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Iranian Woman Injured During Compulsory Hijab Protest Denied Post-Surgery Care by Prison Officials
A woman who was severely injured by a policeman in Tehran while she was peacefully protesting against Iran's compulsory hijab law has been denied post-surgery medical care and access to a lawyer. "Given her physical condition, Maryam Shariatmadari needs urgent medical attention but the prison authorities are denying her," tweeted journalists Jila Baniyaghoob on February 25, 2018. - 2/28/18

Iranian Wrestling Federation President Says Iranian Athletes Should Compete Against Israelis
The president of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, Rasoul Khadem, says authorities should reverse their policy of not allowing Iranian athletes to compete against Israelis. The Islamic Republic does not recognize the state of Israel, and has an unwritten rule that Iranian athletes should not compete against Israelis in international sporting events. In practice, this means Iranian athletes feign injury or throw matches to avoid facing Israelis in competition. - 2/28/18

'Freedom' For A Day: Women In Stands Score Big Sporting Victory In Iran
Scores of female fans flocked to Tehran's Azadi Sports Complex to attend the first round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian qualifier between Iran and Iraq, a game won by the hosts, 83 to 53. But the real winners were in the stands, as Iranian authorities loosened their stance against women attending men's sporting events. -Frud Bezhan - 2/28/18

Does Iran's Constitution Promote Export Of Islamic Revolution?
Some claims are repeated unchallenged so often that they end up becoming part of the conventional wisdom. Such is the case with the assertion that the Iranian constitution mandates the export of the country's Islamic revolution and bestows on the Islamic Republic the responsibility to protect all Shia Muslims in the world regardless of citizenship. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir made such claims in his speech in the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament (EP) on February 22. Before that, he claimed the same thing in the Munich Security Conference and on many other occasions. -Eldar Mamedov - 2/28/18

A Nuclear Standard For Saudi Arabia
Later this week Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will lead a U.S. delegation to negotiate a possible nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia. The subject already has been a point of contention between Riyadh and Washington. Saudi Arabia wants to establish a large-scale nuclear power program and also wants to be free to engage in nuclear activities such as the enrichment of uranium and the reprocessing of spent reactor fuel. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 2/28/18

Iran Seals Its Egregious Rights Record With Toxic Pick For Top Spot on Human Rights Council
The Iranian government's decision to name Minister of Justice Seyyed Alireza Avaei as its representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council-a man with an appalling human rights record that spans decades-reflects the Iranian government's complete disregard for human rights violations. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) urges the Member States of the Human Rights Council to register their profound concern at Iran's selection of an individual who is on the European Union's (EU) list of individuals sanctioned for gross violations of human rights. - 2/28/18

German airport refused to refuel Iran Foreign Minister plane due to fear of violating US sanctions
The German military refueled Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's plane in Munich after airport fuel companies refused to do it, citing US sanctions. The German Defense Ministry on Wednesday confirmed a report in German media that the Bundeswehr was called in to refuel the Iranian foreign minister's plane after local fuel companies refused to do so out of fear they would violate US sanctions against Iran. - 2/28/18

IAAB v. Trump Muslim Ban Plaintiffs File Petition with the United States Supreme Court
On Friday, the plaintiffs in Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) v. Trump joined plaintiffs in two other cases in filing a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The parties have asked the Court to review their cases and are seeking an expedited briefing schedule so that the cases may be heard along with Hawaii v. Trump, another challenge to President Trump's Muslim ban, that is set for argument on April 25, 2018. - 2/27/18

Iranian Women Said At 'Risk Of Long Jail Terms' For Protesting Hijab
Amnesty International says dozens of women are at risk of "long jail terms" for protesting against the compulsory hijab in Iran. Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of women who have protested against the hijab by removing their head scarves in public. - 2/27/18

Iran Leader Calls Labor Unrest 'Enemy Plot' as Workers Protest Unpaid Wages
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reacted to an upsurge in labor unrest by labeling it a plot backed by the country's enemies, echoing his response to anti-government protests last month. In recent weeks, Iranian workers protesting labor conditions have gone on strike at a steel-making company in Ahvaz and at the Haft Tapeh sugar cane plantation in Shush, two cities located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. Workers for the Tehran Metro rapid transit system also have been on strike. Michael Lipin - 2/27/18

A Nuclear Deal With Iran Remains The Least Bad Option
Abbas Araghchi was in London last week. Araghchi, one of Iran's deputy foreign ministers, was a negotiator of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the July 2015 agreement designed to resolve international concerns about the nature and intent of Iran's nuclear program. Toward the end of an interview with the BBC on February 22, he was asked whether the JCPOA would "collapse if the United States [were] not part of it." -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 2/27/18

15-Year-Old Illegally Held in Iranian Adult Prison After Pulling Down National Flag
A 15-year-old boy is illegally being held in an Iranian prison for adults, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. The teenager, whose name has not been made public, was sentenced to five years in prison in Iran's Hamadan Province for pulling down the country's national flag during an anti-government protest in the city, according to a local member of Parliament (MP). - 2/27/18

Attack on national lands "colossal, unforgivable mistake": Iranian Environmentalist
The recent directive issued by the Supreme Council of Environment on changing the boundaries of protected areas is a colossal and unforgivable mistake, environmentalist Mohammad Darvish has said. The recent directive which is clearly giving consent to shrink the boundaries of protected areas for drilling, mining, logging, etc. activities is rolling back the previous efforts made for the past decades to conserve the precious national treasures. - 2/27/18

Russia vetoes anti-Iran UN Security Council resolution
A UK-drafted resolution aimed at pressuring Iran over alleged weapons supplies to Yemeni fighters has failed at the UN Security Council. On Monday, the resolution gained 11 favorable votes at the 15-member Security Council but was halted by Russia's veto. - 2/27/18

Iran Arrests Three More Environmentalists For Spying
Iran has arrested three more environmentalists on spying charges, the country's powerful judiciary has said. The arrests on February 25 came weeks after a wave of detentions and the death of a well-known Iranian-Canadian environmentalist who died in Iranian custody. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency, said on February 25 that three people were recently arrested in the southern province of Hormozgan. - 2/26/18

Unearthing Memory, Recollecting Dust: An ongoing project by Maryam Ashrafi & Barbad Golshiri
In late winter of 2002, Iranian social documentary photographer Maryam Ashrafi and Iranian artist and writer Barbad Golshiri, at the time unknown to each other, were waiting to hear from the well-known Iranian photojournalist and documentary maker Kaveh Golestan. Maryam was looking forward to meeting Kaveh and learning the scrupulous method of photojournalism he was renowned for, and Barbad was hoping to join him on a trip to war-torn Iraq. Both never heard back from him, as on 2nd of April 2003, while on assignment for the BBC, Golestan stepped on a landmine in Iraqi Kurdistan and was killed instantly. - 2/26/18

Iran basketball team defeats Iraq in 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifier
The Iranian men's national basketball team has achieved a resounding win in the Asian qualification round of the 2019 Federation Internationale de Basket-ball (FIBA) World Cup, beating the Iraqi side. On Sunday evening, the Iranian outfit overcame the Iraqi team 83-53 in its fourth Group D fixture of the tournament in the Iranian capital city of Tehran. - 2/26/18

"Identity" art exhibit in Tehran spotlights acid attacks
A collection of woodworks created on the theme of acid attacks is currently on display during an exhibition in Tehran. The exhibition entitled "Identity" opened at Ashiane-ye Mehr Gallery on Friday during a special ceremony, which was attended by the artists and several victims of acid attacks. - 2/26/18

Woman Arrested For Peacefully Protesting Iran's Compulsory Hijab After Policeman Pushes Her Off Platform
A woman who was pushed off a utility platform in Tehran by a policeman for peacefully protesting against Iran's compulsory hijab law was detained later that night on February 22, 2018. In a video posted on the Telegram messaging app on February 22, some bystanders shout words of support for the woman as the policeman confronts her. When the policeman pushes her down, he turns to the crowd and challenges them to "step forward if you've got balls." - 2/25/18

After 'Empty-Handed' State TV Smear, Dead Iranian Detainee's Family Fights On
Critics have complained for years of the appearance of cooperation between Iran's state-controlled television and its hard-line security structures, citing smears against activists and the broadcast of prisoner confessions thought to have been extracted under duress. But lawyers for the family of a devoted Canadian-Iranian ecological activist and father who died in an Iranian jail recently are going a step further. They have vowed to file a formal judicial complaint against the producers of an "insulting" state TV show that "not only hurt the feelings of the grieving family but also the feelings of the great majority of the Iranian people." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 2/25/18

US curbs bid to take Iran off FATF financial blacklist
The world's financial watchdog has extended a waiver for punitive measures against Iran for another six months but refused to remove the country from its blacklist. The Paris-based the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had been weighing Tehran's request for the lifting of so-called countermeasures for some time but a flurry of recent visits by a top US official to France and other European countries thwarted the bid. - 2/25/18

Daesh (ISIS) not over, US relocating it: Iranian FM Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States is regularly relocating Daesh terrorists to outside of the Middle East, where they had been based before losing all the territory they had occupied. Foreign Minister Zarif made the remarks during an event called the Patterns of Regional Order in the Post-ISIS Era at the Tehran University on Saturday. - 2/25/18

Iran Grounds Aseman ATR Planes Like One That Crashed
Iran's civil aviation organization has grounded ATR-72 planes belon ging to Aseman Airlines after one of them crashed this week with 65 people on board, state media reported on February 23. The regulator was reported as saying that the measure was temporary as authorities investigate the cause of the accident on February 18 in which an ATR-72 twin-engine plane that had been in service since 1993 crashed in Iran's Zagros mountains. - 2/25/18

The Dismantling Of The Middle East State System
Following the end of World War II, Middle Eastern countries consolidated their state structures. By contrast, over the last two decades, those structures have largely been dismantled. This process began in 2003 with the US-led invasion of Iraq. Since then, the Iraqi state as a viable institution has nearly disappeared. The country has been plunged into turmoil and civil war. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 2/25/18

UN Should Keep Engaging Iran on Its Human Rights Record by Renewing Special Rapporteur's Mandate
Iran's deteriorating human rights record requires the UN Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic to maintain constructive pressure on the government and magnify the voices of activists inside the country. "Renewing the mandate of the special rapporteur will send a strong signal to the Islamic Republic that the international community is watching and expects the government to produce tangible improvements," said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 2/23/18

The Limits Of EU Diplomacy In The Persian Gulf
In line with the EU policy of balanced engagement with Saudi Arabia and Iran, a group of senior EU lawmakers visited both Riyadh and Tehran last week, with a stopover in Kuwait. The delegation was led by the German chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, David McAllister (European People's Party, centre-right). -Eldar Mamedov - 2/23/18

International Atomic Energy Agency once again verifies Iran's compliance with nuclear deal
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran is living up to its commitments under the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement. The UN nuclear agency said in a report, cited by French news agency AFP, that the Islamic Republic is sticking to the deal's key parameters such as the number of uranium centrifuges and stockpiles. - 2/23/18

Trump: Cherry-Picking International Law
In drafting a resolution seeking to condemn Iran for its role in Yemen's ongoing civil war, the United States--along with its UN Security Council allies Britain and France--seems to have cherry-picked information from a UN report that condemned all actors in that war for violations of international law. Rather than draft a resolution reflecting the broad range of crimes that have been committed in Yemen, the Trump administration chose to selectively pick out only those crimes that could be attributed to Iran while ignoring arguably more heinous crimes attributable to Saudi Arabia and the internationally recognized government of Yemen. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 2/23/18

"The Rock" by Iranian Director Hamid Jafari Wins Best Short Documentary Award At Irvine International Film Festival
The Rock by Hamid Jafari has won the Best Short Documentary at 7th annual Irvine International Film Festival. Also at the same category which Iranian short film competed, the 'Knife Skills by Thomas Lennon won the 'Honorable Mention.' - 2/23/18

Can Iran and Afghanistan cooperate to bring an oasis back from the dead?
Since 2014, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been crafting a restoration plan that would require Afghanistan to help restore the flow of the Helmand, the main river feeding the former wetlands, and Iran to overhaul its water management. And last month, experts from the two nations met in Paris for a workshop on transboundary water issues. The bilateral efforts hearten water researchers. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine - 2/23/18

Celebrate The Iranian New Year And The First Day Of Spring At The 10th Annual Farhang Foundation Nowruz Festival In Los Angeles
The Farhang Nowruz Festival is a free to all, public, daylong celebration located at UCLA, including a colorful Spring Walk, Iranian Tea House, spectacular dances, children activities, puppet shows, authentic musical performances, a rare performance by Iranian living legend Sima Bina, and more. - 2/22/18

Iran may withdraw from nuclear deal if gets no benefits: Abbas Araqchi
Iran says it could withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if the "atmosphere of uncertainty" created by the new US administration continues to prevent Tehran from reaping the benefits of the multilateral accord, particularly in the business and banking sectors. Speaking at Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi criticized US President Donald Trump over his threat to stop waiving anti-Iran sanctions, a US commitment under known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). - 2/22/18

Seven Rights Activists Denied Legal Counsel After Being Arrested by Iran's Intelligence Ministry
Seven civil rights activists detained in Evin Prison since February 1, 2018, have been denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. A source with firsthand knowledge of the cases identified the detainees as Behnam Mousivand, Shima Babaei, Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Saeed Seifijahan, Mahmoud Masoumi and Nader Afshari. - 2/22/18

Iran says currency market volatility over: Central Bank Chief
Iran's top banker says calm has returned to the country's currency market after a turmoil of multiple weeks that shot the rates of foreign currencies through the ceiling. Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), told reporters on Wednesday that the current calm in the currency market was a result of a series of measures the most important of which he said was preventing "unlawful activities in the currency market". - 2/22/18

IRAN: Bodies recovered from plane crash site
Four days after a passenger plane heading from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasouj crashed into Dena mountain range, search and rescue teams on Wednesday found and recovered some of the bodies. The bodies were not easy to identify, according to Tasnim news agency. While some news agencies reported that 7 bodies were transferred to Yasouj, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, forensics director Kamrouz Amini has said that no bodies are transferred to the city yet. - 2/22/18

Iran announce bid to create own digital currency
Iran says it is preparing to launch its own digital currency in a move that many believe can help reduce the country's vulnerability to the impacts of US-led sanctions. Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Azari Jahromi was quoted by the domestic media as saying that a plan was already on agenda to develop a platform for using cryptocurrency in the country. - 2/22/18

The Forgotten Benefits Of Deterrence
The case of Iran, which presents a much different set of issues, provides probably the best example of coming to believe U.S. rhetoric about the other guy supposedly being fanatical and not thinking like the rest of the world. Amid much rhetoric designed to stir up worries about Iran, clear logic about deterrence has been lacking. Some of that rhetoric has been self-contradictory, such as the argument a few years ago for a military attack as a way to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 2/22/18

Clashes Highlight Tensions Between Dervishes And Iran's Establishment
Fresh clashes between Iranian security forces and Gonabadi dervishes follow years of tensions and persecution of dervishes, whose houses of worship have been destroyed and members detained. The semiofficial hard-line Fars news agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reported that a Sufi follower rammed a bus into a group of police officers late on February 19, killing three of them before being arrested. - 2/21/18

Trump set to oppose Boeing deal with Iran Air: Report
Officials at the Trump administration are using a case against an Iranian airliner to thwart a multibillion-dollar deal between Boeing and flag carrier Iran Air for the sale of new passenger planes, US reports say. The push comes as President Donald Trump is considering whether to grant licenses to Boeing to sell 80 planes to Iran Air under a deal signed in December 2016. - 2/21/18

ACL: Esteghlal of Iran defeat Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, Persepolis beaten by Al Sadd of Qatar
Esteghlal of Iran football team defeated Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Group D of the 2018 AFC Champions League on Tuesday. In the match held in Muscat's Seeb Stadium, Abdullah Al-Hafith scored an own goal just after the halftime. Persepolis football team of Iran suffered a 3-1 defeat against Al Sadd of Qatar in Group C of the AFC Champions League. - 2/21/18

1,000 Days in Prison: Narges Mohammadi Condemns Iranian Judiciary's "Subservience" to Security Agencies
Human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi, who recently marked her 1,000th day of imprisonment in Iran, has strongly condemned Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani for his "subservience" to the country's security establishment. - 2/21/18

US turns focus to Asia over Iran trade after milking European banks
US authorities say they are turning their focus to Asia to strangle financial transactions with Iran after closing off money flows through European banks. The shift underscores the current US administration's disdain for a landmark nuclear deal which should have paved the way for Iran's reconnection to the international banking system. - 2/21/18

Five Iranian Security Officers And One protester Said Killed, 300 Arrests At Sufi Protest In Tehran
Five security officers have been killed and 300 people arrested amid clashes between law enforcement authorities and Sufi Muslim protesters in Tehran, police say. Members of the Gonabadi Sufi order, who are known as dervishes, said that at least one of their number was killed by security forces after clashes broke out during their protest in northern Tehran on February 19. - 2/20/18

Iran plane crash: Wreckage, bodies found
Search and rescue teams finally managed to find the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the Dena mountain range, southwestern Iran, on Sunday, recovering bodies of some of the victims, ISNA news agency reported. The ATR aircraft with 66 passengers and crew on board went missing and due to bad weather conditions search for finding the wreckage of the plane continued for three days. - 2/20/18

Iran's Suppression of December 2017 Unrest Marked by Brutal Violations of Law
Silencing the Streets, Deaths in Prison: The December 2017 Crackdown in Iran, which is based on extensive interviews with released detainees, the families and attorneys of detainees, and journalists and human rights defenders inside Iran, provides a detailed look at the mass arrests, systematic denial of counsel, campaign of intimidation against detainees and their families, and ill treatment and deaths inside the prisons that characterized the state response to the week-long unrest. - 2/20/18

Loneliness inspires "Doomed Bloom" photo collection by Iranian actress Niki Karimi
Actress/director Niki Karimi has said that "a feeling of loneliness in a gloomy and unsafe world" has inspired her latest photo collection "Doomed Bloom" that is currently on display at a Tehran gallery. "This collection reflects the concerns I have had over the past few years and also illustrates the sad events my generation has experienced over these years," she said at the opening ceremony of her exhibition at Etemad Gallery on Friday. - 2/20/18

US aviation sanctions taking toll on Iranian civilians
The Sunday crash of an Iranian ATR 72 passenger plane in central Iran during a flight from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj, which claimed the lives of 66 people, has once again brought into the limelight the issue of unilateral US sanctions and their deleterious effect on Iran's transportation sector, especially the country's civil aviation fleet. -Press TV - 2/20/18

Kavous Seyed-Emami's Family Lawyers Issue Statement Countering Smear Campaign Aired on Iran's State TV
Two lawyers representing the family of recently deceased Kavous Seyed-Emami have issued a statement countering the claims made in a short film that was aired on a state-funded TV program in Iran that accused Seyed-Emami of engaging in espionage. The film was aired on February 13, 2018, the day Seyed-Emami was buried. - 2/20/18

Iran Rescue Teams 'Find Crash Site'
Iranian search and rescue teams have reached the site of the plane crash that authorities say killed all 65 people on board, Iran's Press TV reported on February 19. State television said helicopters were now able to take part in the search for Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 after the weather improved following blizzard conditions that had hampered search efforts on February 18. - 2/19/18

Shi'ite Shrine At Persepolis Sparks Row Over Iran's Heritage
With more than 10,000 religious shrines dotting Iran to mark where descendants of Shi'ite Islam's most revered imams are said to have been buried, many of them go unnoticed. But one of these so-called imamzadeh sanctums recently caught the eye of a passerby who, in a video, questioned its proximity to a globally recognized legacy of Iran's pre-Islamic past, the ruins of Persepolis. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 2/19/18

Iran denies 'hegemon' plans, denounces Saudi and Israel
Iran deflected accusations by Saudi Arabia and Israel that it was destabilising the Middle East, calling the two "US client states" who were trying to gloss over their "poor choices" and "strategic blunders". Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming Iran for rising regional tensions, at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. -Al Jazeera - 2/19/18

Neocons Call For War Against Iran In Syria After Israeli Strikes
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a little known but highly influential hawkish think tank in Washington that has made a name for itself over the past few years by opposing the Iran nuclear deal and its subsequent (and current) efforts to derail it. Aside from its long tradition of opposing negotiations with Iran, FDD has also been known as a safe space for its staff--chief among them CEO Mark Dubowitz--to call for war against Iran and/or regime change. -Ben Armbruster - 2/17/18

Iran's President Rouhani and India's Prime Minister Modi express readiness to expand ties in all areas
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India have expressed readiness to expand relations between their countries in all areas. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed their respective countries' preparedness for the enhancement of the relations at the Indian prime minister's Hyderabad House in the Indian capital on Saturday. - 2/17/18

Another Iranian Woman Arrested In Tehran For Protesting Compulsory Veiling
A woman has been arrested in Iran after peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling, the latest such incident in recent months. Video uploaded to YouTube on February 15 shows a woman standing on a concrete block above a crowd on Tehran's Enghelab (Revolution) street, waving her head scarf in protest. - 2/17/18

Iranian Authorities Arrest Lawyer Who Exposed Death of Protester in Police Custody
Attorney Mohammad Najafi has been held in detention in the Iranian city of Arak since January 15, and is facing eight charges for exposing the death of a young man who died in police custody after being arrested during the recent protests in Iran. Najafi's own attorney has also been threatened with arrest, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 2/17/18

Royal Portraits From 19th-Century Iran Will Go on View at the Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler in Washington, DC
Kings and noblemen of Iran's Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) commissioned self-portraits to convey their power and splendor. Such imagery proliferated as monumental oil paintings, photographs or as intimately scaled lacquer objects and uniquely combined traditional Persian artistic conventions with European modes of representation. "The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran" offers a rare glimpse into the development and dissemination of royal and aristocratic portraiture in the 19th century and early 20th century in Iran at a time when the country underwent major political, societal and cultural changes. - 2/17/18

EU ready to negotiate Iran's joining Southern Gas Corridor initiative
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said EU is ready to discuss Iran's joining to the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) with all partners of the project, IRNA reported on Thursday. The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for the natural gas supply from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. - 2/17/18

Iran Takes Measures To Combat Rial's Fall To Record Lows
Iran's central bank announced measures to combat the rial's fall to record lows one day after police cracked down on foreign exchange dealers on the streets of Tehran. The central bank's announcement on February 15 that it will allow an increase in the interest rates paid on bank deposits came after the Iranian currency plummeted to a record low of 48,400 to the dollar earlier in the week. - 2/16/18

Muslim Ban Plaintiffs Celebrate IAAB v. Trump Ruling: We Continue On Together
Today (February 15, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., upheld the Maryland district court's order blocking implementation of the Muslim Ban in three consolidated cases, Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump, IRAP v Trump, and Zakzok v Trump. This ruling is a significant victory for the many individuals and families whose lives are still hanging in the balance. - 2/16/18

Environmentalists Detained in Iran Denied Legal Counsel Weeks After Arrests
Environmental activists who were detained at the same time as Kavous Seyed-Emami-who recently died in custody-are being denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "We are simple, ordinary people. We are not political. But unfortunately, the authorities are not letting lawyers get involved," a source who requested anonymity for fear of state reprisals for speaking to the media told CHRI on February 14, 2018. - 2/16/18

Takfiri groups, a creation of West to divide Muslims, says Iran's President Rouhani during India visit
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the West has created Takfiri outfits that have nothing to do with the holy faith of Islam in a bid to sow discord among Muslims. Rouhnai made the remarks in a meeting with a group of elites, religious clerics and leaders of the Muslim community in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Thursday. - 2/16/18

Expanding regional rivalries: Saudi Arabia and Iran battle it out in Azerbaijan
It's the pot calling the kettle black. As Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to encircle it with its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as Qatar, the kingdom and the Islamic republic are extending their bitter rivalry beyond the Middle East into the Caucasus. The two countries' latest battleground is oil-rich Azerbaijan, an authoritarian, majority Shia Muslim but secular former Soviet republic on Iran's northern border with a substantial ethnic population in Iran itself. -James M. Dorsey - 2/16/18

Foreign experts to help protect Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, against lichens
Separate teams of Italian and Spanish experts will join hands with Iranian counterparts to cope with spreading lichens in Persepolis, a World Heritage site in southern Iran. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BC). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979. - 2/16/18

Mother of Ailing Hunger Striker Atena Daemi Assaulted in Front of Tehran's Evin Prison
Masoumeh Nemati, the mother of imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi, was attacked in front of Evin Prison in Tehran on February 13, 2018, after she tried to inquire about her daughter's hunger strike. "Atena and Golrokh Iraee [Ebrahimi], who are on a dry hunger strike, are in serious condition. Instead of answering our questions, they beat us up and interrogated us today," Nemati said in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 2/16/18

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Detained Opposition Leaders
The U.S. State Department late on February 15 called on Iran to release three opposition leaders who have been under house arrest for seven years. The statement came on the seventh anniversary of the detention of 2009 Iranian presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, as well as Musavi's wife and women's rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard. - 2/16/18

Israel was about to get 'a lot more violent' with Syria after losing an F-16 -- and then Putin stepped in
A simmering conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria could have erupted into another regional war were it not for the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Israeli investigative journalist. -Business Insider - 2/16/18

Tehran's Homegrown Critics Double Down On Rohani's Referendum Challenge
A referendum proposed by President Hassan Rohani to heal Iran's divisions has been attacked by his hard-line opponents but provided an opening for establishment critics to go a step further. More than a dozen Iranian activists and intellectuals from inside the country and abroad quickly seized on the president's tentative calls this week for the plebiscite, to ask for a UN-backed referendum in Iran that would allow for a transition to a new form of government. - 2/15/18

Son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, Iranian-Canadian Who Died At Tehran's Evin Prison, Reveals Threats Against Family
The son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist who died under interrogation in Evin Prison in early February 2018, has broken his family's silence on the case and issued a statement on his personal blog. In it, Ramin Seyed-Emami said a film of his father's last hours in his cell does not show him committing the act of suicide, and that the family will be using "every legal channel" to launch an independent investigation. - 2/15/18

Iran Cracks Down On Currency Traders Amid Steep Fall In Rial
Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of money changers in Tehran amid a steep decline in the Iranian currency that has sent the rial to a record low against the U.S. dollar. A video by state broadcaster IRINN on February 14 showed dozens of currency hawkers who usually are stationed across the street from the British Embassy in central Tehran being rounded up by police. - 2/15/18

Lawyer: IRGC Film of Seyed-Emami's Prison Cell Does Not Show Act of Suicide
A lawyer representing the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died under interrogation in Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, said a film of the detainee's last living hours does not show him committing suicide. Payam Dorafshan also told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that he and another lawyer hired by the family are investigating the case to determine the cause of death and reason Seyed-Emami was visibly agitated before he died. - 2/15/18

Indian investments in Iran on top of President Rouhani's visit
Diplomats in New Delhi say Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will try to encourage Indian businesses to invest "billions of dollars" in the Islamic Republic during his three-day visit which will start on Thursday. Top on the agenda of Rouhani's visit would be the completion of Iran's Chabahar port by India as well as discussions over a potential deal for Indian companies to develop an offshore gas field in Iran. - 2/15/18

Sanctions: A Substitute For Serious Foreign Policy
In recent times, the United States has increasingly resorted to economic and other sanctions to try getting countries, with governments often referred to as "rogue regimes," to change their behavior. Today, Iran, Russia, and North Korea have been notable targets. But are sanctions genuinely a useful tool of policy--that is, do they work? And, if that proposition is at best debatable, why does the United States deploy them so often? -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 2/15/18

Iran: Dusty Khuzestan still in tight spot, out of breath
Once again the old story of recurrent sand and dust storms in the southwestern province of Khuzestan is going around. For some years now elevated levels of PM 2.5 fine particles, tens of times above the standard average, is the new normal for the province. - 2/15/18

MP: "More Details Necessary" To Determine Cause of Iranian-Canadian's Death in Custody
Iran's deputy parliamentary speaker has stated that, based on a video produced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), it's not clear whether Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami committed suicide in Tehran's Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, as officials have claimed. Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told reporters on February 13 than an autopsy was conducted on Seyed-Emami's body before it was delivered to the family on February 13, but no medical examiner's report has been released to the public. Seyed-Emami was buried on in Emameh Cemetery near Tehran on February 13. - 2/14/18

PM 2.5 level 'beyond hazardous' as another dust storm hits southwestern Iran
The recent sand and dust storms have increased the PM 2.5 fine particles concentration to a 'beyond hazardous' level in the southwestern city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan province, on Tuesday. According to Khuzestan provincial department of environment the fine dust concentration has jumped to 60 times above the recommended limits once again over the past months. - 2/14/18

Some University Students Still Detained a Month After Iran's Protests Despite Officials' Claims
Contrary to Iranian official's claims that all the university students who were detained in connection with Iran's December 2017 protests have been released, some remain in custody without access to legal counsel. "It is not correct to say that all of them have been freed," a Tehran University student activist who asked not to be identified told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 9, 2018. "At least five students are still in detention and they don't have a lawyer." - 2/14/18

Revolution anniversary: 39 years of news control and censorship in Iran
On the 39th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its condemnation of the regime's harassment of journalists and citizen-journalists. Thirty-nine years after the revolution, as young men and women protest in the streets, the Islamic Republic is trying to reinforce its news control both at home and internationally. - 2/14/18

Iran's female skier blazes a trail to Pyeongchang
Getting a spot to compete in the 23rd Olympic Games in South Korea was no easy feat for the 26-year-old athlete Samaneh Bayrami Baher, who is the only female member of the country's national cross-country skiing team. As a child, Samaneh fell in love with swimming, competing and winning three international events. She also trained for competitive cycling. -Al Jazeera - 2/14/18

Renault's investment in Iran to hit 800 million Euros
French automaker Renault is going to expand activities in Iran, boosting its total investments in the country to 800 million Euros, IRNA reported quoting the company's director for MENA region. Speaking at the 5th edition of Iran's Automotive Industry International Conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Pascal Felten noted that with the new round of cooperation between Iran and Renault beginning, the company will create 10 times more job opportunities in the country. - 2/14/18

Film Review: Tehran Taboo
The fascinating animated drama Tehran Taboo doesn't dismiss outright the reality that many residents of the Iranian city might enjoy happily devout or mundane lives, going about their business by the strict codes and regulations of the Islamic Republic. However, this film, written and directed by Ali Soozandeh, is wholly disinterested in those who are leading devoutly moral lives. -Film Journal - 2/14/18

Mother Denies Espionage Charges Against Son Detained in Crackdown on Environmental NGO in Iran
The mother of Sam Rajabi, who was arrested in a state-led crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Iran including the one managed by Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died in custody, said her son has been focused on his career and would never betray his country. - 2/13/18

Iranian airlines examining Russian Sukhoi superjet for possible purchase
A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 landed on Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Monday morning and was examined by Iranian aviation experts deciding about its future purchase, Tasnim news agency reported. "The Russian airplane maker asked Iran to let its aircraft land on Mehrabad on its way back from Singapore Air Show 2018," the Secretariat of Association of Iranian Airlines Maghsoud Asadi Samani told Tasnim on the sidelines of the superjet's examination. - 2/13/18

Book Review: The Gardens of Consolation by Author Parisa Reza
The "Gardens of Consolation" is a poignant family tale of love, survival and shattered dreams set against the backdrop of a nation's struggle for independence. Seen through the eyes of one rural family, the Aminis, this novel is a prequal to a saga which spans over a century. -Darius Kadivar - 2/13/18

Pollsters Arrested While Conducting Survey Showing Majority of Iranians Dissatisfied With Domestic Affairs
Several pollsters who were gauging views about Iran's December 2017 protests have been arrested, according to Mohammad Aghasi, the head of the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA). "It was difficult to conduct polls about the recent protests due to the arrests of some of the researchers in a number of cities," said Aghasi at a conference in Tehran on February 7, 2018. "Usually, we do the polls in two days but this time it took longer because of some of these difficulties." - 2/13/18

Female Iranian MPs Demand Action on Stalled Bill Aiming to Preventing Child Abuse
Some Iranian female lawmakers have called for immediate deliberations on a bill for the protection of children to prevent future cases of child abuse in Iran. "The increase in incidents of child abuse is not becoming of the Islamic Republic. We cannot deal with child abuse with our current laws," said Member of Parliament (MP) Masoumeh Aghapour Alishahi, a member of the Women's Faction. - 2/13/18

Iran says seeking co-op with UN on human rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of the High Council for Human Rights Mohammad in Iran, has said that Iran is seeking close cooperation with the United Nations on issues related to human rights. Larijani made the remarks in a message read to a conference on Human Rights Achievements in the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 2/13/18

Clear Signs of State Cover-Up of Death of Iranian-Canadian Academic at Evin Prison in Tehran
The family of the Iranian-Canadian academic, Kavous Seyed-Emami, whose death in custody in Iran was announced on February 9, is under intense pressure to immediately bury Seyed-Emami in a private funeral-without receiving any independent and medically corroborated information on the cause of his death-and to remain silent regarding the death. - 2/12/18

Iran beats Australia to finish third at 2018 Men's Indoor Hockey World Cup
The Iran men's national field hockey team has defeated the Australian squad at the 2018 Men's Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany to claim the third place overall at the end of the prestigious international tournament. On Sunday, the Iranian outfit thrashed Australia 5-0 in the bronze medal game, which was staged at the multi-purpose Max-Schmeling-Halle arena in the German capital city of Berlin. - 2/12/18

Iranian War Movie "The Lost Strait" Named Best at Fajr Film Festival
"The Lost Strait", a drama produced by Saeid Malekan on an epic battle by Iranian combatants during the last days of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, was crowned best at the 36th Fajr Film Festival on Sunday night. The film's director Bahram Tavakkoli and Ebrahim Hatamikia, whose Daesh drama "At Damascus Time" premiered at the festival, shared the Crystal Simorgh for best director during the closing ceremony of the event that was organized at Tehran's Milad Tower. - 2/12/18

'Not Believable': Friends Of Iranian-Canadian Activist Discount 'Suicide'
Academics in Iran and rights activists are calling for a serious and transparent investigation into the death of Iranian-Canadian academic and environmental activist Kavous Seyed-Emami in prison. Four academic societies related to political science, sociology, peace studies, and cultural studies made the call in an open letter to President Hassan Rohani published on February 12. - 2/12/18

Thousands of Undocumented Iranians Denied Affordable Kerosene In Winter Months
Tens of thousands of people living in poverty in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province are being denied heating oil in the cold winter months because they lack identification papers, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "I have a birth certificate but my husband and kids don't and so we don't get [state] coupons to buy kerosene and we cannot afford to buy it [on the black market]," Gol Bibi, a resident of the province's capital city of Zahedan, told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on February 6, 2018. - 2/12/18

Another Unnecessary War
The writing is already on the wall: Israel will soon launch a military operation in Lebanon. In this well-orchestrated event, Israel's mouthpieces play a single tune: Iran and Hezbollah have crossed a red line, and if their Russian patron does not restrain them (the crux of Israel-Russia security coordination), Israel will strike hard (and it will do so because the Russians cannot restrain them). -Idan Landau, LobeLog - 2/12/18

Iranian-Canadian Academic Dies in Custody While Under Interrogations
A third detainee, 63-year old Iranian-Canadian Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, has died in custody in Iran, barely 17 days after his arrest and while under interrogations. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) holds the Iranian Judiciary fully responsible for the death of Seyed-Emami and calls for an immediate, international UN-led investigation into the three deaths that have occurred in custody in Iran in the past 40 days. - 2/11/18

Iran crowned AFC futsal champion for the 12th time
Iran eased past Japan 4-0 in the AFC Futsal Championship final and emerged winners for the 12th time. On Sunday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taipei, Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh gave Iran the lead in the first half, and further goals from Farhad Tavakoli, Hossein Tayebi and Hassanzadeh again secured them a second consecutive title. - 2/11/18

Follower of Sufi Order Expelled From Iranian University After Refusing to Sign Pledge
Sepideh Moradi Sarvestani, a follower of the Sufi Gonabadi Dervish order, was expelled from Tehran's Tarbiat Modares University on February 3, 2018, for refusing to formally pledge not to engage in activities deemed unacceptable by officials. - 2/11/18

Non-oil sector, market reintegration key to Iran growth
Iran's top banker says the country's economic growth was robust in the fiscal year which is coming to a close soon but further improvement will depend on the non-oil performance of the economy. ran's growth last year came courtesy of the recovery in oil production following the lifting of US-led sanctions, which boosted the government's earnings. - 2/11/18

"Iranian Women's Movement Museum" inauguration: "From Evin With Love"
In light of International Women's Day, the exhibition "From Evin, With Love" will open on March 9, 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands, presenting the handicrafts of Imprisoned Iranian women activists. The exhibition will run through April 6, 2018 and will feature a number of prominent Iranian and foreign speakers as well as a performance by Nasrin Hobby & Ensemble. - 2/9/18

Iranian Says Secure Nuclear Deal Before Talks On 'Other Issues'
A senior Iranian official says the West must ensure that the 2015 nuclear deal is a success before his country can begin to discuss other issues affecting the Middle East region. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told a conference in Paris on February 8 that the key to future negotiations on matters such as Tehran's regional activities and its missile program is to honor the terms of the nuclear accord, from which the United States has threatened to withdraw. - 2/9/18

Architecture in medieval Persian painting: Fact or Fantasy?
How did Persian painters tackle both the depiction of architecture and the actual process of construction? Several scholars have studied the first topic, but very few have investigated the second. In neither case is the term "realism" appropriate, but the conventions for depicting architecture in Persian painting are a fascinating study in themselves, while close analysis of three later medieval paintings of workmen on building sites reveals many surprises. The lecture (by Professor Robert Hillenbrand) will show how comfortably Persian painters operated within what to a Western eye might seem like constricting conventions. ​ - 2/9/18

MENA Category Rejected by US Census Bureau Despite Clear Benefits
The US Census Bureau once again declined to add a Middle East and North African (MENA) category for the 2020 census. Many Americans of Middle-Eastern descent, including Iranian Americans, have for decades sought the additional category so that the census more accurately reflects America's mosaic of different cultures and the voices of Iranian Americans are not ignored by lawmakers. - 2/9/18

UK Resident Detained in Iran by IRGC For More Than a Year Without Charge or Access to Counsel
Mohammad Reza Hashemi-Nabi, a permanent resident of the UK, has been held in solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison for more than a year without access to a lawyer, his mother informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Hashemi-Nabi, 47, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on December 23, 2016, after arriving there from London. - 2/9/18

Israel, Hezbollah And Iran: Preventing Another War In Syria
The Syrian war has entered a new stage with the regime of Bashar al-Assad gaining the upper hand. Israel, no longer content to remain a bystander as Damascus's position improves, is now jockeying to reverse the deterioration of its strategic posture. In this endeavor it has formidable obstacles to overcome: the regime is more dependent than ever on Iran, which Israel regards as its most implacable state foe -International Crisis Group, LobeLog - 2/9/18

US 'Deeply Concerned' About American's Return to Iranian Prison
The United States on Wednesday said it was "deeply concerned" that Iran had returned Iranian-American Baquer Namazi to prison after briefly releasing him so he could receive medical treatment. The White House said it understood that the 81-year-old former U.N. official was returned to Iran's "notorious Evin Prison against the strong advice of his doctors and the Iranian regime's own medical examiner." - 2/8/18

"This is Slavery": 30 Sugar Plant Workers Arrested in Iran For Demanding Unpaid Wages
Police arrested more than 30 protesters on the fourth day of a strike by hundreds of workers on February 4, 2018, at a major sugar plant near the city of Shush, in Iran's Khuzestan Province. In a video message posted on his Telegram channel on February 4, 2018, prominent labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh said the workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Company were being treated like slaves. - 2/8/18

Tehran Steps Up Pressure on Ankara Over Syrian Operation
Iran is the latest country to add its voice to growing calls for Turkey to curtail its military operation in Syria against a Syrian Kurdish militia. Turkey-Iran relations have recently improved, but Tehran is seen to be increasingly concerned about the lack of clarity on the scope and duration of the Turkish military operation and Ankara's goals. "We wish for Turkey's operation in Syria to end at the earliest time," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters Tuesday. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 2/8/18

Paris to host Euromoney Iran Conference 2018
Co-hosted by Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the second round of Euromoney Iran Conference will kick off in the France's capital on Thursday, IRNA reported. Heading a delegation comprised of CBI and Finance Ministry's scholars and experts, Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaie will attend this year's event. - 2/8/18

Iran: Samsung must apologize for gift ban against Iranian Olympics athletes
Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned South Korea's ambassador to protest a discriminatory decision by Samsung Electronics and organizers of the Winter Olympic games in Seoul not to provide Iranian athletes with gift smartphones, demanding an apology from the technology company. - 2/8/18

China, Russia voice support for Iran's nuclear deal amid US threats
China and Russia have reaffirmed their support for Iran's nuclear deal with six world powers, including Beijing and Moscow, amid US President Donald Trump's threats against the multinational accord. At a Tuesday meeting with Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that Iran and China are committed to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), IRNA reported. - 2/8/18

President Rouhani says U.S. ruined opportunity for further talks with Iran
President Hassan Rouhani says by "failing to seize the JCPOA atmosphere", the United States missed the chance of improving its ties with Tehran, noting that if Washington had shown some commitment to the nuclear deal, talks on other issues would have been possible. "Had America acted to its entire commitments under the JCPOA, a new situation could have been established," Rouhani told a press conference. "It is a pity that they ruined this golden opportunity," Rouhani added. - 2/7/18

Iran Returns Iranian-American Baquer Namazi To Prison Against Advice Of Medical Examiner
An Iranian-American man imprisoned in Iran, Baquer Namazi, has been returned to prison after a brief release due to health concerns. Lawyer Jared Genser said in a statement that the decision to return his 81-year-old client to Tehran's Evin prison despite the advice of the Iranian government's own medical examiner is "tantamount to a death sentence." - 2/7/18

Delegation of Iranian women entrepreneurs visit France
A delegation of 32 Iranian women entrepreneurs, members of chambers of commerce, heads of private companies and other noble women in different fields visited Paris to attend economic meetings. The group arrived in Paris on Wednesday to attend a seminar titled "Iranian women, dynamic women", and a round table talk in the French parliament, IRNA reported. - 2/7/18

Imprisoned Iranian-American Art Dealer Accuses IRGC of Judicial Interference
In a new letter from Evin Prison, Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari has accused Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of pressuring the judiciary to impose heavy sentences on him and his wife, Afarin Neyssari. Vafadari's sister, Kateh Vafadari told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 5, 2018, that her brother was arrested "a few days after he got a court order to force the IRGC to vacate one of our ancestral buildings." - 2/7/18

Iran Accuses US of Aiding Islamic State (Daesh) in Afghanistan
Iran has joined Russia in accusing the United States of aiding Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan, charges Washington vehemently denies. "After witnessing Daesh and other organized terrorist groups losing their ground in Iraq and Syria, they are now relocating them to Afghanistan," Iranian media quoted the country's top military commander as alleging Tuesday. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS. - 2/7/18

Total CEO: Iran's South Pars gas project 'progressing well' despite Trump's threats
Total's work on the South Pars gas project is well on track despite US threats of new sanctions on Iran, the French oil and gas group's Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne says. Pouyanne told Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday that Total was consulting with French and European authorities over protecting its investments in Iran, in case there was a resumption of sanctions. - 2/7/18

Why Iran Is Not A Mideast Hegemon
For many observers, Iran emerged as the major winner of Middle East developments in 2017. They saw a "new superpower" in the region now securing military victories "outside its own borders." Although the dynamic in places like Syria, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen may have turned in Tehran's favor, a closer look reveals that all of the 2017 successes bring a set of 2018 challenges. Observers should pay much more attention to these challenges in order to correct their exaggerated views of Iran. -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog - 2/7/18

Tabriz gears up for biggest tourism event of Muslim countries in 2018
Tabriz in northwest Iran seeks to step out of the twilight with a spectacular gala which is set to attract heads of state, business leaders and gurus of the hospitality industry to the biggest tourism event of Muslims states in 2018. The city, a key location on the Silk Road and a gateway to Europe and East Asia, has been named by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as the 2018 tourism capital of Islamic countries. - 2/6/18

Arab Neoconservatives And Peace In The Persian Gulf
Recent years have seen a rise of what could be described as Arab neoconservatives: ambitious leaders such as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed. Their distinctive feature is a heavy reliance on military power to re-shape the political map of the Middle East in their favor, with the overarching aim of pushing back against Iran, a policy they share with the original, American neoconservatives. -Eldar Mamedov - 2/6/18

Iranian Hardline Cleric Says Protesters Should be Sentenced to Death
A Friday prayer leader in Tehran has called for the death penalty to be issued to citizens who participated in the weeklong protests that erupted across Iran in December 2017. "In our theology, the ruling against those who pour into the streets in opposition to a just Islamic ruler, cause fires or kill people... is death," said Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami during a sermon on February 2, 2018. - 2/6/18

Shirin Ebadi: Bill That Restricts Protests to Designated Areas in Iran Adds "More Limits" to Freedom of Speech
A proposed bill aimed at designating public spaces in Iran for protests will lead to "more limits" on the people's right to voice their demands, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "No one would attack rallies without a green light from the state," the Iranian human rights defender told CHRI on February 2, 2018. "It is the state that has attacked protesters for the past 39 years, therefore, these excuses don't have any meaning other than imposing more limits." - 2/6/18

Ahmadinejad Criticizes Iran's Judiciary After Arrests Of Supporters
Iran's former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has renewed his criticism of Iran's powerful judiciary following the arrests of several of his supporters. In a letter marking the celebrations of the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary has become "the main pillar of oppression" against the Iranian people. - 2/6/18

The Complicated War In Yemen
No matter how much some analysts in the United States see the conflict in Yemen as a Manichean contest between good guys and bad guys, the complexities of the war keep intruding. Long overlooked has been how the "good side"--that is, the one on behalf of which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have intervened--has been where some genuinely bad guys belonging to al-Qaeda have resided. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 2/6/18

IRAN: More Quake Survivors Perishing In Cold Without Adequate Shelter
Following Iran's most disastrous earthquake in 2017, several survivors have died from the cold in Kermanshah Province. The 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit Kermanshah on November 12, forcing locals into the streets and rushing to recover neighbors trapped under the rubble. More than 600 people lost their lives in the quake while more than 70,000 were displaced. - 2/5/18

China, Iran, Russia Lash Out At U.S. Nuclear Policy Plan
Russia, Iran, and China have strongly criticized Washington's newly revealed policy plan to expand U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities in order to deter other countries. The plan, which calls for the U.S. nuclear arsenal to be revamped with the development of new low-yield atomic weapons, was announced in a policy statement by President Donald Trump's administration released on February 2. - 2/5/18

Iranian Leaders Speak of Threat of Social Media
Having survived popular protests across major cities in Iran, Iranian leaders are now turning to the tools that helped protesters organize and coordinate large-scale demonstrations against the government, which continued for more than a week before the government suppressed them. A senior Iranian official this week urged the country's cyberspace authorities to remain vigilant and prevent another potential wave of protests. -Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 2/5/18

Poll: Pessimism On The Rise Among Iranians
New findings from an IranPoll/University of Maryland survey, conducted after the protests that struck several Iranian cities last month, find that the Iranian people are increasingly pessimistic about the state of Iran's economy and its relationship with the West. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 2/5/18

Hardline Judge Keeps Iranian-American and Wife in Jail by Imposing $27 Million Bail
The judge presiding over the case of imprisoned Iranian-American gallery owners Karan Vafadari and his wife Afarin Neyssari has deliberately imposed an extraordinarily heavy bail to prevent them from being released pending their appeal, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Karan's son, Cyrus Vafadari, told CHRI on February 2, 2018, that Judge Abolqasem Salavati is demanding 100 billion tomans ($27 million USD) bail for the couple-50 billion tomans ($13.5 million) each for his father and Afarin Neyssari. - 2/5/18

UN Calls On Tehran To Ensure Fair Trial For Three Iranian Christians
Four UN human rights experts have called on Iran to ensure "a fair and transparent final hearing" for three Iranian Christians who are due to appear before the Revolutionary Court in Tehran this weekend. Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, Amin Afshar Naderi, and Hadi Asgari were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison last year for a number of charges including "conducting evangelism" and "illegal house church activities," the independent experts said in a February 2 statement. - 2/5/18

Iran starts mass production of Mohajer 6 drone, Qaem smart guided bomb
Iranian Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it has started mass production of Mohajer-6 advanced drone capable of carrying precision-guided projectiles. Mohajer-6 is the first UAV of the Mohajer family that is armed with a guided weapon system and is bigger than the other types of Mohajer family. The Iranian Mohajer-4 UAV have been successfully used during conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and allegedly in Lebanon. - 2/5/18

French, Italian companies provide finance for Iran Air's new planes: CEO
Iran Air (HOMA) CEO Farzaneh Sharafbafi told the media that Iran Air will use the credit lines of French and Italian companies to buy new Airbus and ATR airplanes. "To buy some new aircrafts, the two plane-makers of France and Italy have specified two credit lines for Iran Air (HOMA)," announced Iran Air (HOMA) CEO Farzaneh Sharafbafi on Sunday. - 2/5/18

Iran 10-month crude output up 165kbd: Oil Minister
Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says the country's petroleum output has increased by 165,000 b/d in the first 10 months of the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 21 compared to the same period last year. Addressing a press conference here in Tehran on Sunday, the official said Iran's crude exports have also increased by 60,000 b/d in the period year-on-year, Iran's oil ministry website SHANA reported on Sunday. - 2/5/18

Iranian Police Arrest 29 Women Protesting Against Veiling Law
Iranian police say they arrested 29 women who removed their head scarves in a growing protest against a law requiring women to wear the Islamic veils in public. The Tasnim news agency reported on February 1 that police claimed the women had been "tricked" into removing their head scarves by a propaganda campaign being conducted by Iranians living abroad. It was not immediately clear if all the arrests were in the capital, Tehran. - 2/2/18

Parliamentary Delegation Visiting Evin Prison Told 4,534 Were Arrested in Iranian Protests
More than a month after thousands of people were arrested in Iran after weeklong protests erupted across the country beginning in December 2017, 11 Members of Parliament (MPs) were allowed to visit Evin Prison in Tehran for three hours on January 30, 2018. MP Allahyar Malekshahi told the conservative Mashregh newspaper on January 30 that the delegation was informed that 4,534 people had been detained nationwide, higher than the number of 3,700 that had been reported earlier. - 2/2/18

PHOTOS: Zoroastrians celebrate annual feast of Sadeh in Yazd
The Zoroastrians marked Sadeh, an ancient feast celebrating the creation of fire, in Yazd, Iran this week. The feast is marked on the tenth day of the eleventh month of Iranian calendar annually. Sadeh has been observed since the days when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in the powerful Persian empire. - 2/2/18

United States lifts ban on farmed caviar import from Iran after 25 years
An adviser to Iran's minister of agriculture reported on Wednesday that the United Stated has lifted the ban on farmed caviar import from Iran, adding that 10 km of the product were exported to the US last year. Speaking at a ceremony in commemoration of Islamic Revolution at Iranian Ministry of Agriculture, Abbas Rajaei told reports that the 25-year old ban on farmed caviar import from Iran has been lifted, adding that Iran's caviar export to the US has resumed. - 2/2/18

Iraq calls for Iran's aid in reconstruction
Iraq's Deputy Commerce Minister said Thu. that security has been restored to his country and Iranian investors and companies are welcome to aid Iraq in its reconstruction projects. Iraq's Deputy Commerce Minister Walid Habib al-Mousavi made the remarks in the 7th session of Iraq-Iran development of economic cooperation on Thursday in Mashhad, adding "Iran supported Iraq in the fight against ISIL more than any other county in the world." - 2/2/18

Bahrain: Another Year Of Deep State Repression
When it comes to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other serial violators of human rights and basic freedoms, the American and British governments have allowed arms sales and lucrative money deals benefitting them to trump their traditional commitments to the principles of justice, democracy, peaceful dissent, and freedom. They seem to view Bahrain and its autocratic Sunni neighbors as "cash cows" with an unending source of money. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 2/2/18

Assessing The Afghan War
Despite the Trump administration's plan to increase military pressure on the Taliban until it gives up violence and comes to the bargaining table, the past year has seen some of the deadliest terror attacks yet in the Afghan War. Kabul, which lies within the 56 percent of the country controlled by the government, has seen several devastating attacks: -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 2/2/18

"Girls of Revolution St" Protest Ignites Debate on Iran's Compulsory Hijab
Several women protested against Iran's compulsory hijab law in the streets of Tehran and Isfahan on January 29 and 30, 2018, by publicly removing their headscarves and waving them like flags while standing on a platform. The police detained at least one of the peaceful protesters, Narges Hosseini, who can't afford to post her bail amount, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 2/1/18

PAAIA and Iranian American Coalition Works with Senators to Seek Clarification of the Travel Ban "Waiver" Process
Today Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) sent a bipartisan letter to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seek clarification on the "waiver provisions" outlined in President Trump's latest Travel Ban. This letter comes after the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), Pars Equality Center, and their legal counsels discussed the issue with Senator Van Hollen's office. - 2/1/18

Iranian nation never forgets US acts of aggression in region: President Rouhani
In an apparent rebuke to his US counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani has rejected Washington's claim of having "sympathy" for the Iranian people, saying the nation has not forgotten the American acts of aggression in the region. Speaking at a large gathering of people in the southern city of Sirjan in Kerman province on Thursday, Rouhani said, "Nobody in Washington should think that they can make decisions for the great Iranian nation." - 2/1/18

US evidence on Iran missiles in Yemen inconclusive: Russia
Russia says evidence presented by the United States alleging that Iran had supplied missiles to Yemen's Houthi fighters is not conclusive, stressing there is no case for any UN action against Tehran. After traveling to Washington to view pieces of weapons that Washington claims Tehran gave to Houthi fighters, Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on Wednesday that "Iran is vehemently denying it is supplying anything to Yemen." - 2/1/18

Iranian artist Sadeq Tabrizi dies at 79 in London
Sadeq Tabrizi, a pioneer of calligraphic-painting in Iran, has died in London. He was 79. Tabrizi was suffering from liver cancer, several Persian news websites announced on Wednesday. - 2/1/18

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