranging from established and emerging artists were introduced to art collectors and global audience. All the 120 modern and classical artworks sold out! - 1/14/18

Trump failed to destroy Iran nuclear deal: President Rouhani
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the administration of US President Donald Trump has failed in its attempts to kill the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, describing this as a "victory" for the Iranian nation and the rule of law. Trump has left no stone unturned over the past year to destroy the agreement, but to no avail, said Rouhani on Sunday, adding, "This means a victory for international commitments and law against dictatorship." - 1/14/18

Top-ranking Iranian-American Official 'Heartened' by Iran Protests
The Trump administration's highest-ranking Iranian-American, who serves as its top antitrust regulator, has welcomed recent anti-government protests in Iran as a "heartening" development. In an interview with VOA Persian this month, Makan Delrahim described the weeklong anti-government protest movement as a "natural progression" for Iranian people, whom he said desire freedoms that have been denied to them by "oppressive" Islamist clerics who have ruled Iran for almost 40 years. -Setareh Derakhshes & Michael Lipin, VOA - 1/14/18

Congress Addresses Iran And Israel/Palestine
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, previously of Americans for Peace Now and now the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. -LobeLog - 1/14/18

Iran Says U.S. Is 'Maliciously Violating' Nuclear Deal By Demanding Changes
Iran's top diplomat accused U.S. President Donald Trump of "maliciously violating" Iran's 2015 nuclear deal after Trump threatened to pull out of the deal within months unless changes are made. Trump's announcement is a "desperate attempt to undermine a solid multilateral agreement," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter late on January 12, citing sections of the agreement that he said the United States is violating by demanding changes on matters already agreed to by Iran and the five other world powers that negotiated the deal. - 1/13/18

Trump's Iran Statement: A View From Europe
It is with some reluctance that I write about President Donald Trump's latest statement on Iran, because the statement is so full of half-truths, untruths, and logical fallacies that it is bad for one's blood pressure to have to dwell on it for any length of time. I will try to limit damage to my constitution by focussing on just a few of the statement's most disturbing features. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 1/13/18

Iranian Teachers Union Blames Protests On State 'Mismanagement'
An Iranian teachers' organization has blamed the country's recent outbreak of protests on inflation, poverty, unemployment, and "mismanagement by state officials." In a statement posted on the social-media app Telegram on January 12, the Teachers Trade Unions Coordination Council (TTUC) said Iranians were protesting "poor economic conditions, systematic discrimination and corruption, as well as poverty and social injustice." - 1/13/18

Trump Waives Iran Nuclear Sanctions For "Last Time"
The White House announced on Friday afternoon that Donald Trump will extend waivers on sanctions against Iran for another 120 days, under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). However, in its announcement the administration made it clear that this is the "last time" Trump will issue these waivers unless the deal is substantially renegotiated, something that neither Iran nor the other parties to the deal (Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia) have shown any inclination of doing. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 1/13/18

A London Television Station Has Convinced Iran the Shah Was Great
"We made a mistake by having a revolution!" "Reza Pahlavi!" During the week of protests that started on Dec. 28, 2017, ahead of the 39th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which ousted the last Pahlavi monarch, small crowds across Iran could be heard shouting the name of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's son, the country's deposed crown prince. -Narges Bajoghli, Foreign Policy - 1/13/18

European Diplomats Urge Sticking With Iran Nuclear Deal
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program is working, and that while there are concerns about Iran's development of ballistic missiles and other activities in the Middle East, those should be dealt with as a separate issue. - 1/12/18

Local Officials in Iranian City Dezful Attempt to Deflect Responsibility for Protesters' Death
Mohsen Adeli, an Iranian protester, died from a bullet wound during a protest in the city of Dezful despite a local official's claim that "this man's death had nothing to do with recent events," the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 1/12/18

Italy signs EU's biggest ever credit deal with Iran
Iran and Italy have signed a major framework credit agreement worth 5 billion Euros which Tehran says is the biggest ever such agreement signed with a European country. The credit agreement will be used to provide funds for development and industrial projects in the Islamic Republic. - 1/12/18

Tehran metro ranks 25th among world's busiest subways
With an annual ridership of 459 million, Tehran metro has attained the rank of 25 among busiest subway systems in the world. As per a report by thoughtco.com published in March 2017 Tokyo metro with 3.6 billion annual passenger rides, Moscow metro with 2.4 billion annual passenger rides and Seoul metro with 2.04 billion annual passenger rides top the list of world's busiest subways among 30 cities. - 1/12/18

Iran Should Launch Independent Investigation of Deaths of Two Protesters in Prison
Iran should launch an independent investigation of the cases of two detainees who died in custody, allegedly by suicide, after being arrested during the recent protests in Iran. The results of the investigations should be shared with the public at every stage of the process with full transparency. "There are serious questions surrounding these protesters' deaths," said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 1/12/18

Last surviving Asiatic cheetahs to undergo artificial insemination
Head of the Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Project said a team of experts from France will come to Iran in a few weeks to perform artificial insemination on the last surviving Asiatic cheetahs, Koushki and Delbar. - 1/12/18

Iran--On The Brink?
With the emergence of demonstrations and rioting in various Iranian cities earlier this month, Washington's neoconservatives and interventionist/ imperial-minded "liberals" have been given a new lease on life in promoting their aspirations for "regime change" in Tehran. Indeed, of the three current potential global flashpoints--North Korea, Russian borderlands, and Iran in the Gulf--Iran arguably presents the most likely situation to actually turn into war. The other two regions, Russia and Korea, pose such potentially appalling nuclear dangers that, rhetoric aside, one would hope will seriously deter national leadership from contemplating. -Graham Fuller, LobeLog - 1/12/18

Iran-Iraq Border Hit By Series Of Moderate Earthquakes
A series of moderate earthquakes struck near the Iran-Iraq border and other areas of Iran on January 11, most of them occurring in the same region hit by a major quake in November that killed over 530 people. Four people suffered minor injuries from the latest quakes and little damage was reported, Iranian state television said. - 1/12/18

Iran After Protests: Change Does Come
In Iran today, over 20 people have been killed in the streets and two young men are dead from unknown causes after being detained in prison. An estimated 3,700 others have been arrested across the country, most of them under the age of 25. In Tehran the families of detainees are camping outside Evin prison awaiting news of their children. With such news in the headlines, it is hard not to be pessimistic about the protests that for a week rocked the country and riveted the world. But perspective matters. -Sanam Naraghi Anderlini - 1/11/18

European Allies Urge U.S. To Continue Backing Iran Nuclear Deal
BRUSSELS -- European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has urged "all parties" to continue complying with a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, saying that "the deal is working." Mogherini made the plea on January 11, a day before a deadline for U.S. President Donald Trump to announce a key decision on whether Washington would continue to waive sanctions against Iran in accordance with the nuclear deal. - 1/11/18

Iran Suspends Thousands of Drug-Related Death Sentences After Years of Domestic and International Campaigning
An estimated 4,000 prisoners currently on death row in Iran for drug-related crimes could have their death sentences revoked according to a just-issued judicial order based on the country's newly amended drug trafficking law. "Iran has taken a positive first step toward reducing the country's high execution rate," said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 1/11/18

Grievance Against Governance In Iran
Now that the wave of recent protests that swept across Iran is over, let us be humble. There was much disagreement about the causes of the protests, but let us admit we were united in amazement: participants, state and polity elites, activists, pundits and observers inside and outside the country, and the people of Iran, everyone. Humility requires avoiding constructing grand schemes or narratives and cherry-picking to attribute single causes and forces to a phenomenon that consist of many elusive elements and many unknown facts. -Ali Reza Eshraghi, LobeLog - 1/11/18

Iran's Protests: All About The Economy?
In 2007, when the Iranian government introduced gasoline rationing, increasing the price to 11 cents a liter, some angry motorists torched gasoline stations. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that it showed "economic sanctions are working increasingly well." Recent protests-cum-riots in many Iranian cities have renewed hopes of an uprising among those in the United States who have wanted "regime change" in Iran since the US-backed Shah was overthrown in 1979. -Gareth Smyth, LobeLog - 1/11/18

Iran says Boeing still needs OFAC nod for jet sales
Iran says US aviation giant Boeing will have to obtain an authorization from the administration of President Donald Trump within the next month for sales of 30 planes to its Aseman Airlines. Mohammad Gorji, the deputy for aviation affairs of Aseman Airlines, was quoted by Iran's domestic media as saying that Boeing was trying to obtain the authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department. - 1/11/18

Syrian Offensive Threatens Turkish Cooperation with Russia, Iran
Turkey on Wednesday assailed Russia and Iran for failing to stop the Syrian government's ongoing military offensive in Syria's rebel enclave of Idlib, threatening the prospects of Ankara's continued cooperation with Tehran and Moscow in the Syrian conflict. Reflecting Ankara's growing alarm, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu lashed out, saying, "Russia and Iran must stop the Syrian regime. They should realize their duties as guarantor countries." -Dorian Jones, VOA - 1/11/18

Iran's Vulnerable Energy Supply And The Protests
Unlike early 2017, when Iran's energy industry started a year full of hope and prospects of potential growth, 2018 has started with different potential risks targeting its energy industry and production growth. Risks abound, particularly the prospect of additional sanctions and domestic instability. -Sara Vakhshouri, LobeLog - 1/10/18

Courage overcomes tragedy: Sara Abdolmaleki redefines physical boundaries
Sara Abdolmaleki is a strong and determined young woman whose life story will empower anyone who is weighed down by life's trials and tribulations. The twenty-three year old resident of Karaj has proven that one can persevere and overcome even the most earth shattering obstacles in life only to emerge with resilience. - 1/10/18

Iran Protests: Authorities Keeping Families of Detained Gonabadi Dervishes in the Dark
The families of several members of a Muslim Sufi order in Iran known as the Gonabadi Dervishes are still seeking answers to basic questions about loved ones who were detained in the recent anti-government protests, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 1/10/18

China: Explosion occurs aboard burning Iran oil tanker
China's Transport Ministry has reported an explosion aboard the Iranian oil tanker that collided with a cargo ship off the Asian country's coast on Saturday. The ministry said in a statement that the explosion occurred at around 13:35 Beijing time on Wednesday after rescue crew tried to spray foam to put out the blaze. - 1/10/18

German Prosecutors Consider Charges Against Top Iranian Cleric
Germany's federal prosecutor's office is examining whether to bring charges against a senior Iranian cleric who has been mentioned as a possible future Iranian supreme leader and who is receiving medical treatment in Germany. A spokesman for the prosecutor's office on January 9 acknowledged receiving a complaint filed against Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi by a former German lawmaker, whose complaint accuses the cleric of committing "crimes against humanity" during his decade overseeing hundreds of executions as the head of Iran's Justice Ministry. - 1/10/18

U.S. Congress Expresses Overwhelming Support For Iranian Protesters
The U.S, House of Representatives has nearly unanimously adopted a resolution expressing support for antigovernment protesters in Iran and condemning Tehran's crackdown on the two-week-long demonstrations. Lawmakers backed the measure by a vote of 415 to 2 late on January 9. - 1/10/18

'Big Mouth Basiji' Takes Offensive In Defense Of Iranian Regime
Iran's "Big Mouth Basiji" has never met a pro-government event he didn't like. And in the face of the biggest challenge to the regime in years, Tehran's omnipresent cheerleader has been using whatever means possible to shout out his criticism of ongoing antigovernment protests. Hamid Reza Ahmadabadi has been a fixture of Friday Prayers and large, state-organized, gatherings in Iran for years, gaining fame and his moniker for boisterously leading the charge in calling for an end to the Islamic republic's adversaries. -Farangis Najibullah and Hooman Askary, RFE/RL - 1/10/18

Questioning Iran's Regional Ambitions
Not only did the protests voice the anger and frustration Iranians hold against the state of their economy, corruption, and the theocratic government, they drew attention to the blood and treasure spent by Iran backing Bashar Al-Assad's government in Syria, Shia militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and militant factions in the Gaza Strip, in addition to limited ties to Houthi rebels in Yemen. -Holly Dagres, Carnegie Endowment - 1/10/18

Reformist MP Pledges to "Seek Answers" on Students Arrested in Iran's Protests
A top reformist lawmaker has pledged to investigate the arrests by Iran's Intelligence Ministry of dozens of university students during the country's recent nationwide protests. "According to a list that was given to me, about 90 students have been arrested throughout the country in the past few days," Parvaneh Salahshouri, the leader of the women's faction in Iran's Parliament, told the Iran-based Jame'e No news website on January 5, 2018. - 1/9/18

Lawmaker Says 3,700 Arrested In Iran, Khamenei Points Finger At U.S.
An Iranian lawmaker says that about 3,700 people have been arrested during antigovernment protests, while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is claiming that Tehran foiled what he called attempts by the United States and Britain to create unrest. The number of arrests cited by reformist lawmaker Mahmud Sadeghi on January 9 is far higher than figures announced by the authorities. - 1/9/18

52 U.S. Security Experts Issue Statement Backing Iran Nuclear Deal
Today (Jauray 8, 2018) a bipartisan group of 52 American national security leaders issued a statement urging U.S. policymakers not to undermine the Iran nuclear agreement. They also expressed support for the rights of the Iranian people to free speech and condemned the use of force against protestors. - 1/9/18

96 percent of Iran experiencing prolonged drought: Official
Nearly 96 percent of Iran's total area is suffering from different levels of prolonged drought, the director for drought and crisis management department of Iran's Meteorological Organization said. Referring to Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) over the past 84 months, Shahrokh Fateh said drought severities range from abnormally dry to moderate, severe and even extreme drought. - 1/9/18

Iran Hosts West Asia Security Forum in Tehran
Iran on Monday hosted the second version of the Tehran security conference on "Regional Security in West Asia: Emerging Challenges and Trends". Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, addressing the international event, said the U.S. policies and interferences are the "most fundamental challenges" to the West Asia region. "The U.S. ignores realities in the region and insists on adopting destructive policies by continuing to have illegitimate military presence in Syria," Zarif told the security conference. - 1/9/18

EU, Iranian Ministers Say Preserving Nuclear Deal On Agenda At Meeting This Week
The foreign ministers of the European Union and Iran have said their scheduled talks in Brussels on January 11 will focus on preserving Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, which is seen as under threat from the United States. The announced focus of the meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the foreign ministers of the EU, France, Germany, and Britain came on January 8 after Iran warned that the United States may be on the verge of withdrawing from the agreement. - 1/9/18

Anger And Fear Grow About Fate Of Detained Protesters In Iran
According to reports by the Committee on the Rights of the Detained, a 22 year old held in the quarantine ward of Evin prison in Tehran died in detention. The committee, set up by human rights activists and former political prisoners, aims to track the situation of those detained in the recent protests in Iran, explained that prisoners released from Evin on Sunday provided the information on Sina Ghanbari's death and that the cause of his death was unclear. -Sussan Tahmasebi, LobeLog - 1/9/18

Iranian Judiciary Official Calls For 'Maximium Penalty' For Protest Leaders
A top Iranian judiciary official has said antigovernment protest leaders should be handed the harshest possible sentences, while President Hassan Rohani suggested demonstrations were driven by opposition to his ultraconservative rivals in the ruling elite. Rohani and Hamid Shahriari, deputy head of Iran's judiciary, spoke on January 8 -- nearly two weeks after the start of a series of protests that have shaken the country and attracted attention worldwide. - 1/8/18

Iran and the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline
Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCP) is a project to transport natural gas through a submerged pipeline in the Caspian seabed from Turkmenistan and partly from Kazakhstan to Baku in Azerbaijan and eventually to Europe, circumventing Russia and Iran. Turkmenistan has one of the biggest gas resources in the world, the third biggest after Russia and Iran. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 1/8/18

Iran Protests: What Lies Beneath
Since May 1997 and the coming to power of reformists in Iran, Western countries and their mainstream media have refused to see anything else in Iran other than the symbiosis of the reformers and hardliners within the regime of the Islamic Republic. For the neoconservatives within the United States Republican Party, those Iranian dissidents who dream of establishing a pro-Western government in exchange for the violent Western support for a "regime change" in Iran have been favored. -Sohrab Mobasheri - 1/8/18

Telegram to be unblocked if it accepts Iran's conditions: Lawmaker
Behrouz Nemati, spokesman for the parliament's presiding board, said on Sunday that during a meeting of the parliament it was decided that the Telegram messaging app will be unblocked under certain conditions. - 1/8/18

US shamed itself by targeting Iran at UNSC: President Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani says the United States shamed itself by trying to target the Islamic Republic at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting it had called on the recent events inside Iran. "A gathering and protest may be exploited by certain sides. This is natural and happens all over the world," said Rouhani at a meeting with staff of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance in Tehran on Monday. - 1/8/18

Tectonic Evolution, Collision, and Seismicity of Southwest Asia: In Honor of Manuel Berberian's Forty-Five Years of Research Contributions
In recognition of his lifetime research contributions to promoting and advancing geological, plate tectonics, active tectonics, seismicity, and archaeoseismicity knowledge, the Geological Society of America (GSA) honored the first ever Persian-born and the first ever Armenian geoscientist by organizing a conference on October 29, 2013 in Denver, Colorado (during the GSA's 125th-yr establishment annual meeting), and publishing the above-mentioned 'Special Paper' volume on December 21, 2017, during the GSA's 129 years of history. - 1/8/18

Iranian Official Says Iran Intends To Ban English Lessons In Primary Schools
A senior Iranian education official says Iran intends to ban English-language classes from primary schools amid warnings from Islamic leaders that the language has led to a "cultural invasion" from the West. Mehdi Navid-Adham, chief of the High Education Council, told state-run TV on January 7 that "teaching English in government and nongovernment primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations." - 1/8/18

Iranian Oil Tanker At Risk Of Exploding, 32 Crew Still Missing
Chinese state media reports that an Iranian oil tanker which caught fire after colliding with a freighter off China's east coast is at risk of exploding and sinking. Personnel from three countries were working on January 8 to find the tanker's 32 missing crew members and contain oil spewing from the blazing wreck. - 1/8/18

IRGC says Iran's Anti-government Protests 'Defeated'
In a rebuke to Iranian government claims that the widespread demonstrations had been organized and/or instigated by foreigners, a group of 16 prominent reformist figures living in Iran issued a statement rejecting that claim. In the January 6 statement, the signatories said, "Despite the fact the enemies of the country always try to take advantage of such events, we should know that any kind of foreign interference would not be possible without the existence of internal conditions." They added that in addition to the government claim of foreign involvement being "an insult" to Iranians, it leads to "negligence toward the real causes of the protests. - 1/7/18

Iranian Security Forces Have Arrested More Than 40 University Students
More than 40 Iranian university students, mostly activists, were arrested between December 30, 2017, and January 4, 2018, according to credible information received by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Some of the detainees are being held in Evin Prison's Ward 209, which is controlled by the Intelligence Ministry and which has threatened some of the detainees' relatives with arrests. - 1/7/18

Crowdfunding for publications of Samin Baghcheban's compositions
March 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Samin Baghcheban's demise in exile. On the occasion of the anniversary, the Baghcheban family is willing to publish a collection of Samin's vocal pieces which were composed in the 1950s and currently are not available to the public. - 1/7/18

Iranian Protesters' Relatives Threatened With Arrest For Holding Sit-In at Evin Prison
The families of protesters detained during the anti-government protests that began in Iran on December 28, 2017, have been threatened with arrest for holding a sit-in at Evin Prison in Tehran. "Since the first night he was arrested, we have been coming to sit in front of Evin Prison to ask about them but they don't give us any answers," Shokoufeh Yadollahi, the mother of detained student Kasra Nouri, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 4, 2018. - 1/7/18

At Least 21 Injured As Earthquake Rocks Western Iranian Region
A 5.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Iran's western province of Kermanshah on January 6, injuring at least 21 people, state television reports. The semiofficial ISNA news agency said the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 520 kilometers west of Tehran, was near the epicenter of the quake. The quake struck at 6:55 p.m. local time. - 1/7/18

Iran's Aseman Airlines to purchase another 30 Boeing jets
Iran says it plans to purchase another 30 planes from US aviation giant Boeing if the administration of US President Donald Trump creates no obstacles for the existing order by one of its key airlines. The announcement was made by Vali Azarvash, the managing director of Atieh Saba Investment Company which is one of the main shareholders of Aseman Airlines. - 1/7/18

Iraq Says Oil Deliveries From Kirkuk To Iran Will Start In January
Iraq's oil minister says the country will start exporting oil to Iran from its northern Kirkuk oil fields by the end of January. Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on January 7 that about 30,000 barrels per day will be trucked to Iran's Kermanshah refinery in the first set of shipments. The deliveries are to be made under a swap agreement announced in December by both countries. - 1/7/18

How Iran's President Rouhani Can Turn Crisis Into Opportunity
Manifold reasons lie behind Iran's ongoing protests, but the immediate trigger appears to be widespread disgruntlement over the country's economic performance, especially cuts in President Hassan Rouhani's new budget. Neither a revolution nor a political movement, the crisis is an explosion of the Iranian people's pent-up frustrations over economic and political stagnation. -Ali Vaez, LobeLog - 1/7/18

32 missing after Iranian oil tanker collides with Chinese cargo ship
An Iranian oil tanker heading to South Korea, collided with a Chinese cargo ship off the coast of east China on Saturday due to which the tanker's 32 crew members went missing. The Sanchi tanker, registered in Panama, collided with the CF Crystal some 160 nautical miles off the coast near Shanghai, Reuters reported on Sunday citing the Chinese Ministry of Transportation. - 1/7/18

Government Supporters Rally As UN Prepares To Meet On Iran
Pro-government demonstrators have taken to the streets of Iran for a third day ahead of a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting about deadly antigovernment protests in the country during the past week. Reports in Western media about antigovernment demonstrations in Iran have decreased since Tehran blocked key social media used by the protesters to spread video of the earlier unrest. -RFE/RL - 1/5/18

Trump And The Iran Protests
The Trump administration hasn't been shy about voicing its opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. Even before the latest protests broke out, the administration was also exploring ways of killing the Boeing aircraft deal, as well as the Total investment. Suffice it to say, Trump is not interested in any kind of engagement with the Iranian government. As soon as the protests broke out in Iran in December, Trump gleefully took to Twitter to support the people in the streets and castigate the Rouhani government. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 1/5/18

Iran's IRGC, Allies Enlist Public, And Twitter, To Chase Suspected Protesters
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has sparked anger by using media proxies to crowdsource the identification and reporting to authorities of individuals photographed at antiestablishment protests, including indirectly through social media like Twitter. The effort came as a week of demonstrations and violent unrest across the country eased but were said to be continuing in some places, with protesters chanting slogans against rising prices, corruption, and Iran's clerically dominated leadership. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 1/5/18

Trump's disrespect for Iranians belies his 'support' offer: Foreign Minister Zarif
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says US President Donald Trump's moves against the Iranian people belie his recent claim that he "supports" them. Trump posted a comment on his Twitter account on Wednesday, expressing his "respect" for the Iranians participating in protests in some cities of the country, claiming that the US will provide "great support" to them "at the appropriate time." - 1/5/18

Seeking answers for Iran's chemical weapons victims-before time runs out
On a chilly morning in September 1987, in the waning days of the Iran-Iraq War, an 18-year-old Iranian soldier named Seyed Naser Emadi drove from a battlefield in northwestern Iran to a hospital in Nagadeh, a city a couple hours away. Crammed in the back of his Land Rover were four soldiers, moaning, vomiting, and coughing. "I'll never forget the sound of their breathing," Emadi says. "It was rattling, raspy." The terrified young men did not know what was happening, and Emadi had no idea how to help them. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine - 1/5/18

US Sanctions 5 Entities Tied to Iran's Missile Program
The U.S. Treasury placed sanctions Thursday on five Iranian-based entities either owned or controlled by the company responsible for developing and producing Iran's solid-propellant ballistic missiles. "These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people," U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. - 1/5/18

What doing business in Iran is like for Germans
Thomas Gehbauer is a head of project coordination for German medical equipment supplier Blue Ocean Fourth Millennium. He has been doing business in Iran for many years, likes and respects the country and its people. But as in many countries, "corruption, bureaucracy, and slow procedures" are some of the barriers to doing business in Iran, Gehbauer told DW. -Deutsche Welle - 1/5/18

Contrasting Leadership Styles In The Saudi-Iran Conflict
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is steadily consolidating power in Riyadh and positioning himself to become the most powerful ruler in Saudi history. His rise has been accompanied with a ratcheting up of hostilities against Iran and even war rhetoric. As Saudi-Iran tensions increase, the lived experiences and leadership styles of the 78-year-old Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and 32-year-old MBS will decide the future of peace and stability in the region. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, LobeLog - 1/5/18

Iran Deploys Thousands of Security Forces Against Protesters, Shows Restraint
Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the powerful Islamic Republic Revolutionary Corps, recalled the Arab governments' experience as he declared an end to the protests Wednesday. "Our security preparation and public scrutiny allowed the enemy to be defeated again, because if our situation was like Egypt, Syria and Libya, the Islamic Republic of Iran would have suffered irreparable damage," Jafari said, in comments carried by the IRGC's news agency. -Masood Farivar, VOA - 1/4/18

Iranian Protests Show Signs Of Slowing As Diplomatic Battle Heats Up
Antigovernment protests showed signs of slowing across Iran as they entered a second week amid a war of words between the United States and Tehran, which accuses the White House of meddling in its domestic affairs. With the government blocking social-media websites to disrupt the spread of information about the protests, it was unclear if the January 4 demonstrations were smaller than in the previous six days. -RFE/RL's Radio Farda - 1/4/18

Filtered apps suffocate domestic businesses in Iran
Following the social unrest across Iran, starting on Thursday, the government started blocking access to social networks and messaging apps including Telegram and Instagram, while some controls were also put on Iranians' access to the Internet. Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh, Tehran Times - 1/4/18

22 Killed and Hundreds Arrested as Iran's Supreme Leader Blames Protests on Foreign "Enemies"
As details emerged about the number of casualties and arrests that occurred during the first six days of the anti-government demonstrations that began in Iran on December 28, 2017, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei pointed a finger at foreign "enemies." "In the incidents during the past few days, the enemies of Iran have been using every tool in their possession, including money, weapons, politics and security services to create problems for the Islamic state," said Khamenei on January 2, 2018. - 1/4/18

Six Prominent Lawyers Call for Prosecution of Iranian Officials Who Incited Violence Against Protesters
Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and five other prominent Iranian human rights lawyers have called for the prosecution of state officials who have encouraged violence against protesters in the anti-government demonstrations in Iran. "We demand the immediate termination and independent prosecution of some officials whose statements have had a critical impact in inciting emotions and violence during the people's lawful and peaceful demonstrations," said the lawyers in a joint statement sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 3, 2017. - 1/4/18

Iran Hawks Embrace Protest Movement But Show Little Concern For Iranian Lives
As the protests across Iran reach the one-week point, Iran hawks are using their echo chamber to claim concern for the wellbeing of Iranian protesters and pushing the Trump administration and policymakers to publicly state their support of the burgeoning protest movement. But these same hawks have a long history of opposing diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran's nuclear program and instead threatening military strikes on Iran. This record belies their stated concern for Iran's civilian population and raises serious questions about their motivations in embracing the protesters. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 1/4/18

Rhetoric, Epistemology, And The Iranian Protests
With any country that, like Iran, has been the subject of acrimonious debate in Washington, pronouncements by American observers about events in that country have more to do with politics here than with what is going on over there. So it has been with much of the spinning and interpreting of protests in Iranian streets during the past few days. Some guidelines for intelligent, responsible, and useful commentary on those protests are in order, and applicable no matter the policy preferences of the commenter. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/4/18

How sanctions have hit ordinary Iranians
The protests which have swept Iran in the past week reflect, in part, the impact on ordinary people of years of international sanctions. The sanctions, lifted in 2016 as part of a deal with world powers that limits Iran's nuclear activities, resulted in a sharp decrease in spending power and forced people to cut back on buying even essential foodstuffs. -Behrang Tajdin, BBC - 1/4/18

Turkey Slams U.S. Conviction Of Turkish Banker, Warns Of Impact On Relations
Turkey has slammed the conviction of a Turkish banker found guilty in a federal court in New York of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, calling it a "legal disgrace." "It is an unjust and unfortunate development that Halkbank Deputy General Manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla was found guilty," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on January 4. - 1/4/18

Iranian Leadership: Heed Warning Signs And Change Priorities
Iran's leadership, especially the hardliners, has attributed the latest protests in several major Iranian cities, including the capital Tehran, to plots by the enemies of Islam and the Iranian Revolution, particularly America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Senior officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have also warned that those who are dreaming of ending the revolution will take their dreams to the grave. Fighting words indeed. -Shireen T. Hunter - 1/3/18

Pro-Government Supporters Take To Iran's Streets In Wake Of Antigovernment Protests
Tens of thousands of Iranians have rallied in support of the government in several cities following several days of protests and deadly clashes between demonstrators and security forces that have left at least 22 dead. Iran's state-run English-language Press TV broadcast live footage of the pro-government rallies on January 3, showing demonstrators with Iranians flags and signs supporting the clerically overseen government, which appears to have been caught off-guard by the strength and breadth of the upheaval. - 1/3/18

Iran's Severely Disrupted Internet During Protests: "Websites Hardly Open"
For the first time since the mass protests of 2009, the Islamic Republic of Iran has imposed tighter than usual restrictions on internet access to curb the distribution of images, videos and reports about the nationwide protests that began on December 28, 2017. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that internet access in Iran was severely disrupted on December 30 and at one point completely cut off for half an hour. A day later, Telegram and Instagram, two of the country's most widely used social media applications, were blocked on December 31. - 1/3/18

Iranian Leaders Divided Over Protests
Iran's leaders appear to be divided about the reasons behind the anti-government protests roiling the country, who the demonstrators are and how to curtail the unrest - the most significant challenge to Iran's clerical leadership since 2009, when authorities resorted to a nationwide crackdown to crush the pro-democracy "green movement." -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 1/3/18

U.S. weightlifting men's and women's teams waiting for visa to participate in Iran's Fajr Cup
The U.S. weightlifting men's and women's teams are waiting for visas to participate in the third edition of the International Fajr Cup. The competition has been scheduled to take place in the city of Ahvaz in Iran's south west from March 6 to 11. - 1/3/18

Foreign Minister Zarif to Trump: Iranians have right to vote and protest
In response to inflammatory tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump since protest rallies started in Iran last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Iran's security and stability depend on its own people. "Iran's security and stability depend on its own people, who - unlike the peoples of Trumps regional "bffs"-have the right to vote and to protest. These hard-earned rights will be protected, and infiltrators will not be allowed to sabotage them through violence and destruction," Zarif tweeted on Tuesday. - 1/3/18

Dispelling the Iranian Terrorism Myth
Some ideas take on a character akin to sacred texts whose validity is rarely questioned. One such belief is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest threat to the Middle East and the United States. The threat narrative has become required foreign policy catechism in Washington, D.C. Menacing stereotypes and bellicose rhetoric are the standards by which Iran has come to be judged. It has been in the crosshairs of American administrations since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. -M. Reza Behnam, Antiwar - 1/3/18

Iranians And Israelis Take To The Street
When Netanyahu urged on the protesters in their "noble quest for freedom" he seemed to miss a central irony of his message. For weeks now Israelis have marched against the corruption of his own government, of his continued struggle to hold on to power even as the Israeli police question him time and time again over corruption allegations. All through December, around 10,000 Israelis joined weekly protests in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa -Daniel Amir, LobeLog - 1/3/18

Over a dozen people killed in violence in Iranian cities
More than a dozen people have been killed in the violence that has followed a series of peaceful demonstrations against economic woes in a number of Iranian cities. Several towns in the central Isfahan Province were the scene of unrest and sporadic clashes on Monday night, IRIB reported. In Qahderijan, six people were killed after they engaged in clashes with security forces while attempting to storm a police station. - 1/2/18

Iran's Supreme Leader Accuses Nation's 'Enemies' of Stirring Unrest
Iran's Supreme Leader on Tuesday accused enemies of the Islamic Republic of stirring the violent anti-government protests that began late last week. "In recent days, enemies of Iran used different tools, including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles for the Islamic Republic," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement shown on state television and in a post on his official website. Khameei said he would address the nation about the recent events "when the time is right." -VOA - 1/2/18

Protests In Iran Are An Extension Of The Islamic Republic's Founding Ethos
Protests are on in Iran. As usual bad faith analysts and pop-up "experts" are eager to explain why the Islamic Republic is once again on its last legs and how the demise of the ayatollahs is imminent, all based on the single assumption that the regime is bad and the good people of Iran, young and mad as hell, are not going to take it anymore. It's for real this time, the pundits assure us, just like it was the last time around. -Shervin Malekzadeh, LobeLog - 1/2/18

Iranian Protests And The Working Class
With the new wave of protests sweeping Iran, it seems that the country's forgotten men and women may be mobilizing to ensure their voices are heard in Iran and around the world. There is a growing consensus that the protests are comprised primarily of members of the working class, who are most vulnerable to chronic unemployment and a rises in the cost of living. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 1/2/18

Iran's Communications Minister says social apps restriction temporary
The restricted access to social networks in Iran amid ongoing protests against the government's economic and social policies is a temporary measure, Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said on Monday. On Sunday, media reported that Tehran had temporarily restricted access to social media apps Instagram and Telegram, used by activists to exchange messages about the rallies. - 1/2/18

President Rohani Sees Opportunity As Death Toll In Iran's Upheaval Rises
President Hassan Rohani says unrest that has left at least a dozen antigovernment protesters dead could be a chance to address problems plaguing Iran amid the biggest challenge to the authorities since violent demonstrations erupted after a disputed election handed Mahmud Ahmadinejad a second presidential term in 2009. Speaking after a meeting with the heads of parliamentary committees, Rohani said the protests, which entered a fifth day on January 1, are not only about economic issues, but also a cry from citizens for more freedom. - 1/1/18

President Rouhani says Iranian people will deal with rioters, lawbreakers
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian people will deal with a "small and minority group" of rioters and lawbreakers exploiting the protests against economic conditions in a number of Iranian cities in recent days. Speaking in a meeting with a number of Iranian lawmakers on Monday, Rouhani said the nation would counter the small group that has used protests as an excuse to chant slogans in violation of the law and people's demands, insult the sanctities and values of the Islamic Revolution, and damage public property. - 1/1/18

Iran unrest: 'Ten dead' in further protests overnight
Ten people have been killed overnight in anti-government protests sweeping Iran, according to state TV. "In the events of last night, unfortunately a total of about 10 people were killed in several cities," it said. At least 12 people have now died since protests began on Thursday. -BBC - 1/1/18

Iran Denies Compromise on Caspian Division
After a meeting earlier this month of the five Caspian states' foreign ministers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared victory: "With great satisfaction, I declare that we have found solutions to all the remaining open key issues related to the preparation of the draft Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. The text of the document is, in fact, ready," he said. But now Iran has pushed back, saying that it has yet to resolve the issue of how much of the sea it should control. -Joshua Kucera, Eurasianet - 1/1/18

Azerbaijan Wrestles With Rising Iranian Influence
Azerbaijan's security services recently presented senior government officials with a report describing how Iran has "increased its capabilities in Azerbaijan's regions," one analyst close to the government told EurasiaNet.org. "Many more people are now under Iran's influence, and this has sounded alarm bells inside the government," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. -Zaur Shiriyev, LobeLog - 1/1/18
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