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Renewed Uncertainty For The JCPOA
With relatively little fanfare, an important deadline passed by on December 12: the 60-day window during which Congress could have reimposed nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. That window had been opened on October 13 when President Donald Trump-under the terms of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA)-refused to certify that the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was in America's national interest. -Derek Davison - 12/14/17

Flight Fight: Proposed Tripling Of 'Departure Tax' Roils Iranians
The price for Iranians of heading abroad could triple if the government's new budget proposal is approved. Under the budget plan submitted by President Hassan Rohani on December 10, so-called departure taxes would skyrocket to around $60 for a single trip outside the country, compared with the current fee of $20. Subsequent trips within a 12-month period would incur even higher fees. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL - 12/14/17

NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails To Disclose Authors' Financial Conflict Of Interest
On Tuesday, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, two executives at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), took to the op-ed pages of The New York Times to celebrate last week's announcement that Argentina's former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, would face treason charges for her alleged role in covering up Iran's alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aries, killing 85 people. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 12/14/17

Iran says parties to JCPOA protested US breach of nuclear deal during Vienna meeting
A senior Iranian diplomat says the parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have protested the US breach of its commitments under the agreement during a meeting of a commission tasked with monitoring commitments to the accord. "All members of the P5+1 [group] explicitly protested to the US and stressed that it should fully and precisely implement its commitments," Abbas Araqchi, a deputy foreign minister, told reporters in the Austrian city of Vienna on Wednesday after a new meeting of the Iran-P5+1 Joint Commission, which monitors the implementation of the nuclear deal. - 12/14/17

OIC Summit in Turkey Blasts Trump Decision on Jerusalem
ISTANBUL - Leaders of majority Muslim nations gathered in Istanbul Wednesday and condemned U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as unlawful. The meeting came as unrest in the Middle East continues, along with growing criticism over the Jerusalem move. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 12/14/17

United Nations Chief Urges Washington To Honor Obligations Under Iran Nuclear Deal
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed support for the 2015 Iran deal from all the signatories except for the US, calling on Washington to also honor its obligations under the landmark agreement. Guterres made the remarks in a report on implementation of a UN resolution that endorsed the July 2015 nuclear agreement, which was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. - 12/14/17

US Official Accuses Turkey of Pushing Extreme Islamist Ideology
An already tense relationship between the United States and Turkey appears to be under more strain after a top Trump administration official accused Turkey of spreading what he called extreme Islamist ideology around the world. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, said Tuesday that Turkey had joined Qatar as a prime source of funding that contributes to the spread of extremist ideology. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 12/14/17

Iran's first museum for a female artist honours nonagenarian
The 93-year-old doyenne of Iranian art, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, has donated more than 50 of her works to a new museum dedicated to her oeuvre in Tehran. The Monir Museum, which opens tomorrow (15 December) in a 19th-century former palace and gardens, is the first institution in Iran devoted to a single female artist. -The Art Newspaper - 12/14/17

Southeastern Iran Hit By Two Strong Earthquakes; At Least 18 Injured
Iran's southeastern province of Kerman has been hit by at least two strong quakes in recent days, injuring at least 18 people and damaging around 20 buildings, state media reported. The first quake of magnitude 5.9 struck on early on December 12 about 56 kilometers north of Kerman, a city with a population of more than 820,000. - 12/13/17

Tehran Stock Exchange breaks all-time high record
Tehran Stock Exchange's main index, TEDPIX, broke an all-time high record in Wednesday trading by surging into the 93,000 lane. TEDPIX gained 654 points to stand at 93,283, a level never seen in the Exchange's history since establishment in 1966. - 12/13/17

Reexamining US Mideast Policy After The Jerusalem Proclamation
President Donald Trump's official proclamation that the US accepts Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, along with preparations to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv, has predictably upset apple carts across the Middle East and beyond. The period just ahead will be dominated by diplomatic responses, an increase in violence, and perhaps terrorist acts. -Robert E. Hunter - 12/13/17

Istanbul Hosts Summit Against Trump's Jerusalem Recognition
ISTANBUL - Twenty-two leaders in the Islamic world were gathering in Istanbul Wednesday in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The meeting comes as unrest in the Middle East continues, along with growing criticism over the Jerusalem move. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 12/13/17

Iran to seal deal with Russia-led trade bloc Eurasian Economic Union soon
Iran says it expects the formalities over its membership to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) - a regional trade bloc led by Russia - would be finalized soon and an agreement with the Union's member states would be signed accordingly. Iran's media quoted a trade official as saying that the agreement with the EEU would be signed by the presidents of all member countries. - 12/13/17

Iran says supplies to Iraq pushed gas exports up 64 percent
Iran says its exports of natural gas saw a huge rise over a period of five months starting 21 March 201 in what it says was a result of rising supplies to its western neighbor Iraq. Behzad Babazadeh, the director for international affairs of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), was quoted by the domestic media as saying that the country had exported as much as 50 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) of gas over the aforementioned period that marks the first five months after the start of the new Iranian calendar year. - 12/13/17

Trump's Jerusalem Decision And The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry
It is too early to assess the long-term impact of Donald Trump's incendiary decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and upend US foreign policy by moving Washington's embassy. Nonetheless, one close US ally--Saudi Arabia--may pay a big price for Trump's controversial recognition. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 12/13/17

Proposed Higher Departure Fees Angers Iranians
A new revenue generating measure in President Hassan Rouhani's proposed budget has led to public outcry and mocking of the government in Iran. "Exit fees" from the country are set to rise many fold, if the new budget is passed in the coming months. - 12/12/17

Women's share of Iran's budget bill increases by 30%
The proposed national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year 1397, starting on March 21, 2018, has allocated 210 billion rials ($5.25 million) for women's affairs, an increase of 30 percent year on year. President Hassan Rouhani presented the administration's draft of the national budget bill for the next year to the Majlis (Iranian parliament) on Sunday. - 12/12/17

Iran's Supreme Court Upholds Swedish Resident Ahmedreza Djalali's Death Sentence
Iran's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence issued against Iranian-born Swedish resident Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been imprisoned in Tehran since April 2016 after being arrested by the Intelligence Ministry. Djalali's wife, Vida Mehran-nia, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that her husband's main lawyer was told the Supreme Court's decision in court on December 5, 2017, but he was denied a physical copy of the ruling. - 12/12/17

Iran's Security Forces Block Annual Ceremony to Commemorate "Chain Murders" Victims
Security forces prevented a gathering near Tehran marking the 19th anniversary of a series of murders and disappearances by the Intelligence Ministry of dissidents in the 1990s known as the "chain murders." The Writers Association of Iran (WAI) issued a statement on December 7, 2017, hours after many of its members and supporters were prevented from entering Imamzadeh Taher Cemetery in Karaj by a prosecutor's order. - 12/12/17

The Logic Behind Iran's Regional Posture
On December 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei convened Iran's top military brass. Iranian media circulated one key sentence of his remarks on the front pages of newspapers: "Today, the armed forces are in need of the best human resources...to save the nation from vulnerability against the enemy." -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog - 12/12/17

IRAN: Persons with disability awaiting better living conditions
The bill on rights of persons with disabilities, which is being discussed by the Majlis [Iranian Parliament], has raised hopes among the disabled for better living conditions. People with disabilities have a wide range of problems such as finding jobs or living in cities which have not been developed to be accessible for disabled people. - 12/12/17

Iran's Saipa has exported $1.2 billion in cars: Official
Iran's Saipa Group says it has exported 230,000 vehicles worth 1.2 billion in recent years as the automaker plans to expand sales with new designs and competitive products. The company exports vehicles to about 40 markets, deputy head for exports and international affairs of the group Mohsen Dastkhosh said on Friday. - 12/12/17

UN experts do not confirm Iran link to Yemen missiles: Report
UN experts, who examined the debris from missiles fired from Yemen at Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, have not confirmed that the projectiles were "Iranian-made" as claimed by the Riyadh regime and the US. The missiles were fired by Yemeni Houthi fighters at the Saudi capital on July 22 and November 4 in retaliation for Riyadh's deadly raids against the country. - 12/12/17

Johnson Meets President Rohani, Discusses Case Of Jailed Iranian-British Woman
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Tehran on December 10 as he continued efforts to gain the release of a jailed Iranian-British woman. A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said Johnson and Rohani "spoke forthrightly" on several issues, including the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, according to the BBC. - 12/11/17

Online exhibit "Collapse" raising funds for Kermanshah quake victims
Iranian painter and graphic designer Behzad Shishegaran has launched an online exhibition entitled "Collapse" on Instagram, Telegram and Facebook to raise funds for the victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Kermanshah region in western Iran last month. - 12/11/17

Nine Iranian mountain climbers killed by avalanche
Nine Iranian climbers were fatally buried by an avalanche on Oshtoran Kooh Mountain, in the country's west on Friday. The climbers were among a group of 15 men and women from the city of Mashhad and a local guide who were trapped by the avalanche on Thursday. - 12/11/17

Iran Sentences Fugitive Ex-Bank Chief Mahmud Reza Khavari To Prison In Absentia
Iran's judiciary says the former head of the country's largest state-controlled bank who fled to Canada amid a massive embezzlement case has been handed a lengthy prison sentence in absentia. Khavari, who obtained Canadian citizenship in 2005, joined his family there in 2011 in the wake of the $2.6 billion fraud scandal, described as the largest-ever such case in Iran. - 12/11/17

IRGC Commander Turned Musician Says He Was Banned From Producing Music by the Intelligence Ministry
Iranian singer and songwriter Hossein Zaman, a former Revolutionary Guards commander who has been banned from producing or performing music for more than 15 years, says the ban was put in place because Iran's Intelligence Ministry wants to intimidate him into refraining from expressing his political views. - 12/11/17

German electronic band to give first Western pop concert in Iran in 39 years
German electronic musician Christopher von Deylen and his band Schiller will become the first pop group to perform in Iran's capital, Tehran, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. -Deutsche Welle - 12/11/17

Trump's Jerusalem Decision: A Fatal And Fateful Blow
President Donald Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was irresponsible and dangerous for more reasons than I can count. Let me outline just a few of the principle concerns: -James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 12/11/17

Middle East War: Iran's Allies Are Secretly Launching Missiles at Saudi Arabia as Tehran Takes Control in the Battle for Dominance
Tehran exerts enormous influence on an expanse that stretches from Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea, over the Levantine steppe of Syria and Iraq and down to Yemen. That influence stemmed from Iran's creation of powerful Shiite proxies in key countries in the region, which Tehran had been able to mobilize to its advantage--and to Saudi Arabia's chagrin... -Newsweek - 12/11/17

World Powers Warn Iran, Saudi Arabia Not To Meddle In Lebanon
World powers are pushing Saudi Arabia and Iran to stop interfering in Lebanon's politics while urging Iranian ally Hizballah to rein in its military activities in neighboring states. The International Lebanon Support Group, a body that includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- met in Paris on December 8 with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in an effort to help him shore up the nation's shaky governing coalition. - 12/9/17

Iran's Student Movement Faces Roadblocks Under Rouhani Despite Election Campaign Promises
Protests were held at several Iranian universities on December 7, 2017, on the occasion of Student Day. One activist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that President Hassan Rouhani has failed to uphold his election campaign promise to end the securitization of university campuses. - 12/9/17

Iran's Culture Minister Says He's Trying to "Transform" Conservative Clerics' Views on Music
Before musicians can perform concerts in Iran without the threat of the authorities suddenly canceling them, someone has to convince conservative Shia Muslim clerics that music is not un-Islamic. "Some of the things that have happened to these artists is because of the views expressed by some religious leaders," said Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Abbas Salehi in an interview - 12/9/17

Iran Foreign Minister, Britain Foreign Secretary discuss JCPOA, economic ties in Tehran
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have held talks in the Iranian capital about a landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries more than two years ago. - 12/9/17

2017 Freestyle World Wrestling Clubs Cup in Tehran: Iran's Easy Pipe Kashan defeats USA's Titan Mercury to win title
Easy Pipe Kashan of Iran claimed the title of the 2017 Freestyle World Wrestling Clubs Cup held in Tehran on Dec. 7-8. The Iranian team defeated defending champion Titan Mercury from the U.S. 6-4 in the final match. - 12/9/17

Europe And Iran's Threat Perception
At the end of November, a delegation of senior European lawmakers visited Iran. The delegation was chaired by Janusz Lewandowski from Poland, a former EU commissioner, representing the center-right European People's Party, the largest bloc in the European Parliament (EP). It also included long-standing advocates of engagement with Iran... -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 12/9/17

Iran's Siamand Rahman clinches gold at 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships
Iranian Paralympic powerlifter Siamand Rahman has produced a magnificent display of strength and prowess at the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico, and been awarded the top honor. On Thursday and the sixth day of the contests in Mexico City, the men's over 107-kilogram weight category saw a battle between the 29-year-old Iranian sportsman, his compatriot Mansour Pourmirzaei and Jordan's Jamil Elshebli. - 12/8/17

Two Iranian Officials Publicly Break Rank and Discuss Discriminatory Policies Against Baha'is
Iranian officials are beginning to broach the previously taboo topic of religious discrimination in Iran. On the same day, two government officials publicly discussed discriminatory policies against Baha'is, one of Iran's most severely persecuted minority faiths. - 12/8/17

U.K. Foreign Secretary To Visit Iran To Press For Release Of Jailed Briton
Britain says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Iran on December 9 to meet with his Iranian counterpart and lobby for the release of an Iranian-British woman jailed in Tehran. Johnson's office did not identify jailed aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by name in its December 8 statement but said that he would press for the release of dual nationals being held in Iran when he meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran. - 12/8/17

IRAN: Rouhani Admin's New "Fair Usage" Internet Price Rates Violate Net Neutrality
Seven months into President Hassan Rouhani's second term, his Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has introduced a new pricing scheme for internet usage that violates net neutrality while improving state censorship capabilities. - 12/8/17

US considers how to curtail Iran's 'malign influence'
Even as the Pentagon remains focused on deterring North Korea and fighting ISIS, multiple US officials tell CNN that Defense Secretary James Mattis is asking planners to think about what action to take on Iran. Discussions are taking place on how to use the US military to deter and contain Iranian activities in neighboring countries, short of a direct conflict. -CNN - 12/8/17

Iran's national weightlifting team wins world championship title in Anaheim, California
Iran's men weightlifting national team has clinched its first ever world champion title, after collecting a total of 509 points at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in the United States. The competitions were held in Anaheim, California, from November 28 to December 5. - 12/7/17

Iranian University Shuts Down After Student Strike
Student protests in Iran this week were propelled by different grievances and demands. Some were concrete issues related to financial issues and others were the result of constant pressures and interference by security organs in universities. One hotspot has been the Petroleum Industry University (Sana'ate Naft), where student protests began even earlier. - 12/7/17

U.S., Iran Need To Engage In Substantive Negotiations On Regional Issues
Still, it would be dangerous to conclude that there is fundamentally no space for compromise. The Iran nuclear agreement was one such compromise. It still holds, though tenuously. The Trump administration is using "regional issues" as one strategy to undermine the agreement. Although Iran won't agree to folding such issues into a renegotiation of the JCPOA, at some point Iran, Israel, and the United States must address their conflicting interests in the region, ideally before the current regional proxy conflict in Syria expands into a Third World War. -Thomas Buonomo, LobeLog - 12/7/17

Iran: Reformist MPs Call on Science Ministry to Allow "Starred" Student Activists to Attend University
Students accused of engaging in peaceful activism continue to be banned from attending university in Iran despite President Hassan Rouhani's election campaign promise that he would lift the ban. On November 30, 2017, the reformist newspaper Jame-e Farda reported that between 150 and 200 graduate and PhD-level students were blocked from enrolling in Iranian universities in the current academic year because they had "stars" on their records. However, the actual number is likely much higher. - 12/7/17

Chovgan added as Iran's intangible cultural heritage to UNESCO lists
The sporting team game of chovgan, which is played on horseback and recognized as a version of the modern polo game, has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. - 12/7/17

Outside-In Won't Resolve The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
All three participants in the triangle are making their maneuvers to the drumbeat of Iran, Iran, Iran as a constant preoccupation and rationalization. For Netanyahu, the drumbeat continues to serve as an all-purpose distraction and blame-shifter. MbS has made opposition to Iran his rallying cry in trying to justify operations such as the calamity in Yemen and the attempts to strong-arm smaller states such as Qatar and Lebanon. And of course, anti-Iranism has been the one loud and consistent theme in a Trump Middle East policy in which many observers have a hard time discerning a clear strategy. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 12/7/17

Teen behind viral 'Angelina Jolie' plastic surgery photos reveals she lied
A young woman who shocked the internet with her shocking appearance - which she claimed was the result of botched plastic surgery to look like Angelina Jolie - has finally come clean: it was a hoax. Sahar Tabar claimed to have gone under the knife more than 50 times in a bid to look like the smouldering A-lister, with results that looked more harrowing than Hollywood. -Independent - 12/7/17

Iranian weightlifter Saeid Alihosseini wins silver at World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California
Georgian Lasha Talakhadze won the men's super-heavyweights with a total of 477kg, improving his own world record by 4kg. He also broke his own snatch world record by 3kg when he lifted 220kg. Iranians Saeid Alihosseini and Behdad Salimi were second and third with totals of 454kg and 453kg respectively. - 12/6/17

Lavrov Says 'Key Issues' Regarding Caspian Sea Legal Status Solved
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the five Caspian states have agreed on "all the outstanding key issues" regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Lavrov made the announcement in Moscow on December 5 after meeting with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. - 12/6/17

Middle East on Edge Ahead of Possible Change to US Policy on Jerusalem
Criticism of President Donald Trump's reported plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is pouring in from across the Middle East, Europe and around the world. One of the strongest statements of opposition to such a plan came from key NATO ally Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan Tuesday. -Cindy Saine, VOA - 12/6/17

Erdogan Says U.S. Trying To 'Blackmail' Turkey With Iran Sanctions Case
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the New York trial of a Turkish banker accused of conspiring to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions "blackmail" and a "blemish" on his country. His comments in Ankara on December 5 came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued with a fifth day of testimony by the U.S. government's star witness and alleged mastermind of the scheme to evade sanctions. - 12/6/17

Ali Hashemi wins another gold for Iran at World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California
Ali Hashemi bagged another gold for Iran at the 2017 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships at the Anaheim Convention Center early Tuesday. In the men's 105 kilogram class, Hashemi finished on 404kg ahead of Arturs Plesnieks of Latvia, who lifted 402kg, and Uzbek Ivan Efremov - who had beaten Hashemi in September the last time they met - on 399kg. - 12/5/17

U.S. High Court Wary Of Seizing Ancient Relics To Pay $71 Million Iran Judgment
U.S. Supreme Court justices have expressed skepticism over a lawsuit that seeks the seizure of ancient Persian museum relics to pay for a $71.5 million U.S. court judgment against Iran for its alleged role in a suicide bombing. The plaintiffs in the case before the Supreme Court want to seize ancient Persian artifacts held at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, which have been on loan from Iran since 1937, as well as relics held by Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. - 12/5/17

Three Activists Sentenced to Prison in Trial "Directed" by Iran's Intelligence Ministry
Political prisoners Majid Assadi, Payam Shakiba, and Mohammad Banazadeh were sentenced to prison and exile after the Intelligence Ministry pressured the court, a family member of one of the prisoners told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 12/5/17

Iran-made rotavirus, rabies vaccines to hit market by 2019
Domestically manufactured rotavirus and rabies vaccines will enter Iranian market by 2019, Head of Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI) announced Monday. According to Head of Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI), Dr. Houman Kaghazian, the manufacture of rabies vaccine went underway at Pasteur Institute five years ago, and will be ready to enter the Iranian market in two years' time. - 12/5/17

Tallinn Film Review: 'Asphyxia'
Fereydoun Jeyrani's elegant black-and-white thriller refracts Iranian gender politics through the prism of a twisty Hitchcockian noir. -Jessica Kiang, Variety - 12/5/17

Iranian Weightlifter Wins World Title, Breaks Records in Anaheim, California
Iranian weightlifter Sohrab Moradi broke two world records to win the 94-kilogram class at the World Championships in Anaheim, California, on December 3. Moradi, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, scored an easy victory over Lithuania's Aurimas Didzbalis by 29 kilograms. - 12/4/17

Iran Opens Extension Of Key Chahbahar Port In Gulf Of Oman
Iran has officially opened an extension of its southeastern port of Chabahar, which Tehran hopes will become a key transit hub for land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia. State TV said President Hassan Rohani attended the inauguration on December 3 along with dignitaries from India, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries. - 12/4/17

CIA Chief Sends Letter To Iran's General Soleimani Over Threats To U.S. Forces In Iraq
The director of the CIA says he sent a letter to a top Iranian general warning him that Washington will hold Tehran responsible for any attacks on U.S. interests by Iran-backed forces in Iraq. Director Mike Pompeo on December 2 told a defense forum in Simi Valley, California, that the letter to Major General Qassem Soleimani was never opened but that he wanted to send it because Soleimani had indicated his forces might threaten U.S. interests in Iraq. - 12/4/17

Iran's 'Devoted Countryman' dies at 86
Villager Riz Ali Khajavi who saved the lives of passengers of a train in 1962 when a landslide brought down rocks from overlooking mountain on a railroad, died at 86. Known as a national hero whose sacrifice story is being taught in Iranian schools, Riz Ali Khajavi was admitted to Imam Reza Hospital due to a severe pulmonary complication 20 days ago and died later on Saturday at 86. - 12/4/17

Sharif University's Mannequin Robot Among Top Eight In ICSR 2017
Director of the Center of Excellence in Design, Robotics, and Automation of Sharif University of Technology Ali Meghdari said "22 countries attended the 9th International Conference on Social Robotics which was held last week in Tsukuba, Japan. ROMA robot mannequin of Sharif University of technology ranked among the top eight robot designs and received memorial award." - 12/4/17

Iran acquires technology to produce nuclear batteries: AEOI advisor
Iran has acquired the technology to produce nuclear batteries to be used in health and industrial sectors, an advisor to head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says. Asghar Zare'an, who is an advisor to Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday that Iran was the fifth country mastering the technology to produce nuclear batteries after the United States, Russia, France and Britain. - 12/4/17

US pressuring countries to stop buying Iran heavy water: Iranian MP
A senior Iranian parliamentarian says the Islamic Republic is in talks with a number of countries to sell its surplus heavy water, a nuclear byproduct, after the US decided to halt its purchases. Tehran has to sell its surplus heavy water under the 2015 nuclear agreement with world countries which requires that the inventory not exceed 130 tonnes. - 12/4/17

Tehran Earthquake Preparedness 'Woefully Low, Unacceptable': Official Warns
Earthquake preparedness in the city of Tehran is woefully 'low' and 'unacceptable', Ismail Najjar, head of the state-run National Disaster Management Organization said on Thursday. Tehran is perched between no less than three major fault-lines. The Mosha, the Tehran, and the Rey fault lines are each on their own enough to bring down a city if they get active. - 12/2/17

A Small Group In Iran Owes Banks Billion Of Dollars In Bad Debts
A few hundred people in Iran have borrowed billions of dollars from the country's financial institutions and refuse to meet their obligations toward the lending institutions. Now, a current and a former member of the Iranian Parliament have taken the issue in their own hands and are trying to force the delinquent debtors to pay their bills. - 12/2/17

Italy stresses EU's commitment to Iran nuclear deal
Italian Foreign Minister Alfano Angelino says the EU believes all the signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), should remain committed to the agreement. Angelino said in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Rome on Thursday that the EU has a completely positive view about the JCPOA and underlines the need for all sides to remain committed to it. - 12/2/17

Iranian Broadcast Censors World Cup Program Over Host's Clothing
Portions of the 2018 World Cup draw broadcast were censored in Iran because authorities decided co-host Maria Komandnaya's clothing was too revealing. Iranian state broadcaster IRIB on December 1 blocked the first part of the show from the Kremlin Palace in Moscow that featured Komandnaya, a Russian sports journalist, and former England soccer star Gary Lineker. - 12/2/17

Tehran Prosecutor Sentenced to Prison for Protestor's Death Denies Responsibility
Former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, the only official who has been held accountable for the death of a protestor who was tortured in the Kahrizak Detention Center in 2009, has publicly objected to his two-year prison sentence. Mortazavi, who has been implicated in rights violation cases throughout his career, also accused the Appeals Court judge who issued the sentence of being an accessory to murder in an unrelated case. - 12/2/17

U.S. firms "main losers" of sanctions: Iran's Oil Minister
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said U.S. energy firms are the main losers from the sanctions placed against his country. Speaking at the 173 OPEC meeting in Vienna on Thursday, Zanganeh called U.S.'s policy confusing and self-defeating, CNBC reported. - 12/2/17

Moderately Strong Quakes Hit Eastern Iran Near Kerman; Damage Reported
Two moderately strong earthquakes hit eastern Iran in quick succession early on December 1. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first, a relatively strong magnitude 6.0 tremor, struck at a shallow depth close to the city of Kerman, which has a population of more than 821,000. - 12/1/17

Misusing Intelligence To Sell Conflict With Iran
Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to go with his campaign of seeking confrontation with Iran, his administration already has provided disconcerting parallels with the techniques an earlier U.S. administration used in selling its launching of a war against Iraq. Among these techniques is the cherry-picking of intelligence not to inform policy-making or to enlighten the public but instead to inculcate false perceptions among the public and thereby to muster support for a policy already chosen. -Paul Pillar - 12/1/17

Iran placed in tough group in 2018 World Cup
Iran national football team, known as Team Melli, have been drawn in Group B of the 2018 World Cup. Carlos Queiroz's team will play powerhouse Spain, Portugal and Morocco in Russia. - 12/1/17

Fit To Be Tied: Thai Coach 'Upset' He Had To Wear Head Scarf At Iranian Tournament
In Iran, it's more often women disguising themselves as men to sneak into sporting events, where they are banned. But in a reversal of sorts, the male coach of the Thai women's national kabaddi team wore a head scarf to the Asian Kabaddi Championship in the Iranian city of Horgan on November 26 to evade a ban on men attending women's sporting events. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL - 12/1/17

Iran's Parliament Should Pass Pending Disability Rights Bill
New legislation currently pending in the Iranian parliament will, if passed, strengthen the basic rights of Iran's persons with disabilities community. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) marks the upcoming International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3, by urging Iranian lawmakers to pass this vital legislation. - 12/1/17

Iranian Envoy Says U.S. Won't Succeed In Pushing Iran Out Of Syria
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. efforts to push Iranian military advisers and fighters out of Syria as part of a deal to end the war-torn country's six-year civil war will not succeed. "The aim of the U.S. administration is to get Iran out of Syria," Zarif said on November 30 at a conference in Rome. "The U.S. and Russia cannot decide for Iran. We are there at the request of the Syrian government," Zarif said. "It's our region. It's the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. We are going nowhere." - 12/1/17

Did Trump Greenlight Neoconservative Takeover Of State Dept. And CIA?
Donald Trump is likely to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and choose Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) to take over the intelligence agency, according to "senior administration officials" who spoke to The New York Times. That move would mark an elevation of two neoconservative Iran hawks to the most influential positions in national intelligence gathering and diplomacy. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 12/1/17

Halt to heavy water purchase from Iran is a U.S. problem: Salehi
Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Friday that it is the Trump administration's problem for halting purchase of heavy water from Iran. Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday that The Trump administration has put a stop to U.S. purchases of nuclear materials from Iran, a policy that first began under the Obama administration. - 12/1/17

Poll: Middle Easterners Want Good Relations With U.S., Russia
A new survey from Zogby Research Services (ZRS) finds that large majorities across the Middle East want their governments to get along with both the United States and Russia, despite their hostility toward both countries' involvement in regional conflicts. Large majorities in nearly every country surveyed--Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates--said that it was important for their countries to have good relations with both countries. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 12/1/17
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