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Reza Loghmeh: A good place in Tehran to grab a bite to eat
Last week I went to pick up my friend, whom I had not seen for a few weeks as we are both leading very busy lives. The weather was nice and the day was like an early promise of spring which is around the corner; that is why we had decided to venture out and go out to eat somewhere. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/28/05

A modern geopolitical primer for Iranian expatriates
Iranians in America are starting to wake up to the palpable sense of danger facing their homeland. This danger isn’t limited to just the very real sense of a potential physical encroachment by an outside state; it is all the more felt, as it has been in decades past, in the imminently humiliating context of a loss of vital state sovereignty at the hands of larger, more aggressive powers. -Ramin Davoodi - 2/28/05

International Reaction to Iran-Russia Nuclear Pact Varies
Reaction to Sunday's nuclear fuel accord between Iran and Russia varies greatly on opposite sides of the Atlantic, with U.S. officials disapproving and Europeans expressing satisfaction with the safeguards built into the deal. - 2/28/05

The Iranian-American Community Celebrates The Second Annual Persian Parade Day
The second Persian Parade Day, expected to draw tens of thousands of participants and spectators will be held in New York City in commemoration of the Nowruz, the Persian New Year, along Madison Avenue at 41st street on Sunday March 20, 2005. - 2/28/05

The lack of a legal regime in the Caspian Sea is a source of danger
The issue of the legal regime of the Caspian Sea has remained unsolved due to the lack of agreement among the littoral states to reach a suitable solution. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 2/28/05

Flirting Youths Outrage Iranian Hardliners
Outraged by scenes of young boys and girls using Shi'ite Islam's most sacred mourning day as an opportunity to flirt in public, Iran's religious hard-liners are calling on authorities to stamp out such "vulgar displays." -Reuters - 2/28/05

The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP),, is a worldwide network committed to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies for sustainable and equitable development. Today, the GKP consists of 91 members from 40 countries across the world. - 2/28/05

New Internet Radio for Persian Music
Siroos Malakooty (guitar soloist and founder of Artists Without Frontiers in London) and Mahmoud Khoshnam (music critic living in Germany) have founded a new Internet Radio with the goal of analysis of different aspects of Persian Music. -Pejman Akbarzadeh - 2/28/05

Russian deal will send nuclear fuel to Iran soon
Russia and Iran signed a long-awaited agreement yesterday which paves the way for the delivery within weeks of nuclear fuel to a regime which Washington claims is seeking an atomic bomb and sponsors terrorism. -Guardian - 2/28/05

Envoy calls on Iran to help with Iraq's reconstruction
Iraqi Ambassador to Tehran Muhammaed Majid al-Sheikh invited Iran Monday to participate in his shattered country's reconstruction, putting behind years of hostile relationship under Saddam Hussein's rule. - 2/28/05

Two Iranian Navy ships arrive at Karachi port
Two Iranian Naval ships arrived at Pakistan's major port of Karachi Monday on a training mission, the Iranian embassy's military attache Brigadier General Abbas Bokaie said. - 2/28/05

UN to debate Iran's nuclear plans
The board of governors of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, meets in Vienna on Monday to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear programme. -BBC - 2/28/05

U.N.: Iran Must Be More Open About Nuke Program
The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said Monday that Iran must be more forthcoming with inspectors probing its nuclear program, which the United States says is aimed at making an atomic bomb. -Reuters - 2/28/05

Russia fuels Iran's atomic bid
Dismissing American concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, Russia Sunday cemented its commitment to Iran's atomic-energy program by signing a deal for the supply and return of Russian nuclear fuel for Iran's Bushehr reactor. -CSM - 2/28/05

EU says Iran-Russia nuclear agreement compatible with European approach
The European Union Monday appeared to support the nuclear agreement signed by Iran and Russia on Sunday. "The deal between Russia and Iran is compatible with our own approach," European Commission spokesperson for external relations, Emma Udwin, told reporters in Brussels Monday afternoon. - 2/28/05

Bush Weighs Offers To Iran
The Bush administration is close to a decision to join Europe in offering incentives to Iran -- possibly including eventual membership in the World Trade Organization -- in exchange for Tehran's formal agreement to surrender any plans to develop a nuclear weapon, according to senior U.S. officials. Washington Post - 2/28/05

Russia, Iran sign secret protocol on schedule of N-fuel deliveries
The heads of the Russian and Iranian nuclear energy agencies signed on Sunday a confidential document on a schedule of fuel deliveries to the Bushehr nuclear power station. - 2/27/05

Russia continues nuclear cooperation with Iran, despite wide criticism
Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency Chief Alexander Rumyantsev said in Bushehr on Sunday that despite wide criticism against Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation, Moscow intends to continue its collaboration with Tehran based on international laws. - 2/27/05

Iranian students denounce judicial action against university teacher
About 150 students of Tehran University's Faculty of Social Science held a sit-in protest on Sunday to denounce a judicial verdict against one of instructors of Allameh Tabatabaei University. - 2/27/05

Iran's first nuclear power plant to become operational in 2006
Vice President and Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aqazadeh said in Bushehr on Sunday said that the first nuclear power plant will be connected to the national grid in 2006. - 2/27/05

Diplomats: Iran Got Nuke Know-How in '80s
By the late 1980s, members of a black market network had handed Iran all the basic knowledge the Middle Eastern country needed to set up technology that can be used to make atomic weapons, diplomats familiar with an investigation of Iran's nuclear ambitions said Sunday. -AP - 2/27/05

Russia-Iran nuclear deal signed
Russia and Iran have signed an agreement for Moscow to supply fuel to Iran's new nuclear reactor in Bushehr. -BBC - 2/27/05

Hidden Costs of Israel's Occupation Policies
Israelis are paying a high but rarely acknowledged economic and social cost for nearly 40 years of occupation, says a report commissioned by Oxfam published today. -Common Dreams - 2/27/05

Second quake shakes outskirts of Lali in south of Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the open-ended Richter scale jolted suburbs of the town of Lali in Khuzestan province, south of Iran, Sunday morning, the second hitting the area in less than five minutes. - 2/27/05

EU, US still 'differ profoundly' on Iran, warns UK daily
Despite President George W Bush's diplomatic excursion this week, there are still a noticeable contrast between the EU and the US on foreign policy, including an inconsistent approach towards Iran, according to a leading British daily. - 2/26/05

Afghani women face misery in Nuristan
The wooden hut of Zulaikha, a 45-year-old midwife, remains the only ray of hope for destitute women in the Nuristan valley, in northeastern Nuristan province. Dozens of women gather around Zulaikha, many of them after travelling from snow-capped mountains after a day's journey by foot. - 2/26/05

Iran, Russia to sign contract on return of spent fuel
Iran and Russia are scheduled to sign a contract for the return of spent nuclear fuel to Moscow, in the southern city of Bushehr on Sunday, said an official in Tehran - 2/26/05

Russia-Iran nuclear deal delayed
Moscow and Tehran have postponed the signing of a deal to supply fuel for Iran's new nuclear reactor in Bushehr. -BBC - 2/26/05

Iran gas pipeline can further improve Islamabad-Delhi ties: Pak PM
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the proposed gas pipeline could further improve relations between Pakistan and India, local press reports quoted him saying on Saturday. - 2/26/05

Conclave of the Brats: Dubya and Puty-Put Share a Medieval Castle
It was an appropriate setting for two of the world's most loathsome individuals: a medieval Bratislava castle overlooking the Danube River. "President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin sought common ground Thursday on keeping conventional and nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists," reports ABC News. -Counterpunch - 2/26/05

World population to reach 9.1 billion in 2050, UN projects
The world's population will reach 6.5 billion by July and, despite lower expected fertility rates, is likely to reach 9.1 billion by 2050, with most of the increase taking place in developing countries, the United Nations Population Division says in its revised report for 2004. - 2/26/05

President echoes public demand from US to unfreeze Iranian assets
President Mohammad Khatami on Saturday echoed the public demand that the US should release Iranian assets it has frozen since 1979 as a gesture of contribution to the quake hit people of Kerman province. - 2/26/05

Rowhani reaffirms 'no' to permanent uranium enrichment suspension by Iran
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani here Friday evening ruled out once again a permanent uranium enrichment stop as demanded by the three European countries and the US. - 2/26/05

Tehran to host 15th International Conference on Persian Gulf
Alireza Moayyeri added that 80 researchers and intellectuals from 32 countries are scheduled to attend the conference. Persian Gulf, regional security and cooperation are among the issues to be discussed at the conference, he said. - 2/26/05

Iranian President critical of insufficient efforts to prevent disasters
Addressing a group of officials in charge of reconstruction of the quake-ravaged provincial city of Zarand on Saturday, Khatami said despite voluminous efforts taken in different sectors, the natural disasters and the related consequences have unfortunately been put into oblivion. - 2/26/05

Iran Says It Would Welcome U.S. Help in Nuclear Talks
``We would welcome help from the U.S.,'' said Iranian National Security Adviser Hassan Rohani after talks in Berlin today with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. ``Both sides are convinced that dynamism must be injected into the discussions.'' -Bloomberg - 2/25/05

Iran Nuclear Program Creates a Furor Likely to Be Futile
Having already successfully fooled most of Congress and the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration is now claiming that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. -Common Dreams - 2/25/05

EU sways Bush towards softer line on Iran
President George Bush declared yesterday that the US and Europe were "united" in their determination to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power and for the first time suggested that the Europeans could negotiate with Iran on behalf of the Americans. -Guardian - 2/25/05

Neocons Fret Over Tilt to Europe
"America supports a strong Europe," George W. Bush told an appreciative audience at his first major European speech in Brussels Monday, "because we need a strong partner in the hard work of advancing freedom in the world." But many on the right disagree, and the warm words conceal strenuous infighting among conservatives over the shape of the administration's Europe policy. -Boston Globe - 2/25/05

Iranian Archaeology Wouldn’t Grow Behind the Closed Doors
The ancient sites of Iran were explored extensively by foreign archaeologists before the Islamic revolution of 1979. The work was surely advantageous; however, some Iranians were skeptical of their activities, believing that their cultural heritage was being looted to find a home outside the country - 2/25/05

JPL's New Associate Director, Iranian-American Firouz M. Naderi Led Successful Mars Exploration
Dr. Firouz M. Naderi, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Program since April 2000, will broaden his oversight of endeavors to study other parts of the universe, from Earth to distant galaxies, in a new leadership position at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. - 2/25/05

Two aftershocks shake Zarand
Two aftershocks have occurred in the town of Zarand in this southeastern province until 19:00 hours local time on Thursday. - 2/25/05

RFE/RL Interview Sources at Risk in Iran
Being interviewed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty can place journalists in peril. Iranian weblogger and journalist Arash Sigarchi, who has been interviewed by--but has never worked for--Radio Farda, a U.S.-financed radio station broadcasting in Persian to Iran, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on February 22 by a revolutionary tribunal in Gilan, northern Iran. - 2/25/05

Italians and Iranians Join to Save Bolaghi Ancient Sites
A joint team of Italian and Iranian experts will start next week to explore the ancient cemeteries and settlements of Bolaghi gorge, behind the Sivand Dam, as part of the project to save the archeological site. - 2/25/05

Iran girl gets 100 lashes for sex
A teenage girl and two young men in Iran have been sentenced to lashes for having sex. -BBC - 2/25/05

Now Syria is at the top of the bad guys' league table
Neocon pressure for regime change in Damascus is building up -Guardian - 2/25/05

International Group Highlights Women's Role in Conflict Resolution
Want to help resolve conflicts? Be sure to include women. That is the message delivered by Women Waging Peace, an organization uniting hundreds of female activists from around the world. Several prominent members of the group pressed their case in Washington Thursday. - 2/25/05

JICS: Journal of Iranian Chemical Society sets a new milestone
Journal of Iranian Chemical Society (JICS), published by the Iranian Chemical Society (ICS) has reached a new milestone in recognition of the quality of its manuscripts. - 2/25/05

Iraqi women eye Islamic law
Covered in layers of flowing black fabric that extend to the tips of her gloved hands, Jenan al-Ubaedy knows her first priority as one of some 90 women who will sit in the national assembly: implementing Islamic law. -CSM - 2/25/05

The Downside of Democracy
What if the U.S. doesn't like what the voters like in the Mideast and beyond? -Los Angeles Times - 2/25/05

Structural Engineers Find Ways to Reinforce Old Buildings to Make Them Earthquake-Proof
A powerful earthquake in Iran killed at least 500 people this week and left thousands living in temporary shelter. Engineers have studied structures in the aftermath of these kinds of strong earthquakes to see how new and existing buildings can be made to withstand seismic forces. In the U.S., strong structures begin with the enforcement of good building codes, something often lacking in the developing world. - 2/25/05

Cuneiform Tablets Discovered in Haft Tapeh
in the historical site of Haft Tapeh in the southern province of Khuzestan has led to the discovery of seven mud tablets in Akkadian cuneifom language. - 2/25/05

Another Iranian blogger gets jail sentence
Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned the Iranian authorities for confirming a six-month prison sentence and one million rials (85 euros) fine on Mohamad Reza Nasab Abdolahi, editor of the weblog Webnegar (Web Writer), for supposedly insulting the country's leaders and making anti-government propaganda. - 2/25/05

Analysis: Quake Highlights Iran's Difficulties In Handling Civil-Affairs Emergencies
Officials announced on 23 February that the death toll from a 6.4 magnitude earthquake one day earlier in southeastern Iran's Kerman Province had exceeded 790, and the same day Reuters reported that angry locals attacked the visiting Interior Minister's convoy as they complained about an inadequate governmental response. -RFE - 2/24/05

Red Crescent Leads Response to Iranian Earthquake
A strong earthquake struck near Zarand in southeast Iran Tuesday, killing at least 790 people and injuring more than 1,400. The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) is leading the rescue and relief activities and has deployed nearly 50 disaster response teams to the area. - 2/24/05

Iranian Group Seeks Legitimacy in U.S.
One-time members of a terrorist organization are hiding in the United States - in plain sight. The organization's former U.S. representative freely walks the streets and has a contract with Fox News as a foreign affairs analyst. Lawmakers write letters on the group's behalf. And former intelligence officials say the group maintains contacts in defense circles, although the Pentagon denies it. -AP - 2/24/05

Smithsonian Magazine Finds Iranians Still Like Americans
In the March issue of Smithsonian magazine, the article "A New Day in Iran?" finds that Iranians say they admire, of all places, America. - NewsMax - 2/24/05

New Report Says Nuclear-Armed Iran Would Present Clear, Present Danger to US
A new report by an influential group of diplomats and Middle East scholars says a nuclear-armed Iran would present a clear and present danger to U.S. interests, and urges President Bush to retain the option of using military force, if necessary, to disrupt Iran's nuclear ambitions. -VOA - 2/24/05

Iran: Blogger Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
"The Iranian government is sending a message to its critics: keep silent or face years in prison," said Widney Brown, deputy program director of Human Rights Watch. - 2/24/05

Transcript: Bush, Schroeder Discuss Iran
After their meeting on Wednesday morning in Mainz, US President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder addressed journalists for about 20 minutes in front of the electoral palace. Both reiterated the idea that it is time to "put past differences behind us." - 2/24/05

Aziz: Iran-Pakistan annual trade exchanges to stand at dlrs 1b
Talking to reporters in Isfahan, Aziz said the volume of Iran-Pakistan trade exchanges currently stands at some dlrs 400 million annually. - 2/24/05

UN emergency teams on ground in earthquake-stricken Iranian region
"Our priority at this stage is to find out what the needs are on the ground, particularly regarding women and children," said UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative Kari Egge, who was travelling in the area at the time and went immediately to the site, where she saw a whole village completely wiped out. - 2/24/05

Iranian gas transit via Ukraine to Europe discussed in Tehran
The Iranian-Ukrainian talks in the Iranian capital focused on the issue of Iranian gas transit via Ukraine to Europe. Iranian Ambassador to Ukraine Bahman Taherian Mobarake and Ukrainian Fuel Minister Ivan Plachkov exchanged views on the prospects for bilateral cooperation in the energy sphere. - 2/24/05

How Would Permanent U.S. Bases In Afghanistan Impact Regional Interests?
U.S. Senator John McCain told reporters in Kabul on 22 February that America's strategic partnership with Afghanistan should include "permanent bases" for U.S. military forces. The Afghan government says it wants a long-term military, economic and political partnership with the United States. -RFE - 2/24/05

The Agents of Instability
Why isn't Bush looking for a way out of the greatest strategic blunder in American history? Why, instead, is Bush and his government doing all they can to spread the conflict into Syria and Iran? -Counterpunch - 2/24/05

U.S.' Prewar Visions Get Further Out of Focus
Two years ago, as the U.S. planned to march into Baghdad, many in the Bush administration had a vision for Iraq's first freely elected government in decades. It would be a pro-U.S. regime that would support American military bases, embrace U.S. businesses and serve as a model for democracy in the region. -Los Angeles Times - 2/24/05

Keeping A Hand In
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew insists upon maintaining a diplomatic presence inside Iran. -Embassy - 2/24/05

Ebadi defies Iranian court order
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi says she has defied an order by the Tehran judiciary to appear in court. -BBC - 2/24/05

Bush 'backed down on Iran threat'
Iran says US President George Bush has been forced to back down in his tussle with Tehran over its nuclear plans. -BBC - 2/24/05

US tennis superstar Andre Agassi planning to visit Iran
Iranian-American tennis superstar is planning to visit his father's native country Iran, the German online daily Netzeitung reported Thursday. - 2/24/05

UNICEF sends emergency supplies to Zarand quake
UNICEF has dispatched some emergency latrine slabs and plastic sheeting for immediate use in the earthquake stricken villages surrounding the town of Zarand, south west Iran. - 2/24/05

Iranian journalist and weblogger sentenced to 14 years in prison
Reporters Without Borders expressed outrage after journalist and weblogger Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on 22 February by a revolutionary tribunal in Gilan, northern Iran. - 2/24/05

Beware of Dog!
It is not very flattering to be paraded like a Rottweiler on a leash, whose master threatens to let him loose on his enemies. But this is our situation now. Vice President Dick Cheney threatened a few weeks ago that if Iran continues to develop its nuclear capabilities, Israel might attack her. - 2/23/05

US Denies Sending Spy Planes over Iran
The U.S. Defense Department has denied a claim by Iran that U.S. spy planes have been flying over that country in an effort to gather intelligence about its nuclear facilities. -VOA - 2/23/05

Chirac Urges Bush to Offer Iran Incentives
French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday he had urged President Bush to help European negotiations to curb Iran's nuclear program by offering incentives on trade and aviation. -Reuters - 2/23/05

Doomed to Fail
If America Keeps Marching, It Could Very Well Be in the Direction of a Nuclear Apocalypse -Scott Ritter, Baltimore Sun - 2/23/05

Rain slows Iran quake aid effort
Iranian authorities hope to reach people in the remaining areas affected by the earthquake in the south-eastern Kerman province on Wednesday. -BBC - 2/23/05

Iraq's Leading Shi'ite Party Chooses Jaafari as PM Candidate
Iraq's majority Shi'ite coalition picked Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a former physician with close ties to Iran, as their candidate for prime minister Tuesday. Mr. al-Jaafari's selection means it is possible that a Shi'ite will lead Iraq's first democratically elected government in 50 years. - 2/23/05

Take your partners for the European waltz
Like Britain and France, Mr Schröder strongly backs the EU-led diplomatic effort to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions. But Mr Bush refuses to make a foursome. This has led some European diplomats to conclude that the US aim is regime change in Tehran, even if Mr Bush no longer uses the phrase. "Iran could shift entirely to windmills and solar panels and Washington would still not be satisfied," one official said. -Guardian - 2/23/05

Iran finds allies against UN atomic plan-diplomats
A plan by the U.N.'s atomic watchdog aimed partly at helping to persuade Iran to forsake its nuclear ambitions is opposed not only by Tehran but a group of countries including Japan and Brazil, diplomats said. -Reuters - 2/23/05

Who killed Rafik Hariri?
If Syria killed Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister and mastermind of its revival after the civil war, it must be judged an act of political suicide. Syria is already under great international pressure from the US, France and Israel. -Guardian - 2/23/05

Straw makes Iran quake aid pledge
The UK has offered aid to Iran, with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw offering his sympathy, after hundreds were killed by an earthquake in the country. -BBC - 2/23/05

UN agencies organize assessment missions for quake in central Iran
United Nations agencies are organizing assessment missions to the area of central Iran where an earthquake killed and injured hundreds early today, and first staff reports said many villages had been destroyed, bad weather may impede aid efforts and immediate needs included tents, water and food. - 2/23/05

Global blogger action day called
The global web log community is being called into action to lend support to two imprisoned Iranian bloggers. -BBC - 2/23/05

Analysis: Bush-Putin Summit And Its Implications For The Caucasus
As the summit meeting of the U.S. and Russian presidents approaches, much of the focus has centered on the rise of a newly authoritarian Russia. -RFE - 2/23/05

Iranian army to provide relief assistance to quake-hit areas
The Representative of Iran Armed Forces at the Natural Disasters Headquarters (NDH) said in Tehran on Tuesday night that the army has formed a crisis management center to provide relief assistance to quake-hit areas since early Tuesday morning - 2/23/05

Schroeder anticipates "successful" EU-Iran nuclear talks
"We are expecting successful negotiations and we are of the opinion that it can be reached through diplomatic, peaceful- albeit surely tough- negotiations," Schroeder told the press following his talks with visiting US President George W. Bush in Mainz. - 2/23/05

Third Way
This is the term Shams uses to introduce himself (and his doctrine) to his long-sought disciple Molavi (Rumi). In Chinese world-view, Third Way is called Tao. In Western world-view, it is more known as Mid-Way or Moderation. I think their equivalent in Biology would be Stable or Steady State. -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 2/23/05

Let’s show the world what the blogging community can do when it unites. Two of our own are in prison. Bloggers Mojtaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi are being detained by the Iranian authorities. - 2/23/05

Bush Says Notion of Attack on Iran 'Ridiculous'
President Bush says the idea that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is, in his words, "ridiculous". But he says he will not rule out any options. -VOA - 2/23/05

Report puts Iran quake death count at 790
Latest reports from Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) puts the official death count of the quake in town of Zarand in Iran's province of Kerman at about 500. However, the survey conducted by ISNA puts the number of the dead at 790 and the injured at 1411. - 2/23/05

To promote networking, interdisciplinary communications, and sharing of ideas and research findings on behalf of scholars, institutions, policy makers and citizens, the University of Utah, in conjunction with the Middle East Technical University (METU-Ankara) and World Security Network are happy to announce the upcoming US-IRAN RELATIONS CONFERENCE. - 2/22/05

Iranian People Are Our Allies, Pressure on Regime Needed, Experts Testify at House Hearing
“Iranian people have not been cowed into submission, they continue to speak out,” said Professor Gary Sick of Columbia University today at a hearing of the House Committee on International Relations “The West must keep its spotlight on Iran and encourage true voices of democracy.” -NIAC - 2/22/05

Iran Readies Military, Fearing a U.S. Attack
Iran has begun publicly preparing for a possible U.S. attack, as tensions mount between the Bush administration and this country's hard-line leaders over Tehran's purported nuclear weapons program. -Borzou Daragahi, SF Chronicle - 2/22/05

Almost 400 killed in strong earthquake in Iran
A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 shook southeastern Iran Tuesday morning, killing almost 400 people and injuring hundreds, Reuters reported quoting a local official. - 2/22/05

NIAC Public Service and Journalism Fellowship Program
NIAC’s Public Service and Journalism Fellowship Program is the first and only initiative designed to grant Iranian-American youth the opportunity to witness first-hand how democracy works in America. The program provides outstanding Iranian-American college students with internships in political and media organizations in Washington, DC through a paid internship. - 2/22/05

Bush accepts that Iran is not Iraq
US President George W Bush Monday said Washington was working closely with Germany, France and the UK on Iran's nuclear program and acknowledged that Iran is different to Iraq. - 2/22/05

Quake raze 20 villages in southeastern Iran
Some 40 villages in Iran's southeastern province of Kerman were destroyed by the strong quake early this morning. Some 20 villages were razed to the ground, said a provincial official. The quake, with a magnitude of 6.4, was centered on the town of Zarand in Kerman province, about 700 km southeast of Tehran. - 2/22/05

India-Pakistan trade talks begin
Commerce secretaries from India and Pakistan have begun two days of trade talks in the Indian capital Delhi. -BBC - 2/22/05

Egypt's Silence to Bush's Call
But the big prize in Bush's vision of a democratic Middle East is Egypt, the populous Arab nation and once the region's political giant. There he seems to be failing. -CSM - 2/22/05

Iran, North Korea Nuclear Threats Overhyped Says Intelligence Expert
In the interview with Barron's' Jonathan Laing, Friedman also downplays the threat from Iran's nuclear ambitions. "Iran's nuclear program isn't really all that viable, and the country has to know that if she continues to enrich uranium in defiance of Western desires, the U.S., or perhaps Israel, will hit them with the big stick. Iran isn't that stupid." - 2/22/05

Government spokesman: Bin Laden not arrested by Iran
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh dismissed the rumors that Iranian security agents have arrested Bin Laden and said such news were totally false and baseless. - 2/22/05

Over 1 million Afghans likely to return home in next two years – UN refugee chief
More than 1 million of the up to 3 million Afghans still living in exile in Pakistan and Iran are likely to return home in the next two years with the prospects for improved security - 2/22/05

Europeans Welcome Bush's New Tone
Mr. Solana says one of the issues the two sides agree on is getting Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program, although the Europeans prefer to do that through diplomatic means while the Americans take a tougher line and hold out the threat of sanctions. -VOA - 2/22/05

Iranian firms plan to increase investments in Armenia: Azeri TV
A private television channel in Azerbaijan Republic BM-TI TV said here Monday that many Iranian companies are planning to increase investments in Armenia. - 2/22/05

Rowhani, Schroeder to discuss Iran nuclear case in Berlin on Wednesday Berlin
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani is due to arrive Wednesday for a two-day visit to Berlin where he will hold talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on the latest developments in Iran's nuclear case, IRNA reported. - 2/22/05

Pakistan's Prime Minister arrives in Tehran
First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref extended an official welcome to Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who arrived here at the head of a high-ranking delegation Tuesday - 2/22/05

Iran, Britain explore higher mutual investments, trade exchange
companies' representatives explored grounds for increasing bilateral trade between the two nations, the Iran Chambers of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) public relations department reported in Tehran on Monday. - 2/22/05

Iran's government denounces parliament decision to reduce Turkcell's stake
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh Monday criticized Iran's parliament which decided last week to reduce a Turkish company's stake in a major cell phone project. - 2/22/05

Analysis: Iranian Proliferation Central To Bush-Putin Summit
The proliferation danger posed by Iran is likely to be a major topic of discussion when President George W. Bush meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bratislava later this week. -RFE - 2/22/05

Iranian Women’s Project - Spring 2005
Iranian Student Alliance in America, UC Berkeley is working on an ambitious project called “Iranian Women’s Project.” This project’s main goal is to present a showcase of different aspects of Iranian women - 2/22/05

Knocking on the Nuclear Door
In 1992, in the warm glow of the Cold War's end, the United States stopped making and testing nuclear arms, halting its arsenal at 10,000 warheads and pledging to cut back further still. Four years later, it was the first country to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty. But though committed to it in principle - certainly in regard to other nations - the U.S. wanted to keep its options open and, in 1999, to universal dismay, refused to ratify the treaty. -Toronto Star - 2/22/05

Scott Ritter Says U.S. Plans June Attack On Iran
Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail yesterday in Washington State, dropped two shocking bombshells in a talk delivered to a packed house in Olympia's Capitol Theater. The ex-Marine turned UNSCOM weapons inspector said that George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and claimed the U.S. manipulated the results of the recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq United for Peace of Pierce County - 2/21/05

She has hottest role on TV - and loves it
the 52-year-old Iranian actress is playing a chillingly sinister Middle Eastern terrorist on 24. As the wickedly cunning Dina Araz, Aghdashloo is stealing every scene she's in with her icy looks, throaty voice and scary ability to poison her son's girlfriend with ease - Palm Beach Post - 2/21/05

Iran denies it's arrested bin Laden
Some Iranian internet sites quoted American officials as saying the al-Qaeda leader, who has a $US25 million ($31.67 million) bounty on his head, had been arrested two weeks ago by Iranian forces - The Australian - 2/21/05

Iranian AG Pastor Sentenced to Three Years
A Tehran military court sentenced a 47-year-old Assemblies of God lay pastor to a three-year prison term on Wednesday, five months after his arrest with more than 80 other Christian leaders. The verdict came during the second and final session of a military trial that begun in late January. ChristianPos - 2/21/05

DaimlerChrysler Iran Truck Sale Faces German Probe
DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's largest truckmaker, is being investigated by German authorities after a Saudi affiliate delivered 270 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles worth $22 million to Iran without government approval. Bloomberg - 2/21/05

The price paid for blogging Iran
Iran is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to keep an online diary. BBC - 2/21/05

An Ominous Pairing
The two countries whose nuclear programs have raised alarms of late may be cooperating more closely than previously known. Time - 2/20/05

The Doctor of Politics
Ibrahim al-Jaafari is no strongman. He speaks so softly that he often seems to be whispering to himself. Even when audible, he can be hard to understand: his vocabulary is drawn heavily from classical Arabic, full of flowery phrases and literary allusions - Time - 2/20/05

Hyperbole and hypocrisy will be the only results in Bush's European jaunt
The itinerary begs one big question. Why is the White House bothering with this trip? The next four years may be as turbulent for US-EU relations as Bush’s first term - Times UK - 2/20/05

Bush to Nudge Putin on Democracy, But Not Publicly
Despite calls for a harder U.S. line on Russia, President Bush will likely question growing Kremlin authoritarianism in private, rather than in public, when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin next week - Reuters - 2/20/05

Norooz Propagated to the Remotest Parts of the World via Persian Gulf by Anonymous
Norooz, as ancient as Iranian history, is the greatest symbol of the and cultural identity of our nation which has gallantly outlived all adversities and adversaries. PersianMirror - 2/20/05

As tensions with US grow, Iran heightens war readiness
Hamid-Reza, a 23-year-old clothing store manager, lost relatives in the Iran-Iraq war and says he would be ready to give his life for Iran against any aggressor if it would bring his country victory. But he fears his country would be no match for the United States, which is locked in an increasingly high-pitched diplomatic battle with Tehran over its nuclear program- Boston Globe - 2/20/05

Report: U.S. in Secret Talks with Iraqi Insurgents
A U.S. officer tried to get names of other insurgent leaders while the Iraqi complained the new Shi'ite-dominated government was being controlled by Iran, according to an account of the meeting provided by the Iraqi negotiator - Reuters - 2/20/05

Dilemma for Clarke over Iranian embassy siege survivor
The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, faces a fresh dilemma over how to treat terrorists, but this one is from a previous era. Within weeks he will be asked to consider the future of the only terrorist to survive when the SAS stormed London's Iranian embassy in 1980 - Guardian - 2/19/05

Bad Economy Leads Iranians to Seek Fortune in Supernatural
Rojan spread the tarot cards swiftly on a prayer mat. "In the name of God," she said as she began carefully switching their places. "There is a lot of energy in this room." - NYtimes - 2/19/05

Footprints of 3 Jurassic Dinosaurs Found in Kerman
Footprints of three dinosaurs dating to the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods (195 to 65 million years ago) were discovered in the fossil rich area of Kerman province in central Iran. - 2/18/05

Bush's Repair Job With Europe
Next week, President Bush visits Europe on a political peacemaking mission. He's trying to repair a vital relationship that's been deeply shaken by differences over the Iraq war - CSM - 2/18/05

Flattened Iraq
In reality, Iraq has been flattened by the Bush administration's tank and there's no obvious road to push it onto that's likely to lead anywhere palatable, no matter who may now be in the driver's seat - Commondreams - 2/18/05

Movie: Turtles Can Fly
"Turtles Can Fly" is set in Ghobadi’s native Kurdistan on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq. Thirteen-year-old Soran (Soran Ebrahim) is known as “Satellite,” for his installation of dishes and antennae for local villages looking for news of Saddam. IFC Films - 2/18/05

Iran-Syria alliance: Your views
What do you think about the pact between Syria and Iran - BBC - 2/18/05

Iran-Russia Deal Could Blunt Bush Diplomacy Talk
President Bush said on Thursday there was still time for diplomacy to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, but a Russian deal to provide the Islamic republic with nuclear fuel in defiance of the United States was likely to rekindle fears of confrontation. Reuters - 2/18/05

Bush Seeks to Mend Fences, Rally EU on Iran, Syria
President Bush will use next week's fence-mending trip to Europe to appeal for unity after the Iraq elections and to try to rally trans-Atlantic allies to step up pressure on Iran and Syria, officials said on Thursday - Reuters - 2/18/05

Iran: Tehran Says Nuclear Deal With Russia To Be Signed Next Week
Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says an agreement on the return of spent nuclear fuel from its Bushehr nuclear plant to Russia will be signed next week. RFE - 2/18/05

Iran and Syria confront US with defence pact
Iran and Syria heightened tension across the Middle East and directly confronted the Bush administration yesterday by declaring they had formed a mutual self-defence pact to confront the "threats" now facing them - Guardian - 2/17/05

Iranian Pleads Not Guilty to Exports
Between 1998 and 2000, Farahbakhsh sold computer parts from National Instruments, an Austin, Texas-based company, to the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, a branch of the Iranian government ``involved in developing and producing ballistic and cruise missiles,'' prosecutors allege. BBC - 2/17/05

Iranian, German foreign minsters talk on Iran`s nuclear programs
During the meeting the German foreign minister, too, presented his viewpoint regarding the ongoing Iran-Eu talks, arguing, "We should not have a negative attitude about the final outcome of the talks in advance, since what really counts in these talks is obtaining practical guarantees about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programs." - 2/17/05

Lawmakers Urge Strong US Position On Iran
Two committees spent the better part of Wednesday hearing from experts on the pros and cons of diplomatic efforts, and possible military options - VOA - 2/17/05

A 'pragmatic' Islamist for Iraq
Jaafari's rise will put a Shiite Islamist in charge of the government for the first time in Iraq's history. It also underscores waning US influence over Iraq's politics. The US would have preferred to see a secular leader emerge, not an Islamist who once lived in Iran. CSM - 2/17/05

Voter Indifference an Attempt to Deny Iran Regime Credibility, Expert States
Low levels of voter participation, most shockingly the 12 percent participation rate in the 2003 municipal elections, and a rising popular sense of helplessness are among the indicators used by Iran expert Alex Vatanka to explain the fact that the majority of Iranians do not prefer their current, theocratic government. Radio Free Europe - 2/16/05

Refugee Group Highlights Plight of World's Stateless People
Many nations reserve citizenship to those who meet certain criteria, often pertaining to bloodlines and ethnicity. Kurds, for instance, face barriers to citizenship in nations from Syria to Iran. VOA - 2/16/05

Afghan refugee talks in Brussels
At least five million Afghans fled their homes, mostly to Iran and Pakistan, during decades of conflict. BBC - 2/16/05

Yushchenko targets privatisation 'theft'
A series of criminal investigations into the former administration's conduct have also been opened. One MP urged prosecutors to investigate claims the old administration sold six nuclear-capable Kh-55 missiles to Iran and six to China, against international treaties. The Guardian - 2/16/05

Why US, Europe need more coordinated approach to Middle East, Muslim world
In the Middle East, everything is connected. It's hard to you solve a problem in one country without solving a similar problem in the country next door. CSM - 2/16/05

Analysis: Some Fear Reversal Of Reforms At Iranian Intelligence Ministry
Iran's Intelligence and Security Ministry earned a reputation for persecuting and killing dissidents in Iran and abroad and for economic corruption in the first 15 years of its existence (1984-99). An apparent purge of the ministry in 1999, after some officials were linked with the serial killings of dissidents, apparently helped to rehabilitate its reputation. Radio Free Europe - 2/16/05

Caspian Pipeline Likely to Cushion Market
Experts now say the Caspian should in coming years pump some 4 million to 5 million barrels per day, on par with Iran. LA Times - 2/16/05

Iraq's Shiites unlikely to be Iran's proxies
Iran is facing a dilemma, say some analysts. While an Iraq that's too chaotic might keep U.S. troops in the region, one that's too peaceful, prosperous and democratic could embolden Washington hawks who see Iran as the next front in the war on terror. SF Chronicle - 2/15/05

Iran's fire survivors say help came too slow
"Rescue teams did not arrive timely. There were few ambulances to take the injured ones to nearby hospitals," said Mohsen, a 47-year-old shopkeeper who lost his wife and daughter in the mosque ablaze- Reuters - 2/15/05

Golden and Silver Artefacts of Ancient Iran Showcased in National Museum
A collection of 80 gold and silver items selected from among the museum treasures, dating to the third millennium BC to the Qajar times are put on public display in an exhibition for the first time. - 2/15/05

Iran upbeat over EU nuclear talks
Iran has said it is hopeful that a "fruitful" agreement can be reached with the European Union on Iranian nuclear activities. BBC - 2/15/05

IAEA Head Disputes Claims on Iran Arms
The head of the U.N. agency responsible for investigating Iran's nuclear program said Tuesday that there had been no discoveries in the last six months. WashingtonPost - 2/15/05

Iranian star to join NBA galaxy
Jaber Rouzbahani is from the historical city of Isfahan in Iran. Born on May 10, 1986, Rouzbahani started playing less than four years ago and now plays for Isfahan's Zob Ahan. - 2/14/05

Iran's Gilan province sustains heavy damage by unprecedented snowfall
The Caspian Sea province of Gilan in northern Iran, has sustained severe damage due to an unprecedented snowfall which has hit the province for four consecutive days and nights since last Monday. - 2/14/05

Unified Persian Parade Set For March 20 In New York City
For thousands of spectators who participated cheerfully in the inaugural Persian Parade in New York City last year when they showcased their cultural heritage with pride to the world, they are once again reassured of yet another grand Parade scheduled for NOWRUZ: March 20 this year. - 2/14/05

US senator John McCain urges "vigorous support" for Europe's Iran initiative
United States Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, called on Washington to strongly support Europe's ongoing nuclear and political talks with Iran. - 2/14/05

Iranian writers offer condolence on death of Arthur Miller
The Center for Iranian Writers offered condolences Sunday on the death of renowned playwright Arthur Miller, hailing him a 'regular advocate of freedom of thought'. - 2/14/05

Nobakht: Rafsanjani to declare candidacy for elections in April
A political activist said in Tehran on Sunday that Expediency Council Chairman and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani would officially declare his bid to run in the May presidential elections in April. - 2/14/05

Tribal Life and Women’s Rights in Iran
A keynote speech by the renowned Iranian human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar ; A presentation on tribal women and their education by Dr. Cima Sedigh; Tribal Music by Chakavak Ensemble; Traditional Persian Dinner will be served; Saturday February 26, 2005, 6:00-10pm in Rutgers University - 2/14/05

Pasargadae Can Withstand Earthquakes
The Achaemenid architects who constructed Pasargadae some 2500 years ago used an innovative method called “base isolation” to consolidate their structures against earthquake. - 2/14/05

CROSSING OVER BURNT BRIDGES: Needed; Caution and Prudence
The two nations do not hate each other; it is the management of the diplomatic machinations that need to be redressed on both sides. While the public pronouncements continue to sound uncompromising and venomous to the point that many believe some act of aggression is imminent, there are signs that both sides recognize the value of adopting a more conciliatory approach to crossing over burnt bridges with some caution and prudence. -Kam Zarrabi - 2/14/05

Parliament to oblige Iran's Atomic Energy Organization to resume uranium enrichment
Parliament will oblige Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) to produce part of the nuclear fuel needed for the country's reactors, a senior nuclear energy official announced in Tehran on Sunday. - 2/13/05

Iran spurns European reactor deal
Iran has said it will not give up its plans to build a heavy-water nuclear reactor. European negotiators had offered to replace a heavy-water nuclear reactor with a light-water reactor. -BBC - 2/13/05

Official: Iran can turn into regional hub for medical tourism
Nasseri said medical tourism industry can absorb a large number of the Arab and non-Arab visitors to Iran and the tourists would be able to visit the country's tourist sites, while undergoing medical treatment. - 2/13/05

UNHCR Fears Growing Over Fate of Iranian Kurd Refugees
The U.N. Refugee Agency says it is growing increasingly concerned about a group of more than 100 Iranian Kurd refugees who are stuck at the Iraqi/Jordanian border. The agency says the group arrived at the border in three batches over the past four weeks. -VOA - 2/13/05

Northern Iraq Smugglers Cross to Iran
Iraqi guards here say they have increased security at the Iranian border since the war, try to prevent illegal crossings and know nothing about any U.S.-run covert operations into Iran. -AP - 2/13/05

Shia parties triumph in Iraq poll
A group dominated by Shia Muslim candidates and sponsored by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has won the Iraqi national elections. -BBC - 2/13/05

Iran Warns U.S. Not to 'Play with Fire'
Iran warned the United States on Sunday not to attack its nuclear facilities and said talks with European nations might produce a deal to defuse the dispute over its alleged ambitions to build atomic weapons. -Reuters - 2/13/05

I lost my heart in ... Iran
Why? It is a terribly pleasurable country to be in because the people are so friendly. This deep-rooted civilisation is very sophisticated - the Persian Empire was remarkable before it was vandalised by Alexander the Great 2,500 years ago. -Guardian - 2/13/05

Iran's Parliament approves trimming down Turkish firm's stake in Iran
The Parliament on Sunday approved the general outlines of a bill to sharply cut telecom major Turkcell's shares in a multi-billion-dollar Iranian contract. - 2/13/05

U.S. Reviewing Its Intelligence on Iran
The intelligence community is conducting a broad review of its Iran assessments, including a new look at the country's nuclear program, the future of its ruling clerics and the impact of the Iraq war on Tehran's powerful position in the region, according to administration officials and congressional sources. -Washington Post - 2/13/05

Iran may sign framework accord with EU Troika by late May
Iran may sign a framework agreement on its nuclear program with the EU Troika by the end of May, chief negotiator with the EU Troika Hussein Mousavian said. - 2/13/05

U.S. Uses Drones to Probe Iran For Arms
The Bush administration has been flying surveillance drones over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs and detect weaknesses in air defenses, according to three U.S. officials with detailed knowledge of the secret effort. -Washington Post - 2/13/05

Iran's Ebadi complains of new court summons, threats
Shirin Ebadi has reportedly complained of again being summoned to court, as well as subjected to death threats. "I have been summoned for trial on February 23, without knowing what the new charge is and what will be the fate of this case," she was quoted by ISNA - 2/12/05

Protestors warn of Iran 'danger'
Anti-war protestors have warned of the danger of any attack on Iran, at the fourth annual conference of the Stop the War Coalition. -BBC - 2/12/05

Raising temperature against Iran 'nothing new,' says academic
"We are periodically subjected to rhetorical flourishes, particularly when allies wish to reaffirm their loyalty to one another," says Ali Ansari, an associate fellow at the London's Royal Institute of International Affairs. - 2/12/05

Iran-France trade exchange rises by 22% to 3.353 billion euros
Volume of commercial transactions between Iran and France rose by 22 percent to 3.353 billion euros in the first 11 months of 2004 from 2.744 billion euros in the same period in 2003. - 2/12/05

Rumsfeld Urges Greater Trans-Atlantic Cooperation
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today in Munich that it is time for the United States and Europe to put their differences aside and work together in the war on terror. - 2/12/05

Iran to export 58 tons of caviar
Iran has set a target of 58 tons of caviar for export in 2005, the managing director of Iran Fisheries Company said in Yazd on Saturday. - 2/12/05

Nuclear weapons: Who has what?
Five nations are officially recognised as possessing nuclear weapons by the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). -BBC - 2/12/05

The Rise of a New Axis?
Washington may have cause to worry about a Pyongyang-Tehran nuclear alliance -YaleGlobal - 2/12/05

Analysis: U.S., Iran face off in Munich
Diplomatic fireworks may light up Bavaria this weekend with Pentagon hawks and Iran's deputy foreign minister attending the 41st Munich Security Conference. -UPI - 2/12/05

EU voices concern over human rights abuses in Azerbaijan
The 25-member European bloc called on the government of Azerbaijan to undertake a wide-ranging and independent inquiry into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment as soon as possible. - 2/12/05

Tajikistan's president to sign bill banning death penalties
President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan is expected to sign a bill on banning death penalties into law within the next three weeks, officials at the secretariat of Majlisi Milli, the upper house of nation al parliament said Saturday. - 2/12/05

Iran: Next Target of US Military Aggression
Selected articles and essays; Global Research E-Monograph and Reports Series - 2/12/05

Aydeen Aghdashlou: Iranian identity more evident in Persian language, literature
The first conference on Iranian identity is being organized by the Persian Language and Literature Research Center of Tehran Teachers' Training University and is scheduled to be held on March 9. - 2/12/05

Germany calls for end to Iran's isolation, incentives to end nuclear ambitions
Germany appealed Saturday for the United States to join Europe in ending the isolation of Iran, saying economic and security incentives were needed to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. - 2/12/05

US Warns Iran Over Nuclear
Over the past week the Bush Administration has issued more warnings to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear aspirations and end support for terrorism. - 2/12/05

Iranian American Plays a Prominent Role in the Next Chapter of the Civil Rights Movement
Three years after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, another tragedy continues to unfold – dividing us as a nation. Innocent men, women and children who are Middle Eastern, Muslim or South Asian wake up every day knowing that they may face discrimination, violence and intimidation in the U.S. “Making up one- third of the world, these human beings are Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and non-religious. Together, they are writing the next chapter of the civil rights movement in the United States,” says Banafsheh Akhlaghi, President of the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA). -Pouya Bavafa, IAPAC - 2/12/05

Iran War Drums Beat Harder
Despite the Bush administration's insistence that, at least for now, it remains committed to using diplomatic means to halt Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, war drums against the Islamic Republic appear to be beating more loudly here. - 2/12/05

Iran: Analysts Say Democratic Changes In Iraq May Inspire Similar Trends In Its Neighbor
The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003 sparked many concerns about neighboring Iran -- in particular about Iranian interference in Iraqi internal affairs. But some Iranians pushing for more freedom and openness in their country hope that democratic changes in Iraq will gradually flow across the border. -RFE - 2/12/05

Analysis: Despite Short-Term Reversals, Iranian Women's Status Likely To Improve
A United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR) rapporteur recently concluded a visit to Iran, and at her final news conference she spoke out against the shortcomings of that country's legal system in terms of gender issues. -RFE - 2/12/05

UCLA Film and Television Archive's 15th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema
This year’s series includes an exceptional crop of documentaries and fiction films, commencing with a stunning depiction of Iraqi Kurds caught in the crossfire of war (TURTLES CAN FLY), which is also this year’s official entry from Iran for Academy Awards consideration. - 2/11/05

Weather Revolution in Iran
As I am sitting here in our small apartment looking out watching the snow falling on icy streets of Tehran, I can recall that in the past 26 years since the Islamic Revolution this is first time that on 22nd Bahaman (10th February), the anniversary of the revolution, that the weather has not played along with the ruling class. -Reza Azad, Tehran - 2/11/05

Diplomats: US to increases pressure on Iran in next IAEA meeting
Western diplomats at IAEA said in Vienna on Friday, Washington intends to increase pressure on Iran in the next Governing Council meeting of the agency on February 28. - 2/11/05

Bloggers strike first
The response to President Bush's State of the Union address was immediate. An e-mail was circulated among prominent technology-savvy Iranians. It announced the launch of Iranians for Peace: "a weblog dedicated to the Iranian people who are against a military attack on Iran" -New Statesman - 2/11/05

Author details Iran's tumultuous decades
Set in Iran from 1928 to 1981, Morteza Baharloo's debut novel is about a devoted servant to a dynastic family of rural landowners. -Bellingham Herald - 2/11/05

Who's Hulegu? How to Stop the Invasion of Iran
On February 10, 1258, Baghdad fell to Mongol armies led by Genghis Khan’s grandson, Hulegu. Hulegu’s conquest led to a very long period of cultural, political and economic decline in Iraq. It would be good if the left stopped thinking that we’re doing the same thing. We’re doing much worse, of course, to Iraq. And to the whole world. Word has it that Iran’s next. What to do? -Press Action - 2/11/05

Ban lifted on Iranian opposition group protest
The court ruled the march in Berlin could go ahead if a speaker was prevented from addressing the protest and inflammatory banners were barred. Officials said between 700 and 800 Iranians took part in the protest. The NCR had claimed in a statement that 40,000 people had planned to attend the Berlin rally. -DPA - 2/11/05

Reviving Iran's revolutionaries
Huge murals show the spirit of the dead warrior ascending to heaven and every year giant canvases depicting portraits of martyrs are erected in the area where they used to live. -BBC - 2/11/05

Is Fox Preparing its audience for War with Iran?
Today on Studio B with Shepard Smith, Smith was interviewing former US Ambassador to Qater, Patrick Theros regarding Iran's nuclear program. The interview, itself, was not what was interesting. It was how Fox 'framed' the story with banners on the bottom part of the screen. -News Hounds - 2/11/05

US Lawmakers Hear from Middle East Experts on Israeli-Palestinian Prospects By Dan Robinson, VOA_URL, Washington
Two prominent Middle East experts have testified before the U.S. Congress about the opportunity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. - 2/11/05

Kay, Carter urge caution on Iran
Former President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, said that even a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities "would not be successful," but he agreed with U.S. officials who have demanded more transparency from the Islamic republic. -CC - 2/11/05

Iran, Tatarstansign dlrs 500m oil deal
Iran and Tatarstan Republic on Friday signed a 500 million dollar contract to explore and exploit oil in Iran. - 2/11/05

North Korea: Pyongyang Claims It Has Nuclear Weapons, Pulls Out Of Six-Party Talks
For the first time since the standoff over its nuclear program began more than two years ago, North Korea publicly admitted today that it possesses nuclear weapons. At the same time, North Korea vowed not to return to six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to halt its nuclear ambitions. -RFE - 2/11/05

The cheers were all ours
Iraq's illegitimate election did not justify the invasion, nor did it make occupation popular -Guardian - 2/11/05

Moderate quakes hit northeast, southwest Iran
Two separate earthquakes of the same size jolted two cities and their suburbs in the southwest and northeastern parts of Iran on Thursday evening and Friday morning respectively. - 2/11/05

Rafsanjani recommends US approach Iran through peaceful means
Rafsanjani, in a sermon at Tehran weekly Friday prayers, said the policy of coercion toward Iran will never work, and warned US leaders against the consequences of any effort against Iran. "I explicitly tell the White House that ... these threats will bear no fruit. They will not frighten us nor our people. Neither can you implement these threats," he said. - 2/11/05

Iranians answer unity rally call
Tens of thousands of Iranians have braved blizzards to attend rallies marking the 1979 Islamic revolution. -BBC - 2/10/05

German police bans MKO rally in Berlin over fears of violence
German police has banned Thursday's rally by the MKO terrorist group in Berlin, fearing possible violent acts by the Iraqi-based group, a police spokeswoman told IRNA. - 2/10/05

Bush’s New Freedom Fighter, Elliott Abrams: The Neocon’s Neocon
Minutes before his State of the Union Address, in which he repeated the promise to answer the call of freedom worldwide, the White House announced that Elliott Abrams would direct the new global democracy campaign as well as overseeing Middle East policy from his perch in the National Security Council. -Common Dreams - 2/10/05

Rice says no deadline set for European diplomatic initiative with Iran
American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, continued her hard-line rhetoric against the Islamic Republic in Brussels Wednesday following talks with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the European Union (EU). - 2/10/05

Law of Unintended Consequences: Careful What You Wish for in Iraq
In a heightened display of saber rattling, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been saying nasty things about Iran's "unelected mullahs." This is apparently so we'll be able to tell the difference between the theocracy in place in Tehran and the one coalescing in Baghdad. -Los Angeles Times - 2/10/05

Iran happy with draw against Bahrain
breathed a sigh of relief as its final round 2006 World Cup qualifier against Bahrain ended in a goalless draw in Manama Wednesday. - 2/10/05

Iranian FM terms "positive" his visit to Japan
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Thursday that his visit to Japan was positive and timely. - 2/10/05

Noam Chomsky: U.S. Might Face "Ultimate Nightmare" in Middle East Where Shiites Control Most of World's Oil
One of the country's leading dissidents, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, gives a major new address on the Iraq war, the re-election of President Bush and imperialism. -Democracy Now - 2/10/05

Iran gripped by wintry weather
Heavy snow has disrupted ordinary life in the Iranian capital, Tehran, with schools closed for most of the week and many people unable to get to work. -BBC - 2/10/05

Turkey: Ankara Increasingly Preoccupied By Developments In Northern Iraq
Kurdish ambitions in Iraq have always been a thorn in Turkey's side, and Ankara has long warned that any attempt at creating a federal Iraq with an autonomous Kurdish north would prompt a swift response. -RFE - 2/10/05

Rice Urges European Firmness on Nuclear Talks with Iran
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed European diplomats to take a tough line with Tehran in talks on Iran's nuclear program. She said Iran should be aware that a referral of the issue to the U.N. Security Council is looming, if it does not fully disclose its nuclear activities. -VOA - 2/10/05

Small Hollywood Studio Creates Special Effects
Iranian-born Foad Afshari is the company's president. Just 23 years old, he started this business working out of his home, and later moved to an office in a converted warehouse. It was done on a shoestring budget. - 2/10/05

Iran's ambassador to Britain recognizes Iranian security forces killed Kazemi
Reporters Without Borders today hailed comments made yesterday at Oxford University by Iran's ambassador to Britain in which he recognised that Iranian officials killed Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi while she was in custody in Tehran in July 2003. - 2/10/05

Iran 'will stick to nuclear plan'
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has said Tehran will never give up nuclear technology, as international pressure on his government continues to mount. He warned of "massive" consequences if Iran was treated unfairly. -BBC - 2/10/05

Khatami: Iran will turn into 'burning hell' if attacked
"If, God forbid, any aggressor puts its foot on this land, Iran will turn into a burning hell for them," he told thousands of demonstrators who had gathered at a famous square in Tehran to mark the 26th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. - 2/10/05

Iran, Flush With Oil Cash, Seems To Cool to Foreign Investments
Buoyed by surging oil revenues, conservatives in Iran's regime are pushing back against European investors on several fronts. The unfriendly business climate marks an important shift with high stakes for the U.S.'s and Europe's delicate dance with Iran. -WSJ - 2/10/05

They need a cup of hope and plenty of love: Association for Protection of Child Laborers
When my photographer friend asked me if I wanted to go with her to a special school for working children, little did I know that this will affect me so much. I can only hope that you are touched with this report of that school too. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/10/05

Iran exports 147.3 tons of saffron
Iran exported 147.3 tons of saffron valued at 81.282 million dollars during the first ten months of the current Iranian calendar year of 1383 (started March 20, 2004), registering a rise of 47 percent compared to the same period last year. - 2/9/05

Austria Weapons Deal with Iran Upsets US
An Austrian deal to supply high-calibre sniper rifles to the National Iranian Police to combat drug smuggling has raised concerns in the United States, worried that the weapons could be used by terrorists in Iraq. -VOA - 2/9/05

From 9066 to 9/11: Community and Identity in Wartime America
Banafshe Akhlaghi will be speaking at this event in Stanford University on February 10. The event is co-sponsored by Persian Students Association. - 2/9/05

Iran asks Japan to help smooth relations with U.S.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has asked Japan to help ease tensions between Tehran and Washington over Iran's plans to make nuclear fuel that could be used for atomic weapons, a Japanese official said on Wednesday. -Reuters - 2/9/05

Quake rattles Masjed Soleyman in southwestern Iran
A mild tremor measuring 3.9 on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Masjed Soleyman in the southwestern province of Khuzestan on Wednesday morning. - 2/9/05

Rice Downplays Prospect of Theocratic Rule in Iraq
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addresses European intellectuals on US foreign policy in the world, at Paris Science Politique Institute Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she does not think Iraq is headed toward Iranian-style Islamic rule, despite what she said was an extremely strong showing by Shi’ites in the January 30th election. -VOA - 2/9/05

The world according to the Baloch
Violence by tribal insurgents in the province of Balochistan has been setting alarm bells ringing in Pakistan. -BBC - 2/9/05

Limited elections test strength of Saudi reforms
Conservative monarchy's first local elections for 40 years marked by voter apathy and a single-sex electorate -Guardian - 2/9/05

Iran: U.S. Pressure Aims to Kill Iran-EU Nuke Talks
The United States wants talks to fail between the European Union and Iran over the Islamic state's nuclear program and is stepping up pressure to achieve that, Tehran's top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday. -Reuters - 2/9/05

Indian cabinet okays talks on gas pipeline
India had been concerned over the security of the proposed US$3.5 billion gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan, an idea the three countries have been pursuing for the past several years. - 2/9/05

Foreign Minister:Iran axis of security, stability in sensitive Persian Gulf region
Visiting Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tokyo on Wednesday that Iran was the "axis of security and stability in the sensitive Persian Gulf region and a safe partner as well." - 2/9/05

Iranian official: A bright prospect to open up in Iran-Europe nuclear talks by Friday
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani said that a bright prospect will open up for Iran-Europe nuclear talks by Friday. - 2/9/05

Rice warns Iran of UN sanctions
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned Iran it faces possible UN sanctions unless it accepts a European deal on its nuclear programme. -BBC - 2/9/05

Blair refuses to rule out joining any US action against Iran
Prime Minister Tony Blair Wednesday refused to categorically rule out that he would support US President George W. Bush in any military adventurism against Iran, but said that he believed the nuclear dispute could be pursued by diplomacy. - 2/9/05

Iran: Washington Blocking Efforts to Resolve Differences
The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council says Tehran wants to resolve its differences with Washington and that a U.S. military strike will not destroy all of Iran's nuclear facilities. -VOA - 2/9/05

While the United States Makes Demands on Iran, Budget Calls for Boost of U.S. Nuclear Weapons
The New York Times reported Monday that U.S. scientists "have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives, federal officials and private experts say." -Institute for Public Accuracy - 2/9/05

Bush, Iran & the Bomb
In 2002, Kenneth Pollack's book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq helped to persuade some Americans that, sooner or later (preferably sooner), the US would have to unseat Saddam Hussein in order to safeguard its own security...Now that the Bush administration is trying to decide how it should respond to a second hostile Middle Eastern state, Iran, which it suspects of seeking nuclear weapons, Pollack has written another long book, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America, advising what should be done. -New York Review of Books - 2/9/05

Nobel winner warns on Iran attack
Human rights would be "among the first casualties" if Iran were attacked or invaded, a Nobel laureate and Iranian human rights activist has said in an opinion article. -CNN - 2/9/05

Political Prisoners in Iran Held with Violent Criminals - Hunger Strikers Protest Conditions
The confinement of political prisoners in Iran together with violent criminals endangers their lives, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called for the immediate release of all prisoners held for the peaceful expression of political opinions. - 2/9/05

Human rights in Iran: Why an attack would be folly
American policy toward the Middle East, and Iran in particular, is often couched in the language of promoting human rights. No one would deny the importance of that goal. But for human rights defenders in Iran, the possibility of a foreign military attack on their country represents an utter disaster for their cause. -Shirin Ebadi and Hadi Ghaemi, IHT - 2/9/05

Don't hinder peace, Iran is told
Iran is a sponsor of terrorism and should realise it must not obstruct progress towards Middle East peace, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said. -BBC - 2/8/05

What Sistani Wants
He refuses a new air conditioner, yet his office is Internet-wired. He wants women to take political office, but not to shake the hands of men outside their families. He is easily the most powerful man in Iraq. Yet he's an Iranian -Newsweek - 2/8/05

How Should Iran Preserve the Name of Persian Gulf
Iran has reacted angrily to a map of Persian Gulf in a recent issue of National Geographic, which showed the name ‘Arabian Gulf’ next to “Persian Gulf’ in reference to this body of water. This anger was expressed by the Iranian government and many Iranian political groups regardless of their support for or opposition to the Islamic regime. -Nader Habibi - 2/8/05

Hans Blix Says Iran Has 'Legal Right' To Enrich Uranium
Iran has ''a legal right'' to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, but an attack by the U.S. or Israel would probably push the Iranians to build a nuclear bomb, former top U.N. weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix said. -Scoop - 2/8/05

Trial Begins for Jailed Iranian Pastor Five Months After Arrest
A 47-year-old Assemblies of God pastor in Iran who was arrested along with more than 80 other Christian leaders last September, went on trial last week before a military court in the capital city of Tehran -Christian Post. - 2/8/05

New round of Iran-EU3 nuclear talks begins
The new round of Iran-EU3 talks on Iran's nuclear program started in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday. - 2/8/05

Blair hopeful of success of 'constructive approach' to Iran
Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed optimism Tuesday that the 'constructive approach' led by Britain, France and Germany over reaching a long-term agreement on Iran's nuclear program would prove successful. - 2/8/05

Source: Russia, Iran May Sign Nuke Deal This Month
Russia is preparing to sign a deal with Iran this month to start atomic fuel shipments for a Moscow-built nuclear reactor there, a Russian nuclear source said Monday. -Reuters - 2/8/05

Shalom praises France for role in Iran nuclear negotiations
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on Monday praised France's role in seeking to persuade Iran to drop a nuclear enrichment program which Israel, the United States and others say is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. -Ha'aretz - 2/8/05

Iraqi Shi’a Groups Flex Muscles As They Gain In Polls
The vote counting is far from over in Iraq more than a week after the elections for the National Assembly. But with many results in from Shi’a-populated areas of southern Iraq, it increasingly appears that one of the strongest groupings to emerge from the vote will be the United Iraqi Alliance, endorsed by pre-eminent Shi’a cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. -RFE - 2/8/05

Work not visa item, so quit India: Cops to Nigar
According to sources, Khan, who is of Iranian descent, had been visiting India on a tourist visa since 2000. As per the rules, this does not permit her to work or earn. Despite this, she has performed in several music videos and Hindi films. -Indian Express - 2/8/05

Oil at One-Month Low Near $45
Oil prices deepened losses to a one-month low near $45 a barrel on Tuesday, weighed down by signs that OPEC would not cut production ahead of its March meeting and forecasts for rising U.S. crude stockpiles. -Reuters - 2/8/05

On January 27th, President Bush, in an interview with the Times, assured the world that “torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture.” Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was born in Syria, was surprised to learn of Bush’s statement. -New Yorker - 2/8/05

Pakistan Denies Passing Nuclear Information to Arab Countries
Pakistani officials are calling a report about Abdul-Qadeer Khan in Time Magazine baseless. - 2/8/05

Ta’zieh, only dramatic art of Islamic world: filmmaker
Iranian filmmaker Naser Taqvaii, who is participating in the 23rd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran with the documentary "The Ta’zieh of Braveheart Hur", believes that ta’zieh (an Iranian passion play) is the only original dramatic art of the Islamic world. - 2/8/05

Legislation aims to tighten asylum and driver's license laws, strengthen deportation rules
Congressman James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisconsin), with the support of 115 co-sponsors, introduced House Resolution 418 in the house on January 26th. The bill, otherwise known as the Real ID Act, seeks to “reform immigration policy, enhance border security, and implement new regulations for obtaining a driver’s license.” -NIAC - 2/8/05

Visas for Iran will be obtainable through Internet: official
Vice President and Head of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) Hossein Mar'ashi announced here Monday, "Tourists who wish to visit Iran can in near future obtain their visas through the Internet within 48 hours." - 2/8/05

Photos: Snow in Tehran
Last week we had a couple of lovely warm days, which made me think the spring is just across the corner. But i was wrong, and we have been having snow on and off since end of last week! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/8/05

Iran Talks Tough Ahead Of Nuclear Negotiations With Europeans
Tough words from Tehran to the United States and Israel yesterday follow criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice against what she called Tehran's "loathed regime of unelected mullahs." -RFE - 2/8/05

Interview With Italian Archaeobotanist Lorenzo Costantini: Burnt City won’t Let any Archeologist Down
The 8th season of excavations in the 5000-year-old Burnt City in the southeastern province of Sistan-Balouchestan is wrapping up, providing new information on the history of the area. - 2/8/05

Jean Perrot: Jiroft Is the Archaeological Capital of the World
Jean Perrot, one of world’s greatest archeologists who headed the French teams working in Iran from 1968 to 1978, was among the invitees to the International Conference of Halilrood Civilization, held in Jiroft, Kerman, from February 1st to 3rd. - 2/8/05

Looking for a Few Good Spies
Washington calls the Iranian MEK a terrorist group. But some administration hawks think its members could be useful -Newsweek - 2/7/05

Let's Not Make the Same Mistakes in Iran
One year ago I told the Senate Armed Services Committee that I had concluded "we were almost all wrong" at the time of the Iraq war about that country's activities with regard to weapons of mass destruction -- and never more wrong than in the assessment that Iraq had a resurgent program on the verge of producing nuclear weapons. -David Kay, Washington Post - 2/7/05

Iranian government spokesman dismisses Rice's recent anti-Iran remarks
"The language of threat is not acceptable to us and we do not fear threats; we favor dialogue and talks and under equal conditions, we raise our comments and defend the interests of the country through logic; but all the Iranian nation will defend their own country it a day comes to do do that." - 2/7/05

Five Ancient Game Boards Identified among Jiroft Relics
Five ancient game boards have been identified among the items taken back from illegal excavators of the historical site of Jiroft, Halilrood area of Kerman, indicating that people of the area enjoyed playing games some five thousand years ago. -CHN - 2/7/05

US losing the race to engage Muslims
Bamako's reception for the Iranian president should be a wake-up call for US policymakers. We need to do much more to reach out to struggling countries like Mali. If we don't, other influences may step in to fill the void. -CSM - 2/7/05

Pakistan rejects scientist claim
Pakistan has dismissed a magazine article that said the US was probing whether disgraced scientist AQ Khan sold nuclear secrets to Arab nations. -BBC - 2/7/05

US Will Not Pre-Set Date for Troop Withdrawal from Iraq
One-week after millions of Iraqis went to the polls to determine representation in a national assembly that will draft a constitution, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was repeatedly asked how much longer American servicemen will have to stay in Iraq. -VOA - 2/7/05

Four Iranian Brothers Reject U.S. Release
Four Iranian brothers who have been detained for more than three years have rejected the federal government's release terms, calling some of the conditions unjust and unconstitutional. -AP - 2/7/05

Senate Scrutinizing U.S. Intelligence on Iran
The U.S. Senate is tightening its scrutiny of intelligence reports on Iran, North Korea, China and other potential trouble spots in hopes of avoiding the intelligence lapses that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, congressional officials said on Sunday. -Reuters - 2/7/05

Iran's petrochemical exports to reach 1.8 billion dollars
A senior official said here on Sunday that petrochemical exports will reach 1.8 billion dollars by March, stressing that the sector will launch added measures to attract more foreign investments during the Fourth Five-Year Development Plan. - 2/7/05

Women's rights: Iran's bitter lessons for Iraq
Despite promises of equality in the run-up to the 1979 revolution, women were systematically stripped of their rights as Iran's clerics consolidated power. They lost rights to divorce and child custody. They were dismissed from official positions... -IHT - 2/7/05

Tremor jolts central Iran
A mild tremor measuring 3.9 on the open-ended Richter scale shook parts of the provincial capital Yazd in the central province by the same name Sunday night. - 2/7/05

U.S.-Israel plan to strike Irans nuclear sites finalized
Experts from the U.S. Defense Department, the Pentagon and Israel have put final touches to a plan to launch a military strike targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities, experts at the European Commission based in Brussels, revealed on Sunday. -AlJazeera - 2/7/05

Cheney: US Not Concerned About Iran-Style Government in Iraq
Vice President Dick Cheney says U.S. officials are not concerned that Iraq's next government will seek to fashion an Islamic state like neighboring Iran. -VOA - 2/7/05

Ex-leader: Iran, U.S. can agree
Iran's former president and leading contender to return to power said Sunday that Iran and the United States have a common enemy in al-Qaeda and shared interests in Iraq. He urged the White House to unfreeze billions of dollars in Iranian assets as a sign of goodwill that could help end 25 years of estrangement. -USA Today - 2/7/05

Can the U.S. Defuse Iran?
George W. Bush has staked his presidency on his reputation as a straight shooter, the kind of leader who presents a clear, decisive message to the nation's adversaries in the war on terrorism. But as the U.S. tries to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, the White House can't seem to make up its mind. -TIME - 2/7/05

Iran terms dual attitudes towards terrorism as "unacceptable"
Dual attitudes towards the concepts of terrorism will result in the international anti-terrorism campaign being doomed to failure, head of the Iranian delegation to the international conference on the fight against terrorism Amir Saeid Iravani said in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday night. - 2/7/05

A "mistake" for Israel to attack Iran, warns EU's Solana
A military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities by Israel would be a "mistake," the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana has warned. - 2/7/05

Iran squad in Manama for crucial World Cup qualifier
Iran's football team arrived in Manama on Monday to play the first leg of final round 2006 World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain Wednesday. - 2/7/05

Rice warns Iran against provoking Israel
Condoleezza Rice turned Washington's rhetoric on Iran up another notch yesterday, telling Iranians they would have to "live up to their international obligations" to avoid a conflict with Israel. -Guardian - 2/7/05

Remains of a 3000-year-old city found in Gilan, Iran
Remains of a residential fortress, which is an indication of a large city once existing there around 3000 years ago, were found in Kaluraz Hill, in the northern province of Gilan. -CHN - 2/7/05

U.N. Sharply Rebukes Iran Over Women's Rights
The United Nations on Sunday painted a damning portrait of women's rights in Iran, saying they had insufficient right of appeal against violence and were being sentenced to death on flimsy evidence. -Reuters - 2/7/05

Mystery of Achaemenid city abandonment still unresolved
The planned abandonment of the Achaemenid era city of Dahaneh-gholaman is still a mystery to archaeologists, even after more than 40 years of research on the site. -CHN - 2/7/05

The Smiling Ayatollah Kariminia
We got to Qom just before 10am, the time we had arranged for the interview. We called to say that we may be a little late as we did not know our way around Qom. After a while, we parked the car in front of a narrow alley and walked to the address where we met the kind Ayatollah, at the head of another alley, waiting to lead us to his home. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/7/05

A nuclear Iran is not the problem
Winston Churchill, as usual, gave the policy a floridly eloquent gloss. Britain, he said, almost 50 years ago to the day, must reach that happy condition "where safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation". -Guardian - 2/7/05

Iran's ex-president: U.S should show goodwill
In a rare and exclusive interview in Tehran Sunday, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's former president and the consensus frontrunner in June's presidential elections, talked with USA TODAY's Barbara Slavin about U.S.-Iranian relations, al-Qaeda, and Iran's alleged nuclear bomb program. -USA Today - 2/7/05

FM Spokesman: Iran in no need for go-between in ties with US
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi stressed that Iran is in no need of go-between in its relations with the United States. - 2/6/05

Time for the U.S. to play Shiite politics
Although what appears to be the overwhelming Shiite victory in the Iraqi elections of last weekend was prophesized for months in advance, the result should be a wake-up call for the Bush administration. -Sanam Vakil, Daily Star - 2/6/05

Indian ambitions in the pipeline
India is embarking on a concerted "pipeline diplomacy" to meet its growing energy demands, an effort that could bring about a major shift in the oil economy of Asia. -BBC - 2/6/05

Solana warns against Iran strike
A military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would be "a mistake", the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, has warned. -BBC - 2/6/05

Saudis call for anti-terror hub
The country's de facto ruler was speaking at a start of a conference in Riyadh attended by top anti-terrorism officials from 50 nations. The forum also saw a heated exchange between the Iranian and US delegations on what constitutes terrorism. -BBC - 2/6/05

Tremor jolts northeastern Iran
A mild tremor measuring 3.8 on the open-ended Richter scale shook the town of Ashkhaneh in the northeastern province of North Khorassan in the wee hours of Sunday. - 2/6/05

Shia 'poll landslide' set to put religion at heart of Iraqi power
Now, if the initial results of last Sunday's Iraqi elections prove to represent the final picture, the centre of political gravity has shifted inexorably south - away from the violence of the cities of the north, away from Baghdad and that city's technocratic class - towards the poverty-stricken, dust-blown Shia heartland. -Guardian - 2/6/05

UN rapporteur on violence against women in Iran
United Nations Commission on Human Rights Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Yakin Erturk here on Sunday called on Iran to approve the convention to remove discrimination against women. - 2/6/05

Iran calls for closer cooperation with World Tourism Organization
Vice President and Head of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Hossein Marashi here Sunday called for closer cooperation with the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in developing a comprehensive statistical system for the country. - 2/6/05

18th International Kharazmi Festival kicks off in Tehran
The International Kharazmi Festival is held every year to introduce and honor scientific achievements of Iranian and foreign researchers. - 2/6/05

Iran 'to retaliate if US attacks'
Iran's top nuclear negotiator says Iran will retaliate and accelerate its efforts to develop nuclear technology if attacked by the US or Israel. -BBC - 2/6/05

Iranian dissident cleric Eshkevari released after 4 years in jail
Dissident cleric Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari was released Sunday after serving about two-thirds of his seven-year jail term for a series of charges, one of his relatives told IRNA. - 2/6/05

US Attack on Iran Not on Agenda, Rice Says
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, traveling in Europe on her first foreign trip in her new job, says the Bush administration is continuing to rely on diplomacy to stop what U.S. officials believe is Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. She says the use of force is not on the U.S. agenda, at this time. -VOA - 2/5/05

Germany, US agree on Iran's right to civilian nuclear energy use: Schroeder
"On Iran, we are very much in agreement that it is important that Iran does have the right to civilian use of nuclear power, but we have very outspokenly agreed that they must not have the potential on a nuclear weapon whatsoever," Schroeder told the press during a news conference. - 2/5/05

Afghanistan: Self-Immolation By Women In Herat Continues At Alarming Rate
Self-immolation by women in the western Afghan province of Herat continues to alarm officials and aid workers more than a year after a delegation from Kabul investigated the trend. The delegation determined that within just a few months, at least 52 women in the province had burned themselves to death -- often to escape an abusive marriage. -RFE - 2/5/05

Russia's Reshetnev center to produce Iran's first telecom satellite
A ground station on Iranian territory will control the satellite, and the Reshetnev Center will train the ground station's personnel and give technical support to the satellite operation. - 2/5/05

Iran's top military chief vows 'crushing answer' to any attack
A top military chief said in Tehran on Saturday that Iran's armed forces were completely ready to repel any possible aggression amid international concerns about the specter of another adventurism by the Bush regime. - 2/5/05

Anti-war MPs fear Blair will be dragged into US war against Iran
Anti-war MPs were reported Saturday to be unconvinced by the assurances voiced by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that an attack on Iran was 'simply not on the agenda at this point of time'. - 2/5/05

America's tough rhetoric on Iran
American rhetoric about Iran has been stepped up because it wants to pressure the Iranian government to give up any ambition to build a nuclear bomb. -BBC - 2/5/05

Tremor shakes southern Iran
A mild tremor measuring 3.9 on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Shoushtar in the southern province of Khuzestan Saturday morning. - 2/5/05

Azeri paper in Iran flag flap
A row over flags is threatening to sour relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, following a visit by the Azeri leader to Tehran last week. -BBC - 2/5/05

Opposition journalist abducted and threatened by soldiers in Azerbaijan Republic
Reporters Without Borders said it was appalled by the abduction and threats to a journalist on the opposition daily Monitor, Akper Hasanov, who was held for almost five hours on 2 February at Baku military headquarters. - 2/5/05

Heads of German Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee to visit Iran
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Parliament, Volker Ruehe, and his deputy, Hans-Ulrich Klose, are scheduled to visit Iran later this month for political talks with Iranian officials. - 2/5/05

Rice warns Russia on democracy
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Russia must do more to show it is committed to democracy if it wants deeper relations with Western nations. -BBC - 2/5/05

Middle East four are shown the carrot and stick
Four Middle East countries were singled out by Mr Bush in his state of the union speech. Two, Iran and Syria, were criticised for their terrorist connections, and two, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, were urged to make greater progress towards democracy. Brian Whitaker looks at what lies behind the comments -Guardian - 2/5/05

Iran's cement production to rise to 70m tons from 32m tons
Iran's common borders with Afghanistan and Iraq provides a suitable chance for setting up cement markets in the two neighboring states, he said. The minister said the two countries depend on Iran for their cement needs. - 2/5/05

Caspian crude swap project suspended due to price differences
Caspian crude swap project across Iranian territory is still suspended due to difference in price of the sour and sweet crude despite the capacity for exchange of 170,000 bpd of oil. - 2/5/05

UN, Human Rights Groups Call On Iran To End Executions Of Minors
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Amnesty International, and the International Federation for Human Rights are calling on Iranian authorities to stop executing minors. -RFE - 2/4/05

Rice: US Seeks European Aid in Helping to Force Change in Iran
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, beginning her first foreign trip as Secretary, says the United States is seeking European help in trying to deal with destabilizing Iranian behavior with regard to terrorism, nuclear weapons and Iraq. She says the Iranian government's human rights record and treatment of its own people are something to be loathed. -VOA - 2/4/05

Attacking Iran 'not on US agenda'
Condoleezza Rice has insisted that attacking Iran is not on the US agenda "at this point in time". -BBC - 2/4/05

8th International Film Fair opens in Tehran
The Eighth International Film Fair opened at the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults on Friday. - 2/4/05

France Defends Talks With Iran on Nuclear Fuel
France's Defense Minister is defending European efforts to prod Iran to give up its nuclear fuel enrichment program, despite criticism by the Iranian government. Remarks by French Minister Michele Alliot-Marie come a day after President Bush accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism. -VOA - 2/4/05

Utopian cul-de-sac
The Iraqi election is the culmination of the long Iran-Iraq war that Iran has won without lifting a finger. Its neighbour has been replaced by a Shia ascendancy atop a weak state that cannot threaten it, but is subject to its influence in many ways. When the mist of elation lifts, the shadow of Iran looms. -Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian - 2/4/05

Closer EU ties will protect Iran from US attack, says analyst
"Only the EU nowadays is capable of campaigning against the Americans and Iran should use the situation wisely as a strategic decision," said Ali Ansari, , an associate fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. - 2/4/05

What Is Love? Mania Akbari Talks About Life, Love, and 20 Angosht (20 Fingers)
This first-time director from Iran inspires cheers — and controversy -Bright Lights Film - 2/4/05

The President of Alienation: A Desperate State of the Union
Most of Bush's commentary is flagrantly false. The IAEA (after lengthy investigations) has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program. Iran has no plutonium and it has stopped its uranium enrichment program even though it is legally permitted to pursue it under the provisions of the NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) -CounterPunch - 2/4/05

Tremor shakes Iran's northwestern province of East Azarbaijan
A tremor measuring 3.7 on the open-ended Richter scale shook Tabriz, the capital city of northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, in the wee hours of Friday. - 2/4/05

Businessman faces new charges in Iranian nuclear probe
A California businessman installed a restricted U.S. satellite system on an Iranian oil tanker and helped smuggle computer equipment to the Iranian nuclear missile program, federal prosecutors said. -Newsday - 2/4/05

Iran sentences "Israeli spy" to 10 years -report
Iran has sentenced a person to 10 years in prison for spying for the Islamic state's arch-enemy Israel, a senior judiciary official was quoted as saying on Thursday. -Reuters - 2/4/05

EU increases safety regulations on Iranian pistachios
The European Union has tightened food safety rules on pistachio nuts from Iran, the world's top producer, due to high levels of a cancer-causing chemical in some shipments. -Daily Star - 2/4/05

Georgia: Government Says Premier Died In Accident As NGOs Demand Independent Probe
"An Iranian-made gas heater was installed in that room. The deaths must have occurred instantly," Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili said -RFE - 2/4/05

INTERVIEW - Democratic Iraq may encourage change in Iran - cleric
successful transition to democracy in Iraq would increase pressure for change in Iran, a leading Iranian clerical dissident said on Wednesday. Mohsen Kadivar, whose views have earned him time in jail, also urged Iraq not to follow the Iranian model of granting ultimate power to a senior cleric. -Reuters - 2/4/05

Tehran Reacts To Bush State Of the Union Address
Khamenei compared Bush to his predecessors, saying, "Bush is the fifth U.S. president who intends to uproot the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic, but he will succeed as Carter, Reagan, Bush the father, and Clinton succeeded." -RFE - 2/4/05

Iran's Supreme Leader hits back at Bush speech
Iran's Supreme Leader on Thursday hit back at U.S. President George W. Bush's accusations against the Islamic state and said he would fail like his four predecessors to topple Tehran's clerical leadership. -Reuters - 2/4/05

U.S. denies regime change plan for Iran
"The United States has been very clear, its officials have been very clear that we do not have a policy of regime change towards Iran," deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said. -UPI - 2/4/05

Iran, Japan win warm-up games, throw the gauntlet for rivals
Depleted Iran saw off Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 and Japan handed the visiting Syria a humiliating 3-0 defeat in their warm-up games Wednesday ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against Bahrain and North Korea next week. - 2/3/05

Rowhani: We'll never compromise our dignity, independence, know-how
Iran's Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani said here Thursday Iran will never compromise its independence, dignity and technical know-how but is fully determined to take the right path in dealing with the world. - 2/3/05

Bush Says He Will Spread Democracy
President Bush said in his annual State of the Union speech Wednesday the elections in Iraq show that terrorists cannot intimidate the will of those seeking freedom. -VOA - 2/3/05

Plane crashes in Tabriz, no crew, passengers hurt
A foreign plane en route to Vienna, Austria, from Karachi, Pakistan, via Iranian corridor crashed in Tabriz International Airport on Wednesday - 2/3/05

Ukraine Accused Of Selling Weapons To Iran In 2002
Ukrainian lawmaker Hryhoriy Omelchenko has alleged in a public letter to President Viktor Yushchenko that Ukraine illegally sold cruise missiles to Iran in violation of international nonproliferation treaties. -RFE - 2/3/05

Rice says U.S. at early stage of diplomacy with Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday the United States has not run out of patience with diplomatic efforts to end Iran's suspected nuclear arms program, despite tough talk from other U.S. officials. -Reuters - 2/3/05

US: Pakistan Still Keeping Nuclear Secrets
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker tells VOA that Islamabad has done a good job in breaking up Abdul Qadeer Khan's illegal nuclear black market network. -VOA - 2/3/05

Iran: Economists caution MPs over ‘destructive policies’
In an open letter carried by the student news agency ISNA, leading university academics hit out at what they said were “superficial measures to control inflation” and warned the MPs to “refrain from acts that have long-term destructive effects”. -Monday Morning - 2/3/05

Iran-Contra Figure to Lead Democracy Efforts Abroad
Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty in 1991 to withholding information from Congress in the Iran-contra affair, was promoted to deputy national security adviser to President Bush. -Washington Post - 2/3/05

Liberal Wimps for War: Watch out for the 'nation-builders'
Liberals like the "nation-building" phase of American imperialism: it makes them feel good about themselves. - 2/3/05

Where now for the oil industry?
Judging by recent results from energy giants, oil really can be called black gold again. -BBC - 2/3/05

U.S. Ambassador Sanders on Iran's Choice Regarding Nuclear Weapons
The following article by Ambassador Jackie W. Sanders, President George W. Bush’s Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation and the U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, appeared in The Wall Street Journal on January 28. - 2/3/05

China, Iran plan LNG tanker JV
Iran and China may set up a tanker venture to carry liquefied natural gas, helping Iran ensure deliveries of its gas to the world's second-largest energy consumer, an Iranian official said. - 2/3/05

Tehran Mulls Future Of U.S. Occupation Of Iraq
Iranian officials this week touted the success of Iraq's 30 January national elections and predicted the end of the U.S. occupation, as state media warned that the United States plans to remain in Iraq. -RFE - 2/3/05

The Future of Iraq and the US Occupation
Let's just imagine what the policies might be of an independent Iraq, independent, sovereign Iraq, let's say more or less democratic, what are the policies likely to be? -Noam Chomsky, CounterPunch - 2/3/05

Tehran dismisses Bush's anti-Iran claims
Tehran on Thursday dismissed the US President George W. Bush's anti-Iran claims and said they are repetition of former "baseless" charges and allegations, lacking any basis and foundation. - 2/3/05

Bush warns Syria and Iran over terror
President George Bush last night issued clear warnings to Syria and Iran that they were next in his sights in his declared mission to spread democracy around the world. -Guardian - 2/3/05

Iranian Americans overwhelmingly oppose U.S. military strikes against Iran
National Iranian American Council released today recent findings from a national letter writing campaign to President Bush on US-Iran relations, showing overwhelming opposition among Iranian Americans to U.S. military strikes against Iran. - 2/2/05

Lunch at Gole Rezaieh restaurant in Tehran
Like all other metropolitan cities, Tehran has many hidden gems. I would like to introduce you to one such place. In the middle of the city center, in 30th Tirr Avenue (formerly known as Ghavam-O-Saltaneh), near the lovely Abgineh Museum, there is a lovely old restaurant called Gole Rezaieh. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/2/05

Let the Israelis Do It?
Hours before his "ratification" inaugural, Vice President Dick Cheney was chatting with Don Imus on MSNBC about Iraqi and Iranian "nuclear programs." Now, Cheney appears to know the difference between a "nuclear program" and a "nuclear weapons program." Bush may not. In any case, both Cheney and Bush want you to hear "nuclear weapons" when they say "nuclear." - 2/2/05

Still No Decision On Caspian Sea
More than 13 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the five countries bordering the Caspian Sea have still not reached agreement on dividing the sea and its resources among themselves. - 2/2/05

Elamite Inscription Found on 5000-Year-old Jiroft Brick
The inscription on a brick found in the archeological site of Jiroft is identified by experts as a manuscript belonging to the Elamite era. - 2/2/05

UN nuclear watchdog calls on US to join Europe in talks on Iran’s activities
The United Nations atomic watchdog agency says it is “vital” for the United States to join European efforts seeking a diplomatic solution to problems arising out of Iran’s nuclear programme and is underscoring the urgency of pre-empting nuclear proliferation and potential acts of terrorism. - 2/2/05

Iran determined to be nuclear fuel exporter
Iran, accused by Washington of developing nuclear weapons, is determined to become one of the world's suppliers of nuclear fuel, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday. -Reuters - 2/2/05

Iranian MP says Abortion not Condemned by Quran, Pushes Abortion Bill
Member of the Iranian parliament, Mehrangiz Morovati, said Monday that abortion is not prohibited by the Quran. She seeks approval of a draft law legalizing the practice. - 2/2/05

AFGHANISTAN: Focus on public consultation on criminal justice
Human rights activists and political analysts have called on government to identify and bring to trial war criminals ahead of parliamentary elections to be held in spring. -IRIN - 2/2/05

US Legislators Ask Bush to Outline Iran Policy in State of Union Address
It's not known if Iran will figure prominently in Wednesday's speech, but some members of Congress say he should tell the nation and the world on what his administration is doing to help rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions, and address Tehran's human rights issues. -VOA - 2/2/05

Shia group claims sweeping victory
The leader of a powerful Shia coalition claimed "a sweeping victory" in Sunday's elections in Iraq but pledged to include minority groups, including Sunni Arabs, in the running of the country. -Guardian - 2/2/05

Khatami's proposed minister receives Majlis vote of confidence
President Mohammad Khatami's proposed candidate for the post of Minister of Roads and Transportation, Mohammad Rahmati, received a vote of confidence from the Majlis on Wednesday. - 2/2/05

Jiroft Ancient Sites Go on Air with Arte Channel
A 90-minute documentary is being produced by Arte channel about the ancient areas in Jiroft. - 2/2/05

European companies to continue investing in Iran
European companies will give a deaf ear to calls by American officials not to invest in the Islamic Republic. "European companies have invested in Iran and do invest in Iran," the European Commission's spokesperson for trade, Claude Veron- Reville, told IRNA in Brussels. - 2/2/05

Iran to hold 1st trade exhibition in Afghanistan
The first-ever exhibition of construction materials and power plant installations and equipment is to be held in the Afghan capital, Kabul, from February 28 to March 4. - 2/2/05

The Prince Of Wonderland
Good news! The Prince of Darkness has morphed into The Prince of Peace. Having fixed Iraq, Richard Perle is now ready to advise us on Iran. The former Assistant Defense Secretary in the Reagan Administration, and Neocon darling, appeared on a recent Charlie Rose show on PBS, following his nemesis, Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker magazine. -Scoop - 2/2/05

Iranian FM: EU against referral of Iran's nuke case to UN Security Council
On recent remarks of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei about the Iran-Europe nuclear talks, Kharrazi said that by saying Europe was not serious in the trend of its negotiations with Iran, the Supreme Leader meant that the process cannot continue with Europe wasting time. - 2/2/05

Exposition by Leila Modaresi in Paris
Mairie du 4e - Galeries François Miron et Rivol - Feb 3 to 25, 2005 - 2/2/05

EU, Iran optimistic over process of negotiations
Briefing reporters on the meeting, Solana's spokesperson, Cristina Gallach, underlined the EU's willingness to continue the process of dialogue with the Islamic Republic. - 2/2/05

Iran's bloggers get caught in crossfire of 'war on terror'
Iran's dissenting and liberal voices, reeling from a crackdown in cyberspace by their country's old guard, now worry about a new challenge from an unexpected quarter: America. -CSM - 2/2/05

Iran: End the double talk - Time to end the death penalty for children
Amnesty International urges the all relevant Iranian authorities, including the judiciary, to act in accordance with the Government of Iran's public pronouncements and take urgent measures to bring its law and practice in line with its obligations as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) and end the imposition of death penalty on children. - 2/1/05

Turkcell Provides Update on the Process Regarding Its GSM License Agreement in Iran
Turkcell, the leading provider of mobile communications in Turkey, announced today an update on the approval process of its GSM license agreement in Iran. - 2/1/05

Fundraising by Azerbaijan Cultural Society in Northern California for 11-year-old Yashar Jabbari
Eleven-year-old Yashar Jabbari, a sixth grade student, is braving a battle with Sever Aplastic Anemia, a rare and serious blood disorder in which the bone marrow fails to produce sufficient blood cells. - 2/1/05

Iranian blogger Mojtaba Saminejad freed
Mojtaba Saminejad was released on 27 January after almost three months in detention, Reporters Without Borders reported. - 2/1/05

EU says US trade sanctions on Iran does not apply to Europe
The European Commission, the EU's executive, said Tuesday that US trade sanctions on Iran concerned only American companies and did no have an ''extra-territorial'' nature. - 2/1/05

Iran supportive of Iraq elections, says UK's Straw
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says that he has not yet received a preliminary assessment from the British embassy in Tehran of the reaction to Iraq's elections but was adamant that Iran had been helpful. - 2/1/05

Iran's Presidential Election Shapes Up as Battle Among Conservatives
Iran’s presidential election is more than five months away, but it is already shaping up as one of the most contentious votes in the Islamic Republic’s history. Much of the jockeying involves a politician, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has yet to formally declare his candidacy. -Eurasianet - 2/1/05

Iranian MPs threaten mobile deal
Turkey's biggest private mobile firm could bail out of a $3bn ($1.6bn) deal to build a network in Iran after MPs there slashed its stake in the project. -BBC - 2/1/05

Pakistan: Dialogue Needed to Resolve Iran Nuclear Controversy
Pakistan is urging Iran, the United States and European nations to peacefully resolve differences over Tehran's nuclear program. Pakistan is praising Europe's diplomatic approach to try to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran. - 2/1/05

Russia has chance to participate in building new nuclear plants in Iran
Russia has "a big chance of participating in implementing new projects for building nuclear power stations in Iran," said Iranian Ambassador to Russia Gholam Reza Shafei on Tuesday. - 2/1/05

Growing threats to Tajikistan's independent press in approach to legislative elections
Tajikistan's journalists and independent media are increasingly being harassed in the approach to the 27 February 2005 legislative elections, Reporters Without Borders warned today, pointing to a politician's aggressive behaviour towards the BBC's Farsi-language correspondent, Iskandar Firuz, and the closure of independent weekly Nerui Sukhan and seizure of its latest issue. - 2/1/05

Top Intel Analyst Warns About Nuclear Iran
The head of the advisory National Intelligence Council says he is not optimistic the United States and its allies can change Iran's intention of building a nuclear capacity. -AP - 2/1/05

Afghanistan Confirms New Effort To Buy Back U.S.-Built Stinger Missiles
Authorities in Kabul have announced a new effort to collect U.S.-made Stinger antiaircraft missiles left over from Afghanistan's war against Soviet occupation. -RFE - 2/1/05

Basra intellectuals united by fear of rise in religious intolerance
They sit in a shabby living-room, a Sunni, a Christian and two Shias, united by two things: fear that Iraq's religious parties will have done well in Sunday's elections, and anger with British occupation officials for having given the Islamists what they feel is excessive power. -Guardian - 2/1/05

Iran says Caspian Sea littoral states summit postponed
The Caspian Sea summit meet was postponed to another date after one of littoral states announced it could not take part in the meeting, Shafei told a press conference. He did not disclose the name of the said country. - 2/1/05

What the Iranian papers say about Iraq's elections
Iraqis in Iran began voting in their country's first democratic elections for a National Assembly on 28 January and, according to Iranian state radio and television, the turnout was impressively high. Indeed, more than 60,000 people living in Iran registered to participate in the election, more than any other Iraqi expatriate population. -RFE - 2/1/05

Iraqis in the Kurdistan Region See Vote as Beginning of Future
Iraqis in the northern Kurdistan Region are celebrating their first opportunity in nearly half a century to have a political voice in their national government. -VOA - 2/1/05

Aghazadeh: EU-Iran eager to speed up work
Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Vice-President of Iran and Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, met the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security, Javier Solana in Brussels Tuesday and discussed Iran's peaceful nuclear program and EU-Iran relations. - 2/1/05

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