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38 Organizations Urge Congress to Support Diplomacy, Uphold Iran Deal
hirty-eight national organizations, including NIAC, FCNL, Win Without War, and J Street, have sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging that Congress uphold the preliminary nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran and support negotiations towards a final deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon and averts an unnecessary war. - 2/28/14

First Annual Bita Prize for Young Persian Artists Awarded To Pianist Dena Taherianfar
Dena Taherianfar was born in Tehran, in November of 1996. She began taking lessons in piano when she was six. Her first teacher was Mrs. Shohreh J. Ghajar. Dena gave her debut concert in the renowned Roudaki Concert Hall of Tehran in 2008. At her teacher's suggestion, Dena eventually moved to Vienna where she began to study piano with Prof. Stanislaw Tichonow at the Joseph Haydn Conservatory. - 2/28/14

In Memoriam of Dr. Akbar Ghahary
Last night, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans lost one of its board members, and the Iranian American community lost one of its staunchest supporters. Dr. Akbar Ghahary, a member of the board of directors of PAAIA's affiliated PAC, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), passed away from heart complications. - 2/28/14

74 Iranian wildlife species red-listed by Environment Department
At least 74 species of Iranian wildlife are on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a sign of serious threats against the country's biodiversity. The Iranian Department of Environment published a report in advance of World Wildlife Day on March 3, detailing the state of animal biodiversity in Iran. - 2/28/14

Reading Ukraine In Iran
The way Iranian media have portrayed Ukraine's turmoil depends on which side of Iran's political divide they stand. Hard-line media have given readers the impression that the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych following months of antigovernment protests is a cause for mourning. Those skimming through the reformist press were likely to become excited about the developments in the eastern European country. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/28/14

Where Is AIPAC On New Republican Push?
Just four days before 14,000 members arrive for AIPAC's annual policy conference and a keynote by none other than Bibi Netanyahu himself, the group appears at sea, tossed between Republicans eager to do the Likud leader's bidding and embarrass President Barack Obama on the one hand and the administration and leading Democratic lawmakers who believe that any new sanctions legislation will likely sabotage the ongoing negotiations with Iran and bring the country closer to another Mideast war. -Jim Lobe - 2/28/14

Games Revolutionaries Play
It seems a shame to let all that fol-de-rol from the Olympics be cast aside after such an abbreviated run. As Sochi revealed to us novices, there are always new, curious forms of sport that merit recognition. One of those with growing multi-seasonal appeal to large groups of men and women in the streets is the popular coup or revolution game. -Henry Precht - 2/28/14

World Cup 2014: Iran's hopes of glory in Brazil rest on a Charlton striker Reza Ghoochannejhad - Gucci for short
In June, Charlton Athletic and Iran striker Gucci will be lining up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko -Telegraph - 2/28/14

The 2014 IAAB Summer Leadership Institute Returns to the South in July
IAAB is pleased to present its 2014 Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), which is being held from July 6th to July 18th at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2014 SLI houses IAAB's celebrated annual Iranian American high school and middle school leadership camps, Camp Ayandeh and Camp Ayandeh Javan - 2/27/14

An Exhibition Blending Design and Calligraphy
Perhaps only a few people imagined that imprinting Persian alphabet letters or verses from Persian poets on articles of clothing would generate interest among young people. The various designs that Iranian born Nima Behnoud, the designer of the Nimany brand, uses on clothes has enticed many Iranian youth outside the country to wear these clothes. -Bahareh Khosravi - 2/27/14

Watch Hooman Majd Talk Iran with Jon Stewart
The perceptive and eloquent journalist and author Hooman Majd discusses his new book, The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran, with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show on February 24th. - 2/27/14

Iranian President Hassan Rohani Raises Religious Equality in Bandar Abbas
There is no discrimination between Shia and Sunni citizen rights in Iran, the Iranian president told residents of Bandar Abbas on Tuesday February 26. Hassan Rohani stressed that his government has promised this equality from the start and will stand by its commitment. - 2/27/14

Iranian MPs slam environment chief for halting work on road
Twenty-six Iranian MPs have issued a written warning to President Rohani to protest that the head of the Department of the Environment stopped construction of the proposed Shahrood- Aliabad Road. Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of the Environment, halted construction of this road as a protective measure for the Abr Forest, which the road was to traverse. - 2/27/14

Iran's health budget faces deficit at year end
The Iranian Minister of Health announced that the national health budget has a shortfall of 60 billion rials this year, emphasizing that the situation was inherited from the former administration. - 2/27/14

Iran Says Pakistan Obliged To Finish Pipeline
A report by the French AFP news agency on February 26 quotes Iran's Oil Ministry as calling on Islamabad to honor its contractual commitments and complete a pipeline for Iranian gas exports to Pakistan. - 2/27/14

6th Annual Nowruz (Iranian New Year) Celebration at LACMA
For the sixth year in a row, Farhang Foundation will celebrate Nowruz (Iranian New Year) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in what has become the foundation's signature event, drawing thousands of visitors to the museum in recent years. - 2/26/14

Iran must break chain of sanctions: President Rouhani
Addressing a large gathering of people in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Tuesday, Rouhani said that in the first steps, part of the sanctions on the insurance and banking systems, shipping, and automobile imports have been lifted. - 2/26/14

Iran moves to stop use of dirty, substandard gasoline
Iran's Oil Minister announced on Tuesday February 25 that the gasoline produced in petrochemical facilities is not up to standard and carries contaminants and will no longer be distributed in Tehran. - 2/26/14

Banning Of Iranian Newspaper Aseman ‌Exposes Conservative Intolerance
The independent centrist daily was shut down only after five days and yet its professional style had already created a refreshing buzz in the highly-controlled Iranian media market. The official reason for the shut-down is an article which described the Islamic "qesas" retribution laws as "inhumane". - 2/26/14

Iran's family cash benefits now only aimed at families in need
Iran's Minister of the Economy has announced the family cash benefits, which so far have been sent to all households to cushion the removal of government subsidies on energy and food staples, will only be provided for families that demonstrate their financial need for such supplements, starting in the New Year. - 2/26/14

Iran, Iraq Agree On Algiers Accord
The 1975 Algiers Agreement (also known as the Algiers Accord, sometimes as the Algiers Declaration) was an agreement between Iran and Iraq to settle their border disputes (such as the Shatt al-Arab, known as Arvand Rud River in Iran), and served as basis for the bilateral treaties signed on June 13 and December 26, 1975. - 2/26/14

Golreezan Launches New Products Including Kitchenware And Nowruz Cards
Golreezan, an Iranian-American design brand, is thrilled to announce a variety of new and exciting Persian-inspired products, including its first ever kitchenware line, Nowruz cards and more. - 2/26/14

Iran local police chief killed in anti-drugs operation in Sistan and Baluchestan province
A local police commander was killed during operations against narcotics traffickers here in southeastern country on Wednesday. The commander, head of the anti-narcotics police units in the city of Iranshahr, was martyred by the armed bandits during armed clashes. - 2/26/14

Iran to attract $100bn under new oil contracts: Official
Iran is predicted to attract USD 100 billion in investment in its energy sector over the next four years after its new model of oil contracts takes effect, a top official says. Mehdi Hosseini, who advises Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on oil contracts, made the announcement on Wednesday; three days after Iran unveiled the draft for its new oil contract terms. - 2/26/14

Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries Celebrate the Persian New Year with a Free Family Festival
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will present its sixth annual "Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration" free family festival Saturday, March 8, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Throughout the day, visitors of all ages can dance, play and feast to mark the Persian year of 1393 at a celebration encompassing both museums and including live music, film, art making, hands-on workshops and traditional cuisine. - 2/25/14

Iran Sanctions Hit the Aloha State (via Bank of Hawai'i)
Let me begin by saying that I have been a long-standing critic of US sanctions against Iran. Irrespective of my distaste for Iran's structure of governance, I have not been shy in calling out the sanctions regime as collective punishment of the Iranian people. I have also been worried that they will eventually ensnare Iranians living in the United States. -Farideh Farhi - 2/25/14

Spanish cartoonist wins Golden Tooba at Fajr International Festival of Visual Arts
Spanish cartoonist David Vela Cervera won the Golden Tooba (Tree of Heaven) in the cartoon section at the 6th Fajr International Festival of Visual Arts, the organizers announced during the closing ceremony on Sunday. - 2/25/14

Tehran's pollution problem leaves few days of clean air
Tehran Governor Hossein Hashemi has announced Tehran has only had four days of clean air since last March. The governor announced that President Hassan Rohani has established a committee to address the chief problems facing Tehran, with air pollution and water and power shortages at top of their list. - 2/25/14

Taking A Stand on Syria
Syria has also become a surrogate struggle for preeminence in the region, pitting Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arabs against Iran and perhaps also Turkey. To top it off, rich Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE have been providing inspiration, cash, and thus access to arms to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to operate in Syria -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 2/25/14

Pakistan Suicide Bomber Targets Iranian Consulate
Police in Pakistan say two security guards were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Iranian Consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar. At least 10 people were reported wounded in the attack, which occurred in an area housing offices of foreign diplomatic missions and nongovernmental organizations. - 2/25/14

Iran, Iraq Sign Arms Deal
A published report says Iraq has signed a deal to purchase weapons from Iran, breaking a U.N.-imposed embargo on weapons sales by Tehran. A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister would not confirm or deny the sale, but said such a deal would be understandable given Iraq's current security troubles. - 2/25/14

Iran-Pakistan Ties Challenged by Regional Violence
Iran's approach to dealing with insurgency in its Baluchistan province, primarily based on militarizing the region and blaming foreign countries, could prove ineffective in decreasing tension and threaten its solid relationship with Pakistan. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 2/25/14

British-Iranian man's kidnap in Dubai: Wife blames UK
The wife of a British businessman who went missing in Dubai has said she blames the UK government for his disappearance. Abbas Yazdi is thought to have been kidnapped by Iranian intelligence agents last June after the Serious Fraud Office passed on his private business documents to Iran. -BBC - 2/25/14

"Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora" Conference in San Jose State University, California
Join San Jose State University Persian Studies for the first-ever "Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora"-- a two-day conference featuring panels on visual arts, literature and film with Bay Area and nationally-acclaimed writers, artists and filmmakers. - 2/25/14

A Hopeful IAEA Report on Iran
Ten years ago Western diplomats used to scour IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reports on Iran's "implementation of its NPT Safeguards Agreement" for evidence of safeguards failures that could be used to pressurise Iran into abandoning its fledgling uranium enrichment program. Today that's a futile pursuit. -Peter Jenkins - 2/24/14

Recombinant drugs made in transgenic goats at Iran's Royan Institute
Researchers of Royan Institute have extracted recombinant drugs made in transgenic goats, a morning English-language paper quoted chairman of the institute on Monday. According to ˈIran Daily,ˈ Dr. Hamid Gourabi said that Royan intends to begin mass production by generating herds of transgenic goats. - 2/24/14

Iranian skiers disappointed at Sochi Olympics
The Iranian Olympic team, which consists of five skiers, failed to get good results at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. - 2/24/14

Bahman Kiarostami's "The Statues of Tehran" to be screened in San Francisco
In essence, The Statues of Tehran interrogates the function of monuments in today's Tehran, an ideology-ridden postmodern megalopolis, afflicted with forgetfulness. It tracks the fate of two important public sculptures, the first, a pioneering work commissioned by the royal family in the 1970s, of then foremost modern sculptor Bahman Mohassess; the second a tribute to the Islamic Revolution standing in Enghelab Circus (Revolution Roundabout), by Iraj Esskandari. - 2/24/14

Photos: International tour guides day celebrated in Kerman
Many Iranian tour guides and representatives have flocked to Iran's southeastern province of Kerman to celebrate the seventh International Tour Guides festival, Press TV has reported. Nearly a thousand Iranian tour guides along with some foreign guests took part in the gala held on February 21. - 2/24/14

Iranian-Born Artist Explores Cost Of Egypt's Revolution
The work of Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat, whose photographs, films and video installations deal with gender, politics and religion in the Islamic world, has been heralded by art critics and collected by major museums. Although Neshat has lived in the United States since the 1970s, her work has most often been focused on the lives of women in Iran, and more recently with the aftermath of the Arab Spring in Egypt. -Carolyn Weaver - 2/24/14

Iran: Officials of closed newspaper released on bail
The director of the Aseman daily was released on bail on Sunday February 23. ILNA reports that Abbas Bozorgmehr was released until his trial on bail of three trillion rials. The report indicates that Leyla Ebrahiman, the editor of the article that led to the shutdown of the newspaper, was also released yesterday on bail impending trial. - 2/24/14

Nurses at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Hospital stage sit-in
One hundred nurses at Imam Khomeini Hospital staged a sit-in at the hospital to protest "management's refusal to address [their] collective demands." The head of the Nurses Association, Mohammad Sharif Moghaddam, told ILNA that management has ignored earlier promises to end discrimination in pay levels among nurses and has refused to cooperate with nurses' representatives to monitor the pay schedules. - 2/24/14

Iran, China finalize roadmap to double bilateral trade
Iran and China have signed an agreement finalizing a roadmap to double bilateral trade over the course of three years. Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng signed the agreement in Tehran on Sunday. - 2/24/14

The Iran I saw -- in 781 days in Evin Prison
It is time to end the mutual hostility for good. A permanent accord that limits Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for a lifting of sanctions would make my relatives in Israel safer. It would make my family in the United States safer. And it would strengthen the hand of the brave Iranians I met in the dark corridors of Evin Prison in their continuing struggle for democracy. -Josh Fattal, LA Times - 2/24/14

Iran.ology: Syria, history, and the (re)conquest of the Middle East
I normally like to write the (hi)story of the ancient Persia in the context of the greater eastern backstory and its relevance to the current events, and the need to preserve and protect ancient Near Eastern history and heritage and promote some basic knowledge of it as a part of our common patrimony. But I got Syria on my mind for over a year now, so let's leave the historical romance chitchats to another time and jump right into the muddy waters of the current events. -A.J. Cave - 2/22/14

Fajr International Music Festival announces winners
Winners of the 29th Fajr International Music Festival were announced during a ceremony at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on Thursday evening. First prize in the Western classical music category was shared by Hadi Rahmani for "A Suite for Orchestra" and Erfan Vakili for "Gonad-e Aflak", organizers announced on Friday. In the classical music category, the first prize was shared by Kurosh Matin for "Dawn", and Mojtaba Habibi for "Intimates". - 2/22/14

Engage Iran Beyond the Nuclear Issue
No matter from what direction one views the Middle East, Iran is presently very important. It is a player in the Persian Gulf and in a dominant military position; it is heavily engaged in the Syrian conflict; its influence with Hezbollah and Lebanon is significant; and it's as concerned as we are over the revival of the Taliban and Sunni Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. -Charles Naas, LobeLog - 2/22/14

NENA Region Faces Fresh Water Scarcity
Water scarcity will be at the top of the agenda next week when officials from the Near East and North Africa meet in Rome. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warns the availability of fresh water in the region could drop by 50 percent by 2050. The NENA region includes Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria,Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. -Joe DeCapua, VOA - 2/22/14

US Views on Iran Poll Results Offer More Bad News for AIPAC
Just 11 days before the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the embattled organization got some more bad news, this time in the form of a Gallup poll suggesting that nearly ten years of effort in demonizing Iran in the U.S. public mind may be going down the drain. -Jim Lobe - 2/22/14

UN Alarmed at Spike in Executions in Iran
GENEVA - The U.N. Human Rights Office says it is alarmed at the reported spike in executions in Iran since the beginning of the year. The office says at least 80 people have been executed, but some reports put that figure as high as 95. -Lisa Schlein, VOA - 2/22/14

Fatal mine explosion part of greater pattern in Kerman, Iran
An explosion in a coal mine in Kerman has left three miners dead and wounded six others. Following an explosion at the Kohanban Mine, several miners were caught under the debris. Rescue workers managed to save 10 miners but three others were killed in the incident. - 2/22/14

Iranian hack of US Navy network was more extensive and invasive than previously reported
In September of 2013, it was reported the US Navy's largest unclassified computer network was hacked by a group either "working directly for Iran's government [or] acting with the approval of Iranian leaders." -The Verge - 2/22/14

Reformist Iranian Daily Shut Down, Editor Arrested
Iranian authorities have banned a newly-launched reformist daily Aseman and arrested its managing editor over an article in which the Islamic law of retribution was described as inhumane. - 2/21/14

Iranian students demand return of expelled professors
Students of Social Sciences at Allameh Tabatabai University have staged protests calling for the return of professors who were forced out of their jobs. The Fararo Website reports that the students called for the return of Parviz Piran, Shirin Ahmadnia, Ebrahim Tofigh, Shahla Ezazi, Nematollah Fazeli and Hassan Namakdoost. - 2/21/14

PAAIA Releases Report on U.S. Interests Section in Iran
The idea of establishing an American-staffed Interests Section in Iran was first considered by the George W. Bush administration and had the support of then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. An interests section would be responsible for protecting America's interests in Iran. It would not, however, be equivalent to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with Iran. - 2/21/14

IAEA: Iran Meeting Nuclear Commitments
Iran has reduced its stockpile of higher enriched uranium and has not restarted construction of the controversial Arak reactor, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said in a new report on February 20. - 2/21/14

Stop Death Sentence in Inquisition Trial
The Iranian Judiciary must rescind the execution sentence of Rouhollah Tavana for trumped-up charges of "insulting the Prophet," and stop issuing death sentences for ever-expanding categories of crimes, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 2/21/14

In Vienna, U.S. and Iran Inch Toward a Better Future
As nuclear talks commence here in Vienna, much of the discussion has rightly focused on the various technical details that a final nuclear deal must address. Indeed, the devil is in the details. However, the bigger picture is no less important, and it provides an important backdrop to the negotiations that will be taking place here over the next few days. -Reza Marashi - 2/21/14

Iran's queen of pop promotes gay rights in new music video
Iran's queen of pop, Googoosh, has released a video in support of the country's gay and lesbian community, becoming the first prominent Iranian with such a huge following to speak out against homophobia. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 2/21/14

Iran, Britain resume relations
Iran and Britain re-established diplomatic relations starting Thursday February 20, raising each other's flags at their respective embassies in London and Tehran. - 2/21/14

Iranian director returns from artistic exile to stage classic tale
"These ... these are the men of Iran ... and they say with a heavy heart: 'What can we do now? For our bows are broken, our arrows have no place and our hands lie trembling.' It was exactly as they described. For they had returned from a long war." So begins the tale of Aurash, as told by writer and director Bahram Beyzaie. -Guardian - 2/21/14

An US Diplomatic Presence in Iran?
Today, while Iran and six world powers resumed talks over a comprehensive nuclear deal in Vienna, here in Washington the possibility of an US diplomatic presence in Tehran was discussed at a prominent think tank. Two years ago a lede like that would have made you look twice, but since the Rouhani government took power in June 2013 and an interim nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 on November 24, this seems more possible than ever. -Jasmin Ramsey - 2/20/14

EU's Ashton Says 'Good Start' In Nuclear Talks
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says six world powers and Iran have made a "good start" during "very productive talks" this week on Tehran's controversial nuclear program. Speaking after three days of talks in Vienna, Ashton said the two sides will meet again on March 17. - 2/20/14

Iranian Medical Access Project: Advocacy Event and Charity Fundraiser
Please join us for an evening of cocktails, snacks, good company, and, most importantly, discussion on the impact current sanctions are having on ordinary Iranians' access to medicine and medical devices. All proceeds of this important advocacy event will benefit Moms Against Poverty's medical initiatives in Iran. - 2/20/14

Iranian Oil Minister reveals extent of financial frauds
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has written on his Facebook page that his ministry has been dealing with financials frauds totaling more than four trillion rials. Babak Zanjani, an Iranian tycoon and Basij member, was arrested in November in relation to a debt to the ministry of $8.2 billion dollars. - 2/20/14

EU: Next Iran Nuclear Talks to be Held March 17
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced the next round of talks on Iran's nuclear program will be held March 17. Ashton said Thursday that Iran and six world powers just finished "three very productive days" of talks in Vienna that identified the issues to be addressed in a comprehensive agreement. - 2/20/14

Saudi-Pakistan Military Ties Getting Stronger
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is Saudi Arabia's deputy prime minister and defense minister has just concluded an official visit to Pakistan. Some defense experts say that Saudi Arabia's close military ties with Pakistan, though not new, now have a new dimension - namely countering the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran. -Kokab Farshori, VOA - 2/20/14

Iranian Activist's state unclear a month after arrest
A month after the arrest of Iranian-Kurdish activist Dana Lanjabadi, he remains in an undetermined state at the Intelligence Ministry detention centre in Marivon. Reports from Marivon indicate that Lanjabadi was arrested on January 5 at his place of work and transferred to the ministry office. There has been no news of him since then. - 2/20/14

Austrian President Invited To Tehran
The spokesman for Heinz Fischer says the Austrian president has been invited to Iran. If he accepts the offer, Fischer would become the first Western head of state to visit the Islamic republic since President Hassan Rohani took office last August. - 2/20/14

Book: Revolution Street by Amir Cheheltan
Uncensored and unflinching, Amir Cheheltan's firebrand tale of power, corruption, and love, set against the roiling aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, opens an unforgettable trilogy of novels about everyday lives in contemporary Tehran. - 2/20/14

Iran needs $31b to inaugurate 60 petrochemical projects
Iran needs $31 billion to inaugurate 60 semi-finished petrochemical projects, the National Iranian Petrochemical Company's managing director said on Monday. Once the projects come on stream, they will increase the country's annual petrochemical output by 55 million tons, he said, adding that $74 billion is needed to expand the national petrochemical industry in the next 8-10 years. - 2/20/14

Iran nuclear talks off to a good start
Iran and the major powers started talks on Tuesday in pursuit of a final deal on Tehran's nuclear program. The talks, which began at the United Nations complex in Vienna, are expected to last two or three days. - 2/19/14

"Painting Pool" producer receives UNESCO Award in Tehran
"The Painting Pool" producer Manucher Mohammadi received the UNESCO Award, which his film won at the 7th Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) in Australia in December 2013, during a ceremony in Tehran on Monday. - 2/19/14

Iran Project Report Assesses Debate Over New Sanctions
The Iran Project has just published the first in a series of "Short Reports" on Iran, its negotiations with the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany), and U.S. policy, which it plans to put out over the next few months. This one, entitled "Assessing Claims and Counter Claims over New Sanctions," reviews the recent debate over the Kirk-Menendez bill. S. 1881, which I called the "Wag the Dog Act of 2013." -Jim Lobe - 2/19/14

Iranian Authorities Revoke 86-Year-Old Cancer Patient's Medical Furlough from Prison
Iranian authorities have ended the medical furlough for an 86-year-old lawyer and prisoner of conscience suffering from leukemia and recalled him to prison, a leading Iranian activist told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 2/19/14

Photos: Bus crash kills 18 in northern Iran
Eighteen people were killed and 25 wounded after a passenger bus crashed off a cliff on the Haraz Road in northern Iran. Mazandaran officials announced that five of the injured passengers are currently in the intensive care unit and in serious condition. - 2/19/14

New president of Tehran University announced
Iran's Ministry of Science has announced that Farhad Rahbar's four-year term as president of the University of Tehran has ended and he will now be replaced by Mohammad Hossein Omid, the financial deputy of the science ministry. - 2/19/14

Renewed Iranian-American Relations Stabilize World Politics
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam took part in an interview with Iran Review to discuss his viewpoints regarding the recent agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, US Congress efforts to escalate unilateral sanctions against Iran and the future of relations between Iran and the United States and Europe. - 2/19/14

Sunni Militants Claim Deadly Beirut Blast Near an Iranian Cultural Center
Lebanese security officials said a twin suicide bombing hit the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on Wednesday during the morning rush hour, killing at least four people and wounding 70. - 2/19/14

Iran, World Powers Hold 'Substantive' Nuclear Talks
Six world powers and Iran began "substantive" talks on Tuesday in pursuit of a final settlement on Tehran's contested nuclear program in the coming months despite caveats from both sides that a breakthrough deal may prove impossible. -Reuters - 2/19/14

Silence did not make Sanaz Nezami strong: Facing immigrant domestic violence
Today her body lays lifeless as her hopes and dreams for a life of accomplishment in the United States is now buried in the cold of a Michigan winter. The police arrived at Sanaz Nezami's home near midnight on Sunday December 8, 2013 when the 27-year-old newly married young woman from Iran was taken to a nearby hospital. -Elahe Amani with Lys Anzia, WNN - 2/19/14

Iranian Nuclear Talks Start In Vienna
Talks between Iran and six world powers on negotiating a long-term deal to limit Tehran's nuclear program have opened in Vienna. On February 17, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, said that he was not optimistic that the nuclear talks would produce a viable agreement, predicting that the process "will not lead anywhere." - 2/18/14

2014 Farhang Short Film Festival's Top Six Nominees Selected
The Top 6 Nominees of the 6th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival have officially been announced. They are Aghaye Past (Canada), Brain of Terror (USA), Bride of Rain (Iran), K-von Presents: A Splash of Nowruz (USA), Lady with Flower-Hair (Iran), andLegend of Gheysar (USA). - 2/18/14

Iran Nuclear Talks Enter New Phase
VIENNA - The future of Iran's nuclear program, and its economy, will be on the table starting Tuesday in Vienna as its government begins a new and likely difficult phase of its negotiations with the United Nations contact group. Tuesday's talks follow an interim agreement reached late last year that limited parts of Iran's nuclear program. - 2/18/14

President Rouhani May Join Facebook, Says His Minister
Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mahmoud Vaezi, said again this week that he is a proud Facebook user. "I have been a member and I'm pretty involved [with Facebook]. I keep posting things and I always use the comments I receive," he told the reporters. Vaezi told the reporters that, overall, he evaluates membership in the social network to be a positive thing - 2/18/14

Cash subsidy payments will only go to low-income families, Iranian MPs decide
On Monday, Iranian MPs approved a clause in the national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year, which starts on March 21, according to which cash payments in the second phase of the subsidy reform plan will only be given to low-income families. - 2/18/14

Iranian activists get solitary for protesting closure of prison library
Imprisoned labour activists Rasoul Bedaghi and Shahrokh Zamani have been transferred to solitary confinement at Rejai Shahr Prison for their protests against the closure of a prison library. - 2/18/14

Exhibition in London: Parastou Forouhar's "Kiss Me"
This is the third solo show in London for Parastou Forouhar, whose latest body of work, the Kiss Meseries of textile banners, is an exciting new chapter in her art. - 2/18/14

Ninth IIPU summit meeting kicks off in Tehran
The ninth meeting of the Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union (IIPU) has opened in the Iranian capital, Tehran, with representatives from nearly 50 countries in attendance. Some 28 parliament speakers and 47 parliamentary delegations are taking part in the meeting, which has been underway in Tehran since February 14. - 2/18/14

Cleric outraged over depiction of Shia saints in "Hussein, Who Said No" film
The Muslim cleric Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi was angered by the depiction of members of Shia imam's households in "Hussein, Who Said No" (Rouz-e Rastakhiz), a blockbuster about the uprising of Imam Hussein, which premiered at the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran last week. - 2/18/14

Sign up for NIAC's Annual Norooz Day of Service!
Join NIAC's Fourth Annual Day of Service on Saturday March 8, as Iranian Americans nationwide honor the Iranian New Year (Norooz) tradition of beginning a good year through acts of kindness. - 2/18/14

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, music was considered corrupt and decadent to the ears of religious hard-liners. The tone softened somewhat in the coming years. The annual Fajr International Music Festival, which runs from February 13-20 this year and is considered one of Iran's most prestigious cultural events, began in 1986 under the presidency of former Culture Minister Mohammad Khatami. -Golnaz Esfandiari and Mohammad Zarghami - 2/17/14

Iran: Supreme Leader pessimistic as nuclear talks recommence
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told a gathering in Tabriz that he is not optimistic about the nuclear negotiations but neither is he opposed to them. Iranian media report that Ali Khamenei said that despite his lack of optimistim about the outcome of these talks, he will not oppose their continuation. - 2/17/14

Release Government Critics from Three-Year House Arrest
The Iranian government must end the inhumane practice of holding its critics under house arrest for years without due process, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. February 14, 2014, marks three years since Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Zahra Rahnavard were placed under a de facto and illegal house arrest in Tehran. - 2/17/14

Iran Threatens To Send Forces Into Pakistan
Iran says it will send forces into Pakistan to free kidnapped border guards if Islamabad does not take measures to secure their release. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was quoted as issuing the warning on February 17. - 2/17/14

Conductor Farhad Fakhreddini tuning up Mehrnavazan for March concerts in Tehran
The Mehrnavazan Orchestra is tuning up its instruments for concerts, which will be conducted by its 76-year-old founder, Farhad Fakhreddini, at Tehran's Milad Tower on March 4 and 6. Vocalist Salar Aqili will accompany the orchestra during the performances, the organizer and sponsor of the concerts, Naghmeh Hesar Records, announced in a press release on Saturday. - 2/17/14

Austrian Airlines to resume flights to Tehran
The Austrian national carrier, Austrian Airlines, will restart flights to Tehran from March 11, 2014 onwards, the deputy director of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran announced on Saturday. - 2/17/14

Zanan Group's International Women's Day Celebration 2014 in Cupertino, California
Partow Noorial, Acclaimed Poet and literary Critic. Mojdeh Shamsaei, Prominent actress of Iranian Cinema. Shahrzad Sepanlou, A refreshing voice from LA. Songs of Azerbaijan by Mahin. Dance Performance by Negar Esfandiari, and Art Exhibition by local Iranian Women artist - 2/17/14

A Final Nuclear Deal With Iran
The stakes could not be higher-or the issues tougher-as the world's six major powers and Iran launch talks February 18 on final resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis. The goal "is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful," says the temporary Joint Plan of Action, which calls for six months of negotiations. If talks fail, the prospects of military actio--and potentially another Middle East conflict--soar. -Joe Cirincione, LobeLog - 2/17/14

Bahrain Protest Attracts Tens of Thousands
Tens of thousands of Bahrainis joined a peaceful demonstration on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of an abortive pro-democracy uprising led by majority Shi'ite Muslims. -Reuters - 2/17/14

Football: Tractor Sazi claims Iran's Hazfi Cup
Tractor Sazi of Tabriz claimed the title of Iran's Hazfi Cup for the first time by beating Mes of Kerman on Friday. In the match held at the Bahonar Stadium in Kerman, Tractor edged its host thanks to a goal from Saeid Daghighi. - 2/16/14

Photos: "The Last Supper" of Vlasco with Iranian Volleyball players - "Iran will always be in my heart"
Argentinian coach Julio Velasco expressed his sadness over departure of Iran but insisted that the country will always be in his heart. Velasco, who was appointed as Iran volleyball coach in 2011, will leave the team to lead his homeland team after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner asked him to take charge of the team. - 2/16/14

Azerbaijan and the West's Rapprochement with Iran
The brewing rapprochement between the United States and Iran, signified by the Geneva nuclear deal signed in January, seems likely to scramble American strategic priorities in the South Caucasus, especially for Azerbaijan. - 2/16/14

U.S. Calls For Release Of Iran's Opposition Leaders
The U.S. State Department issued the call on February 14 - marking the third anniversary of the detention of former presidential candidates and opposition leaders Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, and Musavi's wife - women's rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard. - 2/16/14

Lack of rainfall leaves Iranian cities with little water
Iran's power ministry has reported that the current year is "the worst year in terms of precipitation" and eight major Iranian cities will face serious water shortages as a result. - 2/16/14

What's the Alternative to a Comprehensive Iran Nuclear Deal?
The debate over US military action to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon was mostly on the back burner last year, but as Iran and six world powers known as the P5+1 head to Vienna to negotiate a comprehensive solution, it's rearing its head again. -Jasmin Ramsey - 2/16/14

Iranian photographer wins prize at World Press Photo contest
The Iranian photographer Amir Purmand won the third award in the General News Singles section of the 57th annual World Press Photo. He won the prize for his photo "Moments before the Hanging", the organizers announced on Saturday. The winners were selected from more than 90,000 images submitted to the contest. - 2/16/14

Mousavi's campaign worker arrested upon return to Iran
Iranian political activist Kazem Barjasteh was taken to Evin prison this week upon his return to Iran. The Kaleme website reports that Barjasteh returned to Iran on Thursday February 13 and was arrested upon arrival in Tehran. - 2/16/14

False Dawn: The 35th Anniversary of Iranian Revolution
The Iranian revolution succeeded exactly 35 years ago this week. After 37 years of rule, Mohammad Reza Shah left Iran on 16 January 1979, never to return. His nemesis, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had waged a campaign against him mainly from his exile in Najaf in Iraq for 14 years returned in triumph on 2nd February 1979 and ten days later his armed supporters attacked the last standing barracks of the shah's forces... -Farhang Jahanpour - 2/14/14

Sony Classical Presents Major Label Debut From Iranian Composer Hafez Nazeri
Sony Classical has announced a March 11th worldwide release for UNTOLD, the much-anticipated major label debut from acclaimed Iranian composer, vocalist and virtuoso instrumentalist, Hafez Nazeri. An innovative synthesis of Middle Eastern and Western elements, UNTOLD introduces Nazeri as one of modern music's most exciting new visionaries. - 2/14/14

Breaking Stereotype One Laugh at a Time
An Indian, an Iranian, and a Mexican walk into a club. No, this is not the start of a joke: it is the new vanguard of minority comedians who have carved out a significant niche in the entertainment world. In fact, this is not the first time ethnic minorities have been at the forefront of comedy. - 2/14/14

The Verbal War Intensifies, Again: Iran Proclaims Readiness for War with the US!
Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, Iran's chairman of the joint command of the armed forces told Fars news agency, "We are ready for the 'decisive war' with the United States and the Zionist regime." He said they had been planning for this battle for years, had held various military exercises, and that the forces were ready. -Maryam Kashani - 2/14/14

This Valentine's Day, bring human rights into the conversation with Iran
For much of the world, February 14 is known as a day to celebrate love. But in Iran, Valentine's Day has come to mark another occasion as well-the anniversary of the house arrest of Iran's leading opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard. -Gissou Nia, CNN - 2/14/14

Iran, Turkey start talks on gas pipeline project
Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported that the country has started talks with Iran to establish a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Europe through Turkish soil. The pipeline will stretch about 5000 kilometers. It starts from Iran and then reaches to central Turkey and Greece. - 2/14/14

Another view on Iran. Documented by photographer Hossein Fatemi
Over 20 years of news and photos from Iran were fairly uniform: a woman in a burqa, public executions, demonstrations with burning flags and rumors of nuclear weapons. However, the reality of everyday life in this ancient country is more complex and diverse. - 2/14/14

Iran Plans to Offer Better Oil Exploration Terms Than Iraq
Iran will offer international companies better oil contracts than OPEC-rival Iraq as the Islamic republic seeks long-term investment to revive its energy industry, a government adviser said. -Bloomberg - 2/14/14

Over 100 Members of Congress Call for Diplomacy with Iran
Days before talks on a permanent agreement between P5+1 countries and Iran are set to begin in New York City, 104 Members of the US House of Representatives sent President Obama a bipartisan letter supporting continued diplomatic engagement with Iran. - 2/13/14

"Hussein, Who Said No", "Che" scoop up awards at Fajr Film Festival
"Hussein, Who Said No" and "Che" were the big winners in the national competition section of the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival, the organizers announced on Tuesday evening. - 2/13/14

Poetry ology: wars, words, and women
St. Valentine's Day is that time of the year we wallow in all sorts of sweet things pink and red in celebration of romance and romantic love. The day is named after Saint Valentine who is listed in the Christian Martyrology, and is celebrated by a number of Christian denominations (sans Catholics) as the Feast of Saint Valentine. -A.J. Cave - 2/13/14

Six Lessons from Iran's Revolution
Thirty-five years since the Iranian revolution should be adequate time for aspiring Iran hands to turn a deaf ear to the "Death to America" chants from Tehran and the more polite "They can't be trusted " pundit wisdom from Washington. Perhaps, modestly and cautiously, we can draw a few lessons from those bad days for the present moment of hope. -Henry Precht - 2/13/14

"Reformist" detainees released by Iranian judiciary
An opposition website reports that a number of "reformist youth" who were arrested yesterday in the Revolution anniversary march in Tehran have been released. The Kaleme website reports, however, that it is not clear whether all the detainees were released. - 2/13/14

NIAC Applauds "Give Diplomacy a Chance" Congressional Letter
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) commends the 104 Members of Congress who signed the bipartisan "Give Diplomacy a Chance" letter sent to President Obama today. NIAC applauds the efforts of Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. David Price (D-NC) and everyone who worked to make this letter a success. - 2/13/14

More on AIPAC's Travails
"Just three weeks before the [annual] conference, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is facing a dilemma: how to craft a legislative agenda after losing a bruising battle with the Obama administration over Iran sanctions and amid uncertainty stemming from regional turmoil and ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts." -Jim Lobe - 2/13/14

Iran sending group to Pakistan after officials abducted
Iran's deputy minister of the interior says a delegation is being dispatched to Pakistan to follow up on the abduction of five border officials in Sistan-Baluchistan. Jeysh-ol-adl, a Sunni militant group that claims to fight for the rights of Sunni minorities in Iran, claimed responsibility for kidnapping the five Iranian border officials. - 2/13/14

Iranian Navy not to enter territorial waters of countries, says Commander
Iran's Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the country's Navy does not plan to violate maritime boarder of any other country. "The navy does not plan to enter territorial waters of any country," he said, referring to some reports that the Iranian Navy has been moving across Atlantic Ocean near the US maritime boarder. - 2/13/14

An Iran in Flux Marks 35th Anniversary of Revolution
Thirty-five years ago today, millions of Iranians embraced a religious leader promising freedom from a corrupt monarchy and national independence. Now many want a better standard of living and improved civil rights. -Jasmin Ramsey - 2/12/14

Can Iran End Its Perpetual Revolution?
The revolution's cultural dimension, its most important aspect, was nothing short of an effort to reshape Iranian identity and hence society and polity according to a new interpretation of Islam. The revolution wiped out the impact of nearly two hundred years of modernization by introducing a far stricter and intrusive Islam into society and peoples' lives than had ever existed in Iran, even before the advent of modernization. -Shireen T. Hunter - 2/12/14

US Treasury Exempts Sanctions on Payments for Technology for Iranians
The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Obama Administration has issued a General License to revoke sanctions related to some Internet services and equipment for personal communication use of Iranians. This action is a result of years of work by human rights and civil society organizations whose efforts to raise awareness have provided the groundwork for the decision. - 2/12/14

Column: Iran Revolution Commemoration Exposes Insecurity
Someday, Feb. 11 may be celebrated in Iran as a normal national holiday, akin to France's Bastille Day or the US Fourth of July. Alas, judging from this year's official festivities, the anniversary of the 1979 revolution remains the occasion for a show of propaganda rather than a reflection of Iran's hard-won independence. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 2/12/14

Top Iranian prosecutor says opposition leaders must repent to be released
Iran's Prosecutor General has announced that efforts to end the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi are futile and nothing will change unless they repent. - 2/12/14

Faezeh Hashemi Becomes Head Of Iran's Press Freedom Group
The outspoken daughter of Ayatollah Rafsanjani, the Expediency Council chairman, served six months in jail for criticizing government officials and speaking to the press about the mistreatment of her family. - 2/12/14

Obama Says U.S. Will Continue To Enforce Sanctions On Iran
Speaking on February 11 at a press conference with visiting French President Francois Hollande, Obama said that the United States will "come down like a ton of bricks" on any business seeking to negotiate contracts with Iran. - 2/12/14

Washington's Military Aid to Israel
We Americans have funny notions about foreign aid. Recent polls show that, on average, we believe 28% of the federal budget is eaten up by it, and that, in a time of austerity, this gigantic bite of the budget should be cut back to 10%. In actual fact, barely 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid of any kind. -Chase Madar, LobeLog - 2/12/14

Islamic Revolution Can't Upstage Iranian Cinema
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power in Iran 35 years ago on February 11, Iran's filmmakers had good reason to worry. The strict code of censorship ushered in by the Islamic Revolution convinced many that creativity and film were no longer compatible in Iran. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 2/11/14

Iranian president signals eagerness to attract foreign investment
Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a meeting of ambassadors and foreign political representatives in Tehran that Iran is prepared to finalize the talks with 5+1 and welcome foreign investment from international companies. - 2/11/14

Large Crowds In Iran Mark 35th Anniversary Of Islamic Revolution
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have gathered in Tehran to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the pro-U.S. shah and brought Islamists to power. State-run media said millions of people attended similar rallies elsewhere across Iran on February 11. - 2/11/14

Iran Says It Successfully Tests New Missiles
Iran has announced it successfully tested two new missiles on the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Defense Minister Hossein Deghan said on February 10 that the test-firing of a new generation of ballistic missile "with a fragmentation warhead" and a Bina laser-guided, surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile went as planned. - 2/11/14

Iranian MPs criticize President Rouhani for not supporting plans to hold military exercises
The letter read, "Unfortunately, for the first time in ten years, the secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council has refused to grant permission for holding the annual major missile exercise of the armed forces and the necessary orders for allocating funds for the emergency plans of the armed forces have not been issued." - 2/11/14

U.S. 'Not Concerned' Over Reports Of Iranian Ships
The Pentagon says it is "not concerned" about an Iranian announcement that it will send naval vessels towards U.S. waters. On February 8, an Iranian naval officer was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying that the vessels were "approaching the United States' maritime borders." - 2/11/14

Iranian Parliament Passes Budget in Win for Rouhani
he first state budget proposed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sailed through parliament, handing him a political victory as he seeks to build domestic support for international negotiations on the country's nuclear program. -Reuters - 2/11/14

The Illusion of AIPAC's Invincibilit
The defeat of AIPAC's ill-advised push for new sanctions on Iran in the midst of successful negotiations is nothing short of historic. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 2/11/14

An Iranian-American 'Pioneer' Celebrates 50 years in America
On Feb. 7, Beatles lovers will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band's arrival in America. While I like the Beatles, my siblings and I will be celebrating a different 50th anniversary: The arrival of our father in the United States. -David Shams, Huffington Post - 2/11/14

Public Prosecutor Files Charges Against Sadegh Zibakalam: Is it a Crime to Not Defend Iran's Nuclear Program?
Zibakalam is recognized as a supporter of president Rouhani's administration and spoke to Rooz a few hours after posting his bail. He said that he had been accused of spreading lies, slander and insulting the judiciary, spreading rumors, weakening the regime, engaging in propaganda against the regime and disturbing public peace. -Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz - 2/10/14

Iran: Religious leader calls on establishment to use social media
The head of the Qom Islamic Promotion Organization says the Islamic Republic establishment should work on creating a significant presence on social networking sites." If we do not enter Facebook and use its capacity for promotion of the sublime religious and humanitarian values, our enemies will utilize this space," said Hojjatoleslam Abbas Eskandari. - 2/10/14

A Revolution that Has Devoured Its Own Children
Being Iranian is not easy. During the last 35 years this has reached the edges of being impossible. Since the 1979 revolution, the Iranian identity has altered so drastically that even the generation of Iranians that lives on its mainland no longer speaks the same language, let alone those who left in the first months of the Islamic Republic. -Mohammad Rahbar - 2/10/14

Iran, IAEA agree on 7 new practical steps
After two days of "constructive technical" talks, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed on Sunday on seven new practical measures to be implemented by Iran by May 15. Iranian officials have said that Tehran is ready to clear up any ambiguities about its nuclear activities and the agreement seems to fall within this policy. - 2/10/14

Former UK Ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton Joins the AIC Board
The American Iranian Council is pleased to welcome Ambassador Richard Dalton to its Board of Directors. "I believe that Iran's reintegration in the global community will help reduce tensions in the Middle East and serve world peace," said Ambassador Dalton. - 2/10/14

Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures
A Reuters investigation details a key to the supreme leader's power: a little-known organization created to help the poor that morphed into a business juggernaut worth tens of billions of dollars. - 2/10/14

Washington Faces Difficult Choices on Syria
As the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and exiled opposition leaders prepare for a second round of peace talks in Geneva on Monday, U.S. officials are seeing a growing terrorism threat and a regional spillover from the conflict in Syria. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 2/10/14

Iranian NGOs have their funding pulled, then restored
The Iranian Parliament's budget integration commission announced early Sunday that government aid to 51 non-governmental organizations would be scrapped in the new budget, but during the afternoon session, the funding was restored. - 2/10/14

The Iconic Cafe Nadery: From Tehran To New York
Cafe Nadery is a community-driven Cafe in historical Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. The vision of the Cafe is to create a contemporary Iranian-culture inspired cosmopolitan social space for both Iranians and non-Iranians in the New York City area. Founded in 1928 by an Iranian-Armenian, Khachik Madikiyans, Naderi Cafe in Tehran was one of the first western Cafes in the country. - 2/9/14

Winners of Iran's Book of the Year Awards announced
The winners of the 31st edition of Iran's Book of the Year Awards were announced on Saturday. The awards were presented during a ceremony at Tehran's Vahdat Hall. Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and a large number of cultural figures and officials attended the ceremony. - 2/9/14

Russia's Fragile Success
Looking back over the past year, Moscow appears to have good reason to congratulate itself on the success of its foreign policy toward Iran and Syria in particular, and toward the Middle East in general. Indeed, while they did not necessarily do so at Moscow's behest, several actors that play an important role in the Middle East have come around to adopting policy approaches that Russian leaders have been urging on them. -Mark N. Katz - 2/9/14

Iran: Warships to Approach US Maritime Borders
An Iranian naval commander says Iran has ordered several warships to approach U.S. maritime borders as a response to the stationing of U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf. Iranian media Saturday quoted Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad as saying that a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship have already entered the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa. - 2/9/14

Tehran calls Iran-IAEA talks progressive
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resumed talks on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in Tehran on Saturday. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, described the first day of talks as "good", "progressive", and "constructive". - 2/9/14

Missing Iranian border officials may be in Pakistan
Five Iranian border officials who work at the Sistan-Baluchistan border with Pakistan have been missing since Friday February 7. The Fars News Agency reports that provincial border forces and Revolutionary Guards choppers have been dispatched to the area to set up a search mission. - 2/9/14

Can Rouhani Break Through?
Hassan Rouhani's June 2013 election to Iran's presidency raised the hopes of millions of Iranians suffering from the calamitous policies of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rouhani has accordingly done much to fan the flames of optimism in Iran. -Alireza Nader - 2/8/14

A Better Israeli-Iranian Relationship
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview the other day, "Once the Palestinian problem is solved the conditions for an Iranian recognition of Israel will be possible." Set aside for the moment the fact that Zarif was addressing only one-half of a process and left open the question of what it would take for an Israeli recognition of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which may be the more problematic part of the equation. -Paul Pillar - 2/8/14

U.S. seeks goodwill, lifts sanctions on Iranian broadcaster
The Obama administration says it has temporarily dropped sanctions on Iran's state broadcaster in a move aimed at building confidence in the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The announcement indicated the U.S. has determined that "harmful satellite interference" was no longer emanating from Iran, which had been the reason for the sanctions. - 2/8/14

Julio Velasco stepping down as Iran volleyball coach
Coach Julio Velasco plans to leave the Iranian national volleyball team, according to the Iranian Volleyball Federation. Velasco, who was appointed head coach of the Iranian men's national team in 2011, made the decision after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner asked him to take the helm of his motherland's team. - 2/8/14

Tehran councillor slams ex-military hired as city managers
A member of Tehran city council has spoken out against the presence of more than 600 retired military and security officials in management positions in the city administration. - 2/8/14

Iran: Khamenei Says Don't Pin Hope On Sanctions Relief
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is urging officials not to base their hopes for the country's economic recovery on sanctions relief from any deal reached with world powers. - 2/8/14

A Flailing AIPAC
In a remarkable demonstration of the the increasingly vulnerable state into which AIPAC appears to have thrown itself, the Israel lobby's premier group released a new statement this afternoon clarifying that it still supports the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" Act less than 24 hours after announcing that it no longer supported an immediate vote on the legislation. -Jim Lobe - 2/8/14

Report: Iranian President Donates $400,000 to Jewish Hospital
Iranian news agencies report that President Hassan Rouhani has donated $400,000 to a Jewish hospital in Tehran. Rouhani was quoted as saying his government will pay more attention to Iran's minorities. - 2/7/14

Critics Spoil Iranian Government's Food-Aid Initiative
A well-intended initiative to feed the needy has backfired on Iran's president. Braving heavy snow amid a bitter cold snap, low-income Iranians across the country lined up this week outside state-owned stores to receive free food packages. But the effort, which was launched on February 2, has drawn enough criticism to warrant a rare public apology from President Hassan Rohani. -Javad Kooroshy and Farangis Najibullah, RFE - 2/7/14

President Rohani points to foreign investment as an economic cure for Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rohani spoke on live television about his government's actions to attract foreign investment, describing the positive steps he has taken to resolve the country's economic problems. - 2/7/14

Preventing A Nuclear Iran
Now that an interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the 6 world powers known as the P5+1 is being implemented, the atmosphere of "imminent war" that existed around Iran and the US from 2011-2012 may be a fading memory. But as readers of this blog know, that was precisely the case just a couple of years ago, and if we're not careful, could be again. -Jasmin Ramsey - 2/7/14

Column: No Solution for Syria Without Iran
When Secretary of State John Kerry met his Iranian counterpart in Munich last weekend, Kerry raised Syria's refusal to permit humanitarian aid to reach the embattled city of Homs and failure to relinquish its chemical weapons on schedule. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 2/7/14

Iran Nuclear Chief Says Plutonium Reactor Could Be Altered
Iran says it could modify a planned nuclear reactor in order to allay Western concerns about Tehran's controversial nuclear program. Ali Akbar Saleh, head of Iran's atomic energy agency, said in an interview with the state-run Press TV on February 5 that the design of the Arak heavy-water reactor could be changed to produce "less plutonium." - 2/7/14

US Official: Al-Qaida Responsible for Nearly All Suicide Attacks in Iraq
A U.S. State Department official has highlighted the threat al-Qaida in Iraq poses to the country and its neighbors, as violence in Iraq escalates. Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has significantly increased its attacks in Iraq since early last year. - 2/7/14

Menendez, AIPAC Beat Tactical Retreat
The chief Democratic co-sponsor of the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" bill, Sen. Robert Menendez, took to the floor of the Senate Thursday to express his opposition to a letter from 42 of his Republican colleagues declaring their determination to get a vote on the bill but also re-asserting his strong support for it. -Jim Lobe - 2/7/14

Ark(e)ology for a rainy day
There is an art to writing the beginnings and the endings of stories. But these days most of us are inflicted with an extreme case of busyness, so we just scan the first few lines of a book and if it grabs our attention, we flip to the last page to see if we like how it ends, and if it measures up, we add it to our growing stack of "read someday" books, collecting dust and yellowing on a shelf somewhere. -A.J. Cave - 2/6/14

Live TV Interview With Iran's President Rohani Aired After Delay
Ascheduled live television interview with Iranian President Hassan Rohani was delayed by more than an hour on February 5 after what the official IRNA news agency said was a block by the state broadcasting chief. The exact reason for the delay was not immediately clear. But Rohani's Twitter feed later placed the blame on Ezatollah Zarghami, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). - 2/6/14

Mideast Wary Over Iraq-Iran Plan to Unite in Oil Market
Iraq is planning to triple its oil-producing capacity by 2020, hoping to leverage its natural resources in a power arrangement with Iran that could challenge Saudi Arabia's domination of the world oil market. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 2/6/14

IRAN-P5+1 DEAL: Positive steps but hawks try to derail it
In his State of the Union Address on 28th February, President Barack Obama bluntly pointed out that if the hawks in Congress pushed for a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran he would veto that bill. This brave and almost unprecedented move by President Obama has silenced, at least for the time being, the opposition to the Joint Plan of Action that was agreed by Iran and the P5+1 last November. -Farhang Jahanpour - 2/6/14

Kerry Warns French Companies About Doing Business With Tehran
Reports from Washington on February 5 said Kerry called his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, to say the visit of a French business delegation to Tehran earlier this week "is not helpful" to negotiations currently under way to convince Iran to halt its nuclear development program. - 2/6/14

Screening at UCLA - Hush: Girls Don't Scream
Film screening followed by discussion with Iranian writer/director Pouran Derakhshandeh. Part of the UCLA CNES and Program of Iranian Studies Bilingual Lecture Series. - 2/6/14

Iran's New Methods of Internet Filtering Put Users At Risk
New concerns about the safety of Internet communications have emerged following statements by Iranian authorities about the government's utilization of new, more complex, and undetectable filtering methods. - 2/6/14

Misread Telexes Led Analysts to See Iran Nuclear Arms Program
When Western intelligence agencies began in the early 1990s to intercept telexes from an Iranian university to foreign high technology firms, intelligence analysts believed they saw the first signs of military involvement in Iran's nuclear program. That suspicion led to U.S. intelligence assessments over the next decade that Iran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. -Gareth Porter, Antiwar.com - 2/6/14

Iran takes emergency measures to tackle unprecedented snowfall
Emergency measures have been taken to resolve the problems that thousands of people are experiencing in northern parts of Iran as a result of the heaviest snowstorm in five decades, which has buried some areas under two meters of snow. - 2/5/14

Iranian President criticizes opponents of Geneva nuclear deal
President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that some people who are not literate enough are constantly airing criticism of the Geneva nuclear deal while university scholars only express their views in private. Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting of university chancellors and heads of research and training centers in Tehran. - 2/5/14

Sweden's Bildt Says Iran Nuclear Deal Possible In Six Months
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, on a visit to Tehran, said he believes a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran is possible within six months. "I'm convinced, if there is goodwill on both sides, a deal is possible within the very ambitious time frame of six months," Bildt said. - 2/5/14

Photos: Iran unveils two indigenous satellites
Iran has unveiled two domestically made satellites on the national Space Technology Day. The Tadbir (Prudence) and Persian Gulf satellites were unveiled during a ceremony in Tehran on Monday which was attended by Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan and Vice President for Executive Affairs Mohammad Shariatmadari. - 2/5/14

Zarif Messages to the US on Syria in Munich
The meeting between Javad Zarif and John Kerry on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 2 was reportedly mostly focused on nuclear negotiations. But this didn't prevent a "senior US official" from telling reporters that Kerry also tried to bring in Syria. -Farideh Farhi - 2/5/14

The Hope For Improved US-Iran Relations
Since the start of the Geneva negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, expectation of peace dividend has increased in Iranian public opinion. More than the nuclear talks itself, people in Iran hope that the unprecedented sanctions will be eased, and that generally speaking the 35 year cold war between Iran and the US would come to an end. -Fareed Marjaee - 2/5/14

IRAN: Old challenges continue for women under new president
Despite the election of new President Hassan Rowhani in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), women continue to face new challenges in exercising their civil rights. For women this means a great challenge to reach equality as well as accessing educational and workforce resources. -Elahe Amani, WNN - 2/5/14

Minister reveals potential pardon for Iranian opposition leaders
Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said if Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi declare that "we are committed to the rule of law and peace", they could become eligible for a pardon. - 2/5/14

US Officials Defend Iran Nuclear Talks Before Skeptical Lawmakers
CAPITOL HILL - A U.S. Senate hearing has further exposed tensions between lawmakers and the Obama administration about international negotiations to limit Iran's nuclear program. U.S. officials sought to reassure skeptical legislators of both parties that diplomacy can succeed, and that Iran will be amply punished if it fails. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 2/5/14

Mehdi Mohaqqeq retakes helm of Iranian Society of Cultural Works and Luminaries
Three years after being ousted by the culture minister of the Mahmoud Ahamdinejad's administration from the Iranian Society of Cultural Works and Luminaries, the prominent scholar Mehdi Mohaqqeq has returned to take the helm of the society again. - 2/5/14

French business delegation aims for early bird advantage in Iran
A delegation of more than 100 French companies arrived in Tehran on Monday in the biggest demonstration of western business interest in Iran for more than a decade. The three-day visit, includes top French companies such as oil major Total, engineer Alstom, telecoms group Orange and carmaker Renault - 2/4/14

Long Lines, Empty Hands: Rouhani Government's Distribution of Small Economic Relief Packages
One hundred days after his election, Hassan Rouhani told reporters in November, "The Government will provide something small this year for people in low-income tiers. God willing, we hope to present people with two packages of staples for the low-income tiers by the end of this [solar] year [March 20, 2014]." - 2/4/14

Record snowfall plagues northern Iranian provinces
Heavy snowfall has reportedly paralyzed the northern Iranian provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, knocking out gas, power and water supplies. The Chaloos representative in Parliament reported today, February 3, that 145 townships in western Mazandaran are without water and power, and access to 10 cities has been cut off by snowfall in the region. - 2/4/14

Compatriot or Traitor
What happened in Germany last week and two foreign-born individuals reached the highest government and party echelons in the country, begs the question why is it that there is room for everybody in the major democracies while in countries like Iran, the majority of citizens, and particularly minorities, cannot attain even normal government posts in the political, ethnic or even religious sectors. -Issa Saharkhiz - 2/4/14

The Arrests of Iranian Miners Continue
Despite the promises made by president Hassan Rouhani's first vice-president about a review of the arrested workers cases because of workers protests, arrests of miners belonging to the Chadormalu mining complex continue and have now topped 28 miners. The vice-president had promised that nobody would be arrested because of "issues related to their wages." -Niusha Saremi - 2/4/14

Iranian Foreign Minister Says Final Nuclear Deal Possible By July
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said a final deal between Iran and world powers was possible within six months. Zarif said on February 3 at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin that such a deal could be done even earlier. - 2/4/14

Iran advances to World Handball Championship
The Iranian team drew 30-30 with host Bahrain in Group A of the 16th Asian Senior Men's Handball Championship in a spectacular match held at the Khalifa Sports City's Hall in Manama, Bahrain. - 2/4/14

Airbus to increase spare parts export to Iran
Customer Support Director of Airbus Company in the Middle East region Paul Claassen said on Tuesday that the company is going to increase export of spare parts to Iran. In an exclusive interview with IRNA, he said the recent agreement signed by Iran and G5+1 has provided a suitable opportunity for export of spare parts for Iranian passenger planes. - 2/4/14

SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Obscures More Important Economic Pressure On Israel
When I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, I tried to avoid the unpleasant experience of also watching Scarlett Johansson's shameful ad for SodaStream, but failed. That controversy has been boiling for the past week, and while supporters of Israel's draconian occupation policies are dancing over Johansson's decision to stand by SodaStream, the tune they're dancing to is Nero fiddling while Rome burns. -Mitchell Plitnick - 2/4/14

Hillary Clinton Opposes New Iran Sanctions
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama's opposition to imposing new sanctions on Iran as negotiations continue on the country's nuclear program. -Huffington Post - 2/4/14

"Hamlet" crowned best play at Fajr International Theater Festival
An Iranian troupe won the grand prix of the international section at the 32nd Fajr International Theater Festival for their performance of Shakespeare's magnum opus "Hamlet". The play also brought Arash Dadgar the best director and best stage designer awards in this section during the closing ceremony of the festival at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on Saturday. - 2/3/14

Sweden's Bildt Visits Iran To 'Reach Out A Hand'
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is due in Iran for a four-day visit aimed at bolstering Iran's interim nuclear deal with the West. Bildt's press officer, Erik Zsiga, called the visit an "opportunity for us to weigh in so that the temporary deal becomes permanent." - 2/3/14

Meet Neda Bolourian: Candidate for Montgomery County Council, District 2
Neda Bolourian, a lawyer in Bethesda, Maryland, is running to represent District 2 on the Montgomery County Council. A first generation American of Iranian descent, Bolourian received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, a master's degree in international relations from St. Mary's University of San Antonio, Texas, and a JD from the University of District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law. - 2/3/14

Photos: Snowy City Festival in Boroujen
The 7th Snow City Festival was held January 28-30 at the Choghakhor international pond close to the the town of Boroujen in the Iranian province of Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari. 179 people in 39 groups had registered for the competitions. Among the participating groups, 13 were from other provinces. These groups created many giant snow sculptures which decorated the landscape and captivated the visiting people. - 2/3/14

Cold weather brings hazards to Tehran parks, Iranian roads
The head of Tehran's Department of the Environment has warned of cold weather and icy conditions presenting problems at animal sanctuaries in the capital. Hamid Rahati has warned that the sudden drop in temperature predicted for the coming week will demand special care at zoos and animal and bird parks across the city. - 2/3/14

Larijani Reveals Parts of Confidential UN Report and Verbally Attacks Special Rapporteur
Just weeks before the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran is scheduled to present his latest report at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, the Head of the Iranian Judiciary Sadegh Larijani is again verbally attacking the Rapporteur, saying at a meeting of top-ranking judicial officials in Tehran on January 30 that Shaheed's reports are full of "lies, untruths, and inaccurate inferences." - 2/3/14

Is Matthew Levitt's Hezbollah Convincing?
In Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God, Matthew Levitt, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and a former senior U.S. counter-terrorism official, attempts to illustrate the threat posed to the West or its friends by Hezbollah, whose commitment to violence constitutes, in the author's view, its very essence. -Aurelie M. Daher - 2/3/14

EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton announces plan to visit Iran
Ashton told The Wall Street Journal that she is planning to travel to Iran following the Vienna round of nuclear talks. The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 is scheduled for February 18 in Vienna. - 2/3/14

Photos: Iran unveils World Cup kit featuring Iranian cheetah
Iran national soccer teamˈs jersey with Asiatic Cheetah, known as Iranian Cheetah, logo was unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday. Officials from Department of Environment and Sports Ministry were present in the unveiling ceremony. The logo depicts the image of cheetah on the Iranian teamˈs jersey in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. - 2/2/14

As Fajr Film Festival opens, President Rouhani asks cineastes to bring people back to movie theaters
President Hassan Rouhani has asked Iranian filmmakers and cultural officials to work together to bring people back to movie theaters. "Bringing back people who have turned away from the cinema is the most essential task of our officials and cineastes today," he said in a message sent to the inauguration ceremony of the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival, which opened at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on Friday evening. - 2/2/14

Detained Iranian Opposition Leader Transferred To His Own House
Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under house arrest since February of 2011, has been allowed to be transferred to his home in Jamaran, where he will remain under house arrest. Saham News reported on Saturday February 1 that Karroubi was returned to his own home after three years. - 2/2/14

Iran's Foreign Minister Vows Continued Nuclear Engagement
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 2, Zarif said Iran will go "in good faith" to the next meeting of the six world powers and Tehran on February 18 in Vienna. "What I can promise is that we will go to those negotiations with the political will and good faith to reach an agreement because it would be foolish for us to only bargain for six months," Zarif said. - 2/2/14

Photos: Heavy Snow in Rasht, Northern Iran
First snow of the winter season gave a white cover to the caspian coast city of Rasht in northern Iran on Saturday. Rasht is the capital of Gilan Province and the largest city on Iran's Caspian Sea coast - 2/2/14

Kerry has Rare Meeting With Iran's Foreign Minister
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a rare meeting Sunday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to discuss issues concerning Tehran's controversial nuclear program. - 2/2/14

"Drawing Repression": New Book Illustrates 52 Weeks of Human Rights in Iran
Drawn by prominent Iranian cartoonist Touka Neyestani, Drawing Repression: A Year in Cartoons features 52 weekly cartoons highlighting human rights issues over the course of Persian Solar Year 1391 (Spring 2012 - Spring 2013), the last year of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency. - 2/2/14

Jailed Iranian writer calls on Supreme Leader to resign
Mohammad Nourizad, the Iranian writer and political activist, has called on the Iranian Supreme Leader to give up his position as leader of the country and "open the arena for a multilateral election by the people." - 2/2/14

Switzerland, Europe's leading exporter to Iran: report
Switzerland exported 2.6 million tons of goods to Iran, valued at $1.9 billion, in the 10-month period, ranking the sixth major exporter to Iran next to the United Arab Emirates, China, India, South Korea, and Turkey. - 2/2/14

Iranian film, actress score nominations for French awards
Asghar Farhadi's The Past has been nominated in five categories for France's Cesar Awards, while Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani has also been nominated in the female newcomer category for her role in Afghan filmmaker Atiq Rahimi's The Patience Stone (Sang-e Sabour). - 2/1/14

Photos: Iranians flock to movie theaters on free admission day
Iran's movie theaters across the country hosted thousands of filmgoers, who, once again after a lapse of several years, were offered free admission on Thursday, the day named Greetings to Cinema Day by the Iran Cinema Organization (ICO). People who had not gone to cinema for many years along with interested filmgoers waited in the long queues to watch movies from the early hours of the day - 2/1/14

AIPAC's Annus Horribilis?
The year of 2014 is starting well for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the premier organization of this country's Israel lobby. Not only has it been clearly and increasingly decisively defeated - at least for now and the immediate future - in its bid to persuade a filibuster-proof, let alone a veto-proof, super-majority of senators to approve the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" Act that was designed to torpedo the Nov. 24 "Joint Plan of Action" (JPA) between Iran and the P5+1... -Jim Lobe - 2/1/14

Ashton Says New Iran Talks To Begin In Mid-February
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says Iran and six world powers will start talks February 18, in Vienna, on a long-term agreement regarding Iran's nuclear program. Ashton made the announcement after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif on January 31 on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany. - 2/1/14

Iranian Security Forces Illegally Arrest Striking Workers
In an action labor leaders are calling "illegal," security forces have arrested over 20 workers of the Chadormalu Mine in the central province of Yazd, including the head and the secretary of the labor union, who stopped work as part of a contract negotiation and labor dispute. - 2/1/14

Report Says Obama Plans Saudi Visit Amid Tensions Over Iran
A prominent U.S. newspaper is reporting that U.S. President Barack Obama is planning to travel to Saudi Arabia in March in an attempt to smooth tensions with the kingdom over U.S. policy on Iran and Syria. "The Wall Street Journal," quoting Saudi officials, reported on January 31 that Obama is preparing to meet with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. - 2/1/14

Persia in Crisis by Rudi Matthee - Book Review
Hassan Rouhani's claim at Davos that Iran can become one of the world's top ten economies reflects not just the ambitions of the Islamic republic but a strong belief among Iranians that their country is a great power and its people deeply civilised. -Gareth Smyth, Guardian - 2/1/14
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