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Bam: The Catastrophe Continues
Bam lives on. But more than two months after the destructive and deadly earthquake which in just 15 seconds killed 43,200 and injured another 30,000 of the city's 125,000 residents, the survivors still find themselves in a state of shock, desperation, hopelessness and fear of what the future holds. -Utne - 3/31/04

Armenia, Iran to sign gas pipeline accord early April
Negotiations with Iran regarding the construction of a gas pipeline to Armenia reached the final stage, Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsesyan said on Tuesday. - 3/31/04

Iran to buy five TU 100-204 planes from Russia
Iran is to buy five TU 100-204 planes from Russia, announced the Head of Iran`s Civil Aviation Organization Hassan Hajalifar here on Tuesday. - 3/31/04

Berlin still `fully committed` to Iran nuclear agreement: Fischer
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told IRNA in Berlin on Wednesday. "We are fully committed to the (nuclear) agreement in Tehran ...," the minister said. - 3/31/04

On Family Planning, US vs. Much of the World
"It's one of the most drastic examples of US isolation. When every country, and in such a Catholic-dominated region, votes against your position, that's a remarkable defeat." -Christian Science Monitor - 3/31/04

The photo that led to a future
Advocates for Iranian refugee Ebrahim Sammaki had worked for months to have him reunited with his two children after their mother died in the Bali bombing, but it took a chance photograph of the Prime Minister with Sara and Safder to make it happen. -Age, Australia - 3/31/04

27 Indian companies on Forbes list
Twenty-seven Indian companies have made it to Forbes magazine`s list of 2000 top firms worldwide with their ranking based on composite sales, profits, assets and market value. - 3/31/04

Opec to go ahead with output cuts
Ministers from the oil producers' cartel Opec have said they will go ahead with a planned oil output cut. -BBC - 3/31/04

Arab Summit Blow-Up Appears Bad for Bush
The Bush administration's attempts to promote democracy in the Arab world appear to have suffered a major setback with the acrimonious collapse of an Arab summit in Tunisia that Washington hoped would boost the initiative. -San Francisco Chronicle - 3/31/04

Iraq: Violence against women increases sharply
Violence against women and girls has sharply increased in Iraq compared to the time before last year's war. After the war, there was a complete breakdown of law and order. -Amnesty International - 3/31/04

US Presses for Full Details on Rogue Pakistani Nuclear Network
A top U.S. official says the Bush administration is pressing ahead with efforts to learn all it can about the details and extent of the nuclear proliferation network of Pakistani scientist, A.Q. Khan. -VOA - 3/31/04

OPEC daily basket rises to 31.70 dollars
The market took reports coming out of Vienna ahead of the OPEC Meeting today to mean that the organization would go ahead with its planned production cut of one million b/d from 1 April. - 3/31/04

Iranian family faces deportation as justice minister wins court reversal
The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday overturned a lower court ruling that nullified a deportation order for a visaless Iranian family, effectively putting the family back on the deportation track. -Japan Times - 3/31/04

Iran lowers Bam earthquake toll
Iran's statistics office has announced that the death toll following the devastating December earthquake in thhe southeastern city of Bam is now 26,271 - nearly half the figure originally feared. -IRIN - 3/31/04

Iran, UNEP to broaden cooperation on environment
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) signed on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on expansion of environmental cooperation between the two sides. - 3/30/04

Quake hits Golestan province in northeastern Iran
An earthquake with an intensity of 3.9 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale hit the city of Minoodasht, in the northeastern province of Golestan, and its surrounding vicinity at 11:03 hours local time (06:33 GMT) Tuesday. - 3/30/04

Film Review: Marathon by Amir Naderi
"It's certainly a gem; a probable "underground" masterpiece." -Dennis Schwartz - 3/30/04

Joint Bahrain-Iran bank planned
A delegation from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has reached an agreement with a group of Iranian businessmen to set up a joint venture bank, capitalised at Dlrs 40 million - 3/30/04

Quake hits Izeh in southwestern Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.5 degrees on the Richter scale shook the city of Izeh and its vicinity, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan at 03:45 hours local time Tuesday (23:15 GMT Monday). - 3/30/04

Coalition of the Mercenaries
An army of thousands of mercenaries has appeared in Iraq's major cities, many of them former British and American soldiers hired by the occupying Anglo-American authorities and by dozens of companies who fear for the lives of their employees. -CounterPunch - 3/30/04

Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser
IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 -- the 9/11 commission -- in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East. -Common Dreams - 3/30/04

Officials: U.S. 'outed' Iran's spies in 1997
After a bombing killed 19 U.S. airmen at a barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the Clinton administration struck back by unmasking Iranian intelligence officers around the world, significantly disrupting Iranian-backed terrorism, according to a high-level U.S. official and a former top official who was serving at the time of the operation. -USA Today - 3/30/04

Iraqi outcry as US bans newspaper
Hundreds of Iraqis have protested in Baghdad after a Shia newspaper was banned for allegedly inciting violence against the US-led coalition. -BBC - 3/29/04

Afghan elections put back to September
Afghanistan's elections were postponed to September yesterday, owing to insecurity and the UN's slow pace in registering voters. -Guardian - 3/29/04

OPEC daily basket price slips to 31.57 dollars
Crude futures have fallen from recent highs of around 33 dollars per barrel but seem likely to remain above 30 dollars for the next several months, whatever OPEC decides in its coming session in Vienna on Wednesday. - 3/29/04

Professor Ahmad Karimi Hakkak Reunites with his Hometown after 40 Years
Q: You have returned to your hometown Mashhad after 40 years. Why did you leave the city and didn't come back? Was it the attraction of the intellectual climate of the 40s in Tehran for an innovative young lover of literature? -NetIran - 3/29/04

Iran lowers Bam earthquake toll
Iran has significantly lowered the death toll from the Bam earthquake. The authorities now say 26,271 were killed when much of the city was flattened on 26 December. -BBC - 3/29/04

Iran Reportedly Halts Uranium-Enrichment Technologies
The top Iranian nuclear official was quoted today as saying Iran has suspended the production of components and assembly of technology for uranium enrichment. -RFE - 3/29/04

A Vision for the Place of Iran in the New World
It is time that Iranians take a closer look at the relative position of their nation in the new world. How has the world changed and where do they stand in relation to the changes? How do they compare to the rest of the developing nations? What are the key problems the nation faces? What needs to be done and how? “A Vision for the Place of Iran in the New World” attempts to outline a few answers. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 3/29/04

Film: The Lizard
Kamal Tabrizi , born in 1959, he graduated in Cinema and Television from Art University. He began his artistic activities at the students society of Polytechnique College and then joined the cultural sections of I.R.I.B. Television where he made a number of short and feature-length documentary and T.V. feature films. - 3/28/04

UN Nuclear Inspectors Arrive in Iran
United Nations nuclear inspectors have arrived in Iran to visit two nuclear facilities. -VOA - 3/28/04

Oil giants have us over a barrel
Opec should be all at sea. It has no secretary-general, its members are cheating massively on agreed oil production targets, its lead member, Saudi Arabia, is suffering acute political tensions and Russia and Iraq are emerging as alternative swing producers of crude oil. -Guardian - 3/28/04

Nuclear inspectors return to Iran
Experts from the UN atomic watchdog are back in Iran to resume inspections of the country's nuclear facilities. -BBC - 3/28/04

Terror backlash hits Bush's votes
The damning testimony of former terrorism adviser Richard Clarke has left the President's team in disarray as their approval ratings begin to fall -Guardian - 3/28/04

California's Yolo County Proclaims March 19, 2004 as Iranian-American Day
The Board of Supervisors in Yolo Coutny, California has passed a resolution proclaiming Friday March 19, 2004 as Iranian-American day in Yolo County. - 3/27/04

The path to friendship goes via the oil and gas fields
Colonel Gadafy is just the latest beneficiary of a cynical strategy -Guardian - 3/27/04

Iraq: Deminers Clear 1 Million Mines, Bombs From North, But Daunting Task Remains
The largest international demining organization working in northern Iraq says it has cleared and destroyed 1 million land mines and other explosives around the cities of Irbil, Mosul, and Kirkuk. -RFE - 3/27/04

One Year After Fall Of Hussein, Women In Iraq Facing Many Hardships
A year after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime, women in Iraq face many problems -- from violence and economic hardship to day-to-day privations like a continued lack of water and electricity. Activists, however, say a lack of security remains the main problem. -RFE - 3/27/04

US will tell Iraqi council to pick a PM
As transfer of power looms, Bush sets hopes on Shia technocrat, in third strategy shift in six months -Guardian - 3/27/04

Tehran mayor warns Berlin mayor against insulting Iran
According to IRNA, Berlin Charlottenburg District Municipality is set to install a panel with "baseless and insulting remarks against Iran" in front of Mikonos Restaurant commemorating the assassination of four Kurdish leaders there in 1992. - 3/27/04

China beats Iran 3-1 in Olympic soccer qualifier
China kept the hope for the Athens Olympics after beating Iran 3-1 at home in the Asian Olympic soccer qualifier Group A match here Saturday evening. -Xinhuanet - 3/27/04

Iraq says to start Iran oil pipeline by end-2004
Iraq will start oil exports through a new pipeline to Iran by the end of this year and does not expect to come back within the OPEC cartel's quota system any time soon, Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum said on Friday. -Reuters - 3/27/04

History of the Iranian Student Alliance in America (UC Berkeley)
Tired of the apathy and the low level of consciousness regarding the Iranian identity, culture, community, and history amongst Iranian students at UC Berkeley, a group of inspired Iranian students sought to do something different to address these important matters. We built the Iranian Student Alliance in America in the fall of 2002. -Pouya Alimagham - 3/26/04

Iran to set up a cultural, arts center in Iraq
Head of Iran's Islamic Culture and Communications Organization Mahmoud Mohammadi Araqi said here on Thursday that Iran is ready to set up a cultural and arts center in Baghdad. - 3/26/04

"Iran After Elections" seminar held in Milan, Italy
The northern Italian city Milan was host to a seminar entitled "Iran After Election" Wednesday. - 3/26/04

Iran to export cars to Cuba
Iran is to export cars to Cuba, said Iran's ambassador to Havana Ahmad Edrisian in a meeting with Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade Raul de la Nuez in Havana on Wednesday. - 3/26/04

Bush's Iraq WMDs joke backfires
US President George W Bush has sparked a political row by making a joke about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. -BBC - 3/26/04

US veto on Yassin draws criticism
There have been angry Arab reactions to the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning the killing of the spiritual leader of Hamas. -BBC - 3/26/04

US, China Trade Human Rights Abuse Accusations
In a major speech at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, the U.S. representative said several countries should be named as gross violators of human rights. The list of 17 countries includes Cuba, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea and China. -VOA - 3/26/04

Abbas: 'A photographer is one who writes with light'
A day on a photo shoot with Iranian artist in Baalbeck reveals rewards of untiring patience -Daily Star, Lebanon - 3/26/04

Musical New Year’s celebration aids Iranian earthquake victims
On Saturday, a folk singer will come to West Lafayette to help raise money for the children of Bam, Iran. Kristin Lems will perform songs in English and in Persian for Norooz, the Iranian new year celebration, at 7:30 p.m. at the Wesley Foundation, 435 W. -Purdue Exponent - 3/26/04

Japan secures financing to develop Iran's giant Azadegan oil field
Japan last month sealed a $2 billion deal to develop Azadegan despite pressure from the US to back off because of its concerns that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. Japan relies on the Middle East for about 90% of its oil. -Oil & Gas Journal - 3/26/04

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation issues report on Bam relief activities
Following the Iranian earthquake of December 2003, a special “PKCF Bam Appeal” was launched with an initial contribution of £100,000 from the Foundation’s capital funds. With thanks to the generosity and compassion of supporters from around the world, the balance of this Special Fund currently stands at £220,000 ($405,000) with donations continuing to be made on a regular basis. - 3/26/04

IRAN: Special on Bam three months on
Three months ago, an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale and lasting 20 seconds, ripped through the fertile desert oasis city of Bam, killing about 43,200 people and leaving thousands homeless. -IRIN - 3/25/04

Reformists primer: Never boycott an election
By calling for a boycott of Iran's deeply flawed parliamentary elections last month, reformers took a stand for principle - and yet effectively failed that principle. -Christian Science Monitor - 3/25/04

Quake jolts Iran's city of Bandarabbas
A 4.4-Richter quake shook the northern part of Bandarabbas, a city in southern province of Hormuzgan on Wednesday night. - 3/25/04

President Bush and Shirin Ebadi on Rights
President George W. Bush says he is impressed by Shirin Ebadi and her struggle for human rights: “No wonder she won the Nobel Prize. She’s a proud Iranian. She is a devout Muslim. She believes that democracy is consistent with Islamic teachings, and we share in this belief. That’s what we believe in America..." -VOA - 3/25/04

Persian New Year's Proclamation in Houston
The Honorable Mayor of Houston, Bill White, attended the Persian New Year Festival in Houston, Texas on Sunday March 21 and Proclaimed that day as the Persian New Year's Day in Houston. - 3/25/04

Tehran's Naked City
In 'Crimson Gold,' director Jafar Panahi adds a sense of moral pain to American film noir theme -Metro Active - 3/25/04

Former US Terror Chief Says Iraq Invasion Undermined War on Terror
A former top White House security chief accused President George W. Bush of undermining the war on terrorism by invading Iraq and not giving the al-Qaeda threat enough importance before the September 11 attacks. -Common Dreams - 3/25/04

Zapatero holds firm over Iraqi pullout
Tony Blair's hopes of wooing the incoming Spanish prime minister suffered a setback yesterday when he was told in blunt terms that Madrid will press ahead with plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq. -Guardian - 3/25/04

Further Dispatches From Planet Rummy
Secretary Strangelove Has Been Interested in Terrorism Since 1983 -Village Voice - 3/25/04

Shouting to be heard in new Iraq
This is the new Iraq and women are fighting to make sure they have a voice in building it. -BBC - 3/25/04

EIU ups Iran's GDP growth forecast
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Thursday increased its forecast of GDP growth in Iran to 6.1 per cent in the fiscal year 2003/04, ending at the end of March. - 3/25/04

Common sea principle violation may worsen Caspian ecology
The violation of the principle of the common sea "may deteriorate the ecological situation in the Caspian Sea," Iran's Ambassador to Russia Gholam-Reza Shafei told Itar-Tass. Shafei made the remark on the eve of the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Caspian Five group in Moscow. - 3/24/04

End of the Year Thoughts
We have had the first rains of the spring here in Tehran. I am sure many families woke up today to the terrible sound of thunder and witnessed the wonderful rain which followed, at nearly five in the morning. I felt the spring breeze through the half open window and almost tasted the lovely fresh air that welcomed itself into my room. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/24/04

Iranian FM to attend Afghanistan conference in Berlin: official
Participants at the Afghanistan conference include German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well as representatives of Afghanistan's neighboring nations, the EU, NATO, World Bank and IMF. - 3/24/04

Washington's 'Greater Middle East Initiative' Stumbles Amid Charges It Imposes Change
A major U.S. proposal to foster democracy in the Mideast, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan has run aground amid angry criticism from key Arab rulers and doubts in Europe. -RFE - 3/24/04

It's a small world
Hamid Farahani is still a bit mystified about how the idea came to him. He remembers being at English Bay, looking out over the water, pondering the troubles he saw around him and the hard times he had lived through. - 3/24/04

Middle East: Hamas Killing Threatens EU's Regional Plans
Killing by Israeli security forces of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Palestinian Hamas organization, has thrown into turmoil ambitious EU plans to promote peace and stability in the Greater Middle East. -RFE - 3/24/04

Blow to US Plans for Iraq Handover as 100-day Countdown Starts
The US-led coalition's plans for the handover of power to Iraqis were in disarray again after an influential cleric urged the United Nations to reject a new interim constitution, and security degenerated amid a fresh surge of attacks. -Common Dreams - 3/24/04

Iran to buy TU 100-204 planes from Russia
Head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization Hassan Hajalifard is to travel to Russia on Friday to hold talks with Russian aviation committee on purchase of Russian-made TU 100-204 planes. - 3/24/04

Iran to sign nuclear fuel repatriation protocol with Russia soon
A Russian-Iranian protocol on the return of spent nuclear fuel from Bushehr nuclear power plant will be signed in Tehran or in Moscow in the near future, Iran's Ambassador to Russia Gholam-Reza Shafei told Tass in an interview on Tuesday. - 3/24/04

Quakes hit Zarrindasht and Shahroud in Fars and Semnan provinces of Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.6 degrees on the Richter scale jolted the city of Shahroud, in the northeastern province of Semnan Wednesday morning. - 3/24/04

Iran Lashes Out Over US Reluctance to Engage in Dialogue
Iranian officials have characterized Washington’s policy-making process as "childish" after a top Bush administration official downplayed the chances of a rapprochement between the United States and Iran. -Eurasianet - 3/23/04

Index Freedom of Expression Awards 2004
The Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards 2004, honoured the outstanding contributions of six men and women to free speech, creativity and freedom of information - and singled one more out as its choice of 'censor of the year'. - 3/23/04

EU Foreign Ministers Hold Talks On Terror, Iran, And Wider Middle East
An EU official on 19 March said the bloc is adopting a wait-and-see attitude with the new Iranian parliament. The bloc does not expect to relaunch trade and political talks with Tehran until the IAEA finalizes a new assessment on Iran in June. -RFE - 3/23/04

Iranian government condemns Israel's assassination of Sheikh Yasin
Iran's government on Tuesday condemned assassination by Israel of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, saying that Palestinians' continued resistance is the only way to face Israel's brutal policies. - 3/23/04

Israel, Iran discuss cooperation in war on drugs
Israeli representatives to the United Nations' war on drugs conference taking place in Vienna have met with representatives from Iran and other hostile Muslim countries. -Maariv - 3/23/04

In Yassin slaying, Arabs see US hand
Israel's strike solidifies view that Bush administration has given tacit approval to Sharon. -Christian Science Monitor - 3/23/04

Israel 'targeting entire Hamas leadership'
Israel will attempt to kill the entire leadership of Palestinian militant group Hamas, stepping up targeted attacks, Israeli security sources said today. The report comes after Israel attracted widespread international condemnation for its assassination of the Hamas founder and spiritual leader, Ahmed Yassin, yesterday. -Guardian - 3/23/04

Analysis: Argentina's cover-up for Iran
Despite being the most deadly attacks allegedly carried out by Islamist extremists in Latin America, investigations into the incidents remain mired in political and diplomatic controversy amid accusations of a cover-up by Argentine and Iranian officials. -UPI - 3/23/04

Alcatel provides first DSL network in Iran to Asre Danesh Afzar
Alcatel (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) today announced that it will supply the first DSL network in Iran. This contract has been signed with ADA (Asre Danesh Afzar), an Iranian Private Operator, as part of the Private Access Provider (PAP) governmental plan for DSL privatisation in Iran. - 3/23/04

Norooz named Iranian-American Friendship Day by San Diego
I am pleased to announce that the city of San Diego through issuing a proclamation, has named March 20, 2004 (Norooz day) as the "Iranian-American Friendship Day". - 3/23/04

Expiration of OFAC General License to Transfer Funds to Iran for Humanitarian Purposes
On March 25, 2004, the general license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to transfer funds from the United States to Iran for humanitarian purposes, will expire. -NIAC - 3/22/04

Armenia-Iran pipeline may be extended to Ukraine, EU
The Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, for which a construction agreement should be signed in the near future, may be extended through Georgia to Ukraine and on to the European Union, Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan told Interfax. - 3/22/04

14,000 Iraqis travel Iran for pilgrimage
Some 14,000 Iraqis crossed Mehran border into Iranian territory over the past six days to visit the country's holy and religious sites, said provincial police on Monday. - 3/22/04

EU FMs to discuss ties with Iran
The EU Foreign Ministers' Council is to discuss EU-Iran ties and take stock of the situation regarding Iran's nuclear program during its formal monthly session in Brussels Monday. - 3/22/04

Iran moves to tighten Afghan border against drugs
Tehran has announced the launch of 10 new military checkpoints along the Afghan-Iranian border in Afghanistan's western Herat province as part of its anti-drug trafficking drive. -IRIN - 3/22/04

Passing through the old alleyways of north of Tehran, on the eve of Norouz, missing those years when even the thought of the New Year made the heart laugh, let alone the night of it, the feeling of Nostalgia became suffocating. -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 3/22/04

Israel assassinates Hamas leader
Palestinian militants today warned of swift and bloody retaliation against Israel after it "opened the gates of hell" by assassinating Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of militant group Hamas. -Guardian - 3/22/04

Huge crowds mourn Hamas leader
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken part in the funeral of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the assassinated founder of the of militant group Hamas. -BBC - 3/22/04

Anniversary of disaster
The anniversary week of the Iraq war had been carefully choreographed by the Bush administration to highlight its successes. Instead, it highlighted the inherent weaknesses of an occupation that is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. -Guardian - 3/22/04

Arms to Iran: Detente or treason?
Illicit Israeli military sales to the staunchly anti-Zionist Shi'ite state which is aggressively seeking nuclear weapons are hardly a new phenomenon. -Jerusalem Post - 3/22/04

Should U.S. Make Deal With Iran?
First Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Which country will be the next Islamic domino to fall? A good bet is Iran, and the Bush administration is deeply divided over what to do about it. -CBS News - 3/22/04

Reversing OFAC ban on Iranian articles requires extensive lobbying
In 2003, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reinterpreted US sanctions to prohibit American publishers from editing written works from countries under US trade embargos. -NIAC - 3/22/04

Seven S's symbolize the new year for Iranians everywhere
This weekend, at the vernal equinox, Iranians all over the world will begin the 13-day Nourouz New Year's holiday. Food is a central part of the festivities; at Lala Rokh restaurant on Beacon Hill, a special menu of Nourouz dishes will be served, starting tomorrow through April 2. -Boston Herald - 3/21/04

Iran Reportedly Offered To Talk To U.S. Over Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
The "Financial Times" reported that Iran's offer was first communicated to the U.S. State Department via the so-called Swiss channel on 4 May last year. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran represents U.S. interest in Iran. -RFE - 3/21/04

Movie about thief-turned-mullah runs afoul of Iran’s film censor
An award-winning Iranian director’s story of a thief who steals a clergyman’s robe and turban, escapes from a prison infirmary and assumes the identity of a mullah has been banned in Iran. -AFP - 3/21/04

Clocks to be set ahead one hour on March 21 in Iran
According to the approval of the cabinet in 1991, clocks are put forward one hour at 24:00 (20:30 GMT) every year with the start of new Iranian year. - 3/21/04

Iraq: Blair and Bush seek new UN backing
The United Nations is to be given a lead role in post-occupation Iraq under British and American plans to shore up crumbling international support for the continuing military presence in the country. -Guardian - 3/21/04

Road accidents on the first day of new year in Iran cause 42 deaths, 404 injuries
Road accidents on the first day of Iran's new year left 42 people killed and 404 others injured, Public Relations Department at the Islamic Republic of Iran's Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said on Sunday. - 3/21/04

Global Protests Mark Iraq War Anniversary
Hundreds of thousands took to streets across the world on Saturday to demand the withdrawal of U.S.-led occupying forces from Iraq on the first anniversary of the start of the war. -Common Dreams - 3/21/04

Syrian-Kurdish Clashes Present Syrian President with Political Crisis
Burned vehicles sit outside a government building in Ein Al-Arab, Syria Deadly clashes between Syrian security forces and ethnic Kurds in the past week have presented President Bashar al-Assad with his worst political crisis. -VOA - 3/21/04

Struggling to pick up the pieces of a city in ruins
Basra was once known as the Venice of the Middle East. With its canals overlooked by large villas, public gardens filled with date palms - a rendezvous for dating couples,and buzzing market, the city was a commercial centre and playground for the wealthy from neighbouring countries such as Kuwait. -Guardian - 3/21/04

Two Israelis accused of selling weapons to Iran
Israeli police arrested a man suspected of involvement in an arms smuggling operation to Iran that appears to be connected to a case in the United States, an Israeli police spokesman said Sunday. -Jerusalem Post - 3/21/04

Ecologists Upset That U.N. Prolongs Caviar Trade
Environmentalist groups seeking a suspension in the international trade in beluga caviar from four Caspian Sea countries on Friday voiced alarm over a U.N. decision to allow them to carry on sturgeon fishing this spring. -Reuters - 3/21/04

Iranian traditions fire up new year
According to 2000 Census figures, the Portland-Vancouver metro area contains more than 3,000 Iranian-Americans. But Andisheh members insist that the local community is much closer to 10,000 people. -Portland Tribune - 3/21/04

Iran blasts 'non-coherent' US stance after Bush aide rejects dialogue
Iran said on Saturday that a senior U.S. official's dismissal of dialogue between Tehran and Washington was 'another example of contradictory and non-coherent stances in the American policy-making apparatus'. - 3/21/04

Iranian New Year, No Ruz, Is A Celebration Of Life
No Ruz, new day or New Year as the Iranians call it, is a celebration of spring Equinox. It has been celebrated by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. Sumerians, 3000BC, Babylonians 2000 BC, the ancient kingdom of Elam in Southern Persia 2000BC, Akaddians all have been celebrating it in one form or another. -Massoume Price - 3/19/04

Far Near Distance: Contemporary Positions of Iranian Artists
FAR NEAR DISTANCE presents, for the first time in Germany, a panorama of contemporary positions of artists of Iranian origin operating in and between Tehran, London, Paris and the metropolises of the USA. This network has produced some very interesting works that show the way art reflects history, as well as social and political conditions. - 3/19/04

Bush aide sees no need for U.S.-Iran talks
A senior U.S. official on Thursday dismissed suggestions that Washington should consider a dialogue with Tehran aimed at working out a deal on Iran's controversial nuclear program. -Reuters - 3/19/04

Like it or not, the west just can't leave the Middle East
It has to be said that "Why are we in the Middle East?" is nevertheless a legitimate question, as it has been ever since Napoleon landed on Egyptian shores in 1798. The same mixture of motives evident then - to liberate, to modernise, to learn and understand, but also to bend to our purposes and to exploit - is still visible today. -Guardian - 3/19/04

Voices on Iraq
In February 2003 we interviewed a selection of people with links to Iraq -anti-war protesters, Middle East experts, Iraqi refugees and politicians - to find out their views on the coming war. In May 2003 we talked to them again about the aftermath of the conflict. Now, a year on from the attacks on Iraq, we interviewed them for a third time to find out their hopes and fears for a post-Saddam Iraq. -Guardian - 3/19/04

Portland State University Receives Largest Gift in University History
At a public announcement ceremony today, PSU President Daniel O. Bernstine and Dr. Fariborz Maseeh, founder and president of The Massiah Foundation, announced the largest gift in Portland State University's history -- $8 million from the Foundation to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. With this gift, the College will become the Fariborz Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. - 3/19/04

Queen of Iran Kicks Off Fifth Season with Dialogue
Celebrated host George Liston Seay launches the fifth season of MHz NETWORKS’ foreign affairs television show dialogue with an intimate interview with the queen of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, on Wednesday, March 24 at 8 PM on MHz. - 3/19/04

Japan pledges 1.5 billion yen for construction of housing in Bam
Tehran and Tokyo on Friday signed a 1.5 billion yen agreement for construction of housing in the earthquake devastated city of Bam. - 3/19/04

Some Governments Using Islam to Avoid Equal Rights for All, says Iran's Nobel Laureate
The Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi has told a conference in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, that some governments are using Islam to avoid giving equal rights to all. Shirin Ebadi has long stirred controversy in her own country with her campaign for the rights of women and children. She has maintained that Islam is a protector of the rights of women. -VOA - 3/19/04

On the first day of Spring
On the first day of Spring, Let's hold our hands ... -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 3/19/04

British MPs call for 'good friend' policy with Iran
Britain should act as a "good friend" to Iran as the west tries to persuade it to give up its nuclear ambitions and support for terrorist groups, an influential committee of MPs will say today. -Financial Times - 3/19/04

'I would build skyscrapers. I have real dreams!'
Iranian businesswomen shatter image of traditional stereotypes -Borzou Daragahi, Daily Star - 3/19/04

Valley Iranians linked to past
Before Batoul Khodadadi flew back to her home in Tehran, Iran, she nurtured a pot of sprouting lentils, or sabzeh, for her son Shariar Ghassemi of Phoenix. It brought her some comfort knowing he would be equipped with the symbol of rebirth to celebrate the Iranian new year, or Norouz, much like he did as a young boy in their native land. -Arizona Republic - 3/19/04

Poem: The Charm Of Spring
I passed in a garden - with the gaits of the wind. saw the owner of garden - with the art of love - in the look of a rose. -Taraneh Javanbakht - 3/19/04

Factional Infighting in Iran Could Hamper Conservatives’ Political Agenda in Parliament
The leaders of Iran’s conservatives, who have taken control of parliament, are developing a restrained agenda that they hope will secure the backing of a generally skeptical population. However, some Iranian political analysts believe that several major obstacles, including ideological differences among factions, could derail the conservatives’ plans. -Eurasianet - 3/19/04

The Tale Of The Fox And The Elephant
Clearly, a regime change in Iraq was the primary objective, which needed a more acceptable rationale in the eyes of the public, as well as some of the potential coalition formers, before the mission could get off the ground. But, why embark on a regime change in Iraq or, as the Administration hawks and conservative media opinion-molders maintain, Iran and Syria? -Kam Zarrabi - 3/19/04

Iranian government liberalizes auto, tea, rice, sugar & cotton imports
Automobile, tea, rice, sugar and cotton imports according to new tariff rates will be free as of the next Iranian year of 1383 (to start on March 20), said Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari here on Wednesday. - 3/18/04

Dinmore on the Iranian Government: Its Future Looks Bleak
Financial Times Washington Bureau Chief Guy Dinmore remarked that the “future looks bleak” for the Iranian government at a lecture at the Middle East Institute, Tuesday. -NIAC - 3/18/04

Iran: Tough New Measure Imposed To Encourage Afghan Refugees To Return Home
Iran has announced it is imposing tough new restrictions on hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees living in the country in an effort to accelerate their repatriation. More than 650,000 Afghans living in Iran have returned home under a voluntary repatriation program launched in 2002. -RFE - 3/18/04

Iran: EC lets government withdraw 7 billion dollars from Forex Reserve Fund
Expediency Council has authorized the government to withdraw dlrs seven billion from the Forex Reserve Fund in the next Iranian year (starting March 20), said lawmaker here on Wednesday. - 3/18/04

Marsh Arabs look to our man in the middle
For many years under Saddam Amara and the marshes around it were purposefully neglected because the area, close to the border with Iran, had become a base for the Shia tribes who rose up against the regime in 1991 after the first Gulf war. -Guardian - 3/18/04

UN briefs US on nuclear controls
The US and the UN's nuclear watchdog have agreed to work on new rules to curb nuclear proliferation, the UN body's chief Mohamed ElBaradei says. -BBC - 3/18/04

Lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction Comes Back to Haunt Bush
Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, which served as the prime rationale advanced by President Bush for the war that began a year ago this week, have vanished like a desert mirage, and the issue has become potentially troubling for a president seeking re-election. -Common Dreams - 3/18/04

Powell: Pakistan Designated as Major Non-NATO Ally
Mr. Powell used the Islamabad talks to press for more information on the proliferation activities of leading Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Kadeer Khan, including whether Pakistani government officials past or present may have had a role in providing weapons secrets to Libya, Iran, and North Korea. -VOA - 3/18/04

Tremor jolts western city of Marivan
An earthquake measuring 4.3 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the city of Marivan in western Iranian province of Kurdesan Thursday afternoon. - 3/18/04

IAEA Head Backs Calls for Direct US-Iranian Talks
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency is backing calls for direct talks between Iran and the United States. President Bush met Wednesday with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei. -VOA - 3/18/04

Construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant faces difficulties - Russia
Head of the Federal Service for Nuclear Supervision Andrei Malyshev said the construction of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr faces organizational and financial difficulties. - 3/18/04

Iran Nobel laureate condemns terror, Muslim tyrannies
Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on Thursday accused many Muslim governments of using religion to justify tyranny and said the teachings of Islam were fundamentally opposed to murder and terror. -Reuters - 3/18/04

South Korean soccer team defeats Iran 1-0 in Olympic qualifier
South Korea's soccer team moved a step closer to locking up a fifth straight trip to the Olympics, shutting out Iran 1-0 in an Asian Olympic under-23 qualifying match in Tehran. -VOA - 3/18/04

A short trip to Isfahan
A couple of weeks ago I went to Isfahan with three colleagues to attend the burial of a very dear and long standing friend and business associate who passed away young after having a heart attack in his late forties. This time as we could not find plane tickets for four of us on short notice, we decided to go by car, which has it own good points, even though it may take longer to get there. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/18/04

Iranian Clerics Condemn 'Pagan' Feast
Iranians jumped over bonfires and lit firecrackers on Tuesday to celebrate an ancient festival marking the end of the Persian year, ignoring Islamic clerics' calls to shun the ritual they denounced as "pagan culture." -AP - 3/17/04

US Diplomat: Iran Has Long Way to Go to Convince World of Nuclear Intentions
A U.S. diplomat says Iran has a long way to go to convince the International Atomic Energy Agency and the rest of the world that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, as it claims. The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA says Iran has been deceiving the world and is not cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency. -VOA - 3/17/04

Kurdish hopes rise, spark riots
It's the worst domestic unrest in Syria in two decades. Over the weekend and into Monday, Kurds rioted in several Syrian towns adjacent to Iraq and Turkey, prompting swift intervention by Syrian troops. -Christian Science Monitor - 3/17/04

Resigned Iranian MP Mosen Armin says he was summoned to court
"I've received two papers summoning me to the court of justice. One presumably refers to an earlier indictment lodged by public prosecutor and the second concerns my lecture printed in the Persian daily Yas-e No," he said. - 3/17/04

Egypt, Iran developing satellite plans
Details about the Iranian satellite program, being conducted under academic auspices, were revealed last week in a lecture to the members of the Israeli Space Society by Major M. of the Israel Air Force department of space technology. -Ha'aretz, Israel - 3/17/04

US must reach security agreement with Iran, says former Amerian official
One of the White House's primary goals in its efforts to enhance US national security must be a security-based agreement with Iran, says former US State Department official, Clifford Kupchan. - 3/17/04

Photos: Iranians celebrate fire festival in Tehran
Photos by Iranian Students News Agency - 3/17/04

Spring Games for Iranian Armenians to start March 18 in Isfahan
Armenians will start their competitions in Spring Games in this historical city of Iran Thursday, celebrating the 400th anniversary of their settlement in Jolfa, central Isfahan. - 3/17/04

Belgian FM spokesman: Michel's visit to Tehran "extremely good"
Huygelen said Kharrazi and Michel held a separate meeting on the issue of two Iranian girls, Sarah and Yasmin Pourhashemi aged 6 and 15 respectively, who have sought refuge in the Belgian embassy in Tehran since last December. - 3/17/04

Kurdish Protests In Syria, Iran Raising Concerns
Recent Kurdish riots in Syria and demonstrations in Iran are raising concerns that Kurdish minorities could follow the lead of Iraqi Kurds in pursuing greater independence and recognition. Turkey, Syria, and Iran have substantial Kurdish minorities, and their governments are keeping a wary eye on developments in Iraq. However, analysts say the three countries present very different cases. -RFE - 3/17/04

Iranian Parliament Seeks Ruling on Women's Presidential Eligibility
The Iranian parliament is reportedly seeking a ruling on whether the constitution allows a woman to run for president. Women in Iran are allowed to vote and run for seats in parliament. -VOA - 3/17/04

Iran: Controversy over earthquake relief funds
There is growing disquiet among survivors of the quake about the slow distribution of aid. Iran's Sharq newspaper reported that the governor-general of Bam has resigned over criticism from survivors of the handling of aid. Last week hundreds of survivors took part in mass demonstrations in the earthquake-stricken city, protesting at the slow pace of the relief effort and their living conditions. -IRIN - 3/17/04

Iranian President says he will withdraw bill on president's authority
He bitterly criticized the Guardian Council saying that the people who seek their own rights want policymaker and supervisor, but, they don't want mandatory form of ruling system. - 3/17/04

Washington hardliners wary of engaging with Iran
Iran's proposal of a road map leading to the restoration of relations with the US did not come as a complete surprise to the Bush administration, but it has intensified a fierce internal debate between "realists" and "neo-conservatives" over ambitious plans to remake the wider Middle East. -Financial Times - 3/17/04

Iran signs 1.2 billion dollar deal for collection of associated gases
Iran has entered a dlrs 1.2 billion contract with a consortium of two Iranian and two foreign companies, for collection of associated gases from oil fields in Kharg and Behregan regions south of Iran. - 3/16/04

Iran's special envoy arrives in Baku for Caspian Sea discussions
Iran's Special Envoy in Caspian Sea Affairs Mahdi Safari arrived in Baku on Monday evening to attend the 13th session of the Caspian Sea Littoral States' Working Group. - 3/16/04

Iran, Tajikistan to construct 670-megawatt power plant
Iran and Tajikistan have signed an agreement to complete construction of a 670mw hydraulic power plant in Sangtudeh, 140 km southeast of the Tajik capital Dushanbe - 3/16/04

US plays down clash with Iran troops
The US army sought yesterday to play down a clash between its troops and Iranian border guards who exchanged fire in north-eastern Iraq on Sunday night. -Financial Times - 3/16/04

Michel flies to Tehran to plead for embassy girls
Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel on Monday flew to Iran in a fresh bid to secure the safe return home of two young Liege girls currently taking refuge inside the Belgian embassy in Tehran. -Expatica, Netherlands - 3/16/04

Soon to be on their own, Iraq's people grapple for a unifying identity
A year after the invasion of Iraq, as U.S.-led forces prepare to hand over power, many Iraqis are preparing for a long, gruesome struggle of a different kind. -Star-Ledger - 3/16/04

Survey finds hope in occupied Iraq
An opinion poll suggests most Iraqis feel their lives have improved since the war in Iraq began about a year ago. - 3/16/04

UN report slams Iran's systematic repression
UN rapporteur on free speech warns systematic repression, fear stifle freedom in Islamic republic. -MEO - 3/16/04

Tehran's Last Monday Of The Year, A Snowy One!
On Monday morning when people woke up in Tehran, most of them were surprised to see snow outside! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/16/04

Chahar Shanbeh Suri: (Iranians' Festival Of The Last Wednesday)
The ancient Iranians celebrated the last 10 days of the year in their annual obligation feast of all souls, Hamaspathmaedaya (Farvardigan or popularly Forodigan). They believed Foruhars, the guardian angles for humans and also the spirits of dead would come back for reunion. -Massoume Price - 3/16/04

Iranian MP: Resignation of MPs a protest against dangerous trend
An MP from Tehran, Mohsen Armin, said here Sunday that the resignation of MPs in parlament is a protest move against a dangerous trend which, if allowed to continue, would destroy the fundamentals of the Islamic Republic system. - 3/15/04

Iranian wrestlers wins Athens' Acropolis Cup
Laborers' freestyle wrestling team of Iran was crowned at Acropolis Cup here Sunday night. - 3/15/04

New Spanish PM promises Iraq withdrawal
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, whose socialist party yesterday won a sensational election victory, today vowed to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq. -Guardian - 3/15/04

Beware instant democracy
In reality, the differences between the former Soviet bloc and the Arab countries of the Middle East are so great - in politics, culture, state apparatus, etc - that it would be miraculous if both responded to the same medicine. The differences within the Middle East - between Iran and Israel, say, or between Kuwait and Tunisia - are also much greater than they were within eastern Europe during the Soviet era, so any remedies would have to be tailored much more carefully to fit the circumstances of specific countries. -Guardian - 3/15/04

Exiles say Iran has 2005 nuclear deadline
An Iranian exile group claims Tehran has a deadline of 2005 to reach a capability to produce nuclear weapons, the Middle East Newsline reported. -Washington Times - 3/15/04

Iran, Saudi Arabia sign MoU in seven fields
The Iran-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission's 6th session concluded work here Sunday with the sides signing a memorandum of understanding in seven fields. - 3/15/04

U.S. troops kill man on Iran-Iraq border
U.S. troops killed one uniformed man and injured another -- possibly Iranian border guards -- in a shootout on the Iran-Iraq border yesterday, the U.S. army said. -AP - 3/15/04

MCC film festival tries to clear air about Iran
Lines at the first Mesa Community College international film festival, held at Chandler's Madstone Theater, wrapped around the lobby, crowds packing the theater. The six festival films shown over a two-week period focused on Iran, namely the struggles of women under the country's Muslim theocracy. -Arizona Republic - 3/15/04

Iran not to abandon peaceful nuclear activities at any cost: Rafsanjani
"We are determined to use nuclear energy for peaceful advantages and would never put it aside and, at the same time, we are ready to show to the whole world that we will conduct our activities with all transparency so there would be no concerns raised," he said. - 3/15/04

Iran gives nuclear checks pledge
Iran will allow a resumption of inspections by the UN nuclear agency that it halted last week, the country's chief nuclear negotiator has said. -BBC - 3/15/04

Hamid Reza Jahani and his "Kalagh-ha"
Jahani’s works were almost all about crows, what we call Kalagh in Persian. He seemed to me to be a normal jolly young man; he is in his early thirties and teaches art, like so many other artists like himself privately and at art colleges, to make ends meet while he pursues his passion for painting. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/15/04

Iran blocks nuclear inspections
Iran has imposed an indefinite freeze on international inspections by the United Nations nuclear watchdog. The move was in retaliation to an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution "deploring" Iran's failure to report some nuclear activities. -BBC - 3/14/04

Iranian Greco-Roman wrestlers win Athens tickets
The victories gave Iran six out of seven berths. Iran has qualified for all seven spots in freestyle wrestling event of the Olympic Games. - 3/14/04

US Authorities to Close Most Iraq-Iran Border Crossings
The U.S.-led occupation authority in Iraq says it will shut most border crossings with Iran to improve security against foreign fighters and terrorists. -VOA - 3/14/04

Iran's leading reformist intellectual tries to reconcile religious duties and human rights
IF IRAN'S DEMOCRATIC REFORM movement has a house intellectual, it's Abdolkarim Soroush. A small, soft-spoken philosopher with fiercely expressive eyebrows, Soroush specializes in mysticism, Sufi poetry, Islamic theology, chemistry, pharmacology, and the philosophy of science. -Boston Globe - 3/14/04

Hollywood Disaster Film Set to Turn Heat on Bush
Here's the pitch: a dullish candidate, outflanked by his opponent's serious money, attacked for his liberal leanings, is swept to an unlikely victory thanks to a blockbuster movie that focuses on the effects of big business and the agro-industrial complex. -Common Dreams - 3/14/04

Irate Iran
You know your country is internationally isolated when it is being compared -- and not favorably -- to Libya. And that was only the start of the bad news for Iran at this week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. -Mother Jones - 3/14/04

Iraq Governing Council delegation heads for Iran
A high-ranking delegation from the Iraq Governing Council left Baghdad for Tehran Saturday morning to discuss possible avenues for bolstering mutual ties. - 3/14/04

Iran's Balal offshore field to yield up to 40,000 bpd of oil
Iran's Balal offshore field near southern Lavan Island in the Persian Gulf will yield up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day once the project for development of the field is complete. - 3/14/04

Iran Says No to Female 'Red Devils'
The Iranian government told the Korea Football Association last week that the 'Red Devils' -- Korea's enthusiastic football booster club -- would not be allowed entrance into Tehran's Azadi Stadium for the final Olympic qualifying match on Mar. 17. -Chosun Ilbo, South Korea - 3/14/04

Quake hits southern Iranian city of Lar in Fars province
An earthquake measuring 3.6 degrees on the Richter scale jolted the city of Lar in this southern province Saturday night. - 3/14/04

An opening seen for dialogue
TEHRAN, Iran - Every Friday after prayers, the faithful still turn out by the hundreds of thousands to chant "Death to America." Around Tehran, colorful murals still promise to hand the "Great Satan" a great defeat. But after 25 years of isolation that has left the economy in shambles and many Iranians weary of clerical rule, Iran's religious leaders are caught between a need to reach out to the United States and a desire to keep up the anti-U.S. rhetoric. -Newsday - 3/14/04

Iran, Iraq review expansion of cooperation, removal of barriers
Visiting President of the Iraq Governing Council Mohammad Bahr al-Uloum conferred in Tehran on Sunday with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi to follow up the second round of talks on recent developments in Iraq, exchange views and opinions and review avenues to further consolidate bilateral relations. - 3/14/04

Iran's Parliament Accepts Resignation Of Another Tehran MP
The Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) here Sunday accepted the resignation of Tehran MP Mohsen Armin. Armin's resignation was accepted by a vote of 103 in favor and 49 against with 7 abstentions from a total of 194 votes cast. - 3/14/04

UN condemns Iran nuclear secrecy
The UN nuclear watchdog has adopted a resolution condemning Iran for keeping some of its nuclear activities secret. However, the resolution stopped short of threatening UN sanctions against Tehran which the US had pressed for. -BBC - 3/13/04

For Iranians, fire jumping heralds a fresh start on the new year
On Tuesday, as the sun goes down over the bay in Richmond, a series of little bonfires will be lit on the beach. And in an ancient rite of spring, Iranians from all over the East Bay will be there, to jump over the flames. -San Francisco Chronicle - 3/13/04

Creeping censorship?
UNLIKE THE totalitarian regimes condemned by the United States, ours is a nation where we never have to fear government censorship. Right? Or has something changed? To the shock of publishers, editors and translators, the Treasury Department recently issued regulations that prohibit editing manuscripts that come from Iran -- and perhaps other countries, including Cuba, Libya, North Korea, with whom trade is banned without a government license. -San Francisco Chronicle - 3/13/04

2,000 mile China-Europe rail link
It will cost an estimated $3.5bn (nearly £2bn) and be able to transport 40bn tonnes of goods a year. After crossing Kazakhstan, itself the size of western Europe, the railway would either cut south through Iran or cross through Russia, the fastest route to mainland Europe. -Guardian - 3/13/04

New film festival reveals humor, music of Muslim life
Its beginning is modest, but the Muslim Film Festival that starts today in Berkeley is still a historic event: It's the first festival of its kind in the United States, say organizers. -San Francisco Chronicle - 3/13/04

21 dams under construction across Iran
Minister of Energy Habibollah Bitaraf, spakig at a ceremony marking inauguration of Majiran Dam in northern city of Ramsar on Saturday, said that his ministry has concentrated its policy on dam construction due to the priority given to the control of surface water. - 3/13/04

Kurds sense chance to shine
Many of Iraq's 4 million Kurds, who fought side by side with Americans in capturing oil-rich cities such as Khaneqin and Kirkuk, say they paid their dues under Saddam Hussein, enduring his regime's violence and racial policies and giving up martyrs in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Now, they say, it's time to collect. -Borzou Daragahi, Star Ledger - 3/13/04

Showdown looms as Iran bars nuclear inspections
It remained unclear how the developing drama in Vienna would affect Dr ElBaradei's trip to Washington. Diplomats said the Iranian postponement of the UN inspections was an attempt to "put pressure" on the IAEA and an example of Iranian "posturing". -Guardian - 3/13/04

Rowhani describes IAEA resolution on Iran as unfair
The resolution adopted by the UN nuclear watchdog on Iran's nuclear activities is unfair, declared Secretary General of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani here on Saturday. - 3/13/04

Full text of IAEA resolution on Iran
Here is the full text of the draft resolution submitted by the chairman of the IAEA board of governors, which was adopted without a vote - 3/13/04

Iranians Race to Quench Thirst of Bam's Date Palms
Iranian farmer Hossein Nezamabadi fears the stately date palms that tower above the earthquake-devastated town of Bam could soon die of thirst. -Reuters - 3/13/04

Iran: Unemployment Becoming A 'National Threat'
According to official estimates, some 3.5 million working-age Iranians are currently unemployed. The jobless rate is particularly high among the women and youth of the Islamic Republic. Authorities are calling unemployment a national threat and one of the country's most pressing priorities. -RFE - 3/13/04

Les Ballets Persans' US Debut Tour
Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Nima Kiann will present Les Ballets Persans in its USA debut at the Aratani / Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles ((7, 8 & 9 May 2004), as the start of its nationwide tour in the United States and Canada. - 3/12/04

The Two Ladies
I went to see the works of two ladies at Haft-Samar galley couple of weeks ago. The style of the two artists, Fariba Shapourian and Afsaneh Nazeri, were quite different, and I wondered why they had put up a joint show together? Yet, I guess this in itself had a rather nice charm to it. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/12/04

Election Not the End of Iran's Reform Movement
The conservative victory in the February Iranian parliamentary election does not mark the end of "the reform movement," according to A. William Samii, RFE/RL's Senior Regional Analyst for Iran. - 3/12/04

Persian Music: "Mahour the Great" in Austria
In 1990 an Austria-based Persian musician Khosro Soltani, in cooperation with Hossein Alizadeh, put out an album entitled, Ancient Call A New (Nobang-e Kohan). After many years, a few ancient Persian instruments such as Sorna, Karna, Naghareh,etc. have been used, instruments which have been left out of the circle of Persian classical musical instruments for centuries. - 3/12/04

U.S. Says It's Confident IAEA Will Get Tough With Tehran
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said an IAEA draft resolution being debated includes a warning to Iran that it is close to violating its IAEA obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and could face "further action." -RFE - 3/12/04

IAEA Chief to Discuss Nuclear Non-Proliferation with Bush
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to fly to Washington early next week for talks with President Bush on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. -VOA - 3/12/04

Iran, Iraq ink electricity transfer agreement
The Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq signed here Thursday an agreement to transfer 100 megawatts of electrical power to Iraq. - 3/12/04

Mild quake jolts northeastern Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.2 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale early Friday jolted areas around Gonbad-e Kavous, the northeastern province of Golestan. - 3/12/04

Iraq holy cities are becoming tourist meccas
The pilgrims had sold their cows and furniture to raise money for the trip and braved car bombs and shootouts to get here. When Habeeb Allah Jagha Kaboudi finally arrived at the gold-domed shrine of the man Shiite Muslims consider the rightful successor to the prophet Muhammad, he fell to his knees. He chanted. He prayed. He cried. -Seattle Times - 3/12/04

Iran, Azerbaijan implement joint projects
Head of the state-owned Azeri Energy Company Piror Diev said on Friday with the implementation of several joint projects by Iran and Azerbaijan, the capacity of the electricity exchanges between the two countries would increase tremendously. - 3/12/04

A new booklet series on art published in Iran
A wonderful new collection of petite books on art has been out recently. It is a wonderful gift to those who care about modern art n schools of art, or for those who may wish to learn more on some of the subjects in this series. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/12/04

Reporters Without Borders condemns unfair trial and illegal imprisonment of journalists in Iran
Reporters Without Borders has condemned a one-year jail sentence against journalist Mohsen Sazgara as unfair and contrary to international legal norms. It also spoke out against the arbitrary imprisonment of three journalists since nine months. - 3/12/04

A beautiful day at Laleh park in Tehran
I took these lovely photos from different people in Laleh park on March 8, with their permission, as they were enjoying the wonderful late afternoon sun in the park. It was such a wonderful thing to see these people from all different backgrounds doing different things in their own ways so calmly, peacefully and humanely. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/11/04

US Hard-Line Policies Helped Bring About Reformists’ Demise in Iran – Expert
In the aftermath of last month’s parliamentary elections in Iran, political experts in Tehran are busy analyzing the causes of the decline and fall of the reformist movement. A major contributing factor to the reformists’ demise, some Iranian analysts say, was the Bush administration’s reluctance to engage President Mohammad Khatami and other reform-minded leaders. -Eurasianet - 3/11/04

US: Iran Should Follow Libyan Lead on Nuclear Weapons Issue
A U.S. official says Libya's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency sets a good example for Iran that is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. -VOA - 3/11/04

Iran's President Threatens Halt In Nuclear Cooperation With UN
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami today reiterated a warning that his government could stop cooperating with the UN nuclear watchdog agency if it adopts a resolution condemning Tehran's nuclear program. -RFE - 3/11/04

Iran to turn into major natural gas distribution center in Mideast
Iran will turn into a major center of natural gas distribution in the Middle East in the coming years, said Director of the Gas Supply Department at National Iranian Gas Company Hamid-Reza Araqi in Semnan on Thursday - 3/11/04

Time for regime change in Tehran
It has been more than two years since President Bush pronounced Iran a charter member of the "axis of evil." In his 2002 State of the Union address, he told Congress that the theocratic regime in Tehran was aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons and exporting terror "while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom." -Boston Globe - 3/11/04

What the British learned in 1920 by not leaving Iraq
It's one of the loneliest places in Baghdad - the British military cemetery, where hundreds of forlorn gravestones attest to the price of imperialism in Iraq. -Christian Science Monitor - 3/11/04

Iran's muffled coup
Iran's latest coup d'etat did not use guns, but silence. Faced with rising dissent and the prospect of reformists winning more seats in parliament, the country's hard-line mullahs gagged opponents, shut down public debate, and perhaps most important, silenced national media from reporting the facts. -Washington Times - 3/11/04

Iran Reaffirms its Goal of Controlling the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
In recent days, Iran has reaffirmed its commitment toward its goal of gaining complete control over the nuclear fuel cycle. Tehran's desire to research and control every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle required for producing nuclear energy has been hotly contested by the United States. -PINR - 3/11/04

UAE fails to put Iranian islands' case in Dakar final statement
The UAE failed to make Dakar OIC parliamentary meeting put the issue of the three Iranian islands of Abu Moussa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs on the agenda of the Islamic Parliamentary Union - 3/11/04

Powell Insists Iran Give Up Nuclear Ambitions
Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States is not easing its insistence that Iran should give up nuclear weapons ambitions, despite its support for a compromise resolution on Iran at this week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. -VOA - 3/11/04

UN atomic energy agency puts heat on Iran
The US and the big European countries buried their deep differences over Iran's nuclear projects yesterday, drafting a tough statement that comes close to having the UN accuse Tehran of pursuing a secret bomb programme. -Guardian - 3/11/04

The Pub Is Closed: A Review Of The Parliamentary Elections In Iran
The pub or its Iranian equivalent “Ghavehkhaneh” is the gathering place of persons who speak about various things and they go home without anyone taking them seriously. This is what the Iranian Majlis had tuned into. The hardliners, who had always the power in their hands, did not let any of the serious issues considered by the Sixth Majlis or the reformist Majlis to take much distance from the mere words. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 3/11/04

Senator Schumer Contacts Department of Homeland Security Questioning Delays of Non-Immigrant Visas to Iranian Nationals
At the request of the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) contacted the Department of Homeland Security to inquire about the delays over the issuance of non-immigrant visas caused by the interim procedures currently in place to enforce Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002. - 3/11/04

Iran teacher strike forces many schools to close
Iranian teachers striking over pay have forced scores of schools nationwide to shut down in the Islamic Republic's biggest industrial dispute for at least two years, teachers and parliamentarians said on Tuesday. -Reuters - 3/11/04

Scholars Have Low Expectations for US-Iran Relations
Should the US revise its foreign policy towards Iran? Two Columbia University scholars addressed the question the US government has struggled with for decades, both predicting little movement this election year. -NIAC - 3/10/04

EU urges Iran to continue cooperation with IAEA
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, called on Iran Wednesday to continue its cooperation with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - 3/10/04

FM spokesman says Iran committed to its stand on Caspian Sea
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi dismissed as unfounded reports on Iran's change of position regarding the Caspian Sea, and stressed Iran's determination to safeguard its interests, IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/10/04

Nuclear Weapons 'Immoral,' Say Religious, Scientific Leaders
An international group of religious and scientific leaders Monday launched an appeal to the United States and all other nuclear states to pledge never to use nuclear weapons and re-affirm their commitments to achieving total nuclear disarmament. -Common Dreams - 3/10/04

Kurds who sewed lips 'near death'
THREE Kurdish asylum seekers who stitched their mouths closed are close to death, their friends said today. - - 3/10/04

South Caucasus: Region Growing As Hub For International Drug Trafficking
Central Asia is known as the preferred route for Afghan-produced narcotics destined for West European markets. But drug-enforcement officials say the South Caucasus -- strategically located between Asia and Europe -- is also a major transit point for narcotics. Corruption, instability, and separatist conflicts are all cited as being behind the region's rise in smuggling. -RFE - 3/10/04

Saudi women get the vote
Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most male-dominated countries, is preparing to break with tradition and risk the wrath of religious conservatives by allowing women to take part in its first elections. -Guardian - 3/10/04

Iran's FM: IAEA should not make situation more complicated
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran on Wednesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should keep on its commitments towards Iran and avoid making the situation more complicated, IRNA reported. - 3/10/04

US, Europe Reach Agreement on Draft Criticizing Iranian Nuclear Disclosures
U.S. officials say the United States and Western European countries have reached agreement on a draft resolution that criticizes Iran for not being fully forthcoming about its nuclear program, but puts off a referral of the issue to the U.N. Security Council. The measure is to be submitted at this week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, in Vienna. -VOA - 3/10/04

Iran's Information Ministry confirms discovery of mortar launcher in Qom
Iran's Information Ministry confirmed a report that it had foiled a terrorist attempt to attack the holy shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh (SA) in Qom on March 2, the same day that Iraqi holy shrines were attacked, IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/10/04

Iraq: Antagonism Has Always Existed Between Shi'a, Sunni Branches Of Islam
Sunnis make up some 90 percent of all Muslims worldwide, while Shi'a comprise the remaining 10 percent. Both Shi'as and Sunnis accept Muhammad as the final prophet and the Quran as the last revelation of Allah. -RFE - 3/10/04

UNDP to set up women's information center in Iran
UN Resident Coordinator Frederick Lyons announced in Tehran on Tuesday that in order to promote awareness on women's issues, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is in the process of establishing a Women's Information Dissemination Center in Iran, IRNA reported. - 3/10/04

Iran: Afghan repatriation continues unabated
Efforts by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees living in Iran to repatriate to their homeland are continuing. - 3/10/04

Renaissance in Tehran
The political justification used by the Europeans to condone their dealings with the mullahs relied on the illusion that the Islamic clerics would have been able to reform the theocratic regime. That illusion has been shattered by the extremely low turnout for the national elections on February 20, a result of a campaign by Iranian activists to boycott them. -National Review Online - 3/10/04

Iran 'to revive nuclear activity'
Iran has said it intends to resume developing nuclear material once its problems with the United Nations' nuclear watchdog (IAEA) are resolved. -BBC - 3/10/04

Iran clashes with US over nuclear policy
Iran reignited its war of words with the US today, accusing Washington of trying to "bully" the UN's nuclear watchdog into taking a tougher stance on Tehran's nuclear programme. -Guardian - 3/10/04

Official: Women's unemployment in Iran twice that of men
Speaking at a seminar on women employment, Deputy Labor Minister for Planning and Policy Sadeq Bakhtiari said the Iranian labor market has two special features: one is a low level of labor force participation and the other is extremely low level of women participation." - 3/9/04

Iranian Nobel Laureate Pleas for Women's Rights in Islamic Countries
The Iranian woman and human rights activist who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize says democracy is the best way to achieve equal rights for women in Islamic societies. Shirin Ebadi made an impassioned plea for justice and human rights for women at a forum organized by the International Labor Organization to mark International Women's Day. -VOA - 3/9/04

8th March Celebration Prevented In Tehran, Arrests Made
Today, 8th March was supposed to be a day of celebration for women by women in Tehran’s Laleh park. We all thought it would be another peaceful day for solidarity among women, this time about violence against women. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/9/04

Vigilantes stop Iran women's demo
A gathering to celebrate International Women's Day in Tehran turned ugly as militia groups broke up what had started as a peaceful demonstration. -BBC - 3/9/04

Iranian New Year (Norooz) Spring Festival 2004 in San Jose, California
The Iranian-American Community in the Bay Area cordially invites you and your family to join us for a fun filled and memorable weekend to celebrate this Iranian New Year, the Norooz of 1383, in style. - 3/9/04

Iranian Women: " 25 years of resistance, 100 years of Struggle"
KPFA Radio 94.1 FM (Berkeley, California) will air a feature focusing on Iranian women’s struggles and resistance on the occasion of the International Women’s Day; - 3/9/04

US Accuses Iran of Changing Facts of Nuclear Program
The United States says Iran's account of its nuclear program keeps changing when new facts are discovered, and many outstanding issues still need clarification. A top-level meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency is in progress. -VOA - 3/9/04

Pakistan tests new long-range missile
Pakistan today announced it had test-fired a long-range, nuclear-capable missile that could reach targets deep in neighbouring India. -Guardian - 3/9/04

Women's representation in Iran improving: MP Elaheh Koulaie
Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution women's representation in higher learning and the job market has improved vis-a-vis their Western stereotypes, says Elaheh Koulaie, a member of the Iranian Parliament, on Tuesday - 3/9/04

Washington places political faith in powerful Shi'a cleric
Shunning office himself, Sistani speaks for government by the Iraqi people -Star-Ledger - 3/9/04

Political activist: Supporting democracy equals defending Iran's independence, sovereignty
Former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh said in Tehran on Monday, "Today, supporting the cause of democracy in our society equals defending our national security and our territorial integrity," IRNA reported - 3/9/04

Iran Quake Relief Committee-Chicago to hold fundraising for Bam on March 14
The Iran Quake Relief Committee-Chicago, is organizing a fund raising event to be held on Sunday, March 14, 2004, 5:00 pm at Unity Church on the North Shore, 3434 Central Street, in Evanston. - 3/9/04

Iran: Coping With The World's Highest Rate Of Brain Drain
Iran has the highest rate of "brain drain" in the world. That's the conclusion of the International Monetary Fund, which recently surveyed some 61 countries. The IMF says every year more than 150,000 educated Iranians leave their home country in the hope of finding a better life abroad. -RFE - 3/9/04

Bam's progress is slow
I went to Bam last week on a good deed mission. Believe it or not, I was there to attend a business meeting. The company I work for is trying to set up a cooperative in our field of activity among those who have survived the quake in order to help these proud people who have lost everything to help themselves and to get them back to work and back on their feet. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/8/04

Once upon a Time
Once upon a time, there is a Parvaneh Etemadi, who after getting tired of playing with colour pencils, painting beautiful roses and narcissuses and red juicy pomegranates and knitting gorgeous termeh-s (cashmeres) and fantastic laces and magnificent fabrics started to play with colored papers. What sort of world did she like to create? Naturally, something opposite to that dark, cold gloomy air outside! -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 3/8/04

US-Iran: Ad Hoc Détente to Continue Despite Conservative Sweep
Despite the sweeping victory of staunchly anti-U.S. conservatives in Iran's elections last month, analysts here believe the tentative détente between the two countries that began late last year will continue at least through the November U.S. elections. - 3/8/04

Afghanistan: Abuses by U.S. Forces - Beatings in Detention; No Legal Process
U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan have arbitrarily detained civilians, used excessive force during arrests of non- combatants, and mistreated detainees, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. - 3/8/04

World Bank advisor: Iran's economic growth depends on expansion of private sector
Top Economic Advisor to the World Bank who is in charge of Middle East and North Africa Mostafa Naboli said in Tehran on Monday that Iran's economic development is totally depends on expansion of its private sector - 3/8/04

Iran: Seminar on investment opportunities concludes work in Kish
An international seminar on investment opportunities in Iran's petrochemical industry concluded work in Kish, Hormuzgan province on Sunday night, IRNA reported. Projects worth two billion dollars were introduced to investors during the two-day seminar. - 3/8/04

Iran's nuclear policy divides diplomats
European and US diplomats struggled to find a common response to Iran's nuclear policies at the weekend before an important meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. -Guardian - 3/8/04

Iraqis agree on new constitution
Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has signed an interim constitution at a landmark ceremony in Baghdad. -BBC - 3/8/04

Iran Exchange
They left the U-S to build friendship and understanding between two cultures. And, it turned out to be an experience that changed their lives. -KELOLAND, US - 3/8/04

How to Overthrow A Government Pt. 1: The 1953 U.S. Coup in Iran
New York Times reporter Steven Kinzer discusses how the U.S. overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran. Kinzer says “I think it was the success of the Iran coup and the Guatamalan one the folllowed that sent the US off on this direction of covert action and regime change.” -Democracy Now - 3/8/04

4.9 Quake hits northern Iranian city of Gorgan
An earthquake measuring 4.9 degrees on the Richter scale shook the city of Gorgan in the northern province of Golestan early on Monday - 3/8/04

IAEA: Iran, Libya Violated Nuclear Treaty
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran and Libya are both guilty of long-term violations of their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Mohammed ElBaradei, director-general of the IAEA, told reporters in Vienna he would discuss violations by Iran and Libya during a meeting Monday of the U-N agency's board of governors. -VOA - 3/8/04

Iran's Parliament commission OKs forming committee to probe Statoil scandal
Majlis Energy Commission on Sunday approved the formation of a committee to probe into the alleged involvement of an Iranian firm in the bribing controversy linked to Norway's Statoil company, IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/7/04

Photos: North Tehranis celebrate Ashoora
Here are some pictures which I took from north Tehran streets on Ashoora. There were many queues in different parts of north Tehran where people were waiting for Ashoora's traditional lunch. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/7/04

Iran: Human Rights
An Iranian man named Mohsen Mofidi died recently, reportedly after receiving eighty lashes with a leather cord as part of an official punishment. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, Mr. Mofidi was accused of possessing a satellite dish and medicine containing alcohol. Amnesty International says he was also accused of fostering so-called “corruption” because his sisters apparently had boyfriends. -VOA - 3/7/04

In Iran, Daring to Dream of Democracy
This past summer at a major intersection in Tehran, I stood under a massive mural of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, watching a gray-bearded cleric trying to hail a cab. None stopped for him. By my count, eight empty taxis passed by without picking him up. -Washington Post - 3/7/04

Oil prices hit one-year high
Oil prices hit a one-year high today amid fears that political tension in Venezuela could disrupt oil supplies. over $37 a barrel in morning trading, extending a 2.3% surge on the New York mercantile exchange yesterday. -Guardian - 3/7/04

Iraq constitution 'deal reached'
Top Shia leaders in Iraq have resolved issues delaying the adoption of the interim constitution, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council has declared. -BBC - 3/7/04

Blix: Iraq War Was Illegal
Blair's defense is bogus, says the former UN weapons inspector -Common Dreams - 3/7/04

Photo journal: Karbala pilgrimage
Two Iranian pilgrims, who visited Karbala ahead of the attacks, describe their visit to the city and what it meant to them. -BBC - 3/7/04

IAEA to Discuss Dangers of Nuclear Proliferation During Top-Level Meeting
The International Atomic Energy Agency opens several days of top-level meetings Monday, and Iran and Libya will be high on the agenda. The agency's board of governors also is expected to discuss the nuclear technology network run by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan. -VOA - 3/7/04

Iran seeks nuclear file closure
A senior Iranian official has urged the UN's atomic watchdog to close its files on the country's nuclear programme, and accept that it is peaceful. -BBC - 3/7/04

24 countries to attend 9th International Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals Fair in Iran
Some 24 countries have announced readiness to attend the 9th International Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition due to be held in Tehran from May 12-17 - 3/7/04

'Persian Arts' expo attracts over one million European viewers
Director of National Museum of Iran Mohammad Reza Kargar said in Madrid on Sunday that more than one million viewers have so far been attracted to the '7,000-Year Persian Art Expo' across Europe - 3/7/04

Iran's Parliament accepts resignation of Orumiyeh MP
The Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) here Sunday accepted the resignation of Mir Mahmoud Yeganli, the MP from Orumiyeh - 3/7/04

British Exhibit at Tehran Museum Reflects Turning Point in Iranian Attitudes
After 25 years of isolation following the Islamic Revolution, there are signs that Iran is opening up to the outside world. Analysts say, even though the conservative religious hard-liners scored a victory in last month's parliamentary elections, Iran's growing exposure to foreign influences cannot be stopped. -VOA - 3/6/04

Iran: Simin Behbehani, A Poet For The Ages, Captures Nation's Suffering And Joys
Simin Behbehani describes her poem "Gypsyesque" as a call to women to celebrate their existence by letting their voices be heard. -RFE - 3/6/04

Iran's Parliament to debate Guardian Council's rejection of anti-torture convention
The Parliament Commission on Legal and Judicial Affairs will debate a bill on Sunday which obliges the government to join the Convention banning torture, IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/6/04

Iran's Oil Minister: No restriction on way of US firms' operation in Iran
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said US companies would face no restriction if they chose to participate in the development of Iranian oil fields - 3/6/04

Iran to spend 10 billion dollars on gas supply projects in 4th plan
A sum of 10 billion dollars will be spent on gas supply projects in the fourth five-year economic development plan (2005-10), said an official in charge of gas affairs on Saturday, - 3/6/04

Despite fear of torture, Iranian faces deportation
An Iranian man who says he faces torture if forced to return to his home country has had his bid to stay in Canada rejected. Ali Reza Monemi, 27, fled Iran after he was lashed with a leather whip by the morality police in 1999. -Vancouver Province, Canada - 3/6/04

Iraqi constitution in the balance
Iraq's political future is unclear after the latest delay in creating an interim constitution for the country. -BBC - 3/6/04

Iraq: Analysts Say Borders Are Lines In The Sand That Are Easily Crossed
The United States says it is strengthening security on Iraq's borders. The measures are designed to prevent the infiltration of foreign militants who are accused of being behind the 2 March bombings, which killed and injured hundreds of people. Analysts, however, say the country's porous borders will be difficult to control anytime soon. -RFE - 3/6/04

31 percent of 15- to 29-year-old Iranians are unemployed
Thirty-one percent of Iranian youth in the 15 to 29 years age group, are either unemployed or lack a suitable job, said an official in Shiraz, Fars province on Saturday - 3/6/04

Quakes jolt cities in several Iranian provinces
Tremor hits Andimeshk in Khuzestan province. Quake jolts Avaj in Qazvin province.Quake jolts Tabriz in East Azarbaijan. Quake jolts Lordegan in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province. Quake jolts Ahram in Bushehr province - 3/5/04

Victory by anti-American Iranians in election could benefit U.S.
The recent parliamentary election victory by anti-American Iranian conservatives may turn out to be better for the United States than American policymakers suspect. -Knight Ridder Newspapers - 3/5/04

Official raises Iranian death toll from Iraq blasts to 49
Iran's charge d'affaires in Baghdad on Thursday said that suicide bomb attacks earlier this week in Iraq had killed 49 Iranian pilgrims and wounded 115 others, IRNA reported - 3/5/04

German Film Museum hosts Iranian women's film festival
Frankfurt-based German Film Museum is hosting a one-month long Iranian women's film festival during which renowned Iranian female film directors and actresses will be honored for their artistic work, a press release by the film museum announced Friday - 3/5/04

Iraq: U.S. General Links Al-Zarqawi To Suicide Bombings
The top U.S. commander in Iraq says the United States has obtained intelligence linking Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi to suicide bombings aimed at Shi’a Muslims in Baghdad and Karbala. -RFE - 3/5/04

Council of Europe Says Turkey Progressing On Reforms, But Deficiencies Remain
A preliminary report by the Council of Europe says Turkey has proven its commitment to constitutional and legislative reform and no longer needs to be monitored. The report is seen as an important step for Turkey toward opening accession talks with the European Union. -RFE - 3/5/04

Bremer's plan to tighten security fails to allay fears
Iraq's long frontiers with Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait run from rugged mountain terrain in the north to scorching desert in the south. There are hundreds of illegal crossing points used by smugglers, shepherds and, now, terrorists. -Guardian - 3/5/04

German coach urges FIFA to stop Qatar's "mercenary" football team
The head coach of German Bundesliga club Schalke 04 Jupp Heynkes called on FIFA to intervene in the affair over Qatar's national "mercenary" football team, calling the practice of buying foreign players "absurd," IRNA reported from Berlin. - 3/5/04

Iraq poised for new constitution
Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council is poised to sign an interim constitution designed to guide Iraq towards a democratic future. -BBC - 3/5/04

Iranian soccer star Mahdavikia to unveil Nike's hightech football boots this weekend
Hamburger SV forward Mehdi Mahdavikia will unveil this weekend Nike's latest hightech football boots, named Nike Air Zoom Total 90 III, during his team's Bundesliga match against Hansa Rostock, IRNA reported from Berlin quoting DPA. - 3/5/04

ISAA: First Annual Multi-campus Iranian Awareness Week (March 1-7)
In the spirit of unity, UC Berkeley ISAA, along with UCLA's Iranian Student Group and Northeastern's Persian Club, has taken the initiative to organize a Multi-campus Iranian Awareness Week. - 3/5/04

Contemporary Iranian photo show a first in the United States
Iran is terra incognita, an unknown land, to most Americans. Thanks to decades of political tension, religious misunderstanding and economic constraints, the people of Iran and the United States seem to inhabit not just different continents but different universes. -Minneapolis Star Tribune - 3/5/04

Iraq: Bomb Attacks Spark Debate Over U.S. Security Role
Several top Shi'a leaders are strongly criticizing the U.S.-led coalition for what they say were inadequate security measures to protect their community from yesterday's deadly bombings in Baghdad and Karbala. -RFE - 3/4/04

Iranian ambulances arrive in Karbala to transfer injured pilgrims
A number of Iranian ambulances arrived in Karbala on Wednesday night to transfer the victims of Karbala's Ashoura Day terrorist attacks, which led to martyrdom and injury of hundreds of innocent pilgrims, IRNA reported from Baghdad. - 3/4/04

Iran: Nasim-e Saba managing editor summoned by court
Editor-in-chief of the Persian-language daily Nasim-e Saba, Hojjatoleslam Hamid Qasemi Feizabad has once again been summoned by the third department of the government employees special Prosecutor's Office to respond to complaint filed by the public prosecutor and Tehran Municipality - 3/4/04

Japan May Buy $1 Bln of Iran's Chemicals, Iranian Official Says
Mitsubishi Corp. and two other Japanese trading companies signed initial agreements to buy petrochemicals that may be worth more than $1 billion from Iran Petrochemical Commercial Co., said Mohamad Ehtiati, chairman of the Iranian company. -Bloomberg - 3/4/04

Azerbaijan: Authorities In Baku Target Shi'a Mosque, Say It Is Being Illegally Occupied
Authorities in Azerbaijan face growing criticism at home and abroad for clamping down on political and religious freedoms. The latest target appears to be a Shi'a Muslim congregation whose imam was recently arrested for alleged anti-government activities. -RFE - 3/4/04

Iran scales up death toll of Iranian victims of Iraq blasts
Head of Representation Office of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization in Iraq Hossein Akbari said the death toll of the Iranians perished in the blasts rose to 40. - 3/4/04

Tehran police disputes unreal figures of ecstasy use
A Tehran police official said on Wednesday that the figures released on ecstasy use in the country are incorrect. "Some official and experts utter data which are not true", said Colonel Qodratollah Mahmoudi, IRNA reported. - 3/4/04

Pakistan may make Nigeria a nuclear power
Pakistan yesterday offered to share military assistance, including "nuclear power" with Nigeria, in defiance of President George Bush's new counter-proliferation initiative. -Guardian - 3/4/04

Iranian Diaspora International Conference in Boston, Massachusetts
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), an organization created by students from Tufts University and Wellesley College in the United States, will hold its first symposium addressing issues about the Iranian Diaspora, April 17-18, 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts. - 3/4/04

Iran, South Korea Score Olympic Qualifying Football Matches
Iran powered past Malaysia Wednesday by a score of 4-1 in Group A action in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. - 3/4/04

Iran’s Conservative Agenda: Build "an Islamic Japan"
The conservative takeover of the Iranian legislature is, without doubt, a setback for political reform development in Iran. At the same time, the conservatives seem prepared to promote economic reforms, and to probe possibilities for normalizing Iranian-US relations. -Eurasianet - 3/4/04

Islamic Iran Participation Front announces strategy after Majlis elections
The communique says the Participation Front has considered the main concern for Iran yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the establishment of grass root democracy, arguing, "In order to pass through the tough path towards the full establishment of democracy in Iran, we need to rely on shared wisdom of the Iranians, shared criticism, and joint practical moves." - 3/4/04

Iranian artists fear throwback to days of censorship
From the silver screen to print, artistic freedom in Iran is at a 25-year peak. Yet a shift of power from reformers to conservatives could result in a crackdown. -Christian Science Monitor - 3/4/04

Coalition of Iranian organizations to celebrate International Women's Day in Tehran
A coalition of Iranian organizations plans to celebrate this year's International Women's Day in Tehran, Iran. These groups will hold a gathering titled "violence against women" in Laleh park's amphitheatre from 5-7 pm on March 8, 2004 (Esfand 18). - 3/3/04

Bam Benefit concert by Lian Ensemble in Los Angeles on March 7
Reason For Hope: "An Evening with Lian Ensemble" -Join Lian Ensemble for a night of live music, art, and silent auction. All proceeds will fund Bam Earthquake Survivors. - 3/3/04

Iran dispatches 1st batch of relief workers to Iraq
In Karbala, at least 112 people were killed and 235 wounded. In Baghdad, at least 70 people were killed and 321 wounded in explosions in a mosque in the Shiite district of Kazemein, located northwest of the capital city. - 3/3/04

UN nuclear chief upbeat on Iran
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has praised Iran's better co-operation with global non-proliferation efforts as a "sea change". -BBC - 3/3/04

Admit WMD mistake, survey chief tells Bush
David Kay, the man who led the CIA's postwar effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has called on the Bush administration to "come clean with the American people" and admit it was wrong about the existence of the weapons. -Guardian - 3/3/04

Kazakhstan: Astana Denies Links To Nuclear Smuggling Network
Authorities in Kazakhstan deny the country's involvement in any international nuclear-technology-smuggling network -RFE - 3/3/04

FM spokesman stresses Iran's full sovereignty over three Persian Gulf islands
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi on Wednesday stressed Iran's full ownership and sovereignty of the three islands in the Persian Gulf--Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/3/04

Israel Air Force estimates Iran could launch spy satellite within year
”There is a danger that in less than a year, Iran will be capable of launching a satellite into space. They are making great efforts in their space program, some of which is camouflaged as university and similar projects” -Globes, Israel - 3/3/04

Iran's Interior ministry calls on Iranians to forego visits to Iraqi holy sites
Iran's Interior Ministry on Tuesday called on the Iranian people to temporarily avoid visits to the holy sites of Iraq due to inappropriate conditions in that country, IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/3/04

Iran breakthrough proves EU can act without US, says Otte
Although the European Union has always been limited by the US in acting on strategic issues, the breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program shows it can initiate steps by itself, EU Middle East envoy Marc Otte said - 3/3/04

Iraq to mourn Shia massacre dead
Iraq has begun three days of mourning for scores of people killed in bomb attacks in Baghdad and Karbala. -BBC - 3/3/04

Iranian Youth Passive on Politics, Push Social Restrictions to Limit
In the controversy surrounding Iran's recent parliamentary elections, the country's young people largely stood on the sidelines. There were no student protests, as Islamic conservatives prevented thousands of reformist candidates from running for election, and conservatives took control of the parliament. -VOA - 3/3/04

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a major transit route for opiates smuggled from Afghanistan and through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Russia, and Europe. There is no evidence that narcotics transiting Iran reach the United States in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect on the United States. Iran is no longer a major drug producing country. -US Department of State - 3/3/04

Why is Washington going easy on Pakistan’s nuclear black marketers?
On February 4th, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is revered in Pakistan as the father of the country’s nuclear bomb, appeared on a state-run television network in Islamabad and confessed that he had been solely responsible for operating an international black market in nuclear-weapons materials. -New Yorker - 3/2/04

Iran, Muslims abroad mourn on martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein
Shiites in Iran and other countries have been mourning since Sunday for Hazrat Hussein Ibn Ali (AS), the third infallible Imam of Prophet Mohammad's (Peace Be Upon Him and His Progeny) infallible Household, on the eve of his 1,364th martyrdom anniversary, which falls on Tuesday, the 10th day of the lunar month of Moharram, 'Ashura,' IRNA reported from Tehran. - 3/2/04

Report: Israel broke Iranian code
A secret Israeli intelligence unit, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code enabling Israel to monitor communications, including contacts with Pakistan regarding the development of Iranian nuclear weapons, the New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday. -Jerusalem Post - 3/2/04

The long road to a mine-free world
Notably, the 44 countries which have not yet joined the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) include China, Russia, the USA, Israel, India, Pakistan, both Koreas, Iraq and Iran. -IRIN - 3/2/04

EU/U.S.: Talks To Focus On Greater Middle East
A high-level European Union delegation travels to Washington today for talks. The central topic of discussion is expected to be a controversial U.S. plan for the modernization of what it calls the Greater Middle East. -RFE - 3/2/04

After so long, pilgrims flock openly to Karbala
Tens of thousands of Iraqi Shias and pilgrims from around the Middle East will gather in the holy city of Karbala today for the culmination of an important religious observance that has not been allowed in the country since before Saddam. -Guardian - 3/2/04

Death crash plane 'in reverse'
The propellers of an Iranian plane inexplicably went into reverse minutes before it crashed last month, killing 46 people, the civil aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday. -CNN - 3/2/04

Afghanistan: Self-Immolation Of Women On The Rise In Western Provinces
The Afghan government is expressing concern over the growing number of women in Herat Province who have killed themselves through self-immolation. -RFE - 3/2/04

Kerry's Iranian Sugar Daddies
Among Sen. John Kerry's top fund-raisers are three Iranian-Americans who have been pushing for dramatic changes in U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 3/2/04

Dozens Of Worshipers Killed In Karbala, Baghdad Blasts
At least 50 people were killed and hundreds wounded in Karbala, a Shi'a holy city. In Baghdad, around 75 people were killed and 200 more were wounded. -RFE - 3/2/04

Iran: Neoconservatism's Last Stand?
Will Iran's recent parliamentary elections, which resulted in a big win for "the clerics," give the neocons a much-needed shot in the arm, or has an ideological twilight truly befallen them? - 3/2/04

Iran meets Iraq over oil pipeline
US-led occupation authorities in Iraq have backed plans to build an oil pipeline to Iran to help speed up the flood of oil out of the country. -BBC - 3/2/04

Iran's Parliament passes budget bill for next fiscal year
Iran's Parliament (Majlis) in an open session on Sunday approved the budget bill for the next Iranian year (starting March 20) totalling 1,154,320,784,841,000 rials - 3/1/04

Iranian official: Gasoline imports may top dlrs 7bn by 2010
An Iranian official said in Tehran on Sunday that given the current unfettered consumption, gasoline import bill may top dlrs seven billion by the end of the fourth five-year development plan (March 2005-2010), IRNA reported. - 3/1/04

Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration
Since 9-11, a small group of "neo-conservatives" in the Administration have effectively gutted--they would say reformed--traditional American foreign and security policy. Notable features of the new Bush doctrine include the pre-emptive use of unilateral force, and the undermining of the United Nations ... -Counterpunch - 3/1/04

Uranium Traveled to Iran Via Russia, Inspectors Find
Inspectors have found evidence that some of the highly enriched uranium found on nuclear machinery in Iran came from Russia, European diplomats and American experts said Friday. -New York Times - 3/1/04

Iraqis agree draft constitution
The Iraqi Governing Council says it has reached agreement on the draft of a temporary national constitution. -BBC - 3/1/04

Injustice breeds terrorism, says Iran's Khatami
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said on Saturday injustice and inequality were breeding terrorism and violence such as the 2001 Sept. 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center. -CNN - 3/1/04

N. Korea Nuclear Talks End Without Agreement
Although the six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programs ended Saturday in Beijing, China, with no firm agreement, political analysts generally agreed that the long-awaited talks were a step in the right direction. The signs on Saturday did not look good. -VOA - 3/1/04

Persian New Year Festival planned in Houston, Texas
An event is planned for Sunday March 21, 2004 in Houston, Texas to celebrate the beginning of the Iranian new year. This festival, Persian New Year Festival, is organized by a non profit organization (Iranian-American Cultural Organization of Houston). - 3/1/04

National and international attention to OFAC ruling on publishing
Concerns of the US publishers to apply for licenses from Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to edit the papers from embargoed countries, and the decision of the American Chemical Society (ACS) to ignore OFAC’s ruling on publishing, attracted the attention of national and International media to this ruling - 3/1/04

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