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Iran's Reformist Newspapers Criticize Guardian Council's Decision to Ban Religious Minorities From Elections
Several reformist newspapers in Iran have criticized a senior Muslim Shia theologian for supporting the suspension of a city council member on the grounds that he is Zoroastrian-a religious minority in the Islamic Republic. On October 3, 2017, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a member of the Guardian Council, which vets laws for conformity with Islamic principles, reiterated the council's view that non-Muslims should be blocked from running as candidates in elections in Muslim-majority constituencies. - 10/31/17

UN Nuclear Inspections Chief Sees No Problems Checking Facilities In Iran
United Nations nuclear inspectors have encountered no problems in checking facilities in Iran to determine whether Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, the head of the UN's atomic energy agency has said. "Our inspectors are discharging their responsibilities without problem," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano told reporters in Abu Dhabi on the sidelines of a conference on nuclear power on October 30. - 10/31/17

Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami denied visa to compete in Anaheim, California: "I never seek asylum in the U.S."
Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami says he is not seeking asylum in the United States. Phil Andrews, the chief executive of USA Weightlifting, told Tehran Times on Sunday that Rostami showed intent to move to the United States during his visa interview, or rather he failed to prove his intent to return to Iran after his move to the country. - 10/31/17

INTERVIEW-Oscar-nominated Iranian director challenges Trump to watch her film
Iran's first Oscar-nominated female director has challenged President Donald Trump to watch her film to see if its portrayal of ordinary Iranians' experience of war and revolution will change his views of her country. -Parisa Hafezi, Reuters - 10/31/17

Iranians Drained by Empty Government Promises
President Hassan Rohani's 2013 campaign promised Iranians that within one hundred days of his presidency they will feel the effects of his plan to improve the situation of the country in their everyday lives. One hundred days after being elected in 2013, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, made an appearance on the state television claiming that he has been successful in delivering on his promises. -Taher Khaljani - 10/31/17

Iran Rejects Turkmen Proposal For Gas Shipments To Turkey
Energy politics around the Caspian Sea breeds complications, as a recent example involving Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Armenia reminds us. Turkmenistan is in a serious bind. The country has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world but currently has only one customer -- China -- at a time when Turkmenistan's economy appears to be spiraling downward. -Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL - 10/31/17

Analysts: Turkey May Pay Heavy Price for Iraqi Kurdish Leader's Resignation
Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani's announcement he plans to step down was greeted with jubilation in Turkey's pro-government media. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Barzani, his once close ally, of betrayal for his decision to hold an October independence referendum. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 10/31/17

Russia looking into piping gas from Iran to Pakistan, India
Russia says it is studying a plan to export natural gas to Pakistan and India through Iran in ambitious project that would involve laying an offshore pipeline. Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper in a report said Russia was proceeding with the project out of concerns that it could lose Europe's gas market as a result of disputes with the United States and the European Union. - 10/31/17

Iraq and Iran, Sharing a Neighborhood
In Iraq, as in Syria, the imminent extinguishing of the mini-state of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) is raising the question of whether U.S. objectives in Iraq really are focused on countering IS or will balloon into some other reason to keep American forces there indefinitely. The most common rationale voiced by those arguing for an indefinite stay is to counter Iranian influence. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 10/31/17

Iran Says Foiled 'Illegal Gathering' At Tomb Of Persian King
Iran says it has foiled an online plan to organize an "illegal gathering" at the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the first king of Persia. Iranians gather every year on October 29 at the pre-Islamic king's tomb, located in the ancient city of Pasargadae in the central province of Fars, to celebrate Cyrus Day, an unofficial holiday. - 10/30/17

Iran's President Rouhani, during visit to New York, rejected meeting requested by Trump: Report
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected a meeting requested by US President Donald Trump while in New York for the 72nd UN General Assembly. Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference after he was asked if Trump had wanted to meet the Iranian president while in New York. - 10/30/17

Iran Implementing Commitments Under Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA): IAEA Head
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano says Iran is living up to all its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "All those involved in the JCPOA are honoring their commitments," he said in Tehran Sunday during a joint press conference with head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi. - 10/30/17

Manolo Espaliu's Photo exhibit traces Spanish diplomat's mission to Iran in 17th century
An exhibition of photos by Manolo Espaliu tracing the route to Iran followed by the Spanish diplomat Garcia de Silva Figueroa (1550-1624) during the 17th century opened Thursday at the Extremaduran and Latin American Museum of Contemporary Art (MEIAC) in Badajoz, Spain. - 10/30/17

Iran To Reopen Border With Iraq's Kurdistan Region
The chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, Mohammad Baqeri, says the country will reopen all its border crossings with the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq in the "coming days." Tehran had closed its borders with Iraq's Kurdistan region after it voted for independence in a referendum on September 25. - 10/30/17

India Launches New Trade Route To Afghanistan Via Iran
India has launched a new trade route to landlocked Afghanistan by sea through Iran's strategic Chabahar port, a move that bypasses Pakistan and could have significant geopolitical ramifications in the region. - 10/30/17

Iraq's Kurdish Leader Massoud Barzani Steps Down
Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani has confirmed he will be stepping down, dissolving his position as president of self-ruled northern Kurdish region and distributing his dutuies between the Kurdish prime minister, parliament and the judiciary. - 10/30/17

Basketball: Iranian Girls Finish Fourth at U-16 Women's Asian Championship (Division B)
The Iranian girls, who participated in a global tournament for the first time since the revolution of 1979, finished in fourth place at Division B of the 2017 FIBA Asia U-16 Championship. Elaheh Darestani's girls lost to Kazakhstan 61-47 in the bronze medal match in Bengaluru, India on Saturday. - 10/28/17

Who's Afraid Of Cyrus The Great?
Iran's authorities appear to be taking measures to prevent citizens from gathering at the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the first king of Persia, in celebration of Cyrus Day. The ancient king's big event is to be held on October 29, which many believe is the day he conquered Babylon. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 10/28/17

Several killed in Tehran Refinery tower fire
At least six people died and several wounded in a fire accident at Tehran Refinery south of the Iranian capital. The incident occurred when a group of engineers and technicians who were providing overhaul operations were caught in a blaze at the top of a distillation tower. - 10/28/17

Online protests as Iranian Zoroastrian councillor suspended
The suspension of Sepanta Niknam, an Iranian Zoroastrian councillor suspended on religious grounds, has polarised opinion among senior officials of the Islamic Republic and led to a campaign on social media calling for him to be reinstated. -BBC - 10/28/17

Iranian-American Organizations and Individual Plaintiffs File Supplement to Lawsuit Challenging Trump's Travel Ban 3.0
Three prominent Iranian-American organizations and 16 individuals have filed legal papers challenging President Trump's October 24th Executive Order, which they argue targets refugees from Iran and 10 other African and Middle Eastern countries. The papers are a supplement to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction the groups filed earlier this month against the Trump Administration's Travel Ban 3.0. - 10/27/17

Widespread hepatitis vaccination program gets underway in Iran
Iran has recently started a broad plan for vaccination of barbers, street cleaners, working children, and prisoners against hepatitis. "It is projected that within the framework of the [aforementioned] program some 200,000 to 300,000 prisoners will receive vaccination against hepatitis B annually and those diagnosed with hepatitis C will also undergo treatments," ISNA quoted Moayyed Alavian head of Iran's Hepatitis Network, as saying on Tuesday. - 10/27/17

With Prime Minister Abadi in Tehran, Iran and Iraq pledge to maintain strong ties
President Hassan Rouhani has told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran that Iran will continue its support for Baghdad's battle against terrorism and its efforts to boost national unity. "The Islamic Republic of Iran, in the path of fighting terrorism, strengthening unity and solidarity in Iraq, and preserving the territorial integrity of the country, has always been and will be alongside the Iraqi government and nation," Rouhani said Thursday. - 10/27/17

U.S. House Votes To Sanction Suppliers To Iran's Ballistic-Missile Programs
The U.S. House of Representatives, in a near-unanimous vote, approved legislation to impose new sanctions related to Iran's ballistic-missile program, an issue separate from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran. The bipartisan measure, which passed by a 423-2 vote, requires the U.S. administration to sanction Iran for undertaking "any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic-missile technology." - 10/27/17

UN Special Rapporteur: Despite "Encouraging Signs," Human Rights Deteriorating in Iran
In presenting her semi-annual 2017 report on Iran to the United Nations General Assembly, UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir noted positive developments in the country while describing the ongoing deterioration of human rights. "The current human rights situation in Iran is deeply concerning in many respects, but I also believe that there are some encouraging signs which I hope will be realized in the near future," said Jahangir in presenting a full report to the UN General Assembly on October 25, 2017. - 10/27/17

Toyota's U.S. Apology Raises Specter Of 'Fear' Of Iran Dealings
The world's largest carmaker selling a single vehicle to a country of 82 million people is not usually a recipe for controversy. But that's what Toyota is facing after it issued an apology and revealed on October 24 that the Japanese car manufacturer's Indian subsidiary, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private, sold one vehicle to the Iranian Embassy in New Delhi in early 2017. -Freud Bezhan, RFE/RL - 10/27/17

Interview: Iranian American Candidate for Atlanta City Council, Liliana Bakhtiari
Two Iranian Americans are campaigning for seats on the Atlanta City Council - Amir Farokhi is running in District Two, and Liliana Bakhtiari is running in District Five. Recently, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) had the opportunity to interview Liliana Bakhtiari about her campaign. The election, which will be held on November 7th, marks the first time Bakhtiari has ran for public office. - 10/26/17

The coming clash: Why Iran will divide Europe from the United States
Donald Trump is not easy to get along with. On many global security issues, Europeans take very different approaches than the new American president. But perhaps nowhere is the difference more profound than on the question of Iran. Given the president's harsh rhetoric and his recent efforts to put that talk into practice, a transatlantic clash on the issue seems almost inevitable. European countries should prepare now to minimise the damage and preserve their strategic interests on non-proliferation and the pursuit of stability in the Middle East. -Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR - 10/26/17

Mother Of Iranian Protester Killed In 2009 Crackdown Said Sentenced To Prison
A court in Iran has sentenced the mother of a protester killed in a government crackdown in 2009 to a year in prison after convicting her on charges that include spreading "propaganda against the establishment," people close to her say. Shahnaz Akmali has also been barred from posting on social media and banned from leaving Iran, people who are familiar with the ruling told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on October 26. - 10/26/17

Photos: Tehran schools hosting foreign students
Some 370,000 foreign students, mostly Afghan nationals, receive free of charge schooling in Iran for the current school year, starting September 23, 2017. The pictures depict students in an elementary school and a high school in Tehran, where foreign students study together with Iranian nationals. - 10/26/17

Bill for Protection of Children in Iran Stunted in Parliament Since 2011
Despite ongoing reports of disturbing cases of child abuse, Iran's Parliament has failed to ratify a bill on the protection of children that was introduced nearly six years ago. An Iran-based attorney specializing in child abuses cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that social welfare organizations lack the resources to effectively protect children. - 10/26/17

Iran's Supreme Leader Warns Visiting Iraqi President Against American Plots
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called on neighboring Iraq to remain vigilant in the face of American plots, warning that the US is not trustworthy. In a Thursday meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran, the Leader expressed Iran's support for the Iraqi government's efforts to develop ties with regional states. - 10/26/17

Iranians won't be fooled by US games, fake sympathy: Foreign Minister Zarif
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the US government to stop offering "fake sympathy" for the Iranian nation, saying Iranian people will not fall for such a "game." In a tweet on Wednesday, Zarif highlighted US President Donald Trump's hostile agenda against the Islamic Republic, saying his recent statements against the Iranian nation blew the lid off Washington's "faux sympathy." - 10/26/17

UN urges Iran to stop harassing BBC Persian staff
A United Nations expert has urged Iran's government to stop harassing BBC Persian staff and their families. David Kaye, the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, confirmed he had received a complaint from the BBC about their treatment. It came after Iran initiated a criminal investigation into 150 BBC staff, former staff and contributors for "conspiracy against national security". -BBC - 10/26/17

Iran Reopens Border Crossing With Iraq's Kurdish Region
Iran has reopened Bashmagh border crossing with the Kurdish region of Iraq that was closed after last month's Kurdish vote for independence, Iranian state media reported. The border reopening comes a day after the Kurdish regional government offered to put its independence drive on hold in a bid to defuse tensions and start a dialogue with Baghdad. - 10/26/17

Kurds as US Allies against Iran?
There may be a silver but risky lining for Kurdish nationalists in their devastating loss of Kirkuk and other cities on the periphery of their semi-autonomous region as they lick their wounds and vent anger over deep-seated internal divisions that facilitated the Iranian-backed Iraqi blitzkrieg. Mounting popular anger coupled with US Congressional fury could, however, position the Kurds as a key player in potential US efforts to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq and counter the Islamic republic as part of President Donald J. Trump's tougher approach towards the Islamic republic. -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog - 10/26/17

The US and Iranian battle over the pistachio nut trade
There are lots of casualties in international conflicts but this one is nuts, you might say - although strictly speaking the pistachio is a seed. The international pistachio trade has faced unexpected headwinds due to the tensions between Iran and the US. The global pistachio industry is a multi-billion dollar a year sector that is continuing to grow in value as its popularity as a foodstuff grows. -Zoe Thomas, BBC - 10/26/17

Trump Resumes Refugee Admissions into U.S., but with Greater Restrictions
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order resuming the admission of refugees into the country, but imposed tougher scrutiny on nationals from 11 countries identified as posing a high risk to national security. - 10/25/17

Iranian football legend Ebrahim Ashtiani dies at age of 71
Former Iran national football team and Persepolis defender Ebrahim Ashtiani passed away at the age of 71 in Tehran's Shahid Rajaei Hospital on Tuesday. He died as a result of a preexisting heart disease. Ashtiani made 35 appearances for the Iran national football team from 1969 to 1974 and was part of the team competing in the Olympics in Munich 1972. - 10/25/17

Students, MPs Protest Against Rouhani's Conservative Nominee for Iran's Science Ministry
Reformist members of Parliament and Iranian university students have come out strongly against President Hassan Rouhani's nominee to head the Science Ministry, Mansour Gholami, claiming he supports conservative policies and had previously collaborated with security agencies. - 10/25/17

Iran Nervous About Influence Of Social Media
A senior Iranian official on Monday expressed concern that foreign powers may interfere in the country's elections through social media. Social media tools, such as the messaging application Telegram could control and analyze the behavior of a society and estimate the election results with 97% accuracy, the head of Iran's Civil Defense Organization, Gholam Reza Jalali said in a press conference in Tehran. - 10/25/17

Iraqi Kurds Propose Setting Aside Referendum, Starting Dialogue
The government in Iraq's Kurdistan region offered Wednesday to freeze the results of an independence referendum and start dialogue with the central government in Baghdad in order to prevent any further violence between the two sides. - 10/25/17

Iran's oil exports to China up 59 percent in September
The latest market figures show that Iran's exports of crude oil to China in September saw a whopping increase of 59 percent compared to the same period last year. Figures released by Reuters showed that Iran exported as much as 3.22 million tonnes - or 784,000 barrels per day (bpd) - to Asia's largest and world's second top consumer last month. - 10/25/17

How Trump has propped up Rouhani
Now that US President Donald Trump has decertified Iran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- much attention has been focused on the reverberations in Washington and within the Transatlantic alliance. No less important, however, are the emerging policy ramifications in Tehran. -Reza Marashi, Al-Monitor - 10/25/17

'Satanic' Blue Whale Game Under Spotlight In Iran After Teenager's Death
Iranian authorities have blamed a murky social-media challenge known as Blue Whale for suicide leaps by two teenaged girls, throwing the spotlight on an online phenomenon that has been tentatively linked to suicides around the world but remains clouded in mystery. In the first reported incident of its kind in Iran, police said the two young women jumped from a bridge in the central city of Isfahan on October 21, leaving one dead and the other hospitalized in critical condition. -Freud Bezhan - 10/24/17

UK firm to invest 1.8 billion Euros in building cancer centers in Iran
International Hospitals Group (IHG), a UK-based healthcare services company, has signed a memorandum of understanding worth 1.8 billion Euros with Iran to finance the construction of a network of cancer centers in the country, Iran's ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, said. - 10/24/17

U.K. Foreign Minister Sees 'No Doubt' Iran Nuclear Deal Will Survive Despite Trump Move
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says there is "absolutely no doubt" the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers will survive despite the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump not to recertify the deal. Johnson, in a London speech on foreign affairs on October 23, said after meeting with the "most influential figures" in the U.S. Congress -- "none of them fans of the Iranian regime" -- he was reassured Trump's action would not kill the landmark accord. - 10/24/17

91-year-old doll-maker: "A woman is never incapable"
Every morning I wake up with my heart full of love. I have an enthusiasm to make new dolls, says Bibi Hazer Omidvari, a 91-year-old Iranian woman born and grown up in the southwestern city of Kazeroon. "Thanks God that granted me the patience of making dolls. If I wasn't busy with these dolls, I always thought of my past and the burdens I had tolerated in my life. Then these memories would make me cry," she explained. -Naghmeh Mizanian, Tehran Times - 10/24/17

Iranian-Born Swedish Resident Sentenced to Death Based on Forced Confession
Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born Swedish resident who has been imprisoned in Iran since April 2016, was sentenced to death for "moharebeh" (enmity with God) based on a forced confession, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 10/24/17

Please Stop Using 'Woman in Chador Walks by Anti-US Mural' Stock Photo for Every Article About Iran
The general mindlessness in choosing a stock photo is what makes them so pernicious. Editors reach for an image that captures the overall theme of the article while drawing the eye of distracted media consumers-typically as an afterthought, something that accents a piece rather than defines it. It's not an easy task, but it's one that, left unexamined, can become a form of propaganda independent of any written text. -Adam Johnson, - 10/24/17

Iran Sanctions Policy Increasingly Throttles Free Trade in Ideas
In 1988, as legislators were creating the legal basis for the modern use of economic sanctions as a tool of American foreign policy, an important amendment was added to two laws, the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The so-called Berman Amendment was devised to withdraw the president's authority to use sanctions to prohibit the import or export of informational materials, whether directly or indirectly. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 10/24/17

Iran Is Flying One of America's Most Powerful Fighter Jets (From the 1970s)
One of the ironies of the bitter relations between the Iran and the United States today is that half a century ago they were the closest of allies. The repressive, secular government of the shah had come to power thanks to a CIA-orchestrated coup, and was lavished with then latest American weaponry, including F-14 Tomcat fighters, AH-Cobra attack helicopters and TOW antitank missiles.-Sebastien Roblin, National Interest - 10/24/17

Tehran Stock Exchange moves to bridge foreign investment gap
Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) hosted a conference on Sunday to attract more foreign capital via introducing foreigners to Iranian capital market and making Iranian firms aware of the pre-requisites for attraction of foreign investments such as financial transparency, compliance standards, feasibility studies, business plans, and risk ratings. -Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh, Tehran Times - 10/24/17

U-17 World Cup: Spain defeats Iran 3-1 in quart-finals
Spain eased their way into the semi-final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 after defeating Iran 3-1 in Kochi on Sunday. Abel Ruiz put the European champions ahead in the 13th minute. On the rebound, the Spain captain drove his shot past Iran goalkeeper Ali Gholamzadeh. - 10/23/17

Baghdad Dismisses U.S. Call For Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq To 'Go Home'
Iraq's Shi'ite-led government has dismissed a call by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Iranian-backed militia fighters who helped Baghdad defeat Islamic State (IS) extremists to "go home." A statement issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's office on October 23 responded to Tillerson's remarks by saying that "no party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters." - 10/23/17

Tillerson Promotes Closer Iraq-Saudi Ties To Confront Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday promoted improving ties between Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a way to counter Iran's growing military assertiveness in the region. -Ken Bredemeier, VOA - 10/23/17

Iran says markets unfazed by Trump's threats
Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh says global oil markets have remained unfazed by the recent positions of US President Donald Trump against Iran's nuclear deal which the United States and five other states sealed in 2015. - 10/23/17

Tony Cragg's huge marble sculpture to embellish Tehran museum's courtyard
A huge marble sculpture designed by Tony Cragg is being created by a group of Iranian artists under the supervision of the British sculptor in the courtyard of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. The artwork is scheduled to be unveiled within the next month during a special ceremony, which will be attended by Cragg. - 10/23/17

Iran's trade with China up 24 percent
The latest market figures show the level of trade between Iran and China increased by almost a quarter over the past eight months. Iran-China trade reached above $24 billion from January to the end of August this year, showing an increase of 24 percent compared to last year. - 10/23/17

The Many Flavors of Persian in Eurasia
Is Tajik a dialect of Persian? Or a language in its own right? What differentiates it from varieties prevalent in Afghanistan and Iran? There is no easy answer to these questions because the very categories we use to think about language in Central Asia, and elsewhere, are insufficient. -James Pickett, LobeLog - 10/23/17

Iranian General Reportedly Played Key Role In Swift Takeover Of Iraq's Kirkuk
A top Iranian military commander traveled to northern Iraq to urge Kurdish leaders to withdraw from Kirkuk in a move that Kurdish officials said played an important role in enabling Iraq's government to swiftly retake control of the city from Kurds this week. Kurdish lawmakers said Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, met leaders from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two main Kurdish political parties in Iraq and an ally of Tehran, in the city of Sulaimania the day before Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi ordered his forces to advance on Kirkuk. - 10/21/17

After Years of International Condemnation, Iran Revises Penalty Policy
After years of being pressured by the UN and other rights groups to reduce the country's high execution rate, Iran's Parliament has passed an amendment to the Law Against Drug Trafficking that could save thousands of prisoners currently on death row. "After the Parliament addressed one of our objections and clarified some ambiguities, the Guardian Council deliberated and approved the measure," the council's spokesman, Abbasali Kadkhodaei, told the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) on October 18, 2017. - 10/21/17

Iran's Not a Totally Fake Democracy, Study Says
A new survey shows a country with a constrained but active body politic, contrary to plenty of D.C. conventional wisdom. -Rhys Dubin, Foreign Policy - 10/21/17

Future of JCPOA In Hands of GOP Indebted To Billionaire Iran Hawks
President Donald Trump's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), appears to have fallen in line with the views espoused by several of his top donors. These funders believe that Iran poses an apocalyptic threat only addressable through military action, including the use of nuclear weapons. -Eli Clifton - 10/20/17

EU Leaders Reaffirm Commitment To Iran Nuclear Deal Despite Trump Opposition
European Union leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to a landmark deal to limit Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, despite opposition from U.S. President Donald Trump. The 28-member bloc gave a nod to concerns Trump has raised, however, by stepping up criticism of Tehran's ballistic-missile program and its role in what the West sees as fomenting instability in the Middle East. - 10/20/17

Poll: Three Quarters of Americans Support the Iran Deal
- If Donald Trump succeeds in pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), he won't just face opposition from Tehran or from America's European allies: he'll have to deal with opposition from the American people. That's one takeaway from a new poll, "American Attitudes on Middle East Policies," released by the Middle East Institute this week. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 10/20/17

Photo of Smiling Political Prisoners in Iran's Evin Prison Lands One in Prison Known For Harsh Conditions
Arash Sadeghi, a man serving a 15-year prison sentence for peacefully advocating human rights in Iran, has been transferred to a prison known for its inhumane conditions after photos of him smiling with other political prisoners surfaced on social media. - 10/20/17

Secretary Tillerson says Europe can do business with Iran
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US is not opposed to European countries doing business with Iran, contradicting President Donald Trump's belligerent rhetoric against Tehran. Tillerson's remarks in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Friday came one week after Trump refused to certify the Iran nuclear deal and left its fate to the US Congress. - 10/20/17

Warming Uzbek-Iranian Relations Worth Watching
A recent meeting of officials from Uzbekistan and Iran was a curious event. Central Asia has seen a reshuffling of relations over the past couple years, and improved relations between Tashkent and Tehran is one of the more intriguing developments. -Bruce Pannier - 10/20/17

Mousavi's Daughters: Officials "Hoping and Planning" for Death of Iranian Opposition Leaders Under House Arrest
In an open letter addressing Muslim religious leaders worldwide, Mir Hossein Mousavi's daughters have accused "some" Iranian officials of "hoping and planning" for the "gradual death" of their father, mother Zahra Rahnavard, and fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi. - 10/20/17

Iranian Opposition Figure Karrubi Allowed To Meet With Activist For First Time Since Arrest
Iranian authorities have allowed opposition figure Mehdi Karrubi, who has been under house arrest since 2011, to meet with an activist from his own party, the first such meeting in the past six years. Karrubi's son, Hossein Karrubi, revealed the meeting in an October 19 interview with the Iranian news site Ensafnews. - 10/20/17

Audit orders former Iranian President Ahmadinejad to return $1.1bn to treasury
A top Iranian state audit agency says it has found the country's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responsible for causing as much as $1.1 billion in damages to national wealth through imports of unauthorized gasoline as well as unsettled sales of hydrocarbon products to domestic clients. - 10/20/17

The EU on the JCPOA: Neither "Fix" nor Nix
When President Donald Trump announced his decision to "decertify" the nuclear deal with Iran in a speech on October 13, the EU's reaction was swift and unambiguous. Minutes after Trump's speech, the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that, contrary to Trump's threats to terminate the deal if it is not "fixed" to his liking, he had no authority to do so. The deal is a multilateral agreement endorsed by a UN Security Council Resolution and therefore cannot be changed unilaterally. -Eldar Mamedov - 10/19/17

US push to sell Trump's policy on Iran walloped at UN
US Ambassador Nikki Haley's push to derail a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East towards Iran's nuclear deal has been met with backlash as the participants seek to focus on Israeli-Palestinian issues, especially Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank. - 10/19/17

Iran's Non-Oil GDP Growth At 7% In 6 Months
Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said on Tuesday that the country's non-oil gross domestic product grew by seven percent during the first half of the present Iranian calendar year (March 21-September 22, 2017), IRIB news reported. - 10/19/17

Iran Doesn't Have a Nuclear Weapons Program. Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?
When it comes to Iran, do basic facts matter? Evidently not, since dozens and dozens of journalists keep casually reporting that Iran has a "nuclear weapons program" when it does not-a problem FAIR has reported on over the years. Let's take a look at some of the outlets spreading this falsehood in just the past five days -Adam Johnson, LobeLog - 10/19/17

Reformist Political Activist Turned Refugee Briefly Arrested Upon Return to Iran
A source close to Sedigheh Vasmaghi, who had been sentenced to prison in absentia, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that she was detained for a few hours by Intelligence Ministry agents at Tehran's international airport on October 15, 2017, and told to return after her case was processed. Saham News, an opposition website, claimed Vasmaghi, a former Tehran City Council member, was released because of her "physical condition;" she is clinically blind. - 10/19/17

Stanford To Host New Play By Reza Allamehzadeh: "The War Owl"
The War Owl looks at the evils of war as initially rendered in Iran's grand epic poem, Shahnameh, and revisited by Bahar, the country's twentieth century master lyricist. The play is written and directed by Reza Allamehzadeh, with the solo performance of Hamid Abdolmaleki and live musical accompaniment by Faramarz Aslani. - 10/19/17

Iranian Authorities Bar Reformist Ex-President Khatami From Attending Meeting
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has reportedly been banned from leaving his house several times in recent months. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has reportedly been banned from leaving his house several times in recent months. - 10/19/17

Is Iran the world's greatest untapped skiing destination?
For most skiers and snowboarders the idea of an off-piste paradise normally conjures up thoughts of Alaska's majestic peaks, Verbier's world-famous freeride terrain or Japan's legendary powder fields. Many, forgivably, would not consider looking to the mountains of Iran. -Lucy Aspden, Telegraph - 10/19/17

Total CEO says to move ahead with key Iran project
French oil and gas major Total says it will try to push ahead with an Iranian gas project if the US decides to impose unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The announcement was made by Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne in an interview with International Oil Daily. - 10/19/17

EU 'Determined To Preserve' Iran Nuclear Deal, Urges U.S. Congress To Protect It
European Union foreign ministers have closed ranks in support of the Iran nuclear agreement, warning that U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to abandon the multinational accord jeopardize efforts to find a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff with North Korea. - 10/18/17

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Iran hold off Mexico to make last eight
Iran made it four wins from four matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and qualified for the quarter-finals after fighting to make two early goals stand up against a game Mexican side. It was a difficult contest, but Iran maintained their momentum, heading into their last-eight clash against European champions Spain. - 10/18/17

Kurdish Officials Blame Iran as Disputed Territories Fall to Iraqi Forces
Officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government are accusing Iran of playing a key role in the fall of disputed territories in northern Iraq including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a claim rejected by Iranian officials. This week the Iraqi government forces backed by Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) marched into the Kurdish-controlled disputed territories after Kurdish forces known as Peshmerga withdrew from the region. -Rikar Hussein, VOA - 10/18/17

New US Strategy on Iran Poses Dilemma for Allies
The government of President Hassan Rouhani will be open to engaging in "constructive dialogue" with the European Union and individual European states, while continuing to respect JCPOA commitments. However, European measures taken "in close cooperation with the United States" will, almost certainly, kill the JCPOA. -Peter Jenkins - 10/18/17

IRAN: Yazd City Council will not Tolerate Suspension of Zoroastrian Member
The suspension of Sepanta Niknam, the Zoroastrian Yazd City Councillor by the Administrative Court of Justice has sparked outrage amongst his peers and the public. A defeated hardliner candidate of the municipal elections has targeted Niknam for not being Muslim and has argued non-Muslims cannot run for office in a Muslim majority country. - 10/18/17

Trump: 'Total Termination' of Iran Nuclear Deal Possible
President Donald Trump says his decision not to recertify Iran's compliance with the Iran nuclear deal could lead to its "total termination." "That's a very real possibility," Trump said Monday as he began a meeting with his Cabinet at the White House. "Some people say that's a greater possibility." -Peter Heinlein, VOA - 10/18/17

City of Yazd, manifestation of ancient civilization
Yazd is the first adobe city in the world and is the second historical city after Venice, Italy. Yazd in central Iran has been a manifestation of the brightest cultural heritage and ancient civilization throughout history with human settlement in Yazd dating back to the third millennium BCE. - 10/18/17

Reformist Iranian Journalist Sasan Aghaei in Prolonged Solitary Confinement Despite Calls for His Release by MPs
The Iranian judiciary is refusing to release reformist journalist Sasan Aghaei, who has been detained for more than two months in solitary confinement despite calls for his release by members of Parliament. Since August 12, 2017, the deputy editor-in-chief of the reformist Etemad newspaper has been held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison's Ward 241, controlled by the judiciary's intelligence branch. - 10/18/17

Judge blocks Trump's latest travel ban order
A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked the latest version of President Donald Trump's travel ban. U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday, concluding that Trump appeared to run afoul of federal immigration law when he issued a proclamation last month restricting travel to the U.S. by citizens of eight countries. -Josh Gerstein, Politico - 10/18/17

IMF Chief Lagarde declines Trump's call against Iran
Barely 24 hours after President Donald Trump called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to stop lending to Iran, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde firmly said no, writes John Gizzi of She said that there was no change in its policy with regard to funds to Iran based on cues from the US. - 10/18/17

Khamenei Adviser Warns Europeans Not To Try To Add Conditions To Iran Nuclear Deal
A top adviser to Iran's supreme leader has warned European governments against trying to negotiate new conditions to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive. "To say that they accept the JCPOA [nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] but should negotiate on Iran's regional presence or talk about Iran's missile defenses is to set conditions on the JCPOA, and this is not at all acceptable," said Ali Akbar Velayati, senior foreign-policy adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in comments to Iranian media on October 17. - 10/18/17

Ericsson seals deal to help Iran launch IoT
Iran has signed an agreement with Ericsson, the leading provider of communications technology solutions, to use its help in launching the Internet of Things (IoT) across the country. The agreement - which could take the country closer to a plan to move toward smart cities and automated utilities - was signed between Ericsson and the Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (Hamrah Aval) - the country's largest mobile operator - on the sidelines of Iran Telecom Fair 2017 in Tehran. - 10/18/17

Iran, Canada diplomats hold talks in Tehran on re-establishing diplomatic relations
A delegation from Global Affairs Canada has traveled to Tehran and held talks with Iranian officials in the continuation of efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. The administration of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper severed diplomatic ties with Iran in September 2012, citing, among other pretexts, what it described as continued threats from Iran to Israel. - 10/18/17

An Exit from the Top in the Iranian Nuclear Crisis?
Despite President Trump's demands that it do so, Iran has no intention of renegotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Unless, of course, it will receive in exchange concessions that no one is likely to offer. In Tehran's internal politics, the JCPOA is a highly fragile product that has been imposed on fiercely competing factions. Why would Iran's leadership be disposed to reopen this Pandora's box? -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 10/18/17

Trump's Iran Policy Is More about Rollback than Nukes
President Trump's latest announcement follows increased U.S. sanctions on both Hezbollah and Syria, as well as increased aid to Syria's Kurds in their effort to expand territorially. It is the latest in a policy of rollback that has been developing for some time. It is a policy that both Saudi Arabia and Israel have been pushing on Trump. It is one that also suits his personality as well as the inclinations of his military advisers because it means supporting friends and hurting enemies. -Joshua Landis, LobeLog - 10/18/17

Iranian Minister Says Ready To Do Business With U.S. Oil Companies
Iran is ready to do business with American oil companies even though the United States still prohibits them from operating in the country, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said. "American companies can come to Iran and benefit so [U.S. President Donald Trump] won't be upset," Zanganeh said, according to SHANA, the news site of the Iranian Oil Ministry. - 10/18/17

Norway Defies Trump, Enters 4-Billion-Dollar Deal With Iran
Norwegian solar company Saga Energy has signed a $4-billion investment deal with Iran just days after US President Donald Trump calls for isolating Tehran. "Norway is fully committed to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and this is proof that we have taken the opening very seriously, and we will see more investment very soon," AFP quoted Norway's Ambassador to Tehran Lars Nordrum on Tuesday. - 10/18/17

America's Imperial Unraveling
By giving ethno-nationalists a seat at the foreign policy table, Trump has sanctioned a racialized fixation with Iran as paramount national threat, more dangerous even than Russia. -Boston Review - 10/18/17

Tajikistan: Saudi Revenge in Iran's Backyard?
According to those who seek to contain Iran, it is supposedly building a new Persian empire in the regions where it has influence--the Persian Gulf, the wider Middle East, and Central Asia. Such accusations, besides mistakenly assuming Iran to be the chief, if not the only, cause of trouble in all these regions, also grossly exaggerate Iran's real power. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 10/18/17

IRAN: The Historical Cradle of Civilization, the Origin of Human Diversity, and the Bastion of Humanistic Tolerance
Ever since as early as a hundred thousand years ago when our Homo sapiens ancestors preceded by Homo helderbergenis along with our cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans who had crossed the horn of Africa, the southwestern Asian's temperate Iranian plateau sandwiched between the Caspian Sea including the Caucuses, Alborz and the Himalayan Mountain ranges to the north, and the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman/Bushehr shores to the south-has remained the optimal cradle of human civilization. -Davood Rahni - 10/16/17

The Real Causes of America's Troubled Relations with Iran
In his speech describing America's new approach towards Iran, Donald Trump accused it of responsibility for just about all of the ills of the Middle East and South West Asia. He went as far as accusing Iran of having supported the Taliban and al-Qaeda, sworn enemies of the Shias and Iran. More seriously, the president refused to certify that Iran had complied with its responsibilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), thus opening the way for new sanctions and other pressures on Iran. -Shireen T. Hunter - 10/16/17

Tillerson: Iran Compliant With Nuclear Deal, But Trump Wants to Fix Flaws
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conceded Sunday that Iran is in "technical compliance" with the international agreement to curb its nuclear weapons development, but said that President Donald Trump wants Congress to adopt "a more complete strategy" to fix what the U.S. leader sees as flaws in the pact. -Ken Bredemeier, VOA - 10/16/17

Trump Ignores Advisers on Iran Deal, Follows Money
Although much of the Washington commentariat has depicted Trump's extraordinarily bellicose speech Friday against Iran and the nuclear deal as the latest example of his determination to undo the legacy of his predecessor, meeting the demands of his most important campaign donors may well have served as a major motivation as well. Indeed, his biggest campaign donor, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, may have influenced the specific language Trump used in his remarks. -Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 10/16/17

Family of Late Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani Banned From Traveling Abroad
Four family members of the late Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have been banned from traveling abroad by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), while one member is facing a "fabricated case" against her, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 10/16/17

Tehran Prosecutor: Streaming TinyMoviez Website Shut Down For "Indecent" Content
The popular Iranian streaming movies website, TinyMoviez, which featured pirated material, was shut down for distributing "indecent" foreign films, announced Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi on October 10, 2017. The prosecutor was responding to media reports that the TinyMoviez website was shut down by a judicial order in response to complaints from the owners of a rival website seeking to take down its competition. - 10/16/17

Iran Denies Shutting Border Crossings With Northern Iraq
Iran denies reports that it has closed border crossings with northern Iraq in response to an independence referendum in the autonomous Kurdish region last month. Meanwhile, Shakhwan Abu Bakr, a customs official on the Kurdish side of the border, said that the Islamic republic had closed its three border crossings with the region. - 10/16/17

Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal, Despite Trump's Decertification
U.S. President Donald J. Trump's October 13 decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JC POA) based on his assessment that the agreement's costs outweigh its benefits will not, in and of itself, abrogate the deal. But it seriously, unnecessarily and recklessly undermines it. -International Crisis Group - 10/16/17

Iran's hardliners say Trump has done them 'great favors'
US President Donald Trump's recent remarks on Iran have infuriated Iranians across the political spectrum -- regime officials say they have forced the heavily politicized society to close ranks. The country's conservatives are saying "I told you so," while moderates express disappointment at the hard line taken by Trump. -CNN - 10/16/17

Tehran hosting Iran-Iraq business forum
The two day Iran-Iraq business forum kicked off at the Tehran's Summit Conference Hall on Sunday. "Iran-Iraq trade is predicted to reach $20 billion," the Iranian Head of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Es'haq was quoted as addressing the held business forum. - 10/16/17

Trump's Speech on Iran: Warmed-Over Rejectionism
Donald Trump's speech on Iran is the latest chapter in his struggle to reconcile his overriding impulse to destroy any significant achievements of his predecessor with the fact that the most salient of those achievements in foreign policy-the Iran nuclear agreement or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)-is working. The agreement is fulfilling its objective of keeping closed all paths to an Iranian nuclear weapon. As international inspectors have repeatedly determined, Iran is fulfilling its obligations under the agreement. -Paul Pillar - 10/14/17

U.S. Allies Back Iran Deal Despite Trump's Tough Talk
U.S. allies and other countries have weighed in on U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to abandon a nuclear deal between global powers and Iran, saying they will continue to back the agreement. "We encourage the U.S. administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the U.S. and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the [accord], such as reimposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement," the leaders of France, Britain, and Germany warned in a joint statement. - 10/14/17

Iranian-American Organizations Deplore Trump's Attack On Iran Nuclear Agreement
Several Iranian-American organizations have issued statements deploring President Donald Trump's decertification of Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA) and criticizing his aggressive Iran policy. "Trump's speech was a national disgrace. This isn't an effort to stiff a contractor over a real estate project, it's a matter of war and peace. Donald Trump is in way over his head," said Dr. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council. - 10/14/17

Iranians Criticize U.S. President's Iran Speech
Many Iranians have taken to social media to criticize U.S. President Donald Trump for taking a harder line on the Islamic republic and refusing to certify the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, which is believed to enjoy significant support in the country. - 10/14/17

How Should Europe React to the New US Strategy on Iran?
According to today's White House statement, President Donald Trump has decided not to denounce the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) or encourage Congress to kill it, but to ask "the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction." -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 10/14/17

John Kerry on Trump Iran Nuclear Deal: 'Reckless Abandonment of Facts'
John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State, had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump's decision not to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal signed by six world powers in 2015. Kerry said the decision is a "reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology." Kerry, who negotiated the deal, added that Trump "weakens our hand, alienates us from our allies, empowers Iranian hardliners, makes it harder to resolve North Korea and risks moving us closer to military conflict." - 10/14/17

U-17 World Cup: Iran rout Costa Rica, finished on top of Group C
Iran defeated Costa Rica 3-0 in Group C of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, on Friday to finish on top of Group C with 9 points with 3 wins. The Persians will face Group F third place team in quarterfinals in Margao on Oct. 17. - 10/14/17

Four Underappreciated Dangers from Trump's Iran Deal Decision
Trump's Iran speech sets the Iran nuclear deal, which is working and supported by his own national security team, firmly in the crosshairs. If Congress does not pass deal-killing legislation, Trump has vowed to terminate the accord himself. Such a reckless, foolhardy position openly risks creating a new nuclear crisis and another disastrous war in the Middle East. Yet it is unclear whether legislators will see through Trump's lies and distortions in order to muster the will to stop him. -Ryan Costello, LobeLog - 10/14/17

Trump's Strategy For Toughening Iran Deal Faces Uncertain Future In Congress
U.S. President Donald Trump's call for legislation aimed at toughening the Iran nuclear deal faces an uncertain future in Congress even as leading Republican senators stepped forward to champion the cause. - 10/14/17

EU, Russia, China rally behind Iran nuclear deal ahead of Trump speech
The EU, Russia and China have called on the US to maintain its commitment to the Iranian nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump is expected to declare no longer in America's interest. "We believe this deal is important to ensuring the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and regional peace and stability. We hope all parties can continue to preserve and implement this deal," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday. EU foreign policy director Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel held phone talks with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying Europe will respect its side of the deal as long as Tehran honors its obligations. - 10/13/17

Trump Expected To Slam Tehran But Stay In Nuclear Deal As New Iran Strategy Announced
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to call for measures cracking down on what he sees as Iran's aggression in the Middle East in a widely anticipated speech on October 13, but stop short of pulling out of a nuclear deal between global powers and Tehran, U.S. officials say. - 10/13/17

Rights Organizations Urge US to Aid Access to Information in Iran by Expanding General License D-1
In a joint statement, nine rights organizations including the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) have urged the US government to expand General License D-1, which allows the sale and distribution of personal communications tools such as mobile phones, personal computing tools, and other related software and hardware to Iran without violating US sanctions. - 10/13/17

Trump, the American Ahmadinejad: Worse Than Expected
Twelve years ago, what now seems like a lifetime ago, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York City to deliver his first address to the United Nations General Assembly. Three weeks ago, Donald Trump climbed the same marbled dais at the UN to make his first speech to the General Assembly. Trump had in his short time in office made it clear that he considered Iran to be a malign actor and that his administration intended to reverse Obama-era agreements between the two countries, in particular the nuclear deal signed in 2015. -Shervin Malekzadeh - 10/13/17

Renault planning for long-term presence in Iran: CEO
Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault, announced that his company has a long-term serious plan for presence in the Iranian market. Making the remarks during a press conference in Paris last week on revealing the company's mid-term plan, the CEO underlined the significance of Iranian market and stressed that Renault will not leave the country, public relations department of Renault's office in Tehran reported on Wednesday. - 10/13/17

Putin Plans To Visit Iran In November For Talks With Iranian, Azerbaijani Counterparts
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit Iran on November 1 to take part in a meeting with his Iranian and Azerbaijani counterparts. "Preparations for the visit are under way," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on October 12, according to Russian news agencies. - 10/13/17

The Semtex President
Consider the Trump administration's decision to make a U-turn on Iran policy. This week, Trump has pledged to go against the previous administration, many of his own top advisors, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and an overwhelming majority of the world's nations in decertifying that Iran has abided by the terms of the nuclear deal negotiated back in 2015. - John Feffer, LobeLog - 10/13/17

Does Trump Have a Post-Decertification Iran Strategy?
Within the next three days, President Donald Trump is likely to announce his refusal to re-certify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), often referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. The Wilson Center brought together an opponent and two supporters of the deal to discuss the situation. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 10/13/17

Majority of Business Leaders Blame Trump for Slow Iran Investments
As President Donald Trump threatens to de-certify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, the political environment around post-sanctions trade and investment has grown more contentious. Yet, at the same time, after extensive negotiations with leading multinational companies, Iran has witnessed landmark agreements signed across industries, with billions of dollars of investment committed and financing agreements inked. For those business leaders continuing to push ahead in Iran, and for the Iranian public to whom they are accountable, the question is what to make of such contradictions. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 10/12/17

Lawsuit Argues Trump's Latest Travel Ban Continues to Target Iranian Americans, Exacerbates Harm of Previous Travel Ban Orders
A new court filing in federal court in Washington D.C. challenging President Trump's latest iteration of the travel ban seeks to protect Iranian Americans in the United States and abroad. The lawsuit, filed by three prominent Iranian-American organizations as well as 13 individual plaintiffs, outlines the ways the policy is hurting families, professional and business opportunities, as well as the expansive Iranian-American community. - 10/12/17

US to lose trust of nations if walks away from Iran deal: Top EU diplomat
The EU foreign policy chief says Washington's possible withdrawal from the Iran deal will send a message to the international community that the US is not trustworthy when it comes to deal making. In a Wednesday interview with PBS channel, Federica Mogherini highlighted Iran's full compliance with the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and said, "We have the international community strongly behind the full implementation of the deal." - 10/12/17

Iran's Economy Recovers in Time for New Sanctions
As Washington gets ready for President Trump to throw the first stone in the killing of the Iran nuclear deal next week, Iranians are trying to preserve their hard-won gains from the agreement. After three years of recession, mainly caused by international sanctions, in the 18 months since the agreement went into effect in January 2016, Iran's economy has come roaring back. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, LobeLog - 10/12/17

Iran's President Rouhani: U.S. angry because IRGC humiliated ISIS
Rouhani said on Wednesday any party that walks away from the multilateral 2015 nuclear agreement would be damaging its own reputation, adding the U.S. is angry with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) because it has "humiliated" Daesh (ISIS). The remarks by Rouhani comes as President Donald Trump is expected to declare this week the withdrawal of the U.S. from the nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He also expressed full support for IRGC amid a possible plan by Trump to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group as part of his "new Iran strategy". - 10/12/17

Meet The Author: CYRUS KADIVAR
Born in Minnesota to Iranian-French parents, Cyrus Kadivar grew up during the Shah's reign in the Persian city of Shiraz. At sixteen he and his family were uprooted by the 1979 revolution. He has since worked as a banker, freelance journalist, and political risk consultant and lives in London. The AUC Press just published his book Farewell Shiraz: An Iranian Memoir of Revolution and Exile. -American University in Cairo Press - 10/12/17

Iranian Leftist Poet Missing in Tabriz Two Days After Intelligence Ministry Raided His Home
Children's rights advocate and leftist poet Omid Aghdami has been missing since October 5, 2017, two days after he tweeted that Intelligence Ministry agents had searched his home in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province, and confiscated his personal belongings, including a laptop and notebooks. - 10/12/17

Iran's Gas Exports: Potentials and Challenges
Although Iran ranks first in the world in terms of natural gas reserves - according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, the country holds around 18 percent of total proven natural gas reserves globally-, when it comes to exports, it has a long way to the top of the list of gas exporting countries. - 10/12/17

Iran's GDP Growth at 3.8 Percent in 2018: IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest World Economic Outlook titled "Seeking Sustainable Growth: Short-Term Recovery, Long-Term Challenges" predicted a 3.8 percent real GDP growth for Iran in 2018, rising from 3.5 percent in 2017. - 10/12/17

The Operational Code of President Trump
Press reports indicate that later this week President Trump will "decertify" the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), relying on a clause in the relevant review legislation that permits the president to make such a declaration even if Iran is fully complying with the accord. That Trump has decided on this course has nothing to do with the terms of the JCPOA, with Iran, or with Iranian actions. -Paul Pillar - 10/11/17

IAEA, World Leaders Reject Trump's Claims on Iran Nuclear Deal
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and many world leaders have unanimously thrown their weight behind the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, rejecting US President Donald Trump's claims that Tehran has violated the "spirit" of the deal. - 10/11/17

Trump Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal Seen as Imminent
President Donald Trump is expected to announce within days that he will no longer certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. By law, the president has until October 15 to decide, but White House sources said the action might come sooner. -Peter Heinlein, VOA - 10/11/17

Iran progress to FIFA U-17 World Cup Round of 16
Iran defeated Germany 4-0 on Tuesday to book a place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Round of 16. The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup is the 17th FIFA U-17 World Cup, a biennial international football tournament contested by men's under-17 national teams. - 10/11/17

Iranian Baha'i Poet Named PEN International Writer Of Courage
Baha'i poet Mahvash Sabet, who was jailed for nearly a decade in Iran, has been selected as the 2017 International Writer of Courage. Northern Ireland poet Michael Longley named Sabet at the PEN Pinter Prize ceremony at the British Library in London on October 10. - 10/11/17

World Cup hosts Russia held by Iran in friendly
World Cup hosts Russia needed a second-half equaliser from Zenit St Petersburg striker Dmitry Poloz to secure a 1-1 draw against Iran in a friendly in Kazan on Tuesday. Russia came into the game on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-2 win against South Korea at the weekend, when they were aided by two own goals from South Korean defender Kim Ju-young. As World Cup hosts, Russia have not had the opportunity to measure themselves against Europe's best in qualifying. - 10/11/17

Iranian Officials Increase Pressure on Telegram App to Comply With Censorship Policies
Iranian Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has vowed to block "anti-revolutionary channels" on the Telegram messaging application after the popular Amad News channel reported that a state official's daughter was arrested for spying. "We are seriously seeking to derail channels that oppose the state," said Jahromi, a former intelligence official, on October 8, 2017. - 10/11/17

Iranian female weightlifters allowed to participate in the sport
Head of Iran Weightlifting Federation Ali Moradi said that the Iranian women weightlifters can compete in the sport. Gender equality in sports has always been a controversial topic. In July 2011, International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) modified its competing rules to allow tight-fitting, body-length unitards for the first time. - 10/11/17

Vote This Week Could End U.S. Role In Yemen War
Yemen is in the midst of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in modern times, and the United States and its allies in Saudi Arabia bear a large part of the responsibility. A resolution put forward by a group of lawmakers led by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) aims to change that. -LobeLog - 10/11/17

The Gathering JCPOA Storm and the Way Forward
The North Korean crisis has pushed the future of the 2015 nuclear deal among Iran and the 5+1 (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China), commonly referred to as the Joint Compressive Plan of Action (JCPOA) into the background. Yet, this temporary situation will soon reverse itself as a powerful storm is gathering around the subject. The JCPOA, which was intended to reduce tension between the US and Iran, has been criticized repeatedly by President Donald Trump as a highly deficient agreement, and this change in the White House's attitude under a new president is the primary cause of this developing storm. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 10/10/17

Nobel Laureate group urges Trump to stick to Iran nuclear deal
A Nobel prize-winning nuclear weapons disarmament campaign group has called on US President Donald Trump to honor his commitment to Iran's nuclear deal. "We really call on the US government to continue to certify and stay in this deal," said the director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Beatrice Fihn, on Monday. ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. - 10/10/17

Imprisoned Iranian-British Citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Threatened With 16 More Years Behind Bars
Iranian-British dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in Iran since April 2016 on trumped up and unspecified national security charges, is now facing up to 16 more years in prison based on new charges brought by the arresting authority, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to her family. "Threatening Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with more years behind bars after she was imprisoned without full due process is unjust and inhumane," said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 10/10/17

Europe warns Trump on ditching Iran nuclear deal
High-ranking European officials have cautioned against President Donald Trump's vows to decertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement this week. The strongest warning was made by the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel who on Monday said "the world will change" in Trump kills the international agreement. - 10/10/17

Iran to reciprocate US measures against IRGC: Foreign Minister
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran will take reciprocal measures against a potential "strategic mistake" by US President Donald Trump to designate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. "If American officials make such a strategic mistake, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take a reciprocal measure," Zarif said on Monday, adding, "Some measures have been thought out in this regard and will be taken at the appropriate time." - 10/10/17

Iranian Court Suspends Yazd's Zoroastrian City Councilor
A Zoroastrian city councilor in Iran has been suspended from his position, highlighting an emerging battle over the rights of the country's religious minorities to run for office. Sepanta Niknam, a member of the city council in the central city of Yazd, was suspended temporarily by a branch of Iran's Administrative Court of Justice, council chief Gholamali Sefid said on October 9. Niknam was the only non-Muslim elected to the council in May. - 10/10/17

Iranian Baha'i Singer Facing Prison Time After European Concert Tour
After being repeatedly interrogated while spending a month in solitary confinement, Iranian singer Behnam Rohani-Fard was released on 100 million tomans bail (approximately $30,156 USD) from Tehran's Evin Prison on October 3, 2017. - 10/10/17

The real Iran: Most Iranians are reformists who seek good relations with the U.S.
At the U.N. General Assembly last month President Donald Trump singled out two countries for possible destruction: North Korea and Iran. I do not know much about North Korea, but I know a lot about Iran. I was born in Iran and later worked there as imperial chief of medicine under the former Shah Reza Pahlavi. -Siamak A. Adibi, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 10/10/17

Carlos Queiroz shortlisted for World's Best National Coach award
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) has nominated head coach of Iran's national football team Carlos Queiroz for the World's Best National Coach award. IFFHS, an organization that chronicles the history and records of association football, will issue awards to best male and female football figures starting from November 15. - 10/10/17

Sorry, Democrats: Your NRA Is Spelled AIPAC
AIPAC uses the same tactics as the NRA to ensure that the United States never deviates from support for whatever policy the Israeli government is pushing at the moment. These days those policies are: undermining President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, suppressing efforts by Americans to use selective boycotts to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza... -M.J. Rosenberg, LobeLog - 10/10/17

Iran's IRGC to treat US troops like Daesh if blacklisted
The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran will treat US troops like Daesh terrorists who will have to move their military bases farther from Iran's borders if Washington blacklists his force. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari's warning on Sunday came after reports that US President Donald Trump is expected to announce new measures against Iran, including the prospect of additional targeted sanctions and the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. - 10/9/17

Innocent Bystanders Killed in Anti-Smuggling Operations in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province
More than 100 people, including innocent bystanders, are killed every year in anti-smuggling operations in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province, according to human rights campaigner Habibollah Sarbazi. "There are no jobs in the area and even educated people have to resort to smuggling fuel to make a living," Sarbazi, the director of the Baloch Activists Campaign, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on October 4, 2017. - 10/9/17

"Working Children" of Tehran celebrate National Children Day
The State Welfare Organization held a ceremony in Tehran on Saturday for 500 working children to celebrate the National Children Day. Iran annually observes the National Children's Day on October 8 and the National Children's Week on October 7 to 13. - 10/9/17

Trump Assails Republican Senator, Blames Him For Iran Nuclear Agreement
U.S. President Donald Trump and the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee publicly traded insults on social media ahead of a key decision on the 2015 deal between global powers and Iran on Tehran's nuclear program. In response to Trump's tweets, Corker on October 8 wrote: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning." - 10/9/17

UN Ambassador: Trump administration under false assumptions on Iran deal
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo says if the US wishes to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot attempt to scuttle the JCPOA. "If the United States wants to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot go against the international consensus and attempt to scuttle past diplomacy whether as political retaliation against a previous administration, or as part of a constant reassessment of American national interests," said Khoshroo in an OP-ED published in The New York Times on Sunday. - 10/9/17

Iran's Ex-Reformist President Banned From Public Appearances Week After Six MPs Sentenced to Prison
Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami has been banned from making public appearances and receiving political guests for three months. The ban, first reported on October 5, 2017, was issued by the Special Court for the Clergy one week after six prominent reformist politicians, including Khatami's younger brother, were sentenced to a year in prison for the charge of "propaganda against the state." They were also banned from political and media activities for two years. - 10/9/17

Run-Up to Another Potential US Middle East Disaster
If media reporting is to be relied upon, President Trump will refuse to recertify by October 15 that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, as is attested to by the International Atomic Energy Agency, all the other non-Iranian signatories (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia, and China), a host of Western national security experts and retired military leaders, and even several former heads of Israel's key security agencies. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 10/9/17

Iranian Judiciary Confirms Nuclear Negotiator Imprisoned On Spying Charges
Iran's judiciary has confirmed that a dual-national member of the Iranian team that negotiated a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of espionage. A spokesman for the judiciary said on October 8 that Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani was "among some who were accused of spying and providing information for foreigners and had links with two espionage services." - 10/9/17

NMDB and the JCPOA
A major theme of those seeking to kill the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is that Iran is doing lots of other things, especially in the Middle East, deemed undesirable. Such rhetoric flows freely even though these other things are not covered by the JCPOA and are unrelated to the agreement. Arguments based on this rhetoric are just as dishonest as many other arguments of opponents, whose motivations involve not the terms of the JCPOA but instead other reasons they want to kill this accord and to oppose any agreement with Iran, on any subject and regardless of the terms. -Paul Pillar - 10/7/17

Trump's Choice: Iran Deal Model or North Korean Bomb?
After a White House meeting with U.S. military leaders on Thursday where he discussed the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues, President Trump cryptically told the press that it was the "calm before the storm." Trump also reportedly told his military officials to provide him with "a broad range of military options ... at a much faster pace." -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, LobeLog - 10/7/17

U.S. Approves $15 Billion Sale Of THAAD Missile System To Saudi Arabia
The Pentagon says the U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale of the advanced THAAD missile-defense system to Saudi Arabia for $15 billion, citing Iran among threats in the Middle East. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in an October 6 statement that it had notified the U.S. Congress about the possible sale, saying the deal would "support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States." - 10/7/17

About Half A Million Road Accident Deaths In Iran In Two Decades
Taghi Mehri, Iran's police chief announced that 459,000 lost their lives in traffic accidents in Iran within less than two decades since 1998. According to Mehri, more than 4.5 million people were injured in accidents during the same time. Considering that in the last 19 years Iran's population has been between 70 and 80 million, this number constitutes a high rate of accident casualties. - 10/7/17

Iranian Authorities Arrest Brother of Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri
An Iranian news website has reported the arrest of the brother of the country's vice president over various finance-related matters. The Tabnak website, affiliated with Iran's hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reported on October 6 that Eshaq Jahangiri's brother, Mehdi Jahangiri, was taken into custody. - 10/7/17

Is Riyadh Finally Buying Russian Air Defense Missiles?
Among the many other Saudi-Russian agreements that have been announced during King Salman's visit to Moscow, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV declared that Riyadh is buying Russian S-400 air defense missiles. This is a highly significant move because, though a major Saudi-Russian arms deal has reportedly been in the works for many years, it has not yet materialized. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 10/7/17

Saudi women drivers spark Iranian social media buzz
Ordinary Iranians have taken to social media in response to Saudi Arabia's reforms allowing women to drive. Many compared the emergence of women's rights in Saudi Arabia to the sluggish growth of Iran's women's movement. -Deutsche Welle - 10/7/17

Trump Says Iran Not Living Up To 'Spirit' Of Nuclear Deal As Certification Deadline Nears
U.S. President Donald Trump has said Iran is not living up to the "spirit" of its nuclear deal with world powers, an assessment that followed media reports that he intends to decertify the landmark 2015 accord. Trump made the statement during an October 5 meeting with military leaders at the White House, 10 days before his deadline to decide whether to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal. - 10/6/17

Russia, EU signal parting ways with US on Iran deal
Russia and the European Union rally behind a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran after reports that US President Donald Trump is set to decertify the international accord soon. The European Commission said on Friday that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the agreement is called, is working and all sides should stick to their commitments. - 10/6/17

Tombs of Achaemenid Kings and Queens: the Persian funerary cult and its Elamite background
Lecture in London by Dr Wouter Henkelman: The complex relationship between the Elamites and the Persians has long been a subject for discussion. New light on this intriguing question is cast by information contained in cuneiform tablets in the Persepolis Fortification Archive, some of them still unpublished. - 10/6/17

Iranian Rights Activist Barred from University Under Ahmadinejad Faces Same Roadblocks Under Rouhani
Iran's Intelligence Ministry has blocked formerly imprisoned civil rights activist Mahdieh Golroo from attending Alzahra University in Tehran despite being accepted as a graduate student. "I saw the letter from [President Hassan] Rouhani's Intelligence Ministry at the University Evaluation Organization (UEO)," said Golroo in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on October 3, 2017. - 10/6/17

Turkey's Erdogan Vows Tough Sanctions to Thwart Iraqi Kurdish Independence
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that his country will close its border with Iraqi Kurdistan as part of new sanctions following an independence vote by Iraqi Kurds earlier this month. The announcement follows Erdogan's visit Wednesday to Tehran. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 10/6/17

Trump Plans to Decertify Iran Deal
But perhaps a bigger pressure on Trump to decertify comes from three of his biggest political donors: Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer, and Bernard Marcus. All three have funded groups that sought to thwart the negotiations leading to the JCPOA, including Dubowitz's FDD, and have given generously to Trump. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 10/6/17

Iran claims 5 orbital slots to place satellites
Iran's Minister of Communication and Information Technology announced that Iran has been granted 5 orbital slots, adding arrangements to position the satellites at 43.5 degrees are underway. Speaking at the opening ceremony of World Space Week, ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said depending on the needs of countries, a satellite is placed in these slots, stressing that those locations can be reserved for two years. - 10/6/17

Academy's American Sport Art Museum & Archives Unveils Sculpture of Legendary Iranian Wrestler
DAPHNE, Alabama - The North American Iranian Friendship Society (NAIFS) presented the United States Sports Academy's American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) a bronze sculpture of the late legendary Iranian wrestler and national hero Jahan Pahlavan Takhti at a recent special ceremony on the Academy campus. - 10/5/17

Iran's President Rouhani Pushes Back against Security Media
As in other authoritarian states, the Iranian media landscape is greatly shaped by outlets with close links to the security and intelligence establishment. Media outlets with links to security organizations are usually launched with a defined approach and clear goal in mind. They work not only to advance the agendas of their patrons but also to weaken critics of such organizations. While receiving financial, security, and judicial support, these media outlets publish biased and targeted content. A further characteristic of this "security media" is that they employ military and security personnel as their managers, with little regard for journalistic standards. -Saeed Aganji - 10/5/17

Meeting In Tehran, Iranian And Turkish Presidents Stress Opposition To Kurdish State
The presidents of Iran and Turkey say their countries will take steps to ensure that borders in the region remain unchanged following last week's independence referendum in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. "We will not accept changing borders in the region," Iranian President Hassan Rohani said in Tehran on October 4 at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. - 10/5/17

Trump Likely To Give Speech On Iran Policy Ahead Of Deadline To Certify Nuclear Deal
U.S. officials say President Donald Trump will likely deliver an Iran policy speech next week, just days ahead of the October 15 deadline to certify whether Tehran is adhering to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with global powers. The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, on October 4 said the White House has tentatively scheduled the speech for October 12 in Washington. - 10/5/17

Europe-Iran Forum's message to Donald Trump
The 4th Europe-Iran Forum (EIF) was held amid U.S. President Donald Trump claiming that he may decertify in October the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers under the pretext that the Islamic Republic has not been abiding by its commitments. Focusing on post-sanction investment and trade with Iran the forum was held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Zurich, Switzerland. - 10/5/17

Iranian Singer Offered Bribes in Exchange for Cooperating with Rouhani Government
Aramnejad, 34, was briefly detained on February 15, 2010 for his song "Ali Barkhiz" (Ali Rise Up!) in support of the pro-reform Green Movement that arose out of the protests against Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. He was arrested again on November 8, 2011, for continuing to sing political songs, notably Deltangi (Homesick) in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who ran for president in 2009 and has been under extrajudicial house arrest since 2011 for leading the 2009 protests. - 10/5/17

Trump threats loom over Iran-EU business summit
ZURICH -- Uncertainty over what US President Donald Trump will do with the Iran nuclear deal hung over a conference here on Europe-Iran business that showcased both progress as well as continuing internal Iranian obstacles to foreign trade and investment. -Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor - 10/5/17

Iraqi Army Says Forces Retake Center of IS Bastion Hawija
Iraqi forces say they have retaken the center of Islamic State group stronghold Hawija in the oil-rich Kirkuk Province and are pushing forward in their assault on one of the last IS bastions in the country. The offensive on Hawija was carried out by U.S.-backed Iraqi government troops and Iranian-trained and armed Shi'ite paramilitary groups known as Popular Mobilization. - 10/5/17

Member Of Iranian Nuclear Negotiations Team Sentenced On Spying Charges
A member of the Iranian team that negotiated a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of espionage, a semiofficial news agency reports. Iran's Tasnim news agency on October 4 did not provide the name of the sentenced man, but the only member of the negotiating team known to be facing criminal charges is Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a dual Iranian-Canadian national. - 10/5/17

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis Suggests Sticking With Iran Nuclear Deal
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has said the United States should remain a party to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran unless it's proven that Tehran is not abiding by the deal or that it's not in the U.S. national interest to do so. The U.S. defense secretary made the comments on October 3 during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, as President Donald Trump faces a mid-October deadline for deciding whether to certify that Iran is in compliance with the accord. - 10/4/17

Expelled Iranian Chess Player Dorsa Derakhshani Switches To U.S. Team
An Iranian chess player, Dorsa Derakhshani, who was expelled from the national team for attending an international competition without wearing hijab, has switched sides and joined the U.S. team. "Based on the [International Chess Federation, FIDE] statute, chess players who switch their nationality can after two years join the national team of their new country. Dorsa has also benefited from the same statute" - 10/4/17

Turkish President Heads to Tehran Amid Iraqi Kurdish Independence Crisis
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to Tehran Wednesday for meetings with Iran's religious and political leadership. Bilateral relations have been strained in recent years, with the countries competing for influence across the region, but they now have found common ground in opposition to the Iraqi Kurdistan independence vote, which took place last month. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 10/4/17

Iran expresses sympathy to Americans over heinous Las Vegas shooting
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has extended his sympathies to the Americans over the "heinous crime" in Las Vegas, Nevada, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Bahram Qassemi on Tuesday offered sympathy to the American people, particularly the bereaved families of those killed in the recent deadly shooting in Las Vegas. - 10/4/17

Death Of Young 'Porter' Highlights Plight Of Iran's 'Human Mules'
Working in the smuggling trade in Iran is a risky business -- one that has cost the lives of hundreds of anonymous "human mules" who carry heavy loads of contraband on their backs across the western border with Iraq and Turkey. The death of 17-year-old Vahid Dolatkhah provides an exception to the norm -- a face, a name, and an identity of one of those who died plying the perilous trade. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 10/4/17

Appeals Court in Gorgan, Iran Issues Prison Sentences, Fines for Facebook Posts
Two residents of the Iranian city of Gorgan have been sentenced to prison and another fined for the content of their personal social media postings. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that Roozbeh Gilasian was sentenced to a year in prison and Nima Saffar to 80 days in prison while Elaheh Soroushnia was fined eight million tomans ($2,412 USD) by the Appeals Court in Gorgan Province in September 2017. - 10/4/17

Iran, Russia sign Caspian oil exploration deals
Iran has signed two agreements with Russia's Lukoil to jointly look for hydrocarbon reserves in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea - a groundbreaking move that could have significant economic as well as political outcomes for both Tehran and Moscow. - 10/4/17

Former Israeli Security Advisor: US Should Stick with Iran Deal
From 2009-2011, Uzi Arad was national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now he is contradicting his former boss by speaking publicly in support of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany). -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 10/4/17

Republicans might block Trump from killing Iran nuke deal
While congressional Republicans unanimously opposed the nuclear deal two years ago, there's far less unity on how quickly the GOP-led Congress should move to "snap back" sanctions that were lifted as part of the Iran agreement. Doing so would effectively dismantle the 2015 deal. Even a few defections would make a difference in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow 52-seat majority. -Politico - 10/4/17

Russia to Build New Home Base for Caspian Flotilla
Russia is planning to create a new home base for its Caspian Flotilla, moving it from Astrakhan to Dagestan by 2020. The new base will be one of Russia's most technically advanced naval facilities, Ministry of Defense officials have said. -Joshua Kucera, LobeLog - 10/4/17

NIAC and Partners File First Lawsuit Against Muslim Ban 3.0
Washington, DC - Today, Muslim Advocates, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Covington & Burling LLP, in collaboration with the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, announced two lawsuits against the Trump administration's latest efforts to unlawfully block the entry of Muslims into the United States and carry out President Trump's long-promised Muslim ban. - 10/3/17

Iran Worried As Unemployment Reaches 60% In Some Cities
The Islamic Republic's Interior Minister has expressed concern about unemployment; especially in those cities where he says about 60% of the workforce is unemployed. In an interview with Iran Students News Agency, ISNA, the minister noted, "Social harms are more acute in areas where the unemployment rate is high". - 10/3/17

Iranian Reformist Leaders Sentenced To Prison, Political Ban
A court in Iran has sentenced seven reformist politicians, including a brother of former pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami, to one-year prison terms and barred them from political and media activity for two years, a lawyer says. The seven were leaders of the major reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, that was banned in 2010 in a state crackdown that followed mass street protests against the disputed election that handed hard-line incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad a second term. - 10/3/17

Admins of Iranian Pirated Movies Website Arrested After Complaints from "Licensed" Rivals
Six administrators of a popular site selling pirated foreign films with Farsi-language subtitles and voiceovers online have been arrested following complaints from their rivals, which were licensed to sell pirated movies by the government. The chief admin of the TinyMovies website is among the detainees, a source with knowledge about the case told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on condition of anonymity. - 10/3/17

'The last Iranian Americans'
On Sept. 24, the United States announced a revised travel ban that, unlike its predecessors, may face fewer legal hurdles. "Making America Safe is my No. 1 priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet," President Donald Trump tweeted just after his administration released the details of his new proclamation. Given that 62% of nonimmigrant travelers impacted by what many dub Travel Ban 3.0 are Iranian citizens, this indefinite ban - if upheld - could have long-term consequences on the Iranian-American community. -Narges Bajoghli, Al-Monitor - 10/3/17

Iran, Iraq launch joint military drills
Iran and Iraq have started out joint military maneuvers in the Islamic Republic's west and northwest to practice providing security for their common borders. The drills, codenamed Eqtedar (Authority), recruit armored, artillery, and infantry units of the Iranian Army, the drone and helicopter squadrons of the Ground Forces of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as well as some units enlisted with the Iraqi Army, ISNA reported on Monday. - 10/3/17

Number of older persons in Iran grows 1.5-fold in a decade
Census reports indicate that the number of persons, aged 60 years or older, has increased by 1.5-fold over the past decade (2006-2016) in Iran. In 2006, some 5.1 million people were 60 or older, but the number rose to 6.1 million in 2011 and to 7.4 million in 2016, ISNA reported. Currently, the country's total population stands at about 80 million, of which some 9.3 percent is 60 or older. - 10/3/17

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif visits Oman and Qatar
Iran and Qatar have underlined the need for peaceful solutions to regional crises, as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visits Doha. Zarif on Tuesday sat down with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in the Qatari capital. During the meeting, Zarif highlighted the Iranian government's principled policy to have the best relations with all its neighbors and expressed hope that Tehran-Doha ties would improve in all fields. - 10/3/17

Total preparing to do Russia-style Iran funding
Total has indicated that it plans to use the same solutions it employs for doing business in Russia under US sanctions, for a key gas project in Iran in case Washington reimposes sanctions against the country. Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne told The Financial Times that his company had successfully used an alternative basket of foreign currencies in providing funds for the development of a key gas project in Russia which faces US financial restrictions. - 10/3/17

Iran's blooming art scene: A bubble of hope
A gallery opening in northern Tehran and a typical scene: silk scarves barely clinging to the backs of women's heads, young hipsters, gentlemen in that most unrevolutionary of items, the tie. Trendy, wealthy and in their element, the packed crowd edges around abstract sculptures, somewhat grotesque portraits and looped cartoons by US-based Iranian artist Pouya Afshar - 10/3/17

U.S. Judge Orders Iran To Pay $63.5 Million To Former U.S. Marine Jailed In Tehran
A U.S. judge has ordered Iran's government to pay $63.5 million to a former U.S. Marine who was held in Iranian jails for more than four years. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle of Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of 33-year-old Amir Hekmati, an Iranian-American, after Iran failed to respond to the complaint. - 10/3/17

Winners of 2017 'Sepanta Awards' at 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival in San Francisco announced
Director Parviz Shahbazi's "Malaria" has been crowned best at the 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival in San Francisco. The film also brought Shahbazi the awards for best director and best screenwriter. Ali Mosaffa was picked as best actor for his role in "Duet" by Navid Danesh, while Mitra Hajjar was named best actress for her role in Ali Atshani's "Wishbone". - 10/2/17

Interview: 'It will take a lifetime of dedication to save Asiatic Cheetah'
The Asiatic cheetah also known as Iranian cheetah is a Critically Endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran. It once occurred from the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East to the Kyzylkum Desert, Caspian region, Pakistan and India, but has been extirpated there during the 20th century. The Asiatic cheetah survives in protected areas in the eastern-central arid region of Iran, where the human population density is very low. - 10/2/17

Mehregan Conference & Celebration at University of California, Irvine
Spirituality in Persian Poetry, A Lecture by Dr. Franklin Lewis. Iranian Female Writers Today, A Lecture by Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh. and Musical Performance By the SIBARG ENSEMBLE. Sunday October 8, 2017 - 10/2/17

Why Tehran Should Balance Its Relations with Baghdad and Irbil
When the issue of a referendum in Kurdistan on its eventual independence from Iraq emerged, Iran expressed its concerns about the disintegrative dynamics that this act could set in motion not just in Iraq but throughout the region. Tehran counselled authorities in Irbil to forgo the vote but to no avail. After Iraqi Kurds voted in favor of eventual independence, Iran came out strongly in favor of retaining Iraq's territorial integrity and has thrown its lot entirely with the government in Baghdad. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 10/2/17

Iran Air to expand regional flights deploying new ATR planes
The CEO of Iran's national flag-carrier Iran Air said Iran will utilize the newly received ATR passenger jets purchased from the European plane maker ATR to expand regional flights, IRIB news reported. Farzaneh Sharafbafi made the remarks answering questions of the reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony held for receiving two ATR planes at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport on Thursday. - 10/2/17

US interior secretary Ryan Zinke hints at economic war on Iran
US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Washington is now better placed to use its "economic dominance" to cut Iran's oil revenues. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation on Friday, Zinke said US "economic leverage would work to supplant every drop of crude that Iran produces and energy dominance is part of that," the Washington Examiner website reported. - 10/2/17

Turkey's top military chief in Iran ahead of Erdogan visit
Turkey's Military Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar is in Tehran for talks with Iran's top military and political officials, expected to tackle border security and counter-terrorism along with regional issues. Akar arrived in Tehran late Sunday on the invitation of his Iranian counterpart Major General Mohammad Baqeri who visited Ankara in mid-August, the first by an Iranian chief of staff since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. - 10/2/17

Iran's Arrow: Don't miss this documentary about Iran's beloved Hillman Hunters
We love cars that stay in overseas production for decades beyond what the designers intended; there's the Hindustan Ambassador (a 1956 Morris Oxford, built in India until 2014), the 1960 Ford Falcons built in Argentina through 1991, the Mexican-built Borgwards and many more. One of the all-time greatest -- maybe the all time-greatest -- of these cars is the Iran Khodro Paykan, essentially a 1966 Hillman Hunter, built in Iran well into our current century. -AutoWeek - 10/2/17

Europeans Intensify Lobbying to Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal
Iranian diplomats say they expect President Donald Trump to abandon the international deal restricting Tehran's nuclear activities. They are intensifying their lobbying of European governments, especially the signatories to the agreement, France, Britain and Germany, hoping they can dissuade the U.S. administration from repudiating the agreement. And in the event the U.S. repudiates the deal, then Tehran is urging Europeans not to join Washington in re-imposing sanctions. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 10/1/17

The Muddled Trump's Travel Ban
The Trump administration's travel ban is in its third version, and it still does not respond convincingly to the ostensible need it was supposed to address. The supposed purpose itself is unclear. The latest version introduces additional confusion about the purported objective, even without getting into the real motivations behind it. -Paul Pillar - 10/1/17

Why Do Mainstream Reporters Take FDD's Mark Dubowitz's Iran Analysis Seriously?
Something interesting and somewhat alarming happened at an event this week on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- as the Iran nuclear deal is formally known -- sponsored by the Atlantic Council. A prominent mainstream media reporter cited Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz's criticism of the agreement to a panel that included ambassadors from France, the UK, Germany, and the EU, all of whom support the JCPOA and oppose any effort to undermine it. -Ben Armbruster, LobeLog - 10/1/17

Iran bans oil products shipment to Iraqi Kurdistan, will hold joint military drills with Iraq
Iran's Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has warned companies against shipment of oil products to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice," Iranian news agencies reported on Saturday. The decision is in line with Tehran's series of measures in response to a referendum held in the semi-autonomous region on possible secession from Iraq which has drawn international criticism. - 10/1/17

Russia Ranks 38th On World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness List; Iran 69th
Russia has led its partners in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with the highest ranking among the group in the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017-18 Global Competitiveness Report. Russia ranked 38th on the list of 137 countries rated in this year's WEF report. Other countries ranked included Azerbaijan at 35, Georgia at 67, Iran no. 69, Tajikistan at 79, Ukraine no. 8,; Moldova at 89, and Bosnia-Herzegovina no. 103. - 10/1/17

Spike in Labor Protests in Iran is Changing the Political Milieu
In the past weeks labor protests and strikes have increased across Iran with workers speaking out against layoffs and nonpayment of wages. Iran's ailing economy has not recovered from the nuclear sanctions and even after the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal, workers' living conditions have not improved. - 10/1/17

Landmine Victims Denied Compensation as Border Regions Remain Plagued by Remnants of Iran-Iraq War
An attorney representing people maimed by mines in Iran's border regions says the victims are not only entitled to damages under the country's Islamic Penal Code, but could also qualify for funds set aside by the Interior Ministry's Article 2 Commission for wounded veterans. - 10/1/17

Former Sunni MP: Rouhani Government Failing to Uphold Minority Rights Despite Supreme Leader's Call
The situation of Iran's Sunni Muslims has not improved since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei pointed out in a sermon that minorities are constitutionally protected from discrimination, a former Sunni member of Parliament told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 10/1/17

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