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Iran: Release Students Detained for Peaceful Protests
Iranian authorities should promptly free 10 students arrested in February 2009 in connection with peaceful campus demonstrations and detained without charge in Tehran's Evin prison, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have denied the students access to lawyers and family. - 2/28/09

Iran: HIV/AIDS – More Than a Social Taboo
Iran's latest official statistics show that more than 18,000 people in the country are infected with the HIV virus - but the real number could be far higher. "According to a statement by the World Health Organisation, we have to multiply this figure four or five times to reach the real figure of those infected with AIDS in Iran," warned Masoud Mardani, a member of the AIDS National Committee. -Mina Rasheed, Tehran - 2/28/09

Obama Announces Iraq Exit Plan, Outlines Broader Mideast Policy
The future of Iraq is inseparable from the future of the broader Middle East, so we must work with our friends and partners to establish a new framework that advances Iraq's security and the region's. It is time for Iraq to be a full partner in a regional dialogue, and for Iraq's neighbors to establish productive and normalized relations with Iraq. And going forward, the United States will pursue principled and sustained engagement with all of the nations in the region, and that will include Iran and Syria. - 2/28/09

Iran: Bridge construction project near historic Naqsh-e Rustam cancelled
A bridge construction project, which was threatening the Achaemenid site of Naqsh-e Rustam in Iran's southern province of Fars, has recently been cancelled. - 2/28/09

Zirzamin Newsletter: Preservation of Culture through Zoroastrian Oriented Music
An interview with Khodadad Kaviani about his work in creating cultural musical works of art that strive to achieve cultural preservation through their introspective reflections and description of Iranian and Zoroastrian cultural heritage, using music as a medium; journeying through the ancient, timeless and colorful and joyous Persian Zoroastrian heritage. - 2/28/09

Iran's New Internet Attacks on Dissenters
In recent weeks, there has been a notable increase in Facebook "friend requests" from colleagues and friends in Iran. It seems that someone has decided to allow more Iranians access to the Web site, at last. -Omid Habibinia, Worldpress - 2/28/09

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Immigration Reform Bills
As the 111th Congress gets underway, a flurry of activity has been taking place regarding proposed immigration policy. Much of this activity has been centered on amending the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which was passed into law in 1952 and has since constituted the cornerstone of American immigration policy. -PAAIA - 2/28/09

Iranian center to publish comic strips of classical Persian stories
Iran's Research and Production Center for Animated Motion Pictures (RPCA Pictures) will publish the first volume of "The Comic Strips of Classical Persian Stories" collection in near future - 2/28/09

Iran threatened with economic meltdown
The sharp downward spiral of oil prices has prompted economists to predict that Tehran is facing severe financial hardship within the space of a few months. -BBC - 2/28/09

Israel's Netanyahu Fails to Bring Moderates into Coalition
Without Livni, Mr. Netanyahu may have no choice but to form a right-wing government with smaller parties that support settlement expansion in the West Bank and oppose territorial concessions to the Palestinians. -VOA - 2/28/09

Iran's underground pop gypsies
Iranian band Kiosk might be exiles from their country of origin, but that has not stopped them from becoming symbols for a new generation of Persian music fans. -BBC - 2/28/09

Oscar officials head to Tehran for cinematic seminars
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis accompanied by a team of cinematic figures will be holding seminars at Tehran's House of Cinema on Sunday and Tuesday. - 2/27/09

Ahmadinejad: No limit for Tehran-Baghdad cooperation expansion
Iranian and Iraqi officials started the first round of their talks in presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani in Tehran on Friday. Talabani arrived in Tehran late Thursday at the head of a politico-economic delegation - 2/27/09

The Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop: Dennis Ross and Iran
In October 2008 I presented a paper, entitled "What the Future has in Store for Iran." The conclusion of my essay, stated in its last two lines, was: "In the case of McCain, the war [waged against Iran] might come sooner than later. In Obama's case, one might see a period of 'tough' or 'aggressive diplomacy' before hostilities begin." -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 2/27/09

What Iran's Jews say
ESFAHAN, Iran – At Palestine Square, opposite a mosque called Al-Aqsa, is a synagogue where Jews of this ancient city gather at dawn. Over the entrance is a banner saying: "Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution from the Jewish community of Esfahan." -Roger Cohen, IHT - 2/27/09

Norooz Bazaar in Costa Mesa, California in support of Mahak
The International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) will celebrate the arrival of the Persian New Year with a Norooz Bazaar, on Saturday March 14th, in support of Mahak, a charity group based in Tehran that supports children suffering from Cancer. - 2/27/09

Norooz Festival by Iranian Cultural Foundation in Houston
ICF-H will be holding their Norooz, Persian New Year, festival on Sunday March 22, 2009 at Discovery Green Park in Houston, Texas. ICF-H is a non-profit, non-political organization with no religious affiliation that fosters the educational, social, and charitable interests of the Iranian-American community. - 2/27/09

Para-governmental Organizations (bonyads)
The establishment of several para-governmental organizations (bonyads) following the revolution of 1979 in Iran has created a large socio-economic sector. This sector tried to harness a mass society by creating parallel structures of revolutionary legitimacy and authority in order to contribute to the consolidation process. -Ali A. Saeidi - 2/27/09

600-year-old bathhouse reburied in Yazd, Iran
Yazd Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (YCHTHD) reburied a historical bathhouse, which had been unearthed last year at the Amir Chakhmaq historical complex in Yazd. - 2/27/09

Sufism Under Attack In Iran
The Sufi tradition focuses on the inner and spiritual teachings of Islam that are included in the so-called Mecca verses of the Koran. Laleh Bakhtiar, the first American woman to translate the Koran into English, tells RFE/RL that there have been historic tensions between some Sufi practices and Orthodox Islam. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/27/09

How can a pro-Israel solution also be a pro-Palestine solution?
The Israelis have long gone past the point of making a peace deal, or sharing a land with the Palestinians. By their conduct they have forfeited all and any rights they might have had, even by their own warped codes. -Debbie Menon - 2/27/09

Tehran Bureau Launched By Kelly Golnoush Niknejad
Kelly Golnoush Niknejad, a graduate of Columbia University School of Journalism, has launched Tehran Bureau, an online news magazine. The blog-style site aims to separate fact from misinformation about Iran by having specialized, bilingual journalists from around the world report on the country. - 2/27/09

Iran aiming to expand ties with Persian Gulf states, FM says during visit by Bahraini counterpart
Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmad al-Khalifa arrived in Tehran late Thursday to hold talks with senior Iranian officials on bilateral and regional issues. Khalifa is also scheduled to meet and confer with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and on ways of consolidating mutual ties. - 2/27/09

Iranian artists to create 3000-meter painting at Fajr festival
The first Fajr International Visual Arts Festival will hold Iran's largest open-air painting workshop on March 5. Entitled "From Museum to Museum," the workshop will be attended by one thousand Iranian painters who will be painting on a 3000-meter canvas. -MNA - 2/27/09

Syrian PM in Tehran on 3-day visit
Syrian Prime Minister Naji Otri arrived here while ago heading a delegation and was officially welcomed by the First-Vice President Parviz Davoodi at Tehran Mehrabad Airport. - 2/27/09

Iran refutes claims by US envoy to UN as unfounded and unacceptable
Iran's permanent representative office to the UN on Thursday dismissed "fully baseless and unacceptable" claims of the US permanent envoy to the UN Susan Rice that Tehran tried to acquire the capacity to produce nuclear arms and support terrorism. - 2/27/09

Why State's having a hard time explaining Dennis Ross's job
Sources suggested a variety of explanations. Some had to do with the fact that the U.S. government is currently in the midst of an intensive policy review on Iran, which is not expected to be ready until early March. (March 10, one source said). Therefore, to describe Ross now as an "envoy" on or to Iran would be premature, they said, since the policy hasn't yet been articulated. -Foreign Policy - 2/27/09

Iranian students abroad to discuss research findings in London
Iranian students in Europe, Australia, India and Malaysia will gather in April in London to discuss latest research findings in their respective fields of study. - 2/27/09

Israeli police arrest man for Iran visit
Israel's Beersheba Magistrate's Court has charged an Israeli citizen for visiting Iran, the country of his birth, saying it was illegal. - 2/27/09

Mahak charity holds Norouz Bazaar in Tehran
Last week we went to see one of the best events in Tehran, and the fact that all the proceeds benefitted Mahak, the charity for children with cancer in Tehran was a big extra attraction. The bazaar was organized by the fantastic, energetic and professional Mahak Youth Group and had a lot of buzz and fun about it. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/26/09

Iran planning to expand nuclear work
"Iran will install 50,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its Natanz plant up from the 6,000 now running. Iran in the immediate future will install the new generation of centrifuges which are technologically more advanced than the operating ones," Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aqazadeh said. - 2/26/09

Financial Crisis, Iranian-Style
A steep fall in crude prices allied with lower output will decrease the Iranian government's foreign revenues significantly. The Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) has lost 30% of its value in the last four months, which points to a sizable economic slowdown in the near future. -Amir Naghshineh-Pour - 2/26/09

NIAC Nowruz Fundraiser To Ensure a New Era of Diplomacy
The National Iranian-American Council will be holding a fundraiser on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Saturday March 7 in McLean, Virginia. Founded in early 2002, the National Iranian-American Council is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. - 2/26/09

Germans, British scientists to study Iran salt mummies
A team of German and British scientists is slated to visit Iran in May to assess the amount of damage inflicted on the Chehrabad saltmen. "The team will carry out DNA tests, and perform CT scans and surgery," said head of Iran's Archeology Research Center, Hassan Fazeli Nashli. - 2/26/09

U.S. State Department 2008 Human Rights Report: Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran, with a population of approximately 70 million, is a constitutional, theocratic republic in which Shia Muslim clergy dominate the key power structures. Government legitimacy is based on the twin pillars of popular sovereignty-–albeit restricted--and the rule of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution. - 2/26/09

A Bomb for Everybody
They're in the news often enough, but Iran's relationship with the world hasn't actually changed for nearly a decade. The sticking point is the nuclear bomb and no progression or regression is possible in Iran's relations with the world until a genuine conclusion is reached. It's hard to read the scorecard, but if the Iranian government's desire was to win time they have won admirably. -Ramin Mazaheri, France - 2/26/09

One Billion Dollar Oil Money Still Missing: Iran's Auditor
Iran's National Audit Office has received no proof to confirm that a missing $1 billion in oil revenues has been returned to treasury. -Press TV - 2/26/09

Symposium at PSU: The 30th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution: Learning from the Past/Looking to the Future
The World Affairs Council, the Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University, and the American Iranian Friendship Council present a special forum: The 30th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution - Learning from the Past and Working Towards a Peaceful Future in Nuclear Times - 2/26/09

Mir-Hossein Mousavi (possible candidate for Iran's presidential election): "A Shot in the Dark"
It was during January 2008 that some of Iran's politicians showed up in Tehran's Saba Art Gallery, rubbing shoulders with art students, as they viewed the exhibition there. The gallery was displaying a collection of abstract paintings by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, former prime minister of Iran, who after his eight-year term ended in 1989, left politics and kept away for many years. -Arash Farid, Tehran - 2/26/09

EU 'mulling over new tough Iran sanctions'
Britain, France and Germany are reportedly proposing a tough list of new sanctions to be imposed against Iran over its nuclear program. - 2/26/09

Tehran to Washington: Get used to a nuclear Iran
Iran celebrated the test runs on its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr Wednesday and reaffirmed plans for a 10-fold increase in its uranium enrichment capacity. It also told the United States to get used to a nuclear Iran. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 2/26/09

Web Host Uses OFAC Sanctions To Boot Dissident Bloggers
Section 560.538 of the Iranian Transactions Regulations permits a U.S. company to engage in all transactions “necessary and ordinarily incident to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals, and newspapers … in paper or electronic format.” -exportlawblog - 2/26/09

Iran to increase industrial activities in Lebanon
Based on contents of a letter of agreement signed between IRI Mines and Industries Minister and the Republic of Lebanon here Wednesday, the two countries' industrial and economic relations will be increased drastically. -IRNA - 2/26/09

Hamas must be involved in political process
A dozen former international peace negotiators joined together Thursday in a united call for Hamas to be included in the Middle East peace process. "An Israeli–Palestinian peace settlement without Hamas will not be possible," warned the negotiators, who included former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Alvaro de Soto. - 2/26/09

U.S. Scientists, Academics Send Delegations to Iran
Despite the recent detention of a member of a U.S. scientific delegation in Iran, there is strong support for continuing nongovernmental educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries. At a January 22 symposium in Washington, American academics who have traveled to Iran discussed scientific collaboration. The event was sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. -Daniel Gorelick - 2/25/09

Photos: Trial run of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant Starts
The test run of the Bushehr nuclear power plant began on Wednesday. The test involved the use of non-nuclear material instead of enriched uranium. "We're celebrating Bushehr's pre-commissioning which means we are getting closer to the launch of the plant," Aqazadeh told reporters. "This virtual fuel testing was successful." - 2/25/09

PARSA CF University: Resources for Connecting to Iranian Nonprofits Worldwide
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident wanting to make a financial contribution to a charity operating inside Iran be sure to verify that the charity has a valid "OFAC license" (permission from the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control) so that you can make your contribution legally. The Iranian American Bar Association provides more information on these rules. -PARSA - 2/25/09

Bushehr power plant to start generating electricity soon: Aqazadeh
Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Reza Aqazadeh said the Bushehr power plant will start electricity-generating operations soon after the preliminary tests produce positive results. He made the remarks while touring the site of the power plant accompanied by head of Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Corporation Sergei Kiriyenko. - 2/25/09

Dozens Of Iranian Students Arrested, Injured At Amir Kabir University
About 70 university students were detained on February 23 for protesting the state-sponsored burial of five soldiers who died during the Iran-Iraq War, fought from 1980-88. Meanwhile, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lauded on Sunday the decisioin to bury bodies of a number of the war time martyrs at the Amir Kabir University of Technology. - 2/25/09

Iran nuclear issue used by US as pawn in bigger game: American professor
American professor Scott Lucas says he is "cautiously optimistic" about moves towards an improvement in US-Iran relations following President Barack Obama coming to office. - 2/25/09

Restricting Iran's Second Mother Tongue
February 21 was International Mother Language Day and I thought of my own mother language, Azeri Turkish. Azeri Turkish is not one of the 3,500 or more endangered languages spoken by small communities which UNESCO calls on the public to protect. But it's spoken in Iran by 15-20 million people -Abbas Djavadi - 2/25/09

Iran: Reformist party endorses Khatami
An Iranian Reformist party has expressed its support for presidential candidate Seyyed Mohammad Khatami in the upcoming elections. - 2/25/09

Veteran Mideast Envoy Set To Lead New U.S. Strategy On Iran
Washington is reviewing its policy toward Tehran to find ways to open a dialogue with Iran after some 30 years of hostility. The State Department says Ross would offer "strategic advice" and perspective on the region, coordinate new policy approaches, and take part in "interagency activities." - 2/25/09

Iran sought Turkey's help to mend links with US, says Erdogan
Iran has asked Turkey to help it resolve its 30-year dispute with the US as a possible prelude to re-establishing ties, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has told the Guardian. - 2/25/09

Iranian President Visits Kenya, Seeks Closer Relations
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Kenya after a brief visit with leaders in Djibouti. Officials say Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit to Kenya is aimed at significantly boosting trade and improving political ties. -VOA - 2/25/09

Germany's exports to Iran rose in 2008
German exports to Iran rose last year despite a sharp cut in export guarantees Berlin offered to firms doing business with Tehran. According to data from the Federal Statistics Office, German exports to Iran increased from 3.6 billion euros ($4.58 billion) in 2007 to 3.92 billion euros ($4.99 billion) last year. - 2/25/09

Schroeder's Iran Visit Could Help Improve Groundwork for Talks
Ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been criticized for meeting Iran's president during his visit to Tehran last week. But some analysts say the trip could help defuse the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. -DW - 2/25/09

Six Subway Stations to become operational in Tehran by April
Managing director of Tehran and Suburbs Subway Company announced that Garm-Darreh station along the 5th subway line and Shohada station along the 4th subway line will become operational in the current month. - 2/25/09

Persian blogs on Bluehost will be going down
Since last week, Blue Host, the hosting service which is used for this very blog, has adopted a policy of suspending its Iranian users. In some cases the bloggers have been given a short notice in order to back up their data and leave. -Kamangir - 2/25/09

Iranian Jewish historical lecture event draws crowds at Nessah
Nearly 150 local young and older Iranian Jews as well as a handful of other Jews packed the Nessah Synagogue’s main sanctuary hall in Beverly Hills on February 5, 2009 for a unique lecture event on the largely unstudied 2,700 year history of Iran’s Jews. -Jewish Journal - 2/25/09

Ask President Obama to prevent the auction of priceless Persepolis artifacts
At a time of hope when President Barack Obama has commended our heritage, saying "The Iranian people are a great people, and Persian civilization is a great civilization," a court in Chicago is about to confiscate and auction off some of the most powerful symbols of this civilization: priceless artifacts from Takht-e-Jamshid. -NIAC - 2/24/09

Iranian Alliances Across Borders Announces Open Registration for the Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is pleased to present the Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora. This fourth installment of IAAB's bi-annual conference is hosted by UC Berkeley's Iranian Student Alliances in America (ISAA) and co-sponsored by IAAB. The conference will be held in University of California Berkeley's Pauley Ballroom in Berkeley, CA on April 4-5, 2009. - 2/24/09

Farhang Foundation and LACMA Announce Persian New Year Celebration in Los Angeles
Farhang Foundation, a recently established non-profit organization focused on celebrating Iranian art and culture in Southern California, today announced a Nowruz (Persian New Year) Celebration at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on March 14 and 15, 2009. - 2/24/09

U.S. court battle over Persian relics' future
The professor opens a cardboard box and gingerly picks up a few hunks of dried clay - dust-baked relics that offer a glimpse into the long-lost world of the Persian empire that spanned a continent 2,500 years ago. -AP - 2/24/09

Women's Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran: Berkeley to host Iranian actress and director Niki Karimi
Women's Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran is a touring exhibition coordinated by ArteEast, a nonprofit arts organization based in New York that promotes the arts and cultures of the Middle East. Iranian director and actress Niki Karimi joins us on March 1 to present her films One Night and A Few Days Later. - 2/24/09

Plugged into Khayyam: Two CDs by Majeed Beenteha
The two CDs titled Plugged into Khayyam Volume I and Volume II are Persian Vocal tracks based on Poetry of Khayyam. The Orginal music produced by Majeed B-N-Te-ha is a fusion of Jazz, Latin Music, Bossa Nova , and Persian. - 2/24/09

Israel killer drones to counter Iran S-300?
Israel is developing a loitering drone capable of tracking elusive ground targets amid reports that Iran is seeking an anti-aircraft system. - 2/24/09

Arrests after protest in Tehran
A group of Iranian students are reported to have been arrested following a rare show of opposition to government policies. The arrests, of up to 70 students, followed a protest at the Amir Kabir university in Tehran. -BBC - 2/24/09

Dennis Ross tasked to engage Iran
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appointed Dennis Ross, a veteran diplomat, as her special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia, with responsibility to develop a strategy to engage Iran. State Department officials said the title is a euphemism for Iran. - 2/24/09

Tehran's Azadi Stadium 'most intimidating' in Asia
Iran's Azadi Stadium has been selected as the first Asian stadium for having an intimidating atmosphere for rivals, according to Goal.com. - 2/24/09

Playing nuclear politics
A sober analysis of Tehran's intentions suggests the Islamic republic has little to gain from acquiring the bomb -Ali Fathollah-Nejad - 2/24/09

Don't Let the Iran Headlines Scare You
The headlines are scary. "Iran ready to build nuclear weapon, analysts say," screams CNN. "Iran Has More Enriched Uranium Than Thought," shouts the New York Times. "Iran has enough uranium to make bomb," proclaims the Jerusalem Post. -Robert Dreyfuss, Nation - 2/24/09

Prosecutor General: Iran provides Bahais with all facilities
Iran's Prosecutor General, Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, has said the Bahai sect in Iran is using the same facilities as other Iranians. "The Iranian government has provided the Bahai sect in Iran with all the facilities offered to other Iranian citizens," Najafabadi said in an interview with Press TV on Monday. - 2/24/09

Jim Richardson: "Technology without meaning is just a waste"
Jim Richardson is a world-renowned American documentary photographer and photojournalist who works for the National Geographic magazine. He is also a contributing editor of Traveler Magazine. -Interview by Ahmadreza Tavassoli - 2/24/09

Iranian Nobel Laureate Says Official Lashings Are Torture
Speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Ebadi condemned last week's flogging of two women, who were imprisoned for their participation in a labor protest on May 1, 2008. Several other demonstrators were also beaten for attending the protest. - 2/24/09

Hope for US-Iranian Diplomacy
It is quite possible that the United States could someday acknowledge Iran as an ally. Dropping “carrots and sticks” and adopting open and highest level diplomatic dialogue could accomplish this hope and great change for the Middle East region and the world. -Golnoush Niknejad, Tehran Bureau - 2/24/09

Just a Number: 51 Year Old Heavyweight Hassan Chitsaz Targets Evander Holyfield and the Heavyweight Title
As the reigning elder statesman of active heavyweight fighters, Hassan E. Chitsaz is on a mission to accomplish his boxing dream and becoming the first man of Iranian decent to become a professional heavyweight champion of the world. -ringsidereport.com - 2/24/09

Lawmakers Stress Need for Afghanistan Strategy, Government Reforms
The regional challenge, Pelosi adds, involves not only Pakistan, but also India, China, Iran, Russia and other nations interested in seeing stability return to Afghanistan as the United States seeks to improve the joint effort with NATO. - 2/24/09

Mahsouly, King of Bahrain, emphasize need to expand Tehran-Manama ties
Iran's Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouly and Emir of Bahrain, King Hamad bin-Issa ale-Khalifa on Monday night stressed need to expansion of bilateral relations. - 2/24/09

Total denies $5B gas deal with Iran
The head of France's Total rejects reports that the firm will sign a major deal with Iran to develop part of the South Pars gas field. -Press TV - 2/24/09

Photos: "Please forgive me if I have done you wrong in any way. I'm going on Hajj"
If a Muslim gets to go on the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, he or she should ask all family members and friends for forgiveness, which I did via text message after I was granted visa to take pictures there. Not soon after people came round bringing essentials for the trip. -Newsha Tavakolian - 2/23/09

Iran: "Targeted Subsidies" Scheme Draws Scepticism
Kazem, a middle-aged van driver, knows just one thing about the authorities' economic development plans, according to which Iranians are to be given 70 US dollars each month. But when asked how and why this is going to happen, he can't explain. -Arash Hassan-Nia, Tehran - 2/23/09

UNITED NATIONS AND THE CRISIS OF LEGITIMACY: The Anatomy of One of the Organs of Hegemonic Powers
World Public opinions regarding the United Nations and all of its component parts vary from absolute ignorance of its history, structure and purpose to an outright dismissal of the entire organization as a dysfunctional international agency. -Mehdi S. Shariati - 2/23/09

Saideh Ghods: One Woman's Volunteerism Providing Hope to Thousands
In the northeastern hills of Tehran's Darband district lies an 18,000 square meter hospital and rehabilitation center dedicated to treating children diagnosed with cancer. The center was created by Saideh Ghods, whose two-year old daughter, Kiana, was diagnosed with cancer in 1986. - 2/23/09

The Economic Outlook: 2012 and beyond
It is said that today is pregnant with tomorrow. What and how we have done things in the past has shaped out today and what and how we do things today determine the shape of our future. To see into the future of our economies, with some small degree of certainty, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us and what we do. -Abbas Bakhtiar - 2/23/09

Herbert Hoover Copycat
Faced with the financial meltdown of the Great Depression, the Hoover administration created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation that poured taxpayers' money into the coffers of the influential Wall Street banks in an effort to save them from bankruptcy. Like today's Bush/Obama administrations, the Hoover administration used the "too-big-to-fail" scare tactic in order to justify the costly looting of the national treasury. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 2/23/09

IAEA clarifies misleading media reports on Iran
Following the release of IAEA's latest report on Iran last week, a number of scaremongering anti-Iran headlines appeared in the Western media. The LA times chose its headline as "Iran has enough fuel for a nuclear bomb". - 2/23/09

Oil leak contaminates Karkheh river
The Karkheh is a river in Khuzestan Province, Iran that rises in the Zagros Mountains, and passes north of Shush (ancient Susa), eventually falling into the Tigris just below its confluence with the Euphrates very near to the Iran-Iraq border. - 2/23/09

Iran wants "talented actress" Golshifteh Farahani to return home
Iranian cultural official backs return of actress Golshifteh Farahani from the US, saying she corrected her mistake during the Berlinale. "Farahani is a talented actress who shined in the late Rasul Mollaqolipur's M for Mother. She slipped up in Hollywood and corrected herself in Berlin," the president's art advisor, who is also a filmmaker, said. - 2/23/09

18,000 Iranians HIV positive
An estimated 18,000 of the country's 70 million population are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the pathogen that causes AIDS, secretary of the state Welfare Organization's committee of AIDS control and prevention said on Sunday. - 2/23/09

Tehran Hosts 3rd Urban Film Festival
The third International Urban Film Festival will be held in Tehran next month and will screen narrative and documentary films. The event, to be held from March 2 to 7, 2009, will screen 31 feature-length Iranian films along with short films and documentaries from Iran and ten other countries. - 2/23/09

On Iran, Begin with the End in Mind
Only 15 minutes into his term as president, Barack Obama did what his predecessor had refused to do for eight years. He reached out to Iran. By calling for a new approach to the Muslim world based on "mutual respect," Obama signaled Tehran that a new dawn in U.S.-Iran relations may be in reach. -Trita Parsi and Stanley Weiss, NIAC - 2/23/09

Iraqi president to visit Iran Wednesday; Rafsanjani to visit Iraq
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will visit Tehran on Wednesday for a two-day visit, Iraqi sources said. The president will be accompanied by four cabinet ministers. Also. Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will start a tour of Iraq next week at the invitation of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. - 2/23/09

A Conversation with Amir Omar - Iranian American Candidate for Richardson City Council
A first generation American of Iranian and Palestinian descent, Omar describes himself as, "living proof that the American dream is alive and well." A successful business manager and community activist, Omar recently declared his candidacy for City Council – Place 7 in Richardson, Texas. -PAAIA - 2/23/09

Over 25,000 killed in Iran road accidents each year
More than 25,000 people are killed in road accidents every year, the former director of center for emergency medical services said on Sunday. - 2/23/09

Historical Context and Political Significance of the Premiership of Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar: A Retrospective after 30 Years
An Academic Conference (in Persian) Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 - March 13-14, 2009, Northeastern Illinois University - 2/23/09

Our Friend in Tehran
MAHMOUD Ahmadinejad — the Iranian leader Washington loves to hate — has only a few more months left in his presidential term. But this is not cause for celebration. If President Barack Obama really wants to improve relations with Tehran, working with Mr. Ahmadinejad may be his best bet. -Ali Reza Eshraghi, NY Times - 2/23/09

Foreign-supplied weapons used against civilians by Israel and Hamas
"Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes," said Donatella Rovera, who headed Amnesty International's fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza.-Amnesty International - 2/23/09

The Life of Iranian President Ahmedinejad
The Fox News TV (USA) asked the Iranian President Ahmedinejad, “When you look into the mirror in the morning what do you say to yourself?” He answered: I see the person in the mirror and tell him “Remember you are no more than a small servant, ahead of you today is the heavy responsibility, and that is to serve the Iranian nation.” -Mirror of Tomorrow - 2/23/09

Women and the Islamic Republic: Emancipation or Suppression?
This essay focuses on the differences between the pre- and post-revolutionary periods in legal interpretations regarding the treatment of female sexuality in marriage and its implications for the freedom of labor and the autonomy of women. I argue that under the monarchy, the theoretical commoditization of female sexuality in marriage was treated as negotiable and modifiable. By contrast, the Islamic Republic has treated the issue as non-negotiable and has reinforced it through the enhancement of women's entitlements in marriage. -Fatemeh Etemad Moghadam - 2/22/09

Tehran Municipality facilitates release of female Inmates imprisoned for financial charges
On the occasion of the beginning of the fourth decade after victory of the Islamic Revolution and in line with ratification of Tehran Islamic City Council, all female inmates imprisoned for financial charges were released during a ceremony held in Evin prison on 14th of February. - 2/22/09

Professor Samii describes museum named after him as a source of honor
A museum named after noted Iranian neurosurgeon Professor Majid Samii was inaugurated at Tehran's Sa'dabad Cultural Complex on Sunday in a ceremony attended by the specialist himself and former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. - 2/22/09

Valentine's Day Lovers Defy Fundamentalists
In Tehran, despite the continuous clamour of anti-western slogans, one western tradition is gradually becoming a local institution, securing its place in the informal calendar of Iranian society. On February 14th, lovers exchange big crimson hearts as boys and girls – the same in Iran as elsewhere – celebrate Valentine's Day. -Raha Izadi, Tehran - 2/22/09

"About Elly" director amazed by win at Berlinale
Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi expressed his amazement, saying that he did not expect his film "About Elly" to win an award at the 59th Berlin film festival. In a press conference held at Tehran's Resaneh Cultural Center on Saturday, the cast and crew members of the film attended the session and answered questions posed by reporters. - 2/22/09

Schroeder in Iran backs nuclear consortium
Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has welcomed the prospects of an internationally-run nuclear enrichment plant in Iran. Iran's offer to form a nuclear consortium is acceptable and should be followed up, Schroeder said in a Saturday meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran. - 2/22/09

Photos: Funeral of Iranian Actress Mehri Mehrnia
Funeral ceremony for Iranian veteran actress Mehri Mehrnia was held on Saturday in Tehran. Mehrnia died on Wednesday in a Tehran hospital at the age of 93. The ceremony started in the House of Cinema and ended at the Behesht Zahra cemetery where Mehrnia's body was laid to rest at the artists' section. The funeral was attended by many actors and actresses. - 2/22/09

Iran oil show 2009: April 21-25 in Tehran
Tehran Permanent International fairgrounds will be the venue for Iran's 14th International Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Exhibition from April 21 to 25. In a press conference on Sunday, the director of the fair said that the show is the largest exhibition in the Middle East and also the largest oil show among other exhibitions of OPEC. - 2/22/09

Tehran: Council Assistants to Become Green Neighborhood Supporters
Advisor to Tehran mayor announced that 375 council assistants have been trained to work as supporters of green neighborhoods. -Tehran Municipality - 2/22/09

Iran to pre-commission nuclear plant
A spokesman for Iran's nuclear program says the country's first nuclear power plant will begin preliminary phase operation on Wednesday. Mohsen Delaviz, the Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) spokesman, said Sunday that the "pre-commission" of the plant is scheduled for Wednesday when the head of Russia's state Rosatom Atomic Corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko, plans to visit the country. - 2/22/09

Iran: Majlis seeks EC decision on presidential election law
The parliamentarians want an "educational degree" requirement to be set for the presidential candidates. They say people with degrees under M.A., M.S. or a same-level degree from theological schools who lack credible records in very high executive positions should not be allowed to run in the elections. - 2/22/09

Bahrain, Iran discuss friendly ties
Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa and his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki discussed Tehran-Manama ties as well as region's developments. -MNA - 2/22/09

Iranian Filmmakers Grab Attention at American Film Festival
A small town in snowy northern Utah seems an unlikely place for the U.S. premiere of two documentaries by Iranian filmmakers. But Park City, Utah, is home to the annual Sundance Film Festival, the largest artistic and marketing event in the United States for independent filmmakers -Steve Holgate - 2/21/09

Iranian American Moms take on Child Poverty from Afghanistan to Cambodia
Mothers Against Poverty (or MAP), a young non-profit organization, is testament to how a small group of Iranian American mothers with a minimal budget can champion the needs of poverty stricken children in three different corners of the world. - 2/21/09

Azadeh Moaveni talks about "Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran"
A longtime Middle East correspondent for Time Magazine—now living in Tehran— offers a stunning and unforgettable window into the maelstrom of Iranian life and gives voice to the Iranian psyche. - 2/21/09

The Revolutionary Legacy: A Contested and Insecure Polity
Islamic Iran will enter its 30th year with almost as much political noise as it generated at its inception. On the one hand, Iran's nuclear program and the confrontation it has engendered are daily reminders of the regional and global dimensions of Iran's revolution. -Farideh Farhi - 2/21/09

Iran: the friendliest people in the world
Beaming smiles, gel and a joke about lavatory brushes and weapons of mass destruction - Iran overturns all expectations -TIMES Online - 2/21/09

Unable to Compete in Iran, U.S. Badminton Players Disappointed
No one was more disappointed than the eight female athletes of USA Badminton when the players learned they would not be competing in a world-class tournament in Iran. "When the time came, we knew for certain that we couldn't go, we were all just so sad," said Mesinee "May" Mangkalakiri, 25, of Garden Grove, California, who competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. -Carolee Walker - 2/21/09

Iran navy moves to international waters
Iran has deployed naval ships to the high seas as part of a full-fledged campaign initiated by the highest level of government. - 2/21/09

Schroeder says highest possible levels for Iran-US talks needed
The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, Saturday in Tehran urged resolving regional and international problems through a multilateral policy. No single country is able to settle international challenges therefore the world must answer the problems in fields of energy, security, poverty and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction by a joint attempt and it is in need of a multilateral policy, he said. -ISNA - 2/21/09

Veteran Iranian Linguists Honored
Veteran Iranian linguists were honored on the sideline of the inaugural ceremony of the Second Conference on Linguistics, Inscriptions and Texts in Iran's National Museum. Leading linguists honered at the event included Yadollah Samareh, Ali Mohammad Haq-Shenas, Katyoun Fardapour, Zohreh Zarshenas and Mohammad Dabir-Moqaddam and Shirin Bayani. - 2/21/09

The Three Paradoxes of the Islamic Revolution in Iran
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 is an event defined as much by its ironies and paradoxes as by its novelties and cruelties. -By Abbas Milani - 2/21/09

Iranian Dervishes Detained Following Isfahan Clashes
Sufi dervishes say several of their colleagues have been injured and about 30 of them arrested after a confrontation with police in the central Iranian city of Isfahan. - 2/21/09

Iranians are friendly, the land spectacular
I went because: I had heard many negative things about Iran from our media and I wanted to see and experience it for myself. Also, the art and architecture are so great. -SFGate - 2/21/09

Nine countries at 3rd Fajr International Poetry Festival
At the event, poets from Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt will be honored for introducing Persian poetry to the world. - 2/21/09

NATO: Iran can help stem Afghan violence
NATO Chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says Iran can help stabilize Afghanistan, amid a major stalemate in US military efforts in the country. -Press TV - 2/21/09

Wow! 30 years has passed already?
I have been thinking to myself, "Wow! 30 years has passed already? Really? Has it been all that long?" It feels as though it has only just happened last year. Or maybe the year before. But 30 years ago? Yes. The year was 1979. Between February 1 to February 10, what has been referred to as the "Ten-Day Dawn": a constitutional monarchy died and a theocratic republic was born. -A.J. Cave - 2/20/09

Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) Launches Camper Applications for Camp Ayandeh 2009
Camp Ayandeh is a youth leadership camp that strives to create a positive environment where young Iranian-Americans develop a sense of personal culture and feel empowered as a member of a larger community. Campers have the chance to reflect on their cultural heritage and experiences in the company of peers and role models who are facing similar questions of community and identity. - 2/20/09

Khatami's Demarche
While Khatami's February 8 announcement has generated some interest among the usually-placid electorate, most people in the know believe that at this moment in time, recapturing the executive branch by an outsider like Khatami is simply out of the question. -Kamal Nazer Yasin in Tehran - 2/20/09

Nasser David Khalili: Promoting Cultural Understanding Through Philanthropy
Among art collectors and academics, Dr. Nasser David Khalili is known as the "cultural ambassador of Islam." His collection of Islamic art is the largest privately held in the world – with over 20,000 items. As a Jewish Iranian, Khalili is also a dedicated proponent of interfaith understanding and dialogue, and art's role in moving both forward. -PARSA - 2/20/09

Detained Iranian Students Continue Hunger Strike
Four Iranian students detained two weeks ago are continuing their hunger strike in jail, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. The students at Tehran's Amirkabir University of Technology were detained at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan. - 2/20/09

Photos: taziyeh passion play on the occasion of Arbain in Ardebil, Iran
The photos here are from the taziyeh play held in Ardebin, Iran. Thosands of taziyeh in various shapes and sizes are fashioned every year for months of mourning of Muharram and Safar; and are carried in processions and may be buried at the end of Ashoura day or Arbain day which is 40 days past Ashoura. -Photos by Hosein Shokrani Moghadam, ISNA - 2/20/09

Iran and Saudi Arabia: Eternal "Gamecocks?"
Almost immediately after the triumph of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini and the new Iranian leadership turned against Saudi Arabia and its ruling family. Iran's supreme leader accused the "House of Saud" of "distorting the Islamic spirit... -Henner Fürtig - 2/20/09

Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council
Some three decades into the life of the Islamic Republic, the Iranian regime has yet to devise and implement a coherent national security policy or even a set of guidelines on which its regional and international security policies are based. In relation to the Persian Gulf region and the country's immediate neighbors, this has resulted in the articulation of regional foreign and security policies that at times have seemed fluid and changeable. -Mehran Kamrava - 2/20/09

IAEA releases new Iran report
In its latest report on Iran's nuclear program, the UN nuclear watchdog says it has been unable to make any "substantive progress" on Iran. - 2/20/09

Iranian actress Mehri Mehrnia dies at 93
Mehrnia was born in 1915 in Savadkuh, Mazandaran Province. She began her artistic career when she was 33 and entered the world of cinema with the film "Mommy's Boy." She performed in over 40 movies during her 50 year career. - 2/20/09

Iranian Security Forces Attack Dervishes Again
Iranian security forces attacked a gathering of dervishes - 2/20/09

The Rite of Spring in San Rafael, California
Join Ballet Afsaneh for an evening at the Marin Symphony - This ground breaking work is a ballet first performed by the Ballets Russes in Paris in May, 1913 under impresario Serge Diaghilev. Today, The Rite of Spring remains an unparalleled icon in music and dance history. - 2/20/09

Persian Arts Festival Celebrate Norooz 2009, the Persian New Year, at Bowery Poetry Club in New York
This Norooz 2009, in conjunction with Bowery Poetry Club, PAF will host a special Shab-e She'r, the Norooz Edition on Wednesday, March 18th from 6 – 9 pm. The celebratory evening will feature two incredible acts that bring the works of ancient poets including Rumi and Hafez to life through music. - 2/20/09

Woman blinded by acid wants same fate for attacker
Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she'll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won't see her eyes, and she won't see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor. -CNN - 2/20/09

Collaboration - The best chance for reformists to win elections
There's going to be another presidential election in Iran in June 2009. Another chance for the reformists to get their candidate elected to the office of Presidency. -Mehrdad Farahani - 2/20/09

Iran says it respects Bahrain's sovereignty
On February 11, a day after Nateq Nouri's speech, Iran's Khorasan newspaper quoted him as saying in his address that "under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, this useless king, one of our provinces which has now become a country named Bahrain was taken away from us. -AFP - 2/20/09

Gates Says NATO Positive on Call for More Help in Afghanistan
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he got a good response from NATO allies Thursday when he asked them to do more to help provide security for the elections in Afghanistan in August, and for longer term projects training the country's security forces and improving its economy. -VOA - 2/20/09

Iran in 'backroom offers' to West
Iran offered to stop attacking British troops in Iraq to try to get the West to drop objections to Tehran's uranium enrichment project, a UK official says. -BBC - 2/20/09

The Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation: Making a Difference, One Project at a Time
Founded in 1998 by Diana Khalatbari, the Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation (PKCF) was established in memory of her daughter Popli Khalatbari. Since then, the funds from Popli's estate have been distributed with the aim of assisting children and disadvantaged communities worldwide. These funds continue to grow through the generosity of private donors and corporate sponsors. -PARSA - 2/19/09

La Princesse Noor D'Iran: Un Cœur A Prendre!
France's Point De Vue Mag's Valentine Issue puts eldest Daughter of Crown Prince Reza and Yasmine Pahlavi into Glamorous Spotlight -Darius KADIVAR Reports From Paris - 2/19/09

Photos: taziyeh passion play on the occasion of Arbain in Isfahan, Iran
Thosands of taziyeh in various shapes and sizes are fashioned every year for months of mourning of Muharram and Safar; and are carried in processions and may be buried at the end of Ashoura day or Arbain day which is 40 days past Ashoura. -Photos by Gholamhosein Baharloo, ISNA - 2/19/09

Iranian Authorities Destroy Sufi Holy Site In Isfahan
A house of worship of the Gonabadi dervishes in Isfahan has reportedly been destroyed by the Iranian authorities. The reason for the destruction -- which reportedly took place shortly after midnight on February 18 -- is not clear, but it comes amid growing pressure on dervishes, who practice the Sufi tradition of Islam, and other religious minorities in Iran. -RFE - 2/19/09

The Equestrian Embrace: Winner of Iran's Abilympic award, Arash Rezghibarez
Arash Rezghibarez was born in 1970 in Tehran. He started to paint professionally in 1988 by which time he had already studied with two of Iran's best teachers: Haedeh Zarrinbal and Mohammad Jafari. -gallerymamak.com, Tehran - 2/19/09

European Union expresses "deep concern" over seven Baha'i prisoners
The European Union yesterday issued a statement expressing its "deep concern" over Iran's plans to bring seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders to trial for espionage and other charges soon. The Baha'i International Community has called for their immediate release, maintaining their innocence and characterizing the regime's claims as an "escalation of its systematic crackdown on the Baha'is." -BWNS - 2/19/09

Iranian-Lebanese Shi'ite Relations
Next to the Arab-Israeli conflict, perhaps few other topics in the history of the modern Middle East have captured the interest of policymakers and scholars alike as has postrevolutionary Iranian-Lebanese Shi'ite relations, particularly the creation of Hizbullah. -Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr - 2/19/09

Iran, Russia hold first round of defense talks
Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov started the first round of talks in Moscow. Najjar arrived in Moscow on Tuesday on the official invitation of Serdyukov. -ISNA - 2/19/09

Iran ready for greater role in Afghanistan
Following seven years of occupation and the failure of some 70,000 US and NATO-led troops to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, Washington called on the war-ravaged country's neighbors to help deal with the situation. - 2/19/09

Iran Claims to Build Long-Distance Unmanned Aircraft
A top Iranian defense official says Tehran has built an unmanned surveillance aircraft with a range of more than 950 kilometers. The claim, if true, would put the drone within range of Israel. This is not the first time Iran has claimed to have built a drone aircraft, but Iranian officials have never before indicated the range capability of such aircraft. -VOA - 2/19/09

Iran and France: Shattered Dreams
When Iran's 1979 revolution took place, many Iranians predicted that relations between Iran and France would improve in an unprecedented way. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, spent the last four months of his 14-year in exile in France. -Pirooz Izadi - 2/19/09

Ahmadinejad rejects oil money report
Iran's president criticizes recent reports about a missing $1 billion in oil revenues, saying such actions 'mar' the government's image. A National Audit Office report issued for parliament (Majlis) has revealed that $1.058 billion of surplus oil revenues in the 2006-2007 budget has not been returned to the treasury. -Press TV - 2/19/09

New route links Afghanistan to sea, via Iran
A new land route has just opened linking Afghanistan to the southern seaports of its next-door neighbor, Iran - and that could be the opening the new administration needs to forge a diplomatic relationship with a regional power the United States has, with rare exception, viewed as the Middle East bogeyman. -SF Chronicle - 2/19/09

Barzani: US Must Resolve Kurdish Issues Before Troop Withdrawal From Iraq
During a conference, the prime minister of Iraq's Kurdistan regional government appealed for U.S. support this week on the constitutional article (Article 140) governing territorial disputes, and the oil and gas law. U.S., Iranian and Russian representatives are observing the conference, which ends Thursday. - 2/19/09

In Policy Shift, US Joins Preparatory UN Racism Talks
The Obama administration, in a break with its predecessor, has sent a delegation to a preparatory meeting for the second World Conference Against Racism scheduled for April in Geneva. The United States walked out of the first such conference in Durban, South Africa in 2001, contending it was mainly a forum for attacks on Israel and Zionism. - 2/19/09

Talebzadeh: My brother died natural death
The late US-based Iranian doctor Nasser Talebzadeh Ordoubadi's brother denies media reports claiming he had died a suspicious death. -Press TV - 2/19/09

Who's Telling the Truth About Iran's Nuclear Program?
Since February 2003, Iran's nuclear program has undergone what the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) itself admits to be the most intrusive inspection in its entire history. After thousands of hours of inspections by some of the most experienced IAEA experts, the Agency has verified time and again that (1) there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, and (2) all the declared nuclear materials have been accounted for; -Muhammad Sahimi - 2/18/09

7th Sadegh Hedayat Literary Award
The 7th Sadegh Hedayat Literary Awards which were organized by the Hedayat office took place last week at the house of Mr Jahangir and Shideh Hedayat in Tehran, in the presence of the gem of Iran's lady of letters Mrs. Simin Behbahani and members of the Hedayat family. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/18/09

Back to the Future: Bazaar Strikes, Three Decades after the Revolution
Despite the change in regime from one that was unabashedly hostile to the bazaar and its "traditional" ways to a post-revolutionary regime that the bazaaris helped bring to power, the bazaaris have continued to resort to public dissent to express their antipathy towards the political establishment and protect their economic interests. -Arang Keshavarzian - 2/18/09

Grassroots Civilian Diplomacy Delegations to Iran
Following the success of Fellowship of Reconciliation's first four friendship and solidarity delegations to Iran in December 2005, May 2006, March 2007, and May 2007, FOR launched in Fall 2007 the second phase of our Iran initiative, a project seeking alternatives to the current political standoff between the United States and Iranian governments. - 2/18/09

Grizzlies reassign Haddadi to Development League
For the second time this season, the Memphis Grizzlies have assigned center Hamed Haddadi to the NBA Development League's Dakota Wizards, the club's D-League affiliate. - 2/18/09

Iran's Foreign Policy and the Iran-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline
Iran, which has the world's second largest proven natural gas reserves after Russia, has been eager to exploit this resource not only as source of revenue, but also as leverage for political gains. India, with an increasing need for energy as its population quickly approaches 1.3 billion, is the biggest potential customer. -Jalil Roshandel - 2/18/09

Iran defense minister continues S-300 quest
As Iran's defense minister holds talks with Russian officials, media reports suggest Tehran is pushing to finalize the S-300 defense system deal. Also, Iran plans to build a new generation of fighter jets to boost its defense industry amid renewed Israeli war rhetoric against its nuclear work. - 2/18/09

World largest artificial beach to be built in central Iran
World's largest artificial beach is to be built in this provincial capital city in central Iran on a 60,000-square-meter land, a local recreation official said on Wednesday. - 2/18/09

Iran: Women's management role increased by 130% in Education Ministry
There has been a 13% increase in women's management role in the Education Ministry over the past year, head of the ministry's department for women affairs said here on Tuesday. -MNA - 2/18/09

IAEA Chief: Iran Not Cooperating; Israel Impedes Nuclear Disarmament
The head of the United Nations' nuclear agency says Iran is not helping resolve questions about any possible military aspect of its nuclear program. ElBaradei's comments come one day after he said that Israel's refusal to sign the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty is undermining the treaty's legitimacy in Arab public opinion. -VOA - 2/18/09

From Iran's hard-liners, tough talk – but pragmatism as well
Senior conservatives in Iran are raising the bar for US-Iran engagement, reinforcing positions that leave little room for compromise as the Obama administration searches for ways to talk to the Islamic Republic. -CSM - 2/18/09

Iran to finalize Turkmenistan gas field development contract
The Iranian ambassador to Turkmenistan said here on Monday that a delegation of gas experts is due in Ashgabat next week to finalize the previously signed memorandum of understanding for the development of the Yoloten gas field in Turkmenistan. - 2/18/09

One third of world drugs transited through Iran: Police chief
Based on recent statistics released by the United Nations, one third of the drugs destined to international markets are transited through Iran, the national police chief announced on Wednesday. - 2/18/09

Iran Wins $1.5B Basra Construction Contract
An Iranian firm has won a $1.5 billion contract to build a new town in the southern city of Basra, Hayder Ali, the head of Basra Investment Commission said. -FNA - 2/18/09

Iranian Night-Goggle Lady Has Words for Obama, Too
Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan is a 31-year-old Iranian woman accused of trying to export night-vision goggles to Iran. This detail probably means she won't ever be a confidant of the Obamas, but that hasn't stopped Gholikhan from offering the First Couple her thoughts. -Broward Palm Beach - 2/18/09

Roger Cohen: Reading Khamenei in Tehran
None of the many Iranian puzzles frustrates America and its allies as much as how to reach Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader who sets the country's direction. -IHT - 2/18/09

Santa Cruzan to study 2,000-year-old water system to help drought-stricken West
Adventurer and water systems expert Jack Schultz will pack his bags and head to Iran this month, where he hopes to learn about ancient water systems and bring the knowledge back to Santa Cruz. -Santa Cruz Sentinel - 2/18/09

Denmark: Ministry demands answers from PET over Iranians
The Justice Ministry has ordered national intelligence agency PET to provide it with a memorandum explaining its grounds for requesting information from the nation’s universities about their Iranian students, reports Berlingske Tidende newspaper. -Copenhagen Post - 2/18/09

Environmental Snapshots in Contemporary Iran
Pollution is a familiar story to Tehranis. Every winter a black, smelly cloud accumulates over Tehran. But the scale and intensity of the newest phase of invading toxic pollutants seems to have taken everybody by surprise. The sick and elderly are warned to stay indoors. Schools might be closed for a week. The officials estimate that the life expectancy of every resident of Tehran has dropped by five years due to pollution. -Mohammad Eskandari - 2/17/09

KGB Non-Fiction Presents Iran Night in New York
February 17, 2009, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Participants: Sohrab Mohebbi is the author of “Hair is for Head-Banging” and a contributor to Urban Iran. Charlotte Noruzi is an author-illustrator-designer based in New York City. Hooman Majd has written for GQ, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, Interview, and Salon, and has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post from its inception. Manijeh Nasrabadi received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Hunter College. Her essay “Before I Knew Him” won the City University of New York Arts Gala Memoir Prize in 2005. - 2/17/09

Celebrate Iranian Alliances Across Borders' (IAAB) Fifth Birthday
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is excited to launch the February Online Fundraiser celebrating IAAB's Fifth Birthday. IAAB's goal is to raise $10,000 throughout the month of February. 100% of all donations will directly fund community-building events, such as the Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora and Camp Ayandeh 2009. - 2/17/09

Sources expose covert Israel war on Iran
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has launched covert operations to sabotage Iran's nuclear progress, US intelligence sources reveal. According to the report, Mossad has been using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents in a bid to delay Iran's nuclear research as much as possible. - 2/17/09

Potentials and Challenges in the Iranian Oil and Gas Industry
Thirty years after the revolution, Iran's hydrocarbon industry is facing new opportunities and challenges. This essay attempts to evaluate the future of Iran's oil and gas sector in view of changing circumstances in the oil and gas industry and the barriers to Iran taking full advantage of its potentials. -Narsi Ghorban - 2/17/09

21-28 March 2009: "International Week of Iranian Culture"
Let us join together and celebrate the "International Week of Iranian Culture". This is a joyous opportunity to embark on a systematic program to educate the general public -- including many Iranians -- on Iranian culture, and promote our heritage. - 2/17/09

US needs to give appropriate response to Iran's initiatives: FM
The ball is in the US court and it needs to give an appropriate response to Iran's initiatives and positions over the US presidential elections, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in an interview with RIA-Novosti. - 2/17/09

Exhibition by Nicky Nodjoumi in New York: The Formulaic Nature of Appearances
By speaking literally and figuratively of two worlds simultaneously, the Western Hemisphere and the Middle East, Nodjoumi evokes individual dialogues against a continuous backdrop of ambiguity, allegory and irony. - 2/17/09

Habib Zargarpour will be among the judges for the 2009 Noor Film Festival
Habib Zargarpour has had over 12 years of experience in visual effect for film. He spent 9 of those years at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) where he first joined the team of The Mask in 1993 as a Technical Director. - 2/17/09

Obama and Iran
Almost everyone would welcome a new dialogue between the US and Iran especially if it were to avert another devastating war. We must recognize however that this shift didn't start with Obama's election. The last few years has seen a battle between different sections of the US administration over their Iran policy. -Naz Massoumi - 2/17/09

Baha'is express gratitude for open letter of support by Iranians
The Baha'i International Community has issued a statement of gratitude to the Iranian intellectuals, scholars, writers, journalists, activists, and artists throughout the world who signed an open letter apologizing for their silence during Iran's long-running persecution of the Baha'is. - 2/17/09

Quest For Fire
In the past few million years, human evolution has taken mysterious and at times serendipitous turns and twists into a myriad of unchartered territories as it has moved from primitive primate isolated clusters to its current so called "Advanced civilization" of 6.5 billion. -David N. Rahni, New York - 2/17/09

Increase in death rate from lung disease in Tehran: study
Compared with the last year, there has been a significant increase in number of deaths resulting from lung and respiratory diseases among citizens in Tehran. - 2/17/09

Alborz Persian Cuisine
Persian rugs and rich aromas greet customers who are lucky enough to find Alborz Persian Cuisine, tucked into a strip mall just off Anderson Lane. Inside, an array of Middle-Eastern dishes entice Persian natives and Austin locals alike. -Community Impact - 2/17/09

Egypt gives green light to MKO camp
Egypt has agreed to the establishment of a Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) base in the country as the terrorist group seeks a new home. -Press TV - 2/17/09

U.S. embassy in Iran could help defuse Mideast time bomb
Hints by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about overtures to Iran raise the prospect that the United States may open an embassy there. -McClatchy-Tribune - 2/17/09

Iran Agrees To Stop Shelling Iraqi Border Areas
An Iraqi Kurdish official claims an agreement has been reached with Iran to halt its shelling of Iraqi border areas in pursuit of Kurdish rebels. - 2/17/09

Mehr – An Iranian NGO that invests in women and helps to empower them
Recently I went to a very enjoyable charity bazaar organized by Mehr Women Charity Organization. I had visited a similar event about three years ago and was keen to see how the NGO had grown since I last reported on it. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 2/16/09

Photos: Climbing Sabalan Peak in Ardebin, Iran
Sabalan is an inactive stratovolcano in Meshkinshahr, Ardabil province, in northwestern Iran. Sabalan is the third highest mountain in Iran and a permanent crater lake has formed at the summit. Sabalan has a ski resort and different tourist areas such as the Sarein spa. The mountain is known for its beautiful vistas, including the Shirvan gorge, where few climbers ever venture. - 2/16/09

Iran: No Justification For Pressures On Women Activist
Mansoureh Shojaee’s interview with Nasrin Sotoudeh about her being summoned to the court and other events in recent weeks. Nasrin Sotoudeh is one of the courageous lawyers of Iranian women’s movement - 2/16/09

Photos: Killing the cigarettes, for a change
Some 23 million smuggled cigarettes which had been confiscated by Iranian police were destroyed in Tehran. Among the cigarettes included those made by American companies (Camel, Kent, Winston, etc ) and Iranian companies (Bahman, Day, Tir). -Photos by Amir Pourmand ISNA - 2/16/09

Iranian Nationalism Rediscovered
In the fall of 2007, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad welcomed President Vladimir Putin on the first state visit by a Russian leader since Joseph Stalin came to Iran to attend the Tehran Summit in 1943 along with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The Iranian press was in no doubt as to the significance of the visit, which for many illustrated not only Iran's importance but its return to the world stage as a power with which to be reckoned. -Ali Ansari - 2/16/09

Iranian "Exceptionalism"
One of the strange features of 20th century Iranian leaders has been a tendency to perceive themselves, their government, and Iran as serious challengers to the present world order. Given the fact that the present world order is very much a Western dominated system, the Iranian leaders' historic "crusade" has been broadly anti-Western. -Sadegh Zibakalam - 2/16/09

"About Elly" brings Iran another Berlin Silver Bear
Iran's Asghar Farhadi won the Silver Bear for the best director for "About Elly" at the 59th Berlin film festival. The film, which tells the story of middle class Iranians whose trip to the Caspian Sea turns into a tragedy as they try to uphold their social customs, was warmly received by critics and filmgoers in the Berlinale. - 2/16/09

Sirens go off in Israel for war on Iran
An Israeli defense strategy report for 2009 has tasked the military with making preliminary preparations for launching a war against Iran. - 2/16/09

Holbrooke says Iran plays vital role in Afghanistan
A top U.S. envoy to Afghanistan has declared that Iran clearly plays a vitally important role in Afghanistan. "It is absolutely clear that Iran plays an important role in Afghanistan," Richard Holbrooke said in an interview on Sunday with Tolo TV, a private Afghan television network. - 2/16/09

Iran against enmity with US, but twist in ties not imminent: Rohani
Supreme Leader's representative at Supreme National Security Council said Iran does not want to continue enmity and conflict with the US but ruled out immediate twist in their frozen ties -ISNA - 2/16/09

Iranian bioweapon researcher dies suspiciously
A US-based Iranian doctor working to discover an antitoxin therapy of biological weapons has purportedly died a "suspicious death." - 2/16/09

Doubts Over Implementation Of Shari'a Law In Pakistani Region
Islamists and officials from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have reached an agreement to impose Shari'a law in the Swat Valley and the surrounding Malakand region, in a bid to ease an uprising by militants. -RFE/RL - 2/16/09

Iranians Feel Pinch of Falling Oil Prices
Many fear living conditions will deteriorate further if parliament approves president's plan to cut energy subsidies. Last October, Iran's central bank head Mahmoud Bahmani warned of hardships ahead as falling oil prices resulted in a 54 billion US dollar reduction in the country's foreign exchange earnings. -Arash Hassan-Nia, Tehran - 2/15/09

Iran's Alamiyan wins Doha ITTF Pro Tour
The talented Iranian Noshad Alamiyan defeated Marcello Aguirre from Paraguay in the final game of the 2009 ITTF Junior Circuit in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday. - 2/15/09

Iran's Abdollah Nouri -- The Man Who Won't Be President
Abdollah Nouri's supporters describe him as man of principle who is willing to defend his beliefs. These qualities, they say, make Nouri the only reformist figure who can bring real change to Iran. And by real changes, they mean changes to Iran's Islamic political structure, where the real power lies in the hands of the supreme leader. -RFE - 2/15/09

Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Tells US to Change Approach to Improve Relations
Iranian state media report Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has compared the current U.S. diplomatic approach to a boxing match when a game of chess would be preferred. - 2/15/09

American tourist: "Iran was a great place to visit"
Unfortunately most of the people in the world, because of massive negative propaganda run by some media corporations, consider Iran as an unfriendly country. But when people visit Iran, they see a reality which is very different from the perception created by the mainstream media. -Ahmadreza Tavassoli - 2/15/09

Inside Tehran's Hearts and Minds
Young people here have always been at the heart of Iran's political life. More than 70% of Iran's 70 million people are younger than 35. They face a crossroads. The country goes to the polls to elect a new leader this June. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hard-line regime has put pressure on young people, particularly student activists, and cracked down on signs of rebellion from clothing to social activism. -Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ - 2/15/09

Principlists to dissuade Khatami from running: MP
MP Ali Motahhari revealed on Saturday that some principlists will negotiate with former president Mohammad Khatami to convince him not to contest the June presidential election so that principlists would consider candidates other than the current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. - 2/15/09

Trial and error management approach is a 'poison' for Iran: Rafsanjani
"The time of trial and error has ended and acting this way is a poison for the management of the society," Rafsanjani, a two-time president, explained in a dialogue with a number of students at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences in Tehran University - 2/15/09

Decades After Soviet Exit, Another Superpower Is Tied Down In Afghan Conflict
Some 2,000 Afghans have died or sustained serious injuries in U.S. and NATO air strikes in the past year. Recent polls suggest that support for Western forces among the Afghan people has reached an all-time low of 37 percent. -RFE - 2/15/09

Photos: The transformation of Asgar to Maria, and the ramifications
Maria is an Iranian transsexual. She changed her gender some years ago after a life as a truck driver on the Iran-Europe route. Her life is more difficult now. Maria's family thought their father had married another woman. But after a 'yellow' paper revealed her true identity, they found out that 'Asgar' had become 'Maria'. -Photos by Newsha Tavakolian - 2/14/09

Iran table tennis champ enters Doha final
Renowned Iranian table tennis player Noshad Alamiyan enters the final of the Doha Junior Open in Qatar after defeating his Korean rival. - 2/14/09

Majority of Americans Support Direct Diplomacy With Iran
Americans appear to support the Obama administration's push for "face-to-face" dialogue with Iran: 56% say the United States should engage in direct diplomacy with Iran, while 38% say it should not. -Gallup Poll - 2/14/09

Iran vs. US: Who should apologize?
If there is anyone who must apologize to the Iranian people, it is first and foremost Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his four year regime of economic collapse, corruption, executions and more suppression of Iran's civil society activists. -Fariba Amini - 2/14/09

NIAC Workshop in Denver
Demystifying Democracy – The Seven Ingredients of Influence: A workshop at CU Denver to build Iranian-American influence in America - Sponsored by the National Iranian American Council and the Parsa Foundation - 2/14/09

Satire: Beaten, Bloodied T.J. Houshmandzadeh Hoping Obama Closes Gitmo Soon
News that President Obama had called an immediate halt to detainee prosecutions came as a "welcome relief" to the Bengals' Iranian-American wide receiver Touraj "T.J." Houshmandzadeh, who has suffered through daily questioning sessions at the hands of government interrogators since being detained last December. -Onion - 2/14/09

Iran builds S-300-style anti-aircraft
Iran's Defense Ministry says it has built a long-range anti-aircraft system capable of simultaneously striking multiple enemy targets. - 2/14/09

VOA's Persian News Network Wins Medal in NY Festivals Competition
The Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN) received a World Bronze Medal in the 2009 New York Festivals Television Programming and Promotions Awards competition for design work on a special program about the 2008 U.S. presidential election. - 2/14/09

IAEA To Choose New Head -- And Stance Toward Iran
Two senior ambassadors to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been declared as candidates to succeed IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei when he leaves the post in November. -RFE - 2/14/09

Finding Bibi - Interview with Iranian American film maker, Bita Haidarian
Bita Haidarian, an award-winning Iranian American filmmaker fresh out of film school, sets off on a journey around the world to answer the big questions – who am I, where do I come from, and where can a girl find a good laser hair removalist? -Mideast Youth - 2/14/09

Lebanon Provides Fertile Ground for Iranian Influence
The 1979 Islamic Revolution not only changed the face of Iran, but was also meant for export. It succeeded in making political Islam a force to reckon with across the Muslim world and has enhanced Iran's influence along the way. -VOA - 2/14/09

Turkmen President In Iran To Discuss Energy
Central Asian expert Steve Sabol told RFE/RL that Berdymukhammedov's trip to Iran could be a signal for the West and Russia that Turkmenistan is pursuing a foreign policy defined by its own interests. Sabol said such a visit is never good from a Western perspective because it wants to see Iran completely isolated. - 2/14/09

Norouz 2009 event at Philadelphia Museum of Art on March 8th
The fourth annual Norouz (Persian New Year) event will be held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday March 8th. This is a one day event with many fun activities for children of all ages, and a must see performance by Silk Dance group, followed by a fabulous children's dance - 2/13/09

Tales From the Zirzameen: The story of an American falling in love with Iran -- continued...
From the time I first announced that I was publishing a book about my experiences in Iran a year ago, my book has finally been published. I had no idea of how long this process takes. One unexpected benefit of the long delay was that it gave me the opportunity to add an epilogue to my book about my recent return to Iran which gave it a better ending and a full circle; a sense of closure and a surprise ending. -Brian H. Appleton - 2/13/09

Iranian Society: A Surprising Picture
Iranian society has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, and bears little resemblance either to the expectations of or the picture painted by the leadership of the Islamic Republic. Indeed, as much as the ruling clerics like to project self-confidence and the ability to predict the future, they could not have envisaged a society with these characteristics. -Bahman Baktiari - 2/13/09

Tehran football teams Persepolis and Esteghlal tie again
Maziar Zare's late penalty gave Persepolis a 1-1 draw against leaders of the Iran Professional League (IPL) here on Friday. Esteghlal was held to a 1-1 draw in front of 100,000 spectators at the Azadi Stadium. -MNA - 2/13/09

Communication, Media, and Popular Culture in Post-revolutionary Iran
In the news media and the prevailing political discourse, Iran is often portrayed as a closed society. Characterizations of Iran as a theocratic state, fundamentalist society, and a rogue nation depict Iran as an "Islamic" totalitarian state devoid of any freedom and trappings of "civil society." -Mehdi Semati - 2/13/09

Tehran Has No More Pomegranates Premiers In Five U.S. Cities
Willow Films, in association with SoCiArts Productions and various local cultural and educational organizations present TEHRAN HAS NO MORE POMEGRANATES' premiere release in five cities throughout the U.S., starting February 18 through March 5, 2009. - 2/13/09

Jailed Iranian Baha'is should be released, not put on trial, says BIC
Reports that seven imprisoned Baha'is have been accused of espionage and other crimes and that their case will be referred to the Revolutionary Court next week are deeply concerning, potentially marking a new and dangerous stage in Iran's persecution of Baha'is, said the Baha'i International Community today. - 2/13/09

The Iranian Revolution and the US Policy of Dual Containment: A Presentation
2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. The Revolution ended a symbiotic relation between the US and the Shah, whereby the latter helped to sustain the economic and political interests of the US in the Persian Gulf region and the former helped to preserve the rule of the Shah. -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 2/13/09

Alarm bells for Iran's "salt men"
The ancient Iranian "salt men" are in critical condition. All six of the salt men, known as Iranian mummies, were discovered at the Chehrabad Salt Mine in the Hamzehlu region near Zanjan over the past 12 years, the Persian service of CHN reported on Wednesday. - 2/13/09

Leila Rajabi sets women's shot put record at Fajr Competitions in Tehran
Leila Rajabi set a record in the women's shot put event in the Fajr International Track and Field Competitions at the Tehran's Aftab Gymnasium on Thursday. - 2/13/09

Book launch in London: Becoming Visible in Iran
You are invited to the launch of Becoming Visible in Iran: Women in contemporary in Iranian society by Mehri Honarbin-Holliday, Canterbury Christ Church University on Monday 16th February 2009 in London - 2/13/09

On US and Iran, is there an end game?
“For US-Iran talks to succeed, the end destination of the journey needs to be defined ahead of time,” said Dr. Trita Parsi, President of National Iranian American Council. Due to lack of trust on both sides, small steps and tactical confidence building will be insufficient to overcome mutual suspicions, he argued. -NIAC - 2/13/09

Iranian FM Discusses Security in Iraqi Kurdistan, opens consulates
Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki has visited Iraqi Kurdistan to discuss security concerns in the semi-autonomous region. During his visit, Mottaki opened consulates in both Irbil and Sulaymaniyah. He is the most senior Iranian official to visit the region. -VOA - 2/13/09

US Intelligence Chief Calls Economic Crisis a Security Threat
On Iran, Director Blair reiterated an earlier intelligence community estimate that Iran halted work on nuclear weapons design in 2003. But he added that Tehran continues to work on uranium enrichment and development of ballistic missiles. He said Tehran might still be induced to give up any future nuclear arms ambitions. -VOA - 2/13/09

Young Muslim Activists Launch Global Peace Movement
Just four days before President Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C., on January 20th, an international group of young Muslim activists gathered in Doha, Qatar, to launch what they described as a global Muslim movement for peace, justice and the common good. - 2/13/09

Are Our Carrots Big Enough?
“Iran is not a donkey, bigger sticks won’t work,” said James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation. He made it clear Wednesday that Iran is not a country that can be wooed using the carrot or stick metaphor. -NIAC - 2/13/09

Israel, Hezbollah: Has deterrence worked?
When Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah's top military commander, was assassinated by a car bomb in Damascus one year ago, the militant Shiite group blamed Israel – which denied involvement – and vowed revenge. But a year on, that vow remains unfulfilled. -CSM - 2/13/09

Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C. Celebrate Persian New Year March 7
Gold coins and goldfish, fire jumping, dancing clowns, the banging of bowls and spoons and many other joyful sights and sounds will fill the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler galleries during an early celebration of "Nowruz! A Persian New Year Celebration," Saturday, March 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - 2/12/09

Iran's Coach: We are still on the path to World Cup
Iran football coach Ali Daei said that he is optimistic about reaching to the 2010 World Cup final round in spite of being held by South Korea in Tehran. - 2/12/09

ABC to shoot pilot for Funny in Farsi
According to a posting on the web site of the Iranian-American author Firoozeh Dumas, ABC will be shooting a pilot for her book Funny in Farsi: "This is the first step in a long process. If they like the pilot, it will become a series." - 2/12/09

Iran's Literary Voices
The history of modern Persian literature is closely aligned with some of the oppositional movements that culminated in the 1979 revolution. The origins of modern Persian writing are inseparable from a preoccupation that literature speak to the concerns of the masses. -Nasrin Rahimieh - 2/12/09

Can Obama escape the dominating influence of AIPAC and the American Jewish/Zionist Israeli lobby?
Recently, a group of very high-minded and virtuous but, retired diplomats and academics who do not owe their future success to AIPAC or any Israeli lobbies, asked the question: "Can Obama Untangle the Iranian Challenge?" But the question they should be asking is: "Can Obama escape the dominating influence of AIPAC and the American Jewish/Zionist Israeli lobby?" -Debbie Menon - 2/12/09

Curtain comes down on Fajr filmfest with wins for "Hesitation" and "About Elly"
The 27th Fajr International Film Festival came to an end, with "Hesitation" and "About Elly" winning the Crystal Simorghs for best film and best director respectively. The closing ceremony of the festival, which is Iran's most important gala in the motion picture industry, was held at Tehran's National Grand Hall on Tuesday evening. - 2/12/09

Attitudes towards the Internet in an Iranian University
Iranian universities are undoubtedly experiencing their hardest period since the Cultural Revolution of 1980-1982. All this is taking place in the name of "Islam" or "religion," with little attention paid to the complexities of their definitions, nor indeed to those of "non-religion," "non-Islam," or "secular." -Hossein Godazgar - 2/12/09

200th Anniversary Of Darwin's Birth Won't Be Marked In Kabul Or Tehran
For many, 19th-century English naturalist Charles Darwin is the man whose groundbreaking theory of evolution and natural selection changed our understanding of the world. Iran has left Darwin's theory out of textbooks as a teaching that contradicts Islam's version of creation of mankind. -RFE - 2/12/09

Iran urges U.S. to release diplomats as first sign of 'change'
Iran's chief diplomat urged the new U.S. administration to release the Iranian diplomats held in Iraq as the first step to realize "change" promises by President Barack Obama during his election campaign. - 2/12/09

Iranian Revolution's Thirtieth Anniversary
Thirty years ago, during the several months past, my generation was restructuring social life in Iran, breaking down government doors previously impervious to people's demands, evicting a dictatorial bunch of idiots who had been imposed on us in 1953, in a coup inspired in the U.K. and carried out by the CIA. -Reza Fiyouzat - 2/12/09

Russia: Obama can settle Iran dispute
Russia says the "fresh approach" of Barack Obama's administration will help unlock the international gridlock over Iran's nuclear issue. - 2/12/09

Iranian Country Music
Blues, country music, cowboy boots, and twang: welcome to the ever-widening world of Persian music...Contemporary music in Iran is ever the amalgamation, and influences from American country music pop up most often in newer, more experimental bluesy songs. - 2/12/09

Baha'i Leaders In Iran Charged With Spying For Israel
The International Baha'i Community says it is concerned that seven imprisoned members of the Baha'i faith are to be tried for charges including "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic." - 2/12/09

New generation of Insulin loaded nanoparticles made by Iranian researchers
Iranian researchers created a new generation of Insulin loaded nanoparticles and studied its effect on Caco-2 cell monolayers of intestine. - 2/12/09

A Night of Persian Poetry in New York Featuring Taha Ebrahimi
This month's reader will be Taha Ebrahimi, whose award-winning writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Seattle Times, RIVET Magazine, Elan Magazine, Whitehot Magazine... - 2/12/09

Iran's inner America
TEHRAN: The young Revolutionary Guardsman in his light tan uniform was all smiles. "I had longed to see a real American," he said, extending a hand. -Roger Cohen, IHT - 2/12/09

Iran falls to third place in group after draw with South Korea in WC qualifier
Iran is held to a 1-1 home draw against South Korea to drop to the third place in Group B of World Cup qualifiers after North Korea beat Saudi Arabia. - 2/11/09

Iran's Fist Is Clenched for a Reason
Like all of his predecessors, however, Obama is not explaining to the American public why Iran's fist is clenched in the first place. If the reason for this were understood and put in the proper context, it would represent a quantum leap toward resolving most, if not all, of the important issues between Iran and the United States, which would then contribute greatly to stability and peace in the Middle East. -Muhammad Sahimi - 2/11/09

Photos: Tehran Residents Practice Long Jumps in the Flooded Streets
The following photos show the residents of Tehran practicing their long jumps in the partially flooded streets in preparation for the 2012 Olympics :-) -Photos by Arash Khamooshi, ISNA - 2/11/09

Iran's Khatami Aims To Win Back Skeptics In Presidential Bid
Can politicians really change? It's a question many Iran observers have been asking themselves since Mohammad Khatami finally confirmed his decision to "seriously" compete in Iran's presidential election in June. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/11/09

Iran's Islamic Revolution and Its Future
As one of the most important events of the past three decades in the Middle East, the Islamic Revolution not only has sustained itself, but the Islamic Republic which it spawned celebrated its 30th anniversary in February 2009. -Abbas Maleki - 2/11/09

Tehran Youth Love Hollywood
"Body of Lies", a Hollywood spy drama starring Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, has been met with considerable enthusiasm in Iran – especially among fans of Hollywood films. The film marks the first time an Iranian actress has taken a significant role in a famous movie and acted alongside international celebrities. -Amir Mansouri - 2/11/09

The European Union and Iran
European governments initially reacted to Iran's Islamic revolution by a careful testing of the ground with the new regime. But relations deteriorated quickly, as Iran accused some European countries of siding with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War and Iranian agents killed Iranian opposition figures in European capitals. -Walter Posch - 2/11/09

Iran: Four Journalists Sentenced to Prison, Floggings
The sentencing of four Tehran bloggers by Iran's Judiciary Court on February 3, 2009, to prison terms, fines and flogging, despite the head of the judiciary's admission that they had been coerced into confessing, violates their right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 2/11/09

Obama Says U.S. Talks with Iran Must Be Built on Mutual Respect
Future relations between the United States and Iran will depend significantly on the willingness of Iranian officials to set aside years of mistrust for cooperation, President Obama says. - 2/11/09

Iran not to prejudge Obama administration: FM spokesman
Making the remarks during his Wednesday morning news briefing, the spokesman alluded to the recent remarks of a number of American officials on direct talks with Iran. Qashqavi said all issues put forward so far regarding the matter were all but speculations in press and media and Iran has not received anything officially yet. - 2/11/09

The College gets a taste of Persia
The Business Building student lounge resonated with the sounds of Persia on Feb. 4. "An Evening of Persian Poetry and Music" was sponsored by the Title VI grant from U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) as part of the "Iran and Beyond" program at the College. -The Signal - 2/11/09

Israel in Political Limbo As Livni, Netanyahu Each Claim Victory
Israel has been plunged into political uncertainty following Tuesday's national elections in which hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist Tzipi Livni are each claiming victory for their parties. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Livni's Kadima party is leading Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party by one seat in the Israeli parliament. -VOA - 2/11/09

US Walks Tightrope Between South Asia Rivals
A $1-billion project was just completed linking Afghanistan's main highway to a main highway in Iran. The strategic road opens a new trade route from landlocked Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean that bypasses the traditional route through Pakistan. -VOA - 2/11/09

"The Time to Choose?": Former Shah's Son Seeks Iranian Opposition Role
Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former shah of Iran, has vowed to take a proactive role in opposing that country's current power structures. - 2/11/09

Clinton Says US Could 'Reconsider' European Missile Defense Plan
"If we're able to see a change of behavior on the part of the Iranians with respect to what we believe to be their pursuit of nuclear weapons, then you know, we will reconsider where we stand. But we are a long, long way from seeing such evidence of any behavior change," she said. -VOA - 2/11/09

Unemployment and inflation dim the glow of 30-year-old new dawn
With an economy in crisis and elections on the way, many people are too preoccupied to be talking about the revolution -Guardian - 2/11/09

Interview with artist Alireza Masoumi at Carbon 12 Gallery
When I was 18 and in military service in Iran, I did not like the atmosphere so I chose drawing as a companion and over time, I became more and more involved. Art is something that has grown on me as I have discovered my passion and explored my creative abilities. -Artfacts.Net - 2/11/09

Photos: 30th anniversary of the revolution in Tehran
Iranians took to the streets on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of Islamic Revolution. Following photos are from the celebrations held in Tehran. - 2/10/09

Where Are Iran's Working Women?
The Iranian Revolution and its aftermath have generated many debates, one of which pertains to the effects on women's labor force participation and employment patterns. For over 20 years, Iran-born scholars have debated the extent of women's post-revolutionary marginalization, emphasizing the impact of ideology or economic policy. -Valentine M. Moghadam - 2/10/09

Photos: Iranians mark the 30th anniversary of the revolution
Iranians took to the streets on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of Islamic Revolution. Following photos are from the celebrations held in various towns across Iran. - 2/10/09

New Challenges for Iranian Women
Women have played a crucial role in the Iranian struggle for democracy. They have played an important role not only in the victory of the Islamic Revolution, but also in the developments that have occurred since. The reform period was one of progress in women's rights, including in the public sphere. -Elaheh Koolaee - 2/10/09

Ahmadinejad says Iran ready for dialogue with mutual respect
The US new administration has announced it wants to bring change and take the path of dialogue, it is very clear that the change must be fundamental instead of tactical, said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday to tens of thousands of Iranians who gathered in Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Islamic Revolution. - 2/10/09

U.S. to Enlist Iran in Combating Afghan Drug Trade
Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration's new point man on Afghanistan and Pakistan, is expected to engage Iran as part of a broad effort to stabilize Afghanistan and combat the country's growing drug trade, according to officials briefed on the special representative's plans. -WSJ - 2/10/09

Of Ropes, Rocks And Opposing Forces: Iranian Artist Mina Nouri
My world is that of a solitary human being faced with an array of contradictions. My main goal in life is to record some of them. I was born in Tehran, in 1951, into a family which adhered to customs and traditions with clear-cut 'musts' and 'must nots'. When I grew up a little, I had the feeling that I was different from members of my family. -Gallery Mamak, Tahran - 2/10/09

Tehran Mayor: A New Face of 'Change'
A British magazine that in 2005 said Barack Obama would ensure change has unveiled Tehran's mayor as a candidate for "changing the world". - 2/10/09

Iran's Political Choices Could Impact US Relations
The 30th anniversary of the Iranian revolution occurs halfway between two potentially transformative elections. The United States elected a new leader in November, and Iranian voters will choose a new president in June. The twin polls could mark a new direction for both countries. - 2/10/09

Dear President Ahmadinejad and President Obama: Support Generation Y Diplomacy
Dear President Ahmadinejad and President Obama, I write to you as an Iranian, as an American, as a young person, and most importantly, as an advocate for dialogue between Iran and the United States. -Negar Razavi, Huffington Post - 2/10/09

Iran: Human Rights in the spotlight on the 30th Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution
10 February 2009 marks the 30 year anniversary of the change in government in Iran that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic. Amnesty International is marking the date by raising its concerns over a range of human rights violations that have persisted over the past 30 years. - 2/10/09

Things to Consider When Approaching Iran
For rapprochement to work, a lot depends on how both sides approach it. Three decades of mistrust won't be broken down easily or quickly. The following are guidelines that the Obama administration should consider when it formulates its policy approach on the Islamic Republic -Peter Kiernan, WPR - 2/10/09

Another Wake-Up Call? Europe Remains Divided Over Energy Security Policy
January's two-week gas shutoff following a pricing spat between supplier Russia and transit country Ukraine could not have taken Europeans by surprise. In January 2006, a similar conflict between the two countries led to a similar disruption. -RFE - 2/10/09

Washington's man in Iran
Swiss diplomat Philippe Welti spent more than four years as his nation's chief envoy to Iran -- and Washington's. He discusses the benefits and limitations of diplomacy with the Islamic Republic. -Los Angeles Times - 2/10/09

New U.S. Middle East Envoy Wins Approval but Little Confidence for His Mission
America's new Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, is back from his first trip to the region and will likely return there later this month. He met with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and visited Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. His week-long mission was billed as a "listening tour," but was also intended to reinforce the new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. - 2/10/09

Mr. Obama and Iran
President Obama has set a constructive new tone for trying to engage Iran. He told an Arabic-language TV network: “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.” And he showed refreshing humility after the Bush administration’s arrogance: “Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes.” -New York Times - 2/10/09

Is Iran's space programme more advanced than thought?
Iran's first satellite launch aboard a home-grown rocket last week has left observers puzzled over just how it was done. Was the satellite launched by a feeble rocket pushed to its limits, or has Iran's secretive space programme managed to develop a far more powerful launch vehicle without anyone noticing? -New Scientist - 2/10/09

Women and 30 Years of the Islamic Republic
To write briefly about women in Iran since 1979 is a challenge. Here I will stress the importance of the "two cultures" of 20th century urban Iran, the popular-bazaar culture and the educated elite culture, regarding women, and also the reasons for the unfortunate, but not unique, association of governmental reforms regarding women with autocratic rulers seen as tools of the United States. -Nikki R. Keddie - 2/9/09

Interview: The US government policy on greenhouse gas emissions has been a disaster during the last eight years!
Professor Dara Entekhabi is a word-renowned Iranian scholar of climatology and The Director of Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering who currently serves as the Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. - 2/9/09

Between Pride and Disappointment
The term revolution has become a cliché — it is in such common usage that we have forgotten it started its linguistic life as a metaphor. The metaphor was that of a wheel turning upon its axis. The idea, derived from that, is of sweeping change, reminding perhaps of the older, medieval idea of the wheel of fortune (to be found on the tarot card with that name, for example); bringing the mighty low and raising the lowly up on high. -Michael Axworthy - 2/9/09

Larijani: Iran waiting for concrete US offer
The Islamic Republic says it is waiting for a 'concrete' offer from the new US administration to help resolve dispute over its nuclear case. - 2/9/09

Lord Owen Says West Must 'Accept' Khomeini's Structures In Iran
When the Iranian Revolution overthrew the shah of Iran 30 years ago, much of the world was taken by surprise. Suddenly, the familiar Western look the shah had cultivated for his country was replaced by the unfamiliar face of an Islamic republic. David Owen was British foreign secretary from 1977 to 1979, giving him an insider's view of the crisis. - 2/9/09

Can Khatami make a comeback?
With Khatami officially in the race, the Iranian presidential campaigns will begin in earnest. Never before has an incumbent Iranian president faced such a serious challenge. But in spite of Ahmadinejad's abysmal handling of the economy, he is far from defeated. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 2/9/09

Questions Over Future of Supreme Leader Role
The issue of who will eventually replace Iran's Supreme Leader first began being discussed two years ago, when there was a flurry of rumors that the incumbent, Ayatollah Ali Hossein Khamenei, was seriously ill, and it remains a live and highly sensitive issue. -Arash Farid, Tehran - 2/9/09

Poll: Fewer Beggars in Tehran
According to an opinion poll carried out among Tehran citizens above 15 years, most of them have noted that there are fewer beggars on the streets compared to past years. -Tehran Municipality - 2/9/09

Iran opens largest world ethylene complex
The world's largest ethylene production complex, the Jam Petrochemical Plant, has been opened in the southern Iranian city of Asalouyeh. - 2/9/09

Iran produces four cancer, MS drugs
Iranians have produced erythropoietin beta, interferon beta 1, interferon gamma and fingolimod to treat multiple sclerosis and cancer. - 2/9/09

Woof! Woof! from Tehran: Iran’s First and Only Animal Shelter
Thousands of dogs and cats roam the cities, towns and back roads of Iran. Nearly all are unsterilized and reproduce. Almost all are strays. No laws exist that punish animal abusers. Without animal control or a network of shelters, the cycle of misery continues. -PNS - 2/9/09

Iran: A nation still haunted by its bloody past
All revolutions, I suppose, have a symbol. In Chekhov's Cherry Orchard, it's the sound of a distant chain snapping, like that of a bucket in a mineshaft. In France, it was the sans culottes. Maybe in Iran, it was the discovery an American colleague of mine made when he ventured up to the Iranian-Soviet border. -Robert Fisk, Independent - 2/9/09

Antiwar Lawmakers Wary of Adding Troops in Afghanistan
After campaigning on the promise to end one war, President Obama is preparing to escalate another. Obama's dual stance on the two wars is not lost on congressional Democrats, many of whom also ran on antiwar platforms. -AP - 2/9/09

Iran's Reformist Khatami Says He Will Run For President
Iran's former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, has said he intends to run for the presidency again in elections set for June 12. "I never had doubt. Is it possible to remain indifferent toward the revolution's fate and shy away from running in the elections?" - 2/8/09

Meet PAAIA in Florida
In February, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) will be visiting Orlando and Miami to meet and greet the local Iranian American community. These events will give our community members in the area a chance to learn more about PAAIA and the vision that it represents, as well as some of PAAIA's accomplishments and current projects. - 2/8/09

Becoming Visible in Iran: Women in Contemporary Iranian Society
The state of women in Islamic societies is the subject of much interest and heated debate, even as representations in the media rely on inadequate information and misperceptions. Becoming Visible in Iran disputes the widespread stereotypes about Muslim women prevalent in the West, providing a vivid account of young women in contemporary Iran. - 2/8/09

Iran Announces Winners of The International Book of the Year Awards
Nigel Tallis and J.E. Curtis (Britain), Adel Theodor Khoury (Lebanon), Robert Morrison (the United States), Mohsen Reza Heidari (India), Vali Ahmadi (Afghanistan), Yasin Muhammad (South Africa), and Manuchehr Moshtaq Khorasani (Iran) were among the award winners at the international section. - 2/8/09

"About Elly" receives similar feedbacks at Berlinale, Fajr film festivals
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi whose film "About Elly" has been screened at Berlinale and Fajr International Festival simultaneously, said he is satisfied with the feedbacks the film received in two different cultures. - 2/8/09

An Iranophile Looks At Iran's Islamic Revolution
Despite dealing with Iran for over 40 years, I have too often been wrong about events there. For example, in August 1979 -- six months after the revolution -- I went to Tehran as a U.S. diplomat with the hope that we could deal with the new reality there and rebuild a relationship with whatever form of government replaced the monarchy. -John Limbert (former hostage) - 2/8/09

Nabucco pipeline may begin in Iran
The Nabucco consortium raises the possibility of using Iran as its starting point for laying a pipeline to supply Europe with natural gas - 2/8/09

Iranians are not a second rate nation: Larijani
"The West should understand that the Iranian people are not a second grade nation," Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani stated on Saturday. In a meeting with a group of Iranians living in Munich, he pointed out that the Iranian nation is famed for its "great civilization". - 2/8/09

Revolution and me
Thirty years ago this week, my life changed for ever - mine, and the lives of all my family and all my countrymen. For the 20 million Iranians living in Iran then, the revolution that toppled the last shah, and installed in his place the religious scholar and cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, changed the topography of our hearts entirely. -Kamin Mohammadi, Guardian - 2/8/09

Iran unveils world's most powerful natural-gas-based engine
The world's most powerful natural-gas-based car engine was unveiled on Saturday by the Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro under the intellectual property of the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to IRINN, the engine is to be installed on Iran Khodro's newest product Samand Soren ELX. - 2/8/09

Casualties of the Empire's Wars
The rate of U.S. soldier suicides was the highest among active-duty Marines last year than any year since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003. The rise in suicides made the rate among the Marine Corps equal to the rate in the civilian population in the U.S. -Ardeshir Ommani - 2/8/09

UK still views MKO as terrorist group: Miliband
Meeting with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on the sidelines of the 45th Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Miliband said, the position of the British government on the terrorist group, the People's Mojahedin Organization, remains unchanged. -IRNA - 2/8/09

Munich Through The (Non-American) Looking Glass
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who delivered the first major foreign-policy speech of President Barack Obama's new administration, was far and away the greatest attraction at this year's 45th Munich Security Conference. -RFE - 2/8/09

Passengers of freighter seized by Israel return home with tales of abuse
A group of activists arrested after the Israeli navy seized an aid ship bound for the devastated Gaza Strip were expelled from Israel on Friday, a day after being detained by the military. -Daily Star - 2/8/09

Iran's China option
What Iran fears most is a Gorbachev figure, somebody from within the regime who in the name of compromise with the West ends up selling out the revolution and destroying its edifice of power. -IHT - 2/8/09

Iran's Larijani urges "realistic" western view on Middle East region
Larijani urged the US to adopt a "new strategy based on mutual respect and fair behaviour" and accept its past mistakes. He called for a "comprehensive international security" approach, whereby the focus had to be on regional countries establishing their own security architecture. - 2/7/09

'Light Will Win Over Darkness' -- Iran's Former Empress Discusses New Documentary
The former empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, is the subject of a newly released documentary from an unlikely source -- Iranian-born filmmaker Nahid Persson, a former communist who took part in the 1979 revolution. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 2/7/09

Three Decades Later, Why Can't The West And Tehran Be Friends?
In the 30 years since Iran's Islamic Revolution, the world has grown used to Iranian leaders denouncing the United States. Why do the United States and Iran remain enemies three decades after breaking relations over the kidnapping of U.S. Embassy staff in the first year of the Islamic Revolution? -Charles Recknagel, RFE/RL - 2/7/09

Fajr Festival's International winners announced
The 27th Fajr Film Festival has announced the winners of its International Competition Section during a ceremony held in Tehran. - 2/7/09

Who's Afraid of BBC Persian TV?
Politicians, officials and BBC radio fans in Tehran tuned into the first airing of the British broadcaster's new TV channel on the evening of January 14. BBC Persian TV will broadcast for eight hours per day to Iran, and also to viewers in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The channel has not been well received by the Iranian government. -Amir Mansouri, Tehran - 2/7/09

Iran's Islamic Revolution Resonates 30 Years Later
It's been described as one of the most important revolutions in history, one that changed the face of a country and sent shock waves around the world. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 changed Iran from a monarchy into a theocracy and made political Islam a force to be reckoned with around much of the globe. The revolution unfolded 30 years ago, but its impact is felt to this day. -Sonja Pace, VOA - 2/7/09

Biden Addresses Foreign Policy Priorities in Munich
Biden said President Barack Obama's administration will emphasize diplomacy, democracy and development over the use of military force. But he said Washington will not hesitate to defend its interests through force if needed. -VOA - 2/7/09

Iran: economic problems forced UK to close Council
Iran advises Britain not to politicize the closure of the British Council in Tehran, as the decision to close the center was made by London. - 2/7/09

Russia, Iran Discuss Relations with US at Security Conference
Iranian and Russian officials mixed tough rhetoric with signals of overture to the new Obama administration at the security conference in Munich, Germany. Speaking at the start of the three-day conference, Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani called on Washington to adopt a new approach when it came to dealing with Tehran. -VOA - 2/7/09

US dropping Iran Velvet Revolution plans?
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Saturday that advocating regime change within his country has been a guiding principle of US foreign policy over the past three decades. -Press TV - 2/7/09

Bridge to Iran - New Documentary Series on Link TV
Link TV's Bridge to Iran series seeks to fill in the knowledge gap by giving Americans a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary Iranians, through the power of documentary film. A showcase of five documentaries by contemporary independent Iranian filmmakers living and working in Iran, Bridge to Iran shatters preconceived notions about a nation and culture that most Americans know little about and have never experienced firsthand. - 2/6/09

What President Obama's Letter to Iran Should Really Say
Iranians and Americans need to speak with one another, to share ideas, to work together on issues about which we already agree in principle. -Marsha B. Cohen - 2/6/09

Iran: Health Workers Hail Bid to Counter HIV Spread
Tehran’s House of the Sun is a safe haven for women addicted to drugs. At the centre, in the Darvazeh Ghar neighbourhood, one of the southernmost and poorest areas in Iran’s capital, female addicts, as well as homeless women and prostitutes, can access methadone, have a free hot meal and speak to counsellors. -Maryam Jalali, Tehran - 2/6/09

Iran's Reformist Former President 'Needs To Stand Up' For Program
Fatemeh Haghighatjou, a former reformist legislator who is currently a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is well-known for her outspokenness and human rights advocacy. She tells RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari that she's concerned about Khatami's weakness and also the fairness of the upcoming elections. - 2/6/09

The Iranian Revolution at 30: Still Unpredictable
How is it possible that the Islamic Republic of Iran has lasted 30 years? Some of the revolutionaries themselves are probably surprised by this longevity. In 1979, they wrote a constitution that enshrined Imam Ruhollah Khomeini as the leader of the Islamic Republic. Surely they didn't expect him to live another 30 years, past age 100,... -Charles Kurzman - 2/6/09

The Revolution's Mixed Balance Sheet
The principal motto of the revolution was Esteghlal, Azadi e Jumhury Islami (independence, freedom, and the establishment of an Islamic republic). Based on that, Iranian leaders regard the main objectives of the Revolution as fulfilled. -Fereshtehsadat Etefaghfar, Islamic Azad University, Shar-e Rey - 2/6/09

Pasto: A Fun Place To Eat in Tehran
Once in a while we come across a place to eat that is simply fun. It may not be great but has good vibes about it and such a place is Pasto, an Italian restaurant with one of the best auras I have found in Tehran. - 2/6/09

Dubai Businesses Oppose US Economic Sanctions Against Iran
Under the sanctions, U.S. companies are not allowed to sell goods directly to Iran. But, the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, does not impose the same limitations on its local distributors. Iran's port, Bandar Abbas, is only a about 160 kilometers northeast of here. - 2/6/09

Iran's Larijani, IAEA's El-Baradei hold nuclear talks in Munich
Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has met IAEA Director General on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference on Friday. Larijani will also deliver his speech at the conference Friday night. - 2/6/09

Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi on Threats to Iranian Rights, from Within and Abroad
Nobel Peace Prize-winning Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi is on a short visit to the United States speaking out against both American and Israeli military threats to Iran, as well as the growing domestic repression of activists inside Iran. -Democracy Now - 2/6/09

Another satellite will be launched: Iran's Space official
Head of Space Organization said Iran has obtained its pre-planned objective by launching Omid Satellite into the Earth orbit and will launch other satellites of different capabilities into space within the next 2 or 3 years. - 2/6/09

Conversation with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi
Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi stressed that a single international standard of human rights should apply to all nations and called for dialogue between Iranian and American citizens even if the Obama administration's anticipated overture to Iran fails. - 2/6/09

Iran 2009: Tehran a city that illustrates issues facing the country
In a country with twenty five hundred years of history, Iran's capital and largest city has very little past. Two centuries ago Tehran wasn't much more than a town. Now it's the political and economic heart of the country. -Steve Zind, VPR - 2/6/09

President: Iran awaits changes in US administration
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in Tehran Friday that Iran welcomes changes in the new US administration and is ready to contribute to settlement of world's essential problems - 2/6/09

U.S. Designates Anti-Iran Kurdish Group PJAK As Terrorist
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), a Kurdish group operating in the border region between Iraq and Iran, under Executive Order 13224 for being controlled by the terrorist group Kongra-Gel (KGK, aka the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK). - 2/6/09

Iran looks into missing $1B oil money
The Iranian audit office revelation that the government has failed to return $1 billion of oil revenues to treasury has sparked a debate. - 2/6/09

Former State Dept. Official Hillary Mann Leverett: Obama Likely to Mirror Bush’s Second Term Policy on Iran
The White House has described Iran’s first launch of a domestically made satellite as a “matter of acute concern,” adding that it would deal with Iran using “all elements of our national power.” We speak to Hillary Mann Leverett, former director of Iran and Afghanistan Affairs at the National Security Council. -Democracy Now - 2/6/09

US Threats against Iran Foiled by Armed Forces: Military Official
Iran's armed forces have foiled a scenario by Washington to complete its chain of threats to the region by opening a front against Iran following the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, a senior military advisor to the Iranian Supreme Leader said in Tehran on Wednesday. -FNA - 2/6/09

Photos: This is not the end of the world...The Mahak Children
Mahak – the Society to Support Children Suffering from Cancer is not just a great internationally recognized Iranian NGO but a way of life. Mahak is a well known name in many Iranian homes and they are right to claim that a large proportion of people in Tehran and in other cities know their name and what they do. -Photos by Arash Khamooshi, ISNA - 2/5/09

Photos: Iranians Climb Sahand to Mark the Revolution's Anniversary
A big group of Iranians climbed to the top of Sahand mountain to mark the 30th anniversary of Iran's revolution. Sahand is a massive, heavily eroded stratovolcano in northwestern Iran. At 3,707 m (12,162 ft), it is the highest mountain in the Iranian province of East Azarbaijan. -Photos by Navid Jadidoleslam, ISNA - 2/5/09

The Iranian Revolution of February 1979
The revolution of February 1979 was a revolt of the society against the state. In some of its basic characteristics, the revolution did not conform to the usual norms of Western revolutions, because the state did not represent just an ordinary dictatorship but an absolute and arbitrary system that lacked political legitimacy and a social base virtually across the whole of the society. -Homa Katouzian - 2/5/09

British Council suspends operations in Iran
It is with great regret that, on 31st January 2009, the British Council suspended its operations in Tehran after eight years of building cultural and educational links between the people of the UK and Iran. -The British Council - 2/5/09

Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran
In February 2009, the British Museum will open the first major exhibition to explore the rule and legacy of Shah ʿAbbas, one of the formative figures in the creation of modern Iran. Shah of Iran from 1587 – 1629 AD, he is remembered as one of the country's most influential kings and a great military leader - 2/5/09

Iran: US diplomat released after arrest on sexual charges
The First Secretary of the US Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran is released after being arrested on sexual abuse charges. - 2/5/09

Iran Does Not Provide Visas for U.S. Badminton Team
Twelve Americans — including eight female athletes, coaches and managers representing USA Badminton — traveled to Dubai, where they had hoped to obtain visas to compete in Tehran in the Fajr International Badminton Tournament February 5-8 at the invitation of the Iranian Badminton Federation. -America.gov - 2/5/09

Iranians Say Goodbye to YouTube
In November, the Iranian authorities placed the video-sharing website YouTube on the list of officially blocked sites, in a bid to stop people looking at it or worse still, uploading their own images. -Amir Mansouri, Tehran - 2/5/09

The Iranian Revolution: Thirty Years - A Conference At Rutgers University
The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University is pleased to announce the conference "The Iranian Revolution: Thirty Years", to be held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on the weekend of 7-8th February 2009 - 2/5/09

Bill offers redress to victims of terrorist watchlist
The United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow individuals who are wrongly delayed or prevented from boarding a flight because their names are similar to ones on the terrorist watchlist to take action to prevent the problem from reoccurring. -NIAC - 2/5/09

Economic Equality Continues To Escape Iranians
Iran's revolutionaries, having taken Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's promises of Islamic justice, prosperity, and democracy to heart, were looking forward to a bright future for themselves and their children. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/5/09

US Calls Iranian Refusal to Admit Badminton Team Unfortunate
The State Department is calling an Iranian decision not to provide visas to a U.S. women's badminton team an unfortunate situation that does not bode well for further people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. The development came amid an Obama administration review of U.S. Iran policy. - 2/5/09

Prominent Iranian archeologist Negahban dies at 87 in U.S.
Known as the founder of Iran's modern archeology, Professor Negahban studied archeology at Tehran University and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. - 2/5/09

Iranians wary of Obama's approach
Despite President Obama's offer to extend a hand if Iran 'unclenched its fist,' Iranian officials say his choice of diplomats calls into question his commitment to change. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 2/5/09

Russia ready to mediate US-Iran talks
Russia says it is ready to help initiate talks between the US and Iran as President Barack Obama has pledged direct diplomacy with Tehran. -Press TV - 2/5/09

How to Properly Respect Iran
In her first remarks to reporters on Jan. 27, new Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated President Barack Obama's determination to explore ways to engage Iran. President Obama has also said the United States wants to talk to Iran directly and, as he puts it, with "the language of respect." -R.K. Ramazani - 2/4/09

After the Tehran Spring
Ten years ago, in the summer of 1998, I arrived in Tehran after an absence of more than two decades. Three vignettes describe some of what I experienced and why I decided to stay. -Kian Tajbakhsh - 2/4/09

Sasanian Chemical Warfare?: A Scientific Re-Assessment
A recent piece of news regarding the history of Iran surprised those of us involved in the study of history. Usually, when Iran/Persia gets mentioned, it is either in the form of nuclear "threat" currently providing fodder for news networks or in the shape of ghouls and monsters who get massacred in hundreds by a few brave and freedom loving Greeks, making puddles of blood in service of human rights and freedom. -Reza Yeganehshakib & Khodadad Rezakhani - 2/4/09

Sports Diplomacy Halted: Iran does not grant visa for US women's badminton team
Iran will not grant visa for the US women's badminton team who was to take part in international tournaments in Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in his press conference on Wednesday. - 2/4/09

Iranian Taghi Amirani among TED Fellows
Taghi Amirani is an Iranian physicist turned award-winning documentary filmmaker with 36 films to his credit. He has filmed the Taliban in a refugee camp in Afghanistan at the start of the war in 2001, and NASA scientists at Hubble Space Telescope during the historic comet crash of 1994. - 2/4/09

Ahmadinejad Predecessor Planning Presidential Bid
Former president Mohammad Khatami, who for two terms led failed attempts to give Iranians more legal freedoms and end Iran's international isolation, has decided to run in upcoming elections, aides, political allies and family members said Tuesday. -Washington Post - 2/4/09

Clinton Says Iran Has Opportunity to Join Global Mainstream
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Iran has an opportunity to break out of its isolation over its nuclear program and become what she described as a "productive member" of the world community. She spoke on the eve of a meeting in Germany at which world powers will review diplomatic efforts to get Iran to stop enriching uranium. - 2/4/09

What next for US Iran Relations?
“Iran is a country with a one man, one vote policy, and that man is Khamenei,” said Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Clawson was addressing the American Enterprise Institute conference “The Imam Returned: 30 years of Revolution in Iran.” -NIAC - 2/4/09

Iranian Actress Blogs from the Berlinale for Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle has the pleasure of welcoming the award-winning Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani as a guest blogger during this year's Berlinale. From February 5-15, she will provide her insights and share her daily experiences and her personal photos from the renowned festival and publish them on her Deutsche Welle blog. - 2/4/09

Iranian Expat Student Imprisoned In Tehran
RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports that Said Razavi Faghih was arrested on February 2, several days after returning from France, where he attends university. - 2/4/09

IRAN to OBAMA: Show Us the Change
Barack Obama has promised Change, but is it a change in principle or merely tactics? This is Iran's question to the United States. -The Mossadegh Project - 2/4/09

Iran: Violent Search of Women Activists' Home and Seizure of Their Property
Security Officials from the Special Security Branch of the Office of the Prosecutor of the Revolutionary Courts stormed the home of imprisoned Campaign member and women's rights activist Nafiseh Azad and seized her personal property as well as the property of her housemates. -Change for Equality - 2/4/09

Iran's Conservatives Have Their Nobel Winner
Iran's conservatives have a new hero: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, following his spat with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Gaza crisis last week, walked out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/4/09

Senator says Iran may want to swap for missing ex-FBI agent
Iran may be holding a former FBI agent in a bid to exchange him for Iranians seized by U.S. troops in Iraq in 2007, a U.S. senator suggested Tuesday. -CNN - 2/4/09

In Iran, Young And Old Face Economic Struggle
Iran, a nation made rich by oil money, is now struggling with a troubled economy — one that's counted on to support a population of about 70 million. -NPR - 2/4/09

Iran: Rafsanjani at Center of Effort to Promote Reformation of Sh'ia Islam
While Aliakbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has encountered limited success in Iran’s political sphere of late, he is nevertheless exerting considerable influence in the realm of theology. To some, he is striving to promote a reformation in Iran designed to bring Sh’ia Islam into the modern age. -Eurasianet - 2/4/09

NATO General Visits Afghanistan
The American general told the Associated Press Monday that he does not oppose NATO members talking to Iran about using Iranian territory to supply their forces in Afghanistan. -VOA - 2/4/09

Iran Puts Satellite Into Orbit For First Time
Iran has placed a domestic research satellite into orbit for the first time, ushering in an era of independence in its space program. - 2/3/09

Muhammad Khatami: A Dialogue beyond Paradox
Whether or not Muhammad Khatami decides to run again for President of Iran, his prominent legacy symbolizes an ongoing fertile debate inside Iran about political reform and adaptation. For Khatami, democracy and dialogue remain the essential path for Islamic Republic, a bridge between civilizations, a solid course for Iran to the future. -Wm Scott Harrop - 2/3/09

World Iranologists ask Obama to bar seizure of Achaemenid tablets
About 700 Iranologists and Iranian cultural heritage lovers have recently signed a petition asking President Barack Obama to prevent confiscation of Iran's 300 Achaemenid clay tablets loaned to the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. - 2/3/09

USA Women's Badminton Team to Visit Iran
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will send a delegation of 12 Americans, including eight female athletes, coaches, and managers representing USA Badminton, to Tehran, Iran, from February 3-9th. The team will compete in the Fajr International Badminton Tournament at the invitation of the Iranian Badminton Federation. - 2/3/09

Analysis: Will Iran Accept America's "Open Hand"?
President Obama wants to bring change to nearly 30 years of strained ties between Iran and the United States. "If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us," Obama said in a January 27 interview with the Saudi satellite channel al-Arabiya. -America.gov - 2/3/09

SUFISM: Mystical Ecumenism
Travel through the heartlands of Sufism through the hypnotic images of Iason Athanasiadis. SUFISM: Mystical Ecumenism is a visual journey through Bilad ash-Sham, Khorassan and the Punjab chronicling the movement and rhythm of zikr, the ecstatic ceremony practiced by Sufi orders around the Muslim World. - 2/3/09

Talk of Obama in Tehran Taxis
As in many other cities throughout the world, people in Tehran get much of their news from radio programmes they hear in taxis. But unlike in other places, passengers here also receive lengthy and sometimes contradictory analyses of current affairs from taxi drivers and fellow passengers. -Sara Shams, Tehran - 2/3/09

Iran's Revolution: Islamic Republic Proves Durable, But Is It Successful?
Thirty years after the Islamic Revolution, the world is still trying to understand just what it was -- and is. Was it an anti-Western revolution against the rule of the U.S.-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi? Was it the first modern effort to establish a Muslim theocracy? Or was it a simple takeover of a state by a single party? - 2/3/09

Persian Poetry reading by Ziba Karbasi in San Mateo, California
Ziba Karbasi was born in 1974 in Tabriz, Iran. She left Iran in 1989 and now lives between London and Paris. She has published five volumes of poetry in Farsi, all outside Iran, and continues to write prolifically. Sunday, February 08 - 2/3/09

Unique Ancient Burial Style Identified Near Persian Gulf
A team of Iranian archaeologists has recently identified a unique burial style at the ancient Geravi cemetery near the Persian Gulf in Hormozgan Province. - 2/3/09

Clinton Sets First High-Level Talks and Travel as Secretary of State
Officials say the talks with the two key U.S. allies are likely to be dominated by discussion of the conflict in Afghanistan and how to deal with Iran's nuclear program. -VOA - 2/3/09

NATO seeks Iran help over Afghanistan
NATO says member states can use Iran as a safe supply path to forces in Afghanistan, amid increasing attacks on its routes through Pakistan. -Press TV - 2/3/09

Tehran's Mayor bestows honorary citizenship to Turkey's Erdogan
Tehran's Mayor in a symbolic move, bestowed honorary citizenship of Iran's capital to Turkey's Prime Minister to appreciate his walkout on Davos meeting. -ISNA - 2/3/09

Iran oil revenues at $64 billion
Iran has earned more than $64 billion in oil revenues from March to December 2008, Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari has said. -Press TV - 2/3/09

Iranian Women Slowly Winning More Rights
Iran's Parliament has voted to allow widows to inherit land from their husbands, the latest in a series of tentative moves by Iranian legislators to expand the rights of women in the conservative Islamic Republic. -CBS News - 2/3/09

Understanding Iranian Foreign Policy
Understanding Iran's foreign policy is the key to crafting sensible and effective policies toward Iran and requires, above all, a close analysis of the profound cultural and psychological contexts of Iranian foreign policy behavior. -R.K. Ramazani - 2/2/09

"Too Big To Fail": A Bailout Hoax
Using the "too big to fail" scare tactic, the U.S. government has kept a number of terminally ill Wall Street gamblers on an expensive life-support system that is estimated to cost taxpayers $8.5 trillion [1]. In light of the fact that there were 138 million taxpayers in 2007, this figure represents a burden of $61,594.20 per tax payer. Or, to put it differently, it represents a burden of $28,333.33 per man, woman and child for the entire U.S. population. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 2/2/09

A few blissful and peaceful days in Kish - Part III
During our recent trip to Kish we noted that while children were enjoying themselves to the fullest, older people were just as cool and happy, some searching for something or enjoying the sea and fresh air. -Syma Sayyah & Paul Sanford, Tehran - 2/2/09

Possibility Of Warmer U.S. Relations Buoy Iran's Rights Activists
Human rights activists and those pushing for democratic changes in the Islamic republic believe they could benefit from improved relations between Iran and the United States. They are encouraged by what they see as a change of tone by Washington. -RFE - 2/2/09

Majlis Speaker: U.S. talks would not affect Iran's presidential poll
Iranian officials including Larijani himself have been invited to the Munich security conference which analysts say may serve as a catalyst for a direct encounter between Iranian and U.S. officials. - 2/2/09

Rock - Paper - Scissors: An artist looks back at the days of Revolution 30 years ago
Coinciding with ten days of celebrations of Islamic Revolution in Iran, Jinoos Taghizadeh looks back at the days of Revolution 30 years ago and how those days changed her life and many others, as it was supposed to. - 2/2/09

Haale's "Psychedelic Sufi Trance Rock" Music
Haale Gafori is an Iranian-American singer, composer, and poet living in New York City. She was born in the Bronx, to Persian parents. - 2/2/09

Iran: Woman's Rights Activist To Serve Three Year Prison Sentence
Alieh Eghdamdoust who had been sentenced to three years of mandatory prison as a result of her participation in the June 12, 2006 protest in Hafte Tir Square was transferred today under guard supervision to the Office of Implementation of Sentences at the Revolutionary Courts. -Change for Equality - 2/2/09

Women of Persian Heritage Documentary addresses American and Iranian cultures
Women of Diversity Productions, Inc announces the broadcast of Women of Persian Heritage, a documentary focusing on the lives of eight Persian Women living in Nevada. The interviewees discuss the challenges and solutions they face straddling the traditional with the modern. - 2/2/09

Obama and the "non-American" world order
While Obama has raised many hopes and achieved a rhetorical break with the totalitarian language of the Bush administration, his choice of advisers indicates regression rather than progression. Yet if his promise turns out to be meretricious, the world's rocky relationship with the United States will deteriorate even further. -Arshin Adib-Moghaddam - 2/2/09

A Night in Tehran - UK Film Premiere & Book Launch
"You know nothing about our country. Come in, be entertained and learn," is the collective claim of a group of young Iranians whose films were produced by Maziar Bahari with the support of BBC World Service Trust. These fast-Paced and entertaining films introduce us to a new Iran and new filmmaking in the country thirty years after the Iranian revolution. - 2/2/09

Tajikistan May Be Looking Past Russia, And Seeing Iran
Domestic problems, including severe electricity shortages, were the official reasons cited for the cancellation of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's trip to Moscow this week. -RFE - 2/2/09

Brazil's Octavio takes charge of Iran's beach soccer
Octavio, who has already coached Iran for six months, is set to prepare the team for the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup which will be held in Dubai, the UAE. - 2/2/09

Iran's Supreme Leader: "Zionist leaders must be tried for war crimes"
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday and briefed him about the victory of the resistance movement against the Zionist regime during the 22-day war on the Gaza Strip and the war's aftermath. -MNA - 2/2/09

The First Fajr International Visual Art Festival opens in Tehran
Veteran artists including Iranian painting master Mahmud Farshchian, Ahmad Esfandiari Mahmud Javadipur and Habibollah Ayatollahi were also among the participants. At the beginning of the ceremony, Farshchian expressed his approval over holding the festival and encouraged Iranian artists to support such events with their activities. - 2/1/09

Global Elders? Counsel of Elders? "where they are?"
Given the state of the "world power structure," and what they have done to keep people like Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and so many other liberal supporters of human rights, freedoms and peace, out of Mainstream US Media, I doubt that they would be listened to by anyone of significance except those who are already so deeply disenfranchised that their voices are not heard or heeded. -Debbie Menon - 2/1/09

FILM: Milani gives free rein to her philosophical muse in "Superstar"
Iranian director Tahmineh Milani says that her philosophical and psychological interests inspired her latest film "Superstar". Although Milani has obtained the Culture Ministry's screening license for "Superstar", the depiction of the stars' immorality in their real lives may raise objections from Iranian cineastes and actors. - 2/1/09

FM: Iran will not hold talks with US in Munich conference
"Resumption of relations with the US under the new circumstances is of prime importance and we are now studying the change of attitude and US policies to make our views known but we have no plan to do so at the upcoming Munich security conference," Mottaki underlined. - 2/1/09

Tehran Football Clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis to be privatized
Esteghlal and Persepolis clubs will be auctioned in the next Iranian calendar year (starting March 20, 2009). - 2/1/09

Professor Walsh predicts normalized Iran-US relations
Professor Jim Walsh from University of Massachusetts says that he predicts normalized relations between Iran and the United States. Dr. Walsh, who is a Research Associate at MIT's Security Studies Program, said in an interview with IRNA that broader change is on horizon consistent with Iran-US ties. - 2/1/09

Turkish PM Shows New Foreign-Policy Assertiveness At Davos
It was one of the most dramatic moments seen at the normally staid World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. -RFE - 2/1/09

This Time, Iraqi Voters Get Face Time
lThe last time Iraqis went to the polls, they really had very little idea who they were electing. The hastily organized 2005 elections -- the first since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003 -- required them to cast their ballots for party lists; the parties that got the most votes appointed members for seats. -RFE - 2/1/09

Iran Detains Three Women's Activists
Iranian police have detained three women's rights activists, the latest in dozens of such arrests over the last few years in the Islamic Republic, a fellow campaigner said on February 1. -Reuters - 2/1/09
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