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A kind New Year message, what next?
The message of President Barack Obama to the people and the authorities of Iran on the occasion of the Iranian New Year symbolizes a new approach regarding the relationship between United States and Iran, after a long period of tension and antagonism. This is undoubtedly a step forward, at least at the rhetorical level. -Iranians For Peace - 3/31/09

Iran offers to help US rebuild Afghanistan
Iran made a significant conciliatory gesture towards the Obama administration today, offering to help US-led efforts to stabilise and rebuild Afghanistan. -Guardian - 3/31/09

New York City - Persian Parade 2009 Slide shows and Video
NY Persian Parade Inc. was established in the state of New York as a not-for-profit organization in 2004. A group of Iranian philanthropists, are recognized as the founders of the New York Persian Parade. The mission of the Persian Parade is to promote celebrations of the rich culture and prosperous heritage of Iranians. - 3/31/09

My Breakfast with New York City Mayor at Gracie Mansion
This morning, March 30, 2009, 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 Norooz celebration at his official residence at Gracie Mansion. I had met him before; however, this morning was a turning point in my judgment of him as he proved to be a practical and a no non-sense human being, not just a politician. -James S. Irani - 3/31/09

Photos: Spring Snow and Rain in Tehran
Tehran is the capital and largest city of Iran, and the administrative center of Tehran Province. Tehran is a sprawling city at the foot of the Alborz mountain range with an immense network of highways unparalleled in Western Asia. -ISNA - 3/31/09

Blame It On The Reign
Just as politicians everywhere eagerly ride the wave of popular goodwill that comes with sporting achievements, Iran's president is being reminded that there's an ebb for every flow. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 3/31/09

Atlanta-Area Director Savvy Lorestani Premiers First Feature Film At 2009 California-Based Method Fest
My Sixteenth Summer is a coming-of-age film about the ups and downs of being 16-years-old in suburbia. Centering around Samir (Ali Degan), an Iranian-American teenager, he struggles with all the pressures, highlights and disappointments of adolescence. - 3/31/09

U.S., Iran Headline Hague Conference On Afghanistan
Participants from roughly 80 countries are gathering in The Hague on March 31 for a UN-backed conference on the future of Afghanistan, where a violent insurgency with ties to international extremists continues to hamper efficient government and reconstruction efforts. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/31/09

Clinton doesn't rule out Iran talks at Afghanistan conference
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was coy Monday about whether she would meet Iranian delegates at an international conference on Afghanistan, and she urged Tehran to play a positive role in helping stabilize its neighbor. -CNN - 3/31/09

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. Announces Nationwide Recall of Pistachios Because of Possible Health Risk
This voluntary recall affects certain bulk roasted inshell and roasted shelled pistachios shipped on or after September 1, 2008. The bulk product was distributed throughout the United States. - 3/31/09

Achaemenid palaces found in south Iran
Iranian archeologists have unearthed two 2,500 -year-old palaces and 18 columns belonging to the Achaemenid era in southern Iran. - 3/31/09

Rising stars: four emerging directors to watch out for
An Iranian-American born in North Carolina to immigrant parents, Ramin Bahrani slipped quietly onto the scene in 2005 with his debut feature, Man Push Cart, a tragic story about a once-successful singer in Iran who has been reduced to selling coffee from a sidewalk cart in New York City. - 3/31/09

Russia: No new anti-Iran sanction on agenda
A top Russian diplomat says there are currently no plans to impose new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear drive. -Press TV - 3/31/09

MKO desperate for Arab support
Head of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization Maryam Rajavi urges the participants of the Arab summit in Doha to support MKO terrorists. - 3/31/09

Rutemoller Appointed Iran's interim coach : "I do not know how long I will stay here..."
According to German tabloid, Erich Rutemoller, the celebrated German coach, has been appointed as interim coach of the Iranian national team. - 3/30/09

Photos: Norooz Days of Karun
Many Iranians travel during Norooz, the Persian New Year, holidays to visit family and enjoy sightseeing. These pictures, by Amir Hosein Kardoni, show people enjoying boat rides on Karun river in Ahvaz, Iran. - 3/30/09

Filmmaker aims to democratize social action
Iranian-American documentary filmmaker Bita Haidarian, whose work has been described as "the best hope for film and politics in Australia," launched a groundbreaking project this week, giving her fans a deciding voice in the new initiative. - 3/30/09

Iran Rights Group Fears Pressure On Detained Students
The human rights committee of the Islamic Association of Tehran's Amir Kabir University has expressed concern about nine detained students from the university who are being held at the notorious Evin prison. - 3/30/09

Will Qotbi become new Iran coach?
Former Persepolis coach Afshin Qotbi is one of the candidates who may be chosen to steer Iran's national soccer team, the IFF chief says. - 3/30/09

Azar Nafisi: Things I've Been Silent About
Azar Nafisi, author of the beloved international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, now gives us a stunning personal story of growing up in Iran. Memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother are set against the background of the country's political revolution. - 3/30/09

Gates reveals schism in Obama White House
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signaled a rift in the Obama administration by opposing the president's diplomatic overtures to Iran. - 3/30/09

Nanocatalytic Decontamination of Water by Titanium Dioxide in Iran
Researchers at University of Tabriz, eliminated Acid Blue 9 as an organic contaminant dye from water; adding nanoparticles of Titanium dioxide, followed by Ultarviolet irradiation. - 3/30/09

First test for Obama's more engaging foreign policy plan
President Barack Obama's policy of open engagement with America's adversaries faces its first real test at the G20 summit in London this week during which he will hold private meetings with Russian and Chinese leaders. -Independent - 3/30/09

Build-up to Arab Summit in Qatar Reveal More Conflicts
As Arab leaders prepare to meet for their annual summit in Doha, Qatar, preliminary signs indicate a simmering conflict between rival camps threatens to derail attempts at reconciliation. - 3/30/09

Iran Sacks National Soccer Team Head Coach after Saudi Arabia defeat
Head Coach of Iran's National Soccer Team Ali Daei was sacked on Sunday due to the weak results of the team in the 2010 World Cup second qualifying round. An informed source said that Daei was fired following the Iranian team's 1-2 defeat against Saudi Arabia in Tehran on Saturday evening. - 3/29/09

Chador Making Comeback as Fashion Item
I stop and take a look at a sign in a shop window on Valiasr Square that reads, "National chadors, made from Japanese black silk, 32,000 tomans each (about 32 US dollars)." A woman wearing a long, dark dress and a tightly tied headscarf tells me why she is interested in buying one. "I want it for parties during Norouz time. It is smart and it gives you more mobility," she said -Raha Izadi, Tehran - 3/29/09

Iranian Football Federation confirms dismissal of head coach
Head of Iranian Football Federation (FFI) Ali Kafashian on Sunday confirmed the dismissal of Ali Daei as Iran coach following a 2-1 home defeat against Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier. He said that an Iranian coach will replace Daei in three friendly games and three crucial games leading to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. - 3/29/09

Tehran mayor not to throw in the towel
Tehran's municipality has denied reports claiming that Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf has stepped down as the mayor of Iran's capital. JahanNews, a website close to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed on Saturday that ongoing disputes between the mayor and the administration had led the mayor to resign. -Press TV - 3/29/09

US envoy: Don't expect warmer relations with Iran
A top American diplomat is not getting his hopes up for a breakthrough with Iran during an upcoming international conference. Richard Holbrooke is the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He says that 30 years of bitter disagreements between the U.S. and Iran won't be erased in one meeting. -AP - 3/29/09

Iran rejects aiding North Korean rocket launch
After Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun quoted unnamed sources as saying that a 15-member Iranian delegation had gone to North Korea in early March to advise Pyongyang, Iran's Embassy in Tokyo issued a statement rejecting the claim. - 3/29/09

Saudi Arabia defeats Iran 2-1 in WC qualifier
Masoud Shojaei's goal fails to prevent Iran from suffering a 2-1 home defeat against Saudi Arabia in its fifth World Cup qualifier. - 3/28/09

US, Iran Attend Afghan Conference in Moscow
Asia's six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, held a meeting in Moscow Friday to discuss ways of combating terrorism, drug-trafficking, and organized crime in Afghanistan. Among those invited to the meeting were diplomats from the United States and Iran. - 3/28/09

Photos: Handicraft Exhibition in Shiraz, Iran
The photos presented here are from an exhibition held in Shiraz in early March to display the handicrafts of the region. Among the works presented were carpets, kilims and musical instruments. Shiraz is the sixth most populous city in Iran and the capital of Fars Province. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran -Photos by Sajad Avarand, ISNA - 3/28/09

Afghanistan Conference to Convene in The Hague
Senior officials from around the world gather Tuesday for a U.N.-sponsored one-day conference on Afghanistan. The meeting was called for by the United States and will bring partners and rivals to the table, including Iran. -VOA - 3/28/09

Outcasts 2 breaks Iran box office record
The latest production by Iranian director Masoud Dehnamaki, 'Outcasts 2', becomes the highest grossed movie in the history of the country. - 3/28/09

Obama Announces New Strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan
Saying it is an international security challenge of the highest order, President Obama announced a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that aims to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and the Taliban. - 3/28/09

Iranian film industry thriving, Hollywood learns
It appeared an unlikely meeting: Earlier this month, representatives from Hollywood, home of the anything-goes lifestyle and anything-can-happen film, traveled to Iran, where censorship and constant government supervision are a fact of life for the film industry. -CNN - 3/28/09

Iran confirms NATO sit-down after 30 years
Iran confirms that it has convened with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after having no relations with the alliance for thirty years. - 3/28/09

Iranian children receive medals at Tokyo picture contest
Three Iranian children received silver and bronze medals and plate of honor at the 16th World Children's Picture Contest held in Tokyo, Japan. - 3/28/09

From Tehran to Baker Street
Iranians are enthusiastic about Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie's Poirot and many other western detectives such as Georges Simenon's Maigret partly because for Iranians these stories evoke popular images of the west but also because Iran – despite having a huge amount of poetry in its literature – has virtually no history of detective fiction. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 3/28/09

Maliki meets Larijani, seeks Iran's investment in Iraq
Iranian Majlis speaker Ali Larijani who was on an official tour of Iraq held talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Friday. -MNA - 3/28/09

Persian-violin master Kayhan Kalhor performs with string quartet at SFJazz
Kayhan Kalhor has spent much of his adult life introducing Western audiences to the seductive subtleties of Iranian music. An unsurpassed master of the kamancheh, the ancient four-string Persian spiked violin, Kalhor is a founding member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble and the driving force behind the esteemed groups Dastan, Ghazal and Masters of Persian Music. -San Jose Mercury - 3/28/09

IAEA Board Seeks New Candidates
After two inconclusive votes, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been unable to agree on a replacement for outgoing agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei. The Vienna-based nuclear watchdog has opened up the post to fresh candidates. - 3/28/09

Iranian beggar was a real-life slumdog millionaire
A STREET beggar found dead in his squalid home was revealed to be a real-life slumdog millionaire who left behind a vast fortune. Mr Habibian is not Iran's first wealthy beggar. -Guardian - 3/28/09

Photos: Salt Domes in Fin, Bandar Abbas
Hormozgan is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. It is in the south of the country, facing Oman. Its area is 68,475 km2, and its provincial capital is Bandar Abbas. The province has 14 islands located in the Persian Gulf, and 1,000 km of coastline. -Photos by Peyman Kiyani, ISNA - 3/27/09

Washington vows to keep courting Tehran
The Obama administration promises to continue to reach out to Iran, while Tehran urges 'real' change in continued 'hostile' US policies. - 3/27/09

Isfahan: Iran's Hidden Jewel
Once the dazzling capital of ancient Persia, Isfahan fell victim to neglect, but a new generation hopes to restore its lost luster -Smithsonian magazine - 3/27/09

High School Students at World Cinema Day View German, Iranian Cultures
On Friday, April 3, Madison, Wisconsin high school students and teachers will participate in World Cinema Day, for an educational screening of "Football Under Cover" ( Germany, 2008: in German, Persian and English with English subtitles ), a film that documents the efforts of both the Iranian and German teams to cross cultural and national borders to play the match of a lifetime. - 3/27/09

Obama to Announce New Afghanistan Strategy
U.S. President Barack Obama has decided on a new Afghan strategy that includes a greater emphasis on regional diplomacy, and an increase in American military and civilian personnel. Officials say this will be a true regional diplomacy with the United States reaching out to every country with a stake in the region, including Iran. - 3/27/09

Daei: Iran will beat Saudi Arabia in Tehran
"Iran is better than Saudi Arabia in terms of technical points and players and will defeat its opponent with the support of 100,000 Iranian fans in Tehran," Daei said after a training session on Wednesday evening. - 3/27/09

Southern California - Caltech Nowruz 2009
Join FICCIT on April 4 to celebrate Nowruz (Iranian New Year) in an evening of fun and culture; Banafsheh Sayyad’s Sufi Dance, Traditional Music , Persian Cuisine, and DJ AVA. - 3/27/09

South Asia to Benefit If US-Iran Rapprochement Takes Place
Some experts say President Obama's recent overture to Iran could eventually have ramifications for South Asia if relations between the two nations someday improve. Regional specialists spoke with VOA on the possible political and economic impact the rapprochement between Washington and Tehran could have on South Asia, especially Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. - 3/27/09

Rafsanjani Questions sincerity of Obama's message to Iran
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday that President Barack Obama's message to Iran on Norooz, the Persian New Year, included statements which in fact showed there was no sincerity behind it. However Rafsanjani added, "In fact we have no animosity with anybody and if the U.S. administration behaves correctly this is not our intention to show enmity." - 3/27/09

Clinton Has No Plan For 'Substantive' Iran Meeting
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no plans for a "substantive" meeting with Iranian officials at a conference on Afghanistan in the Hague next week, the State Department has said. -Reuters - 3/27/09

Poor Policy, Not Sanctions, Weaken Iran's Economy
With the low price of oil and a global economic crisis eroding Iran's economic growth, some analysts believe the economy will emerge as a political liability for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he seeks reelection in June. -CFR - 3/27/09

Hot Tea May Raise Esophageal Cancer Risk
It's Not the Tea; It's the Temperature -- Scalding Hot Liquid Could Injure Cells in Esophagus, Study Says. Researchers studied tea drinkers in northern Iran's Golestan province, which has a high rate of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. -WebMD - 3/27/09

Call for higher circumcision rate
Circumcision should be routinely considered as a way to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, argue US experts. -BBC - 3/27/09

Sports Diplomacy: Iranian Soccer Clubs Persepolis and Esteqlal planning to play in US
Persepolis and Esteqlal plan a friendly derby in the US after an Iranian politician likened the recent Iran-US relations to a game of soccer. "Persepolis will be traveling to the US for several friendly matches, including one against Tehran's Esteqlal," the club's Executive Manager Abbas Ansari-Fard told the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network. - 3/26/09

Iran accepts US invitation to attend Afghan meet
Tehran will attend a UN conference on the future of Afghanistan in The Hague upon a US invitation, a senior Iranian official confirms. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said on Thursday that Tehran favors a regional solution to the worsening security crisis in the war-torn country. - 3/26/09

US Urges Iran to Allow Access to Jailed Journalist
The United States is urging Iran to grant consular access to jailed Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi. A U.S. State Department spokesman, Gordon Duguid, told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. is pushing for the access through Swiss diplomats who represent U.S. interests in Tehran. - 3/26/09

Iran, NATO Officials Meet, First Time in 30 Years
NATO said an Iranian diplomat has met with a NATO representative for the first direct talks between Tehran and the alliance in 30 years. - 3/26/09

Passions of Lorestan: An Exhibition by Yadollah Rezvani
I was born in Tehran, in 1948. I come from a very culture oriented family. I used to paint as a child. In spite of all my love for painting I decided to study electrical engineering at university. - 3/26/09

China - Xinjiang Uyghur 2009 Noruz festival dance
Nuoruz Festival is a traditional holiday with a long history. In Xinjiang, all national minority believe in Islam celebrate the festival. The word came from Iranian, means “Spring Water“, equating to vernal equinox (4th solar term). - 3/26/09

Iranian Americans Raise $50,000 to Preserve Persepolis Artifacts
The Iranian-American community came together to celebrate the coming of Norooz and support NIAC's continued efforts to protect the Persepolis tablets and support diplomacy, on March 7, 2009 in Mclean VA. The event, which hosted more than 150 members of the Iranian-American community, raised an impressive $50,000. - 3/26/09

Iranian Official Downplays Obama's Overture to Iran
Iran's parliament speaker says U.S. President Barack Obama's recent overture is not enough to repair 30 years of strained relations between Iran and the United States. - 3/26/09

Soccer route to kickstart US-Iran ties
According to press reports, Persepolis and Esteghlal Tehran, two of Iran's major soccer clubs, were planning several matches in American cities with large ethnic Iranian populations, including Los Angeles and Washington, DC. -Gulf News - 3/26/09

Israel ups anti-Iran rants as Bibi era nears
Israel claims Iran can build a nuclear weapon within a year as the hawkish Likud leader moves closer to assembling his government. - 3/26/09

Muslim-Christian Understanding Crucial to Better US Relations with Muslim World
To mark the spring holiday of Nowruz, President Barack Obama called for a "new beginning" in relations between Iran and the United States. The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University has proposed a set of recommendations to help Mr. Obama engage Iran and the rest of the Muslim world in a constructive way. - 3/26/09

Campaign for One Million Signatures Honored with an Award for Global Women's Rights by Feminist Majority Foundation
Each year the feminist majority foundation awards prominent women rights activists. Campaign for one million signatures is one of the winners of this year (2009) award. The award is for the demands and activities to end discriminatory laws against women in Iran. - 3/26/09

Welcome to France: home of sun, sea, sand, polygamy and the Indian Ocean
Mayotte is a strategic asset in a much broader international power play as France tries to counter Iran's growing influence on the Muslim islands off Africa's east coast. Mayotte is part of the Comoros archipelago of four islands just off the north coast of Mozambique, with a mixed history of African peoples, Arab and Persian traders and French colonists who arrived in the 19th century. -Guardian - 3/26/09

Iran considering the death penalty for ‘offensive’ bloggers
Al Jazeera’s Nazanin Sadri reports that Iran is considering a new law that would allow the death penalty for “offensive” bloggers -Think Progress - 3/26/09

Shirin Ebadi shares Roland Berger Human Dignity Award with Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders and Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel peace laureate,have been chosen as the winners of this year's Roland Berger Human Dignity Award. - 3/26/09

Cohen: The fierce urgency of peace
Pressure on President Obama to recast the failed American approach to Israel-Palestine is building from former senior officials whose counsel he respects. -IHT - 3/26/09

AIG and the Big Takeover: Matt Taibbi on “How Wall Street Insiders Are Using the Bailout to Stage a Revolution”
In a new article in Rolling Stone Magazine, journalist Matt Tabbi takes an in-depth look at the story behind AIG. “The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état,” writes Taibbi. -Democracy Now - 3/26/09

ISRAEL: Iranian pistachios? Diplomacy can be nutty
OK, so Israel has issues with Iran. But splitting atoms is one thing; splitting hairs on where Israel gets its pistachios is entirely another. -Los Angeles Times - 3/26/09

Photos: Tree Planting Day in Ahvaz, Iran
The following photos by Amin Nazari show the people of Ahvaz, a city in southwestern Iran, who participated in a tree planting day on March 6, 2009. - 3/25/09

Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Waxman Issue Statements on Nowruz for the Congressional Record
Mrs. Maloney of New York: I rise today in support of Nowruz, which marks the traditional Iranian New Year and dates back more than 3,000 years. Nowruz, literally meaning "new day," celebrates the arrival of spring and occurs on the vernal equinox which this year happened on Friday, March 20th. - 3/25/09

Iranian Artists participate in China exhibition: "In The Mood For Paper"
Inspired by the title of the movie "In The Mood For Love", "In The Mood For Paper" is a follow-up of the acclaimed "Crouching Paper, Hidden Dragon" works on paper show, a group show of solely Chinese contemporary artists held at F2 Gallery in 2008. - 3/25/09

U.S. Father Fears That Daughter Held In Iran Is Suicidal
The father of an Iranian-American journalist imprisoned in Iran has said on March 24 that his daughter had become suicidal and threatened to mount a hunger strike as her confinement drags on. -Reuters - 3/25/09

Obama says expects 'steady progress' with Iran
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he expected "steady progress" in resolving disputes between the United States and Iran. - 3/25/09

Did Tehran Really Rebuff Obama?
President Barack Obama's remarkable Norooz message initiated a much needed direct conversation between two countries long at odds and used to interaction through intermediaries. -Farideh Farhi, NIAC - 3/25/09

Iran: Deaths in custody highlight utter disregard for life by prison authorities
Prison authorities in Iran are further punishing prisoners by denying them medical treatment, Amnesty International said today following the second death in custody in less than two weeks as a result of being denied treatment. - 3/25/09

PAAIA Thanks President Obama for his Nowruz Message
On behalf of the Iranian American community, I sincerely thank you for your Nowruz message and the generous thoughts and sentiments you conveyed to Iranian Americans and Iranians all over the world on the occasion of the Persian New Year. - 3/25/09

Iran-Armenia oil pipeline construction work begins
According to the report of Armenian news agency "Arminfo", Movsisyan in a press conference in Yerevan, capital of Armenia, on Tuesday declared beginning of construction work of the pipeline and said the pipeline will transfer oil products such as gasoline and gas from Tabriz refinery to Armenia. - 3/25/09

Hot times and cool heads
As Ayatollah Khamenei endorses possible talks with the United States, Iran’s pragmatic conservatives hope the presidential election will help trim Ahmadinejad’s international role. -Tehran Bureau - 3/25/09

China, Others, Urge Move Away From Dollar As Reserve Currency
Should the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency? It's an idea that seems to be gaining ground. The latest call came from China's central bank governor, who said on March 23 there should be a new international reserve currency. And a UN panel this week is to recommend moving away from the dollar and adopting a shared basket of currencies instead. -RFE - 3/25/09

Czech Government Collapses After Losing No-Confidence Vote
The Czech government has collapsed after losing a non-confidence vote in parliament late Tuesday. The vote came after the center right government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was criticized for the way it handled the economic crisis and for supporting a controversial American anti-missile defense system. -VOA - 3/25/09

Mountain in Iran Named for American Nurse
Last year, Davar Ardalan and other family members in the United States learned that a mountain and surrounding forest near the city of Isfahan has been named Mount Helen in honor of Helen Jeffreys Bakhtiar for her pioneering work in public health with the Point Four program in some of Iran's most isolated villages. -Howard Cincotta, - 3/24/09

Photos: Norooz travelers visit historic Taq-e Bostan in Kermanshah
Taq-e Bostan is a series of large rock relief from the era of Sassanid Empire of Persia, the Iranian dynasty which ruled western Asia from 226 to 650 AD. This example of Sassanid art is located 5 km from the city center of Kermanshah in western Iran. It is located in the heart of the Zagros mountains, where it has endured almost 1,700 years of wind and rain. -Photos by Abdollah Moradi , ISNA - 3/24/09

Documentary Film "IRAN, The Forgotten Glory" released: Persian Culture and Identity Revealed
Coinciding with the arrival of the Persian New year, the much anticipated historical documentary film "IRAN the forgotten glory" directed by Makan Karandish and produced by Mystic Films Intl. was released this week in Los Angeles, California in 2 DVD's in the languages of Persian, English, and Spanish. - 3/24/09

Museum exhibition: "Caravan across Persia: An Archaeological Tour of Iran"
The University Museum at San Francisco State University (SFSU) is proud to present a new exhibition "Caravan across Persia: An Archaeological Tour of Iran." This new series of museum exhibitions create unexpected connections between ancient civilizations and the modern era. Ancient and medieval ceramics from Persia are juxtaposed with historical photographs of Iran in the 1930s, made by renowned German photographer Axel von Graefe. - 3/24/09

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Introduces Norooz Resolution
On March 24, 2009, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors introduced a resolution celebrating the traditional Persian New Year, Norooz. The resolution urges San Francisco's representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives to co-sponsor H.Res. 267 introduced by Congressman Michael Honda - 3/24/09

Soccer: Iran defeats Kuwait 1-0 in friendly
Iran has defeated Kuwait 1-0 in a friendly match ahead of the country's clash with Saudi Arabia in the 2010 World Cup qualifying round. -Press TV - 3/24/09

Congressman Honda's Norooz Video Message
Congressman Michael M. Honda (CA-15) released a video message congratulating Iranian Americans on the joyous occasion of Norooz, the Iranian New Year. Last week Congressman Honda introduced a resolution into the U.S. House of Representatives in honor of the Iranian New Year. - 3/24/09

Did Iran reject Obama's overture?
Iran's response to a supposedly conciliatory address March 20 by U.S. President Barack Obama has been met with a torrent of "we-told-you-sos" by the U.S. media. The Los Angeles Times reported that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had simply "dismissed President Obama's extraordinary Persian New Year greeting ..." -Phil Wilayto, CASMII - 3/24/09

Slim majority of US Jews want war on Iran: Poll
When asked "whether the US should militarily attack Iran if it is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons," 41% of some 800 respondents across the Jewish community answered in the affirmative, 40% in the negative and 16% abstained, Ha'aretz reported. - 3/24/09

White House ducks issue of Iran request
On Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs gave the first official US reaction to the Iranian statement by expressing hope that Tehran will change. "This was an effort and an opportunity to speak directly to the Iranian people and their leaders to underscore the potential for a new and changed relationship, based on our shared rights and responsibilities," Gibbs said. - 3/24/09

Obama's Norooz Prelude
Unprecedentedly Ayatollah Khamenei took it to himself to respond to the President's Norooz overture (he usually prefers proxies). There are two potential reasons for the personal response: He is either signaling a new direct leadership role in the Iranian foreign policy, or he is sending a message by this gesture, and the medium is the message -Rasool Nafisi - 3/24/09

Guardian Investigation Uncovers Evidence of Alleged Israeli War Crimes in Gaza
The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals. -Guardian - 3/24/09

Iran Parliament Speaker visits Najaf, plans to meet Ayatollah Sistani: report
Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani who has arrived in the holy city of Najfa on an unofficial visit plans to meet Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani on Wednesday, Aswat al-Iraq reported on Tuesday. - 3/24/09

Oil prices forecast to average $50 per barrel for rest of 2009
Oil prices are expected to average $50 per barrel (dpb) for the remainder of the year based upon Dated Brent as the benchmark, according to the latest report from the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES). - 3/24/09

No negotiation or attempt at a rapprochement can ever take place, not just with Iran, but with any other sovereign nation big or small, if one side insists on playing the dominant role and dictating the terms. This method has not worked to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and will not work in resolving the apparent impasse the United States faces with Iran. -Kam Zarrabi - 3/23/09

Call to Action: After Norooz, Make Earth Day a Day of Service
Each spring, Iranian-Americans celebrate the renewal of life and the start of a new year during Norooz. On behalf of PARSA Community Foundation, we wish you a happy Persian new year. This year, PARSA CF invites you to join in collective action to restore our environment. - 3/23/09

Visually Impaired People International Day in Iran
16th October is the International VIP Day in Iran and SAF VIP Group organised a meeting for this special day. Established in 1999, SAF VIP Group has been actively involved in numerous projects for the blind and VIP community in Iran. The meeting was attended by Mrs. Pari Zanganeh, the renowned Iranian singer - 3/23/09

Photos: Behestan Rock Castle in Zanjan, Iran
Behestan rock castle is located in close to the town of Mahneshan in Iran's Zanjan province. It is a creation of both nature and man and one of the great tourist attractions of the region. -Photos by Meysam Mohammadi, ISNA - 3/23/09

Farhang Foundation Honors Professor Ehsan Yarshater with the Iranian Heritage Award 2009
Farhang Foundation, a recently established non-profit organization focused on celebrating Iranian art and culture in Southern California honored Professor Ehsan Yarshater with the Heritage Award 2009 as part if its Nowruz (Persian New Year) program on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. - 3/23/09

The Northernmost Zoroastrian Fire Temple in the World
The Caucasus is a land of diverse population and beliefs. Today, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Yazidis live in cities and villages in the valleys and gorges of the region. One religion that had a strong impact on ancient Armenia, Georgia, and the Republic of Azerbijan was Zoroastrianism. -Sasanika - 3/23/09

Profile: Iranian-American Artist Mona Shomali
Mona Shomali was born in Los Angeles California in the year 1979, the same year of the Iranian Revolution... Overall, Mona's art has been most influenced by the (California) bay area figurative movement (1950-1965), and Iranian or Iranian- American art. - 3/23/09

European Premiere of Reza Vali's Concerto for Persian Ney and Orchestra in Vienna, Austria
On March 28, 2009, the Persian Ney master Khosrow Soltani and the Austria-Slovakia Philharmonia Orchestra will perform the European premiere of Toward that Endless Plain, Concerto for Persian Ney and Orchestra by the Persian composer and Carnegie Mellon University professor Reza Vali. The concert will take place at the historic Musikverein Hall in Vienna, Austria. - 3/23/09

Iran - Museums to welcome visitors during Noruz
Iran’s museums will play host to visitors during the Noruz holiday, which runs from March 21 to April 1. - 3/23/09

Sal-e No Mobarak!
There are so many instances of misery in the world that a moment of joy can bless just about any old and venerable tradition around which we bring together those near and dear to us, to tell them how much we love them, and with what ever accent we hear it, we welcome the rhapsodic sound of Sal e No Mobarak. -Golbarg Bashi and Hamid Dabashi - 3/23/09

Exiled Hamas Leader Welcomes Obama's 'New Language' on Middle East
An exiled leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas has welcomed what he calls U.S. President Barack Obama's "new language" in dealing with the Middle East. -VOA - 3/23/09

Photos: Shahzadeh Garden in Mahan, Kerman
Shahzadeh Garden is located at a point 35 km from south-eastern Kerman, and at a point 6 km from Mahan, on the Kerman-Bam Road near the altitudes of Joupar. It is an Iranian garden benefiting from the best natural situation. -Photos by Hassan Ghareeb, ISNA - 3/22/09

Roger Cohen: From Tehran to Tel Aviv
With his bold message to Iran's leaders, President Obama achieved four things essential to any rapprochement. He abandoned regime change as an American goal. He shelved the so-called military option. He buried a carrot-and-stick approach viewed with contempt by Iranians as fit only for donkeys. And he placed Iran's nuclear program within "the full range of issues before us." -IHT - 3/22/09

AIC Policy Symposium and Norouz Celebration
The policy symposium focuses on the challenges and opportunities the Obama Administration faces given the many U.S. differences and commonalities with Iran. We expect a vigorous debate from a diverse group of speakers and members of the audience. AIC is also proud to present the first ever Norouz Reception held on Capitol Hill. - 3/22/09

Iranian basketball teams rank first and third in west Asian club games
In the final games of the basketball competitions of the west Asian clubs here on Saturday, the two representatives of Iranian clubs stood first and third. - 3/22/09

Photos: Imam Khomeini's wife, Khadije Saghafi, laid to rest
Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday led special Prayer the deceased wife of the father of Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic the late Imam Khomeini. Mrs. Khadije Saghafi passed away in Tehran Saturday morning after a long period of illness. - 3/22/09

A Novel Technique for Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Cupper in Iran
Iranian researchers at University of Tehran, synthesized nannocrystalline cupper particles by mechanochemical reduction of Cuprite and investigated the kinetics of the process for better understanding of the possible mechanisms. -INI - 3/22/09

Negotiating the Volatile Mix
Charles Kimball to Discuss "Finding a Common Word: Negotiating the Volatile Mix of Religion, Oil and Politics in US-Iranian Relations" at Franklin & Marshall (in Lancaster, PA) on March 29. - 3/22/09

AIPAC Takes Another Scalp: What the Chas Freeman Fight Was Really About
The real significance of the fight against Freeman takes us away from the traditional need to affirm the right of Israel to exist, enjoy America's commitment to its continued survival, and consume its yearly entitlement from the U.S. budget. It has everything to do with trying to disrupt Obama's initiative to engage with Iran -Peter Lee - 3/22/09

Can 'Wet' Countries Export Water To 'Dry' Ones?
As officials, activists, and entrepreneurs from 130 nations meet this week in Istanbul to seek better ways to manage the world's water problems, there is one solution under discussion that might seem obvious: exporting water from wet countries to dry ones. - 3/22/09

Iran's Supreme Leader Says Obama Address Offers No Real Change
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that U.S. President Barack Obama's offer of better ties was just a "slogan," but pledged that Tehran would respond to any real policy shift by Washington. -RFE - 3/21/09

US Looking for Reciprocal Iranian Gesture After Obama Message
The State Department said Friday U.S. officials are looking for a reciprocal gesture from Iran after President Barack Obama's conciliatory holiday message to the Iranian people and government Thursday. - 3/21/09

Persian New Year Observed with Nationwide Radio Broadcast of Music by Iranian-American Composer Reza Vali
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) is pleased to announce that its performance of Toward that Endless Plain, a concerto for Persian ney by Iranian-born composer Reza Vali, will be broadcast across the US in conjunction with the Persian new year. - 3/21/09

Photos: The biggest Haftseen is spread in Sirjan, Iran
A grand haftseen was setup in Sirjan, Iran's Kerman province, in celebration of the Norouz, the Iranian New Year. A major part of the New Year rituals is setting a special table with seven specific items present, Haft Sin (Haft chin, seven crops before Islam). -Photos by Amin Arjmand, ISNA - 3/21/09

From Azerbaijan To India, Spring Festival Norouz Begins
Across much of the non-Arab Muslim world, people are celebrating Norouz, the festival that marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year. - 3/21/09

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Statement on the 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. - 3/21/09

California feast for Persian New Year
From saffron-scented rice to rosewater-laden desserts, the culinary aromas of Nowruz, the 13-day Persian New Year celebration that began on Friday, evoke distinctive memories for members of the Bay Area's Iranian community. -San Francisco Chronicle - 3/21/09

Khatami: I quit race to avoid misconception that I am power thirsty
Mohammad Khatami said on Thursday that he quit the presidential race in favor of former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi to avoid a misconception among the public that they are running against each other to gain power which he said would have been considered unethical. -MNA - 3/21/09

Partial victory claimed against Telegraph on Iran article despite fact that breach of PCC Code "not established"
The case concerned a story that appeared on the newspaper's front page on 12 September 2008 under the headline 'Iran Renews Nuclear Weapons Development'. The article, which did not even attempt to support this incendiary headline, went on to claim that enriched uranium had disappeared from Iran's nuclear facility in Isfahan. - 3/21/09

Second Year Of Drought Devastates Iraqi Agriculture
A prolonged drought has hit the region extending from Turkey to Afghanistan, and farmers in many areas are losing hope that it will ever end. For two years, the fields of Iraq have been covered in dust, which is whipped up into dust storms on windy days. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 3/21/09

Ayatollah Khomeini's Spouse passes away
Khadije Saghafi, the spouse of the father of Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic, the Late Imam Khomeini, passed away in Tehran Saturday morning after a long period of illness. - 3/21/09

Obama Offers New Start With Iran In Video Appeal
In a videotaped message to the Iranian people, U.S. President Barack Obama has offered Iran a "new beginning" in its relations with the United States. Obama's message coincided with the start of spring, celebrated in the region with festivities known as Norouz. It's also the moment when the Iranian calendar marks the start of the new year. - 3/20/09

Iran Welcomes Obama Overture
Iran is welcoming the appeal by U.S. President Barack Obama for better relations between the two countries, but says words alone are not enough. An aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the United States must back up its words with the appropriate actions. - 3/20/09

Nowruz: A New Day for Humanity
In recent centuries, as the vast Iranian Empire gave way to the modern country of Iran, this ancient festival of spring has spread its branches over the neighboring countries, and increasingly all over the world. It still invites us to look beyond human time and history at nature itself as it blossoms in beautiful new colors in search of secrets of renewal and rejuvenation. -Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak - 3/20/09

A New Year, A New Beginning: Videotaped Remarks by President Obama in Celebration of Nowruz
Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place. - 3/20/09

Happy Nowruz and New Year
The oldest Iranian tradition, Nowruz recalls the cosmological and mythological times of Iran. According to the ancient myths, its founder is a deputy of Ahura Mazda (Almighty God) on earth, a position that imparts to him and the celebration a spiritual dimension and a particular sense of secular authority. - 3/20/09

NIAC Lauds President Obama's Unprecedented Norooz Message for Peace
"This is a historic message. It will be the topic of conversation at every Norooz celebration in Iran and in America," said Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization. "He is doing something crucial: He is sending a signal of strategic intent that America's objective is to find constructive relations between the US and Iran, i.e. ending the destructive enmity that has existed for three decades." - 3/20/09

Tehran Puts Urban Spin On Rural Rite of Spring
The final rush before the new year showed how Iran's increasingly urban culture is modifying rural traditions. With more than 70 percent of 68 million Iranians living in cities and the rest being closely connected to them, the way time and money is spent during Nowruz -- a time of family gatherings involving many preparations -- is changing. -Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post - 3/20/09

Suspicion Cast On Iranian Blogger's Death
An Iranian blogger sent to Tehran's infamous Evin prison last month for allegedly insulting Iran's religious leaders and agitating against the government has died under questionable circumstances. -RFE - 3/20/09

US to Attend Shanghai Group Meeting on Afghanistan
The State Department confirmed Thursday it is sending a senior diplomat to a Moscow conference on Afghanistan next week of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Iran will also attend the meeting and U.S. officials do not rule out interaction with Iranian officials. - 3/20/09

Iran: Rafsanjani Not Down, Not Out
A triumphal state visit to Iraq aimed at isolating the Iranian radicals and an important re-election boost Rafsanjani's position in the hierarchy, but the fight is not over, writes Kamal Nazer Yasin in Tehran for ISN Security Watch. -ISN - 3/20/09

Iran Oil Reserves Jump to 138 Billion Barrels: Oil Minister
Iran, OPEC's second largest oil producer, plans to open some of its oil and gas fields to foreign investment to help boost output by 2015 to 5.3 million barrels per day, from the current 4.2 million barrels per day. - 3/20/09

US Navy Vessels Collide in Strait of Hormuz
The U.S. Navy says two of its vessels have collided in the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and the Arabian peninsula. The Navy's 5th Fleet says the two vessels - a submarine and an amphibious ship - collided early Friday. - 3/20/09

I am Kurush - part two
Second Isaiah's prophecy that the divine action to release the Judean exilic community in Babylon from bondage was to be through the human hands of the 'Persian Cyrus' must have come as a surprise to Judeans. This 'Cyrus', the mythic figure of the Holy Bible, was no other than the historical King Kuruš II [559-530 BCE], namesake of his grandfather, King Kuruš I. Kuruš was given the epithet of 'Great' by the Romans of the Roman Empire centuries later and became known throughout the history of the world as the Latinized 'Cyrus the Great'. -A. J. Cave - 3/19/09

Children of Persia Scholarship Program: 2009-2010 School Year
Children of Persia (COP) was established in 1999 with the simple objective of promoting the well-being of Iranian children by providing assistance in areas of healthcare, education, and social services. - 3/19/09

Norouz, glorious Iranian spring festival
Noruz is the most glorious of Iran's national spring festivities and dates back to the beginning of Persian history from time immemorial. Both foreign and domestic historians admit they do not know precisely when nor how the festival of Noruz emerged in ancient Persia and have expressed divergent opinions concerning the festival's historical background. -Ali Asghar Pahlavan, MNA - 3/19/09

Ahmdinejad's End-of-the-Year Blues
The fading days of the Persian calendar year have also been the gloomiest for an otherwise trouble-free presidency. By a fortuitously unrelated sequence of events, the last four weeks of the Persian calendar year ending on March 21 have turned out to be the most unpalatable for the Iranian president. -Kamal Nazer Yasin - 3/19/09

Iranian Blogger Dies In Prison Under Suspicious Circumstances
An Iranian blogger, Omidreza Mirsayafi, has died in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. His sister told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the death of her 28-year-old brother came under suspicious circumstances. - 3/19/09

In Search of the Haft Sin
My search for the meaning behind the haft sin table started years ago when I asked myself a simple question: If haft sin refers to "haft" (the number seven), and "sin" (the Persian letter "S") why are there more than seven items on the table and why don't many of their names start with "S?" What is the extra stuff? -Farhad Mohit - 3/19/09

Economic and Foreign Policy Entwined in Obama's New Deal
By the time it is fully implemented, the Obama administration's massive, multi-trillion-dollar economic rescue program will be recorded as the largest in U.S. history. Less than two months into his tenure, Obama has also spawned an ambitious diplomatic initiative to promote peace and to re-engage a world community still reeling from the effects of George W. Bush's two-term presidency. -Alidad Mafinezam - 3/19/09

Obama will ease Iran-US contacts: Source
The new US administration is seeking to ease contacts between Iranian and American diplomats, says a source familiar with Obama policies. - 3/19/09

Five minutes to Midnight? Congress debates Iran divestment
The bill, HR 1327, is spearheaded by finance committee chairman Barney Frank [D-MA-4] and almost identical to HR 2347, which was passed overwhelmingly by the house last year. The bill would authorize state and local laws requiring public investment funds to sell all financial stakes in companies doing business in Iran's energy sector. -NIAC - 3/19/09

AIC Symposium on: The Obama Administration and US-Iran Relations & AIC Norouz Reception
The policy symposium focuses on the challenges and opportunities the Obama Administration faces given the many U.S. differences and commonalities with Iran. We expect a vigorous debate from a diverse group of speakers and members of the audience. AIC is also proud to present the first ever Norouz Reception held on Capitol Hill. - 3/19/09

Iranian Researchers collaborate with colleagues at University of Texas on Nanotechnology
Physicists at the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM) in collaboration with the researchers of University of Texas are analyzing the thermodynamic and mechanical state of graphene -ININ - 3/19/09

Syria Offers to Mediate With Iran
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is proposing to mediate between the West and Iran, telling an Italian newspaper that he's prepared to act as a go-between to improve relations that have been further strained over Iran's nuclear program. -VOA - 3/19/09

US policy towards Iran shaping up
The approach is likely to involve a combination of small steps to initiate contact between the two countries and may include an overture in the form of a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, according to Western diplomats and senior US officials. -BBC - 3/19/09

Norouz, ca 1340's (early 1960's)
I was born in Dezashib-Shemiran and grew up in Evin. Many of us then, forty or so years ago, looked forward to the prospect of getting new clothing as a prelude to Norouz visiting exchanges and Eidi! -Davood N. Rahni - 3/19/09

Loving Our Enemies, The People of Iran
I had hoped to join a recent peace delegation headed late February for the maligned nation of Iran, but was unable to make it. In the end, only six of the twenty delegates received visas. Among those who did go were my friends David Hartsough and Father Louie Vitale, OFM. They returned brimming with fondness, hope and heartening stories. -Common Dreams - 3/19/09

Crime-Control Cameras Appear in Tehran
Police authorities have started installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras throughout the Iranian capital to lower crime rates. -FNA - 3/19/09

Iran Watchdog Seals Budget Setback For Ahmadinejad
Iran's legislative watchdog has approved a 2009-10 budget bill after parliament made changes that dealt an economic policy blow to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, three months before an election. -Reuters - 3/19/09

Nowruz Resolution to be Introduced in Congress this Week
Congressman Michael M. Honda plans to introduce a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, March 19, 2009 in observance of the Iranian New Year. To date, original cosponsors include Representatives Keith Ellison, Bob Filner, Raul Grijalva, Dennis Kucinich, Carolyn Maloney, James Moran, Linda Sanchez, Henry Waxman, and Frank Wolf. -PAAIA - 3/18/09

Photos: Chahar Shanbeh Suri Celebrations in Tehran
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. These spirits were entertained as honored guests in their old homes, and were bidden a formal ritual farewell at the dawn of the New Year. - 3/18/09

Nowruz Event in United States Celebrates Iranian Culture
New immigrants from Iran, native-born Americans and area residents young and old gathered on the National Mall in Washington to share a preview celebration of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. - 3/18/09

Khatami Withdrawal Shakes Up Iran Presidential Race
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's sudden withdrawal from the country's upcoming presidential race just five weeks after he had declared his candidacy has led some analysts to question whether he actually intended to run for office or was only trying to force the hand of another candidate. -VOA - 3/18/09

People Keen to Know Where Iran-US Relations are Headed
More than a month has passed since Barack Obama took up residence in the White House, yet there has been no word from the president about his promise to hold talks with Iran. Officials at the State Department's Iran Desk are keeping their lips sealed – they are not even prepared to talk about the options they have under review. -Farin Hashemi, Tehran - 3/18/09

Iran: Mousavi vows to walk down aisle of reform while Karroubi calls Reformists to unity
"I, like you, believe that the correct path lies in reforms that include a return to principles and a rebirth," Mousavi told Khatami in a letter to the former president published by Tabnak. - 3/18/09

Iranian-AmericanTo Screen Iran Film "Warring Factions" at NYU
Muslim-American filmmaker Justin Mashouf will be screening his feature documentary, "Warring Factions," on March 25th as a part of the annual New York University Shuruq Festival. 24 year old Mashouf will be screening the 70 minute documentary in addition to speaking about his experiences in Iran, his detention by Homeland Security and the confiscation of his video footage on suspicion of terrorism. - 3/18/09

Signs of global warming in Iran
This winter, temperatures in Iran were much warmer than in previous years, to the point that people sought out the shade to protect themselves from getting sunburns. It's really amazing how warm this past winter has been. People have even begun to turn on their air conditioners in some cities, which they had never before used at this time of the year. -M.A. Saki, MNA - 3/18/09

Iran: Larijani warns against efforts to stall implementation of budget law
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has said that failure to implement the national budget law properly would be considered an offense. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a letter dated March 14, accused the parliament of violating the Constitution after it rejected a key plank of his subsidy reform plan and said the amended bill cannot be implemented. - 3/18/09

US kicks Iran war prep into high gear
Just days after the top US commander sketched out plans to strike Iran, the US military claims Tehran sent a drone into Iraq in February. -Press TV - 3/18/09

Europe begins transfer of MKO terrorists: Report
The group, comprised of 64 senior members of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization, were transferred from Jordan to an unknown European state by two military planes, the Tabnak website reported. - 3/18/09

Top UN official says U.S. demonizing Iranian president
UN General Assembly chief Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann lashed out at the West, particularly the U.S., for demonizing the Iranian president. - 3/18/09

MKO Camp Comes under Iraqi Siege after Torturing of Members
Confessions by two members of the anti-Iran terror group, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization, about torturing and mistreatment of members by MKO officials and commanders led to a siege of the group's headquarters, Camp Ashraf, by Iraqi forces. -FARS - 3/18/09

Iranians Celebrate Chahar-Shanbeh Soori Festival
Tonight the Iranian people will celebrate the ancient festival of fire or Chahar-Shanbeh Soori in all Iranian cities. Chahar-Shanbeh Soori, literally means 'Red Wednesday', is an ancient festival, dating back to 4000 years ago since the early Zoroastrian era, which is still celebrated the night before the last Wednesday of the year. - 3/17/09

Haji Firuz Made My Day!
When I arrived at International Food Bazaar, the first thing that welcomed me was the sight of a Haji Firuz who was greeting the shoppers right at the entrance! That really cheered me up. I had seen this Haji Firuz last year too. Unlike the usual Haji Firuzes who are male and who darken their face, this one is a woman with a rather bright skin color! -Ali Moayedian - 3/17/09

Norouz Family Weekend at the British Museum 21-22 March 2009
Come to a weekend of free family activities inspired by Norouz, the Persian New Year, and find out more about this ancient festival in the prestigious setting of the Great Court at the British Museum. Celebrate the Persian New Year through a series of events sponsored by the London-based charity Magic of Persia. - 3/17/09

Norouz, the (Iranians) New Year and the Haft-Sin Symbolism
Norouz, the vernal spring equinox has been celebrated by people of Iran and Mesopotamia since antiquity. Although continuously celebrated in Iran for at least three thousand years, Norouz is currently commemorated by several hundred million diverse peoples spanning from northwest china, India and central Asian republics, IRAN, the Caucuses, Turkey and Eastern Europe, Iraq and westward to Egypt. -Davood Rahni - 3/17/09

Photos: Getting a "Clean" start for Norouz!
Iranians are getting ready for Norouz, the Persian New Year (March 20, 2009). As part of the preparations to welcome Norouz, the houses are dusted off and the (Peraian) rugs are washed to get a "clean" start! The following photos by Mehdi Ghasemi show the carpet washing that is going on in Tehran. -ISNA - 3/17/09

Khatami officially withdraws presidential bid
In a statement issued late Monday, Mohammad Kahtami officially withdrew his presidential bid in favor of former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi. In his statement the former president called Mousavi a "capable manager" who can govern the country efficiently. - 3/17/09

Northern California - 6th Annual Norouz Festival - Sizdah Be Dar
Last year, this event gathered over 22,000 attendants. The mission of this event is to raise funds towards building a huge Iranian-American Community Center. - Saturday & Sunday April 4-5 at Vasona Park in Los Gatos. - 3/17/09

Silva Harotonian Jailed in Iran For "Plotting Soft Revolution"
On June 26, 2008, Silva's world was turned upside down when she was detained and later charged with attempting a "soft revolution" to overthrow the government. On January 19, 2009, after spending Christmas, New Year's Day and her birthday alone in jail, Silva was sentenced to three years in prison. -Silva's family - 3/17/09

Iran's jointly-produced "snow" wins Birds Eye View Fest award
Iran's jointly-produced "Snow" received British Birds Eye View Film Festival's Best Feature prize. The film directed by Aida Begich jointly made by Iran, Lebanon, France and Germany won the award in the 5th edition of the cultural event which belongs to films made by women directors. -ISNA - 3/17/09

Roger Cohen spars with Iranian Jewish expats
Cohen, a British-born Jewish journalist, wrote a column last month from Iran titled "What Iran’s Jews Say” claiming that Jews in the Islamic Republic were “living, working and worshiping in relative tranquility." -JTA - 3/17/09

Tehran will turn into world's top ten digital cities by 2014: Mayor
Iran's capital Tehran will be named as one of ten top digital cities in the world by 2014, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf said in Tehran on Monday. -MNA - 3/17/09

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for year 2009 Academic Scholarships
Momeni Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent anywhere in the world. - 3/17/09

Iraqi Forces Blockading Iranian Opposition Camp
Iraq, Iran and the U.S, despite its support of the disarmed members, consider the group a terrorist organization. Supporters rallied Sunday near the White House asking Washington to take it off the terror list. -VOA - 3/17/09

Iranian Man and His Company Charged in International Scheme to Supply Iran with Sensitive U.S. Technology
An Iranian citizen and his Tehran business have been charged with purchasing helicopter engines and advanced aerial cameras for fighter bombers from U.S. firms and illegally exporting them to Iran using companies in Malaysia, Ireland and the Netherlands. -U.S. Department of Justice - 3/17/09

Human Rights Lawyer Barred From Leaving Iran
Iranian authorities blocked human rights lawyer Nasser Zarafshan from boarding a plane to Brussels on March 15 and confiscated his passport, Radio Farda reported. - 3/17/09

Brown issues Iran nuclear warning
Gordon Brown has warned Iran it faces a "clear choice" over its nuclear programme - and urged it to let the world help it get civil nuclear power. -BBC - 3/17/09

Walking the Tightrope over Burnt Bridges
I may be too optimistic, overly Machiavellian, or really naïve, to think that the hardline rhetoric from the White House, Hillary Clinton’s non-conciliatory remarks against Iran and her appoint ment of the Zionist lobbyist Dennis Ross as her front man to deal with Iran are all steps necessary to engage Iran in a meaningful rapprochement, without alienating the pro-Israel forces who could torpedo the whole process.  -Kam Zarrabi - 3/16/09

I am Kurush - part one
They say Alexander III [336-323 BCE], the Macedonian King who had defeated Dâriuš III [336-330 BCE], the Achaemenid Great King, in 3 pitched battles and savagely burned Pârsâ [Persepolis] to ashes, admired Great Kuruš [Cyrus II, the Great, 559-530 BCE] - the first Great King who had brought most of the known world under the sway of the Persians over 200 years earlier. -A. J. Cave - 3/16/09

Listening to the young Iranians...
His voice still plays in my head, "oon vare abiha tatiland." Meaning the people living in the other side of the ocean are completely clueless. This is the voice of 29-years-old Iranian entrepreneur, Mohammad Reza who was visiting Dubai for business in first week of March while I was working on a documentary about the Iranians residing in Dubai. -Mahtab Farid - 3/16/09

Chaharshanbeh-Suri registered on Iran's intangible heritage list
The old tradition of Chaharshanbeh-Suri (Fireworks Wednesday) was recently registered on Iran's intangible heritage list. Chaharshanbeh-Suri is an old tradition of Iranians practiced every last Tuesday of Iranian calendar year. Iranian nation celebrate this evening tomorrow night by making fire and jumping over the fire, just a few days before the arrival of Noruz (March 21). - 3/16/09

Photos: Haftseen's Greens and Goldfish in Ahvaz
Following photos show people in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province of Iran, preparing for Norouz, the Persian New Year. It is traditional to put a couple of goldfish in a bowl of water and some greens on the Haftsin tablecloth that is stretched on the occasion of the festive Norouz. -Photos by Mohammad Mohammadalipour, ISNA - 3/16/09

Iran women skiers earn slot in Canada 2010 Olympics
Head of Iran's Ski Federation Isa Saveh-Shemshaki said on Monday that Iran's women skiers have, for the first time, earned a slot in the 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver, Canada. - 3/16/09

Mullen sketches out 'US strike' on Iran
The top US military commander describes how Washington would engage Iran militarily amid simmering talks of war on the country - 3/16/09

Iran's Revolution 30 Years On and the Quest for Authenticity
February last marked thirty years since Ayatollah Khomeini's triumphant return to Iran. The aged cleric at the time and ever since has evoked an entire panoply of charged reactions and emotions; from love and undying adulation to fear and hatred. He bestowed to the world its first theocratic republic and a legacy which to this very day continues to be contested and replete with paradox and irony. -Sadegh Kabeer - 3/16/09

Iranian FM arrives in Bahrain for talks
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, heading a delegation, arrived in Manama, Bahrain, on Monday evening on an official visit. Mottaki's visit to Bahrain takes place on the third leg of his tour of Asia, which already took him to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. -IRNA - 3/16/09

Archaeologists return to historical city of Decius in Kerman
Dating back to the Saffarid Dynasty, one of Iran's oldest mosques, located in the city, is currently being excavated during this season, team director Hamideh Chubak told the Persian service of CHN on Monday. -MNA - 3/16/09

Iran, Russia sign agreement on energy cooperation
Based on the agreement, Tehran and Moscow would cooperate in various fields of exploration and development of the Iranian oil and gas fields, particularly in South Pars region. -IRNA - 3/16/09

New Jersey - Kharazmi Persian School celebrating its 17th Norooz
Saturday March 28: Students’ Performance, Talent Show, Lunch Buffet, Refreshments, and Raffle - 3/16/09

Photos: The Spring Blossoms in Golestan Orchards
Spring is around the corner. The arrival of spring also coincides with the beginning of the Persian New Year Norouz. This is a festive occasion for Iranians and many other countries in the region that also celebrate Norouz. The beautiful spring blossoms are like the decorations that are propping up all around in preparation for the arrival of Norouz! -Photos by Javad Maktabi, ISNA - 3/15/09

Iran defeats Kenya 1-0 in friendly in Tehran
Thanks to a second-half penalty, Iran manages to defeat Kenya 1-0 in a friendly match in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. - 3/15/09

Roger Cohen: Iran, Jews and pragmatism
The Persian New Year, known as Norouz, is celebrated this month, often with great extravagance. Among its traditions is jumping over a bonfire while declaiming: "Take away my yellow complexion and give me your red glow of health." -IHT - 3/15/09

Mr. Iran envisions 'major' war in coming months
Amid lingering talks of war on Iran, Israel's prime minister-designate raises the alarm about a major military conflict in the coming months. The soon-to-be prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that "a national emergency" such as Israel's involvement in a major war would help him in his frantic attempts to form a new ruling coalition. - 3/15/09

Photos: Ardabil-tourism-attractions
Ardebil is one of the Azeri inhabited provinces located in the North-West Iran and its center is Ardabil. It is in the north-west of the country, bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan and the provinces of East Azarbaijan, Zanjan, and Gilan. Its center is the city of Ardabil. - 3/15/09

Iranian songbird Googoosh uncaged at last
Saturday's concert kicks off a tour that, five days later, takes Googoosh to a stadium show in Dubai, in the Persian Gulf, a short flight from Tehran. Googoosh's performances are a form of catharsis for her and her legions of fans, some of whom travel from around the world to see her just for one night. -San Francisco Chronicle - 3/15/09

Tehran is a Muslim capital with a modern vibe
Tehran is modern and bustling, with thriving shopping malls, cars clogging the streets and most people wearing Western-style clothes. Unlike in many Muslim capitals, minarets do not dot the skyline, and I barely heard a call to prayer. -Rick Steves, SF Chronicle - 3/15/09

Matic named as Iran's basketball coach
Veselin Matic was appointed as Iran's basketball coach on Saturday. The 49-year-old Serbian coach has penned a one-year contract with Iran's basketball federation. -MNA - 3/15/09

U.S. and Israel differ on urgency of Iranian threat
In the capitals of two staunch allies last week, top intelligence officials spoke about the nuclear threat from Tehran. Differences were clear. -IHT - 3/15/09

Iran, China sign €2.6bn gas deal
Iran and China have signed a 2.6 billion-euro ($3.3 billion) deal to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the South Pars gas field. -Press TV - 3/15/09

Khatami will soon withdraw candidacy in favor of Mousavi: source
Former president Mohammad Khatami will soon withdraw his presidential candidacy in favor of former prime minister Mir-Hosein Mousavi, according to an informed source close to Khatami. - 3/15/09

OPEC begins meeting on output
The 152nd OPEC ordinary meeting started in its Vienna headquarters on Sunday to decide likely production cut. In an interview with IRNA on Sunday, Iran's Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari ruled out any difference among OPEC ministers on the cut. - 3/15/09

Photos: Goldfishing For Persian New Year
Iranians are preparing to celebrate the upcoming Persian New Year. It is traditional to put a couple of goldfish in a bowl of water on the `Haftsin' tablecloth that is stretched on the occasion of the new year. -Photos by Arash Khamooshi, ISNA - 3/14/09

Field Trip to the holy city of Qum
Nineteen year-old Nazanin, student in Tehran majoring in industrial engineering enjoyed her time with her friends on a one day field trip to the holy city of Qum. The trip was fully funded by her college to educate young students about religion. -Mahtab Farid - 3/14/09

Why Did Iran Unblock Facebook?
Farid Hashemi's latest "status update" on his Facebook page says a lot about his state of mind. "It's better to be born as a dog in a democracy than to be a human in a dictatorship," he writes. Twenty-eight-year-old Hashemi is a senior member of Iran's largest pro-reform student group, Daftar Tahkim Vahdat, which is a regular target of pressure from the state. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 3/14/09

PAAIA Holds Reception for Iranian American Congressional and Administration Staff
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) held its first reception for Iranian Americans who work for members of Congress and the Executive Branch on March 6, 2009. Special guests included the Honorable Bijan Kian, Director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the highest ranking Iranian American government appointee - 3/14/09

Rostam: The DARK AGES
Hyperwerks' 3rd Comic Book Adventure, "Rostam: Battle with the Deevs", Digs Deep into the Dark Corners of Ferdowsi's Imagination. -Darius KADIVAR - 3/14/09

Iran, champion of free-style wrestling in Takhti Cup
The 29th International Free-Style Wrestling Championship dubbed as "Takhti Cup" ended Friday evening here with the victory of Iranian team. - 3/14/09

Pollution in Caspian Sea threatens lives of sea creatures
Iranian microbiologist Sirius Sedaqat said on Saturday that worsening pollution in the Caspian Sea threatens lives of sea creatures. In an exclusive interview with IRNA, he said despite various warnings by experts there is no immediate action to this end. - 3/14/09

Iran: Illegal Detention of Iranian-American Journalist
Iranian officials are unlawfully detaining the Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi by holding her without charge, Human Rights Watch said today. Saberi has been in detention without charge since January 30, 2009, in the political prisoners' section of Tehran's Evin prison. - 3/14/09

Northern California - Spring Festival Bazaar
Celebrate the arrival of spring and Persian New Year with the Kahrizak Foundation and Ladies Charitable Society. The event will include a weekend of festivities with Persian food, traditional music and handicrafts from all over the world. - 3/14/09

USS LIBERTY: The Fifth Fleet Sacrifice - Why did it happen?
"Truth and America's honor were ignominiously sacrificed to provide cover for Israel's transparent lies and despicable act of perfidy." -Phillip F. Tourney, President USS LIBERTY Veterans Association, June 8, 2007, Marriott Courtyard, VA. -Debbie Menon - 3/14/09

Ross Mirkarimi Appointed to California Coastal Commission
On March 6, Ross Mirkarimi was appointed to the California Coastal Commission by the California Senate Rules Committee. Mirkarimi, who currently sits on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after being elected in 2004, is the first appointee to the California Coastal Commission from San Francisco in at least 30 years according to his office. -PAAIA - 3/14/09

Iraq, Iran Agree To Demarcate Border
Joint technical teams of Iraqi and Iranian experts have been formed to demarcate the two countries' 1,200 kilometer border. - 3/14/09

Baghdad's New Security Steps In North Worry Kurds
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has already bolstered the central government's power through security operations in Baghdad and the south of the country, and is now turning his attention to northern regions where tensions are high between Arab Sunnis, Turcomans, and Kurds. -Charles Recknagel, RFE/RL - 3/14/09

Photos: "Earthly Hands, Heavenly Designs"
3500 square meters of Persian rugs and kilims covered the plains of Shahdad in Iran's Kerman province as part of filming a documentary about the the province of Kerman in Iran. The film covers various aspects of Kerman including history, nature and art. -Photos by Yaser Khadishi, ISNA - 3/13/09

Dubai No Longer Safe Haven for Iranian Investors
In Iran, rumour has it that Dubai was built with Iranian money, and perhaps that is not so far from the truth. Certainly, Iranians have been involved in Dubai's property boom from the word go. The flow of investment money out of Iran has been on the rise and many Iranians have settled in Dubai. -Arash Hassan-Nia, Tehran - 3/13/09

Chicago - Children’s Museum’s Norooz
Come celebrate Norooz, the Persian New Year. Decorate an egg, enjoy singing and dancing, and learn about the traditions of Norooz. Passport to the World: Persia - March 12, 14, 15 - 3/13/09

Winners of Iranian Photo Contest Announced on VOA
Nine winners of a special photography contest examining Iranian Women in Society were shown today on the Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN). - 3/13/09

Experts say Tehran's poverty line has reached USD 860
"With a possible 35-percent inflation rate next year, a family of five would be in absolute poverty with a [monthly] income of under 8,500,000 rials," university professor and poverty mapping expert Hossein Raghfar told Farsnews on Wednesday. - 3/13/09

In Tehran, the Best Part of Waking Up: A Sheep's Head on Your Plate
Khayyam Street, the entrance to Tehran's grand bazaar, was still covered in darkness. The fluorescent lamp outside the Ali 110 restaurant was a rare beacon of activity in a city fast asleep. -Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post - 3/13/09

Obama Extends U.S. Sanctions Against Iran
U.S. President Barack Obama has extended U.S. sanctions against Iran for at least another year, saying the Iranian government's policies continue to pose an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States. - 3/13/09

AFC: Saudi Arabia's Al-Ittihad defeats Iran's Esteqlal 2-1
Hicham Aboucherouane's last-gasp goal allows al-Ittihad to come back from the dead to beat Iran's Esteqlal 2-1 in the AFC League opener. -Press TV - 3/13/09

RSF: Internet monitored and controlled, even in democracies
"The 12 'Enemies of the Internet' - Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam - have all transformed their Internet into an Intranet in order to prevent their population from accessing 'undesirable' online information," Reporters Without Borders said. - 3/13/09

Afghanistan As Catalyst For U.S.-Iran Cooperation
In a ground-breaking counternarcotics operation, Iranian, Afghan, and Pakistani forces have cooperated in arrests and the seizure of illicit drugs. The UN's chief antidrug official, Antonio Mario Costa, described the operation as "a very important political message" to drug traffickers across the region. -RFE - 3/13/09

IRAN: Imprisoned Human Rights Activist Ms. Jinus Sobhani Released
Jinus Sobhani had been arrested on January 14, 2009, following a home search and the seizure of her personal belongings and those of her husband by security officers who had shown no arrest or search warrant. She had been detained without access to her lawyers since then. - 3/13/09

NIAC President Trita Parsi testifies before House Financial Services Subcommittee
The Committee's chairman, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), invited NIAC to share its expertise on US-Iran policy, economic sanctions, and the viewpoint of the Iranian-American community for a discussion on H.R. 1327, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009. - 3/13/09

Tabriz Constitution Museum symbol of fighting despotism
Tabriz Constitution House is a symbol of fighting despotism and reminiscent of struggles by Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan, the two key figures in the Iranian Constitutional Movement. - 3/13/09

Iran: No Cake for Iranian Women on their Day
We-change informs[fa] us that security forces did not allow Iranian women hold a meeting in Tehran on March 8 and even seized the cake seen below that women had prepared to celebrate the International Women's Day. -Global Voices - 3/13/09

What's Law Got To Do With It?
In an article titled, Blueprints for a Police State (Counterpunch, March 4, 2009), Marjorie Cohn, sets out clearly the role of two key figures in the drafting of a set of memoranda that overturned the most basic protections American citizens had against arbitrary state harassment and violence, effectively turning the U.S. into a police state. -Reza Fiyouzat - 3/13/09

U.S. even mulling Iran route to supply troops in Afghanistan: NYT
The U.S. is seeking new supply routes for the war in Afghanistan that would bypass Russia, and has even had logistics experts review overland roads through Iran that might be used by NATO allies, the New York Times reported on Thursday. - 3/13/09

No-Ruz celebration comes to West Valley College
The New Year is a tradition that Helen Pivk says allows her to reflect on past events in order to experience growth, similar to a hyacinth or tulip blooming in the spring. But unlike the clinking of champagne glasses and kisses that occur once the clock strikes midnight, she celebrates a time-honored tradition that lasts 13 days. -San Jose Mercury - 3/13/09

Iran Replaces Total in South Pars
A top Iranian official said Tehran has found a new partner to replace France's Total in developing one phase of the South Pars gas field. - 3/13/09

Ex-Iranian CEO sues exalted Dubai firm
Dubai's ruling family is being sued by an Iranian businessman for close to two billion dollars over the ownership of a real estate company. -Press TV - 3/13/09

Why Syria and Saudi Arabia are talking again
Saudi Arabia's steps to end its bitter dispute with Syria appear to be aimed at unifying Arabs against a trio of growing concerns: Iran's spreading influence in the region, the uncertainties of a US drawdown in Iraq, and the prospect of a right-wing government in Israel. -CSM - 3/13/09

Appeal for Protection of Persian Artifacts Reaches New Heights
Today, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) -- the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization -- presented a brief Amicus Curiae to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Illinois Eastern Division in a lawsuit that seeks to seize and auction off thousands of historic Persian artifacts of substantial historical importance currently on display at the University of Chicago. - 3/12/09

Nowruz Resolution to be introduced in Congress
Congressman Michael M. Honda (CA-15th) plans to introduce a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives next week in observance of the Iranian New Year. The resolution will recognize the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz, express appreciation to Iranian Americans for their contributions to American society, and wish Iranian Americans and all those who celebrate the holiday a prosperous new year. - 3/12/09

ECO leaders stress need for regional, international cooperation
Leaders participating at Tehran 10th Economic Cooperation (ECO) Summit issued a joint communiqué on Wednesday, stressing need for regional and international cooperation to counter global crises. - 3/12/09

Ancient Iran, a pictorial history for youth is on its way into public libraries in North America and needs your help
When the idea of producing high quality books for young readers about Iranian history and culture was conceived, one of the first and most important goals was to get these books into public and school libraries in North America. For many reasons beyond the scope of discussion here and despite the importance of Iran in the world stage for centuries, Iranian history does not have its rightful place amongst the history of civilizations. -Massoume Price - 3/12/09

Toward an Obama Policy for Better U.S.-Iran Relations
The ongoing promotion of coercive diplomacy, based on a "carrots and sticks" framework, and the continuing threats of military action against Iran – "all options remain on the table" -- have failed to achieve their stated objectives, which is to change Iran's behavior in areas such as uranium enrichment, support for "terrorism," opposition to Middle East peace and human rights violation. These policy approaches are based on false assumptions about Iran... -Hooshang Amirahmadi, AIC - 3/12/09

A Fabulous Mythological Bird: 20th Environmental Art Festival in Iran - Persian Gulf- Hormoz
In the middle of January 2009 I traveled to Hormoz Island. In addition to my 'bicycle of peace', I realized several new environmental art projects. In early February 2009 many environmental artists traveled to Hormoz Island to hold the 20th Environmental Art Festival in Iran, focused on the theme of "The Human and The Environment". Most of my environmental art works created at Hormoz Island were paintings with organic colored earth. -Ahmad Nadalian - 3/12/09

Book - No Rouz: Our Persian New Year
With 338,000 Iranian-Americans in the United States today, and so little available about this ancient holiday, Kudakon Publishing is pleased to announce No Rouz: Our Persian New Year, a nonfiction children's picture book explaining the rich traditions of Persian New Year. - 3/12/09

Iran Tightens Grip On U.S. In Wrestling Arena
Iran has gained the upper hand against its old foe the United States in the arena of sports, winning two straight matches in a wrestling contest that coincides with talk of a possible thaw in bilateral ties. -Reuters - 3/12/09

Musavi's Candidacy Enlivens, Complicates Iran's Presidential Race
" If all the reformist candidates remain in the race and if they don't manage to gain the silent voters -- the voters who in the past decided not to vote -- then I believe Ahmadinejad will easily win the election again... " - 3/12/09

Israel Lobby Defeats Freeman Appointment
The withdrawal of Chas Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, following two weeks of vituperative attacks on him by the amen chorus of the U.S. Zionist lobby is a black mark on the Obama administration. -Nation - 3/12/09

Iranian expatriates congress to be held in Tehran in April
Announcing this, president's representative in the High Council of Iranian Expatriates, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei said that the event will sum up all the meetings held in other countries, involving Iranian expatriates. - 3/12/09

Cheney supervised 'assassination ring'?
Seymour Hersh says an 'executive assassination ring' in the US military was in direct contact with the Bush administration's second-in-command. - 3/12/09

Obama Administration Overhauls US Mideast Policy
The Obama administration is moving quickly to overhaul American policy on the Middle East, sending top envoys to the region and promising to push hard for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some regional analysts warn conditions on the ground may make progress especially difficult. - 3/12/09

Book Launch and Exhibition in London: Iranian photography Now
Iranian Photography Now is a dynamic survey and celebration of the unique vision of 36 Iranian artists living in Iran and abroad. Featuring well-known and established photographers together with emerging talents, all the artists in this publication distinguish themselves with the originality of their vision, whether documentary, artistic, or conceptual. - 3/12/09

Expert Sees U.S. Intelligence Testimony On Iran As 'Clarification'
Top U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers in Washington this week that Iran has yet to decide whether to build a nuclear bomb. U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Lieutenant General Michael Maples, the director of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, say Iran currently lacks the weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium needed to build such a device. - 3/12/09

US begins to reach out to Iran, but slowly and cautiously
The Obama administration is settling on an eyes-wide-open approach to Iran that will test the potential for a significant breakthrough in relations. The approach will start with small diplomatic steps, yet be mindful that the window is fast closing on peacefully halting Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon. -CSM - 3/12/09

Iran's Supreme Leader Says No Change in US Policies
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the new U.S. administration is not showing any sign of changing its policies abroad or correcting what Tehran views as past mistakes. - 3/12/09

Supreme Leader: ECO should turn into a more dynamic, stronger body
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a meeting Wednesday evening with the Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon called the ECO a good organ, referred to sensitive status, particularities, and various potentials of ECO members states, and reiterated, "Taking full advantage of such complementary potentials, this regional organ should turn into a more dynamic, stronger body." - 3/12/09

European firms invest $1.4b in Iran 's petrochemical projects
Haldor Tapsoe Company of Denmark signed a contract here on Wednesday with Iran's Marjan Petrochemical Company to commission two methanol production units, each with the annual capacity of 1.6 million tons and $500 million of investment. -MNA - 3/12/09

Region's Presidents gather in Tehran for ECO Summit
The 10th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) kicked off in Tehran on Wednesday morning. Economic Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental international organization involving ten regional nations. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the ECO member states. - 3/11/09

Iran's Omid satellite reaching end of life
Iran's home-designed telecommunications satellite 'Omid' is drawing closer to the end of its successful 50-day mission into space. Tehran placed its domestically-made satellite into orbit on February 3 -- joining a small group of countries that have the ability of both producing satellites and sending them into space using domestic launchers. -Press TV - 3/11/09

Major world broadcasters urge access to journalist Roxana Saberi detained in Iran
On behalf of the family, friends and colleagues of Roxana Saberi, and the many American citizens who share our concerns, we urgently request a series of steps be taken in the case of Roxana Saberi, an independent journalist and dual citizen of the United States and Iran, who is being held in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. -NPR, ABC, BBC, FOX, WALL STREET JOURNAL, PBS, ... - 3/11/09

Presidents of Persian speaking countries meet in Tehran
Presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the three Persian speaking countries, called for expansion of trilateral cooperation in commerce, transportation, water and power transfer as well as rapid implementation of their agreements. - 3/11/09

Profile of Iranian Artist Saeed Shahlapour
Born in 1944 in Iran, Shahlapour graduated from the Tehran University of Fine Arts in sculpture in 1980. One of Iran's leading sculptors today, Saeed Shahlapour's personal life is as intriguing as the flowing curves of his works. -Gallery Mamak, Tahran - 3/11/09

Female Genital Mutilation Said To Be Widespread In Iraq's, Iran's Kurdistan
"We were five sisters --we didn't really understand what was happening. My mother just said that someone was coming to our house," says 48-year-old Tahereh, who is one of many women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iranian Kurdistan. -RFE - 3/11/09

London - Newroz Festival at Trafalgar Square
Head to the centre of London for the first ever Newroz festival at Trafalgar Square in March 2009. Drawing on the traditional new year festivities as celebrated by Turks, Kurds, Iranians, Iraqis and other groups across the Middle East and Central Asia. - 3/11/09

Iran says women should be represented in UNSC with veto right
An Iranian delegation attending the meeting of Women Status Commission in the United Nations called for presence of women representatives in the Security Council with veto right. - 3/11/09

Iran's Supreme Leader meets with Pakistani President
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met on Tuesday with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. Zardari arrived in Iran on Tuesday to take part in the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in Tehran on Wednesday. - 3/11/09

Literary Tranquilizers
I have coined this title for referring to my collection of the most potent, popular, brief and soothing words of wit and wisdom mainly Persian. My aim is to provide an alternative for ever-increasing trend in substance abuse or myriad of over-the counter or prescribed pills that are popped daily to cope with increasing stressful conditions associated with our 'modern' technological age. -Ali A. Parsa - 3/11/09

UCSB Appoints Three Leading Scholars to Cluster of Endowed Chairs in Global Studies
Janet Afary, a distinguished professor of history and women's studies at Purdue University, will be the first holder of the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Global Religions and Modernisms in the Department of Religious Studies. -University of California, Santa Barbara - 3/11/09

Iran has not decided to produce nuclear arms, says US intelligence chief
Iran has not produced the highly enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear weapon and has not decided to do so, U.S. intelligence officials told Congress, according to the Washington Post. - 3/11/09

Mahaya Petrosian: Iranian actress takes a turn behind the camera
Known for a wide range of roles in 23 films, she is directing her first short film, 'A Beautiful Snowy Day.' -CSM - 3/11/09

ElBaradei to Arabs: Engage Iran on Nuclear Issue
The head of the U.N.'s nuclear agency is calling on Iran's Arab neighbors to play a greater role in resolving the dispute between Tehran and the West over Iran's nuclear program. - 3/11/09

Over 30% of Iranian addicts have higher education
More than 30% of Iranian addicts have a university education, a recent study by the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation showed. According to the study, 7.3 percent of addicts are government employees and 40 percent are self-employed. - 3/11/09

Iran provides incentives in battle to promote merits of marriage
After a day-long journey on a rusty train, Afshin and his fiancée, Fahimeh, along with 120 other couples, reach the holy northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad to celebrate their state-organised mass wedding. -Financial Times - 3/11/09

US Intelligence Official Says China Adopting More Aggressive Military Posture
The Director of National Intelligence, retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair, says a U.S.-China dispute involving a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea is the most serious since a collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese military jet near Hainan eight years ago. - 3/11/09

Photos: Weaving Jajim in Shoushtar
Jajim or Jajem means a "Thick cloth" like "palas" and also a kind of two-sides carpet, which is thinner than Palas. Jajim is woven with colorful and fine threads of wool or mixture of silk and wool. It is a hand weave with no fluff and its two surfaces could be used. It is a tribal weaving and used as a coverlet or protector from coldness. -Photos by Amin Nazari, ISNA - 3/10/09

A Poetry reading and music at the Mexican Cultural Center in Tehran
In Tehran, there has been a sniff of spring as the temperature is slowly rising, despite the sudden yet short lived rushes of cold wind, and we have been lucky in attending some cultural events, besides our less often but regular gallery hopping. One of the most interesting events that we attended last week was at the Mexican Cultural Center which is not far from our house, in one of the side streets off Africa Avenue -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/10/09

Roxana Saberi meets her lawyer in Tehran's Evin prison
The father of a detained Iranian-American journalist says a meeting between his daughter and her lawyer is a step in the right direction. Reza Saberi said his 31-year old daughter's lawyer found Roxana depressed, but saw no signs of physical torture after meeting with her in prison. - 3/10/09

Former NBA Player Josh Moore: My Heart will be with Iranians Forever
President Obama talks about diplomacy with Iran and Secretary of State Clinton has said that its her top priority but what both of them fail to realize is that the diplomacy that need to take place between Iran and America needs to happen between the common house wife and average everyday underpaid worker. Those people need to understand that their lives are not much different and that their worries are practically the same. -Interview by Kourosh Ziabari - 3/10/09

Iran, Azerbaijan call for expansion of mutual ties
President Ilham Aliyev heading a high-ranking delegation arrived in Tehran on Tuesday morning. The Azeri president is to attend the 10th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit and hand over the ECO presidency to President Ahmadinejad on Wednesday, March 11. - 3/10/09

Changing A Tradition: Promoting Kindness To Goldfish
If you and your family members must add a goldfish (mahi ghermez) to your Haft Sin table please follow the steps below which are prepared by The Center for Animal Lovers in Iran. - 3/10/09

FILM & DISCUSSION: "The Mist" at Brecht Forum in New York
Through a series of interviews with painters, poets, intellectuals, and students, Iranian-born ex-patriot filmmaker Maryam Habibian uncovers a reality very different from the monolithic media imagery that currently dominates U.S. thought and policy. The Mist is an eloquent call for understanding of a society, which, for all its undeniable contrasts and contradictions, is not so different after all. - 3/10/09

Average age of Iranian scientists under 26
The average age of Iranian scientists, working in research institutes and laboratories in the country is below 26, chancellor of Tehran University said on Monday. Speaking at the gathering of foreign students studying at Tehran University, Farhad Rahbar described Tehran University as the best universities in the region. - 3/10/09

Assembly of Experts begins annual meeting; Rafsanjani reelected chairman
Rafsanjani won the assembly's chairmanship by 51 votes out of the total 79, while his rival Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi secured only 26 votes. The Assembly of Experts is an influential body in charge of appointing the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring his performance. - 3/10/09

ECO ministerial summit wraps up in Tehran, 3 MOUs signed
The 18th annual meeting of foreign ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization ended in Tehran on Monday with three memorandums of understanding on the expansion of multilateral relations being signed. - 3/10/09

Iran: Mousavi officially announces presidential candidacy
In a statement issued on Tuesday, former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi officially announced his candidacy for the June presidential election. The announcement came one day after the former prime minister said he was "serious" about running for president. - 3/10/09

Iranian woman jailed in Florida over attempted goggles export
A US federal court has sentenced an Iranian woman to five years in prison on charges of attempting to export night-vision goggles to Iran. - 3/10/09

Iranian New Year celebration joyful, educational
Purdue's Iranian Culture Club has hosted a Norouz celebration for about five years. However, this year was the largest because it included Indiana University's Persian Club, as well as other Iranians from Chicago and Indianapolis, said Nima Heydarian, ICC's president. -Journal and Courier - 3/10/09

Amnesty International campaign for eight women at risk of being stoned to death
As many as eight woman are at imminent risk of being stoned to death for adultery in Iran, according to reports received by Amnesty International. - 3/10/09

Green citizens make a green country
How much have Iranian government institutions encouraged citizens to respect the environment, other citizens, and the society as a whole? For example, state television spends millions of dollars of public funds but it has not promoted good citizenship as much as it should. -M.A. Saki, Tehran Times - 3/10/09

The Myth of U.S. Military Dominance in the Middle East
The arguments for maintaining a major U.S. combat force in Iraq at least through 2011, escalating U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and assuming a confrontational stance toward Iran appear to assume that the United States remains the dominant military power in the region. -IPS - 3/10/09

Can Talking To The Taliban Help?
U.S. President Barack Obama's suggestions that the United States might reach out to "moderate" Taliban as part of the effort to end the Afghan insurgency has been greeted warmly by many, including the Afghan president. -RFE - 3/10/09

Photos: Village of Ziyarat in Gorgan, Golestan province of Iran
Gorgan is the capital of the Golestan Province, Iran. It is approximately 400 km from Tehran. It had an estimated population of 241,177 in 2005. -Photos by Mohammad Javad Maktabi, ISNA - 3/9/09

Iranian-Canadian Professor Designs Medical Imaging Prototype
University of Waterloo engineering Professor Hamid Tizhoosh told Ontario's Waterloo Region Record his team has found a solution to a problem plaguing scientists for years. The problem is based on the fact that, to date, no computer programs have been able to properly and accurately analyze medical images in the same way that human beings can. -Grace Nasri, Iran Times - 3/9/09

International Press Speculates on George Clooney's Latest Flame: Fatima Bhutto, the niece of late Pakistan's Martyred Prime Minister -Darius KADIVAR - 3/9/09

US freestyle wrestlers in Iran for Takhti Cup
US men freestyle wrestling national team arrived in Tehran on Monday for 2009 Takhti Cup. The team has wrestlers who will compete at 55, 60, 74, 96 and 120 kg. - 3/9/09

Adopt a NoRooz Banner in Irvine, California
Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County has organized an Adopt a Banner Program in celebration of the upcoming Norooz, the Iranian New Year. The adopted banners will be displayed in the streets of Irvine, California. - 3/9/09

18th ECO Foreign Ministerial Meeting Opens in Tehran
The 18th foreign ministerial meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization opened in Tehran on Monday. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are the members of ECO. - 3/9/09

Iran nuclear plant to open for tourists
Iran says it is ready to host tourists who wish to visit its nuclear power plant in Bushehr during the Persian New Year holidays. Iranian officials seek to highlight their "peaceful" nuclear intentions by opening the nuclear installations in southern Iran during Nowruz. -Press TV - 3/9/09

Wife Remains Hopeful, Two Years After Husband's Disappearance In Iran
It's been two years since U.S. citizen Robert Levinson went missing while on a trip to Iran. Levinson, a retired FBI agent from Florida, was last seen on Iran's Kish Island on March 8, 2007. He was reportedly investigating cigarette smuggling. - 3/9/09

Over 3 million hectares of forest destroyed in Iran in 10 years
More than three million hectares of forest have been destroyed in the country over the past 10 years, a university professor said in Tehran Monday. He lamented the increase in the construction of villas in forest land, especially in the environs of the city of Tonekabon, Mazandaran Province. - 3/9/09

Call for Proposals: Middle East and Islamic Studies Workshop-Conference in San Francisco
San Francisco State University's Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEIS) program invites proposals for participation in a second annual California State University (CSU) conference on Middle East and Islamic Studies to be held on the campus of San Francisco State University. - 3/9/09

All Iranian schools to get linked to Internet
Announcing this, deputy head of Education Ministry's Research and Educational Planning Organization, Hamid Reza Kaffash told IRNA that in the first year, 20,000, in the second year 30,000 and in the third year 50,000 schools will be connected to the Internet. - 3/9/09

Lawmakers snub Ahmadinejad reform plan
Iranian members of parliament have voted against the government's proposed Economic Reform Plan on redistributing subsidies in cash. -Press TV - 3/9/09

Minister Says Turkey Trying To Ease U.S.-Iran Tensions
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has said -- after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and shortly before leaving for Tehran -- that Turkey was trying to bridge differences between the United States and Iran. -Reuters - 3/9/09

The right way to talk to Iran
The Iranian calendar offers Obama an ideal opportunity to reach out to them and challenge common misperceptions. Nowruz, the Persian New Year, will be celebrated later this month. Obama should take advantage of this unique moment to travel to California and hold a town-hall meeting with the Iranian diaspora. -CSM - 3/9/09

Iran explains stance on Morocco fall-out
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Manouchehr Mottaki said the move was "questionable". The ministry later released its official statement and labeled the Moroccan allegations as "utterly baseless and unfounded". - 3/9/09

Russian Foreign Minister Says Nuclear Arms Deal With US a Top Priority
In a speech to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, Lavrov outlined other area of concern including the spread of nuclear weapons and the prevention of an arms race in outer space. - 3/9/09

Iranian products exhibition opens in Karbala, Iraq
An exhibition of achievements in Iran's commerce and industry sectors opened in Karbala on Monday. Some 120 Iranian companies are participating in the six-day event. - 3/9/09

Happy International Women's Day - 8th March 2009
Since I first thought like a woman many moons ago I have honored this day, which women have celebrated since 8th March 1909 in New York. The one thing I so deeply admired about them is the fact that they did not think of themselves as victims, despite all the odds, together they took some initiatives and took their lives in their own hands, and did they think themselves better than others. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/8/09

Azerbaijan Grabs First Title in World Wrestling Championship
Iran narrowly lost to Azerbaijan in the final game of the 37th World Free-Style Wrestling Championship on Sunday. In front of 12,000 spectators at the Azadi Gymnasium, Iran was beaten 4-3 by Azerbaijan and came second in the tournament. - 3/8/09

Kiarostami yearns for Iranian premieres after 12 years
"I have always been accused of making films for foreign audiences but the accusations have intensified over the years and I have never taken the opportunity to respond to them," he said during a workshop held on Saturday at Tehran's Mah-e Mehr Gallery to elaborate on his latest film "Shirin". - 3/8/09

Iranian Parliament Approves $298 bln Budget Bill
The general features of the $298 billion budget bill were approved following rather short debates among the pros and cons in a 5-hour-long session. -FNA - 3/8/09

Karroubi vows to appoint women ministers if elected Iran president
Mahdi Karroubi stated on Saturday that he will appoint women as ministers and presidential aides if he wins the June presidential election, a move to break the barrier in holding ministerial posts by women. - 3/8/09

Exchanges between Iran and Hollywood don't harm Iranian cinema: official
The Iranian House of Cinema spokesman has said that the mutual exchange and dialog between Iran and Hollywood won't do any damage to the Iranian cinema. - 3/8/09

Vancouver - Norooz Festival 2009
Live Music, Dance, Art gallery, Kids activity - 3/8/09

US spills the beans on Israel nukes
A US military document has classified Israel as "a nuclear power" -- a status Tel Aviv has for years refused to either confirm or deny. - 3/8/09

Computer game based on Shahnameh stories now available in Iran
First Iranian national computer game "The Age of Heroes" with the central theme of stories from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh is now available throughout Iran. - 3/8/09

Iranian Official Hopeful about Iran-West Talks
Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani said on Sunday that Tehran and the 5+1 Group talks on Iranian nuclear program could entail positive and promising results unless the western side sets preconditions for continued negotiations. - 3/8/09

Iranian Fighter Jets Armed with New Missiles
Iran successfully armed its fighter jets with a new type of air-to-surface missiles. The missiles, which have a range of 110km, were successfully mounted onto the fighter jets and test-fired. -FNA - 3/8/09

Were Horses First Domesticated In Kazakhstan?
For a long time, archaeologists generally believed that horses were first domesticated during the Bronze Age. That was when mankind first began using metal regularly for a wide variety of purposes, from household tools to weapons. Archaeological digs at Bronze Age sites have often turned up metal bits, proving that horses were being ridden by that time. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 3/8/09

Iranian Political Prisoner Dies
Iranian political prisoner Amir Heshmat Saran has died at the Rajayi Hospital in the city of Karaj, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. - 3/8/09

Pressured On Opium Crops, Many Afghan Farmers Switch To Cannabis
Opium-poppy eradication has been hailed as a success in much of Afghanistan's north and east, allowing counternarcotics officials to declare 18 provinces there as "poppy-free" despite record opium cultivation in the south and southwest. But UN officials tell RFE/RL that many former opium farmers in those poppy-free areas have switched to another lucrative and illegal drug crop: cannabis. - 3/8/09

Photos: Cuba outpowered by Iran as 2009 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships start in Tehran
Iran’s free-style wrestlers in an amazing performance on the first round of 2009 World Free-style Wrestling Championship won an astounding victory over powerful Cuban team at Azadi Stadium on Saturday. - 3/7/09

Tehran's Garden Art Museum to spread 88-meter Haft Seen
Tehran's Garden Art Museum will be spreading an 88-meter Haft Seen spread from March 15. Organized by the Ji-Tarhan group, the decorations are arranged to stress the venerable Persian traditions and help convey the true message of Noruz and love toward nature. -MNA - 3/7/09

Photos: Artists create 3000-meter painting in Tehran - "From Museum to Museum"
The first Fajr International Visual Arts Festival held Iran's largest open-air painting workshop on March 5. Entitled "From Museum to Museum," the workshop was attended by one thousand Iranian painters who painted on a 3000-meter canvas. - 3/7/09

U.S. wins Golden Palm Paintball Tournament held in Iran's Kish island
Ironmen team of the U.S. claimed the Golden Palm Paintball Tournament championship held on Thursday at the Olympic Stadium on the Iranian island of Kish in Persian Gulf. - 3/7/09

ECO Summit to be held in Tehran Wednesday
Presidents of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, of Tajikistan Imomali Rakhmon, of Turkey Abdullah Gul, of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, and President Aliyev are to attend the ECO summit as main guests. Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani are attending the event as special guests. - 3/7/09

Iran Considering US Invite to Afghan Talks
Iran said it is weighing a U.S. invitation to participate in an international conference on Afghanistan. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Serbian state television Friday that Iranian officials were considering whether to attend the March 31 talks, but would not say whether they would. - 3/7/09

PAAIA Joins Coalition for the National Museum of the American People
In order to help project an accurate and positive image of Iranian Americans, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) has become a member of the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People. - 3/7/09

International Panel of Women in the Arts and Sciences and Norouz Celebration in Cupertino, California on March 8
On the 100th U.S. anniversary of Women's Day a panel of accomplished international women in the field of arts and science discuss the role of the expressive arts and creativity in community building, the transmission of cultural heritage, and in building bridges throughout the world. - 3/7/09

Maryland - The Iranian American Cultural Society Nowruz events
Chahar Shanbeh Suri on March 17 at Oregon Ridge Park; Nowruz on March 28 at Johns Hopkins University; and Sizdah Be Dar on April 5 at Oregon Ridge Park - 3/7/09

Iranian Ayatollah Chides Saudi FM
A prominent Iranian cleric has criticized Saudi Arabia's foreign minister for his recent remarks about Iran. During Friday prayers, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami chastised Prince Saud al-Faisal, saying his comments sounded like the foreign minister of Israel, Iran's arch-foe. -VOA - 3/7/09

Capacity at Iran refineries to reach 3.2 million b/d: Oil Minister
Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari said on Saturday that the capacity of the country's refineries will reach 3.2 million barrels a day from the current 1.7 million. He added that the objective will be materialized by the completion of eight refineries under construction in different parts of the country. - 3/7/09

US Won't Follow British Lead on Hezbollah Dialogue
Officials here said the Obama administration has no intention of matching the British opening to Hezbollah, which has long been listed by the United States as a terrorist organization. However the United States is not being publicly critical of the British move... -VOA - 3/7/09

Iran's biggest consignment for Iraqi power plant to be installed soon
The consignment includes parts to be used in the construction of a 320-megawatt gas power plant in the Sadr city near Baghdad. The consignment will cross the border into Iraq through the Mehran crossing. - 3/7/09

Iranian Professors write to EU Secretary General regarding Sharif University of Technology
His Excellency: There are disturbing reports that the European Union in dispute with the Iranian government over its uranium enrichment activities, is considering to include Sharif University of Technology (SUT), a prestigious Iranian University, in a new list of sanctions against Iran. - 3/6/09

Photos: People Living In The Margins In Bandar Abbas, Iran
Even with their hard their living conditions, these people living in the margins in Bandar Abbas manage to put a smile on their face. On the positive side, if there is one, these people don't have anything to lose. So they can perhaps sleep "freely" not having to worry about the financial meltdown across the globe that's bringing sleepless night for the well-to-do! -Photos by Peyman Kiyani, ISNA - 3/6/09

The Sevens by Ali Attar Wins Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival's First Prize
Farhang Foundation, a recently established non-profit organization focused on celebrating Iranian art and culture in Southern California announced today that the short film The Sevens by Ali Attar from Iran has won first prize in the 2009 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival online competition. - 3/6/09

"A Debt that cannot be repaid in full"
On March 4th, 2009, a group of eminent Iranian academics wrote a letter to Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary General of the European Union, expressing their dismay in new reports that the European Union is now considering to include Sharif University of Technology (SUT), a prestigious Iranian University, in a new list of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, yet another short-sighted western policy to apply international pressure on IRI over her national atomic policy. -A. J. Cave - 3/6/09

Amnesty International Concerned about detained Amir Kabir Students
Since December there have been waves of arbitrary arrests and harassment of students, particularly directed against members of Iran's religious and ethnic minorities, trade unionists and women's rights activists. These measures may in part be intended to stifle debate and to silence critics of the authorities in advance of the forthcoming presidential election in June 2009. - 3/6/09

US Lawmakers, Experts Welcome Overtures to Iran
U.S. lawmakers and experts are welcoming word that the United States intends to invite Iran to an international conference on Afghanistan later this month. At a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed a high-level conference on the Afghan situation. - 3/6/09

Baha'i International Community sends letter to Iran's chief prosecutor
The Baha'i International Community has issued an open letter to Iran's prosecutor general outlining the tragic history of the persecution of Baha'is in that country, explaining their innocence in the face of accusations made by the government, and asking for fairness in any upcoming trial of seven Baha'i prisoners. - 3/6/09

Seven Labor Activists Arrested In Iran
Seven labor activists from the Haft-Tappeh sugarcane factory union in southern Iran have been detained by the Intelligence Ministry in recent weeks. - 3/6/09

Matchmaking cleric tries to bring bliss to Iranians
Ardabili made his first love match 10 years ago while he taught at a Tehran university. One of his students had a crush on a person, so Ardabili arranged for the two to meet. A few months later they married. The set-up worked so well that Ardabili and his wife opened the Amin International Family and Cultural Institute, a service that matched Iranian singles in a supervised setting. -CNN - 3/6/09

Iranian Films at Tiburon International Film Festival
Tiburon International Film Festival will present a selection of the latest films made by or about the Iranians from around the world. The festival will be held March 19-27, 2009 in Tiburon, California. - 3/6/09

London - Iran Heritage Foundation Celebrates Norouz
Saturday 21 March 2009 at Grosvenor House Hotel - The evening’s entertainment will include Farshid Amin of Obama Victory Gala fame - 3/6/09

US Proposes Afghanistan Conference
Clinton announced that the United States wants to see, what she called, a "big tent" international conference on Afghanistan to include NATO members, donors and neighboring countries, including Iran. - 3/6/09

'Gas OPEC' to hold landmark meeting in Doha
The executive committee of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum will be hold its first session in Doha on Sunday. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which has been called the 'gas OPEC', groups together some of the world's leading gas producers. - 3/6/09

Iran rules out becoming NATO supply route for Afghanistan
The Islamic Republic of Iran will not allow NATO to use its territory to transit non-military supplies to war-stricken Afghanistan, a senior Iranian legislator announced in Berlin on Friday. -IRNA - 3/6/09

Iranians consume energy at 2.5 times world average
Energy Planning managing director of Iran's Petroleum Ministry said on Wednesday consumption of energy in Iran at all sectors is 2.5 times average world usage. - 3/6/09

Musical show of unity upsets many in Israel
Achinoam Nini, a singer and peace activist, has long stirred controversy here. Known abroad by her stage name, Noa, she has recorded with Arab artists, refused to perform in the occupied West Bank, condemned Israeli settlements there and had concerts cancelled because of bomb threats from the extreme right. -Ethan Bronner, IHT - 3/6/09

Movable Exhibit Displays Images of Iranians in Everyday Life
If his latest project sparks debate and discussion in America, photographer Tom Loughlin will believe it is a success. By that measure, "Pictures of You: Images from Iran," described by Loughlin as a "traveling multimedia installation featuring portraits of Iranian citizens printed on translucent fabric," has done well. Comments on the project's Web site and in other publications range from reverent to resentful. - 3/5/09

Iran: Foreign Car Imports Highlight Inequalities
After the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, the only foreign cars in Tehran were secondhand European models from the 1970s, which had been imported by Iranian students hoping to fund their studies at European universities. But now the streets of Tehran and other big Iranian cities are packed with the very latest foreign cars. -Arash Hassan-Nia, Tehran - 3/5/09

Photos: Fruit and Vegetable Market in Ahvaz, Iran
Following photos, by Amin Nazari, are from the wholesale fruit and vegetables market in the city of Ahvaz in southwest Iran. The city of Ahvaz is the capital of the Iranian province of Khuzestan. It is built on the banks of the Karun River and is situated in the middle of Khuzestan Province. - 3/5/09

U.S. Asks Iran For Clarity On Status Of Detained Journalist
The U.S. State Department says it is asking the Iranian government to provide assistance in clarifying the status of an Iranian-American freelance journalist being held by authorities in Tehran. - 3/5/09

Washington, Tehran Should Move Beyond Talking About Talks
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that she did not expect Iran to respond favorably to a U.S. offer of direct talks. But has there been any such offer in the first place? -Abbas Djavadi - 3/5/09

Report: Israel nears attacking Iran
Top US politicians have reportedly said that Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action against Iran. As the dispute over Iran's nuclear program heats up, top US advisors and experts on Middle East affairs, released a report on Wednesday, saying "Israel's time frame for action (against Iran) is growing shorter." - 3/5/09

Obama and the Persian Treasures in Chicago
At a time when the American people finally have a President who understands diplomacy doesn't mean putting on a cowboy hat and talking like a gunslinger, a most unlikely case in a Chicago courtroom has the potential to derail President Obama's efforts to engage Iran. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 3/5/09

Iran: Khatami barred from making campaign speech in Shiraz
Shiraz Governor Ebrahim Azizi warned that if the former Iranian president came to the city to make a presidential campaign speech, the security council of the city would not be ready to deal with the unpredictable consequences of such an event. - 3/5/09

Iran's Ministers Summoned to Parliament Over Hollywood Team
Members of Iran's parliament have summoned three of the nation's top officials to explain why a Hollywood team is in Tehran, after Iranian officials said they considered several recent Hollywood movies insulting. - 3/5/09

Letter to Senator Kerry on U.S. approach to Iran: Is it ambivalence or arrogance?
I was deeply disappointed by your speech on the Senate floor yesterday regarding Iran's nuclear program. Senator, contrary to what you've expressed, our approach to Iran has NOT been one of "ambivalence" but one bordering on the kind of arrogance and absurdity that has defined our foreign policy with regard to this ancient and proud nation for the last three decades. -Daniel M Pourkesali, Virginia - 3/5/09

US Senate Debating Diplomacy on Iran
A weeklong debate on how to engage diplomatically with Iran was started in the US Senate committee on foreign relations on Tuesday. - 3/5/09

San Francisco - Jazz Purim Dance Party on March 21st
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman’s plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. - 3/5/09

Russia delivering Tupolev's Tu-204 to Iran
Russia's Ilyushin Finance Company (IFC) is expected to deliver five Tupolev Tu-204 SM passenger aircrafts to the Islamic Republic. - 3/5/09

Clinton to Iran: 'Stop Interfering in Palestinian Affairs'
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused Iran's supreme leader of interfering in Palestinian affairs, after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for "resistance" against Israel. - 3/5/09

Delegation represents Iran in UN conference on women
An Iranian delegation has participated in the 53rd session of the United nations' Commission on the Status of Women which opened Tuesday in New York. - 3/5/09

Grandchildren of the revolution: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's family is playing a larger role in the Iranian political scene
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile 30 years ago this weekend, to lead the Islamic revolution that swept away the US-backed regime of the Shah and ushered in a theocracy, he kept his immediate family out of politics. -Financial Times - 3/5/09

Analysts Say Russia's Influence on Iran Very Limited'
U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe continue to be a major source of contention between the United States and Russia. Experts say Russia and Iran have strong commercial ties. Moscow is one of Tehran's largest trading partners, providing it with weapons as well as consumer goods. -VOA - 3/5/09

First annual conference on the global issues of energy, environment and development to be held in Geneva
A groundbreaking international conference will provide a forum for the worlds of energy, environmentalism and development to seek common ground on the challenges facing humanity, and also an unusual opportunity for top Iranian and Western energy officials to talk face to face. - 3/5/09

Iranian, German musicians bring "Golden Nights" to Tehran
Vahdat Hall is hosting the "Golden Nights" joint piano concert by Iranian and German musicians. The first night on Monday was dedicated to a piano duet by Bahar Komaii and Safa Shahidi who performed pieces composed by world-renowned musicians, including Felix Mendelssohn, Antonín Dvorák, Roland Batik and Heshmat Sanjari. The concerts are cosponsored by the Zarif Golden Art Institute and the Rudaki Foundation. - 3/4/09

Iran Confirms US Journalist Roxana Saberi is in Evin Prison
Iran's judiciary spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, told reporters Tuesday that Roxana Saberi is being held in Evin on a court order, but he did not reveal the charges. - 3/4/09

Winners of 3rd Parvin Etesami Literary Awards announced
Winners of the Third Parvin Etesami Literary Awards were announced at the ceremony at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on Tuesday. Etesami (1907-40) was one of the most prominent Persian poets of the 20th century. She composed her first poem in a classical style at the age of eight. - 3/4/09

Michelle Nickelson: Our goal is to present a positive image of Iran
In a letter sent to the Mehr News Agency, Michelle Nickelson, the American documentary producer, has stated the reason why she had wished to visit Iran to film. The following is the text of her letter. - 3/4/09

Iran Sets Registration Deadline for Presidential Candidates
Iranian officials have set a deadline for presidential candidates to officially register for the country's June 12 elections. State television Tuesday reported that the Interior Ministry set May 3 as the beginning of a five-day registration period. - 3/4/09

U.S.-Iran: Both Sides Must Work Hard for Relations
David Nalle is one of the many Americans who were in Iran in the 1950's and 60's. He ýwas a Vice Consul in the city of Mashhad and later became head of the Iran-America ýSociety in Tehran. That was nearly five decades ago. Today still interested and active, ýhe tries to follow Iranian politics and culture. -Interview by Fariba Amini - 3/4/09

Six powers offer direct talks with Iran
"We remain firmly committed to a comprehensive diplomatic solution, including through direct dialogue," Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- and Germany said in a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors. - 3/4/09

Iran's Khamenei: "Break the spell of impunity for the Zionist criminals"
"Make an effort, and break the spell of impunity for the Zionist criminals. Bring to trial the political and military heads of the usurper regime" - Inaugural Address of Iran's Supreme Leader to the Fourth International Conference for Support of Palestine in Tehran. - 3/4/09

Academy Delegation In Iran for Cultural Exchange with Fellow Filmmakers
Eight members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including Academy President Sid Ganis, are currently in Tehran for several days of educational and cultural exchange with Iranian filmmakers, students and others from the creative community there. Several months of planning came to fruition late last week when the group touched down at Iman Khomeini Airport. - 3/4/09

Nowrouz public holidays worldwide
Today, ten countries celebrate Persian New Year nationally. Iran, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tataristan. - 3/4/09

Professor Hamid Dabashi's California Speaking Tour: March 2009
Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of several books on Iranian politics and cinema. He's scheduled to appear in Fresno, Davis and Los Angeles on March 13, 16 & 18. - 3/4/09

Awakening: A video by Majeed Beenteha
This video is based on images from a recent photography project titled "Awakening". The photography series deals with pervasive and delusional notions of Iranian nationalism and national pride. The work also attempts to explore our ideals and ideas about human rights and gender relation. - 3/4/09

Iran’s youth sign up to Facebook
One month after Iranian authorities unblocked Facebook, the social networking website has seen its popularity soar among Iranian youth, who see it as a great way to find and stay in touch with friends and share interests, including political views. -The Nation, UAE - 3/4/09

Virginia - GMU Persian Club Presents NOROUZ
"Our purpose is to promote the Iranian culture amongst both Iranian and non-Iranian individuals at George Mason University and the DC area. Provide a central meeting place for any GMU students, faculty, and professionals interested in the Iranian people or its culture." - 3/4/09

U.S. Treasury Designates Companies Tied to Iran's Bank Melli as Proliferators
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated 11 companies under Executive Order 13382 for their ties to Iran's Bank Melli. E.O 13382 is an authority aimed at freezing the assets of Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferators and those who support them. - 3/4/09

The Iranian Empire
As President Obama considers what to do about Iran, he should be aware of the historical precedents for that country's strategic maneuvers in the region. -Forbes - 3/4/09

No-Man's Land Inside an Iranian Police Station
The State Department representative said there was really nothing he could do because we don't have diplomatic relations, and said, "You know it is five in the morning here?" Gee ... sorry to bother you. -ABC News - 3/4/09

Removal of Ahmadinejad billboard veiled in mystery
Controversy surrounds the removal of billboards of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the streets of the Iranian capital of Tehran. - 3/4/09

Conference sought to promote advocacy and break Iranian stereotypes
A CSUN conference about the different views on Iran and Iranian women was held yesterday in the Oviatt Library presentation room in an attempt to make students more aware of the discrimination towards women in Iran. -Daily Sundial - 3/4/09

Obama Taking 'Wrong' Path Over Israel, Says Iran
"Even the new president of America, who has come to power with slogans about changing Bush's policies, is defending state terrorism by talking about unconditional commitment to Israel's security," Khamenei said. -Reuters - 3/4/09

Photos: Environmental Disaster in Parishan Wetland in Iran
During last month, thousands of turtles, migratory birds, snakes and other animals have burned tragically in fires around Parishan wetland in Iran. The fires had been set to clear the reeds in the area for road building. According to Mehr reporter, setting these fires in the last two months has caused an environmental disaster resulting in death of the native turtles, migratory birds and other animals that lived around Parishan lake. - 3/3/09

Photos: Salt Domes in Bushehr, Iran
More than 200 piercement salt plugs are present in southern Iran and in the Persian Gulf region. Recent investigations have shown the salt, the Hormuz Series, to be largely of Precambrian (late Proterozoic) age. -Photos by Mohsen Halavee, ISNA - 3/3/09

Masques of Shahrazad in London: Evolution and Revolution of three generations of Iranian women artists
An exhibition featuring work by 28 Iranian women artists runs at The Mall Galleries, London, 9 – 14 March 2009. Opening on International Women's Day and thirty years on from the upheavals of the Iranian Revolution, the Masques of Shahrazad is an opportunity to survey the Iranian artistic landscape of the last three decades. It is a moment to celebrate established artists and to uncover the new names that will bear the standard for women's art in Iran for decades to come. - 3/3/09

Poverty and Inequality since the Revolution
Thirty years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini proclaimed equity and social justice as the Revolution's main objective. His successor, Ayatollah Khamene'i, continues to refer to social justice as the revolution's defining theme. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani - 3/3/09

Iranian Americans Seriously Concerned About Journalist Roxana Saberi Detained in Iran
PAAIA and the Iranian American community at large are seriously concerned about the fate of Roxana Saberi, an Iranian American journalist, who according to recent media reports was arrested in Iran in late January and is being held at an undisclosed location without any formal charges having been filed against her. - 3/3/09

Tehran and Sharif universities improve positions in QS ranking
Based on a new ranking offered by the international institute 'QS' evaluating specialized and technological activities of different universities in the world, University of Tehran and Sharif University of Technology stood 149th and 165th respectively. - 3/3/09

Clinton: Washington Will Consult Arab Allies on Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says any overtures Washington makes to Iran will be done in consultation with its Middle East allies. Her remarks Monday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, follow comments from a State Department spokesman that Clinton had been trying to assure her counterpart from the United Arab Emirates about U.S.-Iranian relations. - 3/3/09

Western Filmmaker Tackles Iranian President's Peculiar Brand Of Populism
"Letters To The President" is a documentary about Iran's controversial President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Czech-Canadian filmmaker Peter Lom was allowed to film Ahmadinejad on his travels in the Iranian provinces, where he would meet with crowds of people, many of whom had sent him letters about their daily needs. - 3/3/09

Letter by Iran Heritage Organization to President Obama
Dear President Obama, We would like to congratulate you on your becoming the 44th President of the United States of America as such historic event of unprecedented proportion has now transpired. In your inaugural address, you eluded to extending a dialogue with Iran. - 3/3/09

Iran, sole producer of wind turbine in Middle East
Iran is the sole center producing wind turbines in the Middle East, said managing director of Iran's New Energies Organization. - 3/3/09

Iran wushu team ranks 1st in Hong Kong contests
Iran's Wushu Tai Chi Chuan team ranked first in the Hong Kong International Competitions on Monday. - 3/3/09

US and EU Need a Unified Strategy for Iran
The US and Europe need to change strategies if they want to influence Iran. The Obama administration should focus on using political and diplomatic means, while the EU should attach concrete and verifiable conditions to its stipulations. -Spiegel - 3/3/09

Hollywood should give other cultures more of the cinema spotlight: Raisian
The Iranian Filmmakers Guild director asked the Hollywood delegation visiting Tehran to share the world of cinema with other cultures. Alireza Raisian made the comment in Tehran on Monday during a seminar attended by a number of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. -MNA - 3/3/09

Conference: Prison Literature and Cultural Politics in the Middle East
A literary conference hosted in New York City by ArteEast, the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU, and the Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts - 3/3/09

Iran's Rafsanjani, Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki meet in Baghdad
Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki held a meeting in Baghdad on Monday night. Rafsanjani started a five-day tour of Iraq on Monday morning and first held talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talebani on Monday evening. - 3/3/09

Parthian, Sassanid cemetery turned into garbage dump in Susa
A Parthian and Sassanid cemetery, located on the perimeter of the ancient city of Susa in Iran's Khuzestan Province, has recently been turned into a garbage dump. -Tehran Times - 3/3/09

Obama Offers Russia Secret Missile Defense Deal
Senior officials in the Obama administration say President Barack Obama has offered Russia a deal involving a controversial plan by the U.S. to deploy a missile defense system. -VOA - 3/3/09

My Granny's Aash-e Sholeh Qalamkar
Along with my sister Sohaila, I was brought up by my grandmother who was the head of her family, and in those days, once a year, the family would all come over to our house and stay over while we cooked aash-e sholeh qalamkar in a huge pot, which was large enough to comfortably hold a couple of the kids! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/2/09

Iran: Elections as a Tool to Sustain the Theological Power Structure
In the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), a total of 30 elections have been held. In spite of losing popular ground, and despite uninterrupted elections, the clerics in Iran still firmly hold the reins of power because elections are designed to serve the status quo rather than to change it. -Kazem Alamdari - 3/2/09

Iranians in No Mood to Forgive MKO
Seven years ago, during the presidency of Mohamad Khatami, the European Union added the MKO to its list of terrorist groups. In June 2003, French police arrested Rajavi and some of her followers and Iranian television broadcast images of her in handcuffs. For many young Iranians, this was the first time they had laid eyes on the disgraced opposition leaders. -Sara Shams, Tehran - 3/2/09

Photos: Gachsaran, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province of Iran
Gachsaran is a city in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province in southwestern Iran. The population of this city, encompassing the suburbs, is about 150,000. Gachsarani people speak in the Southern Lurish and Qashqai Turkic. -Photos by Hadi Fakhr Ahmad, IRNA - 3/2/09

Iran's Rafsanjani arrives in Baghdad on official visit
Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Monday that occupation forces are expected to leave Iraqi territory as soon as possible. Rafsanjani made the remark at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad on Monday. -IRNA - 3/2/09

London - British Museum Norouz family weekend
A weekend of free family activities inspired by Norouz, the Persian New Year. Join in a celebration of spring, make Persian symbols of life, and listen to traditional stories and music - sponsored by Magic of Persia. - 3/2/09

Despite Hopes of Hollywood Visit, Iran’s Leaders Stick to the Same Script
An official delegation of Hollywood actors and filmmakers met with their Iranian counterparts in Tehran over the weekend, the first such visit to a country that banned American movies 30 years ago. -New York Times - 3/2/09

Gates contradicts Mullen on Iran nuclear case
US Defense Secretary says that Iran is not close to having a nuclear weapon, contradicting recent comments made by a US military official. - 3/2/09

Isfahan to host Asian Futsal Championship
The first Asian Futsal Championship will be held in Isfahan province in 2009. Ten countries including Australia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China, Thailand, Qatar, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq will participate in the competitions. - 3/2/09

Clinton doubtful Iran will respond to US diplomacy
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed doubt Monday that Iran would respond to the Obama administration's diplomatic initiatives toward Tehran on nuclear and other issues, a senior State Department official said. -IHT - 3/2/09

Iranian, Hollywood Filmmakers Meet in Tehran
A number of Iranian cineastes met with the Hollywood team here at the Iranian House of Cinema in Tehran on Saturday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis accompanied by a team from the Hollywood movie industry attended the three-hour meeting and held talks on bilateral cooperation and exchanged views and experiences. -MNA - 3/1/09

Shi'a Politics in Iran after 30 Years of Revolution
In the wake of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Twelver Shi'a Islam saw the crystallization of a major radical movement led by activist clerics and militant ideologues with a revolutionary agenda to establish an Islamist political order. -Babak Rahimi - 3/1/09

Interview with Simin Behbahani about Recent Attacks on Shirin Ebadi
"The year that I was born, was when Shirin Ebadi became the first women judge in Iran, in order to demand and write for women rights as a judge. When I didn't know any thing about freedom of speech I read courageous poems of Simin Behbahani and understood that how literature can join life and social pains. I was in preschool when Mehrangiz Kar was writing for the newspapers..." -Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, - 3/1/09

Germany - Woman perspectives 2009: 1001 Iran
Friday March 13 to 29 in Karlsruhe - Exhibitions, Lectures, Music, Films, Concerts, Theater, Chahar Shanbeh Suri, and Norouz celebrations - 3/1/09

Sima Bina and Ensemble to perform in Cologne, Germany
Sima Bina & Ensemble will be performing on Saturday March 7, 2009 at Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany. Born in Khorasan, in the heart of a popular tradition, Sima Bina started her career on Iranian radio at the age of nine, under the direction of her father, Ahmad Bina – a master of Iranian classical music and poet who wrote many of her early songs. - 3/1/09

American Journalist Arrested In Iran
Authorities in Iran have arrested and detained an American freelance journalist who has reported for NPR, the BBC and other news organizations. Roxana Saberi, 31, was born in the United States to an Iranian-born father and Japanese-born mother. -NPR - 3/1/09

Iran's Dizin Ski Resort to Host Alpine Skiing Contest
The last stage of the International Alpine Skiing Contest will be held in the Dizin ski resort from March 2-4. The contest will be held in the fields of slalom and grand slalom. - 3/1/09

Zoroastrian Association of North Texas 20th Anniversary and Norooz
The Zoroastrian Association of North Texas (ZANT) will celebrate Norooz, the Persian New Year, and their 20th anniversary on Saturday March 21 in Dallas. ZANT was established in 1989 to nurture, advance, and promote the religious, social and cultural aspects of Zoroastrian faith. - 3/1/09

International Animation Festival underway in Tehran
The 6th Tehran International Animation Festival started in Tehran on Sunday. Over 45 domestic and foreign companies are participating in the event. - 3/1/09

Saudi Arabia's official urges Persian Gulf security pact with Iran
Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, a senior Saudi official, has called for a security pact between Iran and the Persian Gulf states amid Western efforts to isolate Tehran. - 3/1/09

Roger Cohen: Iran, the Jews and Germany
So the Jerusalem Post thinks I'm "hardly the first American to be misled by the existence of synagogues in totalitarian countries." The Atlantic Monthly's Jeffrey Goldberg finds me "particularly credulous," taken in by the Iranian hospitality and friendliness that "are the hallmarks of most Muslim societies." (Thanks for that info, Jeffrey.) -IHT - 3/1/09

5 New Small Stations to Gauge Air Pollution in Tehran
Managing director of Tehran Air Quality Control Company announced that five small stations for measuring air pollution in the capital city will be launched by late April. -Tehran Municipality - 3/1/09

Peykan wins Iran Volleyball League title
Peykan won its eighth Iran Volleyball League championship on Sunday. In the match held in Tehran's Azadi gymnasium, Peykan swept Beem of Babol 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-19). - 3/1/09

Iran: Are the Reformists Using Rope-a-Dope Tactics on Hardliners During Presidential Campaign?
As Iran’s presidential election campaign gears up, the intentions of some of the highest-profile contenders are growing more mysterious. This is especially true for Mohamad Khatami, the chief standard bearer of reform. -Eurasianet - 3/1/09

Karzai Election Deal Further Muddies Afghan Political Waters
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office has announced broad consensus on a deal that calls for a presidential election by late April. The statement says the decision follows an agreement among Karzai, national lawmakers, provincial and district councils, and mayors. -RFE - 3/1/09

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