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22nd Fajr International Music Festival kicks off in Iran
Iran's 22nd Fajr International Music Festival opened on Saturday simultaneously in Tehran and Chabahar, an Iranian city and a free trade zone on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. -MNA - 12/31/06

Rafsanjani blasts anti-Iran UNSC resolution
Iran's former president and expediency council chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday harshly criticized recent anti-Iran UN Security Council resolution and stressed that Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful. -IRNA - 12/31/06

Iranian photographer Siavash Laghaie wins Venice 2006 award
young Iranian artist won the International Venice Photography 2006 award. The Iranian photographer, Siavash Laghaie won a silver medal in the Black and White Street section for displaying photos that depicted people, bazaars, and cities in Iran along with landscapes of the Persian Gulf isles up to the northern borders. -ISNA - 12/31/06

Azar Oilfield can produce 200m barrels of crude: Iranian official
Some 200 million barrels of crude oil can be extracted from Azar Oilfield in Anaran Block, deputy with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Exploration Directorate said in Tehran on Sunday. -MNA - 12/31/06

Workers set to resume modification of Jahan-Nama Tower in Isfahan
Located west of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Jahan-Nama Tower still spoils the horizontal view of the square containing a complex of monuments which was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. -MNA - 12/31/06

Fajr Film Festival fuels film production rush
Iranian filmmakers have accelerated their productions as the Farabi Cinematic Foundation has started the countdown for the 25th Fajr International Film Festival, which will be held in Tehran from February 1 to 11. -MNA - 12/31/06

A Dictator Created Then Destroyed by America
Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds? We did. No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him. -Robert Fisk, Independent - 12/31/06

The New Middle East
As the Iraq war helps bring the American era to a close, a new order will begin to emerge in the region. -Newsweek - 12/31/06

War in Iraq Voted Top News Story of 2006
These were the other top stories of the year. The United States and its allies worked unsuccessfully to halt nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in October. And Iran moved forward with plans to bring its first nuclear center into operation by the end of next year. -VOA - 12/31/06

Clerical error? Iranian officials say coed attendance remains possible, despite sharia ban
With translation help from Portland, Oreg.-based writer and radio host Goudarz Eghtedari, we learn from Iran’s sporting authority that preparations are being made to facilitate coed attendance at football matches despite an ongoing ban by clerics. -Global Game, GA - 12/31/06

Unrepentant Saddam Hussein Hanged In Baghdad
The judge who read the order for Saddam Hussein's execution told RFE/RL that the former Iraqi president said he was "not afraid of death" before he was hanged early this morning in the presence of judicial and government figures. -RFE - 12/30/06

Iranian businessman Yousef Daneshvar awarded British honour
Daneshvar, who is deputy chair of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce (BICC), was bestowed with the quait title of Officer of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to British business interests in Iran." -IRNA - 12/30/06

Sassanid Salasel Fort Threatened by Government Organizations
Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Sustar is trying to get legal support for freeing the Salasel Fortress which has for years been changed into a storage area for keeping goods by different organizations including the Sugar Organization, Iran's Drug Control Headquarter, and Imam Khomeini Relief Fund. -CHN - 12/30/06

When we met the real hero
When we were hosting the 2nd Annual Persian Golden Lioness Awards® in Budapest in October 2006 we were all eager to meet with the Award Winner Bruce Bahmani, the real hero who turned Rostam of Shahnameh into a Comic Book. -Marjan Abdi - 12/30/06

New Years resolution: Stop another war
What is or should be frightening to every world citizen, is the sheer disregard by this cabal of neo-conservatives for the catastrophic consequences of implementing such dangerous policies. Oblivious to the mess created in Iraq and Afghanistan, they continue to use the very same tactics pushing for a far more serious confrontation with Iran. -Daniel M Pourkesali - 12/30/06

Iranian Zurkhaneh to be Established in Hamburg
According to representative of International Federation of Traditional Sports (Zurkhaneh) in Germany, the plan for construction of a gymnasium for the Iranian ancient sport of Zurkhaneh in Hamburg has been prepared and will be performed in a near future. -CHN - 12/30/06

Muslims Begin Annual Hajj
The annual hajj -- or pilgrimage to Mecca -- is getting under way in Saudi Arabia, with more than 2 million Muslims expected to take part. Saudi authorities say they have implemented new safety measures to prevent the stampedes that have killed hundreds of people at previous hajjs and also to protect against possible militant sectarian attacks. -RFE - 12/30/06

Ex-German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder warns of growing rift between US and Europe
"After the end of the East-West conflict, US domestic political interests are more and more pushing to the forefront and increasingly the impression arises that American and European world views are drifting apart," Schroeder wrote in his best-selling memoirs titled 'Decisions: My Life in Politics'. -IRNA - 12/30/06

Kashan's Historic Amerian House Turns into Tourist Lodging
Historic Amerian House, one of the architectural masterpieces of the Zand era (1750–1794 AD) in Kashan will turn into tourist lodging by next year. The House will also include a restaurant and a coffee shop. -CHN - 12/30/06

Reaction to Saddam's Execution Ranges from Jubilation to Condemnation
President Bush called the execution an important milestone for Iraq's path to democracy. Iran called it a "victory for the Iraqi people." -VOA - 12/30/06

Released diplomats handed over to Iranian officials in Baghdad
Two Iranian diplomats illegally detained by the US forces in Baghdad on December 21 were released on Friday morning and handed over to the Iranian officials in the presence of Iraq's National Security Advisor Mowaffeq al-Rubaie. -IRNA - 12/29/06

Website Manager, Editor Arrested In Iran
The manager and political editor of the Iranian news site have been arrested. The charges against the two men are not clear. There has been no reaction from Iranian officials. -RFE - 12/29/06

Virginia Woolf night in Tehran
The 20th century British writer Virginia Woolf was remembered at Iran's Artists Home in Tehran. In the ceremony, the editor of Bokhara Literary Monthly, Ali Dehbashi and the Iranian short story writer, Nahid Tabatabaei presented a brief biography of Woolf and also discussed her obvious influence on her contemporary colleagues as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th century. -ISNA - 12/29/06

Persian Gulf Online Sends Letter to Reader's Digest
In its recent World Atlas, Reader's Digest has replaced the Persian Gulf with a bogus term "the Gulf". The following is the letter that Persian Gulf Online (PGO) sent to Reader's Digest's headquarters in Sydney and New York to protest the matter. - 12/29/06

Iran's Justice Minister killed in road accident
Iran's Minister of Justice Jamal Karimi-Rad was killed in a car accident on Thursday while travelling to the central city of Isfahan. -IRNA - 12/29/06

Iran expands links with Syrians
As the White House begins to rethink its strategy for dealing with the Middle East, particularly how to calm the chaos in Iraq, pressure to try to re-engage with Syria has grown. Some Western analysts contend that Syria, with a government more pragmatic than ideological, can be pried away from Iranian influence and convinced that its long-term interests lie instead with the West. -IHT - 12/29/06

Ford attacks Bush over Iraq invasion in message from beyond the grave
In an interview with the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, granted on condition that it be published only after Mr Ford's death, the late president said he strongly disagreed with Mr Bush's stated justification for the war - that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He also suggested Mr Bush had departed from his overriding duty as president to act in America's national interest. -Guardian - 12/29/06

Diminishing Glory
Veiling our ineptitude in the legacy of Cyrus the Great, cowardice abound, we abandon Iran in her moment of need and justify our action on the basis of the Islamic regime’s despotism. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 12/29/06

Bush Says Security Team 'Making Good Progress' in Developing New Iraq Plan
U.S. President George Bush says he is making good progress on a revised strategy for Iraq. VOA White House correspondent Paula Wolfson reports, the president spoke in the midst of consultations at his Texas ranch with his top national security advisers. - 12/29/06

Arlen Specter 'would meet' Ahmadinejad
Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania who broke ranks with the Bush Administration and met Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier this week, said Thursday in Jerusalem that he would now like to sit down and talk with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. -Jerusalem Post - 12/29/06

Bush Iraq Policy Murky on the Real Enemy
This year saw the emergence of a sectarian civil war in Iraq and much more open Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in the Middle East. Sunni regimes in the region expressed acute anxiety both about the possibility of the Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq spreading to their own countries and about the growth of Iranian influence. -Antiwar - 12/29/06

Nuclear Disarmament Gets Critical
If prospects for nuclear weapons reduction took a turn for the worse in 2006 the New Year holds out little hope for containing proliferation. Looming large over these developments in different parts of Asia are the Great Powers, led by the U.S., whose geopolitical role as well as refusal to undertake disarmament has contributed to enhancing the global nuclear danger in 2006. -IPS - 12/29/06

Reports: Saddam Could be Executed by Sunday
Two U.S. news organizations say Iraqi authorities might execute ousted leader Saddam Hussein before the start of a religious holiday on Sunday. -VOA - 12/29/06

Quake jolts Kahnouj in Iran's southeastern province of Kerman
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale jolted suburbs of Kahnouj city in Kerman province, southeastern Iran, Thursday night. -IRNA - 12/29/06

Power Grids Threaten World Registration of Ferdowsi Tomb
Installation of power poles for transferring 400 kilowatt hours of power from the city of Mashhad to Sarakhs in the Iranian northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi has not only vulgarized the historical-cultural landscape of Toos historic city and the tomb of renowned Persian poet Ferdowsi, it has also reduced the chances for registration of this historic monument in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. -CHN - 12/28/06

A Night at La Comédie Française with Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam is the VERY FIRST Iranian Pensionnaire of the Prestigious Comedie Française since its inception in 1680. It is indeed a historical accomplishment for an Iranian comedian to this day which was noticed by the French Media in magazines such as Point De Vue Images du Monde, Le Monde as well as on French TV hosted by Michel Drucker's weekend program Vivement Dimanche to name a few. -Darius KADIVAR, Paris - 12/28/06

The Iranian petroleum crisis and United States national security
The U.S. case against Iran is based on Iran's deceptions regarding nuclear weapons development. This case is buttressed by assertions that a state so petroleum-rich cannot need nuclear power to preserve exports, as Iran claims. The U.S. infers, therefore, that Iran's entire nuclear technology program must pertain to weapons development. However, some industry analysts project an Irani oil export decline -Roger Stern, PNAS - 12/28/06

UN resolution will increase pressure on Iran: analyst
"The Security Council members will follow their objectives through the recent resolution because all the parts that it was said Russia was trying to exclude from the resolution over the past two months have been covertly included in the text," International affairs analyst Ali Khorram told the Mehr News Agency. -MNA - 12/28/06

Historic City of Toos Shaken by Explosions
Explosive operations by Road & Transportation Department of Khorasan Razavi province in the vicinity of Toos resulted in cracks to appear in the walls and fences of this historic city. -CHN - 12/28/06

Persian . . . or Iranian?
They lean into me and murmur: "Did you say you were Persian or Parisian?" They count on the tie, the long-stemmed wine glass, or the exalted titles on their name tags to make flirtation pass as ethnographical inquiry. The "compliment" is clearly a profound insult: When an Iranian proves to be sophisticated, she no longer qualifies as Iranian. -Roya Hakakian, WSJ - 12/28/06

Americans Begin Debate on US Nuclear Weapons Program
A debate is beginning to take shape once again in the United States between supporters and opponents of nuclear weapons. In the 1990s, following the end of the Cold War, many Americans questioned whether the United States even needed nuclear weapons. -VOA - 12/28/06

Iran's International Sturgeon Research Institute chosen as NACA center
In a session of NACA (Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific), Iran managed to gain the official certificate of the network for the Dr. Dadman International Sturgeon Research Institute. The institute is located in Iran's northern port city of Bandar Anzali. -MNA - 12/28/06

US Says New Israeli Settlement Would Violate 'Road Map'
The United States said Wednesday Israel's plan to build a new settlement in the West Bank would violate Israeli obligations under the international Middle East peace road map. The State Department said U.S. diplomats are seeking an explanation from Israel. -VOA - 12/28/06

Iran, Afghan foreign ministers call for economic cooperation
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki conferred on Thursday in Kabul with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta on expansion of economic and commercial ties between the two nations. -IRNA - 12/28/06

Russia/Belarus: Possible Gas War Looms
Another New Year, another gas crisis between Russia and one of its neighbors. Russia's natural-gas monopoly Gazprom has said that it will cut fuel supplies to Belarus if Minsk does not accept a steep price increase by January 1. But with the deadline just days away, Minsk hit back today with an implicit ultimatum of its own. -RFE - 12/28/06

Iran signs MOU with Lebanese Development & Reconstruction Council
Islamic Republic of Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Beirut on Wednesday with Lebanon's Development and Reconstruction Council (DRC) for construction of seven bridges destroyed in recent Israeli war. -IRNA - 12/28/06

Rafsanjani: Iran ready for comprehensive assistance to Iraqi nation
Expediency Council Head Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Wednesday Iran is ready for offering any kind of assistance to Iraqi nation, Expecting nothing in return. The newly re-elected IRI Leadership Experts Assembly member made the comment in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Treasure Minister Baqer Bayan Jabr al-Zubaidi. -IRNA - 12/28/06

War Critics See New Resistance by Bush
Immediately after the beating his party took in November, President Bush indicated that he had received the message that voters wanted change, and that he would serve some up fast. He ousted his defense secretary, announced a full-scale review of his war plan and contritely agreed with critics that progress in Iraq was not happening “well enough, fast enough.” -New York Times - 12/28/06

'What Would Happen If the Virgin Mary Came to Bethlehem Today?'
The plight of pregnant women in the West Bank, where babies are dying needlessly -Independent - 12/28/06

Isfahan's authentic flavors from Iran
The man sitting at the plastic-covered table, reading a newspaper in Persian script, had just polished off a big plate of shish kabob and rice. ``Do you like Persian food?'' he asked me as he stood to leave. ``It's the best.'' -San Jose Mercury - 12/28/06

Larijani: Special committee appointed to examine revision of Iran-IAEA relations
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani on Wednesday declared the formation of a special committee to examine various dimensions of government's plan to revise its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). -IRNA - 12/27/06

Iran Activists Protest Crackdown On Universities
More than 500 Iranian rights activists have issued a statement protesting what they describe as a government crackdown on universities, Radio Farda reported. - 12/27/06

Iran: Expert Says UN Sanctions Leading To Lose-Lose Situation
RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari interviewed Trita Parsi, author of the forthcoming book "Treacherous Triangle: The Secret Dealings Of Iran, Israel, And United States" and president of the National Iranian-American Council. - 12/27/06

Speaking of "wiping" countries off the map: NATO's New Middle East map
Speaking of "wiping" countries off the map, I wonder if he has seen the NATO's New Middle East map? I think he should. It was presented at their last meeting. Iran will lose most of its oil, gas, mountains, and water access shores and sources and gets some of Afghanistan's barren deserts (for learning poppy cultivation technology, I wonder!) -Khosrow Jamshidi - 12/27/06

Third International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora: Call for papers for presentation
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is pleased to announce its Third International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora, to take place April 28-29, 2007 at New York University in New York, NY. - 12/27/06

US National Wrestling Team not to be fingerprinted in - Iranian official
Head of the Iranian Wrestling Federation Mohammad-Reza Yazdani-Khorram said on Wednesday that members of the US National Wrestling Team will not be fingerprinted upon their arrival in the country. -IRNA - 12/27/06

U.S. says evidence links Iran military to plots in Iraq
The U.S. military said it had credible evidence linking Iranians and their Iraqi associates, detained here in raids last week, to criminal activities, including attacks against U.S. forces. Evidence also emerged that some of the detainees were involved in shipments of weapons to illegal armed groups in Iraq. -IHT - 12/27/06

Iran's SAIPA produces 350,000 autos in nine months
Production from Iran's automaker SAIPA Co. has increased by 75 percent and has reached 350,000 during the first nine months of the year (Iranian year ends March 20, 2006). -MNA - 12/27/06

Iran in Afghanistan: Paving with good intentions?
The rise of Hezbollah, with Iran's support, has demonstrated the extent of Tehran's sway in Lebanon, and the American toppling of Saddam Hussein has allowed it to expand its influence in Iraq. Iran has been making inroads into Afghanistan, as well. -IHT - 12/27/06

Iran to revise IAEA co-operation
Iran's parliament has passed a bill which obliges the government to review its co-operation with the United Nation's nuclear agency, the IAEA. -BBC - 12/27/06

Iran: Guardian Council confirms Majlis nuclear ratification
The Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) on Wednesday ratified a double-urgency bill urging the government to accelerate Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and make a revision in the country's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet interests of the nation. -IRNA - 12/27/06

Iranian Basij Students Protest UN Sanctions
A group of Basij militia members today gathered in front of the UN office in Tehran to protest against a Security Council resolution imposing limited sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment work. -RFE - 12/27/06

Iran calls in UK envoy over Blair
Iran's foreign ministry has summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to strongly criticise recent comments made by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. -BBC - 12/27/06

Iran, Switzerland reach preliminary gas transfer agreement
"We have agreed on gas transfer via a pipeline passing through Turkey three weeks ago," Nosratollah Seifi, the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) noted. -MNA - 12/27/06

Pope appreciates Iranians' sentiments for Mary, Jesus Christ
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Wednesday in a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Holy See delivered a written message from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. -IRNA - 12/27/06

Iran, US main competitors in Takhti Cup contests, says official
The International Free Style Contests of Takhti Cup will be held in Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas on January 18-19. -IRNA - 12/27/06

MAHAK - The society to support Children suffering from Cancer
The MAHAK charity is one of the most impressive charitable organizations in Iran. Their aim is that no child in Iran diagnosed with cancer has to go without treatment because of lack of money. -Paul Sanford, Tehran - 12/26/06

Iranian Christians Celebrate Christmas
Iranian Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in a somewhat similar fashion as it is celebrated around the world. -CHN - 12/26/06

Persian culture & Non-Persian Contributors
As a Persian living in Diaspora, I have always felt responsible to show a fair portrait of my land, history and culture. For this very reason, with the help of friends and family, I managed to gather some books and documents as well as website addresses all equipping me with enough sources to play my part in this very corner of the world. -Marjan Abdi - 12/26/06

Another Cuneiform Brick Inscription Found in Rabat Tepe
Archeologists at the historic site of Rabat Tepe, northwest Iran, discovered the fourth cuneiform inscription written with white glaze. Similar inscriptions had previously only been seen in the structure of the Gate of Babylon. -CHN - 12/26/06

20 teams to attend World Cup, Grand Prix fencing contests in Kish
Bulgaria, Turkmenistan, Australia, Belarus, Russia, Germany, China, Italy, France, Romania, Venezuela, Kuwait, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Canada, Holland, US and Portugal are the teams to attend the contests. -IRNA - 12/26/06

Iranian FM: Government backs bill on revising relations with IAEA
The government supports a bill to revise Iran's relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), currently under review by the Majlis, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran on Tuesday. -IRNA - 12/26/06

Christmas stamps displayed in Iran
On the occasion of Christmas, an exhibition of artistic stamp collection from 16 countries around the world was held in Mashad, Iran. -ISNA - 12/26/06

Iran, Iraq study expansion of economic cooperation
Visiting Iraqi Minister of Commerce and Finance Bayan Jabr conferred in Tehran Tuesday with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on expansion of economic cooperation between the two countries. -IRNA - 12/26/06

Some in Iran ask whether their country and U.S. can ease tensions
At a time of worsening tension between Iran and the United States, many Iranians are asking whether the two estranged nations can still move past their old arguments and at least communicate civilly, if not reconcile. -Boston Globe - 12/26/06

Iran, Qatar reach agreement on joint management of oilfield
A joint platform has been built at Mobarak Oilfield around Iran's Abu Musa Island and the two countries would take their share of the production from the joint field, Akbar Torkan, the managing director of Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Company said. -MNA - 12/26/06

Olmert Says He Wants to Renew Peace Talks with Syria
Israel says it would like to revive negotiations with neighboring Syria. But as Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israel is setting down some tough pre-conditions. - 12/26/06

Iran prepared to export gas to Azerbaijan
The Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan announced on Tuesday that the country is prepared to export gas to the ex-Soviet state. He stated that gas transport to Georgia is also possible via Azerbaijan, commenting, "The Islamic Republic supports its neighbors." -MNA - 12/26/06

A philosophical conference in Tehran
Tehran is a big city and many things go on quietly. On a sunny but cold Sunday morning we were invited, most unusually, to a one-day philosophical conference, organized by Dr Simon Farid Oliai of Paris and Tehran which took place at the Swiss Ambassador’s Residence in Elahieh. Dr Oliai is a delightful thinker, scholar and philosopher, fluent in many languages, who is very enthusiastic and ardent about his subjects. The title of the conference was the Global Impact of European Cultural and Philosophical Heritage. -Paul Sanford - 12/25/06

Help Save Nima
Nima is a 19-year old Iranian student who has been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (also known as ALL). He is currently in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. - 12/25/06

13th Iranian Conference on Biomedical Engineering: February 2007 at Sharif University in Tehran
The 13th Iranian Conference on Biomedical Engineering will be held on Feb 21-22, 2007, in Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. The Conference will focus on recent advances. - 12/25/06

US Forces in Baghdad Seize Iranians Invited to Iraq
Iraqi officials say Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had invited two of the Iranians to the capital, and he was unhappy that U.S. forces had detained them. -VOA - 12/25/06

Film Crew Leave Fake Blood Stains On Walls of Persepolis
Stains of fake blood left by film crew making a movie at the ancient Palace of Persepolis on the walls of palace of King Xerxes have outraged cultural heritage experts. -CHN - 12/25/06

IRAQ: Smuggled oil hampering reconstruction
Hundreds of health, education and infrastructure projects have been delayed because of corruption and the smuggling of oil, according to officials in the Ministry of Reconstruction. -IRIN - 12/25/06

U.S. holds four Iranians seized in Iraq
The American military is holding at least four Iranians in Iraq, including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, according to senior Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad and Washington. -IHT - 12/25/06

National Iranian Oil Company puts development of 17 new oil blocks on tender
Development of some 17 new oil blocks will be put on tender for domestic and foreign executives in Vienna on February 1-2, Director for Exploration Affairs of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Mahmoud Mohades said on Monday. -IRNA - 12/25/06

Goods labelled with "Arabian Gulf" banned in Iran
"Goods tagged Arabian Gulf and textiles that have the Persian Gulf map printed on them but are titled as Arabian Gulf are banned from import to Iran," informed Iran's custom affairs deputy, Mohammad Reza Naderi. -ISNA - 12/25/06

Iran: Debate heats up over new MP qualifications bill
On Sunday, the Majlis approved a bill stating that only candidates who have a master's degree and five years of administrative experience can run in parliamentary elections. The bill is yet to be endorsed by the Guardian Council. -MNA - 12/25/06

UNICEF's Iranian envoy, actress Mahtab Keramati, visits Bam
Iranian actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mahtab Keramati paid a visit to Bam ahead of the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that hit the southeastern city on Dec. 26, 2003. Keramati along with a group of UNICEF members visited the region to observe the progress of the world body's reconstruction operations. -MNA - 12/25/06

Iran in talks with LUKoil over North Azadegan Oilfield
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is currently in talks with Russia's LUKoil on the development of North Azadegan Oilfield, southern Iran, NIOC managing director said. -MNA - 12/25/06

Famed filmmakers to present documentary on Iranian carpet at Fajr Film Festival
Fifteen veteran directors have come together to put Iranian carpet in spotlight through an episodic documentary to be shown at the 25th International Farj Film Festival. Commissioned by Iran National Carpet Center, the project has been produced by Reza Mirkarimi in collaboration with Farabi Cinematic Foundation. -MNA - 12/25/06

CASMII Statement on UN Sanctions against Iran: A Terrible Day for International Diplomacy
The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran is gravely concerned about the latest development in the United Nations Security Council. The imposition of sanctions by the Council is ill-advised and destructive to peaceful dialogue. This action not only robs Iranians of their inalienable rights enjoyed by every other nation, it also exposes the irresponsible way in which the international body is being used as a tool to satisfy militant warmongers in US and the West. - 12/24/06

Iran condemns UN resolution as illegal
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement here on Saturday condemning the UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran's nuclear work as an illegal measure violating the terms of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Statute. -MNA - 12/24/06

Iran set to use Japan satellite know-how to preserve historical sites
Iran is seeking Japan's cooperation for providing satellite images needed for preservation of historical sites, said a Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) official in Tehran on Sunday. - 12/24/06

Architects designing Iran's largest site-specific museum at Gohar-Tappeh in Mazandaran
A group of architects has recently begun designing what will be Iran's largest site-specific museum at the Iron Age Site of Gohar-Tappeh in the northern province of Mazandaran. -IRNA - 12/24/06

What We Wanted to Tell You about Iran
Here is the redacted version of a draft Op-Ed article we wrote for The Times, as blacked out by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Publication Review Board after the White House intervened in the normal prepublication review process and demanded substantial deletions. Agency officials told us that they had concluded on their own that the original draft included no classified material, but that they had to bow to the White House. -Common Dreams - 12/24/06

Blair seen as part of Middle East problems
Prime Minister Tony Blair fulfilled his pledge to travel to the Middle East before the end of the year but his visit only underlined that the British leader has become part of the region's problems. -IRNA - 12/24/06

Iran's Khatami wishes for a year of peace
On Sunday, former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami expressed hope that the New Year would be a year of peace. -MNA - 12/24/06

Iranian MPs introduce double-urgency motion on suspension of IAEA inspections
A number of Iranian MPs introduced a double-urgency motion to Majlis on Sunday calling for suspension of the UN nuclear watchdog's inspection of Iranian nuclear sites following the approval of an anti-Iran resolution by the United Nations Security Council. -IRNA - 12/24/06

Ahmadinejad: Wrong Man, Wrong Place, Wrong Time!
The mocking of Ahmadinejad's picture by students during the President’s unexpected visit of Amir Kabir University last week reflects a political trend of frustration in the Iranian society. "Down with the Dictator" and similar slogans were heard for the first time during the president’s speech a few days ago in Tehran; these messages are unlike other dominant messages typically utilized by the government’s modern propaganda machine. -Omid Memarian - 12/24/06

Iran To Install 3,000 Centrifuges At Natanz
Iran says it will start installing 3,000 centrifuges at its Natanz uranium-enrichment plant from today as an "immediate reaction" to a UN Security Council resolution. -RFE - 12/24/06

Find courage to take principled stand: Letter to Gordon Brown
Dear Mr Gordon Brown, We are writing to you on the day that the UN Security Council is voting on a resolution to impose sanctions against Iran, in order to convey our grave concerns regarding the Labour government’s current stance towards Iran and to urge you, as a likely member of a future Labour cabinet, to use your influence to persuade the Prime Minister to enter into meaningful diplomatic dialogue with Iran without any preconditions. -Campaign Iran - 12/24/06

UN Security Council Expected To Vote On Sanctions Against Iran
The UN Security Council is to vote today on a resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program. The resolution demands Tehran end all uranium-enrichment work -- which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants and bombs -- and halt research and development that can make or deliver atomic weapons. -RFE - 12/23/06

British soldier 'gave Army secrets to Iran'
A British soldier has been charged with passing secret information linked to the military campaign in Afghanistan to Iran, The Times has learnt. The case was considered so sensitive that after the charge had been read out, reporters were told to leave and the remainder of the hearing was held in camera. -TIMES Online - 12/23/06

Iran to test 1st semi-submersible oil rig in 2007
Iran will test its first locally made semi-submersible oil rig in the Caspian Sea in the first half of the next Iranian calendar year, said an official of the National Iran Oil Company (NIOC) Friday afternoon. -IRNA - 12/23/06

Now Blair must appeal to Iran's moderates
Little more than a month after floating a civil "partnership" with Tehran in his annual Guildhall speech, Blair filed a petition for divorce in Dubai. What changed his mind on this (and on Syrian engagement) is unclear. Possibly it was his recent visit to the White House. Whatever the answer, his stated grounds for seeking a separation were clear. -Guardian - 12/23/06

2006, Year of U.S. Failure: Iranian Defense Minister
Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on Friday called 2006 the year of the absolute failure of the U.S. aggressive policies in the Middle East. -MNA - 12/23/06

Iranian clay tablets to return home: Official
"We had a phone conversation with Chicago University officials yesterday and they told us that the court was postponed to the 19th of January," said Omid Ghanami. -ISNA - 12/23/06

Iraq: Istanbul Conference Enflames Sectarian Tensions
On December 13-14, Turkey hosted a "Conference for the Support of the Iraqi People" in Istanbul that brought together more than 150 attendees, including politicians, religious figures, intellectuals and activists, from both inside and outside Iraq. -RFE - 12/23/06

Many Azeris see Iranian hand behind wave of unrest
BAKU, Azerbaijan: An article denigrating Islam published early last month in an obscure newspaper here in the capital has led to emotional demonstrations across Azerbaijan and in Iran. A prominent Iranian cleric demanded the death of the two writers of the article, who have been imprisoned in Azerbaijan. -IHT - 12/23/06

U.S. "big stick" policy will fail in Persian Gulf
Concurrently with the efforts of the United States and Britain to issue a UN resolution against Iran's civilian nuclear program, the Pentagon has dispatched more warships to the Persian Gulf. During his recent surprise visit to Iraq, new U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that U.S. forces would remain in the region for a very long time. -Hassan Hanizadeh - 12/23/06

Iran determined to fight false names for "Persian Gulf"
Iran is determined to fight the use of the false titles for Persian Gulf and will not clear the goods re-exported under the sham names for the forever "Persian" Gulf. -MNA - 12/23/06

Blair's Mideast Message Echoes Past Failure
Tony Blair has toured the Middle East and called for an "alliance of moderation" against Iran, in an effort to restart the Middle East peace process and reduce Tehran’s influence in the region. But the idea that the problems of the region can be resolved by isolating Iran has been tried before – under much more favorable circumstances – and failed. Now when Washington and London’s credibility is at an all time low in the region, can this failed strategy suddenly succeed? -Trita Parsi, IPS - 12/23/06

106 Sassanid Ossuary Tombs Discovered in Khark Island
Archeologists at the Persian Gulf Island of Khark discovered 106 ossuary tombs belonging to the Sassanid dynastic era (224-651 AD) dug into a cliff. -CHN - 12/23/06

Vandals Behead Bas Relief of Achaemenid Soldier at Persepolis
One of the members of a film crew making a feature-length film at the Palace of Persepolis was arrested last Thursday for vandalizing two Achaemenid bas-reliefs at Palace H, denoted to King Artaxerxes (465-425 BC), grandson of Darius the Great. -CHN - 12/23/06

Current and future labour cabinets urged to block Bush-Blair on Iran
A letter will be delivered to No 10 and No.11 Downing Street today (December 22) urging the current cabinet, Gordon Brown and potential members of his future cabinet to oppose current moves towards military intervention in Iran. -Campaign Iran - 12/23/06

Iranian Chemical Attacks Victims
In response to Saddam's recent proud confession in court to gassing Iranians, we post the text of speech by Kamin Mohammadi at the joint Action Iran and CASMII meeting in London on September 19th this year. Ms Mohammadi spent three months in Iran and its Kurdish region earlier this year to produce her full report. -CASMII - 12/22/06

Iranians Celebrate Yalda Night
While the Christians all over the world are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, Iranians will rejoice in celebration of one of their most ancient traditions, the night of Yalda. -CHN - 12/22/06

A great coffee place in Tehran
Tehran like all other metropolises has many hidden beautiful corners and places. I had heard from my good friends about a lovely café near 7th Tir Square. They had assured me that it offers great coffee and the ambiance is top notch. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/22/06

Iran replaces dollar with euro in foreign deals
The Iranian government prepared ground for replacement of dollar with euro and other foreign exchanges, Secretariat of the government's information dissemination council said on Friday. -IRNA - 12/22/06

Iran provides IAEA some documents related to Natanz - Diplomats
Foreign diplomats in Vienna here Friday said that Iran has provided IAEA with some documents related to its Natanz nuclear facilities. -IRNA - 12/22/06

Russia Wants UN to Delay Iran Sanctions Vote
Russia is seeking a delay of a U.N. Security Council vote scheduled for Friday on a resolution penalizing Iran for its suspect nuclear program. -VOA - 12/22/06

Ahmadinejad derides Bush for baseless accusations against Iran
Referring to Bush threats on imposing sanctions and isolating the Islamic Republic of Iran on nuclear program, he said, "You have been isolated in the world and if you do not believe it you and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair could arrange a trip to other countries to see how the world nations would welcome you." -IRNA - 12/22/06

Iran to host nine women's bands
Nine women's bands will be participating at the upcoming International Fajr Music Festival. Music ensembles Orkideh, Yavaran, Jivar, Avaz, Yaran, Neyriz, Parishad, Ava-ye Mehrabani, and Parirokh will perform at the event. -MNA - 12/22/06

Iran forging ahead in Iraq without U.S
Some Western diplomats in Iraq say the Iranians are able to leave their embassy compound more easily without fear of kidnapping or street violence, and they call on their Iranian colleagues for assessments of developments in Iraq. But a number of Iraqis suggest that Tehran exaggerates its influence in Iraq, hoping the perception of its importance will give it more leverage in its dispute with the United States and European allies over its nuclear program. -Borzou Daragahi, Times - 12/22/06

Iran: Youth Leader Discusses Recent Local Elections
The recent municipal elections in Tehran were a rejection of hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, says student activist Mohammad Hashemi. Hashemi -- a leader of Daftare Tahkim Vahdat, Iran's largest reformist student organization -- spoke recently by phone from Tehran with RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari. - 12/22/06

Target Iran: Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter and Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh on White House Plans for Regime Change
The Pentagon has announced plans to move additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region to be within striking range of Iran. We air an in-depth discussion between two of the leading critical voices on the Bush administration’s policy in Iran: former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, author of "Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change", and Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist for The New Yorker magazine. -Democracy Now - 12/22/06

Iran: Election Results Show Anti-Ahmadinejad Vote
Safdar Husseini, the reformist coalition's provincial campaign coordinator, said in Tehran on December 18 that of the 1,524 people who have been declared winners in municipal elections around Iran, 605 can be considered reformers, 438 as conservatives, 429 as independents, and only 52 on the list of Ahmadinejad's allies -RFE - 12/21/06

Implementing the Iraq Study Group’s Recommendations on Iran
Of the Iraq Study Group’s 79 recommendations, seven deal directly with Iran and the question of US-Iranian relations. This memorandum examines Iranian activities and interests in Iraq and presents some specific thoughts on next steps the Bush administration could take in implementing the ISG report recommendations. -NIAC - 12/21/06

After Baker-Hamilton: What to Do in Iraq
After Baker-Hamilton: What to Do in Iraq,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the situation in Iraq and the wider region in the wake of the Iraq Study Group. Co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, the Study Group described with necessary candour the magnitude of the Iraqi calamity. - 12/21/06

Howard Zinn on The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism
Howard Zinn is one of this country's most celebrated historians. After serving as a bombardier in World War II, Howard Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past 40 years. -Democracy Now - 12/21/06

Bush: No Direct Talks with Iran
U.S. President George Bush says there will be no direct talks with Iran until it stops enriching uranium. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, a bipartisan panel studying U.S. policy in Iraq has urged the president to include Tehran in discussions about finding a new way forward in Iraq. - 12/21/06

Nuclear Games
Nicholas Burns had the audacity to undermine the American public's intelligence and mock the world by announcing that "after 30 years we have realized that the NPT is ineffective, therefore we are going to reward India for non-proliferation. In response to a reporter who quizzed him about Iran, he said we plan to punish Iran for violating the NPT!" -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 12/21/06

U.S. and Britain to add ships to Persian Gulf in signal to Iran
The United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran that will come as the United Nations continues to debate possible sanctions against the country, Pentagon and military officials said Wednesday. -IHT - 12/21/06

Turkmenistan: President's Death Brings Muted World Reaction
The 66-year-old Niyazov died of cardiac arrest in the early hours today. "Turkmenbashi" -- or the great leader of the Turkmen, as he was known -- led one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. -RFE - 12/21/06

2007 oil price forecast back up to dlrs 57 after OPEC agreement
The Center for Global Energy Studies (CGES) has reversed next year's average oil price forecast back up to over 57 dollars per barrel after OPEC's agreement last week to make further quota cuts from February. -IRNA - 12/21/06

FM: Adopting anti-Iran resolution to further complicate status
Iranian Foreign Minister said here Wednesday adopting a UNSC revolution against Iran would merely further complicate status of Iran's nuclear program, regarded as antagonistic, and within national security threats. -IRNA - 12/21/06

UN Security Council Sets Vote On Iran Sanctions
The U.N. Security Council is set to adopt a resolution penalizing Iran for its suspect nuclear program. But as VOA's correspondent at the U.N. Peter Heinlein reports, the penalties have been weakened to meet Russia's objections. - 12/21/06

Iranian President's Allies Defeated In Local Elections
Final results of the elections for the crucial Tehran city council show that the allies of Iran's hard-line president Mahmud Ahmadinejad have suffered a defeat at the hands of moderate conservatives and reformists, Radio Farda reported. - 12/21/06

Haleh Anvari's Chador Dadar exhibition in Tehran
Last Friday, Haleh Anvari’s new exhibition of photographs Chador Dadar opened in the Etemad Gallery in Tehran. It was a very crowded and busy gathering on the first snowy night of the winter in North Tehran. -Paul Sanford - 12/21/06

Release of persecuted Iranian trade unionist welcomed
The ITUC and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) today welcomed the release of detained Iranian trade unionist Mansour Osanloo, while deploring the fact that he had to post additional bail to ensure his release. - 12/20/06

'Mass purges' at Iran universities
Iranian students say there is a second cultural revolution under way in the universities with scores of professors forcibly retired and politically active students being threatened with expulsion. -BBC - 12/20/06

Oil Minister: European states will suffer most from economic sanction on Iran
Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said on Wednesday that the European states will suffer the most if possible economic sanction being orchestrated by Washington on Iran creates obstacle in the way of Iranian crude oil output. -IRNA - 12/20/06

Some Arab companies freeze business ties with Iran over Persian Gulf
As a result to recent rumors which have distorted the Persian Gulf as the fake Arabian Gulf, some Arab companies have broken up their business relations with Iranian companies. -ISNA - 12/20/06

Monotheistic religions exhibition kicks off in Tehran
This year's competition focuses on the pictorial representation of religious leaders' biographies, the prophets' teachings. Artists from Turkey, India, Czech Republic, Poland, Mexico, the U.S., France, Russia, Ukraine, Switzerland, the UAE, and Germany are competing at the event. -MNA - 12/20/06

White House Refuses Comment on Iran "show of force" Report
The Bush administration says it will not comment on reports it is considering a naval build-up off the coast of Iran. The reports began to surface as Iranian leaders vowed to defy any international sanctions relating to Tehran's nuclear ambitions. -VOA - 12/20/06

“Leave Us Alone,” Iranian Reformers Say
If the Bush Administration attacks Iran, it would be violating the U.N. Charter. And it would also be violating the Algiers Accord that the United States signed with Iran in 1981 to end the hostage crisis. Point I, paragraph 1, of that accord states, “The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran’s internal affairs.” -Muhammad Sahimi, Progressive - 12/20/06

UN General Assembly Cites Iran For Human Rights Abuses
The United Nations General Assembly has voted to express "serious concern" about a long list of human rights abuses in Iran and to call on Iranian authorities to ensure full respect for such rights. - 12/20/06

Russia Says West Trying To Punish Iran In UN Resolution
Lavrov said Western powers were trying to "turn the situation in their favor" by inserting into the resolution statements that would "de facto lift all limits on restrictions" and could "sever trade and economic ties with Iran in completely legitimate areas." -RFE - 12/20/06

Belgian TV: 300 repentant MKO members return home
Belgian television RTBF-1 in a report dispatched from Tehran said 300 repentant members of the terrorist MKO grouplet have returned to the Islamic Republic. -IRNA - 12/20/06

Asian Cup draw: Iran in Group C with Uzbekistan, China and Malaysia
The draw for finals of the Asian Cup 2007 to be held from July 7-29 in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. -MNA - 12/20/06

Bush to Expand Military
President Bush says he wants to increase the size of the United States military in order to wage a sustained war on terrorism. -VOA - 12/20/06

Iran's Saipa Diesel to introduce Chinese Foton truck next year
In a bid to compete with Isuzu trucks built at Bahman Group, Saipa Diesel Co. is going to kick off the production of Chinese Foton in the first half of next Iranian year -MNA - 12/20/06

Life is given by God and must be taken by him
Having inherited the foundation of Human Rights from a just Emperor, Cyrus the Great 2500 years ago, we must be teaching the world how to develop human souls to eradicate crime. Shamefully enough, we are witnessing the fact that even all the basic human rights are being violated in the very land of the founder of them! -Dr. Marjan Abdi, IFSI Institute - 12/20/06

Hajieh Esmailvand, previously sentenced to stoning, acquitted of adultery in a re-trial and released
Hajieh Esmailvand was acquitted on 9 December 2006 of the charge of adultery for which she had been sentenced to execution by stoning. She had been released on bail in September 2006 pending a retrial. Ruhollah G remains at risk of execution after being sentenced to qesas (retribution in kind) for the murder of Hajieh Esmailvand's husband. -Amnesty International - 12/20/06

Blair Calls For Moderate Alliance Against Iran
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on the final day of a Middle East tour, urged world leaders today to step forward in support of moderates against "forces of extremism" in Iran and elsewhere in the region. -RFE - 12/20/06

Lavrov calls for participation of Iran, Syria in solving Middle East crisis
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said that an international conference, to be attended by Iran and Syria, should be held to solve the Middle East crisis. -IRNA - 12/20/06

Turkmen-Iran Free Trade Zone Withers
Hopes that business and cultural links would be boosted have been dashed by lack of interest from both Turkmen and Iranian governments. -Muhammad Tahir - 12/19/06

Underwater Archeology Center to be Established in the Persian Gulf
A research center for underwater archeology will be established in the Persian Gulf as the first attempt to recover the Partho-Sassanid shipwreck discovered last September at a depth of 70 meters near Siraf Port. -CHN - 12/19/06

Iran: Early Election Results Seen As Bad For President
As results slowly emerge from the Iranian city council and Assembly of Experts elections there seems to be one clear winner: the conservative but pragmatic Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who was badly defeated by Ahmadinejad during last year's presidential vote. -RFE - 12/19/06

Iran Confirms Rafsanjani's Election Victory
Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate conservative, garnered more than 1.5 million votes, which is the most of any candidate. - 12/19/06

Chief banker says Iran to use all currencies in international exchanges
"We are going to use many currencies, and not just the euro, in our system of payments in line with national interests," said Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Ebrahim Sheibani in the seminar of `A Survey of Islamic Banking Challenges'. -IRNA - 12/19/06

Iran bloggers test regime's tolerance
By day, Alireza Samiei covers banking and insurance for an industry newspaper. By night, he writes a daring online blog about Iran's social and political ills. -Boston Globe - 12/19/06

US Wants Iran Sanctions Resolution within Days
The Bush administration said Monday it wants the U.N. Security Council to vote within a matter of days on a resolution putting sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment. -VOA - 12/19/06

Russia Voices Support For Draft Iran Resolution
Russia, which has close ties to Iran, has objected to earlier drafts aimed at pressuring Iran to halt its uranium-enrichment work. But Interfax today quotes Lavrov as saying the current draft "largely reflects our approach." - 12/19/06

Dollar dropped in Iran asset move
Iran is to shift its foreign currency reserves from dollars to euros and use the euro for oil deals in response to US-led pressure on its economy. -BBC - 12/19/06

Bush White House Censors Op-Ed on Iran: Elliot Abrams Must Go
Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation carries the story of how Elliot Abrams and others at the National Security Council in Bush's White House have intervened to stop the publication of an op-ed in the New York Times by Flynt Leverett. Leverett himself served in the National Security Council until not so long ago. -Juan Cole, Indymedia - 12/19/06

Rembrandt remembered in Tehran
A painting exhibition opened at the National Library and Documents Organization of Iran on Tuesday to celebrate the 400th birthday anniversary of Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. -MNA - 12/19/06

Democrats challenge Bush doctrine on Mideast tour
Last week, Bill Nelson (D) of Florida became the first US senator to visit Syria's President Bashar Assad in nearly two years. Tuesday, Democratic Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut are due in Syria for high-level talks. -CSM - 12/19/06

Bush Signs Law Implementing US-India Nuclear Deal
The legislation he signed, in essence, exempts India from U.S. law that bars civilian nuclear trade with countries that refuse to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Washington banned such exports to help stop the spread of nuclear weapons. -VOA - 12/19/06

We didn't make it this time but...
We sure made a difference for the next election and others that follow. I am writing this without knowing the final outcome of last Friday's election for Tehran city council in which I ran as an independent westernized educated candidate. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/19/06

5000-Y-Old Shrouded Skeleton of a Child Found near Burnt City
Archeologists at the prehistoric Taleb Khan Tepe, southeast Iran, discovered the remaining skeleton of a child from the third millennium BC wrapped in a white garment. -CHN - 12/19/06

Lessons from the Keeper: Interview with Kayvan Mashayekh & Crew on DVD Release of Khayyam movie
It’s been a long and thrilling journey of six years for its director Kayvan Mashayekh and his young crew of actors, producers, technicians and all who contributed to the making of his first independent epic film The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam. -Darius Kadivar - 12/18/06

Poetry: Echoes in Exile by Sheema Kalbasi
An important and honest voice from the Middle East. Sheema Kalbasi is a human right activist, an award winning poet, and literary translator. She is the director of Dialogue of Nations through Poetry in Translation, director of Poetry of Iranian Women Project, the poetry editor of Muse Apprentice Guild and the co-director of the Other Voices International project. - 12/18/06

Iran's Biggest Prehistoric Site Discovered in Bam
A prehistoric site, almost twice bigger than the Burnt City, has been discovered near the city of Bam, most probably belonging to 5000-6000 years ago. The blade of a bronze axe and statuette of a cow made of burnt brick are among the discoveries in the area. -CHN - 12/18/06

Iranian new wave filmmaker Farrokh Ghaffari dies in Paris
Farrokh Ghaffari, one of the original new wave filmmakers of Iran, died in Paris on Sunday. He was 85 years old. - 12/18/06

Iran asks UN to deal with Israel's nuclear arsenal
Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki has rebuked the United Nations Security Council for doing nothing about Israel's nuclear arsenal. -MNA - 12/18/06

Iraq: Political Parties Consider Uniting Against Al-Sadr
The decision by radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to pull his political bloc out of the Iraqi government to protest Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's decision to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush on November 30 has brought the Iraqi political process to a virtual standstill. -RFE - 12/18/06

Iran has 1,400 uranium mines: AEOI official
AEOI Deputy Head for Nuclear Fuel Hossein Faqihian made the the disclosure in an address to a conference introducing the nation's nuclear technologies and achievements in the northeastern city of Mashhad. -IRNA - 12/18/06

Persian version of Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" available in Iran
The Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" has hit Iran's bookstores. Translated by Nilufar Shidfar and Ali Azarang, the book came out by the Daricheh Publications. -MNA - 12/18/06

So Much for Inalienable Rights
Two weeks ago, during his Senate confirmation hearings, nominee Robert Gates was asked if he believed the Iranians were trying to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. Gates said he did. He was then asked if he believed "the Iranians would consider using that nuclear weapons capability against the nation of Israel." Gates said he didn’t. - 12/18/06

What Iran vote says about Ahmadinejad's support
The president's supporters hailed Friday's high turnout as a sign of satisfaction; reformers pointed to discontent. -CSM - 12/18/06

Iranian students hide in fear for lives after venting fury at Ahmadinejad
Iranian student activists who staged an angry protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week have gone into hiding in fear for their lives after his supporters threatened them with revenge. -Guardian - 12/18/06

Iranian cartoonist Daryush Ramezani wins Euro Humor award
Iranian artists win the main section awards of the international (2006-2007) Euro Humor festival with the subject of "School, the Teacher of Life". -ISNA - 12/18/06

Iranian photographer Javid Tafazzoli wins two medals Venice International Photo Contest
The official in charge of Iran's Youth Cinema Association in Mashhad, Nassrin Shah-Mohammadi, said here Monday that a young photographer from the provincial capital of Mashhad, Javid Tafazzoli, managed to grab gold and bronze medals at Venice International Photo Contest 2006. -IRNA - 12/18/06

The World Isn't Florida and the US Isn't Its Supreme Leader: On the Municipal Elections in Iran
Had this election occurred in an allied country of the United States, it would have been celebrated as the highest achievement of American foreign policy. But the Bush administration and the mainstream media disregard elections held under an alleged "totalitarian" state as a nonevent. -Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi - 12/18/06

First women-only radio cab service starts operation in Tehran
The service came about at the repeated requests of female clients for a safe and comfortable taxi ride, deputy of transportation bureau at Tehran Municipality Seyyed Jafar Tashakori-Hashemi said. -MNA - 12/17/06

FIFA lifts ban on Iran
FIFA President Sepp Blatter Sunday said the world football's governing body has decided to lift its international ban on Iran. -IRNA - 12/17/06

Iran: Elections Test President's Popularity
Iranians have cast ballots for local councils and a powerful clerical body in polls that look set to give the first indication of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's popularity since his election victory in June 2005. -RFE - 12/17/06

Iranian Oil Minister lauds signing $128b energy deals over last year
Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said on Sunday Iran has signed total of energy deals valued at $128 billion over the past year. MNA - 12/17/06

Train derailment in central Iran leaves eight injured
The number of people injured as a result of derailment of a passenger train near the central city of Kashan Sunday morning has raised to eight, said a local official. -IRNA - 12/17/06

Asian Games Close With China Winning Most Medals
China won the most medals, 316, with 165 gold. South Korea was second with 58 gold medals in its total of 193. Japan had more total medals than South Korea, but had 50 golds. -VOA - 12/17/06

US accused of using aid to sway votes in UN security council
The US uses its aid budget to bribe those countries which have a vote in the United Nations security council, giving them 59 per cent more cash in years when they have a seat, according to research by economists. -Guardian - 12/17/06

Iran May Begin Sharing Nuclear Technology
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his nation is ready to begin sharing its nuclear technology with nearby states. -VOA - 12/17/06

The March to War: Political Crises in Lebanon and Palestine
Lebanon and Palestine are both unique lands on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean and within the Levant; they are two ancient lands that have seen great armies and navies come and go in the course of history. -Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research - 12/17/06

Iran Khodro planning to export 100,000 passenger cars next year
Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro Co. is planning to export 100,000 passenger cars next year (Iranian calendar year starts March 21, 2007), the company said on Sunday. -MNA - 12/17/06

Foreign Minister terms any sanction on Iran as 'hostile'
Referring to any sanctions against Iran as "ineffective", Mottaki expressed the hope that the parties to the dispute on Iranian nuclear program would return to negotiation. -IRNA - 12/17/06

Iran's Women's Rights Movement and the One Million Signatures Campaign
In the midst of all the horrible and worrisome news of violence, war and massacres coming from the Middle East these days, it is news about women whose humane creativity, civic movements, and life-promoting and peace-seeking activities that bring hope for the future of this bloody and turbulent region. -Nayereh Tohidi - 12/16/06

Iran To Host Caspian Summit Next Year
Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki today said the next summit of the five Caspian Sea states would take place in Tehran in the first quarter of 2007. -RFE - 12/16/06

Iranians artists sweep Noma Concours
Iranian artists won 17 of the 33 prizes awarded at the 15th Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations, which was held recently in Tokyo, Japan, the Shabaviz Publishing Company announced on Saturday. -MNA - 12/16/06

Iran to start gas transfers to Armenia in Jan 2007
Iran is to begin piping gas to Armenia in January 2007, the executor of the gas pipeline project of Iran's Gas Engineering and Development Company, Mohammad-Reza Lorzadeh, said on Saturday. -IRNA - 12/16/06

Iran's election results to be announced on Sunday except for Tehran
Results of the 4th Assembly of Experts and 3rd local council elections as well as second by-elections of the 7th Majlis in all constituencies except for Tehran will be announced Sunday evening, the interior ministry said on Saturday. -IRNA - 12/16/06

Britain: Deal Emerging on Iran Sanctions
British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said Friday a resolution could be finalized by Tuesday. But Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, while delegates have made modest progress, "things are not ready yet." -VOA - 12/16/06

Iran calls for US policy change in Iraq, hints at assistance
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani said on Friday Washington can count on Tehran's assistance if the White House changes its policy in Iraq. -IRNA - 12/16/06

Iran bags basketball bronze at Asian Games
Iran took the bronze medal at men's basketball tournament of the 15th Asian Games here Friday. The Iranian side defeated Jordan 84-78 in the playoff to forget its surprising loss to the Jordanian team in their opening match. -MNA - 12/16/06

"Fireworks Wednesday" lights up Kerala
The Iranian family drama "Fireworks Wednesday" (2006) won the Best Film Award of the 11th International Film Festival of Kerala at the closing ceremony of the Indian gala on Friday evening. -MNA - 12/16/06

Experts Say Washington Has Few Good Options for Dealing with Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
A panel of American experts, none of whom is currently serving in government, said Friday that Washington has few good options for combating Iran's nuclear ambitions. VOA's Barry Wood reports. - 12/16/06

Two SCU Law School Alumni Honored for Pro Bono Work
Julie Saffren and Fariba Soroosh were honored in the December 2006 issue of California Lawyer magazine as two of California's outstanding pro bono lawyers. -Santa Clara University - School of Law - 12/16/06

Asian Games: Yazdani, Massoumi give Iran wrestling gold, silver
Iran's Reza Yazdani and Fardin Massoumi won the Asian Games 84 and 120kg freestyle wrestling gold and silver medals here Thursday. -MNA - 12/16/06

Tehran's Holocaust Seminar: Questioning the Sanctity of the Sacred Cow!
The even bigger question that is not being addressed is, Why all the fuss? What is it that worries us or the Israelis about that conference or its outcome? What the hell are we afraid of? Mr. Ahmadinejad referred to the Holocaust issue as some kind of a Sacred Cow that has gained an even loftier status than God and His Prophets. Surely we were not so insecure as to think that anyone could have butchered the Sacred Cow at the Tehran seminar! -Kam Zarrabi - 12/15/06

Polling starts in Iran for Experts Assembly, councils election
The 4th Assembly of Experts and 3rd local councils elections started across the country at 09:00 hours local time (0530 GMT) simultaneously Friday. Head of the elections headquarters, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, said over 46 million and 43 million people are eligible to vote at the Assembly of Experts as well as City and Village Councils elections, respectively. -IRNA - 12/15/06

Analysts: Iran Elections to Gauge President's Public Standing
Iranians are to vote Friday in elections for local governments, as well as the body that will choose the country's Supreme Leader. As VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports, the elections are expected to open up simmering rivalries on Iran's political landscape. - 12/15/06

Iranian painter, sculptor Iraj Karim-Khan Zand dies at 54
Painter and sculptor Iraj Karim-Khan Zand died of cancer at Tehran's Pars Hospital on Thursday. Born in 1952, Zand was a student of Mohsen Vaziri-Moqaddam, one of the pioneers of modern art in Iran. -MNA - 12/15/06

With help from a friend, Mel cut to the chase
For Farhad Safinia, Mel Gibson's screenwriter and co-producer on "Apocalypto," it all began with a love for chase scenes. That in turn led to long, drawn-out film discussions with Gibson that resulted in Safinia, a London-raised mathematician-turned-filmmaker, earning his first writing and producing credit. -Reuters - 12/15/06

Israel worried by closer Hamas-Iran ties
Members of the Israeli defense establishment are concerned by the close ties that seem to be developing between Iran and Hamas. In response to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's recent visit to Tehran, experts here have said Iran is seeking to form a strategic alliance with Hamas. -Haaretz - 12/15/06

Computerized vote count decision still effective - Tehran's Elections HQ Chief
Head of Tehran Constituency Elections Headquarters said here on Friday as long as Interior Ministry has issued no other order, decision on computerized vote count would be effective. -IRNA - 12/15/06

Iraq: Kurds Warn Against Delaying Kirkuk Referendum
As 2007 approaches, one of the more contentious issues in Iraq looks likely to come to the fore: the status of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. -RFE - 12/15/06

OPEC Delays Production Cuts Till February
OPEC oil ministers meeting in Nigeria have agreed to cut the organization's overall production by half a million barrels a day in February, but turned down calls for more immediate cuts. Gilbert da Costa reports for VOA from Abuja. - 12/15/06

Iran: Elections Seen As Test Of Ahmadinejad's Popularity
Iranians will go to the polls on December 15 to cast ballots to select the powerful Assembly of Experts -- which oversees the work of Iran's supreme leader -- and to fill city councils across the country. -RFE - 12/15/06

Could Iran help the US stabilize Iraq?
The word "compromise" is rarely invoked when the leaders of archenemies Iran or the United States speak about each other. But as the crisis in Iraq deepens, President Bush is being asked by a growing chorus, from the Iraq Study Group to Mideast experts, to appeal directly to Iran for help. -CSM - 12/15/06

French archaeologist says Ur royal tomb artifacts came from Burnt City
French archaeologist Michèle Casanova said that the artifacts unearthed from the royal tombs in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur came from Iran's 5200-year-old Burnt City, the Persian service of CHN reported on Friday. -MNA - 12/15/06

A place of joy for children in South Tehran
There are many organizations and charities that work for children around Tehran. Some are there to work for the children, and for some of them the children are there to provide work. Even though the former are more common, and most of these organizations are there to serve the children and do what they can to improve their life and wellbeing in general. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/14/06

Discovered Stone Slab Proved to be Gate of Cambyses' Tomb
A huge stone slab discovered accidentally last year was proved to have once been the entrance gate to the mausoleum of Cambyses II, son and successor of Cyrus the Great. -CHN - 12/14/06

How the Mullahs Manipulate Iranian Oil
This piece is an amended extract from the new book Iran Oil: The New Middle Eastern Challenge to America by Roger Howard (published on 23 November 2006 by I.B. Tauris). - 12/14/06

European Court Unfreezes Iranian Opposition Group's Assets
A terrorist expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, Bob Ayers, doubts the court's decision will have much impact on the People's Mujahedin. Ayers describes the group's effect on the Iranian government as a flea on an elephant - a mild irritant, but not much more. -VOA - 12/14/06

Mohammadi, Bazri and Heidari hand Iran Asiad wrestling golds
Iran's freestyle wrestlers Morad Mohammadi, Ali-Asghar Bazri and Alireza Heidari took the coveted gold medals at the 15th Asian Games in Doha on Wednesday. -IRNA - 12/14/06

Iranian journalist and human rights defender Sherko Jihani held incommunicado
Iranian Kurdish journalist and human rights defender, Sherko Jihani, was detained on 27 November 2006 in the town of Mahabad in Kurdistan province, northwestern Iran. -Amnesty International - 12/14/06

Bush has created a comprehensive catastrophe across the Middle East
In every vital area, from Afghanistan to Egypt, his policies have made the situation worse than it was before -Guardian - 12/14/06

News Analysis: Iran's so-called Holocaust conference
Iran's so-called Holocaust conference earlier this week was billed as a chance to force the West to reconsider the historical record and, thereby, the legitimacy of Israel. The question, then, is why the Iranians would invite speakers with so little credibility in the West, including a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and disgraced European scholars. -IHT - 12/14/06

The importance of US engagement with Iran and Syria
Why did the 10 very experienced members of the Iraq Study Group lay such great stress on the need to engage politically with Iran and Syria? First, because after studying the situation in Iraq for nine long months they understood clearly that it is both "grave" and "deteriorating." -CSM - 12/14/06

Fuel supply to Iran Bushehr NPP to begin in March 2007-official
Nuclear fuel supplies to Bushehr nuclear power plant will begin in March 2007, according to an earlier adopted plan and preliminary steps for the supplies will be taken in January 2007. -IRNA - 12/14/06

Heads of UNESCO National Commissions to Finalize Norouz File
Heads of UNESCO’s national commissions in ten countries sharing the Norouz tradition will get together in Tehran in April 2007 for a final review of Norouz file to be sent to UNESCO for inscription in World Intangible Heritage list. -CHN - 12/14/06

IRANIAN IDENTITY: Myths and Realities
At a recent Conference on Iranian Identity Abroad sponsored by the Foundation for Iranians in Diaspora held in Tehran on December 5-7, 2006, the major focus was on how Iranian Identity is preserved, transformed and transmitted among the three million rapidly growing expatriates abroad, and how these Iranians remain interconnected with their motherland where many still have strong extended family ties as well. -D.N. Rahni, New York - 12/14/06

Iran dismisses European Court's ruling on MKO assets
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad- Ali Hosseini on Wednesday dismissed as "legally unjustified and unacceptable" a ruling by the European Court of First Instance which annulled an EU decision to freeze the assets of the terrorist Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO). -IRNA - 12/13/06

Daily Telegraph political editor investigated over misleading articles
The Press Complaints Commission have launched an investigation following the submission of a report today detailing a catalogue of innaccurate and misleading stories about Iran by Daily Telegraph political editor, Con Coughlin. -CASMII - 12/13/06

Iran: Official Sanction Of Holocaust Conference Distresses Many
Iranian officials' assault on one of the most thoroughly documented campaigns of mass murder in history appears aimed at undermining the legitimacy of Israel and focusing attention on the Palestinian exodus. -RFE - 12/13/06

Iran-China trade to hit over $13b
Iran-China trade volume is well over $10.5 billion. The figure is expected to hit $13 billion by the end of Iran's Fourth Five-Year Socioeconomic Development Plan (2004-2009) however, noted Chairman of Iran-China Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines. -MNA - 12/13/06

Majidzadeh tells archaeologists to use Proto-Iranian instead of Proto-Elamite
The director of the archaeological team working at the Jiroft ancient site in the Halil-Rud River cultural area told archaeologists on Wednesday to use the term Proto-Iranian instead of Proto-Elamite. -MNA - 12/13/06

Iran's Mohammadi wins Asiad wrestling gold, Rowhani lifts kumite title
Iran's 60kg freestyle wrestler Morad Mohammadi snatched the glittering gold at the 15th Asian Games in Doha on Wednesday. Also, Hossein Rowhani of Iran grabbed the kumite under-60kg gold medal in the karate tournament. -MNA - 12/13/06

Asian Games: Iran takes team pursuit silver
Iran finished runner-up to South Korea at the 4km team cycling pursuit event of the 15th Asian Games in Doha on Tuesday. -MNA - 12/13/06

Olmert Comments Set Off Firestorm of Criticism in Israel
Comments by Israel's prime minister that apparently imply the Jewish state has nuclear weapons have set off a firestorm of criticism in Israel. -VOA - 12/13/06

Iranian-Kurd border refugees reject new proposals
Iranian Kurds stuck on the Iraq-Jordan border for nearly two years say they will not leave their make-shift camp until they are resettled to a third country. Some 200 Iranian Kurdish refugees living in deteriorating conditions categorically rejected recent proposals by US-based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) to resolve their problem. -IRIN - 12/13/06

Leverett: Only a Grand Bargain With Iran Will Work
“At this point, Iran will not negotiate on issue-specific items incrementally unless it is part of a broader package or a grand bargain. Unless both parties’ concerns are addressed, [limited negotiations] will not work and [such an overture] is not serious,” former President Bush advisor Flynt Leverett emphasized at the Cato Institute -NIAC - 12/13/06

Iraq: Former U.S. Diplomat Urges Cautious Diplomacy
Many Americans welcomed a December 6 report by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group as a potential blueprint for peace and stability in Iraq. Others -- mostly on the political right -- dismissed the report with words like "surrender" and "defeat." -REF - 12/13/06

Pivotal Election Can Change the Islamic Republic’s Course
December 15 could prove a pivotal date for the neo-conservative movement in Iran. On that day, Iranians will go to the polls to cast ballots in two elections; in municipal elections -Eurasianet - 12/13/06

Le Web 3: West's media 'misrepresent Iran blog censorship'
Speaking to the Le Web 3 conference in Paris, Hossein Derakhshan, who claims to have been apprehended, detained and interrogated over posts made to his blog, said: "Less than 100 blogs are filtered out of 100,000 blogs in Persian. - 12/13/06

Bush Puts Off Announcement Of New Iraq Strategy
President Bush has put off the announcement of changes in his Iraq policy until sometime in early 2007. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House, the president is continuing to seek input from experts inside and outside the U.S. government. - 12/13/06

Blair: Iran is major threat
Tony Blair today made his strongest attack yet on the Iranian government, declaring that President Ahmadinejad's government was a "major strategic threat" to the Middle East. -Guardian - 12/13/06

Iran: Reformists optimistic about comeback ahead of polls
A reformist candidate for the December 15 municipal polls said here on Tuesday, "We believe the elections will be the starting point for the reformists to return to power." -MNA - 12/13/06

Iranian Jews Face Tricky Balancing Act
On a quiet street in the heart of Tehran, the devout arrive for prayers just after dawn, in Yussuf Abad Synagogue. There have been Jews living and worshipping in Iran for 2,500 years, -CBS - 12/13/06

RSF condemns "sham justice" and impunity since wave of murders of Iranian writers and journalists eight years ago
Eight years after the brutal murders of five Iranian writers and journalists between 25 November and 12 December 1998, Reporters Without Borders has condemned that fact that those implicated in their deaths now hold high government positions. - 12/13/06

New UN Resolution Softens Language on Iranian Students But Ambiguities Remain
The US, France, and UK are pressing ahead with a targeted sanctions resolution to pressure Iran to drop its nuclear program at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Revised draft resolution language retains controversial language contained in a prior draft that targets Iranian college students wishing to study certain scientific subjects, although the text has been somewhat diluted. -NIAC - 12/13/06

Book: The Pursuit of Pleasure: Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900
Author: Rudi Matthee; Winner of the 2006 Albert Hourani Book Award; Winner of the 2006 Saidi-Sirjani Award, International Society of Iranian Studies. - 12/13/06

Leading Iranian Musician Nominated for Grammy Award
Hossein Alizadeh, famous Iranian music composer and instrumentalist, is nominated for the Grammy Award 2007 for his album "Endless Vision." -CHN - 12/13/06

70-day Iranian cloned sheep "Royana" at good health
Iran and Middle East's first cloned sheep "Royana" is at good health conditions on 70th day of its birth, it was announced in Tehran on Monday. - 12/12/06

Author Shares Inspiring Childhood Story of Survival
A young boy forced to live on his own by his parents. That's the story author Abbas Kazerooni shares in his new book, "The Little Man." But rather than being a tale of cruelty and sadness, it is a story of hope and love. -VOA - 12/12/06

Asian Games: Iran's Mazaheri wins Asiad heavyweight boxing gold
Ali Mazaheri from Iran overcame Jasur Matchanov of Uzbekistan on points to celebrate the Asian Games 91kg heavyweight boxing title on Tuesday. -MNA - 12/12/06

Iranian Students Disrupt Ahmadinejad's Speech
Students at Tehran's Amir Kabir Polytechnic University today disrupted a speech by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, calling him a "dictator" and a "liar." - 12/12/06

Iran stuns Japan at Asian Games basketball quarters
Iran beat Japan's powerful basketball team 68-64 at the quarterfinals in the 15th Asian Games here Tuesday -MNA - 12/12/06

Iraq War Casualty Study Defended in Congress
Based on surveys in Iraq, the report, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, estimated that 655,000 more people have died since U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq then would have been the case under pre-war mortality rates. Of the total, 601,000 of the deaths were attributed to violence. -VOA - 12/12/06

Back to Lebanon: Lebanese nationalism on the rise
When Israeli jets were dropping American-made-and-paid-for bombs on Lebanon's cities, where was the Lebanese "army"? Hiding in its barracks, even as the Israelis reduced their bases to rubble. And where was Lebanon's prime minister, Fouad Siniora, and what was he doing about it? - 12/12/06

Carter: Israeli apartheid 'worse'
Former US President Jimmy Carter says some Israeli restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the West Bank are worse than apartheid-era South Africa. -BBC - 12/12/06

European court overturns EU decision to add Iranian resistance movement to terror list
EU governments said in a statement that the court's ruling did not call into question the EU's anti-terror list, which includes top terror groups and suspects like Osama bin Laden, Palestinian group Hamas, and al-Qaida. It added that the judgment also did not call into question a decision by EU governments that the Mujahadeen is a terrorist organization. -AP - 12/12/06

Bahrain names Shia deputy premier
The Sunni Muslim-ruled Gulf state of Bahrain has appointed its first Shia Muslim deputy prime minister. -BBC - 12/12/06

Israel Denies Policy Change After Olmert Nuclear Arms Hint
Israeli officials are denying any change in policy after comments by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which he appears to admit that Israel has nuclear weapons. - 12/12/06

Iran's petrodollars touch over $36.5b in eight months
Iran's petrodollars touched over $36.5 billion during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2006), said reports released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance. -MNA - 12/12/06

SYRIA: Ahwazis in fear after news of deportation and deaths
Ethnic Arab (Ahwazi) refugees from Iran now living in Damascus have expressed fear as news emerged that Syria has deported three more Ahwazi activists to Iran, where they face torture and execution. -IRIN - 12/12/06

Iran: Defiant Tehran Hoping Consensus Eludes 5+1 Group
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has reportedly welcomed a new UN draft resolution targeting Iran's nuclear program. Lavrov said the so-called 5+1 major powers' compromise is "based on Russia's proposals" and is intended "to push Iran to sit at the negotiating table." -RFE - 12/12/06

Iran, Russia to start up nuclear power plant on schedule
It is the "political will" of Iran and Russia to start up the Bushehr nuclear power plant on schedule, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Gholamreza Aqazadeh said in Tehran on Monday. -MNA - 12/12/06

Iran: Prosecute Torturers, Not Bloggers
The Iranian Judiciary should prosecute officials responsible for the arbitrary detention and alleged torture of several bloggers in 2004, instead of prosecuting the bloggers for expressing their opinions, Human Rights Watch said today. - 12/12/06

U.S.-based foundation to translate 100 Iranian literary works
A U.S.-based Iranian foundation, Translation Project, plans to translate 100 top Iranian literary works into world's mostly spoken languages. -MNA - 12/11/06

Satrapi Launches Official Website & Production Blog of Persepolis: Movie due in Theaters in 2007
It was announced officially during the last Cannes Film Festival. Sony Pictures was to produce Marjane Satrapi's bestseller comic book Persepolis into an animated feature film. Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg's producer on such films as E.T and the Indiana Jones films had purchased the rights for Sony Pictures and the film is co-produced with two French production companies Bibo Films and Pumpkin 3D. -Darius KADIVAR - 12/11/06

Documentary: Blood and Oil – The Middle East in World War I
Filmmaker Marty Callaghan thought it was time that a film provide more detail on the expansive and complex theater of operations that took place in the Middle East during WWI, which still influences the hatred and violence seen today. - 12/11/06

Iran Opens Controversial Holocaust Conference
A government-sponsored conference has opened in Tehran that questions whether the massacre of millions of Jews and non-Jews during World War II -- the Holocaust -- ever took place. -RFE - 12/11/06

Russian Nuclear Chief Holding Talks In Iran
The Russian government's atomic energy agency chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, is due to hold talks with Iranian officials today in Tehran. - 12/11/06

EU to grant scholarships to Iranian students and teachers
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, launched Monday a new scholarships scheme that includes 110 scholarships for students and teachers from Iran, Iraq and Yemen. -IRNA - 12/11/06

Iranian inventors win three gold medals in Seoul
Seven Iranian inventors who attended an international contest in Seoul won on Monday three gold, one silver and one bronze medals. -IRNA - 12/11/06

Seeking Iran Intelligence, U.S. Tries Google
When the State Department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians who could be sanctioned for their involvement in a clandestine nuclear weapons program, the agency refused, citing a large workload and a desire to protect its sources and tradecraft. -Washington Post - 12/11/06

On the Iraq Study Group Recommendations
The much-anticipated bipartisan Iraq Study Group report recommends a new political and diplomatic "offensive" aimed at reversing the trend of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, including engagement with Iran and Syria "without preconditions." -San Francisco Chronicle - 12/11/06

Washington's Most Beautiful People: Mojgan Shokri
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done? I moved to the United States from Iran when I was 20. I didn’t speak any English. My husband wanted to come. It was hard to leave behind my parents. -Washingtonian - 12/11/06

Persian Gulf Arab States Commission Study for Shared Nuclear Program
In a statement Sunday, the six Persian Gulf Arab states said the region has a right to possess nuclear technology that is in accordance with international standards. -VOA - 12/11/06

Iran: Ships trapped in Caspian port city of Bandar Anzali due to strong winds
Many ships were trapped in the northern port city of Bandar Anzali Monday morning due to a strong storm accompanied by heavy rainfall and strong winds. -IRNA - 12/11/06

Sassanid Bas-reliefs of Mt. Khajeh Fortress Falling Apart
Almost nothing has remained from bas-reliefs depicting three Sassanid horse-riders inscribed on the wall of a Parthian fortress built on Khajeh Mountain, southeast Iran. -CHN - 12/11/06

Bushehr's Historic Texture Pending Restorations
Lack of a clear plan and map of the historic texture of Bushehr together with funding shortages and more importantly lack of accountability have resulted in gradual destruction of the city's historic texture. -CHN - 12/11/06

A Letter to the Louvre
Following the recent name violation of the Persian Gulf in Louvre's guide maps, the Persian Gulf Online Organization sent a protest letter to Louvre Museum director Henri Loyrette. - 12/11/06

Iran's Karami wins taekwondo gold at Asian Games
Iran's 84 Kg taekwondo player Youssef Karami tamed Park Kyeong Hoon from South Korea 4-3 in a nail-biting final at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar on Saturday. - 12/10/06

4800-year-old artificial eye discovered in Burnt City
A team of archaeologists working at the Burnt City recently discovered an artificial eye at the 5200-year-old site in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran. -MNA - 12/10/06

Iran's Hadadi wins discus gold at Asian Games
Iranian athletic Ehsan Hadadi won the gold medal in discus at the Asian Games 2006 in Qatar on Sunday. - 12/10/06

Iran to export 1m bpd kerosene to Iraq
Iran will export one million barrels per day (bpd) of kerosene and other oil products to Iraq within a period of three months. -IRNA - 12/10/06

The Roman Empire is Falling - So It Turns to Iran and Syria
The Roman Empire is falling. That, in a phrase, is what the Baker report says. The legions cannot impose their rule on Mesopotamia. Just as Crassus lost his legions' banners in the deserts of Syria-Iraq, so has George W Bush. There is no Mark Antony to retrieve the honour of the empire. The policy "is not working". "Collapse" and "catastrophe" - words heard in the Roman senate many a time - were embedded in the text of the Baker report. Et tu, James? -Robert Fisk, Independent - 12/10/06

Supreme Leader: God willing Palestine will be liberated
The Supreme Leader made the remarks in a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his entourage in Tehran. -IRNA - 12/10/06

Afghanistan War Nears 'Tipping Point'
The conflict in Afghanistan has entered a dangerous phase, and the next three to six months could prove crucial in determining whether the United States and its NATO partners can suppress a revitalized enemy — or will be dragged into another drawn-out and costly fight with an Islamic insurgency, according to senior military and security officials and diplomats. -Los Angeles Times - 12/10/06

US Has the Most Prisoners in the World
Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts. -Reuters - 12/10/06

Human Rights Day Focuses On Poverty Eradication
The United Nations is calling on governments to urgently come to grips with poverty and end the discrimination that systematically deprives poor people of their fundamental human rights. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva on this year's theme for Human Rights Day Sunday. - 12/10/06

Foreign Minister: No change in Moscow, Beijing stance on Iran
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Sunday that there is no change in the stance of Russia and China on Iran. -IRNA - 12/10/06

Iran's saffron is of highest quality
Overall, Iran's saffron is of the highest quality and the comments made by some European companies questioning the quality of Iran's saffron is baseless, noted on Sunday, chairman of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI), Mehdi Ghazanfari. -MNA - 12/10/06

Iran's graphic designer Abedini heads for Amsterdam to receive Claus Award
Iranian graphic designer Reza Abedini left here for the Netherlands to receive this year's Principal Prince Claus Award at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam on Dec. 13. -MNA - 12/9/06

Emergency Restorations Completed on St. Thaddeus Church
Renovation experts ended their emergency restorations on the Church of Saint Thaddeus, locally known as Qara Kelisa (The Black Church), built 1700 years ago in the Iranian northwestern province of West Azarbaijan, in an attempt to inscribe this ancient monument in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 2008. -CHN - 12/9/06

Ghobadi cancels London trip due to fingerprinting requirement
Kurdish Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi has canceled his trip to the UK in protest against the new policy of the British Embassy in Tehran which requires Iranians seeking visas to be fingerprinted, MijFilm, the production company of Ghobadi's latest film "Half Moon", announced in a press release on Friday. -MNA - 12/9/06

Rice Ready for Iran Dialogue Within Nuclear Talks
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday she is ready for wide-ranging dialogue with her Iranian counterpart provided Iran halts uranium enrichment and returns to negotiations on its nuclear program. Rice was responding to calls this week by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group for the United States to engage Iran and Syria to help stabilize Iraq. -VOA - 12/9/06

Iran builds its first oilrig, sits among major 4
First Iranian made drilling rig has set the country among the four major oilrig manufacturers in the world. Dubbed 'RIGD RIG', it is built by the young Iranian engineers relying on domestic know-how, managing director of Fajr Industrial Complex in Shiraz, southern Iran, said on Saturday. -MNA - 12/9/06

Hassan Rowhani stresses political, economic stability for Iran
He assessed as "dangerous" the insecurity that characterizes sources of financing for long-term projects, saying "Iran needs secure, easy and cheap capital." He said that ways to realize the goals of the Fourth Five-Year Development Plan have been mapped out in the plan, but that these goals would be achieved faster with more available capital. -IRNA - 12/9/06

Asian Games Football: Iran defeats China on penalty
Iranian under-23 football team called (Omid) beat the Chinese football squad at the ongoing Asian Games in Qatar. - 12/9/06

Pakistan test-fires ballistic missile
Pakistan on Saturday successfully launched a short-range ballistic missile, the army said. The Hatf-III (Ghaznavi) missile has a range of 290 kilometers, a statement from the army's Inter-Services Public Relations said. -IRNA - 12/9/06

Iran may file lawsuit at The Hague over nuclear rights
If the Iranian people's legal nuclear rights continue to be ignored, Tehran may soon lodge a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague seeking satisfaction, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki told ICJ President Rosalyn Higgins in The Hague on Thursday. -MNA - 12/9/06

Congress Passes U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Bill
Congress passed the U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act shortly before adjourning for the remainder of 2006. President Bush said in a White House statement that he is looking forward to signing the bill into law. -Washington File - 12/9/06

Iran To Launch Women-Only Taxi Company For Tehran
Iran will launch a women-only taxi company in Tehran aimed at women who feel uncomfortable riding in close proximity with members of the opposite sex. -Reuters - 12/9/06

First group of Iraqi postal staff end training course in Iran
A group of Iraqi postal employees have completed their first training course in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr, said the city's post office head Hamid Soleymani on Friday. -IRNA - 12/9/06

Afghanistan: Daily Survival Robs Street Children Of Education
Children trying to earn a meager wage -- some as young as 5 years old -- are a common sight on the streets of Kabul. Many are orphans with no relatives to look after them, but a surprising number have been sent out on the streets by impoverished parents who can't support their families.-RFE - 12/9/06

Jimmy Carter: Speaking Frankly about Israel and Palestine
The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations — but not in the United States. For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. -Los Angeles Times - 12/9/06

Asian Games: Judges gift host Qatar taekwondo gold at the expense of Iran
Iran 's 78kg welterweight taekwondo player Mehdi Bibak here Friday night was shamelessly victimized by the judges who had already decided to announce the Qatari finalist the gold winner. -IRNA - 12/9/06

Pulitzer Prizes Recognize Previously Anonymous Photo Winner
Iranian photographer Jahangir Razmi to receive award for his iconic 1979 firing squad photo - 12/8/06

Louvre has distorted name of Persian Gulf due to Arab influence: NMI curator
The curator of the National Museum of Iran (NMI) said here on Friday that the distortion of the name of the Persian Gulf in the Louvre's catalogue is the result of Arab economic influence over the museum. -MNA - 12/8/06

IRAN: Human Rights Defender Abdolfattah Soltani at risk
Abdolfattah Soltani was sentenced to five years' imprisonment by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in July 2006. He was acquitted of the charge of espionage, but was convicted of "disclosing confidential documents," for which he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment; and "propaganda against the system", for which he was sentenced to one year's imprisonment. -Amnesty International - 12/8/06

Pepperdine alum Rudabeh Shahbazi
How many of us have the desire to make a difference in the world? How many of us want to change the world? How many of us want to enlighten the world? Well Pepperdine alumni Rudabeh Shahbazi is on that quest, building a “bridge between two cultures,” Americans and Persians. -The Graphic, Malibu - 12/8/06

Analysts: Help on Iraq to Have Diplomatic Cost
Central to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group report is its call to get Iraq's neighbors involved in helping stabilize the country. But, as VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports, getting their help is expected to have a high diplomatic cost. - 12/8/06

India, Iran, Pakistan oil ministers to meet next month in Iran
Oil ministers of India, Iran and Pakistan will be meeting next month in Tehran to deliberate on the issue of supply of natural gas through a pipeline that is expected to take shape "very soon," the Indian government told the Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian Parliament) in New Delhi on Thursday. -IRNA - 12/8/06

Iranian foreign minister says Tehran in position to help in Iraq
Iran is "in a position to help" in Iraq, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, though he blamed the United States for setting off an endless cycle of violence in the neighboring country. -AP - 12/8/06

Hard Sell
London—Nasrin Harris' advertising isn't exactly what you would call catchy. "Iran Nuclear Sites Tours" declares the poster above her booth at the recent World Travel Market, the largest tourism industry trade show in the world. -Toronto Star - 12/8/06

Iran, Holland to finalize mutual investment agreement
An agreement to promote and support joint investment between Iran and the Netherlands is at final stage of ratification, Iran Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said on Friday in the course of his visit to this European country. -MNA - 12/8/06

In U-turn, India's Petroleum Ministry sets ground for buying Iran gas at double the cost
Going back on its earlier stand that Tehran should stick to the terms of its gas supply contract, the Petroleum Ministry has now decided to re-open the contract and has agreed, in principle, to buy gas at a higher price. -IRNA - 12/8/06

Iranian Football Federation and the FIFA
The FIFA committee decided to suspend Iran's Football Federation (IFF) from participating in all international activities on November 22, 2006. The primary reason given was due to alleged interference in football matters and violation of Article 17 of the FIFA statutes. -Mohammad Ala - 12/8/06

Middle East: U.S. Iraq Report Draws Cautious Praise
Speaking on December 6 in the Netherlands, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki reacted to the commission's call for direct talks: "Maybe [the United States] needs to have a good end for the crisis in Iraq. If it is so, we are in the position to help. May, suddenly, you ask, how? I don't know how. They have to say how, but we are in the position to help, to finalize this crisis in Iraq. Yes." -RFE - 12/8/06

Can't Stay the Course, Can't End the War, But We'll Call it Bipartisan
Despite the breathless hype, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report did not include any dramatic new ideas for ending the war in Iraq. In fact, it did not include a call to end the war at all. Rather, the report's recommendations focus on transforming the U.S. occupation of Iraq into a long-term, sustainable, off-the-front-page occupation with a lower rate of U.S. casualties. Despite its title, it does not provide "A New Approach: A Way Forward." -FPIF - 12/8/06

Takeyh: Iran Diplomacy Should Resemble US's China Approach
Iran scholar and expert Ray Takeyh predicted a consensus on the need for US-Iran negotiations and recommended a diplomatic engagement approach to Iran that resembles the Nixon administration’s policy on China in the 1970s. -NIAC - 12/8/06

Shahnameh, a best seller epic book in US
The translation of the great mythological literature book of Iran "Shahnameh" by Hakim Aboulghasem Ferdowsi was elected as the fifth 2006 best seller book by Washington Post. - 12/7/06

International organizations urge Iranian president to revoke restrictive publication guidelines
ARTICLE 19, the International Publishers Association (IPA) and International PEN are deeply concerned by the Procedural Guidelines for Publication issued by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG), which are preventing local writers and publishers from issuing new books. - 12/7/06

The Donkey and the Date: On the Upcoming Municipal Council Elections in Iran
On December 15 Iranians will cast their ballots for municipal elections. Reformist candidates across the country, particularly in Tehran, have a credible opportunity to win, if their constituents emerge from their hibernation and actively participate in these elections. The government has hindered the domestic media's attempt to generate a celebratory environment for the electorates to exercise their constitutional right. -Behrooz Ghamari - 12/7/06

The Road To Tehran Does Not Go Through Baghdad
During the December 6th press conference with the members of the Iraq Study Group, a gum chewing, lip-balm applying James Baker was asked why Iranians would agree to come to a negotiation table to talk about Iraq if the nuclear question was not part of such discussions. “Why did they agree to come to the table and talk about Afghanistan without talking about the nuclear issue?”, Mr. Baker responded, “They did and they helped us, and it was important.” -Niki Akhavan - 12/7/06

U.S. Needs a Bold Deal with Iran to Halt Nuclear Proliferation Says Middle East Expert in a New Report from The Century Foundation
In a new report for The Century Foundation, Middle East expert Flynt Leverett argues that the United States needs a comprehensive and coherent approach to dealing with Iran in order to prevent Iranian development of nuclear weapons and to resolve other political and security issues. - 12/7/06

Report Points to Regional Approach for Iraq
The report calls for a diplomatic offensive and the creation of an "Iraq International Support Group" that would include Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria. -VOA - 12/7/06

Women are making gains, but still not realizing full potential in contributing to prosperity and strength of Arab States: Report
Women in the Arab world are not realizing their full potential and are still denied equality of opportunity, says the Arab Human Development Report 2005: Towards the rise of women in the Arab world, arguing that this represents not just a problem for women, but a barrier to progress and prosperity in Arab societies as a whole. -UNDP - 12/7/06

FIFA: Clear declaration to defend the autonomy of sport
Ratification of Iran's suspension, which has since been partially and provisionally lifted to allow Iran's U-23 national team to compete in the Asian Games in Doha. Iran has until 12 December to accept the specified conditions, and failure to do so will result in the suspension staying in force. - 12/7/06

Iran to meet China in Asian Games football quarters
The defending champion Iran is scheduled to play China in the quarterfinals of the football event of the 15th Asian Games in Doha on Saturday. -IRNA - 12/7/06

Students in Iran, the UK and the US linked up on BBC television to share their experiences and opinions
Participants came from the Islamic Azad University in Tehran, Longsands College in Cambridgeshire, UK and TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. -BBC - 12/7/06

India, China, Russia mulling trans-border oil pipeline: Expert
An oil pipeline running from resource-rich Russia to energy-hungry India and China is under "active consideration", an industry expert has said. -IRNA - 12/7/06

Hardliners turn on Ahmadinejad for watching women dancers
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who flaunts his ideological fervour, has been accused of undermining Iran's Islamic revolution after television footage appeared to show him watching a female song and dance show. -Guardian - 12/7/06

Iranian Great Scientists Get Animated Series
The Saba Artistic and Cultural Institute has contracted Hoor Institute to produce an animated series titled, GREAT SCIENTISTS, which will highlight the accomplishments of great Iranian and Islamic scientists, reports JAM-E JAM. -VFXWorld - 12/7/06

Tehran court judgment could turn over US embassy to plaintiff
The United States is in danger of losing its sprawling embassy in Tehran to an Iranian businessman who was abducted in a bungled sting operation by US customs agents 14 years ago. -CSM - 12/7/06

Iran, Azerbaijan discuss expansion of defense cooperation
The second round of negotiations between Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar and Azerbaijani Defense Industry Minister Yavar Jamalov was held in Tehran on Wednesday. -MNA - 12/7/06

Iranian students gather to demand free speech
More than 300 pro-reform Iranian students chanting 'We only want freedom!' protested in Tehran on Wednesday, demanding greater freedom of expression, Iran's student news agency ISNA reported. -Reuters - 12/7/06

Kish Island's Tourism on the Rise
Statistics show an increase of 23 percent in the number of tourist arrivals to the Persian Gulf Island of Kish in the first eight months of the Iranian (solar) year – that is between mid-March and December 2006, compared to the similar period last year. This number is anticipated to rise even more considering that Kish Island will be hosting a series of festivals and exhibitions in the upcoming months. -CHN - 12/7/06

Amnesty International concerned at increasing censorship in Iran
Amnesty International is greatly concerned at the rising tide of censorship in Iran and the government’s continuing harassment of human rights defenders. - 12/7/06

Iranian Hercules Rezazadeh too strong for Asian lifters
The world's four-time and twice Olympic +105 kg weightlifting gold medalist Hossein Rezazadeh won the snatch, clean and jerk, and total titles at the 15th Asian Games in Doha on Wednesday. - 12/7/06

Why I am standing for election to Tehran City Council
I have put my name down as a candidate for the Tehran City Council election on 15th December (24th Azar). Many people have asked me why. The reason is simple. People from my kind of background have mostly withdrawn from public participation, and yet this city of over nine million needs all the help that it can get. -Pari Syma Mayel-Afshar (Syma Sayyah), Tehran - 12/6/06

Youtube and New York Times sites blocked as Iran steps up censorship of foreign content
Reporters Without Borders expressed deep concern for the future of the Internet in Iran where censorship is now the rule rather than the exception, after the video sharing website YouTube and that of the US daily New York Times were added to the country’s blacklist. - 12/6/06

Ahmadinejad: Iranian nation to crush enemies
"The Iranian nation has walked the path of nuclear technology and is about to reach its end with the grace of God and through resistance. "There remains just one step to be taken before complete victory. We will hold a big, nationwide nuclear celebration by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2007)," said Ahmadinejad - 12/6/06

House-Senate Conferees Work on Bill for U.S. - India Nuclear Deal
House and Senate lawmakers are working to clear the way for final congressional approval of legislation required to implement the U.S. - India Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal. -VOA - 12/6/06

UAE's Etihad airlines makes 1st Tehran-Abu Dhabi direct flight
According to official statistics, over 400,000 Iranian nationals live in the UAE while more than 10,000 Iranian university and school students study in the sheikdom. Also, over 6,500 Iranian companies are registered in the UAE with partners in Iran. -IRNA - 12/6/06

Reformists Hope to Make Comeback in Iran’s Local Elections
As the campaign for Iran’s local council elections enters the final stage, reformist hopes for a comeback victory are growing. Local observers say the election’s outcome could hinge on the ability of conservative forces to present a united front. -Eurasianet - 12/6/06

Iran will not use oil as a weapon: Larijani
Iran will not use oil as a weapon to put pressure on the international community to solve its problems, and hopes no situation of the kind would emerge in the future, said Iran's National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Larijani on Tuesday before he left for Dubai. -IRNA - 12/6/06

Bush Gets Iraq Study Group Report
As the panel was completing its work, there were indications it would call for some sort of timeline to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, as well as American contacts with Iraq's neighbors, Iran and Syria. -VOA - 12/6/06

Iran finishes fourth at Asian kabaddi tournament
Iran stood fourth at the kabaddi tournament of the 15th Asian Games here Wednesday. -MNA - 12/6/06

How Israel Lost to the Iranians
In spite of the belligerent declarations of Iran's leaders - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his mantra this week that he expects the Zionist entity to collapse in the near future - Iranian representatives are holding negotiations with Israeli representatives. These are not only indirect negotiations, but real meetings. -Washington Post - 12/6/06

French Foreign Minister: Sanctions Against Iran Agreed
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Wednesday world powers have agreed on United Nations sanctions against Iran. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports for VOA that the foreign minister's remarks come after senior international diplomats met on the matter in the French capital. -VOA - 12/6/06

'Alternative Nobel' Winner Says U.S. Attack on Iran Likely before 2008
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked secret Pentagon documents during the Vietnam war, said Wednesday that he believed the U.S. would attack Iran before 2008 and urged Washington insiders to make new disclosures to prevent a new war. -AP - 12/6/06

Addicted to War
Can the American sophisticated and gigantic war machine neutralize the Iraqi resistance movement, Sunni or Shiia, impose U.S. will on the people of that country through the medium of the puppet regime ruling from inside the “green zone” and take possession of the country’s oil and other natural resources? -Ardeshir Ommani - 12/6/06

The Fantasy of a “Sunni Bulwark” to Stabilize Iraq
The Bush administration is attempting to form an Arab “Sunni bulwark” to counter growing Iranian (Shi’a) influence in the region. Whether more active intervention in Iraq by Sunni states is due to coordinated US efforts or a consequence of a vacuum created by US withdrawal, such a development by itself will not help stabilize the situation on the ground and will fully realize a regional proxy war. -Bahram Rajaee, NIAC - 12/6/06

Con Coughlin, the Daily Telegraph & the ongoing business of conning the British public opinion on Iran
On the 13th November, the British Prime Minister made a series of remarks aimed at wooing Iran and Syria to help the Middle East Peace Process and solve the Iraqi crisis. The following day, in response, the right wing and conservative British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, ran two different but related stories. -Majid Tafreshi, Campaign Iran - 12/6/06

Biography of Pari Syma Mayel-Afshar, candidate for Tehran City Council
Pari Syma Mayel-Afshar was born in Tehran and finished Hadaff High School for Girls in Tehran with a diploma in mathematics in 1970. She went to England for her university education and obtained a degree in Computing from Plymouth University (1973) and a BA in Economics from Essex University in 1976. Later she was awarded an MBA from Edinburgh University (1990). - 12/6/06

Vote Pari Syma Mayel-Afshar for Tehran City Council
Pari Syma Mayel-Afshar (Syma Sayyah), an active contributor of, is running for a city council post in Tehran. Syma has all the right credentials. She has earned a higher education degree and worked as a businesswoman. She has also been closely involved in numerous Non-Governmental Organizations. More importantly, she cares deeply about Tehran and Iran; and she is very knowledgeable and informed about the needs of the people she wants to represent. - 12/6/06

French Official Optimistic on UN Iran Resolution
France's foreign minister says he is optimistic that world powers are close to reaching agreement on wording for a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran's nuclear program. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports the minister's remarks come a day before high-ranking diplomats from six nations meet on the matter in the French capital. -VOA - 12/5/06

Portugal's Private Sector to Restore Portuguese Forts in Persian Gulf
After a series of negotiations and meetings held between the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) with Portuguese restoration experts through the Iranian embassy in Lisbon, renovation of three Portuguese fortresses of Qeshm, Hormoz, and Lark in southern Iran was relegated to Portugal's private sector active in restoration of ancient monuments. -CHN - 12/5/06

IKCO and Peugeot to upgrade Iranian carmaker's after-sales services
Iran's major automaker Iran Khodro Co. (IKCO) and France's car producer Peugeot are planning to make joint investments aimed at development of the after sales services offered by IKCO. -MNA - 12/5/06

Iran to host meeting on Holocaust
An official said 67 foreign scholars from 30 countries would be attending, but refused to say who they were. -BBC - 12/5/06

Reform movement in Iran unstoppable, says Khatami
'The reforms neither started in 1997 (start of his presidential term) nor ended (in 2005) but have had a constantly expanding role in Iranian society,' he told a ceremony held by the youth reformist wing in Tehran ahead of the December 15 municipality elections. -Monsters and, UK - 12/5/06

Flute skills save convict's life
A teenager in Iran was saved from execution at the last minute, because his victim's family were so moved by his flute playing. -Metro, UK - 12/5/06

Bolton Resigns in New Defeat for Hawks
In a new blow to the dwindling number of hawks in top administration positions, President George W. Bush Monday accepted the resignation of his ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. - 12/5/06

Iran to replace dollar with euro in foreign trade: Finance Minister
Iran has decided to replace dollar with euro in its foreign trade given the continual impediments and hostile policies directed by U.S. toward the country, Iranian finance minister said on Monday. -MNA - 12/5/06

Rice's Iran Strategy Fizzles, Cheney Waits in Wings
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's months-long diplomatic effort to get five other powers to agree to a tough United Nations Security Council resolution on sanctions against Iran now seems certain to fail, because of Russian and Chinese resistance. - 12/5/06

Gambia Looks to Iran for Support
The presidents of Gambia and Iran have expressed interest in increasing economic and political cooperation between their countries. Analysts say a relationship between oil-rich Iran and West Africa's cash-deficient countries holds potential gain for both sides. Phuong Tran reports from Dakar. -VOA - 12/5/06

US must pursue talks with Iran, says Brzezinski
Former national security adviser to the Carter administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Tuesday urged the US to start a dialogue with Iran, warning that there was much more at stake for Washington in the Middle East than Iraq. -IRNA - 12/5/06

For Iran's Isolated HIV Patients, Outreach and Treatment
By offering a cup of tea and a safe place to talk, two Iranian brothers were able to coax stigmatized drug addicts and people with HIV out of social isolation and into a bare, one-room clinic. -Washington Post - 12/5/06

Iran's Transport Ministry forced to divert rail line away from Naqsh-e Rustam
It seems that this time cultural heritage has won out over the so-called construction projects as officials have been convinced to change the path of the railroad that had threatened the Achaemenid site of Naqsh-e Rustam in Fars Province. -MNA - 12/5/06

Latest Findings Reject Urartu King's Direct Presence in Iran
Studies by a team of Iranian and Italian archeologists on the eastern banks of Uromia Lake rejected previous theories regarding the direct involvement of the Kingdom of Urartu in northwest Iran. The new findings were congruent with a number of Assyrian historic documents such as the one denoted to King Sargon II (722-705 BC) which was inscribed sometime during the 8th century BC. -CHN - 12/5/06

Mahmoud Pakzad's "Old Tehran"
Imagine a Tehran with not so many people, a few cars, wide empty streets and open fields bordering the road from the city centre to Tajrish, such that you could easily see the mountains in three directions if you stood on the boot of a car. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/5/06

20 artists chosen for Tehran sculpture symposium
On Sunday, the selection board of the first Tehran International Sculpture Symposium chose 20 Iranian and foreign artists to participate in the event. -MNA - 12/4/06

Mideast Allies Near a State of Panic
President Bush and his top advisors fanned out across the troubled Middle East over the last week to showcase their diplomatic initiatives to restore strained relationships with traditional allies and forge new ones with leaders in Iraq. -LA Times - 12/4/06

American Lawmakers Urge Tougher US Stance on Russia
American senators are calling on the Bush administration to toughen its position on the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, amid growing international concern about rights restrictions in Russia. -VOA - 12/4/06

Louvre's 'Gulf' Move Draws Iranian Ire
Tehran has protested at the deletion by France's most famous art and antiquities museum of the word "Persian" from descriptions of the Gulf in its guides. -AFP - 12/4/06

Rumsfeld left secret 'cut and run' memo
The Bush administration is considering a series of major policy changes over Iraq that were set out by the outgoing defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in a secret memorandum sent to the White House, it was confirmed yesterday. -Guardian - 12/4/06

Iranian Charge d'affaires explains invalidity of MKO testimony to Argentine Judge
Iranian charge d'affaires to Argentina Mohsen Baharvand explained invalidity of the testimony made by members of terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) to Argentine Judge Rodolfo Conicoba Corral, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said on Sunday. -IRNA - 12/4/06

Turkish PM wraps up Iran visit
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived here late Sunday from a visit to Iran. Erdogan visited Iran upon an invitation of Iranian First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi and was accompanied by a senior economic-political delegation. -IRNA - 12/4/06

Censorship fears rise as Iran blocks access to top websites
Iran yesterday shut down access to some of the world's most popular websites. Users were unable to open popular sites including and YouTube following instructions to service providers to filter them. -Guardian - 12/4/06

BEYOND PERSIA Art Exhibition by Contemporary Iranian-American Artists in San Francisco
The mission of Beyond Persia is to provide a venue for Iranian-American visual artists an opportunity to sell their art to the public who are interested in collecting and acquiring art produced by Iranians. - 12/4/06

Dr. Nader Engheta in Scientific American 50 list
Dr. Nader Engheta, an Iranian-American, has been selected as one of the Scientific American 50 :Trends in Research,Business and Leadership. The list contains the names of people like Al Gore and Warren Buffet. - 12/4/06

Some 7,000 people crowded up on Sunday, November 26th at the benefit screening of "The Nativity Story" in Paul VI Hall, the auditorium usually used for audiences with pilgrims, although Pope Benedict XVI was not present. -Darius KADIVAR - 12/4/06

Tanavoli plans to bring "Nil" to Dubai
Veteran Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli is busy creating another artwork entitled "Nil" to present at the first (Persian) Gulf Art Fair in Dubai next March. Tanavoli aims to defend the Iranian identity of the Persian Gulf at the fair. Specifically, he seeks to prove that its name is the "Persian" Gulf. -MNA - 12/4/06

Lessons of Suez and Iraq
November marked the 50th anniversary of the Suez crisis, when Britain, France and Israel decided to attack Egypt and unseat Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the nationalist Egyptian leader. This was one of those seminal moments in the mid-twentieth century that had momentous geopolitical consequences for the world, and especially for the Middle East. -Farhang Jahanpour - 12/4/06

United States Should Not Squander Baker Commission Recommendations
The chorus of hostile diplomatic rhetoric against Iran threatens to drown out the idea of the Baker-Hamilton Commission to engage Iran to assist the stabilization of Iraq. Without the engagement of Iran, the spillover effects into the Middle East of the unfolding civil war in Iraq would be much greater and could lead to a region-wide conflict. -R. K. Ramazani - 12/3/06

School Day 24: Iran-UK-US
Students in Iran, the UK and the US are linking up to share their experiences on Wednesday 6 December. Read about the schools taking part and then send your questions. -BBC - 12/3/06

Engineering An Empire: The Persians (history channel program)
The Persian Empire was one of the most mysterious civilizations in the ancient world. Persia became an empire under the Cyrus the Great, who created a policy of religious and cultural tolerance that became the hallmark of Persian rule. - 12/3/06

Iraq: U.S. Expert Discusses Prospects For Stabilization
Kenneth Katzman, a noted specialist on Middle East affairs at the Congressional Research Service, spoke recently with RFE/RL about events in the region. The discussion focused on promoting stability in Iraq and on U.S. relations with Iran. - 12/3/06

Iran equalizes gas production from South Pars with Qatar
Iran's production share from giant gas field of South Pars has reached to equal measure with Qatar, the managing director of the Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) said here on Sunday. -MNA - 12/3/06

Switzerland, Iran's alternative to head working group for WTO membership
Head of the National Center for Globalization Studies Mohammad Nahavandian on Sunday referred to Switzerland as Iran's most important new alternative for taking charge of Iran's working group in the process of its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). -IRNA - 12/3/06

Turkish PM Visits Iran for Talks on Regional Security, Trade
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met Iranian leaders in Tehran to discuss regional tensions and bilateral trade. -VOA - 12/3/06

New OPEC output cut necessary: Iran's Oil Minister
Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said on Sunday that certain factors such as declining global economic growth and accumulation of oil reserves and its by-products indicated that the market needed a new cut in OPEC output. -IRNA - 12/3/06

Iranian photographer Jamshid Bayrami honored by Mexico
An Iranian photographer, Jamshid Bayrami received the supreme Mexican state honor emblem after his two weeks of artistic display in an exhibition held in the Mexican embassy in Tehran. -ISNA - 12/3/06

Iran-China Yadavaran oil deal to be finalized soon
Iran and China are at the last stages of negotiations over the project to develop Yadavaran Oilfield. A final deal is expected to be signed in the near future, Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said on Saturday. -MNA - 12/2/06

A Chilling Photograph's Hidden History
Twenty-six years ago, a picture of an execution in Iran won the Pulitzer Prize. But the man who took it remained anonymous. Until now. -WSJ - 12/2/06

Bill to fingerprint US nationals entering Iran approved by Guardian Council
Now that the bill has become a law, all US nationals before entering the country at any of its entry points or when applying for visas must be fingerprinted as is done to Iranians wishing to enter US territory, the spokesman said. -IRNA - 12/2/06

Iran's Khamoushi calls for lifting of borders separating Islamic states
Head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, Alinaqi Khamoushi on Saturday said that just as borders are lifted in Europe, the same move should be considered by Islamic states. -IRNA - 12/2/06

Nuclear power not panacea for energy supply, but it certainly helps – UN atomic chief
Nuclear power is not the only answer but looks to be an important part of the future energy mix in Asia and other parts of the world, according to the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who is an official visit to Japan, Viet Nam, China, and Indonesia. -UN News - 12/2/06

Ahamdinejad's Message to America
In an open letter to the American people, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, severely criticizes and praises the American people. His sharp criticism concerning Israel and Iraq is not new, but couched in more positive terms of shared human values and concerns. What could happen if George Bush were to respond in kind? -MEO - 12/2/06

Quake hits Khoy in northwestern Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale hit the city of Khoy in this northwestern province and surrounding areas south of the city Saturday. -IRNA - 12/2/06

Speculation Increases Over Possible US Drawdown and Diplomacy Efforts for Iraq
The Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan U.S. panel, presents its report on Wednesday to President Bush and the Congress on strategic options in Iraq. The report is expected to examine a possible drawdown of U.S. troops in that country and also diplomatic initiatives to stabilize Iraq. -VOA - 12/2/06

Azerbaijani, Armenian, Karabakh Officials Assess Talks
Over the past 12 months, the three co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group that seeks to mediate a solution to the Karabakh conflict have warned repeatedly that upcoming elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan could scupper chances of reaching a peace settlement. -RFE - 12/2/06

Iran welcomes new membership bid to OPEC, governor
Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said on Saturday that Iran welcomes new membership bid to the Organizations of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. He told IRNA that OPEC secretariat has not received any membership bid so far. -IRNA - 12/2/06

Threat against Iran continues despite setback for Neoconservatives
Campaign Iran views the Republican defeat in the US elections and the consequent resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as a setback for the Neoconservatives and their 'War on Terror'. We welcome these developments as significant achievements for the global anti-war movement of which we are part. - 12/2/06

Asian Games Begin in Doha Despite Storm Delays
Storm damage delayed the start of some competitions today at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. In most cases, however, debris and water from overnight storms was cleared up for events to begin on time. The Asian Games formally opened on December 1 with a ceremony that was a whirlwind of Asian culture and Arabian splendor. -RFE - 12/2/06

Austrian Academy of Sciences awards Iranian scholar Nosratollah Rastgar
The Austrian Academy of Sciences has presented the Werner Welzig Prize to the Iranian scholar Nosratollah Rastgar. The 3,000-euro award went to Rastgar due to his unflinching efforts as a scientific coworker at Iranology Institute of the academy. -MNA - 12/1/06

Bettors at Sportsbookcom back Iranian leader for Time Person of the Year 2006
The announcement of Time’s Person of the Year 2006 is less than a month away and bettors are flocking to, the world’s largest online sportsbook and casino, to get in on the action. Political controversy seems to be on most bettors’ minds as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has received almost one-third of the total money wagered despite being low on the odds chart at 20-1. - 12/1/06

Congress Fills Leadership Posts; Top IR Democrat Hints at Support for US-Iran Dialogue
Top House foreign policy Democrat, Tom Lantos (D-CA), revealed his agenda for the year, suggesting more serious consideration of dialogue with adversarial countries than his predecessors. -NIAC - 12/1/06

Ahmadinejad visits Iran's sport camp in Doha
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toured residence of Iranian athletes in the village of Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, on Friday. In an address to the Iranian athletes and sport officials, Ahmadinejad wished them success in the 15th Asian Games. -IRNA - 12/1/06

Iran Hosts Conference On Islam and Humanitarian Law
Scholars and experts in Islamic law from Iran and the neighboring region have taken part in a conference on Islam and international humanitarian law. -RFE - 12/1/06

Tehran targets Canadian 'spies'
Iranian lawmakers call for probe to close embassy, accuse envoys of plotting with U.S. -Toronto Star - 12/1/06

Iran-Turkey trade hits $6b this year
The trade volume between Iran and Turkey in the first ten months of the current year grew by about 59 percent to hit $5,616,403,000 in comparison with the same period last year. MNA - 12/1/06

Impression of Iran much different in person
I have just returned from a trip to Iran sponsored by an organization dedicated to promoting understanding between people of different cultures. My perception of Iran before and after my trip could not be more different. -Mariel Caldwell, News-Leader, MO - 12/1/06

Bush Returns to Washington, Plans to Change Iraq Policy Within Weeks
President Bush has returned to Washington after meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Jordan. En route back to Washington, President Bush's national security advisor, Stephen Hadley, told reporters that Mr. Bush will make changes to his Iraqi policy in "weeks, rather than months." A bipartisan U.S. panel plans to announce its recommendations on Iraq next Wednesday. -VOA - 12/1/06

Iran, China sign LNG deal
Iran's Pars LNG Company and PetroChina Company signed a deal on Iranian LNG sales to China, a senior Iranian official said in Tehran on Friday. -MNA - 12/1/06

Iranian Soap Star Swept up in Video Scandal
A pornographic video is breaking all sales records in Iran. But it is also making a prominent TV star fear not just the end of her career, but also corporal punishment under the country's restrictive laws. -Spiegel, Germany - 12/1/06

Iran: Reformist, Fundamentalist Candidates Ruled Out Of Assembly Election
Iran's Assembly of Experts is one of the country's most powerful institutions, as the 86-member body has the power to select and dismiss the country's supreme leader. But candidates for the upcoming assembly elections have to be approved by Iran's conservative Council of Guardians. -RFE - 12/1/06

Haideh Hirmand: A Rising Star in a Male Dominated Profession
When Haideh Hirmand, M.D. was a teenager in Tehran, a concrete block hit the back of her head and slammed her against the sidewalk. Her nose and mouth were smashed and doctors had to check every hour for brain damage. She was horrified at not having a face and this set her on her way to becoming one of the few plastic surgeons in the male dominated profession. - 12/1/06

Golden Deer award for Iranian photographer Kazem Bayrambakhshi
Kazem Bayrambakhshi managed to win the first prize of this international award for his depicting report about the caviar and estrogen fish of the Caspian Sea which took him almost two years of work (2000-2002). -ISNA - 12/1/06

Iranian filmmaker Saman Salur wins Grand Prize at Nantes festival
Iranian film "A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral" directed by Saman Salur won the Grand Prize of the 28th Festival of the Three Continents held from Nov. 21 to 28 in Nantes, France. -MNA - 12/1/06

Iran: 'Forgotten Victims' Of Saddam Hussein Era Await Justice
The head of a center for Iran's disabled war veterans announced on November 26 that Iraq's former Ba'athist regime used chemical weapons against civilians and soldiers some 300 times in the 1980s. Two decades later, still suffering the long-term effects of chemical agents, many of the 100,000 Iranian survivors of Iraqi gas attacks continue to seek justice as they follow the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. -RFE - 12/1/06

The Imam-Ali Alzheimer Charity Foundation
Many of you may not be aware that there is a modest foundation which cares for those who suffer from Alzheimers here in Tehran. I was told about the place by my good friend Zari who is involved with several helpful organizations. I went there one day late last month. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/1/06

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