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Berlin Meeting Seeking Next Steps Against Iran
The foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council met today in Berlin to discuss further steps to take against Iran if the government refuses to halt uranium enrichment. -RFE - 3/31/06

Iraqi president urges speedy Iran-US talks on Iraq
Iraq's president Jalal Talabani here on Thursday called for speedy talks and dialogue between Iran and the US on Iraq. -IRNA - 3/31/06

New Tensions Complicate Relations Between Baku And Tehran
More than 600 representatives of Azerbaijani diaspora organizations in 49 countries assembled in Baku on March 16 for the second World Azerbaijani Congress. -Eurasia Daily Monitor - 3/31/06

'Democratizing' Iran: A Case of Déjà Vu
The guys who brought you the liberation of Iraq are at it again - 3/31/06

Iran: UN, U.S. Concerned Over Situation Of Baha'is
The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion, Asma Jahangir, said last week that the secret letter was sent on October 29 by the chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces in Iran to the country's Ministry of Information, the Revolutionary Guard, and the police. -RFE - 3/31/06

Public Ever More Skeptical About Bush's Crusade
The vast majority of the U.S. public appears to have grown thoroughly disillusioned with Pres. George W. Bush's crusade to spread democracy abroad, according to a new survey by one of the country's premier public opinion analysts. -IPS - 3/31/06

The US Propaganda Machine: Oh, What a Lovely War
The Lincoln Group was tasked with presenting the US version of events in Iraq to counter adverse media coverage. Here we present examples of its work, and the reality behind its headlines. -Independent - 3/31/06

South Africa urges respect for rights of Iran within NPT
South African president Thabo Mbeki says his country would not agree to any interventions made to undermine respect for the principles that are noticed within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation of Treaty (NPT). -IRNA - 3/31/06

Former Miss Cda defends Iranian on death row
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a B.C. resident who won the Miss Canada pageant in 2003, has never met the Iranian woman whose life she is trying to save. - 3/31/06

Quake toll in Iran's Lorestan Province rises to 66
Overnight quakes in the western province of Lorestan have thus far killed 66 people and injured 988 others. The killer quakes, ranging between 4.7 to 6 degrees on the Richter scale, have also inflicted heavy damage on provincial cities of Dorud and Borujerd -IRNA - 3/31/06

Ahmadinejad & Bush : Birds of a Feather After All That Jazz
The United States and Iran may be sitting on opposite sides of what appears to be a international stand-off on the latter’s nuclear program but it’s remarkable how quickly the leaders of both nations have jumped at the chance to shore up their political base in their respective countries. -American Chronicle - 3/31/06

Could Sanctions Stop Iran?
Recent History Suggests That the Prospects Aren't Good -Washington Post - 3/31/06

China, Russia reaffirm IAEA role in settling Iran's nuclear dispute
China and Russia stressed again that the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency is the only proper forum to solve the Iranian nuclear dispute. -IRNA - 3/31/06

A Disoriented U.S. Can't Lead on Iran
Recent discussions of U.S. policy toward Iran have demonstrated a great deal of disagreement on the proper course of action. -Justin Logan, Cato Institute - 3/31/06

Shin Do Kumate: "The Persian Warrior" Master Mehrdad vs. Rick "The Jet" Roufus
The crowd was explosive as the earlier fights had built up the anticipation for the main event between Master Mehrdad "The Persian Warrior" of St. Petersburg, FL and Rick "The Jet" Roufus of Tempe, AZ. - 3/31/06

Bush enters debate on freedom in Iran
In choosing Freedom House as the venue for a foreign policy address this week, President George W. Bush has stepped into an intense debate among democracy activists in the US and Iran over how US dollars should be used to carry out the administration’s policy of promoting freedom in the Islamic republic.-Financial Times - 3/31/06

Congressman Says Iran War Delayed
Congressman Ron Paul has contradicted other high profile warnings that a military strike on Iran is right around the corner by opining that any act of aggression is still some time away and that the build-up to another war is still in the propaganda phase of being sold to the American people. -Prison Planet - 3/31/06

The US is Gauging Islamist Organizations' Commitment to the Democratic Process
With the recent victory by Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and the success of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in the Egyptian elections, the Bush administration wants Islamist organizations to demonstrate their commitment to the democratic process. -VOA - 3/31/06

Iran Condemns 'Propaganda' Against its Nuclear Program
Iran's foreign minister has condemned what he calls exaggerated and unjustified propaganda against his country's nuclear program. In a speech Thursday to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, the minister lashed out at Western countries for misleading the international community about Iran's nuclear ambitions. -VOA - 3/31/06

Sanctions against Iran 'bad idea'
Iran is not an imminent threat and sanctions against the Islamic Republic would be a "bad idea", the UN nuclear watchdog chief has warned. -BBC - 3/31/06

Russia and Iran: old neighbours, new rivals
The already entangled history of two post-imperial, post-revolutionary states – Russia and Iran – is being complicated today by strategic competition, reports James Owen. -Open Democracy - 3/31/06

Iran Seeks Greater Role in Middle East
Iran's nuclear ambitions continue to provoke widespread concern, particularly in the United States. Meanwhile, Tehran has agreed to meet with U.S. representatives to discuss the situation in Iraq. -VOA - 3/30/06

FM: Iran ready to continue cooperation with IAEA
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Geneva on Thursday that Iran was ready to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). -IRNA - 3/30/06

The key lies in Iran's history
After years of indecision and internal squabbling, the Bush administration has finally settled on an Iran policy: Washington will rely on coercive diplomacy - sanctions backed by the threat of military strikes - to rid Iran of its nuclear program, while simultaneously seeking to foment regime change in Tehran. -Charles A. Kupchan and Ray Takeyh, IHT - 3/30/06

Norouz in Turkmenistan
In Turkmenistan, on the eve of Norouz, an unmarried young man eats half of a pastry and goes to bed without drinking water. It is believed that he will be marrying the girl who offers him water in his dream. -CHN - 3/30/06

Afghanistan Juggles Relationships With US, Iran
In Kabul, the international war of words over Iran is being carefully monitored. Afghan officials insist their country takes no sides between its powerful patron, the United States, and its neighbor, Iran. -VOA - 3/30/06

Perspectives of Iran gas – South Pars as global energy factor
Perspectives of Iran gas extraction and transit, in particular, current stage of realization of the Southern Pars project, as well as international and regional political and economic tendencies, connected with it, were presented by Deputy Director of Noravank Scientific-Educational Fund Sevak Sarukhanyan on March 28 in Yerevan. -REGNUM - 3/30/06

We, the undersigned, feel compelled to take a clear position in response to the recent announcement by the US Administration to allocate $85 million in aid to groups opposed to the Islamic regime in Iran. - 3/30/06

Will US use Iran military option?
If the current diplomatic efforts to get Iran to suspend its nuclear fuel enrichment activities do not work, it is inevitable that at some stage, attention will be turned to discussion of a military option. -BBC - 3/30/06

US Wants Consensus to Stem Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets her counterparts from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany in Berlin on Thursday to discuss Iran's nuclear program. -VOA - 3/30/06

LEBANON: The many hands and faces of Hezbollah
"The hand that fights, the hand that builds" is the Hezbollah slogan that sums up the essence of Lebanon's "party of God": one hand to protect the party's mainly Shi'ite following – with arms, if necessary; the other to improve its living conditions. -IRIN - 3/30/06

Norouz in Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, people cook sumalak, the symbolic Norouz dish. It is its mass character when each participant of this event becomes a part of the general elation that has prevented Norouz from falling into oblivion. -CHN - 3/30/06

Arab world's blind spot
As the killing, starvation and rape of Darfur residents by Arab Janjaweed militias continue unabated, a growing chorus of voices is calling for action to end the genocide. -Afshin Molavi, NY Daily News - 3/30/06

"The Iranian government is strong. But not that strong."
In the mountains with a Kurdish opposition group trying to bring democracy to Iran. -Mother Jones - 3/30/06

Russian warning over Iran crisis
Russia has warned it will not support any attempts to use force to resolve the stand-off over Iran's controversial nuclear programme. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "exclusively political methods should be used". -BBC - 3/30/06

U.S. carries big stick but is trying diplomacy on Iran arms
The Bush administration, still facing questions about the absence of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that it cited as justification for war, is delicately handling its current challenge of assuring the world that the weapons program of Iran presents a real threat. -Chicago Tribune - 3/30/06

Iran to launch massive naval wargame titled "Holy Prophet"
Iran is to launch a massive joint naval wargame titled "Holy Prophet", beginning on March 31 with shooting of a Shahab II Missile into the air with the message of "Peace and Friendship" for the regional countries, Persian Gulf, and Sea of Oman littoral states. -IRNA - 3/30/06

Iran: Reformists Fear Ahmadinejad's Policies
London, Asharq Al-Awsat- several Iranian reformists have sent a message to Iran’s supreme spiritual leader Ali Khamenei warning against the damage that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies are causing their country Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal. - 3/30/06

UN Security Council issues non-binding statement on Iran's nuclear case
The UN Security Council on Wednesday passed a non-binding Franco-British text on Iran amid harsh US protests. The US objected to the statement saying it failed to address its demand. -IRNA - 3/30/06

The Sawers letter: The game plan on Iran is becoming clearer
The Anglo-Americans want a Security Council resolution allowing for the eventual use of force. Iran must play its cards very carefully from now onwards. -Siddharth Varadarajan - 3/30/06

WILL US NUKE IRAN? New video highlights the threat
In a newly released video, titled "Will America use nuclear weapons in a military showdown with Iran?", Dr Jeorge Hirsch, Professor of Physics at University of California San Diego, compellingly draws the attention of the international community to the threats and dangers of a US nuclear attack on Iran. -CASMII - 3/29/06

Revised Data Show a Large Jump in Iran's External Debt
The latest quarterly report from the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran reveals a significant upward revision in the country's external debt for the 2001–05 period. Total external debt at the end of September 2005 was previously reported at $17.0 billion, but the latest revision puts it 43% higher, at $24.5 billion. -Nader Habibi - 3/29/06

"Cabal" Blocked 2003 Nuclear Talks with Iran
The George W. Bush administration failed to enter into negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme in May 2003 because neoconservative zealots who advocated destabilisation and regime change were able to block any serious diplomatic engagement with Tehran, according to former administration officials. -IPS - 3/29/06

WILLIAM O. BEEMAN: U.S.-Iran talks may bring a thaw
The United States and Iran are proposing to hold talks for the first time in 27 years. The breakthrough has a good chance of success, because it has been structured in a culturally appropriate way. -Providence Journal - 3/29/06

Bulgarian cargo plane crashes on suburbs of Tehran
A Bulgarian cargo plane Antonov crashed on suburbs of Tehran. Four crew members from the total 12 were injured or suffered burns. -IRNA - 3/29/06

Nuking Innocence
Professing to be the greater civilization, the intellect is deliberately disassociated, sanity is interned so that greed may proceed and allow the savagery of the greater to prey upon the less. While mankind strives for nobility, there are some among us who contemplate such base decisions that would threaten the existence of another nation. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/29/06

Iranian Police Attack Women's Rights Activists
Human rights organization Amnesty International stated in a recent report that discrimination against women still exists in 36 countries. Iran is among those on the list. -Niusha Boghrati, World Pess - 3/29/06

Iran hard-line regime cracks down on blogs
Dozens of Iranian bloggers have faced harassment by the government, been arrested for voicing opposing views, and fled the country in fear of prosecution over the past two years. -AP - 3/29/06

Straw: Iran will not be 'another Iraq'
Military action against Iran is neither appropriate nor conceivable, British Foreign Jack Straw insisted Tuesday. -UPI - 3/29/06

This Island Earth
Allegory and poetry aboard an Iranian boat trip -Village Voice - 3/29/06

Rival Shia Groups Unite Against US after Mosque Raid
Senior ministers from the three main Shia factions united yesterday to denounce an American raid on a Baghdad mosque complex in which at least 20 people died, opening the biggest rift between the US and Iraq's majority Shia community since the toppling of Saddam Hussein. -Guardian - 3/29/06

Security Council Very Close to Accord on Iran
The five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council are rushing to reach agreement on a statement confronting Iran's suspect nuclear program before their foreign ministers meet later this week. Ambassadors are close to an accord. -VOA - 3/29/06

Can Turkey bridge the gap between Islam and the West?
By improving ties with Iran and Syria, Turkey aims to help mediate tensions. -CSM - 3/29/06

Iraq: U.S. Relations With Main Shi'ite Alliance Fraying
Relations between Iraq's Shi'ite-led United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and the U.S. government continued to sour this week following allegations that U.S.-backed Iraqi forces opened fire on a group of worshippers inside a Baghdad mosque on March 26. The incident follows months of increasing tension between the UIA and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. -RFE - 3/29/06

NIAC launches legislative watch program
The National Iranian American Council is proud to announce the launch of the Legislative Watch Program, which will provide the Iranian-American community not only with timely information about policy developments in Washington, but also with opportunities for the community to affect these developments. - 3/29/06

Israel, Iran, and the Future of the Middle East
There is a dangerous game underway in the Middle East that could erupt at any point in the form of a devastating regional war if urgent diplomatic steps to head it off are not taken immediately. There are growing signs that Israel is pushing the United States to attack Iran's nuclear facilities partly by threatening (or bluffing) to attack itself and partly by using its leverage in Washington to pressure the U.S. Government to harden their stance on Iran's nuclear program. -TFF - 3/29/06

Dr. Touraj Daryaee joins Board of Trustees of Iranian-American Scholarship Fund
It is with great pleasure that we welcome to the Board of Trustees of the Iranian-American Scholarship Fund. Dr. Touraj Daryaee. Dr. Daryaee teaches History of Ancient Persia - Ancient World History, at California State University-Fullerton. - 3/28/06

Iran: First batch of LPG petrochemical output exported from South Pars
The first consignment of LPG, a series of petrochemical outputs from South Pars industrial zone was exported from a special jetty built for the purpose. -IRNA - 3/28/06

Rice Heads to Europe for Meeting on Iran's Nuclear Program
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will join her counterparts from the other permanent member countries of the U.N. Security Council and Germany Thursday for a meeting in Berlin on Iran's nuclear program. U.S. officials say they'll try to come up with a strategy for getting Tehran to give up nuclear activities they say are weapons related. -VOA - 3/28/06

Delays turn to stalemate over Iran's nuclear ambitions
What was supposed to be a quick discussion in the United Nations Security Council to solidify international opposition to Iran's nuclear program has turned into a stalemate. -CSM - 3/28/06

Kurdistan: Meet the New Bosses
The neocons in Washington love to talk about how they're promoting freedom and democracy in Iraq. They often cite as their example the country's Kurdish population, staunch allies of Washington, who have been protected by the American military since no-fly zones were imposed after the 1991 Gulf War. But just how much freedom is there in northern Iraq? -Common Dreams - 3/28/06

Principled responses U.S. should make toward Iran
America's ultimate goal should be to expose the fallacy of Islamic fundamentalism as an economic and political ideology, just as America did with communism. America is in a mini-Cold War with the Islamic Republic of Iran, mini because the scope of rivalry is limited to the Islamic world. -Reza Ladjevardian, Houston Chronicle - 3/28/06

Iraqis Killed by US Troops 'On Rampage'
Claims of Atrocities by Soldiers Mount -Sunday Times of London - 3/28/06

Shi'ite rivals say Bush wants Iraq PM Jaafari out
A senior Iraqi politician from a rival Shi'ite party to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said on Tuesday that U.S. President George W. Bush had made clear he did not want Jaafari to lead a new government of national unity. -Reuters - 3/28/06

Khatami dismisses US anti-Iran accusation on Iraq interference
Former president Mohammad Khatami said in Manama on Monday that US anti-Iran scenario on interference in Iraqi affairs is unfounded and that the occupation forces are responsible for providing Iraqi people with security. -IRNA - 3/28/06

Russia Says Iran Must Decide On Nuclear Offer
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov today demanded that Iran give an "unambiguous" agreement or refusal to Russia's offer to process the Islamic republic's nuclear fuel. -RFE - 3/28/06

Iran: Talks With U.S. Won't End Use Of 'Soft Power' In Iraq
The much-heralded Iran-U.S. talks on Iraq, which Tehran agreed to in mid-March, may result in an end to Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs. But even if Iran ends its use of direct means -- such as the provision of arms and money to militias -- its use of indirect means, or "soft power," to influence Iraqi affairs is unlikely to end. -RFE - 3/28/06

The Juilliard School presents the New York premiere of Behzad Ranjbaran's Violin Concerto on Monday, April 10
Conductor and Juilliard alumnus Gerard Schwarz leads the Juilliard Orchestra in the New York premiere of Juilliard faculty member and composer Behzad Ranjbaran's Violin Concerto with student violinist William Harvey, Diamond/Schwarz's Fanfare, and Mahler's Symphony No. 5 on Monday, April 10 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. - 3/28/06

Turkmen Identity on the Wane in Iran
The younger generation of ethnic Turkmen is increasingly adopting Iranian ways, even discarding their own language in favour of Persian. -Muhammad Tahir, Prague - 3/27/06

America puts talks with Tehran on hold
The promised talks between the US and Iran on the situation in Iraq have been put on hold after Iraq's president and other ministers demanded that no negotiations take place over their heads, American officials in Baghdad have disclosed. -Guardian - 3/27/06

How to Love a Hard-Liner
The ski resort of Shemshak, just outside Tehran, is the last place you would expect to hear expressions of nationalist ardor. The slopes are filled with wealthy Iranians who sip hot chocolate in the shadow of a dazzling sun and spend most of their time gabbing about designer skiwear and which party to attend that evening. -TIME - 3/27/06

United States Must Address Control of its Middle East Policies by Israeli Lobby
Because of the gross, longstanding bias in U.S. policy in the Middle East, the world teeters on the precipice of widening conflict focused on religion-- sadly, unnecessarily, dangerously. Christendom versus Islam. -Common Dreams - 3/27/06

Iran Consultations Continue at UN
Consultations continued throughout the weekend at the United Nations, as diplomats seek agreement on the best way for the Security Council to deal with the issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Bush administration says there is no time to waste. -VOA - 3/27/06

Norouz in Kyrgyzstan
Norouz in Kyrgyzstan is a time for sharing. It is a time when people share their dreams, thoughts and hopes. -CHN - 3/27/06

Why Iran oil cutoff could be suicidal
Iran's nuclear standoff with the United States, Europe, and other nations has led to considerable speculation of $100-per-barrel oil and $4-per-gallon gasoline in the US. Such high prices might kick off a worldwide energy crisis and recession. -CSM - 3/27/06

Norouz in Pakistan: Alam Afrouz
The ancient festival of Norouz in Pakistan is celebrated as the symbol of New Day. Norouz in Pakistan is called Alam Afrouz meaning the New Day that illuminates the world with its arrival. -CHN - 3/27/06

Will This Man Get The Bomb?
As the world weighs how to contain Iran and its fiery President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, TIME assesses the potential threat of a nuclear Iran -TIME - 3/27/06

Iraqi leader rules out US accusations against Iran
Iran isn't interfering in internal Iraqi affairs as some US officials have contended, the head of Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim told CNN on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/27/06

Iranian hawk swoops on universities to crush dissent
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cracking down on Iran's universities in an effort to crush a student pro-democracy movement and strengthen the hardliners' grip on power. -Guardian - 3/27/06

In Iran, Even Some On Right Warning Against Extremes
Nine months after the election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, Iranian politics has shifted so sharply to the right that some traditional conservatives are warning of the dangers of radicalism. -Washington Post - 3/27/06

Birth place of Nima Yushij attracts great number of vacationers
, the birth place of the famous contemporary poet Nima Yushij, near the town of Nour in this northern province was visited by a large number of this year's Norouz (New Iranian Year starting March 21) vacationers. -IRNA - 3/26/06

Iran: Quake in Hormuzgan prov kills one person, injures another
Director General of the provincial Natural Disasters Headquarters, Masoud Dalman, said here Sunday that Fin and Rouidar areas were jolted by earthquakes on Saturday which left one person dead and another one injured. -IRNA - 3/26/06

Mild quake hits southern province of Bushehr in Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale hit the outskirts of Dayyer port city in the southern province of Bushehr Saturday evening. -IRNA - 3/26/06

Political Impasse in Iraq Elicits Stiff Warning From US Leaders
Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders are continuing efforts to break an impasse that has prevented them from forming a new government. The Iraqi politicians met Saturday, but failed to settle their differences. -VOA - 3/26/06

Southern Iranian province of Hormuzgan hit by 3 successive quakes
Three successive earthquakes measuring 6.0, 3.8 and 4.8 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Fin and nearby villages in the southern province of Hormuzgan on Saturday. -IRNA - 3/25/06

Conference on "Iran Archaeology" opens in Tokyo
Conference on "Iran Archaeology" opened at Iranian embassy in Tokyo on Saturday in presence of a number of Japanese researchers and scholars. Three Japanese researchers presented reports on their archaeological studies in Iran. -IRNA - 3/25/06

Israeli media condemn, discuss report on US-Israel ties
While mainstream media in the United States have been largely silent, media in Israel, and Jewish-community media in the United States, have been reporting on, and discussing a paper by two prominent political scientists who argue that the US's current relationship with Israel is not good for US security. -CSM - 3/25/06

US General: Military Action Not Imminent Against Iran
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, said Friday that Washington does not see military action against Iran as an immediate option to force the Iranian regime to scrap its nuclear program. General Pace made the comments on the second day of an official trip to Ankara. -VOA - 3/25/06

Rice Discusses Iran with Russian Counterpart
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is stepping up efforts for a U.N. Security Council statement calling on Iran to end uranium enrichment and return to negotiations on its nuclear program. She spoke to her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov Friday and will go to Europe next week for talks dominated by the Iranian issue. -VOA - 3/25/06

Iran speeds up nuclear programme as crisis talks bog down
Iran is racing ahead with preparations to enrich uranium as the big powers struggle to decide on their next moves aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis surrounding the country. -Guardian - 3/25/06

Albright criticizes Bush's good vs evil rhetoric
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Friday criticized the Bush administration's newly unveiled national security strategy based on the good vs. evil rhetoric. -IRNA - 3/25/06

On a desert trek, former enemies form new bonds
Having crossed deserts by camel and truck, a mission of nine peace seekers from Israel and the Palestinian territories, Iraq and America, was that close to making it through passport control in Libya, a country that has always barred entrance to citizens of the Jewish state. -CSM - 3/25/06

More Failed Diplomacy
Back in November, 2004, the United Kingdom, France and Germany (E3) undertook to negotiate with Iran on behalf of the European Union a mutually acceptable long-term agreement which would provide the EU "objective guarantees" that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. -Gordon Prather, - 3/25/06

Iran: Supreme Leader Approves Tehran's Talks With Washington
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei says that if Iranian officials can make the United States understand Iranian views on Iraq "there is no problem with the talks." -RFE - 3/24/06

Israel Lobby Dictates U.S. Policy, Study Charges
"This situation has no equal in American political history," says the 83-page study, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy". "Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?" ask authors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. -IPS - 3/24/06

Giving ‘Freedom’ a Bad Name
Against this war-mongering backdrop, last Saturday a few Harvard students organized an “Iran Freedom Concert” with the supposed aim of promoting awareness about human rights violations in Iran. According to the concert’s website, the organizers took no stance “on policy issues like foreign intervention.” Their message was “simple”: “Civil rights must be respected by any Iranian government, and freedom must become a reality for all Iranians.” -Alireza Doostdar and am Gharavi, Harvard Crimson - 3/24/06

Opening With a Trap Door
Ask administration hard-liners about Iran's sudden acceptance of the U.S. offer to talk about stability in Iraq and you hear this reaction: It's a booby trap. These hawks are right. Put the same question to moderates on the Bush team and this is the response: It's an opening in the confrontation and a necessary step toward an exit strategy for Iraq. The remarkable thing is that these doves are right, too. -Washington Post - 3/24/06

Iran Bill May Hinder Efforts on Nukes
Congressional efforts to enact stringent sanctions against Tehran could hamper the administration's drive to cobble a broad international coalition to curb the Iranian nuclear program. -Forward - 3/24/06

Nearly Half of Adults Think U.S. Efforts to Prevent Iran from Building Nuclear Weapons Should Happen With U.N. Support
While almost everyone is concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, almost half (47%) of all U.S. adults think that the United States should only act with support from the United Nations to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. -Harris Interactive - 3/24/06

Rice Says No Time for Delay on UN Iran Statement
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday there should be no further delay on a U.N. Security Council statement calling on Iran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Differences among permanent council members on the wording of a statement have stalled action. -VOA - 3/24/06

Turkey's emerging fear: Iranian influence
It was one of those revealing slips of the tongue that laid bare the true state of geopolitical affairs in the Middle East as seen from Ankara. Speaking to his Czech counterpart, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul recently confessed that he feared the spread of Iranian influence from southern Iraq to his own country. -Iason Athanasiadis, Daily Star - 3/24/06

Norouz in the Republic of Azerbaijan
Norouz, pronounced Nov-ruz meaning new day is back again on the calendar as the most important national holiday in the Republic of Azerbaijan after having been prohibited for 70 years under the Soviet leadership. -CHN - 3/24/06

War Making 101 - A User's Manual
I've lived through seven decades and can remember the late 1930s before WW II began. In fact, I began my formal education in kindergarten within days of when Hitler sent his Wehrmacht across the Polish border in an act of illegal aggression and began that near six year horror. -Stephen Lendman, Peace Journal - 3/24/06

Prsian Ats Fstival "a real success"
The Persian Arts Festival, which took place on Sunday March 19th, in New York City, right after the Persian Day Parade was a real success. With hundreds and hundreds of attendees, the four-floor phenomenon was packed at all times with young, old, the curious and the fanciful. The organizers presented a non-stop array of Art, Film, Stand-up Comedy, Persian food and much more. -Persian Mirror - 3/24/06

Muddling Through
The Bush administration has no idea what it's doing - 3/24/06

MTN to launch cellphone network in Iran
MTN, Africa's largest cellphone company, said on Thursday it would launch a second network in Iran in August, reaching 31-million subscribers by 2015. -MG - 3/24/06

Iran reporters debate nuclear issue
As the international debate over Iran's nuclear programme has intensified, some Iranian journalists say they have come under increasing pressure not to criticise their government on the issue. -BBC - 3/24/06

US accuses Iran of Iraq duplicity
US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has said Iran is publicly professing support for Iraq's political process while backing militias and insurgents. -BBC - 3/24/06

Afghanistan: Pressure On Kabul Grows Over Religious Conversion Case
The Afghan government faces growing international pressure to intervene in a court case in which a man faces a possible death sentence because he converted from Islam to Christianity. -RFE - 3/24/06

Norouz in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, New Year is called Navrouz pronounced Nawrooz, which literally means new day and is one of the oldest holidays celebrated in Central Asia. In Afghanistan the New Year begins on March 21 and is celebrated with community gatherings and special meals. -CHN - 3/24/06

Islam and globanalisation
Until late last month, when Salman Rushdie added his name to those of a few other like-minded souls and signed a statement attacking Muslims for having been outraged by a set of Danish cartoons depicting their prophet with satirical ridicule, something seemed amiss in that whole global uproar, writes Hamid Dabashi -Al-Ahram - 3/24/06

Publication of Old Maps of Persia (Iran) in The Netherlands
In the course of history, the Persian Empire has been extensively mapped by well-known cartographers of the world. However, the absence of a good carto-bibliography with adequate descriptions of such maps has always been deeply felt not only by scholars but by friends of the history and geography of Persia as well. -Pejman Akbarzadeh - 3/24/06

America turns killing into public gambling
On Tuesday, March 21st, 2006, CNN introduced a website called Tradesports; a website which wagers on death and destruction. That is, money can be made by placing bets on when a joint US/Israel attack will kill Iranians. During the program aired at 3 p.m. EST, CNN stated that they will use statistical odds developed by professional security groups. Gambling at its most exciting! -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/24/06

Persian-Iranian Parade 2006 (1385/2565) In New York City Set A New Milestone
The third annual Persian-Iranian Parade, held along the fifteen blocks of Madison Avenue in New York City on March 19, drew a record cheering crowd of Iranian Americans, curious tourists and mainstream Americans. -Davood N. Rahni - 3/24/06

In the Name of the Iranian People - Regime Change or Regime Reform?
The new Iran policy is said to differ from the previous policy in two significant ways: It distinguishes the "Islamic regime" from the "Iranian people," and it focuses on changing (some say reforming) the Islamic regime, rather than its behavior. In short, it is a regime change (or regime reform) policy in the name of the Iranian people. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 3/24/06

Iran: Reinterpreting Ashura
The West may not have noticed -- and nor, perhaps, may many Muslims -- but a range of Islamic thinkers are currently trying to raise awareness and understanding of the Islamic tradition of pacifism, tolerance, and rationality. Among them is Emad Baghi, an Iranian scholar of Islam, previously himself imprisoned for his writings about the killing of critics of the regime in the 1990 and now the head of the Tehran-based Organization for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights. -RFE - 3/23/06

An Unnecessary Crisis: The Iranian Nuclear Showdown
For almost a half century Iran, both under the government of Shah Reza Pahlavi and the succeeding Islamic governments after the Shah's overthrow in 1978, has had a policy of developing nuclear plants for electric power generation. -David MacMichael, Former CIA analyst - 3/23/06

Akbar Ganji released from jail
The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has invited Ganji to Moscow in June to accept the Golden Pen of Freedom award for his "outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom." The organisation is urging Iranian authorities to allow the journalist to attend the conference. - 3/23/06

Security Council Deadlocks on Iran; Britain, France Consider Options
Efforts to bring U.N. Security Council pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear ambitions have faltered in the face of stiff opposition from Russia and China. Britain and France are considering forcing the issue to a vote. -VOA - 3/23/06

Iranian-American Actor Anthony Azizi Uses Fame to Promote Women's Rights
Veteran television and film actor Anthony Azizi has played a variety of roles ranging from the intensely dramatic to hilariously comedic. But it is his current TV role as an aide to the first female U.S. president that allows him to blend his passion for acting with support for women's rights. -VOA - 3/23/06

Looking for a Date, Maybe More
Great Satan seeks Axis-ette of Evil. Object: Short-term companionship, relief of stress, "exit strategy." If first date works out, a longer-term relationship may be possible. GS is a muscular guy, regular churchgoer, tough talker but sentimental weakness for democracy, who needs a partner with a yen for cleaning up the neighborhood. You? Well . . . surprise me. Smoking and uranium enrichment are no-nos. -Washington Post - 3/23/06

Shahbanou's Reminder
Shahbanou's regular messages to her compatriots are more than royal declarations on topical Iranian issues. They provide us with a sense of perspective in the midst of chaos, and instability that has been our national lot for the past quarter of a century. -Reza Bayegan - 3/23/06

World's top 44 referees competing in Germany to officiate World Cup games
Some of the world's top 44 referees, among them Iran's Massoud Moradi, are competing in Germany for the right to officiate football matches at the upcoming 2006 World Cup, the Frankfurt-based World Cup Organizing Committee announced on its website on Thursday. -IRNA - 3/23/06

India must take initiative on Iran
India has to refrain from the meaningless rhetoric which has symbolisd Indian involvement in this matter during the past six months, delivered mainly to please the US and its allies. -Rediff, India - 3/23/06

Iran to invest one billion dollars in Iraq’s industrial sector
Iran appears prepared to give a helping hand to its erstwhile foe Iraq by investing about one billion dollars in Iraq’s ravaged industrial sector. -Iraq Development Program - 3/23/06

Reformed Iranian group hosts New Year celebration
The Iranian Student Association (ISA) hosted its first event Tuesday in front of Lecture Hall 151 since its reformation 10 days ago. -Daily Forty-Niner, Long Beach - 3/23/06

UK embassy: Over 2,000 Britons live in Iran
At least 2,000 Britons are estimated to live in Iran, according to the latest consular figures recorded by the UK embassy in Tehran. Consular returns for 2004/2005 put the estimated British national community in Iran at 2,100, one of the lowest in the region. -IRNA - 3/23/06

Prime Minister Jaafari asks Iran, US to begin talks on Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari on Thursday called on Iran and the US to launch meetings and talks on Iraq as soon as possible. -IRNA - 3/23/06

Impact of Nuclear Empowerment on Domestic Political Developments in Iran
A few Iranian groups that are opposed to the ruling Islamic regime and some domestic groups that advocate democratic reforms, have expressed concern that nuclear empowerment (ability to produce weapons grade nuclear material) will strengthen the Islamic regime against its political opponents and it will have no incentive for democratic political reforms. -Nader Habibi - 3/22/06

Iran's top female race driver gets her license
Iran's best female racing car driver Laleh Seddigh was awarded on March 17 her International Racing Driving License during the BMW School Series at the Bahrain International Circuit in Manama. -Middle East Times - 3/22/06

Let war not be the rite of this spring
Freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not concepts invented in the modern western industrialized societies. These are human aspirations and desires and not exclusive to a select people. We are all rooted in the same primordial ooze, no matter what color, creed or religion we represent. Let it not happen that one culture’s aspirations to pursue its entitlements deny another’s of its rights. -Kam Zarrabi - 3/22/06

The Israel Lobby
For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. -John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, LRB - 3/22/06

Sassanid Royal Cemetery Discovered in Gour City
Archeological excavations in city of Gour in Fars province led to the discovery of a cemetery belonging to the Sassanid princes with some unique tub-like coffins which had never been discovered anywhere else in the country. The walls of this tomb are decorated with designs of Sassanid princes and its floor is painted with white, ochre, green and yellow colors. -CHN - 3/22/06

Rediscovery of Hakim Omar Khayyam : The Great Persian Mathematician, Astronomer, Scientist, Philosopher, Poet and Eternal Role Model
On this great occasion I could not think of a better literary gift for all than a few robaiiat of Omar Khayyam, the very great man who, some 900 years ago devised our Calendar that surpasses in accuracy that of Gregorian March 20th or Vernal equinox ushers in the Persian new year or Norouz of some 400 years ago. -Ali Parsa - 3/22/06

'I would like to die in my country'
Returning to Iran isn't the safest thing for a human rights activist to do. But her husband's plight is calling her home. -Boston Globe - 3/22/06

America's Blinders
Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled? -Howard Zinn, Progressive - 3/22/06

UN religious freedom official expresses fears for Baha'is in Iran
Representatives of the Baha'i International Community reacted with alarm today to a United Nations official's statement about actions of the Iranian government against the Baha'is in Iran. -BWNS - 3/22/06

Iranian Jews wary of becoming scapegoats
Members of Iran's Jewish community fear they are being set up to take the blame if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's drive to establish a nuclear program ends badly for the country. -Washington Times - 3/22/06

IRAN-PAKISTAN: Focus on human smuggling
In the small, dusty town of Taftan, located in the extreme southwest of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, along the Iranian border, Muhammad Fayyaz, 24, is a long way from home. -IRIN - 3/22/06

Iranians Looking For Safe Haven in Azerbaijan
International tension over Iran’s nuclear program, coupled with rising concern about a possible US military response, seem to be prompting a growing number of Iranians to look for temporary residences in neighboring Azerbaijan, international organization representatives and realtors in Baku say. -Eurasianet - 3/22/06

Learning to Love the Bomb
At the risk of damaging his reputation, I want to say a few words in praise of a New York Times reporter. David Sanger had a very smart piece in Sunday's "Week in Review" section titled "Suppose We Just Let Iran Have the Bomb." -Nation - 3/22/06

Chavez Defends Iranian Nuclear Program
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez defended Iran's nuclear program Tuesday, saying Washington's firm opposition to Tehran and the invasion of Iraq both resulted from America's insatiable thirst for oil. -AP - 3/22/06

Iranian group threatens to kill captives
An Iranian group calling itself the Sunni Jund Allah (Soldiers of God) has threatened to kill seven Iranians being held in an undisclosed location after being kidnapped. -Aljazeera - 3/22/06

Iran leader backs talks on Iraq
Iran's supreme spiritual leader has backed talks with the United States on the instability in Iraq - but warned Washington against "bullying" tactics. -BBC - 3/22/06

Google's Norouz Logo
World's biggest search engine, Google, placed the Norouz logo, which includes all the seven elements of the Haft Seen table*, on its Persian section to mark the beginning of the solar year, annually celebrated in Iran and nine other neighboring countries on 21 of March. -CHN - 3/22/06

Talking to Iran
IF THERE is any chance to deflect Iran from its apparent quest for nuclear weapons, the Iranian and US governments will have to negotiate. But if the Bush administration continues to rule out any direct bargaining with Tehran over its nuclear program, US policy options will eventually be reduced to two: accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or using bombs and missiles to set back the Iranian program for a few years. -Boston Globe - 3/22/06

Bush's Iran Plan A Time Bomb With Explosive Results
The updated version of the Bush Administration's 2002 national security strategy, released in Washington last week, identifies Iran as the country that may pose the biggest danger to the United States. -The Age - 3/22/06

Iran and the Irrationality Factor
As we now know, they hit Iraq running in March 2003. They were determined to make it to Baghdad without looking back; leave their prize Iraqi, Ahmed Chalabi, in charge; and turn their attention elsewhere, especially to Syria and Iran. When it came to those two countries, they were ready to connect the dots in person and, if need be, by force of arms. They thought they could make "regime change" a regional, and then global, way of life. -TomDispatch - 3/22/06

FM spokesman refutes US claims on al-Qaeda presence in Iran
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi on Wednesday ruled out "unfounded and false" claims of the US that al-Qaeda members were present in Iran. -IRNA - 3/22/06

Bush Sends Greetings for Persian New Year
Our Nation is blessed by the traditions and contributions of Americans of many different backgrounds. Our diversity has made us stronger and better, and Laura and I send warm regards to all Americans celebrating Nowruz. - 3/21/06

No to US aggression, no to Iranian regime
The tasks of the anti-war movement are twofold, argues Mehdi Kia, co-editor of Iran Bulletin - Middle East Forum - 3/21/06

Preventing International Crimes
When Bush went to Congress in September 2002, seeking "specific statutory authorization" to invade Iraq, he based his case on what we now know was "fixed" intelligence -Gordon Prather, - 3/21/06

Iraqi Police Report Details Civilians' Deaths at Hands of U.S. Troops
Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad. -Knight Ridder - 3/21/06

Tehran Courts Support of Arabs
Iran has embarked on a charm offensive in the Arab world aimed at expanding economic and political ties and circumventing efforts by the United States and its allies to isolate Iran over its nuclear program. -Washington Post - 3/21/06

Afghans fear bird flu spreading
Afghan officials fear the deadly bird flu virus may have spread to a third province, a week after the H5N1 strain was first confirmed in the country. -BBC - 3/21/06

Students Rally for Iran Dissidents
As tensions between the Bush administration and the Iranian government escalate over Tehran’s nuclear energy program, around 100 students came to Leverett House on Saturday night for a concert organized to support dissidents in Iran. -Harvard Crimson - 3/21/06

Russia, China Block UN Iran Statement
The five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany have failed to agree on a strategy for pressuring Iran to halt its controversial nuclear program. Approval of a hoped-for common position statement has been delayed to allow more time for diplomacy. -VOA - 3/21/06

U.S. and Iran To Talk About Iraq, But Not Nuclear Crisis
Iran and the United States are ending decades of hostile silence by finally agreeing to hold bilateral talks. Washington insists that the discussions will be limited to ways Tehran can help ease the sectarian violence in neighboring Iraq, and that Iran's suspected nuclear-weapons program will not be raised. But some analysts believe the subject of Iraq could be a pretext for getting the two sides together for serious talks on all the issues that divide the two rivals. -RFE - 3/21/06

Iran: Reformist Party Calls For Talks With Washington, Freeze On Nuclear Activity
Iran's largest reformist party has called for a freeze on sensitive nuclear work and a dialogue with the United States in an effort to stave off an escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear program. The Participation Front (IIPF) is proposing a return to previous policies and the voluntary suspension of all nuclear fuel cycle work. -RFE - 3/21/06

Iran protests to UN secretary-general against US threats
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Monday sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan protesting against recent US threats against Tehran. -IRNA - 3/21/06

Song for Persian Golden Lioness Awards to be created
The World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media – WAALM has decided to create a Classical Music Arm or Song for its annual Persian Golden Lioness Awards - 3/21/06

Iran: Time To Leak
Where are the whistleblowers about Iran? Iran may be saber-rattling, it may even have an extremist government, but so does North Korea, yet we choose the diplomatic route with them always. Of course, North Korea doesn’t have that precious commodity, oil. Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers, no wonder she twitches nervously. Little mention is made of India, Pakistan, China or Israel; - 3/21/06

Rugs to riches
Only in Silicon Valley, perhaps, can Persian rug merchants turn into venture capitalists. For years, Saeed Amidi and his family have shown off elegant Persian and other Oriental carpets to customers of their store, the Medallion Rug Gallery, on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto. -San Jose Mercury - 3/20/06

Iranians to celebrate New Year
Iranians are prepared to celebrate the New Year, the outset of spring season, which is to begin exactly at 21:55:35 local time (18:25:35 GMT or UTC) on Monday March 20 (today). -IRNA - 3/20/06

The Origin of Norouz
Norouz (Persian New Year) is a tie between the past, present, and future and is directly rooted in culture, history, geography, and religious and moral fabric of society. -CHN - 3/20/06

Iranians See Talks With U.S. as Historic
Iran's acceptance of direct talks with the United States over Iraq is being regarded among Iranians as a major foreign policy development, a historic if still tentative departure from 27 years of official enmity that held the government of the "Great Satan" as one to be spoken against, but never with. -Washington Post - 3/20/06

Happy Norouz, there is always hope!
We are coming to the end of the Iranian year 1384, and at such times, one takes a look back and wonders what the year was like. For many if not most of us, it has been hard one, yet as life plays on there are always a few sparkles of good and positive events to help us carry on. This becomes more important as we get older and life becomes harder and more serious. -Syma Sayyah - 3/20/06

Realism pushes US and Iran a bit closer
Mutual interest in Iraq's future will bring the two together for first time since '03 - but to what end? -CSM - 3/20/06

Administration Blocks Ex-Hostages' Bid for Damages From Iran
At an emotional meeting this month at the State Department, steps from the office of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a group of former American hostages released by Iran a quarter of a century ago, accompanied by lawyers and some relatives, confronted two of Rice's most senior aides. -Washington Post - 3/20/06

U.S. myopia harms India-Pakistan amity
While Iran offers less in the way of enticements than the Soviet Union did, its increasing importance as a reliable supplier of oil and gas to several Asian countries has created a dilemma in capitals like Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul, that must address repeated attempts by Washington to slow their ties with Tehran. -Daily Star - 3/20/06

Bush Sees Progress in Iraq, Challenge in Iran
As the U.S. presence in Iraq enters its fourth year, President Bush is pointing to concrete signs of progress there, as he seeks to overcome public skepticism about the war. In his latest speech defending his Iraq policy, Mr. Bush also talked about the challenge posed by Iran. -VOA - 3/20/06

Top U.N. Members To Try to Break Stalemate on Iran
The Security Council's five permanent members and Germany will hold a high-level meeting Monday in New York to try to break an impasse over the international response to the Iranian nuclear crisis. -Washington Post - 3/20/06

Latin American Leftists Redefine Politics
These aren't the hide-in-the-hills leftists of yesteryear, ready to take up arms against the oppressor. A new wave of Latin American leaders — variously labeled leftist, populist, nationalist or socialist — is redefining politics in a region where U.S.-backed, right-wing dictatorships spent decades crushing their mostly leftist opponents and supporting corporate interests amid fears of inroads by the Soviet Union and its Cuban proxy. -AP - 3/20/06

Iran: Ahvaz-Abadan pipeline catches fire
Part of Ahvaz-Abadan pipeline, 45 kms to Ahvaz-Abadan road and in vicinity of Umm al-Ghaznan village, caught fire late Sunday. -IRNA - 3/20/06

In Iran, some festive signs of resistance
ISFAHAN, Iran All day and all night, the main street of this city was packed over the weekend with shoppers jockeying to buy last-minute gifts and sweets as they hurried to get ready for the celebration of the Iranian New Year, called Nowruz. -New York Times - 3/20/06

Akbar Ganji freed
Reporters Without Borders hailed the release today of Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji from Evin prison, north of the capital, where he had been held since April 2000. - 3/20/06

Interview: Israeli President Discusses Iran Nuclear Standoff
On March 18-19, Radio Farda broadcast an exclusive two-part interview with Israeli President Moshe Katzav by journalist Farnoush Ram. In the interview, Katzav states that the international community will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and urges the Iranian government to adopt a course of negotiation and integration with the global community. -RFE - 3/20/06

MP: Iran's acceptance of talks with US would help restore stability, security in Iraq
Iran's acceptance of the proposal of Iraqi religious figure Ayatollah Abd al-Aziz Hakim to hold talk with the US on Iraq will boost hopes of restoring stability and security in Iraq and the region, said an Iranian lawmaker in Tehran on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/20/06

Institute on Religion and Public Policy to Launch Iran Program
Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski today announced the establishment of its Iran Project and the appointment of Dr. Bijan Sepasy as the Program's Founding Director. - 3/20/06

Iran's 127 uses Net to beat repression
Sohrab Mohebbi is in a surprisingly good mood -- considering his livelihood is pretty much illegal. As the leader of the band 127, he plays rock 'n' roll, a pursuit that could bring him riches and acclaim in LA or New York. In his native Iran, not so much. -Fort Worth Star Telegram - 3/20/06

Healing Aspect of Laughter and Crying
Although I had promised not to repeat anything that I have mentioned in other pieces of this Corner, but it seems I need to break that promise in order to begin this article. And what I need to repeat is what I said about laughter before. -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 3/20/06

Iranian Americans Observe Persian New Year Traditions
Some 2 million Iranian Americans – and other immigrants from neighboring countries that were once part of the Persian Empire – are celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20 with rituals that go back thousands of years. - 3/19/06

Iran: Politicians Seek Unity Amidst Nuclear Standoff
As pressure over Iran's nuclear policy intensifies, there have been warnings -- often veiled -- inside Iran by influential moderates about the importance of maintaining national unity. -RFE - 3/19/06

Nowruz Programs in Isfahan, the Cultural Capital of Islamic World
Fish ceremony, establishing painting exhibitions, and Zarih Naghsh exhibition are some of the programs of the city of Isfahan during Nowruz holidays. -CHN - 3/19/06

Third Anniversary of Iraq war is Marked by Protests Around World
Hundreds of thousands of people will take to the streets in Britain and around the world today to protest over the presence of British and American troops in Iraq, amid increasing official recognition that the country is slipping into civil war. -Independent - 3/19/06

Iran's cabinet nullifies decision on daylight saving time
Iran's government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Sunday that the cabinet nullified the decision on daylight saving time, which was ratified in 1991. -IRNA - 3/19/06

Afghanistan: Pink "iPods" for Democracy!
The employees of Voice for Humanity, in a fever of righteous idealism, traveled six hours on donkeys and horses through the remotest parts of the Afghanistan countryside. They were on a mission: to deliver what they thought was an invaluable literacy tool for Afghans. Pink for women, silver for men. - 3/19/06

Family, food big parts of Norooz
March has been busy for Persians in the Tri-Cities. Homes have been swept clean and decorated. Desserts have been made. Sprouts have been sowed. New outfits have been bought and pressed. -Tri City News, Canada - 3/19/06

A green new year
The preparations for Nowruz are underway. Alireza Fakhrashrafi and Danielle Schrage are "shaking out the house" — cleaning it from top to bottom. -Toronto Star - 3/19/06

Interview: Russia's UN Ambassador Comments On Iran Standoff
Andrei Denisov, Russia's Permanent Representative in the United Nations, says Moscow sees no need to rush in preparing a UN Security Council statement on Iran. He also says Russia will not accept any mentions of sanctions in the statement. Denisov spoke to RFE/RL correspondent Nikola Krastev on March 16. - 3/19/06

Valley Persians greet their new year
For the past week, customers have streamed in and out of Anissa Obaidi’s grocery store in south Scottsdale to buy sweets, sour oranges, fish and anything else they need to properly ring in the new year — Persian style. -East Valley Tribune, Arizona - 3/19/06

U.S. policy on Iran - Exercise in futility?
President George W. Bush's message to Iran these days sounds unambiguous: The United States will do what it takes to keep the mullahs from getting the bomb. -New York Times - 3/19/06

Iran-Khodro brakes production record
Managing Director of Iran giant manufacturing company Iran-Khodro Industrial Group said on Saturday the company by producing 520,000 vehicles in the current Iranian year (ends March 20) has surpassed its previous production record set last year. -IRNA - 3/19/06

First Session of Theatre-in-the-Round Started in Iran
The first session of heritage theatre-in-the-round has been started in Tehran and other cities of Iran under the supervision and support of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) with the coming of Iranian New Year. -CHN - 3/19/06

Iran Releases Journalist Akbar Ganji
Imprisoned Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji is on compassionate leave, said deputy prosecutor for prisons' affairs in Tehran on Saturday. Salarkia said that Ganji's prison term is going to end on March 30. - 3/18/06

Afro-Asian organization chooses Iranian poetess Tahereh Saffarzadeh as Muslim woman of 2005
Organization of Afro-Asian Writers on Friday chose Iranian poetess, writer, and prominent university professor Tahereh Saffarzadeh as the most prominent woman in the Islamic World and at the international scene in 2005. -IRNA - 3/18/06

Iran's Ambassador rejects anti-Iran remarks voiced at Azeris confab in Baku
Iran's Ambassador to Baku Afshar Soleimani said on Saturday that the remarks of some anti-Iran individuals at the second conference of the world Azeris is not to the interest of bilateral relations. -IRNA - 3/18/06

Russia, China Slow UN Diplomacy on Iran
Russia and China have rebuffed a U.S., French and British attempt to quicken the pace of Security Council diplomacy on Iran's nuclear program. The U.N. reports the first formal Security Council meeting on Iran yielded hope, but little progress. -VOA - 3/18/06

Prominent Foreign Journalists to Visit Iran during Nowruz Holidays
Six prominent foreign journalists from different countries will come to Iran during Nowruz holidays to prepare reports about Iranian traditional Nowruz ceremony the Persian New Year. -CHN - 3/18/06

Iranian Azeris Prompt Tehran Diplomatic Protest
Comments by Iranian Azeris at a world congress of Azeris today prompted Tehran to send a diplomatic note to Azerbaijan. -RFE - 3/18/06

An Open Letter to Nicholas Burns
The passion and patriotism detected in your March 8, 2006 speech at the House International Relations Committee entitled “United States Policy Toward Iran”[i] is admirable, though your analysis fails to be inspiring. It would seem that hatred and contempt has blinded your reasoning. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/17/06

Last-Ditch Effort
In his speech on Monday, the president said the following: "Some of the powerful IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] we are seeing in Iraq today includes components that come from Iran... - 3/17/06

White House Reaffirms 'First Strike' Doctrine
U.S. Pres. George W. Bush issued his second-term National Security Strategy Thursday, a document outlining the administration's strategy for using diplomatic, economic, and military tools to deal with global challenges. - 3/17/06

Iran Agrees to Talk With U.S. About Iraq
White House Says Agenda Is Limited, but Tehran Signals Hopes for More -Washington Post - 3/17/06

China, Russia Push Diplomacy on Iran Nuclear Dispute
China and Russia are pushing diplomacy to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear programs. Both nations have veto power on the U.N. Security Council, which is mulling possible sanctions against Tehran. Iran is expected to be high on the agenda when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China next week. -VOA - 3/17/06

America's Nuclear Hypocrisy Undermines its Stance on Iran
Even as he was telling Iran not to produce nuclear weapons, President Bush was urging Congress to pay for a new nuclear weapon designed to destroy underground military facilities. -Baltimore Sun - 3/17/06

Iranian Nobel Laureate Receives New Death Threat
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi says she and her family have received a new death threat. -RFE - 3/17/06

Kurds destroy shrine in rage at leadership
HALABJA, Iraq - For nearly two decades, Kurds have gathered peacefully in this mountainous corner of northern Iraq to commemorate one of the blackest days in their history. It was here that Saddam Hussein's government launched a poison gas attack that killed more than 5,000 people on March 16, 1988. -New York Times - 3/17/06

U.N. Creates New Watchdog Over U.S. Opposition
A running gag at the United Nations is that whenever the United States takes a defiant stand against an overwhelming majority of the 191 member states, there are only three countries that predictably vote with Washington most of the time -- whether it is right or dead wrong. -IPS - 3/17/06

Iran Ranks Second in ITB Berlin
Iran achieved the second rank among the 35 Middle East countries in the ITB Berlin. Israel and Dubai pavilions achieved the first and third position in this ranking respectively. -CHN - 3/17/06

Seminar of Cultural Diversity to be Held in Iran
UNESCO's national commission in Iran will hold a seminar on the Cultural Diversity Week from 17-23 March 2006 in Tehran, during which issues related to cultural diversity will be discussed and studied by different cultural, legal, and economical authorities and experts. -CHN - 3/17/06

Talking with Iran
On the very same day that the Bush administration pointed to Iran as the single country that may come to pose the greatest security challenge to the United States, the two nations began moving toward direct, though limited, diplomatic talks. That has to be encouraging. -New York Times - 3/17/06

U.S.: New Security Strategy Names 'Tyrannies,' Singles Out Iran
U.S. President George W. Bush says Iran may pose the greatest challenge to the United States. The statement is made in a revised national security report, which brands countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Belarus as "tyrannies." -RFE - 3/17/06

The political repercussions of the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad
Five months after the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, controversy over those cartoons is still raging in many Islamic countries. Already dozens of people have been killed in half a dozen countries and demonstrations have taken place in nearly all Islamic countries, from Morocco to Indonesia. -Farhan Jahanpour - 3/17/06

Iran to help restore security in Iraq, says Larijani
The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to contribute to any efforts being in interest of Iraq and its security, said Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani in Tehran on Friday. -IRNA - 3/17/06

IAEA Chief Invalidates the NPT
On December 10, 2005, the world equaled Mohamed ElBaradei’s surprise when he stepped behind the podium and delivered his Nobel lecture. The following lines were not only poignant but reassuring -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/16/06

Iran: Political Prisoner at Risk of Execution
Prison officials in Iran have repeatedly threatened to execute a sympathizer of an armed opposition group during the Persian New Year holidays that begin on March 21, Human Rights Watch said today. - 3/16/06

Avian influenza detected in Afghanistan
The H5 strain of bird flu has been found at two sites in Afghanistan and there's fear that tests could prove it to be the deadly H5N1 virus, a UN agency warned on Monday. -IRIN - 3/16/06

Iran: Here We Go Again
Security Council presidential statements are non-binding. But despite the toothless nature of the one under consideration at United Nations headquarters this week, it's a slippery slope. -Asia Times - 3/16/06

Jews and Persia, then and now
Three years ago, while visiting Tehran, I was introduced to a charmless man named Muhammad Ali Samadi, who, I was told, would parse for me the Iranian theocracy's peculiar understanding of Judaism and Zionism. -New York Times - 3/16/06

Iran Ready for Talks With US on Iraq
A senior Iranian leader says his country is willing to negotiate with the United States to resolve the conflict in Iraq. Ali Larijani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, said he is accepting a call from Iraqi Shi'ite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim for Tehran to open a dialogue on Iraq with Washington. -VOA - 3/16/06

Interview: How The Security Council Might Deal With Iran
On March 15, Radio Farda correspondent Sharan Tabari spoke with Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for nonproliferation at the International Center for Strategic Studies in London, about U.K. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's March 13 speech, in which he laid out the West's strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program. - 3/16/06

IAPAC Holds Third Annual Bay Area Fundraising Reception
On the afternoon of Sunday, March 5, 2006, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its Third Annual Bay Area Fundraising Reception at San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Special guests included the Honorable Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, and the Honorable Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 5. - 3/16/06

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2006 Academic Scholarships
Momeni Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent anywhere in the world. - 3/16/06

Representatives of Caspian littoral states wrap up their meeting
The 20th working session of representatives of 5 Caspian Sea littoral states wrapped up its work in Moscow on Wednesday without any clear outcome. -IRNA - 3/16/06

Iran, the Asian charmer
As the United States and its allies slowly build a case for punitive action against Iran over its nuclear program, the Islamic Republic is skillfully playing its cards with the Muslim world. This could make it harder for Western protagonists to effectively censure Tehran. -IHT - 3/16/06

Lessons of Iraq War Start With US History
On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war. -Howard Zinn, Progressive - 3/16/06

Iran Mourns the Loss of its Music Master Ali Tajvidi
Ali Tajvidi, Iranian composer who created enormous pieces of music during his lifetime, died after 7-years of struggling with disease. -CHN - 3/16/06

A Modus Vivendi Between Jerusalem and Tehran
Vice President Dick Cheney's tough speech on Iran this past week in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was interrupted by applause no fewer than 48 times, including eight standing ovations. -Trita Parsi, Forward - 3/16/06

Top General Contradicts Bush's Iran Bombs Claim
Remember how Bush claimed on Monday that Iran was providing many of the roadside bombs killing U.S. troops in Iraq? Well, the U.S.’ top military commander just told the Pentagon that there is no proof for such a claim. -Truthdig - 3/16/06

Interview: Iranian Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi On Women's Rights
On March 8, RFE/RL Tajik Service youth correspondent Abdulfattoh Shafiev interviewed Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi about the struggle for gender equality in her country and other patriarchic cultures around the world. In the interview, Ebadi calls for "an interpretation of Islam that recognizes women's rights." - 3/16/06

Iran Sanctions Bill Moves Ahead in US Congress
Legislation that would strengthen U.S. sanctions on Iran has moved ahead in the U.S. Congress. The Iran Freedom Support Act has the support of more than two-thirds of the House of Representatives. -VOA - 3/16/06

Iran: Students Protest Burials Of War Dead On Tehran Campuses
University students in Iran are expressing deep concern over official attempts to turn university grounds into burial sites for the remains of Iranian soldiers who died during the Iran-Iraq War. -RFE - 3/15/06

Full Security Council Discusses Iran Nuclear Issue
All 15 members of the United Nations Security Council held an informal meeting in New York on March 14 to discuss a joint statement on Iran's nuclear program. -RFE - 3/15/06

Joining hands to save Asiatic cheetah
Two memoranda of agreement were signed between the representatives of Small Grants Program of Global Environmental Facilities in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP-GEF/SGP) and two non-governmental organizations (NGO)s. -IRNA - 3/15/06

Launch of Iranian oil trading hits wall
Oil exchange unlikely to begin till at least midyear -Globe & Mail - 3/15/06

Fishing for a Pretext to Squeeze Iran
Bush’s allegations about the Iranians providing improvised explosive devices to the Iraqi guerrilla insurgency are bizarre. The British military looked into charges of improvised explosive devices coming from Iran, and this past January actually apologized to Tehran when no evidence pointed to Iranian government involvement. -truthdig - 3/15/06

Iran's leaders harness media power
The authorities in Iran are highly conscious of the power of the media. They use a two-pronged approach. At home, they enforce controls on the media that stifle freedom of expression... -BBC - 3/15/06

Warm welcome in Iran
Raheny resident Ivan Agar recently returned from Iran, where he was conducting a sales training workshop for 200 Iranian business people in the capital city of Tehran. Here, he tells of his experience. -Dublin People - 3/15/06

Iran May Finally Be Ready to Talk
In spite of the hostile rhetoric in recent days over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the Islamic Republic may be losing its long-standing reluctance to speak directly with the United States, politicians and analysts here say. -Los Angeles Times - 3/15/06

Iran's president is playing a weak hand
To listen to many Western observers, Iran's hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reignited the Islamic Revolution and is catapulting the world toward nuclear confrontation. -IHT - 3/15/06

Program at Harvard: Iran and the Future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime
Thursday, March 16, 2006 from 4:00–6:00 p.m. at Austin Hall West, Harvard Law School. Co-sponsored by Harvard Law School’s International Legal Studies, Islamic Legal Studies Program, and European Law Research Center - 3/15/06

Iran Launches a Crackdown On Democracy Activists
With the Bush administration demanding $75 million to encourage opposition to Iran's ruling mullahs, the Tehran regime has already started cracking down on democracy activists in the country who have received aid from the West. -New York Sun - 3/15/06

Britain, France, US Seek UN Pressure On Iran
U.N. Security Council members have held their first talks on Iran's nuclear program, and could begin formal consultations by the end of the week. The Council action is aimed at intensifying pressure on Tehran to comply with its nuclear obligations. -VOA - 3/15/06

CASMII calls for participation in antiwar rallies around the world
The US war drive against Iran under the unfounded allegation of a nuclear weapons program in Iran is a replay of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction in the country. - 3/15/06

U.S. Push for Democracy Could Backfire Inside Iran
Prominent activists inside Iran say President Bush's plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to promote democracy here is the kind of help they don't need, warning that mere announcement of the U.S. program endangers human rights advocates by tainting them as American agents. -Washington Post - 3/15/06

Good, Great and Fantastic Restaurants in Tehran: Bistango
Iranians, like many other nationalities, when they love and respect some people, go out of their way to make their loved ones happy and pleased. That's why we invited our next guests, a mixture of both family and friends, to what I consider the best restaurant in Tehran. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/15/06

Harvard Students Hold "Iran Freedom Concert" in Solidarity with Iranian Student Movement for Democracy and Civil Rights
On Saturday, March 18, Harvard University will host the Iran Freedom Concert, a rally organized by Harvard students to support their counterparts in Iran. The concert, which begins at 9 p.m. at Leverett House, features leading campus musicians and speakers from campus groups exposing repression in Iran. Nine organizations are co-sponsoring, including an unusual alliance of campus Democrats and Republicans. - 3/14/06

Tell O'Reilly to Apologize for his Call to Blow Iran off Earth
“In a sane world, every country would unite against Iran and blow it off the face of the earth. That would be the sane thing to do.” On March 8, talk show host Bill O’Reilly of the “The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly” made these repulsive comments during his weekly radio show. -NIAC - 3/14/06

Dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions: four approaches
The International Atomic Energy Agency's decision to report Iran to the Security Council places Washington and its allies on a collision course with Tehran. Unless the disputants come up with a new strategy that overcomes serious international suspicions about the clerics' nuclear intentions while preserving Iran's rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), current diplomacy offers little wiggle room. -CSM - 3/14/06

80 percent of Iran's pistachios destined overseas
A senior agriculture sector official said on Sunday that pistachio remains one of the most important national products of Iran and that some 80 percent of the popular nuts are exported the English-language paper, `Iran Daily' wrote on Monday. -IRNA - 3/14/06

Supreme Council on Iranians Living Abroad holds first meeting
The first meeting of Supreme Council on Iranians Living Abroad was held in Tehran on Sunday attended by First Vice President Parviz Davoudi and related ministers. -IRNA - 3/14/06

A Requiem for Gonzoconservatism
And so their great scheme, the subjugation and democratization of Iraq, has failed; and all that is left for them is the fate due all fanatical ideologues – to either desert the sinking ship like rats, or else fight among each other like scorpions. - 3/14/06

Minister: First Iranian indigenous nuclear power plant to be built soon
The construction of the first Iranian indigenous nuclear power plant will start in six months, Energy minister said in Tehran on Monday. IRNA - 3/14/06

China urges talks on Iran's nuclear case
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Tuesday continued diplomacy to resolve Iran's nuclear case, saying China favor measures that would push forward efforts to restore peace to the world. -IRNA - 3/14/06

Bush Accuses Iran of Helping Iraqi Insurgents Build Better Bombs
President Bush has accused Iran of helping Shi'ite militias in Iraq build more effective roadside bombs, the most lethal weapon against U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians. The president said Monday the U.S. government is intensifying its effort to fight the bombs. -VOA - 3/14/06

Rice Confident of 'Appropriate' UN Statement on Iran
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday she is confident the U.N. Security Council will find an "appropriate vehicle" for expressing its concern about Iran's nuclear program. Rice spoke in Jakarta amid reports of discord among permanent Security Council members about the handling of the nuclear issue. -VOA - 3/14/06

Publication of the "Persian Gulf in Old Maps" in Tehran
Sahab Geographic and Drafting Institute has just published a book about the historical maps of the "Persian Gulf" in Tehran. This book is a sound document to protect the name of the "Persian Gulf". - 3/14/06

The IAEA Pleads Incompetence
The truly important part of all ElBaradei's recent reports is that as best he can tell, after more than two years of go-anywhere, see-anything inspections, Iran is in compliance with its NPT-required IAEA Safeguards Agreement. -Gordon Prather, - 3/14/06

It's Regime Change, Again
Make no mistake. The current posture and policy of the United States are leading inexorably towards a military showdown with Iran that could have profoundly negative consequences for Iran, for the region and for the United States. - 3/14/06

Bush Extends Sanctions Against Iran
President Bush has issued an executive order that renews sanctions barring U.S. firms from conducting business with Iran. - 3/14/06

Russia Urges Ban On Outside Militaries In Caspian
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today called for a ban on any outside military presence in the Caspian Sea, which Russia shares with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. -RFE - 3/14/06

IAAB Javan! opens Essay Contest for Iranian-American High School Students
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is now accepting entries for its essay contest for North American high school students of Iranian descent. IAAB Javan!, a division of IAAB dedicated to youth issues, seeks essays from American- and Canadian-Iranian students that address the notion of dual identity. - 3/14/06

Amnesty International condemns violence against women demonstrators in Iran
Amnesty International condemns the violent action taken by Iranian police, Revolutionary Guards and others on 8 March to forcibly disperse about 1,000 women who had gathered peacefully in Tehran to commemorate International Women's Day. Scores of women are reported to have been beaten by the police and those assisting them. - 3/14/06

Britain Says Iran Should Have Civil Nuclear Power
Britain has called for a European outreach program to the Iranian people to support their democratic aspirations and convince them there is no opposition to a peaceful Iranian nuclear power program. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw spoke of the initiative in London Monday. -VOA - 3/14/06

Iranian Foreign Ministry protests to US Interest Section against earmarking budget for Iran
Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday lodged a protest with the US Interest Section, Swiss Embassy in Tehran, against anti-Iran statements by US President George W Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. -IRNA - 3/14/06

Iran Says Oil Exports Not Bargaining Tool in Nuclear Dispute
Iran says it will remain a reliable energy supplier to Asia, and says it will not use its oil exports as a bargaining tool in its nuclear standoff with the West. -VOA - 3/13/06

Good, Great and Fantastic Restaurants in Tehran: Monsoon
The next place we went to is an older restaurant and since it opened several years ago it remains one of my favorite places in Tehran. I love its easygoing atmosphere and I like Asian food. I like the fact that these days one can try Sushi and Hosomaki and Futomaki rolls. It is the closest thing you can get the best Japanese food here in Tehran. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/13/06

New York Premiere of Sadegh Tirafkan's Temptation
Sadegh Tirafkan will present his latest body of work - Temptation - at his third New York exhibition at the Massoud Nader Gallery 420 East 58th Street, New York from March 10th through March 23rd 2006, 11AM to 5PM. - 3/13/06

7000-Year-Old Animal-Designed Clays Discovered in Shushtar
Archaeological excavations in Khuzestan province led to the discovery of three earthenware ovens with clays designed with exaggerated pictures of animals called "Mosabak" in 7000-year-old architectural remains of Tal-e Abouchizan in Shushtar. -CHN - 3/13/06

For New Years, Islamic Iran goes Hollywood
Iran and the 'Great Satan' have not only irreconcilable political differences but also the Iranian clergy has constantly accused the United States of 'Western cultural invasion' or cultural plot to diverge Iranian youth from its religious beliefs towards 'immoral Western culture.' -DPA - 3/13/06

Frigate in stand-off with Iran gunboats
THE CREW of an Australian frigate has been involved in a tense stand-off with six Iranian gunboats while guarding Iraq's vital oil platforms in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. -Age, Australia - 3/13/06

Iran: Russian Offer "Off" The Agenda
As it had warned, Iran shelves further discussion about a Russian proposal to end the diplomatic crisis after Iran's nuclear program is put on the agenda of the UN Security Council. -RFE - 3/13/06

Anti-Israel rabbis support Iran
Members of an orthodox Jewish sect have met top Iranian officials in Tehran to show support for the Iranian president's call for the destruction of Israel, reports say. -Aljazeera - 3/13/06

What next in Iran nuclear stand-off?
It looks pretty likely now that Iran will soon become a nuclear power, in spite of the best efforts of the West. So what happens now? Let's have a look at some of the questions that arise. -BBC - 3/13/06

The Shame and the Sorrow
Like the Bourbons, famously described by Talleyrand as having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, the neocons have few regrets over the widening debacle in Iraq. - 3/13/06

US Eisevier Science Publisher apologizes for using wrong name for Persian Gulf
The Eisevier Science Publisher based in the United States on Monday apologized to the Iranian Culture Ministry for using forgery name for the Persian Gulf in a medical book entitled "Diagnostic Microbiology". -IRNA - 3/13/06

Iran moves into Lebanon vacuum
Iran, which has long been a powerful player in Lebanon, has been able to increase its influence, partly through its ties to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. That has given Tehran a stronger trump to play in its confrontation with the United States and Europe over its nuclear program. -New York Times - 3/13/06

Iran's Shensa wins Asian club futsal crown
Shensa representing Iran in the first Asian Club Futsal Championships celebrated the title with a 5-1 victory over Uzbekistan's Ardus in Saveh, 120 km west of Tehran, Sunday night. -IRNA - 3/13/06

Program in New York by Campaign against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
March 15 - An Address by Prof. Abbas Edalat (founder of Campaign against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII); faculty member, Imperial College/London) On a special U.S. Tour. - 3/13/06

Support for Iran embargo losing ground
It is about Washington wanting regime change in Tehran, to settle old and new scores with the revolutionaries who refuse to bow to American dictates. -Financial Times - 3/13/06

A Wrong Policy to Make "Iranian Bombs" Right
On 15 February, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and two unidentified senior officials of the State Department outlined the broad contours of a new Iran policy that centers on the Islamic regime rather than its behavior. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 3/13/06

Cooler Heads Needed in Iran
George Bush is lucky in his adversaries. First, he had the Butcher and the Bluffer of Baghdad. And now he has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust, threatens to destroy Israel, insists on a nuclear program, and has his police beat up hundreds of women in Tehran who were rallying on International Women’s Day. -Progressive - 3/13/06

Mullahs of Iran battle mullahs of Washington
The standoff between the U.S. and Iran, set to begin in earnest this week at the Security Council, is not over the Iranian nuclear program alone. It is about Washington wanting regime change in Tehran, to settle old and new scores with the revolutionaries who refuse to bow to American dictates. -Toronto Star - 3/13/06

Students welcome Persian language courses in US
The number of students enrolled in Persian-language courses in US universities is soaring. The number of students in Persian language and Iranology courses in US universities has increased five times compared with last year's figure, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Arizona University Kamran Talatoff told IRNA. - 3/13/06

U.S. Campaign Is Aimed at Iran's Leaders
As the dispute over its nuclear program arrives at the U.N. Security Council today, Iran has vaulted to the front of the U.S. national security agenda amid Bush administration plans for a sustained campaign against the ayatollahs of Tehran. -Washington Post - 3/13/06

Former Israeli General Warns of Pre-Emptive Strike on Iran
Israel has a contingency plan for a crushing military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. The revelation by a retired Israeli general has set off a political storm. -VOA - 3/12/06

Deputy FM: Energy now on agenda of Iran's diplomacy
Speaking at an international conference dubbed 'Energy and Security, Asian Vision', he said it is the first time that the issue of energy has been dealt with as one of the pillars of Iran's diplomacy. -IRNA - 3/12/06

In Iran, revolution is a presidential priority
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wears a windbreaker and white socks to work most days, looking more like the shopkeeper his father was than a president. -USA Today - 3/12/06

US Army in Jeopardy in Iraq
In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia and, after success at the battle of Borodino, marched on and occupied Moscow. Napoleon and his generals took over the palaces of the court princes and great houses of the mighty boyars. -Gary Hart, Boston Globe - 3/12/06

Two quakes hit southern Iranian province of Hormuzgan
Two earthquakes measuring 3.6 and 4.6 on the Richter scale jolted the cities of Bandar Abbas and Farghan in the southern province of Hormuzgan in the wee hours of Sunday. -IRNA - 3/12/06

Afghanistan: Archeologist Hunts For Third Bamiyan Buddha
It has been five years since the Taliban regime demolished two ancient, giant Buddha statues carved into a hillside in the central Afghan province of Bamiyan. The demolition took place over two weeks in late February and early March 2001. -RFE - 3/12/06

Iraq's imports from Iran to rise 50 percent next year: envoy
The Iraqi Television Network 'al-Feiha' quoted Mohammed Majid Abbas al-Sheikh that Iraq has imported over one dlrs billion of goods from Iran this year. -IRNA - 3/12/06

Qeshm is the biggest island in Persian Gulf
Qeshm Island at Hormuz Strait measuring about 1,500 square kms is not only the largest Persian Gulf Island, but its area is equivalent to that of 23 world independent states. -IRNA - 3/12/06

Renault signs $648m part agreement with Iranian firms
The joint effort between Iranian and European part manufacturers appears to be more promising and based on the latest information Renault Company has already signed a $648m agreement with 50 domestic part makers to build 300,000 L90 passenger cars -Mehr - 3/11/06

Iran: Government Remains Defiant, Though Iranians Have Mixed Views On Nuclear Conflict
Many Iranians say they are worried that the transfer of Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council could lead to sanctions against the Islamic Republic. -RFE - 3/11/06

More Bushlet Diplomacy
Last week Broad and Sanger made a characteristically misleading – but sometimes uncharacteristically revealing – report in the New York Times with respect to what would transpire in the aftermath of the March meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. -Gordon Prather, - 3/11/06

UN may sidestep sanctions on Iran
The Security Council is considering a statement listing multiple failures by Iran to meet the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency over its nuclear program and urging it to comply, but making only passing mention of punishment for continued resistance. -New York Times - 3/11/06

WTO points to "positive" trend in Iran's tourism
The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization Francesco Frangialli has praised the overall "positive" trend in Iran's tourism sector over the past year. -IRNA - 3/11/06

Iran is only months from bomb technology, says Britain
The west's confrontation with Iran over its nuclear activities intensified yesterday after Britain claimed that Tehran could acquire the technological capability to build a bomb by the end of the year. -Guardian - 3/11/06

Iran to build power, cement plants in Cuba
Iran and Cuba signed an agreement based on which Iran will build a cement plant in this Latin American country. -Mehr - 3/11/06

Muslim Leader Urges Diplomacy with Iran
The chief of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference says the West's showdown with Iran over its nuclear program should be resolved through diplomacy. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu spoke about the issue with foreign correspondents in London. -VOA - 3/11/06

US Says UN Must Handle Iran Nuclear Crisis Now
U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the dispute over Iran's nuclear program must be handled now by the United Nations Security Council. -VOA - 3/11/06

Iran's National Confidence Party announces platform
The NCP has introduced itself as a republican, Islamist, and patriotic party with firm political, social, and cultural foundations. -Mehr - 3/11/06

Security Council Members Consider Iran Strategy
The Chinese, French, British, Russian and American ambassadors to the U.N. held a closed-door Iran strategy session late Friday. Diplomats say the object of the 90-minute meeting was to agree on a statement that could be issued by the entire Security Council as early as next week. -VOA - 3/11/06

German FM warns US of making military threats against Iran
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on America to back away from making military threats against Iran over its nuclear program, the press reported Saturday. -IRNA - 3/11/06

Former Labour MP Tony Benn on how Britain Secretly Helped Israel Build Its Nuclear Arsenal
What Bush has done -- I don't think you realize it -- that make the case for the spread of nuclear weapons, because I tell you this, if Iran had nuclear weapons now, he would not dare to attack it. So, actually, Bush is encouraging the spread, and when he went to India the other day, which isn’t a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he signed an agreement. So, I mean, the thing is total hypocrisy. -Democracy Now - 3/11/06

What Really Happed to the Shah of Iran
"In November 1978, President Carter named the Bilderberg group's George Ball, another member of the Trilateral Commission, to head a special White House Iran task force under the National Security Council's Brzezinski. Ball recommended that Washington drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the fundamentalistic Islamic opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini." -William Engdahl - 3/10/06

U.S. Expert Weighs Pros And Cons Of Nuclear Compromise
As the UN Security Council prepares to debate possible action over Iran's nuclear activities, Radio Farda turned for a fresh look at the situation to Joseph Cirincione, director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of "Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Threats." -RFE - 3/10/06

India's Petroleum Secretary to lead delegation for talks on IPI gas pipeline in Tehran
Indian petroleum secretary will lead the Indian delegation for tripartite talks on Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project to be held in Tehran next week. -IRNA - 3/10/06

Iran's Reformists Take on 'Neo-cons'
In the increasingly heated confrontation between Iran and the West, the reformist Web site Rooz is attempting to steer a middle course. -Washington Post - 3/10/06

Trap of War
With the election of the new hard-liner president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran and the world are heading towards a major confrontation. Before 1953, the majority of the Iranians did not have a negative opinion of the United States. Iranians had the most negative opinions toward Britain and Russia. -Amin Shariatzadeh and Farzad Khalili - 3/10/06

U.S. Official: International Opposition is to Iranian Nuclear Weapons Development, Not Peaceful Nuclear Energy
Elizabeth Cheney, Principal Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told the Voice of America Wednesday that the international community is opposed to Iranian attempts to obtain nuclear weapons, but she stressed that "no one is trying to deny people nuclear energy." -VOA - 3/10/06

At Last, the Warmongers are Prepared to Face the Facts and Admit They Were Wrong
It has taken more than three years, tens of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, and $200bn (£115bn) of treasure - all to achieve a chaos verging on open civil war. But, finally, the neo-conservatives who sold the United States on this disastrous war are starting to utter three small words. We were wrong. -Independent - 3/10/06

Iran's First Tourism Online Journal, Irangard, Launched by CHN
CHN launched its first tourism online journal under the name of Irangard (visiting Iran). This special issue is about traveling to the city of Qazvin and Alamout mountainous region. -CHN - 3/10/06

Huge State Spending Increase in Iran Driven by President’s Political Agenda
As Iran continues to spar with the international community over its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has engineered passage of a budget that vastly expands state spending, seeking a quick fix for the country’s persistent economic problems. -Eurasianet - 3/10/06

UN ambassadors set for Iran talks
The five permanent UN Security Council members are due to meet in private to discuss Iran's nuclear programme. -BBC - 3/10/06

Neocon Advocates Civil War in Iraq as "Strategic" Policy
Daniel Pipes Finds Comfort in Muslims Killing Muslims -Counterpunch - 3/10/06

Rice: Iran May Pose Number One Challenge to US
The Bush administration is stressing international unity in the days leading up to a United Nations Security Council meeting on Iran's nuclear ambitions, and says it expects the U.N. to send a strong signal to Tehran. -VOA - 3/10/06

China Uneasy Over US Nuclear Policies
With the dispute over Iran's controversial nuclear program moving this week to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the stage is set for a perilous confrontation between the Islamic republic and the international community – a showdown that not only Tehran but also world powers like China and Russia have fought to avoid. -IPS - 3/10/06

The Staircase of the Red Dome Unearthed in Hamadan
Restoration and reconstruction works in Red Dome historical tower led to discovery of two rows of the staircase which was buried for several years. -CHN - 3/10/06

Iran: Police Attack Women's Day Celebration
Iranian police and plainclothes agents yesterday charged a peaceful assembly of women's rights activists in Tehran and beat hundreds of women and men who had gathered to commemorate International Women's Day, Human Rights Watch said today. - 3/10/06

Iran Looming Larger in the Crosshairs
What is the best incentive to convince someone to do one’s bidding? In the long-term, it is by demonstrating that what we want is better for them, as well, that they can expect to share in our gains; the true American way in the old tradition. -Kam Zarrabi - 3/9/06

US State Depaprtment Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran, with a population of approximately 68 million, is a constitutional, theocratic republic in which Shi'a Muslim clergy dominate the key power structures. Article four of the constitution states that "All laws and regulations…shall be based on Islamic principles." Government legitimacy is based on the twin pillars of popular sovereignty (Article Six) and the rule of the Supreme Jurisconsulate (Article Five). - 3/9/06

U.N.: Intransigence of U.S. Endangers Rights Council
United States efforts to renegotiate the General Assembly resolution creating a U.N. Human Rights Council have failed and the best result would be for the resolution to be adopted by consensus, Human Rights Watch said today. - 3/9/06

The Iranian-American Community Celebrates The Third Annual Persian Parade Day
The third Persian Parade Day, expected to draw tens of thousands of participants and spectators will be held in New York City in commemoration of the Noerooz, the Persian New Year, along Madison Avenue between 41st and 27th streets; it promptly begins at 41st Street on Sunday March 19, 2006 at 12:00 noon. - 3/9/06

Women's rights on Iranian agenda
A hardline member of Iran's parliament is calling for a dialogue with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rafat Bayat has said she wants to talk to Ms Rice as one woman to another. -BBC - 3/9/06

We need a European approach to supporting democracy in Iran
Two clocks are ticking in Tehran. Obsessed with trying to stop the nuclear clock, we are neglecting the democracy clock -Guardian - 3/9/06

Pressure on Iran bound to fail. Again
A historical characteristic of the Iranians has generally been not to give in to outside pressure that could impinge on their freedom to determine their destiny. In the face of foreign imposition, they have never failed to invoke fierce nationalism and ideological radicalism. This behaviour was on display before and after Islam came to Iran in the 7th century. -Age, Australia - 3/9/06

Secretary Burns pledges diplomacy on Iran, but no direct negotiations
“While we make it clear that no option is off the table, the U.S. strongly supports a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem.” Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns made these remarks in his prepared statement to the House International Relations Committee on Wednesday. -NIAC - 3/9/06

Iranian MPs call for resumption of nuclear activities
Majlis deputies on Thursday condemned the dual attitude of the West towards Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and called for implementation of the Majlis ratification enjoining resumption of nuclear activities. -IRNA - 3/9/06

Spinning us to war in Iran
As the quagmire in Iraq deepens, and Islamophobia becomes both politically correct and encouraged, the same blood-stained figures that led us into Saddam’s lair are now trying to achieve a similar result next-door. -ZNET - 3/9/06

UNHCR advises stranded Kurdish-Iranian refugees to relocate
Officials from the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in Jordan have urged around 200 Iranian-Kurdish refugees stuck on the Iraqi side of the Jordan-Iraq border to move to a new settlement in the northern Iraqi governorate of Arbil. -IRIN - 3/9/06

Iran defies UN nuclear pressure
Iran's president has warned against US-led efforts to pressure it over its nuclear programme - saying the West would suffer if action was taken. -BBC - 3/9/06

State Dept Lauds Iraq, Slams Iran in Rights Reports
"The United States government considers itself a moral leader on human rights issues, but its record of indefinite and arbitrary detentions, secret 'black sites' and outsourced torture in the 'war on terror' turns it from leader to human rights violator," said William Schulz, director of the U.S. section of Amnesty International. -IPS - 3/9/06

Over 50 elements behind Khuzestan bombing arrested: Iranian minister
More than 50 persons believed responsible for the terrorist bombing in Khuzestan province have been arrested, said Minister of Information Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejeie in Khorramabad on Thursday. -IRNA - 3/9/06

Fuse Lit for Total War in Mideast: U.S. Envoy
The toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 opened a "Pandora's box" of ethnic and sectarian tensions that could engulf the region in all-out war and disrupt the global economy if U.S. forces were to leave the country too soon, says the top American diplomat in Iraq. -Borzou Daragahi, Toronto Star - 3/9/06

Under the Azure Dome in Toronto
The ancient celebration of Nowruz, Persian New Year, is a Spring Equinox pancultural phenomenon shared by various nations from the Persian civilization territory , including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and India. - 3/9/06

Key Security Council Members Meet on Iran Nuclear Issue
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have begun mapping out a strategy on how to handle the Iran nuclear issue. The first steps are expected to be small. -VOA - 3/9/06

Iranian Police Disrupt Women's Day Demonstration
gathering by a group of women's-rights activists in Tehran to mark the International Women's day was disrupted today by the police, according to Radio Farda. - 3/9/06

US: No Sanctions in Early Security Council Iran Debate
The Bush administration said Wednesday it will not seek sanctions against Iran in the first stage of U.N. Security Council deliberations on the Iranian nuclear program. The State Department said it hopes the spotlight of global attention in the council will prompt Iran to change course. -VOA - 3/9/06

Cheney: Iran Will Face 'Meaningful Consequences' if It Pursues Nuclear Bomb Program
Speaking Tuesday to a pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in Washington, Cheney said the United States is keeping all options open to deal with what he called the "irresponsible conduct" of Iranian leaders. -VOA - 3/8/06

Iranian Solidarity?
The bomb that Tehran's mullahs are allegedly building has already done its damage. For two years now, it has decimated the headlines. In the mushroom cloud of its anticipation, some of the most critical stories in Iran have vanished. -Roya Hakakian, WSJ - 3/8/06

Netherlands: Threat to Return Gay and Lesbian Iranians
Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk's threat to end a six-month moratorium on deporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) asylum-seekers back to Iran rests on serious misunderstandings of Iranian law, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Verdonk. - 3/8/06

Iran: Russian Expert Talks About Salvaging Compromise From Nuclear Impasse
On March 7, Radio Farda correspondent Fariba Mavaddat discussed the dispute over Iran's nuclear program -- and possible implications for U.S. foreign policy -- with Aleksei Arbatov, who heads the International Security Center at the Russian Academy of Sciences' World Economy and International Relations Institute (IMEMO). - 3/8/06

Lavrov Denies Russian Nuclear Compromise Offer to Iran
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has made no compromise offer to deal with Iran's nuclear program. He spoke after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dominated by the Iranian nuclear issue, which is now before the International Atomic Energy Agency governing board in Vienna. -VOA - 3/8/06

Global Peace Through Nuclear Weapons: Dr. Strangelove is Our President
Is this a bad dream? Please wake me up! Is Dr. Strangelove really our President? But, it is not a dream. George W. Bush has decided that the world needs another nuclear arms race and has done so by going to India and signing an agreement to undermine the five decade success of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which India has refused to sign. -Counterpunch - 3/8/06

Everyday Iranians Nervous About Push For Atomic Power
Iranians are expressing unease about the international showdown over their country's nuclear program, as broad public support for atomic power is tempered by growing misgivings about the cost. -Washington Post - 3/8/06

NAM's statement on Iran's nuclear program
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) representatives at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors in Vienna on Wednesday issued a statement on Iran's nuclear program. - 3/8/06

Iran refuses to stop nuclear work
Iran will continue its controversial nuclear research programme no matter what action the UN takes against it, one of its top officials has said. -BBC - 3/8/06

Iran demands nuclear compensation
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the West should compensate Iran for its past suspension of nuclear research as a way of building trust. -BBC - 3/8/06

UNHCR to assist Afghan refugees intending to leave Iran
Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Alessandro Bolzoni said here Monday that the body would give assistance only to Afghan refugees who intend to return to Afghanistan. -IRNA - 3/8/06

Quake hits Malayer in western Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale hit eastern areas of the city of Malayer in Hamedan province, western Iran, Wednesday morning. -IRNA - 3/8/06

Russia plan for Iran upsets U.S. and Europe
A serious rift emerged Monday when Russia split with the United States and Europe over Iran's nuclear program after the Russians floated a last-minute proposal to allow Iran to make small quantities of nuclear fuel, according to European officials. -New York Times - 3/8/06

Israeli General Dismisses Civilian Casualties in Iran Attack
nuclear Iran is a threat to world stability. One way or another it must be stopped,” said former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon. “This is the bottom line, there is a military option and we shouldn’t exclude it from the possibilities to stop a nuclear Iran,” he said on Tuesday at the Hudson Institute. -NIAC - 3/8/06

Rumsfeld Accuses Iran of Sending Forces into Iraq
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused Iran of sending members of an elite military force into Iraq to stir up trouble. Defense secretary held a news conference at the Pentagon. -VOA - 3/8/06

Eyewitness History: Ayatollah Montazeri
I travelled to Iran the same year that Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Noble Peace Prize and Zahra Kazemi was murdered in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic – the year was 2003. - 3/8/06

Adult Education Offers New Opportunities and Options to Iranian Women
Flying over Khuzestan, a southwest Iranian province, one can see a vast expanse of arid plains punctuated by the flaring of gas fires at dozens of oil drilling rigs. In spite of rich oil resources, however, this area bordering Iraq is one of the poorest and least developed provinces of the country. -UNFPA - 3/7/06

Russia trying to convince U.S. to agree to limited enrichment in Iran
Diplomatic sources in Vienna said on Monday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is currently in the United States, will try to convince White House officials to agree to limited uranium enrichment in Iran. -Mehr - 3/7/06

Iran-UAE stress expansion of relations in all areas
Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Mostafavi and Deputy Emir and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammad ben Rashid al-Maktoum stressed Monday expansion of relations between Iran and UAE in all areas. -IRNA - 3/7/06

Party On?
Each February, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations is obliged, by diplomatic etiquette, to throw a cocktail party in celebration of the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. This year, it couldn’t have fallen at a less opportune moment. -New Yorker - 3/7/06

20 Modern Water Therapy Complexes to Be Built in Iran
Tourism Development Organization has started the executive process for construction of 20 modern water therapy centers in cities of Sareein in Ardabil province, Mahalat in Central province, Sirch in Kerman province, and Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan province to develop medical tourism in Iran. -CHN - 3/7/06

The Last Shah of Iran
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Houchang Nahavandi, former Minister of the last Shah of Iran. From 1974 to the time of the revolution president of the “Iranian Problems Study Group,” he was described by Pierre Salinger as “His Majesty’s Opposition Group.” - 3/7/06

Ahmadinejad: Iran to revise nuclear policies if IAEA used instrumentally
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that Iran would revise its nuclear policies if the IAEA would serve as an instrument in the hands of a few covetous powers. -IRNA - 3/7/06

Season greeted in Persian rite: Iranian community marks arrival of spring at UC Davis
Several hundred Iranian immigrants and their American-born descendants gathered in Freeborn Hall to ring in the Persian new year, a jubilant celebration many hoped would sharply contrast with the recent negative media coverage of their home country. -Sacramento Bee - 3/7/06

US Adamant Against Any Iranian Uranium Enrichment
The United States said Monday it would oppose any compromise on the Iranian nuclear program that would allow Tehran to have even a small uranium enrichment capability. The idea of allowing Iran a small-scale research program has surfaced at the Vienna meeting of the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA. -VOA - 3/7/06

World Bank: Iran's role significant in stabilizing Tajikistan's economy
World Bank's Economic Affairs Expert in Tajikistan Utker Omarev on Monday described as significant the role played by Iran, Russia, and some international monetary organizations, in stabilizing and strengthening Tajikistan's economy. -IRNA - 3/7/06

U.S. endorsed Iranian plans to build massive nuclear energy industry
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford signed a directive that granted Iran the opportunity to purchase U.S. built reprocessing equipment and facilities designed to extract plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. -Centre for Research on Globalization - 3/7/06

Iran-Venezuela trade volume to hit $11B
Mohsen Shaterzadeh, deputy minister of industries and mines for economic and international affairs on Monday told the Mehr News Agency Iran and Venezuela have recently signed eleven memorandum of understandings (MOUs) and agreements on different industrial sectors. - 3/7/06

Formation of the Iranian Scholarship Foundation
The Iranian Scholarship Foundation (ISF) has formally launched its activities today. “For the past six years we have been providing 74 scholarships for a total of $520,000 to the brightest Iranian-American youths who have been in need of financial help” said Azadeh Hariri the founder and the chair of the board of trustees of the Iranian Scholarship Foundation. - 3/7/06

World's longest pantomime to be performed in Tehran
The pantomime play, which will be directed by Bahram Reihani, is scheduled to begin at sunrise and finish at sunset. "I intend to register the play with the Guinness Book of World Records," Reihani said. -Mehr - 3/7/06

As Iranian Nuclear Crisis Escalates, Are Direct U.S. Contacts Becoming An Option?
As the Iranian nuclear issue reaches crisis proportions and the country faces international isolation, some voices in Iran are suggesting that it is time to engage directly with the United States. -RFE - 3/6/06

Serious technical challenges slow Iran's nuclear efforts
When Iran defiantly cut the locks and seals on its nuclear enrichment plants in January and restarted its effort to manufacture atomic fuel, it forced the world to confront a momentous question: How long will it be before Tehran has the ability to produce a bomb that would alter the balance of power in the Middle East? -New York Times - 3/6/06

Speech in Berkeley: After Iraq, US Tries to Dupe the World Community again!
Prof. Abbas Edalat of Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), who is on a special U.S. Tour, will deliver a speech in Berkeley on March 11, - 3/6/06

India Deal Makes US a Nuclear Proliferator
Campaigners for a nuclear-free South Asia are aghast at the potential nightmare that lies ahead following the nuclear technology and fuel deal announced here this week by visiting United States President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. -IPS - 3/6/06

Iraq: Thousands of detainees denied their basic rights
Thousands of detainees being held by the US-led Multinational Force (MNF) in Iraq are trapped in a system of arbitrary detention that denies them their basic rights, Amnesty International said in a report published today. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of torture of detainees by the Iraqi security forces that the MNF underpins. - 3/6/06

Iran's Khatami Says Islam Is the Enemy West Needs
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, whose foreign policy was defined by a quest for what he called a "dialogue between civilizations," warned Saturday that tensions between the Islamic world and the West are taking the shape of a new Cold War. -Washington Post - 3/6/06

IAEA Chief Calls For Late-Hour Talks With Iran
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei opened a key meeting over Iran's nuclear activities today by suggesting there is still room for talks ahead of a possible UN Security Council referral. -RFE - 3/6/06

UN Nuclear Agency Opens Crucial Meeting on Iran
Board members of the International Atomic Energy Agency are holding a meeting Monday in Vienna to discuss referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its controversial nuclear program. The lead up to the meeting has been marked by sharp rhetoric on both sides of the issue. -VOA - 3/6/06

Iran calls for increase in workers dispatched to South Korea
Iranian Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Mohammad Jahromi here Monday called for an increase in the number of Iranian workers and professionals dispatched to South Korea. -IRNA - 3/6/06

Iran's own Eminem raps for Islam
Alimi, 19, who is among Iran's most promising artists, has backed the ultra-conservative President by attacking the 'cultural bombardment' from the West and counter-attacking the enemy through one of its most subversive sounds: rap. -Guardian - 3/6/06

NATO May Help US Airstrikes on Iran
General Axel Tüttelmann, the head of Nato’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, showed off an AWACS early warning surveillance plane in Israel a fortnight ago, he caused a flurry of concern back at headquarters in Brussels. -Sunday Times, UK - 3/6/06

Prominent Iranian Rights Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani Released On Bail
Soltani, a member of the Center of Human Rights Defenders founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, was arrested last year on charges of revealing state secrets and harming Iran's national security. -RFE - 3/6/06

Tripartite talks on Iran gas pipeline on March 13-15 in Tehran
Iran, Pakistan and India are poised to hold crucial talks at the joint working group level on the proposed gas pipeline in Tehran on March 13-15. -IRNA - 3/6/06

Seven Iranian IT firms to attend CeBIT 2006 in Hanover
Iranian firms at the CeBIT are Sanaray Software Export Research and Development Company, Data Process Company, Elmosanat, Ideagostar, Pishgamsoft, Iran Rayaneh Engineering Co (IRECO), and Etelaresani Payvand Dadeha (EPD). - 3/6/06

Another War for Israel: The amen corner howls for war with Iran
A prominent public official finally said what we've been saying all along in these pages: "The U.S. presence in Iraq is hurting the worldwide war on terrorism and benefits only Iran and al-Qaeda, U.S. Rep. John Murtha said on Sunday. 'The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al-Qaeda,' Murtha said - 3/6/06

Costs of US attack on Iran enormous, says Gary Sick
Former US National Security Advisor Gary Sick said in New York on Saturday that any US or Israel military attack on Iran is a blatant mistake and they will incur heavy costs. "Moreover such an attack on Iran is also impossible," he added. -IRNA - 3/5/06

Peugeot, Citroen to purchase auto parts from Iranian producers
French auto makers Peugeot and Citroen will soon open an office in Iran to purchase auto parts from Iranian producers. -Mehr - 3/5/06

Four Countries to participate in the Construction of Qeshm Airport
A joint consortium consisted of four Iranian, three Singaporean, Malaysian, and Australian companies won the bid of the construction of the second phase of Qeshm airport in BOT method (Build, Operate, and Transfer). -CHN - 3/5/06

Fourteen countries purchase Panahi's "Offside"
"Offside" is about six Iranian girls who disguise themselves as boys in order to enter Tehran's Azadi Stadium to watch the 2006 World Cup Asian zone qualifier between Iran and Bahrain but who are arrested one by one. -Mehr - 3/5/06

US Critics Question Nuclear Pact With India
While U.S. President George W. Bush hailed Thursday's nuclear accord with India as a major breakthrough in forging a "strategic partnership" with the South Asian giant, the pact has been broadly denounced by nonproliferation experts here as a devil's bargain. -IPS - 3/5/06

IRICA registers 3.5 million arrivals to Iran this year
Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) said on Sunday it registered a total of about 7,245,000 arrivals and departures during the period from Mar. 2005 to Feb. 2006. -Mehr - 3/5/06

Female frustrations of Iran reporting
Women living and working in Iran, particularly those working for the foreign media, are finding all kinds of difficulties strewn in their path, writes Frances Harrison. -BBC - 3/5/06

Iran issues new nuclear warning
Iran has threatened to press ahead with industrial-scale uranium enrichment if its nuclear work is referred to the UN Security Council. -BBC - 3/5/06

India, Russia focus on Iran issue
India and Russia have held talks on the eve of a key meeting of the UN atomic watchdog over the Iran issue. -BBC - 3/5/06

Armenia/Azerbaijan: Tensions Rise Over Nagorno-Karabakh
Earlier this year, with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan meeting in the Paris suburb of Rambouillet, hopes were high that they could break the impasse over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. -RFE - 3/5/06

A Nuclear Iran Would Be Bad - A Forcibly Defanged Iran Would Be Worse
What does the peace movement have to say about the Iranian crisis? -by Tad Daley, Jodie Evans, and Mimi Kennedy, Common Dreams - 3/4/06

Reality and Revisionism About Iran: The Monolith Crumbles
It is a well-known fact--except among the American media, the American government, and about 98.7 percent of the American people--that Iran is not a monolithic state where sheep-like masses bray with a single voice in chorus with their demented leaders, but is, on the contrary, a complex society where many conflicting opinions on matters political, religious, social, historical, etc., contend with each other in open debate. -Counterpunch - 3/4/06

Bush U-turn on Iranian pipeline
President George W Bush has indicated the US has dropped its staunch opposition to a proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan. -BBC - 3/4/06

Use Diplomacy on Iran Case, Say Americans
Many adults in the United States think military action against Iran is unwarranted at this point, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 55 per cent of respondents believe Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy now, and 19 per cent say the country is not a menace to the U.S. -Angus Reid - 3/4/06

The Brinkmanship Of Energy Geopolitics
Never underestimate how quickly an overstretched, embattled army can turn the tables in a war zone. In the process, it can induce a reordering in the global power structure by simply exiting. Yes, the Persian Gulf crisis can indeed escalate into an extreme, maximalist scenario. The decisive factor - as always - depends on the energy reservoir of the protagonists. In this case the question of 'energy' takes a more literal interpretation. -Countercurrents - 3/4/06

Iran's envoy to IAEA: No agreement signed by Tehran, Moscow yet
Iran's Representative to the UN nuclear watchdog Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said in Vienna on Friday afternoon that no agreement was signed during latest meetings between Iranian and Russian officials in the two capitals. -IRNA - 3/4/06

Iranian President Says UN Nuclear Watchdog Losing Credibility
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a visit to Malaysia Friday, accused the United Nation's nuclear watchdog of being a tool of world powers. The president's attack on the credibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency comes ahead of crucial meetings in Vienna on Iran's controversial nuclear programs. -VOA - 3/4/06

US Bolsters Diplomatic Forces on Iranian Affairs
The State Department said Friday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is increasing the number of department officials and diplomats involved in Iranian affairs. Intended to help promote democratic change in Iran, the move is part of a broader restructuring of the State Department by the Secretary. -VOA - 3/4/06

Arrow can block 'any Iranian missile'
Israel's Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system is capable of intercepting and destroying any Iranian missiles, even were they to carry nuclear warheads, a high-ranking IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. -Jerusalem Post - 3/4/06

Pakistanis Revile Bush Visit
Pakistanis shut down their country with a nationwide strike and protests Friday as President George W. Bush flew here from India for talks with President Pervez Musharraf. -Newsday - 3/4/06

Quake hits Hashtroud in northwestern Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale hit the outskirts of Hashtroud in East Azarbaijan province, northwestern Iran, Friday evening. -IRNA - 3/4/06

45th Hotel of Kish Island Opened
Grand hotel in Kish Island has been opened with the capacity of 200 passengers in a 5400 square meter area. Grand Hotel is constructed in 6 floors and 6400 square meter area and has 60 residential rooms. With the opening of 45th hotel in Kish Island, the number of hotel beds in Kish Island reached to 8300. -CHN - 3/4/06

Congress Outbids Bush On Iran Democracy Aid
Senator Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, is seeking to one-up the Bush administration's request for federal aid to Iran's pro-democracy movement, calling for $100 million to help the Islamic Republic's transition to freedom. -New York Sun - 3/4/06

CASMII: IAEA finds no evidence of Iranian nuclear-weapons plan
On March 2, an Associated Press report made it clear that the IAEA’s multi-year investigation has not shown “any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” This verdict sharply contradicts the resolution of the February 4th resolution of the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which reports Iran to the UN Security Council, and strongly challenges the US deceptive propaganda war on Iran. - 3/3/06

Whither America, whither the world?
Some 170 years ago a great American, Ralph Waldo Emerson who was considered as a prophet by some said, "The end of the human race is that it will die of civilization." -Ali Parsa - 3/3/06

U.S. Studies Iranian's Religious Ideology
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's surprise victory in the Iranian presidential elections last year sent foreign-policy experts in Washington scrambling to decipher the little-known former Tehran mayor suddenly in charge of a country determined to master nuclear technology. -Forward - 3/3/06

Opposition figures urge support for Iran's civil society
“We must win the hearts and minds of the youthful Iranian Society,” Mehdi Jalali, political commentator and Iranian dissident, said at a Congressional hearing held on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Jalali argued that support of a free Iranian civil society, rather than military action, would open the door to freedom in Iran. -NIAC - 3/3/06

Iranian Negotiators To Meet EU Envoys For Last-Minute Nuclear Talks
Iranian nuclear negotiators will meet with the British, French, and German foreign ministers in Vienna on March 3. The move comes ahead of the March 6 meeting of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, when the board of governors will make an assessment of Iran's nuclear program and report to the UN Security Council. -RFE - 3/3/06

Bomb blast hits southern Iranian city of Ahwaz
A percussion bomb explosion in Ahvaz, capital city of this southwestern oil-rich province, late Thursday night claimed no lives but damaged buildings. -IRNA - 3/3/06

Bird flu spreads to Iran's World Cup training camp site in Germany
The dangerous bird flu virus has spread to Iran's World Cup training camp site in the south German city of Friedrichshafen, located at the scenic Lake of Constance which is surrounded by Germany, Austria and Switzerland. -IRNA - 3/3/06

U.S. to sharpen focus on Iran
The U.S. State Department is creating a special office to deal with foreign policy changes related to Iran and to promote a democratic transition in the Islamic republic, State Department officials said Thursday. -CNN - 3/3/06

Deal complicates stance on Iran and other foes
The nuclear deal with India, if approved by Congress and America's allies, will strengthen ties with a country that has already begun to be more aligned with the United States, but it also complicates efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to Iran and other foes, diplomats and experts say. -New York Times - 3/3/06

Are We Playing for Keeps?
In Iraq today, Iran is replicating the military, economic, and information tactics it used to promote the rise of Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 1980s, and the United States has thus far failed to develop an effective strategy to counter these efforts. -Michael Rubin, AEI - 3/3/06

Rafsanjani asks West not to create problem for world, region, Iran
Addressing the worshipers at Tehran University, the interim Friday Prayer Leader of Tehran said that very faint signs of rationality, wisdom, and logic are observed in West's approach toward Iran's nuclear program, adding, "Such an illogical approach can lead to the emergence of problems for the world, the region, and Iran." -IRNA - 3/3/06

Iranian exile groups urged to unite
Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the former Shah of Iran who still holds out the possibility of returning to the throne, expressed his frustration with Iran’s fractious opposition groups on Wednesday, urging them to unite against the Islamic regime. -Financial Times - 3/3/06

IRAN: UNHCR to assist 150,000 Afghan returnees in 2006
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that based on last year's returns it is budgeting to assist an estimated 150,000 Afghan refugees to voluntarily return to their homeland this year from Iran, host to one of the largest refugee populations in the world. -IRIN - 3/3/06

Iranian travel companies to actively attend Berlin's ITB tourism fair
Berlin's ITB tourism and travel fair, due to run from March 8 through 12, will also host 37 Iranian travel and tourism firms. -IRNA - 3/3/06

Iran forges ahead on nukes
As a Monday UN deadline approaches, Iran is expanding its controversial nuclear enrichment program - a calculated dare that crosses a "red line" for Western governments concerned about Iranian atomic weapon ambitions. -CSM - 3/3/06

New Wave Of Executions in Iran Raises Concerns
Two men convicted of involvement in a bomb attack in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz were executed today. The executions took place amid concern by human rights groups over what they describe as a worrying trend in the use of the death penalty in Iran. -RFE - 3/3/06

Iran's President Uses Nationalism to Rally Support Behind Nuclear Program
Iran's disputed nuclear program is at the center of a brewing international crisis that some say has been aggravated by the words and actions of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some analysts say the Iranian leader is hoping to use the current standoff with the West over the nuclear issue to rally nationalist support behind his government. -VOA - 3/3/06

March 18 Anti War Actions -- Growing Urgency
March 18 -19, 2006, Global Days of Action. From Iraq to New Orleans - Stop the War on the Poor! Bring the Troops Home Now! No New War on Iran! -International Action Center - 3/2/06

New "Office of Iranian Affairs" Outlined in State Department Cable
The Bush administration this month “quietly orchestrated a major shift in U.S. policy toward Iran,” requesting $85 million for a plan “not just to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions but also to topple the Iranian government.” An unclassified State Department cable released this morning offers details on this new strategy. ThinkProgress has acquired a copy of the document, which you can read here. - 3/2/06

Iran defeats Costa Rica in World Cup warm-up
Regulars Ali Karimi, Ali Daei, and Vahid Hashemian found the back of the net before halftime to give Iran a 3-2 win over depleted Costa Rica in a World Cup warm-up in Teharn on Wednesday. -IRNA - 3/2/06

Sivand Dam project delayed until archaeological excavations completed
MP Amirreza Khadem recently stated that the Energy Ministry has announced that the reservoir of the Sivand Dam in Fars Province would not be filled until the archaeological excavations in the area are completed -Mehr - 3/2/06

Iranians hang two Ahwaz bombers
Two men found guilty of bomb attacks in the south-western Iranian city of Ahwaz in 2005 have been publicly hanged, at the place where the bombings occurred. -BBC - 3/2/06

Spinning Us to War with Iran
Perhaps Muslims need a good dose of Western invasion and occupation. And Iran is the next victim. A poll taken in the US in mid February suggested that people believe Iran will develop nuclear weapons but also use them against the United States. We are constantly told that Iran is a "threat". -Counterpunch - 3/2/06

Open Letter to Iran's Nobel Laureate
The appeal you and Mohammad Sahimi addressed to "Western democracies" in the International Herald Tribune on January 19 disappointed this former admirer of yours. -Rostam Pourzal, Monthly Review - 3/2/06

Anti-Bush Protests Hit India Ahead of Visit
Tens of thousands of Muslims and communists took to the streets across India on Wednesday, protesting against the visit of U.S. President George W. Bush, hours before his arrival. -Reuters - 3/2/06

Quake hits Shoushtar and Masjed-Soleyman in southwestern Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale jolted the cities of Shoushtar and Masjed-Soleyman in the southwestern province of Khuzestan at 07:33 hours local time (03:03 GMT) Thursday. -IRNA - 3/2/06

Eye of the Storm: Teheran writes the script, the US follows it
Having resumed uranium enrichment, has the Islamic Republic crossed the Rubicon? That question is dividing commentators and decision-makers both inside and outside Iran. -Jerusalem Post - 3/2/06

US Report Cites Daunting Drug Challenge in Afghanistan
The U.S. State Department says despite President Hamid Karzai's commitment to fight opium-poppy cultivation, Afghanistan presents a daunting and long-term challenge in the fight against the illegal global drug trade. The department issued its annual report on narcotics control Wednesday. -VOA - 3/2/06

Iran: Jewish Groups Want President Barred From Europe
The European Jewish Group and an Israeli NGO are seeking to persuade Germany and other EU countries to declare Iran's controversial president a persona non grata. -RFE - 3/2/06

U.S. Sailors Assist Stranded Iranian Mariners
Sailors from the guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez, currently deployed to the Persian Gulf, rescued six Iranian mariners yesterday after they had been adrift for 10 days. -American Forces Press Service - 3/2/06

Darband Registered in the List of National Heritage
Darband historical-natural site in Tehran was registered in the list of National Heritage of the country. This way the most valuable natural heritage site of Tehran will be placed under the protection of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO). - 3/2/06

Traces of Prehistoric Civilization Discovered in Shahrud
Discovery of an 8000-year-old oven in Shahrud, a city in Semnan Province, revealed some evidence regarding the lifestyle of the people who lived in Shahrud Plain around 6000 BC. This discovery raised new questions about the method of life and crafts of the inhabitants of the region during the Neolithic epoch and before. -CHN - 3/2/06

Iran to Attend Last-Minute Nuclear Talks With European Union
Iran's top nuclear negotiator and European foreign ministers will meet in Vienna Friday, making one more effort to break the impasse over Tehran's nuclear program. -VOA - 3/2/06

Monsieur OSCAR Mangez-Vous Ispahan ?
Pierre Hermé, dubbed the Picasso of Pastry by Vogue magazine, as well as The Haute Couture Pattsier and the Desert Magician in various French magazines is a fourth-generation pastry chef. Raised in Alsace, he apprenticed to the legendary Gaston Lenotre when he was just fourteen and at twenty-four took over the famed pastry kitchens of Fauchon in Paris. -Darius KADIVAR - 3/2/06

Iranian official: Reaching agreement on joint enrichment with Russia needs more time
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani at the end of his talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov said that reaching agreement on joint uranium enrichment for Iran at Russian soil is in need of more time and broader negotiations. -IRNA - 3/2/06

Reza Pahlavi against diplomatic options or punitive ones, including military strikes, to resolve Iran crisis
It saddens me to reappear before you here today at a time when under the yoke of the clerical regime, my homeland is labeled as the greatest threat to international peace and security, and more importantly, from my vantage point, this threat comes at the cost of great pain and suffering for my fellow compatriots in Iran. -Reza Pahlavi - 3/2/06

U.S.: Iran Policy Enters Delicate Phase As Next IAEA Meeting Looms
The board of governors of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will meet in Vienna on 6 March and could decide whether to report Iran to the Security Council for possible sanctions for resuming its suspected nuclear-weapons program. -RFE - 3/2/06

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006
An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows. -Zogby - 3/1/06

Iranian President sets off for Malaysia
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Tehran for Kuala Lumpur Wednesday morning for an official three-day visit. Talking to reporters, the president said his trip to Malaysia was aimed at discussing bilateral, regional and international developments. -IRNA - 3/1/06

Don't be silenced by extremists
A plea from 11 Canadian Muslim academics and activists -Toronto Star - 3/1/06

New 5-year plan to help Iranian women, children launched by UNICEF
The United Nations Children's International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has announced a joint five-year plan with the Iranian government to empower women and children in Iran, it was reported here Tuesday. -IRNA - 3/1/06

Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan
President Bush has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. Mr. Bush made a secret detour to Kabul on his way to talks in India and Pakistan. -VOA - 3/1/06

Good Nukes, Bad Nukes
Juxtaposed this week are the two poles of the emerging world: India and Iran. They are alpha and omega, the dream and the nightmare. One symbolizes the promise of globalization, the other the threat of global disorder. -Washington Post - 3/1/06

PAKISTAN: 25,000 birds culled after confirmation of avian flu
As many as 25,000 chickens were culled on Tuesday at two poultry farms in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where low pathogenic avian influenza, a mild form of bird flu, had been detected one day earlier. -IRIN - 3/1/06

Iranian psychotherapist Nossrat Pezeshkian receives Germany's highest civilian honor
Iranian psychotherapist Nossrat Pezeshkian received Germany's highest civilian medal -- the Federal Service Cross -- for his "decades-long engagement in the service of medical science," the medical daily Aerztezeitung quoted the social ministry in the southwestern state of Hesse as saying on Wednesday. -IRNA - 3/1/06

On the Road to Empire
Either get out of Iraq, or get ready for a regional war - 3/1/06

Iran to Finance Hamas-led Palestinian Authority
Iran is promising to bail out the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, following the victory of the Islamic militant group Hamas in parliamentary elections a month ago. Israel, meanwhile, has expressed regret over a European Union decision to send emergency aid to the Palestinians. -VOA - 3/1/06

Japan Reportedly Fails to Obtain Concessions on Nuclear Programs From Iranian Official
Iran's foreign minister has rejected calls by Japan to end its uranium enrichment program, despite international suspicion that the Islamic Republic may be secretly attempting to produce nuclear weapons. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apparently failed to obtain any concessions from the Iranian foreign minister. -VOA - 3/1/06

Quakes hit towns in southern and southeastern Iran
Quakes of varying magnitudes shook the southern and southeastern parts of Iran Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. -IRNA - 3/1/06

Iran: A Middle Route Out Of The Crisis
A report published in late February by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a nongovernmental organization that provides policy advice aimed at resolving conflicts, addressed the options and issued a set of recommendations aimed at finding a middle-ground solution. -RFE - 3/1/06

Why India Should Choose Iran, Not the US
Dr Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and one of the leading technical nuclear experts in the United States, believes that even if India gets everything it wants under the US-India civilian nuclear agreement signed by President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, it would still be only a tiny fraction of the oil and gas it could obtain from Iran to meet India's growing energy needs. -Counterpunch - 3/1/06

Iran's Samand floods Russian market
Iran-made Samand automobiles go on official sale in Russia, representative of the Iranian carmaker, Iran Khodro, in Russia Halim Bilalov said on Tuesday. -IRNA - 3/1/06

Quake destroys 1,400 houses in southeastern Iran
Some 1,400 residential units were either partially or totally destroyed in Faryab section of Kahnou, in the southeastern province of Kerman, by the 5.8-degree earthquake which hit the area Tuesday morning. -IRNA - 3/1/06

FIFA chief rejects calls to expel Iran from 2006 World Cup
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter strongly dismissed calls to ban Iran from the 2006 World Cup in Germany for political reasons, calling it "unthinkable". -IRNA - 3/1/06

Iran Indicates Willingness to Compromise Ahead of IAEA Meeting
Iran says it accepts in principle a Russian offer aimed at heading off international concerns over Iran's nuclear plans, and talks between the two nations were due to resume in Moscow today. -VOA - 3/1/06

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