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Iran's private sector should get our support
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) should be reminded that the resurgence of radicalism of the Iranian regime is the direct effect of the ineptitude of the eight years of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's administration, to which U.S. foreign policy based on sanctions and isolation contributed handsomely. -Najmedin Meshkati - 12/31/05

Iran: Cyrus Cylinder coming home for special exhibit
A unique collection of Iranian artifacts kept in museums throughout the world will be gathered and displayed at the National Museum of Iran (NMI), the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday. -Mehr - 12/31/05

U.S. Planning a Military Strike on Iran’s Nukes?
The English language edition of the esteemed German newsweekly Der Spiegel compiles a review essay of reports from the German press that, together, show strong signs that the United States is planning a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. -Outside the Beltway - 12/31/05

Foreign films line up for Fajr festival
Organizers of the 24th Fajr International Film Festival have announced seven of the foreign films which are scheduled to be screened in the International Section of Iran's most prestigious film gala. -Mehr - 12/31/05

Diplomatic Rout
To the consternation of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, at the end of 2004, Iran concluded a $70 billion agreement with China, wherein state-owned Sinopec contracted to buy 250 million tons of LNG, help Iran develop its giant Yadavaran field and construct related oil, gas and petrochemical facilities... -Gordon Prather, Antiwar - 12/31/05

Fajr-e Sepassi defeats Persepolis 4-1; Parvin steps down
Fajr-e Sepassi thrashed the red-shirted Persepolis 4-1 in the 16th week of the fifth Iran Pro League in front of home fans in Azadi Stadium, west of Tehran, Friday. -IRNA - 12/31/05

Azerbaijan calls for active participation of Iranian firms
Azeri Minister for Economic Development Heydar Babayev on Friday called on outstanding Iranian firms to actively participate in his country's economic activities. -IRNA - 12/31/05

Oil Market Analysts Issue Dire Warnings
While this year's record high oil prices are unlikely to come down in the near future, analysts are warning the world's traditional and emerging economic powers to curb consumption, saying that at the current rate, proven reserves will only meet demand up to 2030. -IPS - 12/31/05

Chalabi Named Iraq Oil Minister
As a fuel crisis deepened in Iraq, the government replaced its oil minister with controversial Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi, whose poor performance in the Dec. 15 elections was a setback in his recent attempt at political rehabilitation. -Washington Post - 12/31/05

Interview: Malcolm Hoenlein
Our guest this week is Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations since 1986. A staunch supporter of Israel, Hoenlein has often voiced concern at the increasing tendency to de-legitimize the country. -Haaretz, Israel - 12/31/05

For the New Year, Time For a Really New Foreign Policy
In the wake of the third Iraqi vote in less than a year, President Bush is once again arguing that the country's US-sponsored political process epitomizes a new, democratic focus in American foreign policy towards the Muslim world. While persuasive, his argument is only two thirds correct. -Common Dreams - 12/31/05

First batch of Iranian made automobiles delivered to Iraq
The first consignment of Iranian automobiles consisting of 250 sedans exported to Iraq, Deputy Export Manager for Iran Khordo company Alireza Mirzaie said in Tehran on Saturday. - 12/31/05

Russia, Ukraine's dispute over gas price will give momentum to Iran-Europe's gas deal
Russia's current dispute with Ukraine over natural gas prices will give momentum to the conclusion of a deal based on which Iran will export its gas to Europe, noted here on Saturday, managing director of National Iranian Gas Export Co. (NIGEC) Rokneddin Javadi. -Mehr - 12/31/05

Event in San Francisco: Stop the war against Iran before it starts!
On January 4, 2006. Talk and discussion with a UK anti-war activist, Abbas Edalat, co-founder of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. - 12/31/05

SHOCKWAVE: Shohreh Aghdashloo's devilish portrayal of Dina Araz in 24 Hits France
Loved or hated, Shohreh Aghdashloo seems to equally push the boundaries of provocation and glitter particularly for her bold film choices but also for being a staunch supporter of Iranian actors and artists of the Diaspora. -Darius KADIVAR - 12/30/05

Iranian women NGOs making a difference in Iran
Many people talk about things that cannot be done here in Iran; here and in the next few pieces I shall be telling you some short stories about work and projects that are happening or being done successfully, sometimes modestly and sometimes on a grand scale. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/30/05

Women & Power In Central Asia
An old Kyrgyz proverb claims that "a frog-headed [stupid] man is better than a golden-headed [intelligent] woman." It is tempting to suggest that the proverb reflects the overall attitude toward women in Central and South Asia. -RFE - 12/30/05

Let's Stop a US/Israeli War on Iran
The peace movements of the entire world should be in crisis mode right now, working non-stop to prevent the U.S. and Israel from starting a war against Iran. -CounterPunch - 12/30/05

Bayern Munich in talks for friendly match with Iranian club
German record champions Bayern Munich have confirmed that talks are taking place with an unidentified Iranian club over a possible friendly match. -IRNA - 12/30/05

IRAN: Kurdish prisoners revolt over inmate hangings
Amid rising tension in Iranian Kurdistan, prisoners in Urumieh prison in western Iran are rioting over the imminent hanging of one of their fellow detainees - a Kurd named Massoud Shokkehi - and the hanging in recent days of another Kurd being held in Sagghez prison, also in Iranian Kurdistan. -AKI - 12/30/05

ABC's Woodruff set to broadcast from Iran
ABC News' "World News Tonight" will kick off its new format Tuesday with co-anchor Bob Woodruff reporting from Iran. -Reuters - 12/30/05

US Reiterates Concern About Ayman Nour Case in Egypt
The Bush administration Thursday reiterated its concern about the treatment of Egyptian democracy activist Ayman Nour amid calls for tougher U.S. action to protest his imprisonment. The State Department said Egyptian authorities should not ignore moves in Congress to link aid to Egypt to progress toward democracy. -VOA - 12/30/05

Does Ukraine 'Gas War' Cast Shadow Over Moscow's G-8 Chairmanship?
1 January is not just the start of a new year. It's also the day that Moscow will assume the rotating chairmanship of the Group of 8 (G-8) industrialized nations -- and the day it has threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine if it refuses to accept a fourfold price hike. Some say Russia's pressuring of Ukraine amounts to blackmail, prompting the question: Does Russia deserve the G-8 leadership? -RFE - 12/30/05

Iran Khodro to begin delivering Samand cars to Russia in Jan
The Iranian auto company Iran Khodro will begin shipping its Samand model cars to Russia in January 2006, Khalim Bilalov, the company's official representative in Russia, told Interfax. -Interfax - 12/30/05

She has revived the art of talking, but can Rice make a real change?
The secretary of state's style is giving rise to hopes of a new era of US foreign policy -Guardian - 12/30/05

Pakistan hopes work on Iran gas pipeline to start in 2007
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Amanullah Jadoon told the upper house of Parliament on Thursday evening that the ongoing negotiations on the proposed gas pipeline were progressing smoothly. -IRNA - 12/30/05

Iran: Quakes hit towns in Khuzestan and Kerman provinces
Two separate mild earthquakes jolted the towns of Lali and Kahnouj respectively in the southwestern province of Khuzestan and southeastern province of Kerman early Friday and Thursday evening. -IRNA - 12/30/05

2006: The Year of Revelation?
2005 was a year of indictments – now, let the trials begin! -Antiwar - 12/30/05

US needs regional help to make progress in Iraq, says Kissinger
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Friday that Washington not only needed to define its sense of future in Iraq but also had to broaden the base of political consultation in the region. -IRNA - 12/30/05

Iran's Majlis approves Intangible Heritage Convention membership
The bill deals with the spoken dialects as well as customs, traditions and ceremonies observed in various provinces and areas of the country. -IRNA - 12/30/05

End of the year thoughts
At this time of the year, many people take the time to reflect on the events that have taken place during the past twelve months. I too have been wondering about all the many ups and downs of life that I have been through. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/29/05

Iran has high literacy rate in Asia
"Twenty seven years after the formation of Literacy Movement in Iran, its illiteracy rate stands at 13.5 percent, which is equivalent to a population of eight million." -IRNA - 12/29/05

Speaking of Myths...
As the international community reacts to Ahmadinejad’s outrageous rhetoric, they are making plans to embark on punitive measures against the innocent Iranian people - Sanctions and military strike have become common talk – losing site of the real victims, the Iranians. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 12/29/05

Iran's Cabinet allocates budget to detect US conspiracies
Iranian Cabinet in its meeting in Tehran on Wednesday approved a special budget to detect and neutralize the US government conspiracies and intervention in Iran's domestic affairs. -IRNA - 12/29/05

Britain tried to sell Concorde to Iran's deposed Shah
British attempts to sell Iran two Concorde supersonic aircraft ended in embarrassment and confusion, according to 30-year-old secret papers released by the UK government on Thursday. -IRNA - 12/29/05

Wake up and smell the dictatorship
I recently read with discouragement but no surprise a recent op-ed in the Washington Times titled "In Iran, Arming for Armageddon," in which the author went on about the crazy Hitler-like leader of Iran and his marching "nuclear weapons" down the streets of Tehran. -Reza Parsinezhad - 12/29/05

Kurds in Iraqi Army Proclaim Loyalty to Militia
Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan. -Knight Ridder - 12/29/05

Rocky road to democracy
Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, recently compared elections in his country with a London bus - you wait forever for one, and then three come at once. -Financial Times - 12/29/05

Pakistan launches nuclear project
Pakistan has begun building a new nuclear power plant in Punjab province. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz launched work on the 325-megawatt plant in Chashma, which is the second to be built at the site with Chinese help. -BBC - 12/29/05

Iraq: Monitoring Body Raises Concerns Over Weak Controls Of Oil Revenues
An international auditing board is expressing serious concerns regarding the accounting practices and control of Iraq's current system for oil trade. The board says the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), the principal repository for Iraq's oil-export receipts, has been poorly monitored. -RFE - 12/29/05

India terms US sanctions on its firms "unjustified"
India on Wednesday termed "unjustified" the American decision to impose sanctions on its two firms for supplying some chemicals to Iran, asserting that the transfer did not violate Indian regulations or its international obligations. -IRNA - 12/29/05

US No Longer Promoting Landmine Abolition
In 1994, the United States was the first nation to call for the elimination of landmines that killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people around the world. But that was then. -OneWorld - 12/29/05

The noble struggle of Akbar Ganji
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." Iran's leading dissident, Akbar Ganji, though ailing in prison from torture, solitary confinement and the effects of a two-month hunger strike, has shown himself to be a man in the Gandhian mould. -Mariam Memarsadeghi, Globe & Mail - 12/29/05

2005 In Review: The Geopolitical Game In Central Asia
The outside world has viewed Central Asia primarily through the prism of geopolitics at least since the 19th-century struggle between the British and Russian empires for dominance in Eurasia, when the phenomenon of great powers clashing against an exotic backdrop came to be known as the Great Game. -RFE - 12/29/05

National Iranian Oil Company and British Petroleum to supply gas to British market
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and British Petroleum are participating in joint gas exploration in RUHM gas field 240 kms northeast of Aberdin in Scotland. The project goes back to the early 1970s. RUHM gas field was discovered in 1973 and was confirmed in 1977. -IRNA - 12/29/05

Iran, India joint statement declares New Delhi talks on Gas Pipeline Project a success
Iran and India on Thursday expressed satisfaction over talks on Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Gas Pipeline Project. -IRNA - 12/29/05

Nuking Iran With the UN's Blessing: Only the American people can stop it
In the "global war on terror," Iran is the next target, having been designated by the U.S. State Department as "the most active state sponsor of terrorism" in the world. The United Nations has given its blessing, and the U.S. will fill in the blanks. -Antiwar - 12/28/05

Tehran Art Scene: Ali Akbar Sadeghi, A Great Artist with Intriguing Originality
Life, for me, is a serious process of learning and once one has left stages of acquiring material things and the domain of having, it is indeed a pleasure to find out and to discover something new, even if it is about someone or something that you knew before. Recently I had such a lovely encounter; it was a person's work that I discovered. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/28/05

Bearing the cross
Christian believers in Iran face constant surveillance by the Islamic republic, writes Robert Tait -Guardian - 12/28/05

Iranians tackle rise in obesity
For all the anti-American rhetoric uttered by Iran's regime, many Iranians have embraced at least one aspect of American culture - fast food. -BBC - 12/28/05

The Persian language and our cultural interaction
In order to elaborate on the issue of the status of the Persian language in the world, we must first identify some different aspects of the language. The Persian language is seldom regarded as an element of culture or identity. -Mehr - 12/28/05

China Demands US Reverse Sanctions
China has reacted angrily to the United States' decision to place sanctions on six Chinese companies accused of supplying Iran with sensitive military equipment. -VOA - 12/28/05

Sherman makes Iran his mission
When U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman found a moment alone with President George W. Bush at a recent White House holiday party, the Sherman Oaks Democrat homed in on the probability of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. -Los Angeles Daily News - 12/28/05

Iran: Disruption Of The Status Quo
The presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad in Iran has injected a disruptive element into both domestic politics and foreign policy. Its includes sweeping changes in the senior civil service, a confrontational attitude toward the "old" ruling elite, tighter controls over cultural activities, populist economic policies and a more aggressive tone in foreign policy. -Oxford Analytica - 12/28/05

Of Iranian music bans and Wiki wonks
When I heard that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's radically retro president, had banned all Western music from state broadcast outlets, I had one reaction: Good luck, dude. Ahmadinejad's got about as good a chance of shutting down the sounds as he has of convincing the world that the Holocaust was, as he puts it, “a myth.” -Terre Haute Tribune Star - 12/28/05

US Sanctions Chinese Firms Over Iran Sales
The Bush administration said Tuesday it has imposed sanctions on nine foreign companies for selling Iran hardware or ingredients for weapons of mass destruction. Those penalized include six Chinese firms, two from India, and one from Austria. -VOA - 12/28/05

Menorah protest in Washington
U.S. Jews to protest recent statements by Iranian president by lighting menorah opposite Iran's Washington offices -Ynetnews, Israel - 12/28/05

Rhum field begins gas production
BP and partner Iranian Oil Co. UK Ltd. say that gas production and export had begun from the North Sea Rhum field, the UK's largest undeveloped gas discovery. -Oil & Gas Journal - 12/28/05

Booming and broke - a tale of two cities
Four years after the fall of the Taliban, major reconstruction in Kabul is polarising rich and poor -Guardian - 12/28/05

Masoumeh and Fereydoon Soudavar Professorship of Persian Studies
The University of Oxford intends to elect a new Professor of Persian Studies. The Professorship will be attached to a fellowship at Wadham College. - 12/28/05

U.S. signals harder line on Iran as EU chafes
New U.S. sanctions against state-owned Chinese companies accused of aiding Iran's missile and chemical programs could signal a harder line toward Tehran taken by the Bush administration and could hinder already strained diplomatic efforts being explored by Europe to end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, EU officials and analysts said Wednesday. -NY Times - 12/28/05

British, French and South Korean companies among bidders for Iran's LNG project
British, French and South Korean companies among bidders for Iran's LNG project -IRNA - 12/28/05

Delhi Darbar Indian Restaurant in Tehran
The first time I met Mr. Bahrami was nearly 25 years ago. Then I used to live in Iranshahr Avenue and often we used to walk to the Indian restaurant near the former US embassy. I had just returned from UK and we loved Indian food, and the food and especially their nann (bread) was great. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/28/05

Interview with Iranian deputy oil minister on "peace pipeline"
Mohammad-Hadi Nejad Hosseinian, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs, is in India to discuss the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan. He spoke to IRNA prior to the third round of discussions of the Joint Working Group (JWG) which started Wednesday morning. - 12/28/05

Good year for Iran, says MEED
The past 12 months has been a good year for Iran, according to the London-based Middle East Economic Digest (MEED). -IRNA - 12/28/05

Interview with Middle East water expert
The annual water availability in the region ranges from a high of about 1,800 cubic metres per person in Iran to less than 200 cubic metres per person in Jordan, the West Bank/Gaza and Yemen. By 2025, regional average water availability is projected to be just over 500 cubic meters per person per year. -IRIN - 12/28/05

IRAN: Reconstruction efforts in quake-devastated Bam continue two years on
Reconstruction efforts in Iran's southeastern city of Bam were continuing on Monday, following the successful construction of thousands of permanent shelters for survivors of the devastating earthquake that levelled the city exactly two years ago. -IRIN - 12/27/05

Iran's National Security Council bans satellite channel Saba TV
Reporters Without Borders today deplored the banning of satellite TV station Saba TV by Iran's Supreme National Security Council as one more example of the battle by the country's media for freedom of expression. - 12/27/05

Iran: Pioneers Of Human Rights?
As the year comes to a close, human rights observers, international organizations, and Iranian activists are expressing renewed concern about the human rights situation in the Islamic republic. Tehran has reacted to international criticism dismissively and with counter accusations. -RFE - 12/27/05

Karzai: Iran's help has contributed to Afghanistan development
Afghanistan's President Hamed Karzai in a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister in Kabul said that the assistance rendered by Iran has helped Afghanistan to find its rightful place. -IRNA - 12/27/05

Iran: Quakes jolts Qaen in South Khorasan province
An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale shook the city of Qaen in South Khorasan province on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier, an earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale shook the city on Tuesday at noon. - 12/27/05

Iranian FM wraps up Afghanistan visit
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki who visited Afghanistan at the head of a high-ranking delegation left the Afghan capital of Kabul for Tehran on Tuesday afternoon. -IRNA - 12/27/05

Cooperation contracts signed between Iran's S. Khorasan and Afghanistan's Forah provinces
Officials of Iran's South Khorasan Province and Afghanistan's border Forah Province signed economic, academic, and cultural cooperation agreements on Monday. -IRNA - 12/27/05

Mossad: 1 nuclear bomb won’t suffice Iran
Mossad Chief Meir Dagan says during Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, ‘Iranian strategic decision to reach nuclear independence exists; they won't stop when they reach the level which would supply one bomb, but will continue and create more fissionable material’ -Ynetnews, Israel - 12/27/05

India-Iran talks to focus on gas pricing
The crucial issue of gas pricing is expected to be discussed by Indian and Iranian officials when they meet in New Delhi on Wednesday for the next round of bilateral talks on the ambitious $7 billion pipeline project. -Times of India - 12/27/05

Quake jolts Lali in Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan
An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the town of Lali, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, on Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/27/05

Journalists still under threat in Afghanistan
Regional warlords, coupled with low government presence, continue to threaten freedom of expression in Afghanistan, the country's leading media association warned on Monday in the capital, Kabul. -IRIN - 12/27/05

U.A.E. rockets to region's third largest economy
IMF figures for the economies of 32 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia showed the U.A.E.'s GDP ranked third after Saudi Arabia and Iran and accounted for nearly 9.2 percent of the total GDP of the 32 countries listed by the IMF. -Daily Star - 12/27/05

Bush Presses Editors on Security
President Bush has been summoning newspaper editors lately in an effort to prevent publication of stories he considers damaging to national security. -Washington Post - 12/27/05

Nuclear Clouds Gather Over Asia
From Iran and Israel in West Asia, through India and Pakistan in South Asia, to North Korea and Japan in the East, the region exhibited, in 2005, unprecedented activity in the nuclear field that can only intensify in the coming years. -IPS - 12/27/05

Interview: The Political Culture Of Iranian Youth
RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari recently sat down with Kaveh Basmenji to discuss his book, "Tehran Blues," and prospects for Iranian youth. -RFE - 12/27/05

Iran's non-oil exports to surpass USD 8.5b
Iranian non-oil exports are expected to surpass 8.5 billion dollars in value by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2006). -IRNA - 12/27/05

Steppe back in time
Few people venture into northern Iran but each year an American in her 70s leads small groups of riders through the remote and dramatic mountains -Guardian - 12/26/05

Rainfalls end Tehran's dangerous air pollution
The Iranian capital enjoyed a blue sky and a shiny day on Monday due to the rainfalls of the past 48 hours which ended about three weeks of dangerous air pollution in the smoke-chocked Iranian capital. During the period the air pollution was at critical level. -IRNA - 12/26/05

Event in Atlanta: Stop the war against Iran before it starts!
Speakers: Abbas Edalat, co-founder of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII, www.campaigniran.org) and Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics Department of Computing, Imperial College, London, UK (http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~ae). - 12/26/05

Interview: The Voice Of Iran's Youth
In November, RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari spoke with 19-year-old Arash, who delivers pizzas for a Tehran pizzeria. He tells RFE/RL that young people in Iran are worried about the future. - 12/26/05

Quakes hit cities in Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan
Two earthquakes measuring 3.8 and 4 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Bagh-Malek in the southwestern province of Khuzestan Monday morning. -IRNA - 12/26/05

Chalabi denies Iran's meddling in Iraq's internal affairs
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Head of National Congress Ahmad Chalabi in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Ra'i al-'Aam said on Monday that the rumors about Iran's interference in the internal affairs of his country are baseless. -IRNA - 12/26/05

Iraq's Shi'ite Coalition Rejects Allegations of Election Fraud
Shiite Politicians Saturday rejected calls by Sunni Arabs in Iraq for a new election. Thousands of Sunnis marched yesterday in Baghdad to protest what they say was a rigged December 15 vote for Iraq's new four-year parliament. -VOA - 12/26/05

Government Spokesman: Russia can participate in Iran's peaceful nuclear plan
Iran's Government Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Monday that Russia as well as other world countries can participate in Iran's peaceful nuclear program within the framework of Iran's proclaimed principles. -IRNA - 12/26/05

2005 In Review: Conflicts In Caucasus Still Characterized By Gridlock
Little visible progress was made in 2005 toward resolving any of the Caucasus's seemingly intractable ethno-territorial conflicts. On the contrary, some of the protagonists are making substantial increases to their military budgets for 2006. -RFE - 12/26/05

Pro-Israel Group Criticizes White House Policy on Iran
After years of unwavering support for the Bush administration, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC has begun to sharply criticize the White House over its handling of Iran's nuclear program. -Washington Post - 12/26/05

Iran's agreed Caspian caviar export quota is 50 tons: official
An official from the Iranian Ministry of Agricultural Jihad on Sunday stressed again that Iran officially maintains the right to catch and export 65% of the total Caspian sturgeon and caviar. -Mehr - 12/26/05

Iran: Height of Jahan Nama Tower in Isfahan to be reduced to meet UNESCO's demands
Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Monday that the government authorized to reduce height of Jahan Nama Tower in Isfahan to meet criteria of UNESCO to register Naqsh-e Jahan historical Square as the world cultural heritage. -IRNA - 12/26/05

Iran, India, Pakistan discuss implementation of Peace Pipeline project
An Iranian delegation along with its Pakistani and Indian counterparts discussed the means and procedures for the implementation of the Peace Pipeline project on Sunday. -Mehr - 12/26/05

Iran: The Younger Generation's 'Tehran Blues'
RFE/RL presents an excerpt from "Tehran Blues," a new book by Kaveh Basmenji, head of RFE/RL's Persian-language Radio Farda. In the book, which was published this year by Saqi Books, Basmenji argues that Iran's youth are in near-open revolt for want of greater freedoms, in furious defiance of the mullahs and their brand of somber religiosity. - 12/26/05

US recognizes India as nuclear weapon state: Narayanan
Indian National Security Adviser M K Narayanan said Saturday the US had implicitly recognized India as a nuclear weapon state and agreed to supply fuel for Tarapore reactors following a series of commitments by India, including that of separating civilian and military facilities. -IRNA - 12/24/05

U.S. Shelves Arabic `Propaganda' Mag
The U.S. state department announced yesterday it was suspending publication of Hi Magazine, its glossy, monthly attempt to win the hearts and minds of young Arabs, part of a communications troika it established following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. -Toronto Star - 12/24/05

Tajikistan: Where the Swastika Is Welcome
Like other post-Soviet countries, Tajikistan has taken a fresh look its history following independence in 1991. The result is a state campaign to promote the notion that the Tajiks as a Aryan nation – and the widespread use of the swastika. -RFE - 12/24/05

US Condemns Persecution of Iranian Religious Captive Who Died in Prison
The United States Friday condemned what it said was the persecution of an Iranian of the Baha'i faith who died in prison last week. The State Department said members of minority religions and political dissidents in Iran are systematically oppressed. -VOA - 12/24/05

Iran: Discovery of a Sassanid City in Dasht e Moghan
The recent archeological excavations in the historical site of Oltan Qalasi, resulted in the discovery of a big city which dates back to the Sassanid era. -CHN - 12/24/05

Head of Iran's AIDS Society warns against misinformation
AIDS story in Iran today is a true story that everyone needs to know, said an official in charge of AIDS here on Friday. -IRNA - 12/24/05

1000-kilo vegetarian pizza served in Tehran
A number of well-known Iranian chefs and cooks pose for photo after preparing a 1,000-kilo vegetable pizza at the Niavaran Cultural Complex in northern Tehran - 12/24/05

Choking in Tehran
Even by Tehran's dismal standards, the onset of winter was catastrophic. As temperatures dropped, pollution levels rose. Dangerous gases, including carbon monoxide, blanketed the Iranian capital, straining its residents' hearts and lungs. -Newsweek - 12/23/05

Amnesty International: Inquiry needed in the death of Bahai prisoner of conscience in Iran
Amnesty International has written to the head of Iran’s Judiciary to express concern at continuing abuses committed against the country’s Baha’i community and to urge him to ensure that no-one is imprisoned on account of their religious or cultural identity or because of their peaceful activities in support of their community. - 12/23/05

Iraq: Parties Complain Of Fraud, Call For Election Rerun
Leading Iraqi politicians announced on 21 December that they would launch their own investigation into allegations of election fraud in the 15 December parliamentary elections. -RFE - 12/23/05

Experts Say US-Russian Relations Driven by Relationship Between Bush and Putin
President George Bush and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have held numerous meetings this past year. In this report from Washington, VOA Senior Correspondent André de Nesnera looks at the state of relations between Washington and Moscow. -VOA - 12/23/05

Quake jolts Dasht-e-Kavir Desert in Semnan Province of Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale hit Dasht-e-Kavir (Desert) in the eastern province of Semnan on Friday afternoon. -IRNA - 12/23/05

Russians told to stay off caviar
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature says Caspian Sea sturgeon, who produce the prized fish eggs, are on the brink of extinction because of over-fishing. -BBC - 12/23/05

Bahrain and the Iranian challenge
Bahrain is a small island not far from Iran, and the majority of its almost 700,000 people are Shi'ite. Bahrain could be the next stop for an Iran looking to extend its influence. But America's increasing presence in the region is proof that the United States is determined to fight the Iranian regime... -Washington Times - 12/23/05

Iran's RPG Surprise
"Iran's Defense Industries Organization (DIO) will be the most significant player involved in RPG-7 production during the forecast period..." -DID - 12/23/05

Killing of Iraq Kurds 'genocide'
A court in The Hague has ruled that the killing of thousands of Kurds in Iraq in the 1980s was an act of genocide. -BBC - 12/23/05

Iran's hard line on Israel
Iran's belligerent foreign policy toward Israel is among the more puzzling issues in international relations. At a time when most Arab governments, including the elected Palestinian leadership, have come to accept Israel's existence as an unalterable fact, non-Arab Iran continues to call for eradication of the Jewish state. -IHT - 12/23/05

A Dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq: 2003–2005
"A Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq, 2003-2005" is the first detailed account of all non-combatants reported killed or wounded during the first two years of the continuing conflict. The report, published by Iraq Body Count in association with Oxford Research Group, is based on comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 media reports published between March 2003 and March 2005. - 12/23/05

Tehran Arrests 14 Pro-Union Bus Drivers
Iranian authorities have arrested 14 members of a group representing thousands of Tehran bus drivers for engaging in "illegal activities." -RFE - 12/23/05

Masterpieces of the Intangible Heritage Proclaimed by UNESCO
Upon the recommendation of the international jury for the Third Proclamation, UNESCO has proclaimed 43 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity from all regions of the world. -CHN - 12/23/05

Iran trying to attract Arab skiers to its ski resorts
While Dubai's ski resort has been constructed in an area three times bigger than a football field, Iran is trying to attract Arab skiers to its beautiful ski resorts. -CHN - 12/23/05

SAF actively participates in the World Summit on the Information Society
This November, the Science and Arts Foundation was an active participant in the second, and final, phase of the United Nation's World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and parallel events as an independent accredited civil society entity and the focal point for the Global Knowledge Partnership's Middle East and North Africa regional cluster. - 12/23/05

Thirteen Iranian deputies protest to President Ahmadinejad over Internet censorship
Reporters Without Borders welcomed an initiative by 13 Iranian deputies who have written to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to protest against censorship of the Internet, which they described as "unconstitutional". - 12/22/05

Iran: Majlis puts one-month hold on defense minister's impeachment
Majlis has accepted Defense Minister Mostafa- Mohammad Najjar's call for month-long suspension of his impeachment to enable the gathering of necessary proof and evidence on causes of the C130 plane crash south of Tehran on December 6. -IRNA - 12/22/05

VIEW: An American in Iran —Michael Shank
Is ‘evil’ reserved for countries unwilling to cosy up to US interests? If Iran denationalised its oil supply (something Chavez receives flak for not doing), would ‘evil’ be supplanted by ‘ally’? A country refusing to be cosy, attempting to build a healthy domestic infrastructure, and benefiting from its own natural resources, commits itself to castigation by the superpowers -Daily Times - 12/22/05

Iran expresses concern over human rights violation in Europe
Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman in reaction to a declaration on human rights in Iran by Britain as the rotating chairman of European Union said here Wednesday that such statements are outside the framework of internationally-recognized norms and principals. -IRNA - 12/22/05

U.S. Agency Approves Hefty Aid Program To Armenia, With Caveat
A U.S. development agency has agreed to provide Armenia with more than $235 million for programs aimed at reducing rural poverty. -RFE - 12/22/05

Israel offered Iran billions for Arad
Teheran refused to reveal information about missing Israeli navigator Ron Arad despite economic pressure, USD 10 billion incentive package offered by Israel in early 1990s -Ynetnews, Israel - 12/22/05

Ethnic rifts an obstacle for Afghan Parliament
President Hamid Karzai's chief political rival, Yunus Qanooni, was elected chairman of the lower house of Afghanistan's new Parliament in a close race that split the chamber down the middle, exposing an ethnic divide that might plague future debates. -NY Times - 12/22/05

Rome to host World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research
The first World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research is to take place in Rome from February 16 to 18, 2006. - 12/22/05

`I'm being treated as a half-Canadian'
Eslahjou accepts the right of Americans to make their laws. He is more irritated with Ottawa for not standing up for people like him. He is one of 250,000 Iranian Canadians. Born in Iran, he has been a Canadian for 20 years. He has dual nationality, as permitted by Iran and Canada. -Toronto Star - 12/22/05

Iran temporarily delays new satellite TV's debut
The launch of a satellite television channel by a reformist Iranian cleric and failed presidential hopeful was delayed after security agents tried to seize a video tape of the first broadcast, a company executive said Thursday. -AFP - 12/22/05

Two False Options
In his address to the American people last Sunday evening, President George W. Bush said, "Yet now there are only two options before our country: victory or defeat." As usual, Mr. Bush is wrong. -Antiwar - 12/22/05

Persian Fire: Israel’s special forces at the “highest stage of readiness”
So now we know: Next time the fire will come in Iran. The blow will be delivered by proxy, but that will not spare the true perpetrator from the firestorm of blowback and unintended consequences that will follow. Even now, the gruesome deaths of many innocent people in many lands are growing in futurity’s womb. -Moscow Times - 12/22/05

Iran's IAEA Representative: Iran, EU3 determined to settle nuclear crisis
Iran's Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammad-Mehdi Akhoundzadeh said that Iran and Europe were both determined to settle the Iran nuclear issue. -IRNA - 12/22/05

Mr. Ahmadinejad and the Palestinian Cause
On several occasions in recent weeks President Ahmadinejad has shocked the world by first calling for Israel to be wiped off the map and then by questioning the holocaust and calling for transfer of Israel to Europe. -Nader Habibi - 12/22/05

Iranians celebrate Yalda, the longest night of the year
Iranians throughout the world will celebrate the longest night of the Iranian calendar year, Yalda, in a tradition welcoming the birthday of the Goddess of Love, Mitra. -IRNA - 12/21/05

The West's patience wears thin with Iran's hard line
When European nations resume talks with Iran in Vienna Wednesday over that country's nuclear ambitions, two dangerous new factors are in play. On the one hand, the patience of the Europeans and the United States with Iran is running thin. On the other hand, Iran's newly elected president has shocked a string of nations with some megalomanic pronouncements... -CSM - 12/21/05

Preliminary Results Released in Iraqi Election
The Iraqi Electoral Commission on Tuesday released more preliminary voting results from the country's December 15 election for a new National Assembly. The largest Shi'ite coalition appears to have kept most of its seats in Iraq's 275-member Assembly. -VOA - 12/21/05

Iran and EU resume nuclear talks
Diplomats from three European Union countries and Iran have resumed talks in Vienna about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. -BBC - 12/21/05

First round of Iran-EU3 talks end
The first round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the European Union trio -- Britain, France, Germany -- ended behind closed doors at the premises of the French Embassy in Vienna on Wednesday. -IRNA - 12/21/05

Indian and Chinese companies win bid in Syrian oil fields
The state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) of India and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have won the bid to acquire about 37 percent stake in the Syrian oil fields of Canadian oil company Petro-Canada for 484 million euros. -IRNA - 12/21/05

Immigration Bill to Be Considered by Senate in February
NIAC has confirmed that the Senate will consider various proposals for immigration reform later in February that will likely lack the strictest elements of Congressman Sensenbrenner’s (R-WI) recently passed legislation, H.R. 4437. - 12/21/05

Economic Forecast For 2006 Sees Growth, But Danger In Continued High Oil Prices
Dafne Ter-Sakarian is an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and edited the 2006 report. She said that when oil prices get too high, oil producers suffer, too. -RFE - 12/21/05

Iranians want booze, say Iraqi bootleggers
Muhammad, 36, is a key liquor smuggler in this bootleggers' heaven high up in the Zagros Mountains, a short mule's ride from the Iranian border. And while electricity, culture and women are scarce around here, he has hundreds of cases of liquor in stock. -Jerusalem Post - 12/21/05

Islam Betrays Iran & Israel
The best deal Israel ever got from the world was from the Achaemenid emperors of ancient Persia . The most significant threat Israel has ever received is from modern Iran , the distant progeny of Persia . The ancient emperors ordered the prosperity of Israel , by law. The modern rulers of Iran vow to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.” What has brought about this change of heart? -Faith Freedom - 12/21/05

EU Urges Iran To Return To Human Rights Talks
The European Union issued a statement today criticizing Iran for refusing to resume a dialogue on human rights that was broken off by Tehran more than a year ago. - 12/21/05

Iran, China set up 3 joint working groups on oil projects
Iran and China have set up three joint working groups to speed up implementation of oil and petrochemical agreements previously signed between the two sides. -IRNA - 12/21/05

Lawmakers protest suspicious flights by US and British drones over Iranian cities
Three Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday drew the attention of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to the increasing number of suspicious flights by US and British drones in the southern cities of Iran and their violation of the country's airspace. -IRNA - 12/21/05

Waiting for the rapture in Iran
For those who believe, the devotion is real. Tears stream down the cheeks of 2,000 men ripe for the return of the Mahdi, the 12th Imam they expect will soon emerge to bring justice and peace to a corrupt world. -CSM - 12/21/05

Iran: New Ban On Western Music Sounds Like Same Old Tune
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has ordered the state broadcaster, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), not to play "Western and decadent music." Instead, it must promote "fine" Iranian music and revolutionary-era tunes. -RFE - 12/21/05

Iranian 'terror group' divides Washington
An Iranian dissident group that the U.S. State Department considers a "foreign terrorist organization" continues to enjoy support in Congress while being protected by the American military in Iraq. -UPI - 12/21/05

Mehr is an Iranian NGO that invests in women and helps to empower them
Mehr believes in promoting and improving women¡¯s lives by empowering those women who are family heads and the main breadwinners. Through this, they aim to reduce depravity, vice, decadence and rakishness and bring safety, stability self-confidence and a happy and healthy home. In this way they help open a horizon of hope and create sense of positivism for tomorrow, in an environment that hope is scarce and efforts are rewarded very little. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/20/05

Tehran Art Report: Watercolors by Farideh Mansouri
Farideh Mansouri is what I would call a delicate artist. Her work was to be seen at the Banafshe gallery. I was almost as impressed with the invitation card as much as with the works that we saw on display! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/20/05

Iranian MP: 20 ambiguous points in C130 plane crash case
There are 20 ambiguous points about the C130 plane crash on December 6, said the rapporteur of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazem Jalali in Tehran on Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/20/05

Iranian President arrives in Nakhichevan
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived here Tuesday for a day-long visit to inaugurate a pipeline project to deliver Iranian gas to Nakhichevan. -IRNA - 12/20/05

Tehran Times: Iran, not an anti-Semitic state
An Iranian paper referred to the long history of Iranians' coexistence with their Jewish fellow countrymen on Tuesday stressing that Iran is not an anti-Semitic state and Zionism is by no means equal to Judaism. -IRNA - 12/20/05

Analysis: Sharon's stroke boosts Mofaz
The bald, bullet-headed, Iranian-born Mofaz used to be distrusted by Israel's dovish leftists. But even this has changed. The left came to see him, Verter wrote, as "a professional, deliberate, non-tub-thumping cabinet minister, someone who will not rush to push the button." -UPI - 12/20/05

The Perils And Merits Of Being An Iranian Artist
As I explained myself, the Casting Director looked at me and said wow, you know we rarely ever meet any Persian actors but I know at least two Persian doctors and one lawyer. -Exzibit.net - 12/20/05

Iran wins Asian women's canoe polo crown
Iran was crowned at the Asian Women's Canoe Polo Championships in Malaysia Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/20/05

Quake jolts Talesh in Iran's northern provicne of Gilan
An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale hit the city of Talesh in the northern province of Gilan Tuesday morning. -IRNA - 12/20/05

Preliminary Results Show Iraqis Voted along Ethnic Lines
In a broadcast on government-run TV, an Iraqi Electoral Commission official said the Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance garnered the most votes in Baghdad in Thursday's election. -VOA - 12/20/05

Dutch Bank Fined for Iran, Libya Transactions
US Federal and state financial regulators announced yesterday that they are levying $80 million in fines against ABN Amro Bank NV, a giant Dutch lender, for violating money-laundering laws and sanctions restricting dealings with Iran and Libya. -Washington Post - 12/20/05

US hardliners press case on N Korea
Hardliners in the Bush administration appear to be winning an internal struggle for control over policy towards North Korea, shifting the focus to containing the communist regime and crippling its illicit source of finances at the expense of diplomatic negotiations over its nuclear programme. -Financial Times - 12/20/05

Quake jolts Bojnourd in northeastern Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale hit the city of Bojnourd in the northeastern province of North Khorassan in the wee hours of Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/20/05

The Forgotten Anthrax Attacks of 2001
The anthrax attacks of 2001 are now so out of memory that it's hard to recall the panic and fear caused by the appearance of those first envelopes, spilling deadly powder and containing threatening letters. -Tom Dispatch - 12/20/05

Iran president bans Western music
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned Western and "indecent" music from state-run TV and radio stations. -BBC - 12/20/05

Ahmadinejad did it Again! What shall we do?
When Mr. Ahmadinejad talked about the "myth" of Holocaust for the first time, some dismissed it as political naiveté. But he did it again, and again! He obviously, and regrettably, gets political mileage out of it. -Reza Ghorashi - 12/20/05

Wrongly imprisoned Baha'i dies in Iranian jail
A Baha'i who was wrongly jailed in Iran for 10 years died in his prison cell of unknown causes on Thursday, 15 December 2005, the Baha'i International Community has learned. -Bahá'í World News Service - 12/20/05

Interview: Howard Lee, author of bestseller children's novel Jamshid and the lost Mountain of Light
British author Howard Lee certainly belongs to this category of gifted writers. Jamshid and the lost mountain of light is one of the most enchanting children books (chosen as most popular children’s book by cafepress.com amongst 38 current titles) to have caught attention of English readers of English, American or Iranian origin. -Darius KADIVAR - 12/20/05

UNESCO names Neishabour as Iran's geological capital
Deputy head of Neishabour Department of Education, Mohammad Hemmatabadi, said that given the extensive activity of the city's geological group, Neishabour was recently named by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the geological capital of Iran. -IRNA - 12/19/05

Intercultural Dialogues to be Held in Iran
UNESCO representative office in Iran will hold a seminar in Iran on intercultural dialogue, cultural industries, and cultural tourism. -CHN - 12/19/05

Iranian daily: Democracy on its way in Iraq
Despite all violence and bloodshed in Iraq, democracy is on the march in the war-torn country, said an Iranian daily on Sunday. -IRNA - 12/19/05

On the parquet, 'Great Satan' plays for 'Axis of Evil'
In the quest to build a professional basketball league and bolster Iranian hoop skills, teams in the Islamic republic are paying top dollar ($15,000 a month or more) to lure players away from Europe and America, which is still sometimes called the "Great Satan." -CSM - 12/19/05

Iranian official: Government not intent on imposing censorship on press, media
Government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Monday said the government does not intend to impose censorship upon the press and media, given its belief that they are well aware of their responsibility for precise dissemination of information and protection of national interests. -IRNA - 12/19/05

Afghanistan: Parliamentary Session Ends 30-Year Legislative Drought
After three decades of war and bloodshed, and four years after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghanistan inaugurated its new parliament today. -RFE - 12/19/05

US Frees Iraq's Dr. Germ, Mrs. Anthrax
The U.S. military has released some high-level detainees from Saddam Hussein's former regime, including two scientists known as "Dr. Germ" and "Mrs. Anthrax." -VOA - 12/19/05

Anthropology Conference opens in Tehran
The Anthropology Conference was inaugurated here at Tehran Art Center on Monday in a ceremony attended by a number of experts from the Asian, European, American and African continents. -IRNA - 12/19/05

Bush Acknowledges Mistakes In Iraq, But Urges Americans To Stay Resolute
U.S. President George W. Bush, in a rare formal address from the White House's Oval Office, yesterday rejected calls for a quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq -- although he acknowledged that the fight against the insurgents is proving "more difficult" than expected. -RFE - 12/19/05

IRAN-IRAQ: Landmine agreement signed
The Iraqi government signed a memorandum of understanding with Tehran last week aimed at eliminating landmines planted in the country during its war with Iran in the 1980s. -IRIN - 12/19/05

Changing Numbers in Middle East Force Political Action
Like many issues in the Middle East, population figures can be an explosive subject and nowhere is that more crucial than for Israelis and Palestinians. -VOA - 12/19/05

War, Peace, and the Net
I wish to thank Tun Dr. Mahathir and the Malaysian peace groups for organizing this historic event. The themes of this conference are war and peace. Almost everyone claims to hate war and to love peace. So where is the controversy? -Eric Garris, Antiwar - 12/19/05

Dubai defies the pessimists
If I squint hard, the view down the runway at Dubai airport at dawn does not look that different from the way it did on my first visit 25 years ago. -BBC - 12/19/05

Quake jolts Mehran in western Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale hit the city of Mehran in the western province of Ilam in the wee hours of Monday. -IRNA - 12/19/05

Iranian dailies blast PGCC latest gesture vis-a-vis Iran
Two Iranian dailies published in Tehran strongly criticized the latest gesture made by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council on Iran urging the small Arab states to try to promote unity instead of creating tension and division within the Islamic world. -IRNA - 12/19/05

EU gives Ahmadi-Nejad toughest warning yet over anti-Israel remarks
The leaders of all 25 EU states and the European Commission condemned President Ahmadi-Nejad's comments "unreservedly" and said the EU was keeping its "diplomatic options under close review", a broad hint at possible sanctions. -Financial Times - 12/19/05

100 Parthian Statuettes Discovered in Halil Rud
The latest archaeological excavations in the basin of Halil Rud River resulted in the discovery of more than a hundred clay statuettes belonging to the Parthian era. -CHN - 12/19/05

After Babylon, Persia
What evidence is available to us today if we seek to support the hypothesis that neoconservatives are following a similar script against Iran, a probability that Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Dilip Hiro, Seymour Hersh, Scott Ritter, and others have repeatedly alluded to? -Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Antiwar - 12/19/05

CASMII Resolution against Attacks on Iran and Syria Unanimously Adopted by London International Peace Conference
A resolution calling on “the anti-war movement in all countries to oppose any attack on Iran or Syria” was unanimously adopted by the International Peace Conference held in London on Saturday 10th December 2005. - 12/17/05

House debates HR 4437, Significant impact on Iranian-Americans expected
Debate over the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437) began on the House floor today. The legislation, proposed by Congressman Sensenbrenner (R -WI) is designed to enhance border security and enforcement of various immigration laws through amendments to the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act. -NIAC - 12/17/05

Goli Ameri Nominated By President Bush as U.S. Representative to 60th Session of the UN General Assembly
Goli Ameri was nominated in November by President George W. Bush as a U.S. Representative to the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The General Assembly meets in regular session during the months of September through December in New York. Pending her confirmation by the Senate, Ms. Ameri is serving as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the UN. - 12/17/05

US General Praises Syria, Criticizes Iran
The coalition commander in Iraq has for the first time had something good to say about Syrian government actions to stop foreign insurgents from getting into Iraq. But at the same time the general expressed only concern about Iran's efforts to influence events in Iraq, both before and after Thursday's election. -VOA - 12/17/05

Those Crazy Mullahs
According to the highly influential "experts" at the Heritage Foundation – who have apparently never bothered to read the Iranian Note Verbale to the International Atomic Energy Agency of Aug. 1, 2005 – "Iran remains a dangerous revolutionary power determined to acquire nuclear weapons. No policy short of war is guaranteed to halt the Iranian nuclear program." -Antiwar.con - 12/17/05

The Decline of the American Empire
Defeated in Iraq, Bankrupt at Home, Despised Around the Globe (And That's Just the Good News) -CounterPunch - 12/17/05

In the Footsteps of Che Guevara: Democracy in South America
Bolivia is poised to join Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and possibly even Mexico next year in an extraordinary rebirth of the Latin American left. -Independent - 12/17/05

Bush: Elections Are 'Glorious Day' for Iraq
President Bush says Iraq's successful vote for a new national assembly this week was a remarkable moment in the history of freedom. Mr. Bush met Friday with Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir Sumaidy. -VOA - 12/17/05

Iranian President's Anti-Israel Statements Reflect The Official Line
Many explanations have been offered to explain Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's numerous anti-Israeli statements in recent weeks. Although these speculations may be accurate, Ahmadinejad is by no means the first Iranian official to engage in Holocaust denial or to make statements denying the legitimacy of Israel. -RFE - 12/16/05

5th Golshiri Literary Award Ceremoney
The 5th Golshiri1 Award-giving ceremony took place recently at Niavaran Cultural Center. Opening the ceremony, Mrs. Farzaneh Taheri-Golshiri, the president and founder of Houshang Golshiri Cultural Foundation2 gave a short report of the foundation ‘s activities during the year, after remembering the loss of some Iranian literary figures, Mr Karim Emami, Mr Manuchere Atashie, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammd Jafar Pooyandeh. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/16/05

Israel wiped out the face of the map? Ya; Sure!
Whatever Ahmadinejad’s motives, one thing is for sure: the likelihood of removing Israel from the face of the map to remedy Iran’s international dilemmas is as much as making the Alborz Range disappear in order to solve Tehran’s smog problems; like it or not, fair or unfair, they’re both there to stay. -Kam Zarrabi - 12/16/05

EU holding exploratory talks with Iran next Wednesday, UK confirms
The British government confirmed Friday that the EU would hold exploratory talks with Iran to assess the possibility of resuming negotiations over its nuclear programme in Vienna on December 21. -IRNA - 12/16/05

Most Israelis Oppose Strike Against Iran: Poll
Most Israelis oppose a military strike against Iran's nuclear program for now, despite fears in the Jewish state that Iran is getting closer to building an atom bomb, a poll showed on Friday. -Reuters - 12/16/05

Defense Minister: Iran to respond vigorously to any aggression
Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar stressed that Iran will vigorously respond to any kind of aggression. -IRNA - 12/16/05

American victims of 1983 Beirut blast to sue Iran in Europe
American victims of the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut said yesterday they were planning to take legal action against Iran through European courts following a similar case that has already resulted in the freezing of Iranian assets held in a Rome bank account. -Financial Times - 12/16/05

In the Kingdom of the Half-Blind
This is the prepared text of the address delivered on December 9, 2005, by Bill Moyers for the 20th anniversary of the National Security Archive. -Common Dreams - 12/16/05

In Iran, Arming for Armageddon
Lest you get carried away with today's good news from Iraq, consider what's happening next door in Iran. The wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. -Washington Post - 12/16/05

The Crimes of U.S. ‘Democracy’
“How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say; 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops” – George W. Bush, 12 December 2005. -Center for Research on Globalization - 12/16/05

Russia-Iran armsdeal angers EU
The European Union has complained to Russia about an arms sale between Moscow and Tehran, in a move that highlights the difficulties of maintaining a united international front over Iran's nuclear programme. -Financial Times - 12/16/05

Being irate at Iran, but wisely
Iran's potential nuclear threat took on ominous meaning after several recent fiery speeches by its new president. In stating Israel should be moved elsewhere and claiming the Holocaust is a myth, Mahmud Ahmadinejad deserves condemnation. But after that, then what? -CSM - 12/16/05

Experts Concerned About Militant Shi'ite Role in New Iraqi Government
With Iraqis electing their first democratic four-year government, attention is shifting to what the country's long-term political landscape might look like. -VOA - 12/16/05

Israel: Scenarios of a Strike Against Iran
Because of its extreme vulnerability to a nuclear attack, Israel's threshold for using the military option to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capability is lower than the United States'. Should Israel decide to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, the operation would be risky, difficult and politically delicate -- but not impossible. -Stratfor - 12/16/05

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation Vocational School
The Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation has done it again! This hard working NGO puts shame on the faces of those who say that one cannot work in Iran. They, and the work they do in Iran (among other places) prove that once there is a will there is a way. If you really mean it you can do it, and do it well, on time, without fuss and with highest standards. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/15/05

Digital Neo-Colonialism
"Will you help me to finish a documentary film I am producing for the French TV, ARTE about Internet in Iran?" A young film-producer, a relative [1], asked me a couple of years ago. For 48 hours we worked and Imamzadeh Internet was produced. -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 12/15/05

US: Ahmadinejad Isolating Iran from World Community
The United States joined key allies Wednesday in condemning new remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called the Nazi extermination campaign against European Jews a myth. The State Department said the Ahmadinejad remarks are isolating Iranians from the rest of the international community. -VOA - 12/15/05

Iran delegation returns to Rockland
Ordinary Iranians like Americans and want to get the know them and are dismayed at the increasing tension between the two nations, local delegates who returned from Iran this week said yesterday. -Journal News - 12/15/05

Quake jolts Agh Ghalaei in Golestan province of Iran
An earthquake measuring 4 on the Richter scale shook the city of Agh Ghalaei in Golestan province Thursday noon. -IRNA - 12/15/05

Iran World Cup place secure, says FIFA
FIFA has insisted it has no intention of banning Iran from the 2006 World Cup finals - declaring sport and politics must not become entwined. -World Soccer - 12/15/05

Iraqi Officials Deny Forged Ballots Seized near border with Iran
Iraq's interior minister on Wednesday denied published reports that a tanker truck filled with forged ballot papers was seized a day earlier near Iraq's border with Iran. Sectarian tension is increasing before Thursday's all-important parliamentary elections in Iraq. -VOA - 12/15/05

Tallest man in Iran living in West Azarbaijan village
The tallest man in Iran, Safar Qorbani, who has a height of 2.15 meters, resides in a village near the town of Miandoab in this northwestern province. Qorbani told IRNA that his abnormal growth is continuing. - 12/15/05

Islamic Scholars Debate Suicide Bombing And Hostage Taking
In interviews with RFE/RL, two of Lebanon's leading Shi'ite clerics -- Seyyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah and Afif Nabulsi -- and prominent Lebanese scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb discussed martyrdom operations, as well as the holding of hostages. - 12/15/05

China, Cuba, two African nations are top jailers of journalists; US is 6th
China, Cuba, Eritrea, and Ethiopia are the world's leading jailers of journalists in 2005, together accounting for two-thirds of the 125 editors, writers, and photojournalists imprisoned around the world, according to a new analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists. - 12/15/05

Children Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Reach
Hundreds of millions of children are suffering from severe exploitation and discrimination and have become virtually invisible to the world, UNICEF said today in a major report that explores the causes of exclusion and the abuses children experience. - 12/15/05

Conference in Tehran: Cities of Pilgrimage & Experience of Cities of Central Asia of Globalization
I’m an Italian cultural anthropologist living in Iran and I would like to inform you about an International Anthropological Conference next December 19th-21st, 2005 at Artists' Forum, (Taleqani, Shahid Musavi St,) in Tehran organized by International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) Commission on Urban Anthropology. - 12/15/05

Tabriz Tractor Manufacturing Company plans expansion abroad
Managing Director Mohsen Khadem Arab-Baqi disclosed that the company plans to put up an assembly line in Tajikistan. "Moreover, we have signed several agreements for establishment of four additional assembly lines in African countries." He said tractor exports are a priority on the company's agenda. -IRNA - 12/15/05

Top Iranian Ministers Implicated in Serious Abuses
Iran's new minister of interior is implicated in grave human rights violations over the past two decades, possibly including crimes against humanity in connection with the massacre of thousands of political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. - 12/15/05

Iran: U.S. Basketball Players Helping To Break Down Barriers Of Mistrust
Iran and the United States have had no formal diplomatic ties since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But in recent years, academics and sportsmen from both countries have enjoyed a number of contacts. In one of the most prominent examples, a growing number of professional American players have joined Iran's national basketball league. -RFE - 12/14/05

U.S. sanctions on Iran seen as putting airline passengers at risk
Six months before a U.S.-made Iranian military transport plane crashed last week and killed 108 people, a report prepared for the International Civil Aviation Organization warned that U.S. sanctions against Iran were placing civilian lives in danger by denying Iranian aviation necessary spare parts and aircraft repair. -IHT - 12/14/05

16th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA
2006 brings a new edition of our annual celebration of recent films from Iran. Many of the films in this year's program exhibit a reflective quality perhaps influenced by the country's shifting political and social climate. - 12/14/05

Iranian President Launches Fresh Verbal Attack On Israel
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has launched another verbal attack on Israel. In a speech to thousands of people today, Ahmadinejad dismissed the Holocaust as a "myth" and reiterated his view that Israel should be relocated out of the Middle East. -RFE - 12/14/05

German football weekly sees only outsider role for Iran in World Cup
Iran has only outside chances in Group D to qualify for the second round of the World Cup ahead of either top favorites - Portugal or Mexico, the football weekly Sport Bild reported Wednesday. -IRNA - 12/14/05

Israel: Iran Could Enrich Uranium in March
Israel's army says Iran is making swift progress toward developing a nuclear weapon. An Israeli expert believes military action may be required to stop the Iranian nuclear program. -VOA - 12/14/05

Nic hosts programs on Persia
The Nicolaysen Art Museum hosts two programs this week to accompany its current exhibit, "Persian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran." Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m., Ken Daraie of Casper leads a roundtable discussion, "The Clash of East and West." The discussion includes other members of the community, is free and open to the public. -Casper Star Tribune, WY - 12/14/05

Iranian Oil Minister says global oil supply and demand more or less balanced
Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said supply and demand in the global oil market has become more or less balanced at the moment. -IRNA - 12/14/05

The sickness bequeathed by the west to the Muslim world
The Iranian president's support for Holocaust denial is a measure of how far the infection of Jew-hatred has spread -Guardian - 12/14/05

Iran minister faces impeachment
The speaker of the Iranian parliament has accepted a motion to impeach the defence minister over the crash of a military plane in Tehran last week. -BBC - 12/14/05

FM: Iran deeply concerned about US repeated human rights violations
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Tuesday that Tehran is deeply concerned about numerous cases human rights violations by the United States including torture of Muslims as well as members of other religious minorities. -IRNA - 12/14/05

Lebanon: People Want 'Truth,' But Not All Welcome Mehlis Report
In Lebanon it is difficult to forget about the assassination of Hariri. The scene of the bombing in Beirut is blocked off, but one can easily view its physical impact -- a huge crater and heavily damaged buildings. Throughout the city, furthermore, there are posters featuring Hariri and demanding "truth." -RFE - 12/14/05

U.S. terror victims want Iran antiquities
A group of U.S. victims of a Jerusalem terror bombing wants to seize Iranian antiquities at the University of Chicago for their pain and suffering. -UPI - 12/14/05

Asian interests and the myth of 'balance'
The East Asian Summit process, the proposed Asian energy grid, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are three pillars of the emerging strategic architecture in Asia. There is no need for the region to turn to outside powers in the name of "balance of power." -The Hindu - 12/14/05

Regime change brings the unexpected
In 2002, five months before American and British forces invaded Iraq, I interviewed one of the chief American architects of the strategy of regime change. He gave me a long list of the benefits he expected from it. -BBC - 12/14/05

WTO: Red Carpet for Delegates, Activists Get Harassment
After months of rumours that opponents of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will wreak havoc on the city, activists here say Hong Kong authorities have launched a targeted campaign of harassment. -IPS - 12/14/05

Juvenile offender executed in Iran despite calls for clemency
Amnesty International is outraged that once again Iran has carried out the execution of a juvenile offender, who was convicted of a crime committed before he was 18 years old. - 12/14/05

Appeal by the The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders on behalf of Iranian lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani
The Observatory has been informed by the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (Ligue iranienne de défense des droits de l'Homme - LDDHI) of new developments in the case against Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer at the Bar of Tehran and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), who is currently detained incommunicado at the Evin prison, in Tehran. - 12/14/05

IRAN: Women first in moral drive
The government of hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has begun preventing women who are not wearing the chador - the traditional Muslim head to toe veil used in Iran - from entering restaurants owned by government bodies and state institutions. -AKI - 12/13/05

Parsian Bank obtains 25 million euro line of credit
The Parsian Bank of Iran was the first in the country to obtain on Monday a 25 million euro line of credit from Germany's 'Hermes' insurance. -IRNA - 12/13/05

California Girls Sweep Las Vegas Tournament
Never in the history of the event have three sisters swept the 12's, 14's and 16's age division. This past weekend the Eslami family from California came into town and did just that. -VEGASTENNIS.COM - 12/13/05

Dolby deaf to Iran's "Offside"
The London office of the U.S. company Dolby Laboratories Inc. refused to sell its services to "Offside", the latest film of Iranian director Jafar Panahi, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Monday. -Mehr - 12/13/05

Iran's Music Attractions
Starting from 8th of January 2006, "Iranian Maqami Music Enthusiasts", which is a new established organization, will screen a documentary film every Sunday from a 100 documentary collection produced by Hamid Reza Ardalan, an Iranian musician. -CHN - 12/13/05

Work Begins On Baltic Gas Pipeline to transfer gas from Russia to Germany
Russian and German officials today observed the start of construction on the Baltic Sea natural gas pipeline. The new pipeline will provide Germany with a direct supply of Russian gas, bypassing existing transit routes and causing concern to Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. -RFE - 12/13/05

Momayyez Foundation being established in Tehran
In line with the will of graphic artist Morteza Momayyez, Afsaneh Momayyez, Shapur Manuchehri, Aidin Aghdashlu, Abbas Kiarostami, Ebrahim Haqiqi, Mostafa Asadollahi, and Amrollah Farhadi will be the members of the board of trustees of the foundation. -Mehr - 12/13/05

Italian court orders Iran asset freeze
A court in Italy has ordered the freezing of an Iranian government account held in a Rome bank in what lawyers say represents an unprecedented legal victory for three US families seeking compensation from Iran for its alleged support of Palestinian suicide bombings that killed their relatives. -Financial Times - 12/13/05

The balance shifts in the battle between secular and Islamist Iraq
The divide between Sunnis and Shiites is only the most visible political faultline -Guardian - 12/13/05

EU shelves East Jerusalem report over fear of alienating Israel
A controversial report that accuses Israel of rushing to annexe Arab areas of East Jerusalem was shelved by European foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday out of sensitivity to Israel. -Guardian - 12/13/05

In the era of Ahmadinejad, do Iran's youths offer a future of boom or bust?
Often the solution to a problem lies in converting the problem into a solution. Such an opportunity exists with Iran's youth, who make up 65 percent of the country's population. This could well be the ticking bomb that Iran fears for itself even as the rest of the world fears its alleged plans for nuclear weapons. -Daily Star - 12/13/05

Tehran governor underlines need to relocate airport
Governor of Tehran Kamran Daneshju said on Tuesday that all flights handled by Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport must soon be shifted to the south of the capital. -IRNA - 12/13/05

US ditches plans to restrict access to technology
The US administration will reject proposals to restrict foreign researchers’ access to militarily sensitive US technologies on the basis of their country of birth. -Financial Times - 12/13/05

Iraqis in Iran begin voting
Some 20,000 Iraqis live in the province of Khuzestan, according to an Iranian official. -IRNA - 12/13/05

'We Are Iran'
Nasrin Alavi breaks two new kinds of ground in We Are Iran. She creates an archive of the impact of 64,000 blogs on the children, religion, culture, gender, politics, activism, revolution, media and law of her country... -Tyee - 12/13/05

Isfahan to become cultural capital of Islamic world on Jan 1
Isfahan mayor, Seyed Morteza Saqaiyan-nejad here Tuesday said that on January 1, 2006, the flag-hoisting ceremony marking the official announcement of the city of Isfahan as the cultural capital of the Islamic world will be attended by representatives from 57 Islamic countries. -IRNA - 12/13/05

Iraqi Kurds Ponder How To Strengthen Autonomy After Elections
Among the major issues are how to ensure the Kurds receive a larger share of the country's oil income, and the status of Kirkuk and other areas that Kurdish leaders want to include in the Kurdish autonomous region. -RFE - 12/12/05

IranCell to hold tender for GSM operation in Iran
The contract to operate GSM services in Iran will be put to tender by the Iranian mobile operator IranCell. -Mehr - 12/12/05

Iran to back dlr 50 per barrel oil price, says new Oil chief
Iran's new Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, arriving in Kuwait on Sunday night to attend the 138th conference of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said that Iran would support the price of 50 dollars per barrel of oil. -IRNA - 12/12/05

Iran, Iraq ink deal to remove landmines
Iran and Iraq on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to remove landmines in infested fields in the two countries. -IRNA - 12/12/05

Yaghmaian on the Unknown Victims of September 11th
Last week and this one at Tomdispatch are devoted to a look back at the period before and after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and at the ways in which, ever since, our world has shut itself down and sealed itself up. On that sealing up, Behzad Yaghmaian is an expert. American and Iranian, he approaches this subject from the perspective of the poor and desperate of the Muslim world, many of whom, despite all the talk about a "clash of civilizations," are desperate to enter our world and yet find themselves largely clashing with it. - 12/12/05

Klum wiped from draw in Iran
Supermodel host HEIDI KLUM was completely cut out of the Iranian broadcast of the soccer World Cup Finals draw in Germany last week (ends09DEC05), because they deemed her outfit immoral. -Contactmusic - 12/12/05

Military's Information War Is Vast and Often Secretive
The media center in Fayetteville, N.C., would be the envy of any global communications company. In state of the art studios, producers prepare the daily mix of music and news for the group's radio stations or spots for friendly television outlets. Writers putting out newspapers and magazines in Baghdad and Kabul converse via teleconferences. Mobile trailers with high-tech gear are parked outside, ready for the next crisis. -New York Times - 12/12/05

An Important Iranian Historical Document to be Published in Britain
A chronicle written by Fazli Isfahani, a historian of the Safavid era, which was surprisingly discovered in the old library of Christ's College of Cambridge University has been edited and will be published digitally in December/January in Britain. -CHN - 12/12/05

Musharraf: Iran gas line to be built even without India
Pakistan has declared in categorical terms that even if India does not join the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan it will be constructed. -IRNA - 12/12/05

Filmmaker Zarrinkelk's "drunken monster, dancing zebra" still banned in Iran
Twenty years ago, the grandmother of Iranian animator Nureddin Zarrinkelk told him a tale that he used as the plot for his "Amir-Hamzeh the Lover, and the Piqued Monster", which was never screened in cinemas or broadcast on TV in Iran due to its drunken monster and dancing zebra characters. -Mehr - 12/12/05

Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran
ISRAEL’S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed. -TIMES Online - 12/12/05

Paper urges Iranian officials to save people from slow death in Tehran
A morning daily on Monday commented on the alarming air pollution in Tehran urging officials to save residents of the metropolis from the slow death. -IRNA - 12/12/05

Iran's leader drawing fire
Courting confrontation both at home and abroad, Iran's hard-line president is inserting like-minded ideologues into key positions. He's holding strong to Iran's nuclear ambitions. And he's inviting ire in the West with more anti-Israel rhetoric. -CSM - 12/12/05

Israel Denies British Report It Plans Iran Attack
Israel is denying a report in a British newspaper that it plans to attack Iran. But Israel has not ruled out a military strike. -VOA - 12/12/05

IMF projects 6 pc growth in real GDP in Iran
The national economy has maintained a strong and broad-based growth in the current fiscal year 2005-06 (Iranian year 1384) with real GDP projected to grow by six percent. -IRNA - 12/11/05

Muslims Integrate into US Mainstream
Following violent riots last month by Muslims in France and other European countries, many analysts are looking at immigrant communities in the United States. They find that, for the most part, Muslims are more integrated in American society than their counterparts are in Europe. -VOA - 12/11/05

Iran to offer tender for nuclear power plants
Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Gholamreza Aqazadeh said here on Saturday that Iran will announce the tender for the construction of nuclear power plants early in the next Iranian calendar year, which starts on March 21. -Mehr - 12/11/05

From Creating Realities to Refusing Questions
White House Liars on the Defensive -CounterPunch - 12/11/05

The Iraq Street Boys
Five friends from Baghdad dreamed of fame when they started a boy band. The war pulled them apart; now an American backer is giving them another shot. -Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ - 12/11/05

Kamrani and Marshall win school board runoff races in Houston
At a recent news conference, Santiago's aunt derisively referred to Kamrani as a "foreigner" and an "Iranian." Before that, her campaign manager, Jorge Mendoza, sent an e-mail to Houston reporters with a list of allegations against Kamrani, among them the assertion that she was born in Iran. -Houston Chronicle - 12/11/05

Shell pays Iran $130m compensation for its delays
The Shell Oil Company has so far paid Iran 130 million dollars as compensation for its delays and repair costs in Sorush and Noruz oil fields. -Mehr - 12/11/05

Esmaeilzadehs struggling to keep teahouse painting alive
The basement of a house in eastern Tehran contains 32 masterpieces of Hassan Esmaeilzadeh, one of the few living pioneers of Iranian teahouse painting. Leaning against a wall stacked on top of each other, his works have been collected by his son, Jafar, who hopes to prevent his paternal legacy from fading away. -Tehran Times - 12/11/05

Book Review: Don't mention the mullahs
Nasrin Alavi brings Iranian society to life with a clever mix of blogs and reportage in We Are Iran -Guardian - 12/11/05

Iranian asks Israel for help
An official Iranian representative has asked Israel to help his country join a prestigious scientific project in which a number of Middle Eastern countries are taking part, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday. - 12/11/05

Iranian MPs approve oil minister
Iran's parliament has finally approved a new oil minister, ending a three-month political deadlock. -BBC - 12/11/05

Residents of Tehran urged to observe new traffic ban due to pollution
Governor General of the Iranian capital, Kamran Daneshjoo Saturday evening urged all residents of Tehran to observe new traffic scheme which is effective in 10-million plus metropolis as of Sunday through to next Thursday. -IRNA - 12/11/05

Elbaradei warns Israel on attacking Iran nuclear facilities
Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammad Elbaradei warned the Zionist regime Saturday on any military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. -IRNA - 12/11/05

EU and US policy won't stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons
Transatlantic experts call for compromise and creative diplomacy to avert 'full-scale crisis' - 12/10/05

Iranian dailies urge probe into tragic air crash
Two morning dailies on Saturday commented on last week's tragic crash of an Iran's Air Force C-130 plane calling for a transparent investigation to be launched to single out the parties responsible for the air tragedy. -IRNA - 12/10/05

El-Baradei: World Patience Low On Iran's Nuke Program
El-Baradei, who is the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, made the statement in Oslo, one day before he is to receive the Nobel Peace Prize along with the IAEA. - 12/10/05

Hundreds treated over Tehran smog
More than 1,600 people have been taken to hospitals in Tehran as pollution in the Iranian capital reaches critical levels, health officials have said. -BBC - 12/10/05

Quake jolts Nehbandan in eastern Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale hit southern parts of Nehbandan city in the eastern province of South Khorassan Saturday morning. -IRNA - 12/10/05

U.S. Leaders are Using Pinochet's Playbook
With General Pinochet and his officers now being prosecuted for these atrocities, three decades later, the crimes of Condor remain relevant to the international uproar that the Bush administration is facing over the methods of "rendition" and torture that the CIA is using in today's war on terrorism. -Common Dreams - 12/10/05

Arms race fear as Israel raises Iran pressure
Israel is turning up the heat over Iran's nuclear progamme as European-led negotiations languish and the region goes down the path of an arms race reminiscent of the cold war. -Financial Times - 12/10/05

UK 'covered up' Israeli nuke deal
The government has been accused of covering up the sale of 20 tonnes of heavy water to Israel for its nuclear programme in the early 1950s. -BBC - 12/10/05

Israel Outraged Over Iranian President's Remarks
Tension has been rising between the two countries since October, when the Iranian president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." The comments send a chill here because of Iran's nuclear program. -VOA - 12/10/05

Sport and the scarf
It looked for a moment as though we had come all the way to Tehran for nothing. A tiny lady in a long black cloak resolutely blocked our path as we tried to get into the arena for the first match of the Islamic Women's Games indoor football event: Britain versus Iraq. -BBC - 12/10/05

Official: Iran not to continue enrichment during nuclear talks
The Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Organization (IAEO) Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh on Saturday underlined that Iran has not started any nuclear activity in Natanz and said that it does not aim to proceed with such activities as gas injection and enrichment during the upcoming nuclear negotiations. -IRNA - 12/10/05

Iranian President's Latest Comments About Israel Spark Further Condemnation
The United Nations, United States, European countries, and Israel have all expressed shock and revulsion over President Ahmadinejad's latest comments. -RFE - 12/10/05

World Cup: Iran placed in Group D with Mexico, Angola and Portugal
The 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ moved a tantalising step closer to reality after the intrigue and excitement of the Final Draw at the Messe in Leipzig on December 9. - 12/10/05

Persian Pygmalions: Twin Sisters Nassim And Neissa Parize Moving On From Failure To Wishful Success
This year's recruits included two beautiful 19 year old twin sisters born in the US to Iranian parents. Nassim and Neïssa PARIZE have been inseparable although both hope to graduate from their respective fashion schools in Paris and Nice. In order to be together they decided to test their chance at the famous TV show that has been running for five consecutive years with an increasing success. -Darius KADIVAR, Paris - 12/9/05

Book: Babak and Friends - A Visit From Maman Bozorg"
Following “Babak and Friends - A First Norooz”, a new adventure in the form of a high-quality, hardcover Storybook comes from Norooz productions. “Babak and Friends - A Visit From Maman Bozorg” contains two new stories following the mischievous Babak and his favorite cousins Saman and Sousanne. - 12/9/05

Harold Pinter – Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth & Politics
In 1958 I wrote the following: 'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.' I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false? - 12/9/05

Iranian youngsters in London touched by Tehran's plane crash wish to raise money for victims families
im an iranian school girl but i live in london. i have been struck by the plane crash and my friend and i who is also iranian(farzad) would like to raise money for this accident. we feel not many people take action when it comes to our country(Iran) - 12/9/05

Tehran Art Report: Shahram Ebrahimi's Contemporary Primitive Cosmetic Jewelry
The other day, there we were, an English child psychologist, an Italian language professor and myself, a management consultant, chatting over afternoon tea about art here, child abuse cases, life experiences, world and home politics and the best recipe for this and that. I just felt that the place of my "Viking" friend was truly empty! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/9/05

Iran: Password "O Seyed ul-Shohada!" triggers "Those in Love with Velayat" military maneuvers in Oman Sea
The First Phase of `Those in Love with Velayat' Joint military maneuver started on Friday morning in waters of Oman Sea with the announcement of the maneuver's secret password in this phase, "O Seyed ul-Shohada!" -IRNA - 12/9/05

Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline on track: Petroleum Ministry Official
India asserted that the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project was on track and first gas from the over seven billion dollar project will start following from 2010-end. -IRNA - 12/9/05

Iran in Israel’s firing-range
The likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran is increasing. -Open Democracy - 12/9/05

Passionate Pinter's Devastating Assault on US Foreign Policy
Shades of Beckett as ailing playwright delivers powerful Nobel lecture -Guardian - 12/9/05

Human Rights Watch: Rice's response about treatment of detainees inadequate
The U.S. Secretary of State's statement yesterday about U.S. obligations under international law does not answer key outstanding questions about the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody, Human Rights Watch said today. - 12/9/05

Armajani dreaming
Internationally known Iranian sculptor Siah Armajani has his first solo show in his adopted hometown, Minneapolis. -Star Tribune - 12/9/05

Dissecting Bush's "Strategy for Victory": Questionable Assumptions
At the end of November, the Bush administration issued a 35-page document titled, "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." -CounterPunch - 12/9/05

U.S. Accepts Iranian Christians for Resettlement
The United States has approved emergency resettlement for a family of four Iranian Christians left stranded in Turkey since an October deportation order. -Canadian Christianity - 12/9/05

NATO Ministers Discuss U.S. Terror 'Dilemma'
Condoleezza Rice was careful today not to overstate the success she had in persuading Washington's NATO allies that the United States does not violate international law in its fight against terrorism -RFE - 12/9/05

Ivanov: Moscow May Reconsider Arms Control Treaty
Russia's defense minister is warning that Moscow may reconsider its commitment to a key arms control treaty because the United States will be redeploying military units closer to Russia's borders. In his speech Wednesday, the Russian official also brushed aside Western criticism of a major arms deal with Iran. -VOA - 12/9/05

Iran: Funeral ceremony held for victims of Tuesday's air crash in Tehran
A funeral ceremony was held here this morning for martyrs of a horrible plane crash that killed over a hundred people on Tuesday afternoon. -IRNA - 12/8/05

Iraq: Relative Peace Underscores Issue Of Kurdish Region's Future
The first thing that strikes a visitor to Irbil is how hard it is to spot an Iraqi flag. Instead, flagpoles fly the banner of the Kurdistan Regional Government. That banner may have the colors of the Iraqi flag, but it is overlaid with a Kurdish emblem of the sun. -RFE - 12/8/05

Press anger over Iran plan crash
Newspapers in Iran are both angry and cynical about the plane crash in Tehran on Tuesday in which over 100 people died. -BBC - 12/8/05

Washington Times editorial ignored key facts to exaggerate Iranian ability to produce nuclear weapons
A December 5 Washington Times editorial omitted key facts about the process of nuclear weapons production, giving readers a distorted impression about the time it would take Iran to construct nuclear weapons. -Media Matters for America - 12/8/05

Norway's Norsk Hydro confirms big oil find in Iran
Norwegian energy and aluminium group Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) has made an oil discovery in western Iran, near the border with Iraq, that could be one of the most significant finds of recent years, Hydro said on Wednesday. -Reuters - 12/8/05

Wolves in the Gulf
The wolf is no longer at the door of the wealthy Arab kingdoms and emirates of the Persian Gulf. It is now in their midst, threatening to devour these plump, slow-moving gazelles of states from inside their fragile defense lines. -Washington Post - 12/8/05

Egypt ponders the price of Islamists' gains
"The Mullahs Are Coming!" screamed one headline in the government-controlled Gomhouriyah newspaper, using the title reserved for Iran's tyrannical clergy. -NY Times - 12/8/05

Don't Get Hysterical; Nuclear Iran Is an Inevitability
Iran will have the bomb. It won''t be anytime soon, but perhaps in five years, more likely 10, certainly in 50. -Jewish Exponent - 12/8/05

U.S. Coming Around To The Truth
Watching the pathetic, old, lie-on-its-back frightened Labrador of the American media changing overnight into a vicious Rottweiler is one of the enduring pleasures of society in the United States. I have been experiencing this phenomenon over the past two weeks, as both victim and beneficiary. -Robert Fisk, Common Dreams - 12/8/05

Iran, Russia stress link of electricity grid
Head of Russia state electricity Company expressed his country's readiness here Wednesday to cooperate with Iran to build new powerplants as well as modernization of previously constructed powerplants in other nations. -IRNA - 12/8/05

For the U.S. and Iran, threats or promise?
It is unlikely that a breakthrough will happen soon under the policies of the hard-line new Iranian team under recently elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It could occur in the coming year, though, due to mounting international pressure, the ongoing political reconfiguration inside Iran, and a more urgent American need to come to terms with Iran in order to allow the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq and leave behind a stable country. -Daily Star - 12/8/05

"FARSI" or "PERSIAN"?
Persian (Iranian) people in the English-speaking countries are the only community who use two different terms to refer to their language, "Farsi" and "Persian." This behavior has caused some confusion among the Westerners as to the appropriateness of these terms. -Pejman Akbarzadeh - 12/8/05

New unrest in Iranian Kurdistan
The death of a young Kurdish man in a police station in Sanandaj, the capital of Iranian Kurdistan, has triggered new clashes between locals and police in other Kurdish-majority villages and cities. -AKI - 12/8/05

Testing times for Iran president
"I think the president is not up to running the country and I don't even know what he was thinking about when he stood as a candidate in the elections," says a student, adding, "he is just not politically astute enough." -BBC - 12/8/05

The Biggest Restoration Research Center of the Middle East Opens in Iran
The biggest restoration research center of the Middle East for maintenance and restoring of the historical-cultural evidence and the related architectural structures opened on December 5 in Tehran -CHN - 12/8/05

LNG deal with Iran on the cards: India's Saran
Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, expressing surprise at the remarks of a senior United States official to the effect that India had "assured" Washington that its energy deals with Iran were only "hypothetical" and "years away," said his government had not provided any such assurances. -IRNA - 12/8/05

Iranian government calls for probe into crash, says minister
Amid calls by various state officials for a probe into the cause of the crash, the Public Relations Department of the Judiciary said on Wednesday a special judge had been appointed to investigate the incident. -IRNA - 12/8/05

Iran blamed over Tehran air crash
The authorities in Iran are facing bitter criticism over Tuesday's crash of an ageing military transport plane that killed about 110 people. -BBC - 12/8/05

Special judge assigned to investigate Iran's C130 plane crash
"Today is a sad and desperate day for journalism," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in a message of sympathy to the Iranian Association of Journalists. -IRNA - 12/7/05

Mr. President: Where is the justice you promised?
Since your ascent to power, you have said a good many things, made a lot of promises. You have claimed to be the servant of the people, even if you don't look much like a President. But how should a President who claims to bring justice to his people act or be? -Fariba Amini - 12/7/05

Iranian Travel Agencies Kick off for World Cup
Three more days to the announcement of Iran's rival teams in World Cup 2006, Iranian travel agencies have started their activities to take Iranian fans to Germany to support their team. -CHN - 12/7/05

US Army: no option for Israel against Iranian nukes
There is a popular belief that Israel would do anything to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. The deliberate slew of ambiguous statements by Israeli leaders and military commanders concerning a possible Israeli attack on Iran is for the most part fuel to help the Europeans and US pressure Teheran to quit their nuclear ambitions. -Jerusalem Post - 12/7/05

Russia and India express united stand on Iran
India and Russia today expressed a broad similarity of views on the issue of Iran Nuclear programme, and expressed the hope that the issue could be resolved satisfactorily within the jurisdiction of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). -WebIndia - 12/7/05

ElBaradei still backs Russian plan for Iran
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, continued yesterday to embrace a Russian proposal to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran, despite a recent French government signal that the plan may already be dead. -Financial Times - 12/7/05

Armenia Launches First Wind Power Plant
The government reiterated its pledge to make Armenia more reliant on renewable sources of energy on Tuesday as it inaugurated the country’s first-ever wind power plant financed by neighboring Iran. -Armenialiberty.org - 12/7/05

Tehran Municipality not responsible for air pollution: mayor
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf announced on Tuesday that the Tehran Municipality is studying a comprehensive plan to reconstruct Tehran and to restore its dilapidated buildings. -Mehr - 12/7/05

Book: Getting Ready for a Nuclear Iran
As Iran edges closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb and its missiles extend an ever darker diplomatic shadow over the Middle East and Europe, Iran is likely to pose three threats. -Edited by: Mr. Henry D. Sokolski, Mr. Patrick Clawson - 12/7/05

Iran air safety hit by sanctions
A generation of international isolation has undermined safety standards within Iran's civil and military aviation fleet, experts say, increasing the likelihood of major air disasters. -BBC - 12/7/05

Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West (By Behzad Yaghmaian)
An eye-opening personal account of an epic human drama, Embracing the Infidel takes us on an astounding journey along a modern-day underground railroad that stretches from Istanbul to New York. - 12/7/05

NGO's Collaborate to Create Online Resource for Internships in Iran
Project Connection is the first internet-based resource guide of internship and volunteer opportunities in Iran targeted specifically to second-generation Iranians in the diaspora who are looking for opportunities to intern/volunteer in the service of Iranian civil society. - 12/7/05

Journalists worldwide mourn over loss of 68 Iranian colleagues
Journalists around the world mourned Wednesday over the death of 68 Iranian journalists and media staff who were among the 97 passengers and crew killed in a military plane that crashed soon after takeoff in Tehran Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/7/05

Iranian press in mourning after Tehran plane crash
Reporters Without Borders voiced deep regret at the death of 84 Iranian journalists and media technicians, above all public television employees, when a Hercules C-130 military transport plane crashed into an apartment building in a southern district of Tehran today. - 12/7/05

Over 100 killed as Iranian military plane crashes into apartment complex in Tehran
The plan with 94 people on board crashed in the township of Tohid in Tehran on Tuesday. The crash occurred at 14:10 local time (10:40 GMT). The area is close to Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport, which handles domestic, international and military flights. - 12/6/05

Shell, Repsol to develop Iran's South Pars phases 13, 13A
Akbar Torkan, the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company said on Tuesday that Iran signed the contract with the Royal Dutch Shell Company and Italian Repsol on developing the downstream section of phases 13 and 13A of the South Pars (SP) gas field. -Mehr - 12/6/05

Strike on Iran Not Easy, Israeli Military Chief Says
It would be possible, but not easy, to launch a military strike on Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, Israel's army chief said, without offering any specifics. -CNSNews - 12/6/05

Iran stays course on nukes
The EU has also drawn a firm line against allowing Iran to enrich uranium. -CSM - 12/6/05

Tehran schools closed due to smog
All schools and nurseries in the Iranian capital, Tehran, have been closed for two days because air pollution has reached dangerous levels. -BBC - 12/6/05

Iran Plans to Build Two More Reactors
Iran plans to build two nuclear power plants in addition to the reactor expected to go online next year, officials and government news services said Monday. -Washington Post - 12/6/05

Displaced and former Afghan refugees face miserable winter
As the Afghan winter approaches rapidly, conditions for some 2,300 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and former refugees in the Afghan capital, Kabul, remain miserable. -IRIN - 12/6/05

Iran: Quakes jolt Qeshm and Bardsir
Two earthquakes measuring 3.9 and 3.8 on the Richter scale hit the towns of Qeshm and Bardsir in the southern and southeastern provinces of Hormuzgan and Kerman, respectively, in the wee hours of Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/6/05

Russia confirms Iran missile deal
Russia has confirmed a deal to sell surface-to-air missiles to Iran, insisting they are for defence only. -BBC - 12/6/05

'Urban Myth' – or Treason?
The War Party certainly has its party line down pat. In response to allegations that he had deliberately misinformed the Americans about Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" and alleged links to al-Qaeda, Ahmed Chalabi recently declared: "The fact that I misled the U.S. is an urban myth." -Antiwar - 12/6/05

Iranian MP says problem of foreign financing for projects settled
The chairman of Majlis' Industries and Mine Commission said on Monday that with the authorization granted by the arbitration body, the Expediency Council (EC), for foreign financing of projects, problems associated with the use of foreign capital to fund projects have been removed. -IRNA - 12/6/05

Israeli-Iranian encounter 'a dream'
"Iranian people's feelings toward Israelis are not as bad as you think," Saeed Kharazi Zadeh, a greying Iranian IT engineer told me after I introduced myself as a reporter for The Jerusalem Post. Zadeh was part of the Iranian delegation which had a booth at the UN Summit on Information Society held in Tunis November 15-17. -Jerusalem Post - 12/6/05

Ivanov: Sale of surface-to-air missiles to Iran perfectly legal
Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov defended here Monday the signing of an agreement to sell surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. -IRNA - 12/6/05

Iran placed in pot 4 of 2006 World Cup draw
Iran's national football team has been placed in pot 4 of the 2006 World Cup draw along with Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, US, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago, the Frankfurt-based World Cup Organizing Committee announced Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/6/05

Iran: 100 saplings planted by 100 HIV victims
Farzaneh Rassam said that the aim of the initiative is to promote life expectancy among affected people and to change people's attitude towards HIV infected persons. -IRNA - 12/6/05

Dizzi: Good autentic Persian food and great ambiance
Dizzi is a very Iranian meal, made with lamb, many different beans potatoes, onions and tomatoes. The best ones are cooked in a special small pottery type jar cooked for very long hours in some kind of oven. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/5/05

Iran: Domestic Drug Abuse, Smuggling On The Rise
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told a 6 November meeting of Iran's Drug Control Headquarters that addiction rates in the country are falling, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. Some three weeks later, the commander of the national police force, Brigadier-General Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, said the official drug-abuse statistics are wrong. -RFE - 12/5/05

Rayen Tries to Replace Bam in Attracting Tourists
400 foreign tourists have visited Rayen Citadel throughout this autumn. Authorities believe that the main reason for this success is the good introduction of this historical site to the world. -CHN - 12/5/05

Iran: Larijani urges nuclear talks without any preconditions
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani said in Tehran on Monday nuclear talks between Iran and Europe should be held with no preconditions, warning that setting any conditions can harm the negotiations. -IRNA - 12/5/05

A new land of promise
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates When young Iranians like Arash Tale look across the skyline of this rapidly growing city, they see what their parents once saw in American and European skylines: opportunity, riches and freedom. -NY Times - 12/5/05

Another chance for inscription of Nowruz in UNESCO's heritage list
Following the complaints of Iran to Nowruz not being among UNESCO's new additions to the list of intangible heritage, UNESCO officials announced the incomprehensiveness of the film presented on the ceremony as the main reason of failing Iran's Nowruz file. -CHN - 12/5/05

New VW cars to hit Iran's roads
Kerman Motor Company (KMC) is to import Volkswagen (VW) Touareg and Passat passenger cars to Iran through its Bam branch. The marketing part of the business is already underway, the Persian service of ISNA reported on Sunday. -Mehr - 12/5/05

Tehran issues mixed message over talks with US on Iraq
Iranian officials have given a mixed response to Washington's recent decision to authorise Zalmay Khalilzad, its envoy in Baghdad, to speak to the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad. -Financial Times - 12/5/05

Promising Makhmalbaf film "Sex and Philosophy" disqualified from Oscar competition
Oscar organizers have disqualified the film "Sex and Philosophy" from competing in the best foreign-language film category because director/producer Mohsen Makhmalbaf missed a key deadline for next year's Academy Awards. -Mehr - 12/5/05

Israel scorns Iran nuclear talks
Israel's military chief says he doubts diplomatic efforts will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. -BBC - 12/5/05

Iran considers alternative electricity transmission line to Russia
Iran is carrying out feasibility studies aimed at connecting its electricity grid through two different routes to that of Russia, said here on Sunday, Managing Director of Iran's Electricity Network Management Company Mohammad Ali Vahdati. -Mehr - 12/5/05

Mission Accomplished: Big Oil's Occupation of Iraq
The Bush administration's covert plan to help energy companies steal Iraq's oil could be just weeks away from fruition, and the implications are staggering: continued price-gouging by Big Oil, increased subjugation of the Iraqi people, more US troops in Iraq, and a greater likelihood for a US invasion of Iran. -Common Dreams - 12/5/05

Persian undercurrent in Islamic civilisation
THE Arabs defeated the armies of Yazdegard III, the last king of the Sassanid empire at the battle of Qadassiyah a mere twenty years after the death of the Prophet Mohammad. This was one of the pivotal moments in the history of the Middle East and the world. In a single afternoon, the heartland of Persia was conquered by nomad soldiers from the Arabian desert. -Khaleej Times - 12/5/05

Iran welcomes cooperation with foreign firms in oil, gas sectors
Iran's Oil Ministry is willing to cooperate with foreign partners in different upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors, said Caretaker of Iran's Oil Ministry Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh in Tehran on Sunday. -IRNA - 12/5/05

Religion Versus Reality
Who is this man—a mystic, a bumbling political novice or an imminent threat to Iran's established order? -Newsweek - 12/5/05

West tries to enlist more help on Tehran
In a new effort to pressure Iran to allow strict controls on its nuclear program, Britain and the United States are trying to persuade Russia and China to endorse their conclusion, derived from what officials call new evidence, that Tehran intends to build nuclear weapons, U.S. and European diplomats said. -NY Times - 12/5/05

Sanctioning of Iran by Iranians
Not giving platform, sharing resources and the little knowledge we have with socially committed people who operate inside Iran, albeit all their limitations and/or flaws@(both intellectually and politically) is sanctioning the innocent people of Iran who have no part in their regimefs affairs. -Golbarg Bashi - 12/5/05

Iran: Hamaneh to be named as nominee for post of oil minister
The caretaker of Oil Ministry, Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh will be the fourth person to be proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Majlis for the post of oil minister, said an informed source at Majlis - 12/3/05

Iran, Venezuela sign 21 MoUs on expansion of mutual cooperation
Iran and Venezuela signed on Friday some 21 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on expansion of mutual cooperation during the third Iran-Venezuela Joint Economic Commission meeting. -IRNA - 12/3/05

Despite U.S. pressure, WB to start its first project in Iran
Despite increasing U.S. pressure on all international organizations to economically boycott the Islamic Republic of Iran, The World Bank has ensured its first private sector project in Iran. -Mehr - 12/3/05

Official: Iran's arms trade with Russia not a secret
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani said in Tehran on Saturday that talks have been going on with Russia to purchase Tor-M1 missile for a while and that it is not a secret. -IRNA - 12/3/05

Iraq: Kurds Claim Their Right To Oil
Sunni and Shi'ite Arab leaders in Baghdad this week questioned the authority of the Kurdistan Regional Government after it began drilling for oil in the Dahuk Governorate. -RFE - 12/3/05

Indian FM: Foreign pressure has no effect on Iran–India gas pipeline project
Indian Foreign Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said on Thursday that all decisions about the Iran–Pakistan–India gas pipeline are adopted with regards to the national interests in India, regardless of all foreign pressures. -Mehr - 12/3/05

Cities Voice Opposition to War in Iraq
Cities don't make foreign policy. But that hasn't stopped dozens of towns from Berkeley, Calif., to Chicago to Cambridge, Mass., from passing resolutions calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. -Common Dreams - 12/3/05

Viewpoint: UK war reporter Robert Fisk
An author and Middle East correspondent for the UK's Independent newspaper, Fisk's impassioned, some would say polemical, reporting of conflicts in the region has drawn both praise and criticism. -BBC - 12/3/05

Another quake hits Qeshm island in southern Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale hit surrounding areas of Qeshm Island in southern Iran at dawn today. The island has been hit by intermittent tremors since Sunday last week. -IRNA - 12/3/05

Neo-Crazies Already Planning Beyond Iran
The AEI neo-crazies think it's surprising that, even after four years of our War on Terror, you soccer moms still don't realize that Iran has been at "war" with us for almost three decades. -Antiwar - 12/3/05

15-18 billion dollars investment in Iran's petrochemical industry planned for 4th plan
15 to 18 billion dollars worth of investment will be made in the petrochemical industry in the course of the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2005-10), said Managing Director of National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh in Tehran on Saturday. -IRNA - 12/3/05

Iran oil industry pays for ministry impasse
Iran's oil industry is not just in the doldrums, it is sinking. The world's fourth biggest crude producer has not had an oil minister since August, meaning output loss continues unabated, new production deals have no hope of getting signed and Tehran's voice in OPEC is barely a whisper. -Reuters - 12/2/05

Europa: Mao's 'fight talk' strategy is a winning one for Iran
In the years right after World War II, when the United States was striving to negotiate a deal between the Nationalist government of China and the insurrection, the Communist leader Mao Zedong formulated the strategy known as "fight fight talk talk." It was a brilliant success. -IHT - 12/2/05

Iran: Third quake quivers Qeshm Island
The third earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale hit suburbs of Qeshm Island in southern Hormuzgan Province at 01:28 hours local time on Friday (2158 GMT) Thursday night. -IRNA - 12/2/05

UK's Straw wants 'satisfactory settlement' on Iran's nuclear program
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has spoken of continuing problems in trying to reach a diplomatic solution to concerns about Iran's nuclear program, but remains convinced it must be resolved through talks. "The Iranian dossier is one of the most difficult ones we have to handle, both before, and now, and for the future," Straw said Wednesday. -IRNA - 12/2/05

Controversy Heats Up Over Alleged CIA Prisons, Flights
The controversy over allegations the CIA ran secret prisons in the EU is heating up. -RFE - 12/2/05

The War on Al Jazeera
Nothing puts the lie to the Bush Administration's absurd claim that it invaded Iraq to spread democracy throughout the Middle East more decisively than its ceaseless attacks on Al Jazeera, the institution that has done more than any other to break the stranglehold over information previously held by authoritarian forces, whether monarchs, military strongmen, occupiers or ayatollahs. -Nation - 12/2/05

A World of Oil: George Clooney in Stephen Gaghan’s new film, “Syriana”
“Syriana,” Stephen Gaghan’s tense, outrageously complicated thriller about oil, the C.I.A., and the Middle East, is a major film without being a great film. It’s a strange movie, and a stunningly pessimistic one,... -New Yorker - 12/2/05

Israel missile test 'successful'
Israel has carried out a successful test of its Arrow missile defence system, military officials have said. An Arrow missile intercepted and destroyed a target similar to Iran's long-range Shahab-3 missile. -BBC - 12/2/05

Iranian, Turkish FMs discuss regional, international issues
Iran's visiting Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki discussed major bilateral, regional, and international issues with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in the capital Ankara on Thursday. -IRNA - 12/2/05

UP IN THE AIR: Where is the Iraq war headed next?
In recent weeks, there has been widespread speculation that President George W. Bush, confronted by diminishing approval ratings and dissent within his own party, will begin pulling American troops out of Iraq next year. -Seymour Hersh, New Yorker - 12/2/05

Italy to honor Iranian artist Vaziri Moqaddam
Italy-based artist Mohsen Vaziri Moqaddam is to be honored on December 14 in Rome, Italy, the Persian service of ISNA announced on Friday. Italian officials will pay tribute to the 82-year-old Iranian painter at the Rome Municipality. -Mehr - 12/2/05

Iran: Preparing For The Next Big Vote
It might seem early to think about the next election in Iran, since the presidential race, which ended in the upset victory of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, took place just six months ago. Moreover, the new president does not even have a complete cabinet yet, with the parliament rejecting his nominee for petroleum minister late last month. -RFE - 12/2/05

FOUCAULT'S PERSIAN GULF: Reality, Perception and the Iranian Revolution
When Michel Foucault arrived in Iran in September 1978 to begin what turned out to be a short-lived second career as a journalist, an earthquake had just obliterated forty villages. "Ten years ago to the day," Foucault tells us, a quake destroyed the town of Ferdows in the same area. In its place arose two new towns. -Sandy McCroskey, WORLD WAR 4 REPORT - 12/2/05

AIDS Awareness Demonstration in Tehran, Iran
Several Iranian organizations plan hold a demonstration in the capital city of Tehran. According to Iranian Feminists Tribune, these groups plan to assemble on Thursday December 1 at 1 p.m. in front of Tehran's 'Shahr Theatre'. - 12/1/05

Iran Holds Seventh Countrywide Maneuvers for Earthquake
Seventh countrywide maneuver in response to earthquake and considering security as well as disaster preparedness was held at 10:14 hour local time in one of secondary schools (Farzanegan) in Tehran simultaneously with 110, 000 schools. -IRCS - 12/1/05

IRAN: Rights groups call on UN to investigate executions based on sexual orientation
Human rights groups fighting for gay rights have called on the United Nations to act on reports of executions based on sexual orientation in Iran. -IRIN - 12/1/05

Iran: Forests' Destruction Rate Worries Experts
With some 142,000 hectares of forest lands destroyed annually, Iran is considered among the top countries not safeguarding the natural heritage properly. -CHN - 12/1/05

US and China: Partners or Competitors for World's Oil?
A prominent U.S. Senator is adding his voice to calls for the United States and China to work together on energy issues, instead of competing for oil. The United States and China are the world's number one and number two consumers of oil. -VOA - 12/1/05

First consignment of Iranian tractors delivered to Venezuelan farmers
The first consignment of tractors called 'Ven-Iran' jointly produced in Venezuela were delivered to farmers in a ceremony attended by President Hugo Chavez in Bolivar on Thursday. -IRNA - 12/1/05

MKO stays on updated EU terror list
The Iranian MKO (Mujahidin-e Khalq) remains on the European Union's updated terror list released Wednesday night. -IRNA - 12/1/05

Uzbek Refugees in Iran Facing Uncertainty, Fear
Uzbek refugees who fled to Iran in the 1990s following a crackdown on religious Muslims by Uzbek authorities now find themselves in limbo. They fear prosecution if they returned to Uzbekistan, while the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) has not yet processed their applications for political asylum. -RFE - 12/1/05

Iranian Journalist freed on bail after four months in prison
According to Reporters Without Borders, Madh Amadi, a freelance journalist who was arrested on 28 July, was freed on bail yesterday after paying 50 million toman (45,500 euros) in bail. As a result he called off his hunger strike. - 12/1/05

Rice's Rising Star: On Iraq and Iran, A Deft Balancing Act
Rice's biggest test as secretary of state will be Iran, the center of the volcano that has been shaking the Middle East for the past 30 years. Here again she is pursuing a policy more nuanced than administration rhetoric might suggest. -Washington Post - 12/1/05

Princes of Persia
Travelling in historic Iran is reliable, beautiful and super safe, Tim Brothers writes. -Stuff, New Zealand - 12/1/05

EU to work closely with Afghanistan's neighbors to counter drugs
They called on EU states to provide assistance to the law enforcement agencies of these countries in the field of counteracting the production and trafficking of drugs and diversion of precursors. -IRNA - 12/1/05

Rice and Steinmeier Discuss Reported CIA's 'Secret Prisons'
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice and Steinmeier discussed the issue of secret prisons, but he stressed that the subject did not dominate their talks. -RFE - 12/1/05

Iran: Convert Stabbed to Death
An Iranian convert to Christianity was kidnapped last week from his home in northeastern Iran and stabbed to death, his bleeding body thrown in front of his home a few hours later. -Compass - 12/1/05

Persian Gulf island of Qeshm hit by another quake
An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale hit Qeshm Island and surrounding villages in southern Hormuzgan province of Iran at 04:04 hours local time (00:34 GMT) on Thursday. -IRNA - 12/1/05

State Department official attacks Iran's president
Mr Burnsf speech appeared designed to highlight what the US hopes are the new battle-lines being drawn in Iran – between people and government, rather than within the regime between reformists under the former president, Mohammad Khatami, and hardliners. -Financial Times - 12/1/05

Too Valuable to Burn
The Shah of Iran, Americafs puppet monarch in the good old days before the Iranian revolution of 1979, is reputed to have said, gOil is too valuable to burnh. -Common Dreams - 12/1/05

The Giant's Daughter
The Iranian nation is united and strong. They may produce a nuclear bomb. Many believe that this is a nightmare: a fanatical Islamic state, hating Israel, in the possession of the ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction and the means to deliver it. I am less worried. The extreme anti-Israeli slogans of Iran have not prevented it from engaging, quietly, in business with Israel, and not only in the Iran-gate affair. In practice, the terrible Ayatullahs do behave in a very sober way. -Uri Avnery, Israel - 12/1/05

New College of California's "On the Silk Road to Iran" - April 10 to April 24, 2006
In the spring of 2006, Jerry Dekker, instructor of Humanities at New College of California, is leading another trip to Iran for students, faculty, staff and friends of New College of California. - 12/1/05

State Department's Burns Condemns Iran's Foreign, Domestic Policies
Washington – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns strongly condemned the Iranian government for its defiant pursuit of nuclear capabilities, its support for terrorism and its human-rights violations, and urged the international community to reassess its strategies for dealing with the Iranian regime. -Washington Files - 12/1/05
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