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From Molana (Rumi) With Love
Spring's onset blesses our planet with a revival of beauty, bounty, and new life. As nature's rebirth begins, I hope our hearts and souls also bloom the new buds of love, compassion, and hope, which could bring about a much more peaceful, loving, and caring year for all of earth's inhabitants. -Dr. Majid M. Naini - 3/31/08

Iran bags 9 Taekwondo medals in Bahrain competitions
Iranian junior Taekwondo practitioners have won nine medals on the first day of the Bahrain International Taekwondo Championship. -Press TV - 3/31/08

Taheri: Reporting for Destruction
Murdoch's paper is providing a platform for Amir Taheri to spin his lies. Why is the owner of Fox News so enamored with Taheri? Foremost, because Taheri excels at propagating misinformation and Murdoch picked him at an auction of sorts. His investment has paid off. No doubt Murdoch had eyed his talent from afar – as Benador Associate. -Soraya Ulrich - 3/31/08

Iran's Beautiful Nature: Caspian Sea of Clouds
The 4030 m (13222 ft) Mt. Veravasht (a.k.a. Dehla) rises to the southeast of the Chalus River Gorge in the Central Alborz Mountains of northern Iran. The distance between the summit of Veravasht and the Caspian Sea shore is only 42 Km (26 miles). The western slopes of Veravasht drop 3000 vertical meters (10 000 ft) to the bottom of the Chalus River Gorge -Nader Honarkhah - 3/31/08

Portrait of a veteran Iranian revolutionary
For the past half century, Zabihollah Bakhshi – a religious militant – has been center stage in nearly every Iranian fight or street protest. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 3/31/08

Siraf port introduced as Iran's National Port
Siraf Bandar, called Taheri Bandar today, was one the biggest and the most prosperous ports in Persian Gulf Zone during the second and fifth centuries of lunar calendar. -IRNA - 3/31/08

Three Persian Gulf Islands Inseparable Part of Iran
Iran's FM spokesman strongly refuted statement made by Arab League chief Amr Mousa that he put on the agenda of Summit of Arab Leaders the misunderstanding between Iran and the United Arab Emirates. -IRNA - 3/31/08

Iraq: Fighting Over, But Shi'ite Power Struggle Continues
When Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the Iraqi Army to clean out what he called criminal elements in Al-Basrah a week ago, he offered no compromise. But after six days of fighting that spread rapidly from Al-Basrah to other cities in the south of Iraq and to Baghdad, al-Maliki welcomed a cease-fire offer from radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on March 30. The street fighting now appears over. -RFE - 3/31/08

Jewish group slams Swiss-Iran gas deal; U.S. questions whether contract violates sanctions
The World Jewish Congress criticized Switzerland on Monday for participating in a gas deal with Iran that it condemned as a propaganda triumph for Tehran's hard-liners. -AP - 3/31/08

Oliver Stone to make President Bush film "W." starring Josh Brolin in the Title Role -Darius KADIVAR - 3/30/08

Russia, China Unlikely To Welcome Iran Into SCO
Iran, Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, and Pakistan currently have observer status in the SCO. The group -- established in 1996 as the Shanghai Five before changing its name in 2001 -- includes China, Russia, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. -REF - 3/30/08

Internet Search Engines in support of our Daily Persian Lives
I present herein the result of a comprehensive Google search, on keywords that set our perspectives for daily topics we encounter, contemplate and introspect. -David Rahni New York - 3/30/08

Iraq: Sadr orders fighters off the streets
Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered militiamen off the streets of Basra, spokesman said in a statement on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/30/08

Iran, Cuba FMs meet in Damascus
During the meeting which was held on the sidelines of the 20th Summit of leaders of Arab states being held in the Syrian capital, the two officials underscored the need for further promotion of mutual economic cooperation. -IRNA - 3/30/08

Iran Summons Dutch Ambassador Over Anti-Islam Film
Iran has summoned the Dutch ambassador to Tehran to protest against a Dutch lawmaker's film that says the Koran incites violence. -VOA - 3/30/08

U.S. to Stop Green Card Denials for Dissidents
The U.S. immigration service said yesterday that it will temporarily stop denying green cards to refugees and other legal immigrants tied to groups that sought to topple foreign dictatorships -Washington Post - 3/30/08

Iran: Private Homes Raided for 'Immorality'
The arrest of more than 30 men attending a party in a private home in the city of Esfahan signals renewed efforts by Iranian authorities to enforce "morality" codes, and highlights the fragility of basic rights in a country where police powers routinely undermine privacy, Human Rights Watch said today. - 3/29/08

British Correspondent Patrick Cockburn on Iraq’s Growing Sectarian Divide and the Myth of “Success” in the US “Surge”
As a new civil war threatens to explode in Iraq between US-backed Iraqi government forces and Shia militiamen, we go to London to speak with Patrick Cockburn, Iraq correspondent for the London Independent. Covering the invasion and occupation from the ground in Iraq for the past five years, Cockburn has been described as “the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today.” -Democracy Now - 3/29/08

OIC condemns "in the strongest terms" release of anti-Islam film
The Organization of the Islamic Conference added its voice to the growing criticism of a film released by a Dutch lawmaker, which features disturbing images of terrorist acts superimposed over verses from holy Quran. -IRNA - 3/29/08

Dutch Anti-Koran Film Appears On Internet
The overnight posting of an anti-Islamic film by a right-wing Dutch politician has sparked widespread condemnation and fears of a backlash. -RFE - 3/29/08

Turkey Injects Billions in Kurdish Region to Bolster Economy
Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast has been the center of a bloody 20-year conflict between the Turkish state and Kurds fighting for autonomy. For decades, the region has remained one of the poorest in the country, despite widespread calls for greater economic development. -VOA - 3/29/08

Over 23,000 foreign tourists visited Iran during Noruz holidays
Director General of Foreign Tourist Promotion Department Mohammad Ali Pakdasht said that tourists from Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and the American Continent visited Iran during March 16-23. - 3/29/08

Inside Track: Persian Pitfalls
A poll of Iranian public opinion released in mid-March by Terror Free Tomorrow and D3 Systems highlights both problems and opportunities for U.S. policy toward Iran. -National Interest - 3/29/08

Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia hold railway conference
The conference is to conduct preliminary survey and studies on running an electronic trains connecting Tabriz, Azarshahr as well as construction of new rail track connecting Ghazvin, Rasht and Astara. -IRNA - 3/29/08

US Middle East Commander Steps Down After Controversy
The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Central Asia and East Africa stepped down Friday, after just a year in command, following allegations he had disagreed with the Bush Administration on some key policies. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the headquarters of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. - 3/29/08

New Art Pieces by Sara Rahbar: On Tolerance
Iranian-American artist Sara Rahbar has completed new flag pieces for a commission for the Queens Museum of Art on the subject of tolerance. - 3/28/08

Iranian ethnic minorities clash on Capitol Hill
A March 13 event on Capitol Hill intended to expose Iran’s human rights violations was overcome with political rivalry and infighting. The event, a one-hour briefing on Iran’s human rights record, was eventually broken up by Capitol Hill police officers. -Arash Hadjialiloo, NIAC - 3/28/08

Central/South Asia: Iran Pushes Cross-Border TV Project
As part of its vigorous cultural diplomacy in neighboring countries that share its language, Iran is driving plans for a Persian-language satellite network to broadcast in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. -RFE - 3/28/08

UNAIDS Chief Says Disease Spreading At Record Pace in Central Asia
A new report by the independent Commission On AIDS In Asia, sponsored by the United Nations, contains the most comprehensive assessment of the disease's spread and impact in Asia. -REF - 3/28/08

U.S. Teams Up With Iran in Basra?
For more than a year, America's political and military leaders have been angrily accusing Iran of fueling the violence in Iraq. But, in the battle for Basra, the U.S. suddenly finds itself in the odd position of being, in effect, Tehran's ally against a common foe. -WIRED - 3/28/08

Shahinfar Runs for Congress
Iranian American Darius Shahinfar has announced his candidacy for New York’s 21st District Congressional seat. The seat is being vacated by retiring Representative Michael McNulty (D-NY) who has represented the district since 1988. -Babak Talebi, NIAC - 3/28/08

Killer wheat fungus a threat to global food security?
The Ug99 strain of the killer wheat fungus (stem rust), which recently infected wheat farms in western Iran, is a serious threat to global food security, agricultural scientists have warned. They have said the fungus may affect additional wheat-producing countries. -IRIN - 3/28/08

Fitch (UK) Affirms Export Development Bank of Iran at 'B+'; Outlook Stable
Fitch Ratings-London-26 March 2008: Fitch Ratings (UK) has today affirmed Export Development Bank of Iran's (EDBI) Long-term Issuer Default rating (IDR) at 'B+' with a Stable Outlook, Short-term IDR at 'B', Individual rating at 'D', Support rating at '4' and Support Rating Floor at 'B+'. - 3/28/08

Stalled assault on Basra exposes the Iraqi government's shaky authority
The Iraqi army's offensive against the Shia militia of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Basra is failing to make significant headway despite a pledge by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to fight "to the end". -Independent - 3/28/08

Iran's oil sector flourished in 2007
Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari had declared that Iran broke its oil production record by producing 4,210 million barrels per day. Nozari said that such a production rate is unprecedented since the 1979 victory of the Islamic Revolution. -Press TV - 3/28/08

SCO Chief welcomes Iran's membership
Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Bolat Nurgaliyev on Thursday welcomed Iran's bid for membership in the Organization. -IRNA - 3/28/08

Iran Condemns Anti-Islamic Dutch Film
Iran's Foreign Ministry says European governments should move to stop the showing of a film by a far-right Dutch lawmaker that says the Koran incites violence. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Ali Hosseini, called the film anti-Islamic and anti-cultural. -VOA - 3/28/08

Al-Sadr in trouble, Iraq headed for meltdown
The fiery religious leader has a loyal following in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood and other enclaves thanks to generous social programs, but his political movement, his Mehdi Army militia and the cease-fire al-Sadr recently extended are no match for Iranian intrigue, according to CNN's experts. - 3/28/08

Lavrov: Russia Still Opposes NATO Expansion, US Missile Defense Plans
Russia's foreign minister again has expressed opposition to NATO expansion and U.S. plans for a missile defense system in central Europe. -VOA - 3/28/08

Profit with pistachios
California grows and loves it pistachios in abundance. The focus now is to expand the presence of this ’heart healthy’ nut across world markets. -Business Line - 3/28/08

Hizbullah increases rocket range; can now reach Dimona
With Iranian backing, Hizbullah militants have dramatically increased their rocket range and can now threaten most of Israel, anonymous Defense Ministry officials said Wednesday, explaining that the Lebanese organization has acquired new Iranian rockets with a range of about 300 kilometers. -Ynet News - 3/28/08

American Couple Walking For Peace from Vancouver to San Diego
A couple of weeks ago I read a short announcement in our local paper, Los Gatos Weekly Times, about a couple who were on a Walk For Peace mission and were scheduled to pass through Los Gatos on March 9. How many times one gets a chance to meet people like Ruah and Louis? Not many. So I made a pact with myself to go and meet them. -Ali Moayedian - 3/27/08

First Norouz Parade in San Jose and Fifth Norouz Festival and Concert in Los Gatos
Norouz Festival Committee, the Hafez Cultural Foundation and the Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association cordially invite you to come and enjoy the Norouz Festivities this year. - 3/27/08

Soccer: Iran and Kuwait tie 2-2 in World Cup qualifier
Kuwait has stopped Iran's national soccer team in the second match of South Africa's 2010 World Cup qualifier with a 2-2 draw. -Press TV - 3/27/08

Text of Parvin Ardalan's Speech Delivered at the Olaf Palme Foundation
The following is the English Text of the speech of Parvin Ardalan, delivered via video during the ceremony where she was presented with the Olaf Palme Award. Parvin Ardalan was due to travel to Stockholm on March 3, but was banned from travel at the last minute. Her sister received the award in her place. -Change for Equality - 3/27/08

How About Norooz Pirooz?
In English, there is only one standard way of saying Happy New Year. In French, Bonne Annee, etc. Should Iranians use one standard spelling? If so, which? -Jalal Jonroy, New York - 3/27/08

Hindujas may ink pact to develop oil, gas fields in Iran
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and its partner Hindujas Group may sign a multi-billion dollar deal next month for developing oil and gas fields in Iran. -IRNA - 3/27/08

Best in Iranian media in 2007 chosen
An annual report/survey on the best in Iranian media in 2007 has been announced. -IJNET - 3/27/08

Iran, Portugal draw 2-2 in futsal friendly
The Iranian national futsal team settles for a 2-2 draw in a friendly match against Portugal as it prepares for the Asian championship. -Press TV - 3/27/08

Turkey: Constitutional Crisis Pits 'Deep State' vs. 'Deep State'
With Turkey's Constitutional Court due to rule on whether to ban the ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development (AK) party, the country's political fault lines are growing deeper. -RFE - 3/27/08

Bush To Meet Putin In Russia
President Bush has accepted an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to travel to Russia for talks April 6 on missile defense. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports the hastily arranged meeting will come at the end of a European tour that will also take Mr. Bush to Ukraine, Croatia and the NATO summit in Romania. - 3/27/08

FM spokesman protests fingerprinting Iranian pilgrims on Iraq border
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini on Thursday voiced strong protest at the US occupying forces' recent "willful" act of fingerprinting and imposing restrictions on the Iranian pilgrims on the officially recognized Iran-Iraq borders. - 3/27/08

Iraq implodes as Shia fights Shia
A new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad. -Independent - 3/27/08

Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia Snub Arab League Summit
Egypt says it is sending a junior minister to the Arab League summit scheduled for Damascus this weekend. Lebanon is boycotting the meeting, and Saudi Arabia will also send a low-level delegation. The diplomatic snubs of Syria are linked to tension over the Lebanese political crisis. -VOA - 3/27/08

The Secret American-Iranian Security Deal In Iraq
Arab online says that there are secret Iranian – American negotiations at Ahmadinejad’s visit to Iraq. Ahmadinejad offered to calm the situation in Iraq, using the three days attacks-free visit to Iraq as a demonstration of what can Iran do, the second offer is to accept the long term Iraqi – American agreement. -Information Clearing House - 3/27/08

Iranian women's football team defeated 4-1 by Vietnam
Head coach of the Iranian women's football team is satisfied with performance of her side despite the squad's 4-1 loss against Vietnam. -Press TV - 3/26/08

Ananda: A quiet vegetarian restaurant in Tehran's south Ekhtiyarieh
Just south of Ekhtiyarieh square on the corner of Behestan 10th Street there is a nice and quiet place to eat and you would appreciate it even more if you are vegetarian. The restaurant is called Ananda and it has been there for a few years and although I have mentioned Ananda in my articles in the past I have not written specifically about it. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/26/08

Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan to bolster economic, cultural ties
The three Persian speaking neighboring countries of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan here on Tuesday issued a joint communique for expansion of trilateral economic and cultural relations. -IRNA - 3/26/08

Engage Iran, scholar says
Haleh Esfandiari is the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who suffered eight months of detention at the hands of the Iranian government last year. She still favors American engagement with Tehran. The Iranian-born scholar knows a bit more about human rights and what it’s like to lose them than her intellectual rivals on the pro-war right. -Las Vegas Sun - 3/26/08

Iran performs revolutionary brain surgery
According to the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Dr Ramin Pakbaz, an Iranian associate professor in San Diego University has performed the operation in association with the surgery team in the radiology department of Imam Khomeini Hospital. -Press TV - 3/26/08

Iraq: Al-Basrah Clashes Could Prove Ominous
Fierce clashes between radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Imam Al-Mahdi Army, and government forces in the southern Iraqi city of Al-Basrah have sparked concern that the situation could quickly spiral out of control. -RFE - 3/26/08

My Meeting with New York City Mayor
This morning, March 25, 2008, I had the great honor of meeting personally with the New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, on the occasion of the old and traditional Norouz celebration at his official residence at Gracie Mansion. -James S. Irani - 3/26/08

Iran protests to UN over ignoring international law by Security Council
Iran on Wednesday protested to United Nations Secretary-General over negligence of the international law by the Security Council in passing resolutions against Iran. -IRNA - 3/26/08

Afghanistan: Report Says Foreign Aid Being Wasted, Billions Still Not Delivered
Afghanistan is highly dependent on foreign aid, and a new study says that some $10 billion in international aid pledged to the country has not been delivered. The study by the Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief (ACBAR) also says that much of the aid that has been sent is not being properly used. -RFE - 3/26/08

Is ‘Success’ of US Surge In Iraq About To Unravel?
A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government. -McClatchy Newspapers - 3/26/08

Bush Hosts Bahraini King at White House
The king met Monday with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to discuss increasing joint security exercises in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. -VOA - 3/26/08

On George Bush's Norooz greetings
The focal point of our Persian culture is that life is a struggle between the forces of good and evil-Colonial powers and freedom lovers. It is apparent that the founders of America, our adopted home shared our values as evidenced by defeating the forces of the greatest evil empire of their time. -Ali Parsa - 3/26/08

Iran: Majlis by-election to be held on April 25
The parliamentary run-off election will be held on April 25, the Guardian Council said on Wednesday. -IRNA - 3/26/08

China may join Iran-Pakistan pipeline
China is ready to join the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline if India drops out of the $7.4 billion project, Dawn newspaper reported Tuesday quoting Pakistani sources. -UPI - 3/26/08

Russia-Egypt nuclear deal signed
Egypt and Russia have signed a deal clearing the way for Russian involvement in building up Egypt's nuclear power industry. -BBC - 3/26/08

Iran: Bus accident leaves 27 dead
A bus overturn in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan has left at least 27 people dead and 13 others seriously injured. -Press TV - 3/26/08

Iran's Inflation-Driven Housing Crisis
In the three years since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president, Iranians have been had to contend with a novel kind of policy-making on domestic, foreign and economic affairs. Many analysts say decisions have been made on the spur of the moment without any input from experts in the relevant area. -Mohammad Mahdi Afkari, Tehran - 3/25/08

City Tech Professor Delaram Kahrobaei from Iran Awarded NSF Grant to Nurture Emerging Female Math Scholars
Delaram Kahrobaei and her colleague Victoria Gitman won a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to sponsor the Second Annual New York Women in Mathematics Network (NYWIMN) Conference on the City Tech campus. The upcoming May 2 conference will concentrate on interdisciplinary research in logic, group theory and theoretical computer science. - 3/25/08

Amin Ebrahim Nikfar breaks Iran's record in shot put
In a competition between the US universities athletes in the State of Arizona on Sunday, Nikfar ranked first and also broke Iran's record. - 3/25/08

Iranian academic Manuchehr Farhangi stabbed to death in Madrid
The founder of the ICS International College in Spain, Manuchehr Farhangi, was stabbed to death, the Madrid police announced. New information released by the police suggests that this murder, carried out by strokes of knife by a woman, could have political motives. - 3/25/08

No Swinging Allowed!: Images from the Life of Raheleh Zamani, who did not wish to Die
"She did not want to die. She wanted to live for her children; for her daughter. She would say: 'I know that when my daughter turns 15, she too will be forced into marriage. She will have to endure beatings and humiliation, and infidelity. She will have to endure what I have endured.' She did not want to die, so that perhaps she could save her daughter of a similar destiny." -Change for Equality - 3/25/08

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Film Season April 2008 - London
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is not simply one of Iran's leading film directors but one, according to Sheila Whitaker, deserving of a place in any history of international cinema. Yet, outside of festivals, she has largely been ignored in the UK. Here's the opportunity to find out just how much we've been missing. - 3/25/08

FM: Iran ready to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Dushanbe on Monday that Iran is ready to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). -IRNA - 3/25/08

Iran's Ghorbani to box in Beijing Olympics
Legendary Iranian slugger Mehdi Ghorbani has out-powered his Jordanian contender so that he can take part in the 2008 Olympic Games. -Press TV - 3/25/08

Iran Khodro to increase production
Iran's auto manufacturing giant, Iran Khodro, says it plans to increase annual auto production capacity to 1,080,000 by 2011. -IRNA - 3/25/08

Celebrating Norouz
Norouz, the Persian New Year, is celebrated in Iran and many Turkic countries in Central and Western Asia, as well as Iraq and Syria. -RFE - 3/25/08

Iraq forces battle Basra militias
Heavy fighting has been raging in Basra as thousands of Iraqi troops battle Shia militias in the southern city. The Mehdi Army - which supports radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr - called for a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience. -BBC - 3/25/08

US commander blames Iran fpr Green Zone attack
Top US commander in Iraq claims he has evidence that Iran was behind the bombardment of the heavily-fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. -Press TV - 3/25/08

Report: Iranian, Syrian missiles to pound Israel in next war
Hundreds of dead, thousands of injured, missile barrages on central Israel, full paralysis at Ben-Gurion Airport, constantly bombed roads, nationwide power outages that last for long hours, and whole regions' water supply being cut off – this is what the next war could look like. -ynet news - 3/25/08

Iraq readies oil, gas, Iran pipeline bids
Iraq announced tenders for international oil companies to test two of its largest oil fields, develop a major natural gas field and build a pipeline to Iran. -UPI - 3/25/08

Central Asia: Behind The Hype, Russia And China Vie For Region's Energy Resources
When Russia and China held joint military exercises last summer, it appeared that a powerful new strategic alliance was about to come of age. -RFE - 3/24/08

Daei: Iran ready to defeat Kuwait
Iran's head coach Ali Daei is upbeat about performance of the national team, promising that Asia's heavyweight will beat Kuwait. -Press TV - 3/24/08

Shusha Guppy: 1935-2008
Shusha Guppy, who has died aged 72, was one of the most talented women of her generation - a writer, singer and composer of songs, who moved freely among intellectual elites and made a home for herself in three radically different cultures. -Guardian - 3/24/08

Norouz Extravaganza at the City College of New York
Several hundred mostly Americans of Persian (Iranian) heritage along with American friends and other nationalities celebrated Norouz, the Iranian (Persian) New Year on March 21, 2008 in the Great Hall of the City College of New York. -David N. Rahni - 3/24/08

Iran enters new year in sombre mood as economic crisis bites
It's the Iranian New Year and people have been stocking up on food and buying goldfish, the symbol of luck and prosperity, to adorn their homes. But Iranians are down on their luck this year. Three years after the election of their radical President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his populist economic policies have led to rocketing inflation and high unemployment which contributed to an electoral backlash against his supporters. -Independent - 3/24/08

Casualties of War
President Bush marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with a speech at the Pentagon [1] claiming that "The world is better, and the United States is safer" as result of a war that has claimed nearly 4000 American lives, wounded 30,000 [2] and cost well over $500 billion and counting. -Daniel M Pourkesali - 3/24/08

15 million tourists visit different parts of Iran in 6 days
Fifteen million tourists have visited different parts of the country in six days (March 17-22), i.e. in three days (March 17-19) before Noruz (New Year) and in the first three days (March 20-22) of Noruz. -IRNA - 3/24/08

Quake hit Khalkhal in northwestern Iran
An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale trembled Khalkhal in Ardebil province on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/24/08

IRAN: Bush's bomb allegations give pause
The White House tried to explain away as "shorthand" comments made by President George W. Bush Thursday alleging that Iran has admitted it was seeking nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel. -Borzou Daragahi, LA Times - 3/24/08

Iran starts supplying electricity to Basra
Iraqi Minister of Electricity Karim Wahid al-Hasan says Iran has started supplying electricity to Basra from its port city of Abadan. -Press TV - 3/24/08

Swiss brush aside criticism over gas contract with Iran
A multibillion-euro Swiss contract to buy natural gas from Iran has provoked threats from Washington, protests from Jewish groups and fuelled mounting concern about Europe's energy security. -TIMES ONLINE - 3/24/08

The East-West divide: The roots of enmity
Napoleon Bonaparte and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, are the archtypes of West and East for the author Anthony Pagden: Worlds at War The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West -IHT - 3/24/08

Oman talks with Iran on supertankers
An Omani official says his country is in talks with an Iranian company on securing a contract for some recently ordered supertankers -Press TV - 3/24/08

Iran: Tourists Attractions
Iran is a country with enormous cultural and historical attractions which draw in landmark number of tourists in different seasons of the year, especially in spring and at time of Noruz, marking start of the New Year. - 3/23/08

White House Reception Honors Persian New Year
A traditional Haft Sin table celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is seen set Wednesday, March 19, 2008, in the State Dining Room of the White House. - 3/23/08

Iran crowned Asian Greco-Roman wrestling champs
Iran Greco-Roman wrestling team has become the Asian champions after picking up 55 points at the 2008 Asian wrestling championships. -Press TV - 3/23/08

Arab media warns Bush wants Iran war
The Arab media has raised US-Iran confrontation alarms, saying the US has a proxy war with Iran going at the tail end of the Bush administration. -Press TV - 3/23/08

Iran: 649 road accidents in first 3 days of New Year
Head of Police Traffic Control Center Colonel Hossein Alishahi said Sunday that since March 19, when Noruz (New Year) holidays started, there have been 649 road accidents, killing 130 people. - 3/23/08

Obama Congratulates Persian New Year to Iranian-Americans
On behalf of Michelle and my two daughters, I want to offer my best wishes to you for a happy and prosperous Persian New Year. Nowruz has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years by millions worldwide including over 1 million Iranian Americans in the United States. - 3/23/08

Will 2008 Bring a Welcome New Perspective on Iran?
Because Iran is one of the region’s most cloistered societies, Americans rarely hear Iranian voices. As a result, the public preconceptions go unchallenged, to the detriment of all. -WRMEA - 3/23/08

Silicon Valley Persian festival, parade kick off New Year
Persian New Year arrived in Silicon Valley at 10:48:19 p.m. March 19. Every year the 13-day festival starts at the exact second of the vernal equinox, depending on when the sun directly faces the Earth's equator between March 19 and 21. -San Jose Mercury - 3/23/08

US deploys nuclear sub to Persian Gulf: Report
A US nuclear submarine has crossed the Suez Canal to join the US fleet already deployed in the Persian Gulf, Egyptian sources say. -Press TV - 3/23/08

Group marks Iran's new year, its culture
Members of the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach's Young Advocates for Cultural Awareness, known as YACA, celebrated the Iranian new year Wednesday evening by immersing themselves in that country's traditions, culture and art. -Florida Times-Union - 3/23/08

McCain’s Gaffes Reflect Bush’s Iran-Qaeda Myth
Sen. John McCain’s confusion in recent allegations of Iranian training of al Qaeda fighters in Iraq is the result of a drumbeat of official propaganda about close Iran-al Qaeda ties that the George W. Bush administration and neoconservatives have promoted ever since early 2002. -IPS - 3/23/08

A new year: Iranians in area celebrate their holiday with food, fun
Afsaneh Maghsoodi cooked for four days in preparation for tonight: khoresht gheimeh, a lamb and split pea stew; 10 gallons of yogurt with cucumber and herbs; saffron rice pudding, traditional Iranian pastries. -Lansing State Journal - 3/23/08

Iran: A new balance of forces
With the extremist hardliners failing to secure a majority in Iranian parliamentary elections, we could see a change in the balance of forces, Kamal Nazer Yasin writes for ISN Security Watch. - 3/23/08

Iranian forces shell Kurdish rebels bases in northern Iraq, Kurdish official says
Iranian artillery shelled three border towns Sunday in northern Iraq where Iranian Kurdish rebels are believed to be operating, an Iraqi Kurdish official said. -AP - 3/23/08

Bahrain beats Iran in friendly football match
Bahrain beats Iran 1-0 in a friendly game, three days before the Iranian national team faces Kuwait in their World Cup qualifiers match. - 3/22/08

President Bush Talks To Radio Farda about Iran
This is a full transcript of an exclusive interview with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House on March 19, conducted by Radio Farda correspondent Parichehr Farzam. Topics included U.S. policy toward Iran, Iranian nuclear ambitions, a Russian proposal to enrich uranium that would be supplied to Iran, and missile defense. - 3/22/08

Chris de Burgh 'will perform in Iran'
Celebrated Irish musician and singer Chris De Burgh says media misinformation will not change his opinion about performing in Iran. -Press TV - 3/22/08

Iranian scientists produce droplets for asthma, bronchitis control
Iranian pulmonologist Dr. Hamid Rouhi Boroujeni has been able to produce and market two droplets for asthma and bronchitis using herbals. -IRNA - 3/22/08

Avicenna tomb in Hamedan draws in many tourists
Tomb of Muslim world's greatest physician, Avicenna, in Hamedan Province has these days been hosting large number of Iranian and foreign tourists. - 3/22/08

600,000 tourists visit Iran early Noruz - official
Some 600,000 foreign tourists arrived in Iran over the past few days for Noruz holiday making. -IRNA - 3/22/08

Iranian wreslters win two gold and a silver medal in Asian Wrestling Championships
Iran's 120 kg Greco Roman wrestler Masood Hashemzadeh on Saturday won a second gold medal for Iranian team taking part in the Asian Wrestling Championship Tournament in South Korea. -IRNA - 3/22/08

Safari to Lut Desert made easy by Shahdad-Nahbandan road
The world's most beautiful desert road, i.e. Shahdad-Nahbandan Road, will open up its hug to tourists who take resort in the area to visit nice Shahdad desert. - 3/22/08

Azerbaijan: Opposition Deplores Indecision Over NATO
The opposition Musavat party convened a roundtable discussion in Baku on March 17 focusing on Azerbaijan's protracted ambivalence with regard to NATO membership. -RFE - 3/22/08

US bans plane exporters to Iran
The US Commerce Department says it has imposed sanctions on British and Armenian firms for "knowingly" re-exporting aircrafts to Iran. -Press TV - 3/22/08

Armenia: Skirmishes Taint First Day After State Of Emergency
Authorities in the Armenian capital have lifted a 20-day state of emergency declared in the wake of deadly street battles between police and opposition supporters alleging fraud in the February presidential election. -RFE - 3/22/08

End of the Year Thoughts
The year that is just coming to its close was a year when for the first time in my life people talked about the weather in Iran as much as they did in England. All this talk was because we had one of the worst winters ever. Cold and snow seemed not to want to leave... -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/21/08

Cato Institute Study Finds Iran a Surprising Model for Kidney Markets
The United States suffers from an acute shortage of kidneys for transplant, with 73,000 people waiting for deceased donors to make organs available. Allowing compensation for donors, an idea that has allowed Iran to completely eliminate its waiting lists, would help solve this problem, reports a new study by the Cato Institute. - 3/21/08

IAPAC Hosts Northern California Nowruz Celebration
IAPAC's 2008 Northern California Nowruz Celebration, "Honoring the Accomplishments of Iranian Americans," was a night of high spirits, passionate speeches, community cohesion, and appreciation for the outstanding individuals who represent Iranian Americans in their everyday work. - 3/21/08

Visionary science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke dies at Age 90 -Darius KADIVAR - 3/21/08

Iran's Saipa Add to Al Wasl Woes
Iran Pro League champions Saipa compounded the woes of Al Wasl with a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates league champions at the Enghalab Stadium in Karaj on Wednesday. -FNA - 3/21/08

Rebirth, Renewal ... Nowruz
If Fatemeh Moharer has her way, we will all celebrate Nowruz. That's the Iranian New Year celebration that comes with the spring equinox and dates back 15,000 years. For her part, Moharer helps prepare a festive meal for 300 people at the Wellington Community Center, inviting co-workers from the South Florida Water Management District, and promoting the holiday to anyone who will listen. - 3/21/08

Enchanting New Children's Book Teaches Life and History Lessons
Jamshid and the Lost Mountain of Light by Howard Lee is a fanciful children's story about a boy's adventures in Ancient Persia. - 3/21/08

Iran spreads underwater Haft Seen in Persian Gulf
Iran lays out a Haft Seen in the depths of the breathtaking turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf on the occasion of the Iranian New Year. -Press TV - 3/21/08

Bomb, bomb Iran?
John McCain's gaffe about an Iran-al-Qaida connection revealed how he and his hard-line allies are itching to target the mullahs next. -Salon - 3/21/08

Iran: Treatment of trade union leader condemned by international bodies
Amnesty International and international trade union bodies condemn repressive measures meted out against trade union leader Mahmoud Salehi - 3/21/08

Iran slams US for supporting terrorist group
An Iranian envoy to the UN Security Council said while both Washington and the EU have banned MKO as a terrorist organization, its members 'continue to enjoy support and receive safe haven' in the US and some EU member states -Press TV - 3/21/08

For the children of Iranians, a new year, a unique outlook
Dagres, an honor student at Pierce College and an aspiring clothing designer, offers a window into an American experience rarely seen: The children of Iranian-American marriages crossing ethnic, religious, cultural and even racial barriers. -Los Angeles Times - 3/21/08

Russian FM warns military action on Iran 'disastrous'
"Any forceful attempts to resolve this issue by non-peaceful means would undermine all that has been done to bring clarity into the Iranian nuclear programme," Lavrov said in a press conference with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni. -AFP - 3/21/08

Iranian President Faces Challenges Despite Electoral Win
Loyalists of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were big winners in the recent parliamentary elections. With many reformists locked out of the electoral process, the contests were primarily between different factions in the conservative camp. In this election analysis, VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports that the Iranian president could still face some rough times ahead as the presidential election looms on the horizon. - 3/21/08

Former UN chief warns that military action against Iran would be "a real disaster"
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Thursday that military action against Iran would be "a real disaster" and the Middle East could explode if the international community does not handle the many conflicts in the region very carefully. -AP - 3/21/08

Working with Iran to stabilize Iraq
International concern over Iran's nuclear program continues to smolder. But from Iran's perspective, Iraq has now become the most dangerous flashpoint of potential conflict with the United States. On a recent visit, I found Tehran seething over what it sees as a new, "divide and rule" U.S. strategy designed to make Iraq a permanent U.S. protectorate. -AP - 3/21/08

Penn’s War: Media Lap Dogs Backed Iraq Mess
Sean Penn, the actor-director-turned-political-activist, narrates a new anti-war documentary that alleges U.S. presidents since Kennedy have manipulated the public to wage wars. - 3/21/08

Noruz in Iran: Customs and Traditions (Part II)
Despite laps of centuries the people of Hamedan are still observing the Noruz rites. Celebrations marking the occasion start in Hamedan one month before the start of the New Year and last until Farvardin 13. One month before Noruz, children gather fragrant herbs and plants from mountains and put them on sale. - 3/20/08

For Whom the Bell Tolls, a Successful Course for Women in Iran
Twenty enthusiastic female coaches attended the Alzahara Physical Education College in Iran from 9th to 12th March 2008 to attend an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Level One Coaches Course under the expert direction of the host country's Sima Limoochi. - 3/20/08

Text of President Bush's Message on Nowruz and Interview with VOA Persian Service
I send greetings to those celebrating Nowruz. Laura and I send our best wishes to all those celebrating Nowruz, both here in the United States and abroad. May the year ahead be filled with peace and many blessings. - 3/20/08

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2008 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.: Others planted and we ate. We should plant, so others may eat. - 3/20/08

Iran: Magazines Shut Down Over 'Immoral' Coverage Of Hollywood Celebs
Iranian authorities have closed down nine, mostly lifestyle, magazines this week for publishing photos of "immoral" Western celebrities and reporting about their private lives. -Thirteen other publications were warned to avoid printing similar photos and stories -- or face losing their publishing licenses. -RFE - 3/20/08

Iran: Clocks to be pulled forward one hour on March 21
Summertime in Iran will start from 24:00 (20:30 GMT) March 21, on an energy saving basis, said government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham on Wednesday. - 3/20/08

A Rival for Iran's Ahmadinejad
Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, is emerging as a quiet rival to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Described as a moderate conservative, Qalibaf is likely to be a contender for the presidency in next year's national elections, though he refuses to talk directly about his plans. -TIME - 3/20/08

The Only Lesson We Ever Learn Is That We Never Learn
Five years on, and still we have not learnt. With each anniversary, the steps crumble beneath our feet, the stones ever more cracked, the sand ever finer. Five years of catastrophe in Iraq and I think of Churchill, who in the end called Palestine a “hell-disaster”. -Robert Fisk, Independent - 3/20/08

Bush Calls on Iran to Stop Enriching Uranium
President Bush says Iran has the right to have civilian nuclear power as long fuel for its reactors is provided by an outside source. Otherwise, Mr. Bush said he does not trust the Iranian government to develop nuclear power solely for peaceful purposes. Mr. Bush's comments came during an interview Tuesday with VOA's Persian News Network. - 3/20/08

Dinner With Ahmed
As we approach the fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I find myself thinking back on how we got ourselves into this predicament. Like many who played a direct role in the issues surrounding Iraq in the years leading up to the decision to invade, I have wrestled with the demons of history, wondering about the specific impact my actions (or inaction) may have had on the course of human affairs. -Scott Ritter, TruthDig - 3/20/08

Forbidden dance finds home in Vancouver
Inside a theatre in Vancouver, a group of expatriates choreograph a dance that’s been banned in its home country for nearly three decades. The men and women in silks and satins are traditional folk dancers preparing for Nowruz, the Persian New Year that will be celebrated in Vancouver on March 19th. -Ubyssey Online, Canada - 3/20/08

Iranian Overtures to Latin America Spark US Concern
Iranian moves to solidify ties with Venezuela, Bolivia and other leftist governments in Latin America have sparked increasing concern in the United States. From Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports the growing Iranian ties reflect shared political and economic goals and anti-American sentiment. - 3/20/08

Elections in Iran: Conservative or conservative?
A pitiful narrowing of choices for Iranians—and for the outside world -Economist - 3/20/08

The Left Was Right
They take no satisfaction in knowing that they were right in opposing this ill-fated Iraq war from the outset. All they want is for people to listen to them now. And what they have to say is this: If we are ever going to get all of our troops out, it will be because of pressure that starts at the grassroots level and works its way up to the top of the political chain - not the other way around. -Metro Times, Detroit - 3/20/08

Noruz in Iran: Customs and Traditions
Noruz, a festival marking start of the new Iranian year, is celebrated in Iran. Passage of time has not reduced importance of the traditional festival and it is being observed by people more gloriously each year than the previous year. - 3/19/08

On Women's Captivity in the Islamic World
In the unprecedented flourishing of writings about Islam in the United States in recent years, one category of books—life stories of women—has been the most popular, attracting the attention of politicians, publishers, the media and the reading public alike. In an old narrative frame of captivity recast for the present-day reader, some of these memoirs and autobiographies portray the Muslim woman as a virtual prisoner. -Farzaneh Milani - 3/19/08

Persian Enigma
Pre-Production on «Prince of Persia: Sands of Time» Takes Off in Morocco as Casting Remains Unknown -Darius KADIVAR - 3/19/08

Carnage and despair in Iraq
Five years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the country is still in disarray. The human rights situation is disastrous, a climate of impunity has prevailed, the economy is in tatters and the refugee crisis continues to escalating. A new Amnesty International report, Carnage and Despair: Iraq five years on, says that, despite the heavy presence of US and Iraqi security forces, Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with hundreds of Iraqi civilians killed every month. - 3/19/08

Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulates Persian New Year to Iranian-Americans
Eid eh Shoma Mobarak. It is my distinct honor to bring you greetings on the occasion of Nowruz, Persian New Year. As Speaker of the House, and the Representative from California's 8th Congressional District in San Francisco, I am proud to have a diverse constituency, including a vibrant Iranian-American community that represents the beauty and strength of our country. - 3/19/08

Nabucco: Iran gas will reach Europe
Nabucco project aims to carry Caspian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe The manager of Nabucco project says the gas from Iran will be carried by the pipelines to Europe on the European consumers' demand. -Press TV - 3/19/08

POLITICS-IRAN: "The Government Suffers From Delusions"
If your grandfather was the founder of the first Islamic Republic of Iran, you would probably expect to have a very comfortable life in the land of Ayatollahs, where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is president and Khomeini's successor has absolute power. But you would be wrong. -Omid Memarian, IPS - 3/19/08

Iran-Switzerland gas deal irks US
A major energy deal signed between Iran and Switzerland for delivery of Iranian gas to the European country has infuriated the US. -Press TV - 3/19/08

Winter Soldier: US Vets, Active-Duty Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan Testify About the Horrors of War
As we mark the five-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq this week, we continue to bring you the voices of US veterans and active-duty soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan testifying about the horrors of war. For four days, soldiers convened at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland for Winter Soldier, an eyewitness indictment of atrocities committed by US troops during the ongoing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. -Democracy Now - 3/19/08

Woman sentenced to be stoned to death is released
Mokarrameh Ebrahimi was released from Choubin prison in Qazvin province, northwestern Iran, on 17 March, along with her youngest child, a son named Ali, who was living in prison with her. -Amnesty International - 3/19/08

Iran's reformists call for vote recount
Iran's Reformist Coalition has asked the Guardian Council to redo the count of ballots cast in Tehran in the parliamentary elections. -Press TV - 3/19/08

Cheney to Meet Oman's Sultan for Talks on Iran
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney meets the ruler of Oman Wednesday to discuss concerns about Iran's growing influence in the Middle East. -VOA - 3/19/08

Third Friday Art Party Celebrate Persian New Year with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Please come to the first annual Nowruz Deed-o Bazdeed with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi at his office in San Francisco City Hall. Deed-o Bazdeed means to exchange visits with friends and family signifying the first 12 days of the Persian New Year celebration. -FogCity Journal - 3/19/08

Swiss foreign minister in headscarf on Iran visit provokes outcry at home
Switzerland's foreign minister, already under fire for a natural gas deal with Iran, also is provoking an outcry at home because she wore a headscarf at the meeting with Iran's hardline president when the accord was signed. -AP - 3/19/08

Persian Community Celebrates New Year
Cambridge residents and members of the Harvard community celebrated Nowruz, the Persian New Year, with traditional food, symbolic decorations, and a discussion of Persian culture last night in the CGIS-South concourse. -Harvard Crimson - 3/19/08

Chahar Shanbeh Suri: The Festival Of The Last Wednesday
The ancient Iranians celebrated the last 10 days of the year in their annual obligation feast of all souls, Hamaspathmaedaya (Farvardigan or popularly Forodigan). They believed Foruhars, the guardian angles for humans and also the spirits of dead would come back for reunion. -Massoume Price - 3/18/08

Inner Eye: The photographs of Riccardo Zipoli at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Last month we were invited to attend the opening of one of the major artistic events of the year, a photographic exhibition at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. The event was organized by the new director of the TMCA, Dr Sadeghi and Mr Toscano, the Italian Ambassador in Tehran with the relentless efforts of the Italian cultural attaché in Tehran, Ms. Felicetta Ferraro. -Syma Sayyah and Paul Sanford, Tehran - 3/18/08

10 countries to establish Nowruz Museum
Iran, along with nine other countries that celebrate Nowruz, plans to found a Nowruz Museum to showcase the traditions of the festival. - 3/18/08

Iran's national women soccer team prepares for Asian Cup
Iran's women national soccer team was only formed 2 years ago. However, during the short time they have been building the team, practicing and playing, they have become a force in Asia to be reckoned with. The team is now preparing for the final round of the Asian Cup which will be held starting next week in Vietnam. - 3/18/08

On the US Policy of Dual Containment of Iran and Iraq
It is now nearly three decades since the Unites States adopted the policy of dual containment of Iran and Iraq. While much has been written about the containment of Iraq, there has been very little in-depth analysis of this policy when it comes to Iran. In a book that is going to be released on March 31, 2008, entitled The United States and Iran: Sanctions, Wars and the Policy of Dual Containment (Routledge), I attempt to address this shortcoming... -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 3/18/08

Will Iran’s New Majles Pose a Challenge to Ahmadinejad?
Iran’s parliamentary (Majles) elections finally took place on Friday March 14. Despite a conservative win, chances are that the new Majles will provide a tougher political landscape for Ahmadinejad on economic grounds but not on nuclear and foreign policy issues. -Farideh Farhi, NIAC - 3/18/08

The Iranian Therapist and Her Cambodian Clients
Dr. Mona Afari studied Lay's impassive expression as the translator rendered his words from Cambodian into English. "My mother and father," she heard the translator repeat, "…the Khmer Rouge take them. I never see again." -excerpt from UNDER THE DRAGON - 3/18/08

'North American Norooz'
From the cold, windy and snowy weather of Northern part of United States and Canada, to the warm, sunny weather of Florida, in less than a week, Iranian citizens of Canada and United States are also welcoming Norooz 1387 into their homes. -Shiva, Radio Javan, Atlanta - 3/18/08

The West vs. Iran: A Simple Story of Good vs. Evil?
It does not take much expertise to understand that the current tightness of the oil market is in large part due to the situation in Iran and Iraq. As is well-known, Iran and Iraq have the highest proven oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia. Iran also has the highest proven natural gas reserves after Russia. But oil and gas production in both countries remains far behind their capacities. -Antiwar - 3/18/08

Conservatives Win Solid Majority in Iran's Parliament, But Divisions are Evident
According to partial results, conservatives have won most of the seats in Iran's parliamentary election. But the conservative bloc is divided, and hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could find himself facing more resistance to some of his policies from rivals within the conservative camp. -VOA - 3/18/08

Fresh Foods Ring in Persian New Year of Nowruz
Najmieh Batmanglij lives in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Iran. She has written several Persian cookbooks including her latest, Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year. -NPR - 3/18/08

For Iran, Iraq is a two-edged sword
Many call the Islamic Republic the 'winner' in Iraq, but it faces the prospect of a long-term US presence next door. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 3/18/08

Would McCain really 'bomb, bomb Iran'?
McCain talks tough on foreign policy, brandishing a style that appeals to hardcore Beltway neoconservative supporters of Israel and Republican military hawks. He depicts himself as someone committed to keeping troops in Iraq and taking a tough line on Iran. -Borzou Daragahi, LA Times - 3/18/08

No First Strike on Iran: U.S. should engage in international diplomacy
With the recent revelations that Iran has not been engaged in active nuclear weapons development in the past four years it is more imperative now than ever that the United States engage in international diplomacy with respect to the Iranian Government rather than pursuing a US generated international crisis. -Chris Lugo - 3/18/08

East Bay Symphony celebrates Persian New Year
Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony threw an early New Year's party at the Paramount Theatre Friday night. It featured plenty of music and was blessedly free of the maudlin strains of "Auld Lang Syne." That's because the occasion was Persian New Year, which is actually due on Wednesday. -SFGate - 3/18/08

Security Council receives additional reports on Iran sanctions
The chairman of the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions imposed against Iran said today that additional countries have reported on their implementation of these measures. -UN News Center - 3/18/08

Iran's non-oil exports at $20 billion
Iran's Vice President for Executive Affairs, Ali Saeedlou For the first time in the country's history, the ratio of non-oil exports to imports has reached 50 percent, senior Iranian official says. -Press TV - 3/18/08

Despite Difficulties, Kremlin Sees Better Ties With US
Kremlin leaders are offering a positive assessment about the future of U.S.-Russian relations, but caution that a number of difficult issues continue to separate the two sides, particularly those involving missile defense. -VOA - 3/18/08

Representatives of Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities told US elected officials that their people face various forms of discrimination, in what participants said was the first Congressional hearing focusing on internal minority issues in Iran. -Eurasianet - 3/18/08

NOROOZ, the Iranian (Persian) New Year
Norooz, commemorating the New Year, has been celebrated in Iran, formerly Persia, throughout nearly three millennia of its recorded history. Norooz begins at the vernal equinox, the first day of spring season, a day of rejuvenation and reconciliation, and, reinvigorations and rebirth. - 3/17/08

Noruz registerd as cultural heritage
Noruz which falls on spring equinox is celebrated in Iran as national festivity since Persian Empire 3,000 years ago. - 3/17/08

NOOR Lights your way to Hollywood!
Iranian American Producer Siamak Ghahremani has filled in this necessary gap by founding the Noor Film Festival (NFF) which will be holding its 2nd annual this coming April in Hollywood. A glittering event and much welcomed initiative that acknowledges contemporary film and acting achievements while paving the way for future aspiring talents. -Darius KADIVAR - 3/17/08

The Economy: US and the World
"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, political parties, nations, and eras it's the rule." (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche). And no madness is worst than greed. Every so often people assume that somehow they can make money out of the thin air. -Abbas Bakhtiar, Norway - 3/17/08

Call for Admiral Fallon to "blow the whistle" on Iran strike plans
Calls are growing on Admiral William Fallon and other senior military officers to make a public stand against the Bush administration's alleged plans to attack Iran. Admiral Fallon's resignation last week from his position as head of the US Central Command is seen as a blow for those seeking a diplomatic resolution to the current standoff with Iran. -Westminster Committee on Iran - 3/17/08

Iranian cinema's happy and sad events of the year
The establishment of The Iranian Box Office Film Club, the bootlegging of on-screen movies, the 26th Fajr Film Festival and the winning of the Best Actor Silver Bear at Berlinale are just a few of the rises and falls in fortune that Iranian cinema has witnessed over the past year. -MNA - 3/17/08

Iran: President's Allies Win Largest Bloc In Parliament, But Face Challenges
Election results in Iran so far indicate that allies of hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad have won the largest share of seats in parliamentary elections. Conservatives seen as critics of Ahmadinejad won a substantial bloc in the legislature, while reformists appeared likely to at least retain the small bloc they held in the outgoing parliament. -RFE - 3/17/08

Iran, Switzerland likely to sign huge gas deal
Iran and Switzerland are likely to ink a big gas deal worth 40 billion dollars despite the adoption of third sanction resolution by the UN Security Council. Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey who is in Trhran will probably sign the gas deal with Iran with an aim of reducing Europe's dependence on Russian gas. -IRNA - 3/17/08

Iran bans magazines for showing 'corrupt' foreign stars
Iran has banned nine lifestyle and cinema magazines for publishing pictures of "corrupt" foreign film stars and details about their "decadent" private lives, the student ISNA news agency said Sunday. -AFP - 3/17/08

FM: Iran not insisting on talk with the US on Iraq
Making the remark at a joint news conference with his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey, Mottaki noted that the previous talks were held in response to demands of the US and Iraq. The American side should explain why it was absent at the latest meeting in Baghdad, he argued. -IRNA - 3/17/08

Iran election: hard-liners hold on, despite high inflation
Prior to the election, reformers had 40 seats in parliament and appeared set to gain at least 10 more in Friday's vote and second round runoffs in coming weeks. Reformists were hit hardest by the rejection of 1,700 candidates by government authorities before the vote. -CSM - 3/17/08

Iran faces power play after vote
The election has also set up a new power struggle within the conservative camp. The former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, who fell out with Mr Ahmadinejad last autumn, secured an impressive victory in the holy city of Qom. He will head a powerful bloc of more pragmatic conservatives inside the Majlis. He may be offered the job of speaker of parliament. -BBC - 3/17/08

IRAQ: Baghdad residents' health at risk for lack of water, sewage systems
When Wafaa Dawood Salman was found dead in August 2007 she seemed no different from the others who had died in Iraq - her body was put in a plastic bag and sent to the morgue for relatives to collect. -IRIN - 3/17/08

Iran's drug seizure, 95 percent of world drug haul: Police commander
A police commander announced in Tehran on Monday that Iran's drug haul this year, up by 51 percent compared to the past year, includes 95 percent of the world total drug discoveries. - 3/17/08

Tehran's 127 band on U.S. tour
Tehran band 127 is on a U.S. tour performing 24 concerts from March 4 to April 2, 2008. Founded in 2001 by a group of young Tehran artists and art students, 127 has found itself at the center of progressive cultural change in Iran. - 3/16/08

Shiraz promotes World Poetry Day with week-long conference
Shiraz is celebrating World Poetry Day (March 21) during a week-long conference which commenced on March 16. The only city in the country which pays due attention to the celebration of world poetry day is Shiraz, said secretary of the conference Kavus Hassanli, adding, "This goes to show that the city possesses vigorous and active literary movements." - 3/16/08

Iran's Conservatives Win Large Share of Parliament Seats
Partial results in Iran's parliamentary elections indicate the country's conservatives have won a large share of seats in parliament. -VOA - 3/16/08

"Let's unite in the New Year": UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Actress Mahtab Keramati, Iranian UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador sent a message on the occasion of New Year emphasizing the necessity for united efforts in support of children's rights. - 3/16/08

Iran: 22 university students die in bus crash
22 university students died in flames when a bus carrying students on a tour of war sites dating to 1980-1988 struck a fuel truck on a highway Sunday in western Iran. -IRNA - 3/16/08

Kissinger Backs Direct U.S. Negotiations With Iran
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the U.S. should negotiate directly with Iran over its nuclear program and other bilateral issues. -Bloomberg - 3/16/08

Iran sentences four journalists to prison
Just days preceding the March 14 parliamentary elections in Iran, four journalists from the Iranian northern province of Gilan have been sentenced to prison for crimes that include "publishing lies with the aim of creating anxiety in the public mind" and "insulting ýImam Zaman" (the 12th hidden Shia Imam), the Rooz online portal reports. - 3/16/08

Beglarian elected as MP of Armenian minority of southern Iran
Christian Armenians have two seats at Iran's 290-seat parliament while other religious minorities (Zoroastrians, Jews and Assyrians) have one representative at the county's legislative body. -IRNA - 3/16/08

A new partner in the Mideast
IF THE next American president wisely applies time-honored techniques of diplomacy, the United States may within a few years have a new long-term strategic partner in the Middle East: Iran. -Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe - 3/16/08

Iranian Bloggers on international women's day
Women's rights have been severely restricted in the last two years in Iran. Some women activists have been jailed, and Zanan Magazine, a leading women's magazine was banned. Many others have been victims of security forces violence for the way they dress. -Global Voices - 3/16/08

Swiss FM due in Tehran on Monday
Tehran-Bern economic cooperation, particularly in the area of energy, as well as the latest regional and international developments will top the agenda of talks to be held between the visiting Swiss delegation and Iranian senior officials. -IRNA - 3/16/08

Kiarostami increases value of "Karat 14"
Any project in which world celebrated Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami takes part is expected to be of consequence -- and Kiarostami has produced the last sequence of Parviz Shahbazi's latest film "Karat 14". -MNA - 3/16/08

Sundance Norouz gift: David & Layla to continue in San Francisco thru March 20
Special Thanks from Shiva Rose (Layla) and filmmaker Jalal Jonroy due to the enthusiastic support of Beyond Persia, Shabeh Jomeh/San Jose, and Iranians, Sundance Cinemas offers a Norouz gift: David & Layla is extended to play in San Francisco thru Thursday March 20! - 3/16/08

Iran to build a commercial center in Belarus
Iran started constructing the first Iranian commercial, sports and administrative center in the Belarusian city of Brest. - 3/16/08

Iran's Interior Minister: Principalists won 71 percent of seats in 8th Majlis
Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said on Saturday that the principalists won 71 seats while other political groups won 29 remaining seats of the 8th Majlis. - 3/15/08

Major law firm enlisted by NIAC to protect Persian Tablets
Thousands of priceless artifacts from Persepolis that are on loan to the University of Chicago risk being auctioned off to the highest bidder. In an effort to defend the collective cultural heritage of Iranian Americans, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has secured pro bono representation from with Mayer Brown LLP with connection to the case, Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran. -Shadee Malaklou , NIAC - 3/15/08

Iranian-born officer promoted to UK police commander
Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei has been promoted to the rank of commander in London's Metropolitan Police at the fourth attempt after previously being at the center of a controversial four-year internal inquiry. - 3/15/08

Iranian and French experts team up for archaeogeophysical studies at Pasargadae
A joint team of Iranian and French experts have recently resumed archaeogeophysical studies in Pasargadae in Iran's southern Fars Province. -MNA - 3/15/08

Hard-Liners Take Early Lead In Iranian Elections
Hard-line conservatives allied with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad have taken an early lead in Iran's parliamentary elections according to unofficial results. -RFE - 3/15/08

Iran's Girl Fighter Goes for Gold
She is a real Iranian fighter, fierce and focused on taking down an opponent. At 20 years old, tae kwon do champion Sara Khoshjamal is taking her fight to Beijing. This summer she'll travel from her home on the outskirts of Tehran to the heights of the Olympic stage. -ABC News - 3/15/08

Iran Sees Strong Turnout for Vote
Frustrated by the country's economic woes, Iranians flocked to polling stations in what appeared to be higher-than-expected numbers Friday to elect a new Parliament -Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ - 3/15/08

6 Signs The US May Be Headed for War in Iran
Is the United States moving toward military action with Iran? Here are six developments that may have Iran as a common thread. And, if it comes to war, they may be seen as clues as to what was planned. None of them is conclusive, and each has a credible non-Iran related explanation -US News & World Report - 3/15/08

Revisiting Halabjah: Survivors Talk About Horror Of Attack, Continuing Ordeal
Radio Free Iraq correspondent Ahmad al-Zubaidi traveled to Halabjah recently to talk to survivors of the March 1988 attacks about the physical and psychological effects of the tragedy. - 3/15/08

Author jailed for writing ethnic romance as Iran's censors crack down on dissent
Yaghoub Yaadali, a 36-year-old television director, received a suspended jail sentence last summer on charges of "spreading lies, defamation and insulting a tribal minority". In his book, The Rules of Restlessness, a fictional character has an affair with a woman from an ethnic Bakhtiari village. It won Iran's highest honour for literature, the Golshiri award, in 2004. As with any other work, it was only published after obtaining permission from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. -Independent - 3/15/08

In Iran vote, conservatives set to retain power
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hard-line allies and other conservative factions are expected to win a majority in the 290-seat parliament. Iranians voted for a new parliament on Friday, in an election likely to reaffirm conservative dominance of Iranian politics. Authorities billed it as a blow against Western "enemies." -Scott Peterson, CSM - 3/15/08

Iranian envoy praises Scotland's anti-war stance
Iranian Ambassador Rasoul Movahedian has praised the anti-war stance taken by the Scottish government during a visit to the country's devolved parliament in Edinburgh. -IRNA - 3/15/08

Azerbaijan Criticizes France, Russia, U.S Over Karabakh Resolution
Azerbaijan has warned that Baku will re-examine its relations with France, Russia and the United States after the three countries voted against a UN motion on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. -RFE - 3/15/08

Thousands join anti-war protests
Thousands of people have joined demonstrations in London and Glasgow, to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Demonstrators are calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, against an attack on Iran, and for Gaza's borders to be re-opened. -BBC - 3/15/08

Canada unjust in Kazemi case, Iranian official says
An Iranian official leading the latest investigation into the 2003 death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi is accusing Ottawa of illegal and biased behaviour in the case. -CBS News - 3/15/08

Photos: Iranians Vote
Iranian are voting today in the 8th Majlis (Parliament) election and the by-election for the Experts Assembly.Over 45,000 polling stations have been set up in 207 constituencies for people to elect representatives to the 290-seat parliament. - 3/14/08

Mohsen Namjoo - A man who has redefined Iranian Music and taken it to the 21st century
There are times in one's life when we think that nothing new will happen, at least in some ways. So it was an absolutely wonderful and delightful pleasure when I recently came to love, appreciate and feel a young artist. In my opinion, he is the most important thing that has happened to the Iranian music scene in a very long time. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/14/08

Iran: Voters See Little Choice, Less Democracy In Parliamentary Poll
Here's one, just in: "Participating in this election means supporting the regime. Those who are for it can go and vote." So says Saeed from Tehran, one of scores of Radio Farda listeners who have sent in their views -- by text message or email -- on what the Iranian authorities insist will be democratic parliamentary polls on March 14. Most, if not all, disagree with that description. -RFE - 3/14/08

Winners of 7th Iran Contemporary Painting Biennial announced
The winners of the seventh edition of the Iran Contemporary Painting Biennial were announced here on Wednesday at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA). - 3/14/08

Iranian New Year Parade of Northern California: March 30 in San Jose
The first Iranian New Year Parade of Northern California will be held in downtown San Jose on Sunday March 30, 2008. - 3/14/08

Iran: State-Controlled Media Coverage Under Fire Ahead Of Elections
Iranian law requires state-run television to provide equal airtime to all political groups during the run-up to elections. But many opposition politicians allege that has not happened ahead of the March 14 parliamentary elections. -RFE - 3/14/08

Iran: Reformist Candidates Barred From Election
Iran's exclusionary process of vetting candidates for the March 14 parliamentary elections violates the principles of a free and fair election, Human Rights Watch said today. The widespread disqualifications of candidates, most from reformist factions, show that authorities are rejecting candidates on politically motivated grounds. - 3/14/08

Luers: Possible Solution for U.S.-Iran Nuclear Standoff
William Luers, former U.S. envoy to Venezuela and Czechoslovakia, has proposed a multilateral nuclear-enrichment plan that he believes could end the current Iranian nuclear crisis. -CFR - 3/14/08

Rafsanjani proposes nuclear negotiations without preconditions
Provisional Friday Prayer Leader of Tehran Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stressed on Friday only proper solution for Iran's nuclear issue is negotiations without preconditions. -IRNA - 3/14/08

Iranian American Youth of Pleasanton Celebrate Persian New Year
IAYP 's main objective is to provide a social environment free of politics and religion for Persian youth, adults, their families and friends to gather, promote and celebrate the rich Persian heritage in Pleasanton and Tri-Valley community. - 3/14/08

Iranians Prepare to Vote in Parliamentary Election
Voters in Iran go to the polls on Friday for a parliamentary election seen mainly as a contest between competing conservative factions, after authorities barred the majority of reformist candidates from running. -VOA - 3/14/08

Statement from the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors On Iranian Member of Parliament Nouradin Pirmoazen
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) deplores threats by a senior Iranian official against reformist lawmaker Nouradin Pirmoazen, who criticized government actions in the run-up to Iran's March 14 Parliamentary elections during an exclusive interview with the Voice of America's Persian News Network. - 3/14/08

The rise and rise of Iran's Guards
It has hardly been the most exciting election campaign in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran. With many of the more liberal or reformist candidates disqualified, the conservatives look certain to consolidate control in the parliament. But this election could mark an important change in Iran. A crucial marker in the rising power of the military. -BBC - 3/14/08

Iran Invades Your Kitchen: 10 Ways to Cook With c
Pomegranates are a favorite native fruit of the Near East and feature prominently in Iranian cooking. To seed a pomegranate, cut it in half, hold each half seed-side down over a bowl and tap the skin with a heavy spatula to dislodge the seeds. -ABC News - 3/14/08

Iran Fires Artillery at Kurdish Villages in Northern Iraq
Iraqi officials say Iranian forces have fired artillery at several northwestern Iraqi villages suspected of harboring Kurdish rebel bases. -VOA - 3/14/08

Iran Election Round-Up: Khomeini Granddaughter Slams Hard-Liners; Larijani Running in Qom, ...
She is a granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the 1979 Islamic revolution, but Zahra Eshraghi has long been a leader of reformers seeking to liberalize Iran. She sees dark days for the country, at least in the short run, given the hard-liners' lock on power. - 3/13/08

NIAC enlists major law firm to protect Persian Tablets
Thousands of priceless artifacts from Persepolis that are on loan to the University of Chicago risk being auctioned off to the highest bidder. In an effort to defend the collective cultural heritage of Iranian Americans, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has secured pro bono representation from with Mayer Brown LLP with connection to the case, Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran. -Shadee Malaklou , NIAC - 3/13/08

Missed Connections: Barbara Slavin discusses opportunities for reconciliation between Iran and the United States
"Because of U.S. policies, Iran is much more powerful in the region today than it was before. You can try to shut out the reality. You can try to pretend this isn't the case. Or you can accept the reality and you can try to do something about it," said Barbara Slavin at a lecture hosted by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies on Feb. 14, 2008. -Margaretta Soehendro - 3/13/08

18th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA: March 14-April 20
UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Bijan and Soraya Amin Foundation present: 2008 marks the Archive's 18th annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema, and our program this year is as eclectic and diverse as ever. This year's offerings include seven new features from Iran and the Diaspora, as well as compelling new documentary and short works on film and video. - 3/13/08

Poem: For The Sake of Humanity
May our Persian New Year, Last forever. -- May heaven celebrate it even. -Mali Mostoufi – NY - 3/13/08

Federal Court Threatens Iranian-American Heritage
Tempers between the United States and Iran have flared over Iran’s nuclear program and its alleged intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have wondered if the two countries would ever find common ground. However, several controversial rulings in the United States federal court have resulted in just that: the United States’ Justice and State Departments have momentarily put aside their differences with Iran in order to protect several thousand Iranian cultural artifacts. -NIAC - 3/13/08

Kahrizak Foundation Norouz Bazaar in Cupertino, California
Kahrizak is holding the 16th annual Norouz Bazaar to benefit Kahrizak, a Center For Living, Education and Rehabilitation of the Disabled and the Elderly, in Tehran - 3/13/08

Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi's letter to McCain
Senator McCain's recent remarks on Iran at a panel discussions (I.T. 9 - 10 February) in which he expressed concern over the Iranians ambition, "which are as old as history: a Persian domination of the region" was to me heart breaking. Such remarks could have conveyed an ambiguous message in these crucial days to the American people. - 3/13/08

Oakland East Bay Symphony concert welcomes famed Iranian composer
It was a notable event when Iranian composer Loris Tjeknavorian arrived in the Bay Area from Tehran this week, just to attend the Oakland East Bay Symphony's performance on March 14 of a suite from his opera "Rostam and Sohrab." -Contra Costa Times - 3/13/08

Iran's Sepahan suffers 0-2 home loss against Syria's al-Ittihad
Ten-man Sepahan Isfahan FC has suffered a 2-0 home loss against Syria's al-Ittihad in the first round of the AFC Champions League. -Press TV - 3/13/08

Iran's non-Muslims question U.S. motives
For decades the United States has funded an effort intended to help Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews escape persecution in Iran. Now some of their leaders are questioning American motives as sects that have endured here for thousands of years dwindle rapidly as a result of the migration. -SFGate - 3/13/08

Iranians: They're Just Like Us!
As a Western visitor, I was reminded to do as the Romans do. While chatting with friends at Iran's new television channel, Press TV, one of them scolded me for my overly conservative hijab. "It's too tight -- show some hair. Loosen up a bit. You look like an Islamic fundamentalist! We are not the Taliban here." -Trish Schuh, Esquire - 3/13/08

Dissenting Views Made Fallon’s Fall Inevitable
Admiral William Fallon’s request to quit his position as head of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and to retire from the military was apparently the result of a George W. Bush administration decision to pressure him to resign. -IPS - 3/13/08

The History of Persia Part II: Classical Persia
In time, the Parthians came to think of themselves as the bloodline-bona fide rulers of Persia, claiming descent from Artaxerxes II (r. 404-358 BCE), and by extension, from Cyrus the Great himself. Basing themselves south of the Caspian Sea and north of the Alborz Mountains, the Parthians created themselves a reborn Achaemenid Dynasty -R. Scott Peoples, Bits of News - 3/13/08

Iran to Probe Iranian Lawmaker's VOA Interview
Iran's Intelligence Ministry has denounced an Iranian member of parliament for giving an interview to the Voice of America Persian Service on Iran's upcoming legislative elections. - 3/13/08

It’s the ‘Oh Shit!’ Moment on Iran
Every horror movie has that “Oh Shit!” moment, when the hero or heroes are huddled in some creepy hideout, and suddenly something happens that tells you that the monster is just around the corner, or just about to attack. -Common Dreams - 3/13/08

Are We Closer to War?
The abrupt resignation yesterday of the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, Admiral William J. "Fox" Fallon, has sparked a new round of speculation that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have some sort of plan in the works to attack Iran before their time is up. -Washington Post - 3/13/08

Rep. McDermott: The Folly of Attacking Iran
I also brought with me a copy of Time Magazine. It is the January 7, 1952 issue. It was Time's Man of the Year issue and it is relevant to our discussion this evening. Time selected Mohammed Mossadegh; under his picture on the cover, Time added this subhead: "He oiled the wheels of chaos." -Alternet - 3/13/08

Iranian woman looks to flee after years of battling regime
Soroya Malekzadeh wanted to test Iran's claim to being an open democracy, so she submitted her nomination papers to be a candidate for this month's parliamentary elections. -Toronto Star - 3/13/08

Tehran police chief found with prostitutes
Tehran's police chief has resigned following his arrest after being found naked in the company of six nude prostitutes in a local brothel. -UPI - 3/13/08

As Costs Rise, Iran's Carpet Producers Look Abroad
Rising production costs are causing some Iranian producers to move operations to India and Pakistan, where labor is less expensive. icularly feeling the squeeze are companies which try to weave the highly ornate styles that traditonally have made Persian carpets so famous. -Charles Recknagelis, Tea and Carpets Blogspot - 3/12/08

Photos: Literacy classes in Turkmen Sahra, Iran
Following photos are from literacy classes in Turkmen Sahra, northern Iran. Turkmens are among the several ethnicities in Iran. - 3/12/08

Indonesian president ends Iran visit
President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wound up his official visit to Iran on Wednesday and left Tehran for Dakar, Senegal, where he is to attend a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. -IRNA - 3/12/08

Russian FM Says Innovation Necessary to Address Iranian Nuclear Dispute
Russia's foreign minister says the international community needs to find an innovative approach to address concerns about Iran's disputed nuclear activities. - 3/12/08

US Middle East Commander to Retire
The senior U.S. military officer responsible managing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and U.S. military engagement throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and East Africa, has decided to retire this month after a magazine article said he opposed administration policy toward Iran. -VOA - 3/12/08

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: IRAN
The Islamic Republic of Iran, with a population of approximately 70 million, is a constitutional, theocratic republic in which Shi'a Muslim clergy dominate the key power structures. Government legitimacy is based on the twin pillars of popular sovereignty-–albeit restricted--and the rule of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution. -U.S. State Department - 3/12/08

THE GREAT OMAR: Hollywood Legend and Egyptian film Icon to Star in Kamal Tabrizi's Saint Petersburg
World-renowned Egyptian actor Omar Sharif will act in the Iranian film "Saint Petersburg", which is to be directed by Kamal Tabrizi. The latter directed Marmoulak aka The Lizard in 2004 which was Iran's highest all-time box-office earner until it was banned by the government for its blasphemous nature. -Darius KADIVAR - 3/12/08

Iranian voices on the election
Five Iranians from across the country explain who they want to vote for and what the key issues are for them. -BBC - 3/12/08

Iran, Indonesia sign deal to produce Ethan, LNG
Iranian and Indonesian petrochemical officials signed a letter of understanding on Wednesday for making joint investment in production of Ethan and liquid gas. The project for production of Ethan and liquid gas costs 300 million euros. -IRNA - 3/12/08

French banks release Iran's frozen assets
Presidential Advisor for legal and parliamentary affairs Majid Jafarzadeh said on Tuesday that the assets of Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which were seized by French banks, have been released. -IRNA - 3/12/08

Iran: Hard-Line Students Announce Bounty On Israeli Leaders' Heads
A group of hard-line Iranian students has offered rewards totaling more than $1 million for the assassination of three Israeli security officials, following recent military strikes by Israel in Gaza. -RFE - 3/12/08

MIDDLE EAST: Climate change could threaten food security - FAO report
A report by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), entitled Climate Change: Implications for Agriculture in the Near East, has said the food security of those who are poor, malnourished or dependent on local food production could be adversely affected by climate change. -IRIN - 3/12/08

Khatami accuses hard-liners of undermining freedom, democracy in Iran
Former reformist president Mohammad Khatami sharply criticized Iran's hard-liners for barring many reformists from running in parliament elections Friday, saying they were misusing Islam and that people should be able to choose their rulers freely. -AP - 3/12/08

No end in sight for Iran's political gridlock
The traffic is worse than ever here. Cars are the curse of Tehran, but they represent freedom for the millions of people who live here. I've been coming to Iran for 30 years, and have watched the gridlock grow worse and worse in the streets - and also in the country's politics. -John Simpson, BBC - 3/12/08

The Man Between War and Peace
As head of U. S. Central Command, Admiral William "Fox" Fallon is in charge of American military strategy for the most troubled parts of the world. Now, as the White House has been escalating the war of words with Iran, and seeming ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency, the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy. Who will prevail, the president or the admiral? -Esquire - 3/11/08

Indonesian President makes landmark visit to Iran
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrived in Tehran on Monday for a three-day visit during which he plans to hold talks with top Iranian officials on ways to improve bilateral relations. -MNA - 3/11/08

Big welcome accorded to Iran's International gas, oil exhibition
The manager of the 13th International Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition, Mohsen Aqajani said on Monday that 450 foreign companies have announced readiness to take part in the exhibition. -IRNA - 3/11/08

Iranians don't buy Iranian...
While needle-working a rather large circle on a square piece of canvas, pondering upon all the obvious and symbolic meanings of these two geometrical shapes, and trying to keep the threads of thoughts concentrated on specific subjects in the same way that cotton threads are controlled with the needle, I think about the Persian proverb: "Iranians do not buy Iranian goods" (including ideas, concepts, etc). -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 3/11/08

"Old Lady's Visit" draws Majlis speaker to theater
In the hustle and bustle of the parliamentary election campaigns, Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel has turned out to be a theatergoer! Last night, Haddad-Adel along with his family attended a performance of Dürrenmatt's play "The Old Lady's Visit". -MNA - 3/11/08

Iran not to consider U.S. contradictory remarks: Ambassador to Iraq
The Iranian ambassador to Iraq said Tehran would not care for contradictory remarks made by some U.S. officials on Iran's function over Iraq. -ISNA - 3/11/08

US/IRAN: Blowback of War Likely to Be "Terrible"
Since the release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear capabilities last December, the prevailing conventional wisdom has been that the report's finding that Iran is not currently pursuing nuclear weapons had derailed the possibility of the George W. Bush administration launching a military strike before leaving office. -IPS - 3/11/08

About 44 million Iranians eligible to vote on March 14
Some 43.8 million of Iranians are eligible to attend the upcoming parliamentary election on March 14 nationwide, the State Organization for Personal Status announced on Tuesday. -IRNA - 3/11/08

Sanctions Often Fail to Hit Foreign Policy
Iran has become a key target of U.S. and international sanctions aimed at halting the development of its nuclear program. Still, repeated efforts have been unable to stop Tehran's nuclear ambitions, showing the limitations of sanctions as a foreign policy tool. -VOA - 3/11/08

Bush manipulating US fear to attack Iran: US Congressman
Entitled "The Folly of Attacking Iran," the forum organized by the group Just Foreign Policy, aimed at encouraging support for direct, unconditional negotiations with Iran. -Press TV - 3/11/08

Two million people engaged in carpet industry in Iran
Deputy Commerce Minister Morteza Faraji said on Tuesday that there are 2 million people engaged in producing hand-woven carpets in Iran. - 3/11/08

Afghanistan: UN Food Agency Races To Prevent Humanitarian Crisis
A crippling food shortage in Afghanistan exacerbated by a harsh winter and an astronomical rise in the price of wheat has led the UN's World Food Program (WFP) to begin distributing emergency food aid. -RFE - 3/11/08

Celebrating Tirgan, an ancient Iranian festival
Iranian Canadian Centre for Art and Culture (ICCAC) is proud to present "Tirgan," a summer festival to be held at Harbourfront Centre on July 17-20, 2008. We would like to invite you to join us in celebrating Tirgan and exploring diversity in Iranian art and culture. - 3/10/08

Iranian Carpets according to 15 film directors
Documentaries about Iranian Carpet made by 15 Iranian directors went on screen in Tehran at Farhang cinema's mono-session in mid February. The movie is a collection of 15 documentaries made by 15 Iranian well-known directors. - 3/10/08

The Military-Clerical Alliance and Elections in Iran
Political satire and jokes have always been part of a quiet, yet widespread reaction to repression in Iran. The latest: A south-bound highway in Tehran is jammed with traffic and no car is moving. A driver asks someone passing "What's going on?" He responds, "Terrorists down the road have kidnapped Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani. They're demanding a $100 million ransom... -Saeed Rahnema - 3/10/08

Iran's nuclear program: talk of international consortium
Interest is growing in a possible US-Iran nuclear compromise that could enable sensitive atomic work on Iranian soil, lower the risks of proliferation, and ease Iran's isolation. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 3/10/08

60 percent of Iranian section of Peace Pipeline constructed
The Iran-India gas pipeline better known as the Peace Pipeline is a proposed 2,775 kilometer gas pipeline to deliver Iran's natural gas to Pakistan and India. -ISNA - 3/10/08

U.S. undermined fourth round of talks with Iran: Iraqi official
The Iraqi government spokesman said in Baghdad on Saturday that the United States is responsible for the postponement of the fourth round of Iran-U.S. talks on the security situation in Iraq. - 3/10/08

China Jumps Off the Iran Sanctions Merry-Go-Round
Many knowledgable observers look at the most recent UN Security Council sanction of Iran and detect unity of purpose in confronting Iran. Drawing on reports in the Chinese press, I detect just the opposite. -American Footprints - 3/10/08

Iran will not endorse US presidential candidates: FM spokesman
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said here on Monday that Iran will not support any US candidates running for the upcoming presidential elections. Hosseini reiterated that election is a domestic affair of the American people. -IRNA - 3/10/08

Iranian election fails to fire student passions
Iranian students, who spearheaded a reform movement blunted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election in 2005, doubt that voting for a new parliament on Friday can promote real change. -Reuters - 3/10/08

Inside Iran's Billion-Dollar Art Basement
When some of the collection briefly went on display in 2005 Andre Derain's "Golden Age," a 1905 painting of female nudes, was notably absent. Also hidden was the centerpiece of a Frances Bacon painting triptych. The center panel could be taken as homoerotic, showing two naked men asleep in bed. -ABC News - 3/10/08

World Bank to grant Iran $250m loan
The World Bank has agreed to grant the Islamic Republic a $250-million loan in the coming Iranian year, Iran's Minister of Energy says. - 3/10/08

Muslim Heretics Conference - A Celebration of Heresy: Critical Thinking for Islamic Reform
According to Melody Moezzi author, activist and another conference organizer, "The Muslim Heretics Conference is an effort to bring together the wide variety of voices and opinions within Islam. Our aim is to respect and appreciate dissent and diversity in Islamic practice and thought." - 3/10/08

Chaharshanbeh-Suri celebrations planned in Tehran's Chitgar Park
Secretary of the celebration, Mohammad-Hossein Pishvaii said that the event is being organized by the Tasvirgaran Institute which aims to revive Persian traditional celebrations which are in danger of dying out. - 3/9/08

UN resolutions root from political will of certain states: Iranian FM
He made the remarks on the sidelines of a day-long international conference on Iran's peaceful nuclear program. Forty scholars and personalities from 30 countries are attending the one-day meeting at Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies. - 3/9/08

Iran’s Organized Reformers
Mehdi Karrubi sees himself as the Al Gore of Iran. According to the cleric, vote rigging cost him the 1995 presidential race against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Karrubi is leader of the National Trust Party, founded after his 2005 defeat, and was a speaker of Iran's parliament, or Majlis. Even though he is a reformist he believes that President Mohammed Khatami allowed radicalism to tank the reform movement. -Newsweek - 3/9/08

Technical reasons, cause of delay in Iran-US talks on Iraq: FM
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran Sunday that the delay in Iran-US talks on Iraq was due to technical reasons. -IRNA - 3/9/08

Crisis Over Teheran's Alleged Nuclear Plans Nearing Climax
Time after time we have heard statements from Israeli officials, spokesmen of the Israel lobby in the U.S., and Israel’s supporters in Congress that Iran “must” never obtain nuclear weapons. On March 3, 2008, all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus nine of the ten non-permanent members approved a new round of sanctions against Iran. -Counterpunch - 3/9/08

UNEP to use Persian Gulf on documents
Iranian researcher Seyyed Mohammad Mahdi Hosseini has convinced the UN Environmental Program to use the Persian Gulf on all documents. -Press TV - 3/9/08

Ex-CIA officer urges contact with Iran
"A lack of communication with the Iranian government could make an unstable situation even more dangerous," Daugherty observed at a gathering of students at the University of South Carolina Beaufort's South Campus. -Press TV - 3/9/08

Sister of barred Iranian feminist accepts Swedish rights prize
Iranian feminist Parvin Ardalan's sister accepted a major Swedish rights award, the Olof Palme Prize, on her behalf Thursday after she was prevented by Tehran from attending the ceremony. -AFP - 3/9/08

Total continuing South Pars LNG talks
Total SA of France Executive Director Christophe de Mergeris is continuing talks on South Pars LNG project with Oil Ministry and Pars Oil and Gas Company, director of Total Public Relations Office said on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/9/08

Iran accuses John McCain of US spying plot
In a shadowy White House briefing room hung with maps of the Persian Gulf, Senator John McCain is meeting a perfidious cabal of spies and businessmen, including the international financier George Soros, to plot regime change in Iran. -Telegraph, UK - 3/9/08

Armenia: Crisis Spotlights 'Karabakh Clan'
As Armenia's first post-Soviet president in the 1990s, Levon Ter-Petrossian brought in top officials from Nagorno-Karabakh to serve in his government. Today, as an opposition leader, Ter-Petrossian is the most outspoken critic of what he and his allies call the "Karabakh clan," lambasting his former proteges for raiding the country's treasury, strangling the economy, and stifling democracy. -RFE - 3/9/08

Historically significant women in Iran and the neighboring areas
1350 - 1300 BC. Politically Influential Queen Napir Asu, Elam, Khuzistan; Around 580s B.C. Aryenis, Queen Consort of Media; Around 584 B.C. Mandane (Mandana) of Media; and many more -Massoume Price, Culture of Iran - 3/8/08

Iran: Fashionistas Push Back Against Strict Dress Code
Ali Mohammadi -- or Ali M., as he likes to be called -- spends most of his salary on trendy clothes, haircuts, and expensive skincare products. He is just one of many Iranians for whom fashion -- besides being fun -- has become a form of protest against the country's strict Islamic dress code. -RFE - 3/8/08

Iran: Shiraz University Students Arrested After Week Of Protests
At least 12 students from Shiraz University have been arrested and summoned to a revolutionary court over their participation in more than a week of demonstrations. -RFE - 3/8/08

Iran's scientific communities' condemnation letter to Google
Iranian scientific communities and academic associations expressed widespread condemnation of Google's map that shows Persian Gulf under fabricated title of "Arabian Gulf!" -ISNA - 3/8/08

Iran, no. 3 investor in Malaysia's industrial sector
Iran invested $940 million in Malaysia's industrial sector in 2007, making it the third leading investor in the country's industrial sector after Japan and Germany and ahead of the U.S., Singapore, India, and China, according to a report by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA). - 3/8/08

Iran: International Unions Highlight Solidarity With Jailed Labor Leaders
Thousands of trade unionists, transport workers, and other people around the world have united in a show of solidarity with jailed Iranian labor leaders Mansur Osanlu and Mahmud Salehi. -RFE - 3/8/08

Iraqi Cleric Al-Sadr Explains Absence to Followers
Iraq's powerful radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has issued a rare statement to his followers, explaining why he has not been seen in public since May of last year. -VOA - 3/8/08

US Officials Lean Toward Keeping Iraq Report Quiet
A new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is scheduled to be completed this month, according to US intelligence officials. But leaders of the intelligence community have not decided whether to make its key judgments public, a step that caused an uproar when key judgments in an NIE about Iran were released in November. -Washington Post - 3/8/08

8th March belongs to all women everywhere: Happy International Women's Day
I come from a very mixed and rather unusual background. Women in our family have been even more different than those around them. I have seven sisters and six brothers from two fathers and five mothers. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/7/08

"Tragedy of Democracy in Iran" put on trial
The court session for studying the accusations of persons involved in the publication of the book "Tragedy of Democracy in Iran" was held in the branch 1083 of Tehran's general court chaired by judge Hoseynian. According to ISNA, Emadedin Baqi, who had previously been sentenced to three years of jail on charges of publication of lies and a one year jail on charges of propaganda against the system, was present in the court as witness. - 3/7/08

Iranian American Runs for Superior Court Judge in King County Washington
Susan Amini, a dedicated lawyer who has spent years helping the disadvantaged, is currently a candidate for the position of Superior Court Position 1 in King County (Seattle), Washington State. Susan is seeking the court seat soon to be vacated by Judge Charles Mertel. -IAPAC - 3/7/08

BOOKS: Iran in the 21st Century: Politics, Economics & Conflict; Sadeq Hedayat: His Work and his Wondrous World
The Middle East Centre is pleased to announce the book launch of Iran in the 21st Century: Politics, Economics and Conflict edited by Homa Katouzian and Hossein Shahidi (London: Routledge, 2008) and Sadeq Hedayat: His Work and his Wondrous World edited by Homa Katouzian (London: Routledge, 2008) - 3/7/08

IAAB's Essay Contest For High School Students
The Essay Contest aims to encourage writers and readers alike to think about issues that are important to hyphenated Iranians as individuals, as members of the diaspora community and as members of the global community at large. - 3/7/08

Iran: Support the Global Trade Union Action Day for imprisoned Iranian trade unionists
Amnesty International joins The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) in calling for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of trade union leaders Mansour Ossanlu, President of the Tehran Bus Workers' Union, and Mahmoud Salehi, the spokesperson for the Organisational Committee to Establish Trade Unions. Both are prisoners of conscience. - 3/7/08

UK aid agencies say Gaza humanitarian situation dire
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is "man-made" and worse than it has ever been since the Israeli occupation in 1967, a coalition of British organisations said in a new report released on 6 March, urging better regional cooperation and saying Hamas can no longer be ignored. -IRIN - 3/7/08

The politics of non-proliferation
If there was a time when Iranian analysts and decision makers would question the benefits of continuing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, it would be now. The IAEA has allowed systematic US intervention in Iran's nuclear file paving the way to a third round of sanctions against Iran's nuclear programme. -Mohammad Kamaali - 3/7/08

Iran Wushu team earns 1st prize
Iran has taken home the first prize at the International Wushu competitions in the Choy Lay Fut category held in the city of Mashhad. -Press TV - 3/7/08

Panel Spotlights Iran's Human Rights Violations
The government of Iran has been criticized for many things: its nuclear program, controversial comments made by its president, and its support for insurgents. However, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), it is time for the U.S. to look at Iran’s internal politics with the same scrutiny as Iran’s foreign policy. -Arash Hadjialiloo, NIAC - 3/7/08

Indonesia, Iran plan a $2b oil refinery contract
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is due to fly to Tehran next week to hold talks with Iranian officials on energy ties. -Press TV - 3/7/08

Iran debate: Who owns the revolution?
Rival factions contesting Iran's parliamentary elections next week are breaking longstanding taboos and using once-sacred icons to challenge opponents in a vote that is likely to set the tone for the presidential contest in 2009. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 3/7/08

Top US commander: We need more nukes
A senior US commander has said nuclear weaponry is needed by the country for the rest of the century and that the US should even seek more. - 3/7/08

Lian Ensemble in concert, Spring of 2008
Spring and all its flowers now joyously break their vow of silence. It is time for celebration, not for lying low; You too - weed out those roots of sadness from your heart. "Hafiz" - 3/7/08

Weak dollar keeps oil near $106
International oil prices have been near record highs as world remains concerned about supplies and the US dollar's slide continues. - 3/7/08

Iran vote may strengthen Ahmadinejad
Iran goes to the polls on 14 March. Whatever the headlines say, this will not be a referendum on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rule. -BBC - 3/7/08

Iran water polo to face Kazakhstan
Iran's water polo team will face Kazakhstan on Friday in the FINA Men's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualifiers being held in Oradea, Romania. Iran was defeated by Macedonia 11-6 in its fifth match on Thursday evening. -Press TV - 3/7/08

AFGHANISTAN: New report urges stronger action to stop drugs trade
The government of Afghanistan and neighbouring states must join forces to stop the smuggling of precursor chemicals, particularly acetic anhydride, to Afghanistan where they are used in the illicit manufacture of heroin and morphine, the International Narcotics Control Broad (INCB) said in its annual report on 5 March. -IRIN - 3/7/08

Vatican, Muslims, to establish permanent forum
The Vatican and Muslim leaders have agreed to establish a permanent forum to improve relations between the two religions. -IRNA - 3/7/08

Iran’s leading poet receives new Stanford literature prize
Iranian poet Simin Behbahani is the first recipient of Stanford's Bita Prize for Literature and Freedom. The new $10,000 prize is part of the Daryabari Persian Studies Fund, recently endowed by Bita Daryabari to support and promote teaching, research and scholarship relating to Iran, including the area formerly known as Persia, and people of Iranian or Persian heritage. -CYNTHIA HAVEN, Stanford News - 3/6/08

Who leaked the details of a CIA-Mossad plot against Iran?
The Bush administration is prolonging the hunting season against journalists. The latest victim is James Risen, The New York Times reporter for national security and intelligence affairs. -Haaretz, Israel - 3/6/08

INTERVIEW: Iranian journalist comments on Iran's media, U.S. coverage of Iran
Iranian journalist, media researcher and film critic Omid Habibinia is among the many journalists who have left Iran after feeling the pressure of the country's repressive atmosphere. A former employee at the Islamic Republic News Agency's TV broadcast, Seda va Sima, Habibinia currently resides in Switzerland. -Fariba Amini, IJNET - 3/6/08

Coral Springs woman holds out hope for husband missing in Iran
"I'm just a wife looking for her husband. I need to find him," she said Tuesday from the Levinsons' Coral Springs home. "I love him and want him home. I keep hoping I'll see him and I'll hear his voice. I call his cell phone just to hear his voice." -South Florida Sun-Sentinel - 3/6/08

Iraq: Sunnis Say Iran Working To Solidify Economic Control
Even before his foot touched Iraqi soil, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad had much to celebrate. His country has entrenched itself in the Iraqi economy, so much so that observers say Iraq is becoming economically, if not politically, subordinate to Iran. -RFE - 3/6/08

Feminist prize winner barred from leaving Iran
Iranian feminist and journalist Parvin Ardalan was prevented from leaving Iran on Sunday to travel to Sweden where she was to receive the 2007 Olof Palme Prize in Stockholm. -Amnesty International - 3/6/08

Kharazmi Persian School celebrates Norouz in New Jersy
Kharazmi Persian School of New Jersey was established in 1992 to serve the Iranian-American community in Metropolitan area. KPS's efforts are based on the fact that the personal and social identity of our children as 'Iranian-Americans' forms around a correct understanding of the Iranian culture and the Persian language. - 3/6/08

Iran: Farda Correspondent Talks About Her Sentence And Journalists' Dilemmas
Rdio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azima, who was stripped of her passport and prevented from leaving Iran for eight months last year, has been convicted by an Iranian revolutionary court of "spreading antistate propaganda" and sentenced to one year in prison. -RFE - 3/6/08

Celebrate Norouz with Shiva Rose at David & Layla premiere in San Francisco
Celebrate Norouz with Shiva Rose at David & Layla premiere, San Francisco. 7:00 PM Saturday March 8 at Sundance Cinemas, sponsored by Beyond Persia & Shabeh Jomeh. - 3/6/08

The taste of excess: Can we save the prized Caspian sturgeon?
If the current demand for caviar continues, the prized Caspian sturgeon will be extinct in just 14 years. Can we save it – and still enjoy one of nature's greatest luxuries? -Independent - 3/6/08

Iran says it will deport over one million Afghans
All Afghan citizens in Iran without valid refugee documents will be deported, Seyyed Taghi Ghaemi, director of the Iranian bureau for aliens and foreign immigrants, told reporters at the end of a two-day meeting with Afghan and UN officials in Kabul on 3 March. -IRIN - 3/6/08

IRAN: Challenging the Revolutionary Guard
Vocal dissent against the increasing clout of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has arisen from an unlikely place: the slide-rule-toting members of the Iranian Society of Consulting Engineers. -Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran ,LA Times - 3/6/08

Caspian: Turkmen, Azerbaijani Deal Could Raise Energy Hopes
Azerbaijani and Turkmen officials have resolved a lingering obstacle to improved trade ties during the latest round of talks on issues that include cooperation to develop Caspian energy resources. -RFE - 3/6/08

Iranian-American to speak on film, life after Sept. 11
University of Arizona senior Justin Mashouf has taken a cinematic approach to the adversity he's encountered as an Iranian-American. In his film, Warring Factions, Mashouf addresses issues surrounding how he balances the two cultures he represents in light of a post Sept. 11 world. -Shannon Daily - 3/6/08

Iran to export gas to EU via Croatia
Iran's ambassador to Croatia Mohammad- Hassan Fadaiefard says Iran's gas will be exported to the European Union via Croatia. Fadaiefard said that based on agreement Iran will export dlrs 25 billion worth gas to Austria and a similar contract, valued dlrs 30 billion, is to be signed with Switzerland. -IRNA - 3/6/08

27 Iranian firms take part at 42nd Berlin Tourism Fair
27 Iranian firms are predicating at 42nd International Berlin Tourism Fair (ITB) putting on display tourism capabilities of our country. - 3/6/08

Iran: Tied to its program
The latest UN sanctions against Iran are a setback for Tehran but their overall impact should be gauged in political rather than economic terms, Kamal Nazer Yasin writes for ISN Security Watch. - 3/6/08

Iran criticizes US intervention in OIC affairs
Iran's Ambassador to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Mostafa Boroujerdi said on Thursday that appointment of US special envoy to OIC Sada Cumber ran counter to governing rules and regulations of OIC. -IRNA - 3/6/08

Gaza: To Blame the Victims for This Killing Spree Defies Both Morality and Sense
The attempt by western politicians and media to present this week’s carnage in the Gaza Strip as a legitimate act of Israeli self-defence - or at best the latest phase of a wearisome conflict between two somehow equivalent sides - has reached Alice-in-Wonderland proportions. -Guardian - 3/6/08

How Traditional Are Iran's Modern Gabbehs?
Is it true that as life gets more complicated, designs get simpler? There is one enduring example. It is Iran's gabbeh carpet – today very simple, and very popular. -Charles Recknagelis - 3/5/08

Razi Family Lecture Series: The Presence of Iran in the Ancient World
March 8th, 2008 at the University of California, Irvine. Subjects covered: a) Art and Archaeology of the Iranian World, b) Religion of the Empires, c)History, Text and Remains of Ancient Iran - 3/5/08

Iranian team in Baghdad for talks with US on Iraq
An Iranian delegation arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday for the fourth round of talks with the US on Iraqi security. Reza Amiri-Moqaddam, head of the Iranian negotiating team, said according to the schedule, the fourth round of Iran-US talks on Iraq will start on Thursday. - 3/5/08

Help Bob Levinson Rally of Hope to be held in Coral Springs, Florida
Robert (Bob) Levinson went missing while visiting Kish Island, Iran, on private business on March 9, 2007. Please join us to acknowledge the one year anniversary of his disappearance on the eve of his 60th birthday. -The Levinson family - 3/5/08

Time for Dipstick Examination of our Assumptions
Thru these observations, the authors do not intend to correct some historical inaccuracies per se, rather to offer some legitimate rationale for undusting and examining some deeply tucked in, unattended but active subconscious beliefs, which we all harbor but might deserve corrections or outright disposing of. -Xosrow Jamsheidi and Jamsheid Jamsheidi - 3/5/08

Los Angeles Iranian Americans say talks, not war will solve U.S.-Iran tensions
The Los Angeles Iranian-American community came together on Saturday, February 23 to call out against a potential U.S.-Iran war and promote diplomatic talks. -NIAC - 3/5/08

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Tells VOA U.S. Prepared to Continue Dialogue with Iran Washington, D.C., March
Ambassador Crocker asserted that although the U.S. has significant differences with Iran's regime, he remains hopeful about the future of U.S.-Iranian relations. "I expect that under some circumstances Iran and the U.S. will come back to a relationship," he explained. "Historically we have had close ties, and I think we will again in the future." - 3/5/08

Iranian Cultural Club at San Francisco State University to celebrate Norouz
ICC is proud to host the third annual Norouz celebration on Friday March 7th 2008, All proceeds go toward Rahimian Charity Hospital in Ghazin, Iran - 3/5/08

Iran/Iraq: Trade Flow Increases, But Mostly From Tehran To Baghdad
Since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, Iraq has seen a large influx of goods from various countries, most prominently from Iran. Iraq is Iran's second-largest, nonoil export market. Iraqis bought some $1.3 billion worth of goods from Iran during 2006. -RFE - 3/5/08

The Gaza Bombshell
After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. -Vanity Fair - 3/5/08

IRAN: Babak Zamanian to prison
Iranian student activist Babak Zamanian was sentenced Monday (second item) to a year in prison. He'll probably be locked up in a couple of days. -Borzou Daragahi, LA Times - 3/5/08

BBG condemns Iran's Sentencing of Iranian-American Journalist Parnaz Azima
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) condemns the Iranian government's baseless sentencing of RFE/RL journalist Parnaz Azima to one year in prison for "spreading anti-state propaganda." - 3/5/08

Armenia/Azerbaijan: Deadly Fighting Erupts In Nagorno-Karabakh
Officials in Armenia and Azerbaijan have confirmed an outbreak of military clashes in two regions of the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting appeared to be the most serious violation in years of the cease-fire agreement between Baku and Yerevan over the territory, which is dominated by ethnic Armenians and located within Azerbaijan. -RFE - 3/5/08

Iran water polo to face Germany in Olympic Qualifiers
Iran's water polo team will face Germany on Wednesday in the FINA Men's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualifiers in Oradea, Romania. The Iranian team tied 8-8 with Mexico on Tuesday but was defeated by Italy and Canada in the first two matches. -Press TV - 3/5/08

Prisoner of a symbol
A former detainee at Tehran's Evin prison says a generation of Americans are being fed an unfair, radicalized image of Iran. -Los Angeles Times - 3/5/08

Iranian football coach asked to lead Kuwait
Officials representing Kuwait Football Association have asked renowned Iranian coach Majid Jalali to steer the country's national team. According to IRIB, Jalali has not responded to the request yet. -Press TV - 3/5/08

British MP's call to avoid attacking Iran welcomed
The Westminster Committee on Iran today welcomed a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee warning that a military strike against Iran is unlikely to succeed and could provoke a violent backlash across the region. - 3/5/08

Record Sale at Bonhams Puts Iranian Painter in $1 Million Club
Farhad Moshiri became the first artist from the Middle East to sell a work of art at auction for more than $1 million yesterday when ``Love'' sold for $1,048,000 at Bonhams's first Dubai auction. -Bloomberg - 3/5/08

General Petraeus Tells VOA's Persian News Network "We Are Neither Pessimists Nor Optimists-We Are Realists"
Further commenting on Iraq-Iran relations, Petraeus said, "Iran should be trying to achieve a good relationship with a country that's always going to be its neighbor to the west. This border is not going to go away any time soon." He continued, "There is a shared history, and much of that history is not pleasant." - 3/5/08

Why I am not voting this time, either!
What is most discouraging is that, with the current slate of candidates for the office of the Commander-in-Chief, the light at the end of the tunnel is rather dim, indeed. If we do not handle our foreign affairs properly, our domestic revival will require some kind of Divine intervention, and in my opinion, that Divine intervention will not be the prophesied Armageddon that Pastor Hagee has envisioned! -Kam Zarrabi - 3/4/08

Iran: Security council has made unjust, irrational decision
Members of the Security Council have made an unjust and irrational decision on Iran's nuclear program, Iranian Ambassador to United Nations Mohammad Khazaee said in his address to the Security Council. - 3/4/08

Actress Motamed-Arya appointed envoy of Mehrafarin Charity
Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya has been selected as the ambassador of the Mehrafarin Charity Society, during a ceremony on March 3 at the Niavaran Cultural Center. - 3/4/08

Third round of sanctions against Iran amplifies the need for a new Iran approach
The newest UN Security Council Resolution will not solve the nuclear standoff with between Iran, according to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). "The sanctions path is not leading anywhere," said Trita Parsi, President of NIAC. - 3/4/08

Stephen Kinzer on US-Iranian Relations, the 1953 CIA Coup in Iran and the Roots of Middle East Terror
As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Iraq for a historic meeting with Iraqi leaders, we turn to former New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. -Democracy Now - 3/4/08

Russia Blocks New IAEA Resolution Against Iran
Diplomats in Vienna say Russia's support for new UN sanctions against Tehran is linked to a pledge from Western states to drop plans for a new Iran resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). -RFE - 3/4/08

Iran reformers hemmed in ahead of elections
Many conservatives were embarrassed by the scale of rejections, which former President Mohammad Khatami called a "catastrophe." Lobbying of Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei by senior pragmatic figures has resulted in requalification so far of 850 names, with a final list due to be published today, but reformists say they can still contest only half the seats. -CSM - 3/4/08

Iranian Films at Tiburon International Film Festival
The Tiburon International Film Festival will present a selection of latest films made by or about the Iranians from around the world. The festival will be held March 13-21, 2008 in Tiburon, California. - 3/4/08

Iran, Iraq issue communique at end of Ahmadinejad's state visit
The communique then focuses on agreements reached, memoranda of understanding and cooperation protocols signed between the two countries in various fields, including the need to improve comprehensive relations and cooperation in political, economic, security, oil, industrial, and cultural fields, and the need to eliminate the entire obstacles in the way of expanding such ties. -IRNA - 3/4/08

MP for Hire?
Joseph Joubert said: "Imagination is the eye of the soul". It therefore comes as no surprise that with terrorists lending their imagination to Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, a member of the House of Lords from Gordon Brown's ruling Labor Party, his soul is blinded. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/4/08

Iran's current growth rate stands at 5.4%
Iran's economic growth rate was 5.8 percent last year and is expected to decline to 5.4 percent this year, while the rate for the next year is projected to be around 5.2 percent, ISNA quoted its economic reporter as saying. -Press TV - 3/4/08

New Daei And New Start For Iran
Iran have been mentioned as a national team equivalent to Newcastle United. The reasons are simple: passionate fans who want to see good football, memories of success becoming increasingly misty and administrators that are less than competent. - 3/4/08

Iran: International Day of Solidarity with jailed union leaders on 6 March
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) has declared 6 March the International Day of Solidarity with union leaders currently jailed in Iran. -AKI - 3/4/08

Investors' flight to oil pushes price to record high
Oil prices held steady Tuesday in Asia after blasting overnight to a new record near $104 a barrel and then falling back. - 3/4/08

Iran backs OPEC output drop: Oil Minister
The oil minister declared Iran will support Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) output reduction. -ISNA - 3/4/08

Iranian to pay 124,000-rose dowry
An Iranian court has ordered a man to give his wife the 124,000 roses that he promised in her dowry, after she filed a complaint to claim it, reports say. -BBC - 3/4/08

Iranian Jews condemn Israeli crimes in Gaza
The statement was signed by MP Morris Mo'tamed, who represents the Jewish community in the Iranian parliament, and the Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Kermanshah branches of the Iran Jewish Committee. -MNA - 3/4/08

Armenia: Will Violence Fuel Passions Further?
For many watching Armenia, the question now is what impact the deadly clashes between police and protesters will have on the resolve of opposition supporters. -RFE - 3/4/08

Iran is growing again
The US and some of its Arab allies are looking on in dismay as Iran increasingly makes its presence felt in the surrounding region. As President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran is returning home, his visit to Iraq that began on Sunday has already been dubbed historic. -Radio Netherlands - 3/4/08

Islamic states boycott Paris book fair over Israeli presence
The Islamic states boycotted Paris book fair, which starts on March 14, in protest at inviting Israel. Saudi Arabia has become the latest to withdraw, following Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. -IRNA - 3/4/08

Second Presence of Tehran's 127 Music Band at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin
It is quite hectic. The rock music band 127 is going to participate in the prestigious SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas for the second time, while unfortunately their drummer player has not yet obtained the required permit to leave the country, because he has just been graduated from university and has not served his military service. - 3/3/08

The Sixth Sadegh Hedayat Award Ceremony in Tehran
Last week on the anniversary of his birthday, the 6th Sadegh Hedayat award was held at a private ceremony at the house of his nephew and head of Sadegh Hedayat office, Mr. Jahangir Hedayat. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/3/08

Turquoise Bridges presents Norooz celebration at San Francisco City Hall
Turquoise Bridges once again presents the 3rd Annual Norooz Celebration at the Rotunda of the San Francisco City Hall. This celebration has rapidly become a signature annual event in San Francisco. - 3/3/08

Photos: Teahouse Paintings Exhibition in Tehran
During our visit to Iran in August 2007, we paid a visit to the House of Artists in Tehran. In of the galleries there, an exhibition of teahouse paintings was in progress. The paintings were simply fantastic. Many of them were depicting scenes from Shahnameh (Ferdowsi's The Book of Kings) or those of Imam Hussain's martyrdom. -Ali Moayedian - 3/3/08

Rezvani Revisited
Cyrus Bassiak aka Serge Rezvani's music Repertoire inspires Belgian Singer Helena Noguerra. Born in Iran in 1928 to an Iranian father and Russian mother, Serge Rezvani was a painter for the 20 first years of his artistic activity. -Darius KADIVAR - 3/3/08

Ahmadinejad: Iran ready for talks with US on Iraq
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that Iran is ready for talks with the US on Iraq's security. Ahmadinejad said that until today, there has been no need to upgrade level of the talks. "It cannot be predicted in the future either," he added. -IRNA - 3/3/08

Iran in the Crosshairs
Washington watched as 2007 came to a violent and inglorious end. U.S. wars raged in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S.-backed Israeli occupation suffocated Palestinians, U.S.-allied governments in Pakistan and Kenya faced national explosions over false democratization and stolen elections, and U.S. corporate-driven poverty and resource wars ravaged Africa. -Phyllis Bennis, Foreign Policy In Focus - 3/3/08

Iran joins mainframe computer manufacturing countries
Iran has designed and made a mainframe computer which has the capacity to calculate 86 billion operations in a second. -IRNA - 3/3/08

Iran, Iraq sign seven MoUs on bilateral cooperation
Seven memoranda of understanding were signed for promotion of Iran-Iraq cooperation on Monday in the presence of the Iranian and Iraqi presidents. - 3/3/08

Iranian-American journalist convicted of spreading propaganda and sentenced in Iran
A journalist who works for a U.S.-funded radio outlet has been convicted by an Iranian court of spreading anti-state propaganda and sentenced to one year in prison, her company said Monday. Iranian-American Parnaz Azima was not in Iran during the court action Saturday. -AP - 3/3/08

Isfahani children depicting dreams on Norouz eggs
The Children of Isfahan will be welcoming in the Iranian New Year, the renewal of nature and the greenness of spring by painting eggs with colorful designs depicting their hopes and dreams. - 3/3/08

Suffering and suffrage in Iran: Women are still denied their freedom
The suffragettes have been an inspiration for countless women around the world. This month it will be exactly 80 years since their momentous struggle led to the Bill for full women's suffrage being presented to Parliament. -Shirin Ebadi, Times Online - 3/3/08

International conference on Iran's peaceful nuclear program to be held in Tehran
Tehran is to hold an international conference on Iran's peaceful nuclear program and modality of cooperation with the IAEA on March 9th. -ISNA - 3/3/08

Israel threatens more Gaza attacks
Israel today threatened further military action to weaken Hamas in Gaza as its troops withdrew after a week-long offensive that killed more than 100 Palestinians. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said more strikes were likely against militants firing rockets from Gaza. The declaration comes despite widespread condemnation of Israel's action. -Guardian - 3/3/08

UN Nuclear Watchdog to Focus on Iran
European powers have prepared a resolution for next week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency that focuses on Iran's nuclear defiance, diplomats said Sunday. -AP - 3/3/08

Arya Global Cuisine: Persian food trumps Italian at Arya
Owner and Executive Chef Mike Hashemi, an Iranian immigrant who owned a popular Italian restaurant in Orange County for nearly a decade, is taking no chances at his attractive new restaurant on Stevens Creek Boulevard. He wants to make everyone happy. -San Jose Mercury - 3/3/08

Iran, ONGC finalising Gulf field proposal-report
Iran's state offshore company and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. have finalised a financial proposal for developing a gas and oil field in the Gulf, an Iranian news agency reported on Sunday. -Reuters - 3/3/08

Ali Daei appointed as new head coach of Iran's national football team
Iran's Football Federation finally put an end to a long lasting confusion and appointed former heavyweight footballer Ali Daei as the new head coach of Iran's national squad. - 3/2/08

Ahmadinejad Says Iraq Visit Opens 'New Chapter' In Relations
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is in Baghdad today, the first visit to Iraq by an Iranian leader since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the subsequent war between the two countries. Ahmadinejad went straight from Baghdad's airport to a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who gave him a red-carpet welcome. -RFE - 3/2/08

Walking for world peace, from London to the Persian Gulf
An Iranian who has been living in England for years, is walking from London to the Persian Gulf for the cause of world peace. He arrived in Kashan on Saturday. He started his march on May 11, 2007. - 3/2/08

Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group
The George W. Bush administration has long pushed the "laptop documents" -- 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop -- as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Now charges based on those documents pose the only remaining obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring that Iran has resolved all unanswered questions about its nuclear programme. -Gareth Porter, IPS - 3/2/08

Ahmadinejad: Enemies seek to sow discord between Iran, Iraq
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that the enemies never welcome unity and solidarity between the Iranian and Iraqi nations. The Iranian president who is now visiting Iraq made the remarks in a meeting with high ranking Iraqi officials. -IRNA - 3/2/08

NIPOC to celebrate the Persian New Year in Irvine, California on March 22
The Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County (NIPOC) will celebrate the Persian New Year (Norouz) on on SATURDAY MARCH 22, 2008 (6:30 PM -1 AM) in Irvine, California. - 3/2/08

Eight Reported Killed In Armenia After Clashes Between Police, Protesters
Eight people are reported to have been killed in overnight clashes between police and opposition protesters in the Armenian capital, Yerevan. -RFE - 3/2/08

Tehran's "Seven Views" exhibition wraps up with $300,000 in sale
The second edition of the exhibition entitled "Seven Views" displaying works by the giants of Iranian visual arts drew to a close on Saturday, having sold 180 artworks with takings of approximately $300,000. -MNA - 3/2/08

UK MPs urge US to start direct talks with Iran
An influential group of British MPs Sunday called on the UK government to urge the US to reverse its policy to help resolve the stalemate over Iran's nuclear programme by holding direct talks with Tehran. - 3/2/08

OIC strongly condemns massacre of defenseless Palestinians
Head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) strongly condemned Saturday evening the massacre of the defenseless Palestinians by the Zionist regime forces. -IRNA - 3/2/08

Quake trembles Persian Gulf island of Qeshm
An earthquake measuring 4 on the Richter scale suburbs of the island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf, southern Iran, Saturday evening. -IRNA - 3/2/08

Bush administration has fueled the human-rights abuses in Iran
The Bush administration's apparent disregard for the expressed wishes of Iranian human-rights defenders has made a bad situation worse. When it comes to human rights in the Middle East, the Bush administration has claimed to walk the walk. But that walk clearly has a limp. -Trita Parsi, Philadelphia Inquirer - 3/2/08

Presence of MKO members in Iraq illegal: Iraqi president
Based on the new constitution of Iraq, presence of members of the terrorist Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iraq is illegal and forbidden, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/2/08

What is the One Million Signatures Campaign?
The One Million Signatures Campaign officially launched on August 27, 2006, aims to collect one million signatures in support of a petition addressed to the Iranian Parliament asking for the revision and reform of current laws which discriminate against women. -Sussan Tahmasebi - 3/2/08

Bush Urges Iraqi Leaders to Give Ahmadinejad Clear Message
President Bush says Iraq needs a long-term security agreement with the United States to ensure the success of its democracy. -VOA - 3/2/08

High oil price may not be an incentive for Gulf states to dig deeper
The steady increase in oil prices over the past five years has led to a surge in oil and gas investments worldwide. Most oil producers have been eager to increase output up to capacity to take advantage of these high prices. -Nader Habibi, Gulf News - 3/2/08

Photos: Marking Arbaein in Isfahan, Iran
Arbaein is the 40th day of Husayn's martyrdom, and it is observed widely by the Shi'a Muslims. The following photos are from Arbaein commemoration held in Isfahan, Iran. - 3/1/08

Iraq: Iran's President Pays Landmark Visit To Baghdad
With President Mahmud Ahmadinejad set to pay a landmark visit to Iraq on March 2 -- the first by an Iranian leader since the 1979 Islamic revolution -- history's ironies are running thick and fast. -RFE - 3/1/08

Diaspora Film: A Tree Falls
At a graveside in Salty Lake City, a middle aged American-Iranian surgeon, Kamran Mahdoust, reminisces about his best friend, Reza Radmanesh. As he lives his life with his wife and two children, he remembers his best friend from high school. - 3/1/08

Chance for peace: UN should accept Iran's offer to implement Additional Protocol
In the wake of the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), clearing Iran of all the outstanding issues from its own work plan of August 2007, Iran has also agreed to accept and observe the Additional Protocol if its nuclear file is returned back to the IAEA jurisdiction from the UN Security Council. -CASMII - 3/1/08

World Premiere of Behzad Ranjbaran's "Fountains of Fin" for Flute, Violin and Cello at BARGEMUSIC in New York
The new piece, Fountains of Fin, celebrates one of the most enchanting gardens in the world, the historical Garden of Fin in Kashan, Iran built in 16th century. - 3/1/08

Oil price hovers near record high above $100
The price of a barrel of oil dipped at the end of trading in New York on Friday after setting another record earlier in the day. A barrel of US light crude touched dlrs 103.05 during the day, but at the end of floor trading in New York, the price settled at dlrs 101.72. - 3/1/08

Iran to buy 100 Russian Topolov-204 and Topolov-214 planes
Iran is to purchase 100 Russian Topolov-204 and Topolov-214 planes during the next 10 years. -ISNA - 3/1/08

Association des Chercheurs Iraniens celebrates International Women's Day in London
On March 8th 2008, International Women's Day, Association des Chercheurs Iraniens (ACI) will launch a year long programme of celebrations to honour the courage and achievements of Iranian women under oppression. - 3/1/08

Ahmadinejad says US-Iran talks helping improve security in Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that U.S.-Iran talks have helped improve security in Iraq but rejected claims that the Islamic Republic is fueling violence in its western neighbor, reported the state news agency. -AP - 3/1/08

Israel's warning: rocket fire from Gaza will result in a Palestinian 'holocaust'
An Israeli government minister warned yesterday that increasing rocket fire from Gaza would bring Palestinians a Shoah – the Hebrew word normally used to denote the Nazi Holocaust inflicted on Jews during the Second World War.-Independent - 3/1/08

U.S.: Intelligence Chief Assesses Security Threats From Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan
It has been more than six years since U.S. forces entered Afghanistan to battle the Taliban and help establish a stable central government. U.S. National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell now says Karzai's government has control over only about 30 percent of the country, while the Taliban controls about 10 percent of Afghan territory. -RFE - 3/1/08

Iranian Oil Company Seeks to Clear Its Name
When the U.S. sanctioned Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October for alleged weapons proliferation and terror financing, it also blacklisted a small oil-services company called Oriental Oil Kish Co. The Treasury Department said Oriental was either owned or controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, a branch of Iran's military. -WSJ - 3/1/08

Iranian illustrators enter Venetian talent hunt
Ninety Iranian artists are to take part in the 14th International Competition of Illustrations which is being held by the Venetian Teatrio Cultural Association in Italy on March 25 and 26. -MNA - 3/1/08

Iran and Qatar to expand regional cooperation
In the second round of negotiations between high-ranking Iranian and Qatari delegations on Thursday, Iranian First Vice President Parviz Davudi and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani emphasized the need to expand regional cooperation between the two countries. -MNA - 3/1/08

Iranian president a hostage to his promises
Mohaddeseh, a mother of four girls, was one of ­thousands of Iranians who flocked to see Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the president they elected in 2005 on a platform of social justice, during his visit last week to Bandar Abbas. -Financial Times - 3/1/08

Iran to invest dlrs 3.5bn in Syria: official
Iran's Deputy Minister of Housing and Urban Development Moussa Barzegar said in Damascus Saturday that volume of investment by Iranian companies in Syria will reach $3.5B, up from $1B. -IRNA - 3/1/08

Vets Break Silence on War Crimes
U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are planning to descend on Washington from Mar. 13-16 to testify about war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in those countries. -IPS - 3/1/08

Disturbing New Photos From Abu Ghraib
VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. As an expert witness in the defense of an Abu Ghraib guard who was court-martialed, psychologist Philip Zimbardo had access to many of the images of abuse that were taken by the guards themselves.-WIRED - 3/1/08

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