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Photos: Jame' Mosque, Semnan
Built nearly 1,000 years ago by the Seljuq Turks, over what used to be an ancient Zoroastrian fire temple, Jame' Mosque is located in the city of Semnan, capital of Semnan Province, Iran. This ancient mosque also includes the famous Seljuq minaret with archaic carvings and designs. -Amin Khosroshahi - 3/31/12

Photos:The Deprived Village of Giri in Gilan, Iran
Giri village is located close to the town of Roudsar in Iran's Gilan province. It is the last village bordering Mazandaran province. The residents of Giri live a relatively primitive life and are deprived of what the modern day has to offer them! -Abouzar Bazri - 3/31/12

Obama Slaps New Sanctions on Buyers of Iran Oil
President Barack Obama is pushing forward with new sanctions designed to cripple Iran's oil exports. The president said Friday there is enough oil on world markets to allow him to take the step without harming U.S. allies - 3/31/12

China denounces unilateral U.S. sanctions
China announced today that it rejects U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to impose sanctions on countries that purchase Iranian oil, saying the U.S. has no right to take such unilateral punitive measures. - 3/31/12

Special Rapporteur Seeks Change in Iran's Human Rights Conditions
The United Nations Special Rapporteur charged with examining human rights conditions in Iran has told VOA that he has found "no positive change of significance" since he took on the mandate in June 2011. - 3/31/12

China's Gasoline Prices Surpass Those in US
Energy consumption is declining in the United States, but it is rising in developing markets like China and India. Higher demand means higher prices, but oil analyst Simon Wardell said uncertainty in oil-producing nations, such as Iran, is adding a premium to world prices. - 3/31/12

Mossad Cutting Back on Covert Operations Inside Iran, Officials Say
Israel's intelligence services have scaled back covert operations inside Iran, ratcheting down by "dozens of percent" in recent months secret efforts to disable or delay the enemy state's nuclear program, senior Israeli security officials tell TIME. - 3/31/12

Turkish State Oil Firm Cuts Iranian Oil Purchases By One-Fifth
Turkish national oil company Tupras says it has cut its purchases of oil from Iran by 20 percent in an attempt to avoid U.S. penaties related to Washington's sanctions against Iran. - 3/31/12

Bolton Accuses Obama Admin. of Leaking Israeli Info to Avoid War
Former U.S. diplomat and leading neoconservative John Bolton alleged Thursday that the Obama administration leaked secret information about Israel's plans to attack Iran in order to foil those plans and avoid a war. - 3/31/12

Iranian Americans report being targeted by FBI for Iran information
In recent weeks, Iranian Americans have increasingly been sought out by the FBI to participate in voluntary interviews that may be related to heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. - 3/30/12

Photos: Pahlevanpour Persian Garden, Mehriz
Pahlevanpour Garden, located in Mehriz, central Iran, is a Persian architecture jewel. Pahlevanpour is among the Persian gardens that has just been registered on UNESCO's World Heritage List as one of the masterpieces of traditional gardens. - 3/30/12

Iranian Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Military Strikes
Amidst ever-heightening tension between the U.S., Israel, and Iran, a new poll found that approximately two-thirds (63%) of Iranian-Americans oppose U.S. military strikes against Iran, while only 13% would be in favor of such action. 70% of respondents oppose Israeli strikes. - 3/30/12

Photos: Baking Fateer Bread in Arak
Baking fateer bread (flatbread) is among the old traditions still practiced in Arak, central Iran. To celebrate the Persian New Year Norouz, friends and family usually gather in a house where they bake the bread in a clay oven. -Naseer Alikhani - 3/30/12

Iran's seven Baha'i leaders: 10,000 days in prison
Sunday 1 April marks 10,000 days that Iran's seven former Baha'i leaders have spent in prison between them - a period throughout which they have been deprived of the rights accorded to prisoners under Iran's own laws and regulations. - 3/30/12

How Are 'Leaky' U.S.-Led Sanctions Affecting Iran's Trade?
Over the years, international sanctions have been imposed on Iran that squeeze the country's vital oil exports and government finances in an effort to force Tehran abandon its nuclear program. RFE/RL correspondent Antoine Blua asked Shaslank Joshy, a research fellow at the defense and security think tank Royal United Services Institute in London, how those sanctions are affecting Iran's trade. - 3/30/12

Iran is strongly opposed to any U.S. initiative on Syria: Supreme Leader
The Leader made the remarks during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the holy city of Mashhad, in the northeastern Iranian Razavi Khorasan Province, on Thursday. - 3/30/12

MEK Pays US Officials, But Where Do The Iranian Exiles Get Their Money?
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Treasury opened investigations into former government officials who have been paid speaking fees by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian resistance group officially listed as a terrorist organization. -Daniel Tovrov, IB Times - 3/30/12

Iran Pulls Reuters Accreditations After Video Complaint
The Iranian government has suspended the accreditation of Reuters' staff in Tehran after that news agency published a video on female martial-arts training that contained an error. - 3/30/12

BRICS nations want nuclear disputes resolved through diplomacy
The BRICS group of five nations has announced that diplomatic talks must be the international community's only resort in resolving nuclear disputes with Iran and the crisis in Syria. - 3/30/12

Iranian engineers still held in Syria
Contrary to earlier reports that five Iranian engineers abducted in Syria were released yesterday, today it was confirmed that the released Iranians were in fact pilgrims who had been traveling in Syria. - 3/30/12

Worries Boost Gasoline Prices and Stir Up US Politics
World oil prices have risen sharply over the past six months, annoying consumers and hampering economic growth. In the United States, rising gasoline prices have become a political issue in the presidential campaign. -Jim Randle, VOA - 3/30/12

Iran and the Non-Proliferation Treaty
Soon after President Obama's speech before AIPAC's annual convention, the potential attack on Iran, which just a few weeks earlier had seemed so imminent, faded quietly into the background. -Renee Parsons, Common Dreams - 3/30/12

Pakistan, Russia consider Iranian pipeline
A delegation from Pakistan is to visit Moscow next week to discuss a role for Gazprom in the natural gas pipeline planned from Iran's offshore South Pars gas field -UPI - 3/30/12

PAAIA Releases 2012 National Poll of Iranian American Attitudes Toward Potential Bombing of Iran
As the prospect of a U.S. or Israeli military strike against Iran increases, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) has, once again, commissioned Zogby Research Services to conduct a follow-up national survey of Iranian Americans to gauge their perception and views specifically on the issue of military action against Iran. - 3/29/12

Iranian ninjas sue Reuters for defamation of character
Last month, Reuters showed a number of Iranian girls training martial arts in a city near Tehran, claiming Iran was training more than 3,000 female ninjas to kill any possible foreign invaders. The distorted Reuters report was picked up by other British media outlets. - 3/29/12

Turkish premier voices support for Iran nuclear position
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has voiced his country's unwavering support for Iran's nuclear energy program in a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. - 3/29/12

Persian Piano Music at the most famous Concert Hall of Holland
On April 7th 2012, Pejman Akbarzadeh will perform a Persian piano music recital at the most famous concert Hall of The Netherlands "Concertgebouw". The program contains Persian folk songs and works by Kouchyar Shahroudi, Ali-Naqi Vaziri, Hamid-Reza Taherzadeh, Farhad Fakhredini and Ali Tajvidi which have been arranged for piano solo by the Pianist. - 3/29/12

US Lawmakers Call for 'Hard-Nosed' Approach with Iran
Leading U.S. lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to take an even tougher stance with Iran over its nuclear program, questioning whether expanding economic sanctions are making a difference. - 3/29/12

Iran, Turkey set $30b trade target for 2015
Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that the two countries had agreed to increase the volume of bilateral trade to 30 billion dollars within the next three years. - 3/29/12

Azerbaijan Denies Giving Israel Air-Base Access
Azerbaijan's government has denied a report saying that Baku has granted Israel access to Azerbaijani bases that could be used in potential air strikes by Israel against nuclear targets in Azerbaijan's neighbor Iran. - 3/29/12

Terrorist group in southeast dismantled: IRGC
Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps(IRGC) says it has destroyed "an anti-Revolutionary terrorist group" in southeastern Iran. - 3/29/12

BRICS Summit Seeks Greater Political, Economic Clout
The leaders of five major emerging economies have sought to increase their bloc's economic and political clout at a summit in the Indian capital New Delhi. The so-called BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa -- account for nearly half of the world's population and more than one-fifth of global economic output. - 3/29/12

U.S. Adds Four Iranian Firms, Two Individuals To Sanctions List
The U.S. Treasury Department has added four more Iranian firms and two individuals to its sanctions list, saying they are connected to the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or affiliated with Iran's national maritime carrier. - 3/29/12

Photos: The Stars Valley, Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf
The Stars Valley which is located in a beautiful area carries a peculiar Geo-Morphological structure. It is known as one of the main Geopark sites approved by the UNESCO. This site has been formed by very soft sedimentary and erodible layers made of marl on which there is a layer of calcareous sandstone. -Erfan Khoshkhoo - 3/28/12

Photos: Celebrating Norouz with Hafez and Saadi
One of the favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays is the tombs of the poets. These photos show the Norouz travelers visiting the tombs of the great Iranian poets Hafez and Saadi in Shiraz, known as the City of Poets, Literature, Wine and Flowers. - 3/28/12

Iranian Americans Gather to Give Back This Norooz
On March 3rd, 2012, over 300 Iranian-American volunteers gathered in 26 cities across the nation to give back to their communities ... all in the spirit of Norooz. -NIAC - 3/28/12

Vali Nasr Named Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS
Vali R. Nasr, a leading scholar, foreign policy adviser to Democratic and Republican administrations, and commentator on international relations, has been appointed dean of The Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. - 3/28/12

Jailed Iranian journalists given temporary release
Jailed journalists Ahmad Zeidabadi and Mehdi Mahmoudian were given a furlough to spend Norooz New Year celebrations with their families. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that the two reformist journalists were released late Tuesday from Rejaishahr Prison in Karaj. - 3/28/12

Turkish Prime Minister In Tehran For Talks On Nuclear Dispute, Syria
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in Tehran for talks on the international deadlock over Iran's nuclear program and the Syrian conflict. Edrogan was expected to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad during his two-day visit, which began on March 28. - 3/28/12

Pomegranates and Roses: A Persian Love Story
Fari Publishing is proud to announce the release of: Pomegranates and Roses: A Persian Love Story, a debut children's book by Farahnaz Amirsoleymani. This is the first time that the Persian folktale of Naneh Sarma (Mother Winter), and Amoo Norooz (Uncle New Years) has been published in English. - 3/28/12

Neocons Do Not Speak for Iranian-Americans
The schedule for the American Jewish Committee conference in Washington coming up in May highlights that Sohrab Ahmari, an Iranian-American, will be addressing the question: "Can Iran's nuclear program be stopped?" Ahmari has been popping up more and more these days, especially at neoconservative organizations like the AJC. -MJ Rosenberg, Huffington Post - 3/28/12

U.S. Slaps Sanctions On Iran Firms, Quds Officials
The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on two Iranian companies, a Nigerian shipping agent, and three members of Iran's hard-line Quds Force for their role in exporting arms to Syria and Africa. - 3/28/12

India to pay for Iranian oil in rupees
India will only pay for Iranian oil with foreign currency until July 2012, when European Union sanctions take effect, and after that it will pay in rupees. - 3/28/12

Obama Says Current Political Climate Not Good For Arms Control Talks
U.S. President Barack Obama says the current volatile political environment is not conducive to sensitive negotiations between the United States and Russia on missile defense and arms control. - 3/28/12

Bay Area Iranian Americans honor day of service
Saturday was a day of celebration for Iranians around the world. In the Bay Area, Iranian Americans marked the occasion with a day of service while thinking about their families back home. -KGO-TV - 3/28/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers at Persepolis
One of the favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays is the the ancient ruins of Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid), the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE). Persepolis is situated 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. -Mehdi Yazdani - 3/27/12

US and Iranian physicists team up to launch "Fusion for Peace" initiative
Three physicists, one US and two Iranian, have issued a statement proposing a joint US-Iran research collaboration that they contend could be an alternative to confrontation and war and, if successful, could "make uranium enrichment obsolete, block proliferation everywhere, liberate the world from oil, and open up a new source of cheap, clean unlimited energy." - 3/27/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers in Bandar Abbas
These photos show the Norouz travelers in the city of Bandar Abbas enjoying the shores of Persian Gulf by engaging in various activities including riding the good old camels or the modern ATVs. -Amir Hossein Heidari - 3/27/12

Auditor General links Iranian president to bank fraud
Iran's Auditor General said on Monday he has no doubt that the office of the president has given support to the Aria Financial Group, which has been accused of embezzling $3 billion by selling fraudulent letters of credit. - 3/27/12

Rights group accuses IRGC office
Justice for Iran says the IRGC's Center to Investigate Organized Crime should be put on the international list of human rights violators. The human rights organization has published a new report entitled "Gerdab: A Dictated Scenario" that details the role of the IRGC's Center to Investigate Organized Crime (Cyber Crime Office) in violating human rights in Iran. - 3/27/12

Iran, 5+1 agree to meet on April 13: AP
Iran and the 5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have agreed to meet on April 13 for new talks, but the failure of previous meetings and disputes over what should be discussed are keeping them from choosing a venue, diplomats told the Associated Press on Monday. - 3/27/12

"I Am Not a Criminal. I Will Not Request Pardon," Says Narges Mohammadi
Narges Mohammadi, the deputy director of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) who was sentenced to six years in prison on 5 March by an appeals court, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that she did not request a pardon, as all DHRC activities were based on the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 3/27/12

Amnesty International Says Executions Up In Middle East, Fueling Global Increase
Amnesty International says a marked rise in executions in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq last year was enough to fuel an overall global increase in the use of the death penalty last year. - 3/27/12

USCIRF Identifies World's Worst Religious Freedom Violators
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal government commission that monitors global religious freedom, today released its 2012 Annual Report and recommended that the Secretary of State name the following nations "countries of particular concern" or CPCs: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. - 3/27/12

Israelis and Iranians are Natural Allies
The regime of Iran pretends that there is a deep hostility between Iranians and Israelis. On the other side, the regime of Iran has been trying to prove that the Iranian people care about Palestinians in a special way -Bahman Aghai Diba - 3/27/12

Applying the Lessons of South Africa Sanctions to Iran
"My basic approach is that sanctions have a limited place in international diplomacy or pressure," says F.W. de Klerk, the former president of South Africa who presided over the end of the apartheid regime and the dismantling of the country's nuclear weapons. -Beheshteh Farshneshani, Huffington Post - 3/27/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers in Kerman
Persian New Year Norouz holidays is also a time for traveling. The city of Kerman and the vicinity is one of the favorite destinations during this time. Kerman offers historical buildings, an inviting Bazaar and magnificant views of the desert, among other things. -Hamid Sadeghi - 3/26/12

Photos: Norouz Festival at Tehran's Honar Street
To celebrate the Persian New Year Norouz, Tehran Municipality is holding a festival at Honar street looking at how Norouz was celebrated in the old Tehran. -Babak Borzouyeh - 3/26/12

Iranian, Tajik, Afghan, Pakistani presidents urge closer cooperation
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon called for more cooperation during their summit in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on Sunday. - 3/26/12

Iranian Leader's Speech Prompts U.S. Walkout At Conference
Speaking at a regional conference on March 26 in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, Ahmadinejad's remarks prompted the U.S. delegation to walk out of the meeting. Leaders from Afghanistan's neighboring states, as well as a U.S. delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, attended the Dushanbe conference. - 3/26/12

Iranian MPs Slam Ahmadinejad Over Subsidies
Lawmakers are angry at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's decision to deliver more cash benefits to Iranian households as part of the restructuring of government subsidies without the approval of Parliament. - 3/26/12

Obama: Time Running Out On Iranian Nuclear Crisis
U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Iran to act with "urgency" to resolve the dispute over Tehran's controversial nuclear program with the U.S. leader warning time is running out. - 3/26/12

Shell hard-pressed to pay Iranian debt
Royal Dutch Shell is running into difficulties in paying its $1-billion debt to the National Iranian Oil Company. Reuters reported on Shell's announcement that sanctions placed on Iran by the U.S. and the European Union have made it almost impossible to process its debt payment. - 3/26/12

Overstated Iranian 'threat' puts U.S. on path to war
A neocon joke, at the beginning of the Iraq war, was: "Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran." It wasn't funny then, and it isn't funny now. Unfortunately, those "real men" who want to wage war on Iran are making so much noise that they may prevail - and hardly anyone is pushing back. -Jean Athey and Alex Welsch, Baltimore Sun - 3/26/12

Ahmadinejad Gets Blame and Sanctions as Economy Sputters
Iranians are celebrating the Persian New Year under austerity conditions exacerbated by the U.S. drive to isolate the Islamic republic's $480 billion economy -Bloomberg - 3/26/12

Iranian-Americans Say New Reality Show Stereotypes Them
Ask many Americans what they think of when they think of Iran, and they'll probably mention the 1979-81 hostage crisis in Tehran or a turbaned, white-bearded cleric preaching anger toward the United States. A new U.S. television reality show set in Los Angeles wants to replace those grim associations with happier ones, like expensive cars, champagne, private jets, and mansions. -Heather Maher, RFE - 3/25/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers Enjoying The Caspian Sea Shores In Babolsar
These photos show the Norouz travelers in the city of Babolsar, by the Caspian Sea, enjoying their holidays by engaging in various activities including horse-riding, jet skiing taking boat cruises. -Mohsen Razapour - 3/25/12

The Iranian Women's Movement Carries On
As people around the world celebrated international women's day on March 8, Iranian women activists interviewed for this occasion said that they believed that the condition of women in Iran has deteriorated while pressure and restrictions on their activities have grown. Despite this though they appeared hopeful and optimistic, contending that their movement would start the new Persian year with vigor and dynamism. -Kaveh Ghoreishi, Rooz - 3/25/12

Persian New Year Nowruz Celebrated
For four years, the Freer and Sackler galleries of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the educational museums funded by the U.S. government, have hosted their own celebrations of Nowruz. "Our Nowruz celebration has become one of the Freer and Sackler's most popular events," said Massumeh Farhad, the museums' chief curator and curator of Islamic art. "This year the Galleries hosted 12,000 people on the day." - 3/25/12

PAAIA Celebrates Nowruz on Capitol Hill
On March 20, 2012, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), in conjunction with Congressman Michael M. Honda (D-CA) and Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), hosted a Nowruz Reception for members of Congress and congressional staff on Capitol Hill. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also attended the event along with over 100 congressional staffers. - 3/25/12

Photos: Tochal Ski Resort, Tehran
Mount Tochal is a mountain in the Alborz range and a ski resort adjacent to metropolitan Tehran, Iran. The mountain has a 12 km long ridgeline. The highest peak, also called Mount Tochal, is at an elevation of 3,964 m -Youness Khani - 3/25/12

EU blacklists more Iranian officials
The head of Iran's Judiciary and the head of its state broadcasting network (IRIB) are on the latest EU blacklist for human rights violations. Ayatollah Amoli Lairijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, was added to the list for signing off on death sentences and sentences that involved stoning, flogging, amputations and pouring acid into the eyes of the convicted. - 3/25/12

Iran tells West it's ready to talk
Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, called on Western powers to return to the negotiating table, adding: "If you have any questions, we are ready to answer." - 3/25/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers Enjoying The Caspian Sea Shores In Chamkhaleh
Caspian Sea coastal towns in northern Iran are among the most favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays. These photos show the Norouz travelers at Chamkhaleh coast near the city of Langarud enjoying their holidays by engaging in various activities including horse-riding, kite flying and taking boat cruises. -Abouzar Bazri - 3/24/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers Enjoying The Nature in Gorgan
Towns in northern Iran by the Caspian Sea are among the most favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays. These towns offer a moderate weather, beautiful scenery and of course the Caspian waters. These photos show the Norouz travelers in the vicinity of the city of Gorgan enjoying the beautiful nature and the breathtaking scenery. -Aboutaleb Nadri - 3/24/12

IAEA chief accused of Western bias over Iran disputes
Several former senior officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency have accused the current IAEA chief of a pro-Western bias and relying too much on uncorroborated information. - 3/24/12

Music Workshop in London: The Beauty of Classical and Contemporary Persian Music
This course, organized by Centre for Iranian Studies, will introduce students, laymen and connoisseurs of world music into the vibrant living tradition of both contemporary Iranian music and classical Persian music. - 3/24/12

Most internet users still use dial-up in Iran
The Iranian Statistics Centre says 84 percent of the country's internet users still use the dial-up method to connect to the web. - 3/24/12

Telecom companies retreat from Iranian dealings
The Chinese telecommunications company ZTE has announced that it will reduce trade with Iran, after a Reuters report on Thursday revealed that it has sold a powerful surveillance system to Iran that's capable of monitoring telephone and internet communications. - 3/24/12

Obama Bluffs Netanyahu
I wish I could say something smart about poker; that would be the perfect opening for an article on the ongoing poker game between the USA, Iran and Israel. Sadly, I don't play the game. -Roy Tov, Veterans Today - 3/24/12

Photos: Norouz Travelers Enjoying The Persian Gulf Shores
Among the favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays are the the Persian Gulf coastal towns which offer pleasant weathers and relatively warm waters. These photos show the Norouz travelers in the city of Bushehr enjoying the shores of Persian Gulf. -Abdollah Heidari - 3/23/12

Strong UN Support for Iran Special Rapporteur Shown as His Mandate is Renewed
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran today welcomed the Human Rights Council's 22 to 5 vote extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran for another year. - 3/23/12

Photos: Katalehkhor Cave in Zanjan, Iran
Katalehkhor is a cave located close to the town of Garmab in Iran's Zanjan Province, 120 km south of Zanjan city and 410 km away from Tehran. The name, Katalehkhor, means "mount of Sun". Katalehkhor, currently longest cave of Iran at 12860 meters, was discovered in 1965 by mountaineers from Hamadan. -Amin Rahmani - 3/23/12

Jailed Iranian activist goes on hunger strike
Peyman Aref, the jailed Iranian journalist and activist, has been on a hunger strike for four days. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that he began his hunger strike in protest against his "illegal" imprisonment. - 3/23/12

Iran's Persepolis crushes UAE's Al-Shebab 6-1
Iran's popular Persepolis football team crushed UAE's Al-Shebab 6-1 on Wednesday in its second game in Asian Clubs Championship held at the Football Stadium of Tehran's Azadi Sports Complex'. - 3/23/12

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2012 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. - 3/23/12

TAKE ACTION: Lift the "No Contact" Policy with Iran!
Direct talks are the only way to prevent war, resolve the nuclear standoff, and put mechanisms in place to effectively address human rights abuses in Iran and create space for Iran's pro-democracy movement. Please write your Representative and tell them to stand up for diplomacy and against war by cosponsoring the Lee bill today. -NIAC - 3/23/12

NIAC Now Accepting Summer Internship Applications
Interns work in conjunction with NIAC staff in Washington, DC, on NIAC's programs, including monitoring of Congressional activities, researching legislation, and drafting analyses and action alerts on issues related to immigration, civil rights, and foreign policy. - 3/23/12

Russia wants speedy resumption of nuclear talks with Iran
Ria Novosti reports that Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said in Moscow that his express wishes are that the meeting between Iran and the G5+1 representatives regarding Iran's nuclear program takes place in April. - 3/23/12

On World Water Day, U.S. Report Offers Bleak Predictions
A new U.S. report predicts that in the coming decades, increasing water scarcity and other water-related problems could trigger conflicts between countries, and lead to the failure of states. - 3/23/12

EU Ministers Impose New Sanctions On Belarus, Iran, Syria
The ministers added 17 Iranians responsible for alleged abuses to a blacklist of 61 people already facing an EU travel ban and assets freeze. The ministers also extended the sanctions on all for another year. On Iran, the ministers also imposed a ban on exports to Iran of equipment that could be used for electronic surveillance. - 3/23/12

US Wants Iraq to Block Iran Weapons Sales to Syria
U.S. officials say Iran's support for the Syrian government, along with help from Russia, is one of the biggest reasons that President Assad has survived a year-long uprising. Most of those Iranian weapons are flown to Syria through Iraq, which also supports Assad. - 3/23/12

Photos: A Busy Tehran Metro
These photos show a very busy Tehran Metro at the end of Iranian year 1390. Based on 2010 statistics, the Tehran Metro carries more than 2 million passengers a day. -Youness Khani - 3/22/12

Ritual of Hope
What a nightmarish year it was for a good part of the world, Wasn't it? So much so that surviving to see this year's fire burning ceremony of Chaharshanbeh Suri Seemed so unlikely, impossible... -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 3/22/12

Iranian Norooz festivities held on historic site
Norooz New Year festivities in Iran were held in Persepolis in Fars Province this year with more than 5,000 people taking part. The Mehr News Agency reports that his was the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic that Norooz was celebrated there. - 3/22/12

Iranian Opposition Leader Sends Message of Resistance
Detained opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was allowed a visit from his family on the occasion of Iranian New Year celebrations. Karroubi has reportedly told his family that he still stands firmly by his political convictions, adding that "the higher the costs, the more we will appreciate our accomplishments later and will work harder in preserving our achievements." - 3/22/12

Rosatom Says Construction Of Iran Nuclear Plant On Schedule
Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's state nuclear company Rosatom, told reporters on March 21 that construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran is proceeding according to schedule. - 3/22/12

Turkey, Azerbaijan Increase Cooperation
Turkey and its neighbor, Azerbaijan, are increasing diplomatic and economic cooperation following the collapse of rapprochement efforts between Turkey and Azerbaijan's rival, Armenia. Turkey is increasingly aligning itself with its Azerbaijani neighbor. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 3/22/12

U.S. Deports Iranian Convicted Of Arms Smuggling
An Iranian national who pleaded guilty in 2009 to plotting to ship sensitive U.S. military technology to Iran has been deported back to his home country, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department has confirmed. - 3/22/12

UN Security Council Endorses Syria Peace Plan
The United Nations Security Council, including Russia and China, has united to approve a nonbinding document calling on the Syrian government and opposition to immediately implement proposals by international envoy Kofi Annan to end the country's bloody conflict. - 3/22/12

The Only Option on Iran
We are deeply concerned about all the loose talk regarding a possible military attack on Iran because of the growing uncertainty over parts of its nuclear program. -Carl Bildt and Erkki Tuomioja; foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland - 3/22/12

IMF chief warns of sudden rise in oil prices
The head of the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday that the disruption of Iranian oil exports could drive up oil prices by 30 percent. - 3/22/12

Iranian Dissidents Don't Want War
An attack on Iran, by Israel or the United States, could have catastrophic consequences for all sides involved. -Ramin Jahanbegloo and R.N. Khatami, The Progressive - 3/22/12

Photos: Kerman Tourists Attractions
The province of Kerman in southeast Iran offers many unique tourists attractions and each year it hosts many visitors during the Persian New Year Norouz. - 3/21/12

Photos: Haft-seen exhibition in Shiraz-Iran
Haft-Seen or the seven 'S's is a traditional table setting of Nowruz, the traditional Iranian spring celebration. Today the haft seen table includes seven specific items, all starting with the letter seen in the Persian alphabet. Haft-Seen was originally called Haftchin derived from the words Chin and Haft meaning "to place" seven (items). - 3/21/12

Iran in Obama's speeches at AIPAC: Advancing the policy of "aggressive diplomacy"
The best way to understand Middle East policies of US officials is to study their speeches at the annual policy conferences of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where nearly every political figure must pay homage to Israel and its most powerful lobby. -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 3/21/12

NIAC Applauds Efforts to Address Growing "Electronic Curtain" Over Iran
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) welcomes the decision by the Obama Administration to lift sanctions on additional categories of personal communication tools to support the free exchange of information with the Iranian people, which President Obama announced in his speech wishing the Iranian people a happy Norooz. - 3/21/12

Rumi: The Art of Loving
Coinciding with 2012 Spring Equinox and the Persian New Year (Nowruz), the Rumi Poetry Club has just released a new book, Rumi: The Art of Loving. This book is a new anthology and an original translation of Rumi's poetry. - 3/21/12

Scientists call for release of Baha'i educators imprisoned in Iran
An international body that monitors the human rights of scientists around the world, and assists those in need, is urging the Iranian authorities to free imprisoned Baha'i educators. - 3/21/12

Anniversary of Oil Nationalization in Iran, the Prevailing Debates and Discourse
According to the Persian calendar, today, the 29th of Esfand is the anniversary of the nationalization of the oil industry in Iran under the leadership of the late Dr. Mohamad Mosaddeq. -Farid Marjai - 3/21/12

Japan Promises Cuts In Iranian Oil Imports
Japan promised it would "substantially" cut oil imports from Iran, a day after the United States announced a decision to exempt Japan from new sanctions that target those who continue to do business with Tehran. - 3/21/12

Russia Warns Iran Could Produce Nuclear Weapons If Attacked
Russia's foreign minister says there is no evidence Tehran has made the "political decision" to produce nuclear weapons but almost certainly would do so if Iran were attacked. - 3/21/12

US Exempts 11 Countries from Iran Oil Sanctions
The United States says 11 countries have "significantly reduced" their purchases of Iranian oil and will not be subject to U.S. sanctions intended to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear program. - 3/21/12

EU Set To Tighten Sanctions Against Iran, Syria
European Union foreign ministers are expected to ramp up sanctions against Iran and Syria when they meet in Brussels on March 23. - 3/21/12

Remarks of President Obama Marking Nowruz, Speaking to the Iranian People
Today, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. In communities and homes from America to southwest Asia, families and friends are coming together to celebrate the hope that comes with renewal. - 3/20/12

Iran's Supreme Leader's Norouz Message
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a message on the first day of the new Iranian calendar year 1391, March 20. In his message, Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated all Iranians on Noruz (Iranian New Year) and called the year "the Year of National Production and Supporting Iranian Labor and Capital." - 3/20/12

Some Iranian political prisoners released with approach of Norooz
Parvin Mokhtareh, Arya Aramnejad, Alireza Falahati and Ahmad Miri are among the political prisoners who have been temporarily released in Iran. The Human Rights Reporters Committee reports that Mokhtareh was released on Sunday afternoon after eight months in jail. - 3/20/12

United4Iran Joins 20 NGOs around the World Calling for the Extension of Mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur
On March 16, 2012, United4Iran joined 20 NGOs from around the world in delivering a letter to member states of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urging them to support the extension of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. The extension of the mandate will be voted on by the 47-member UNHRC on March 21st or 22nd in Geneva, Switzerland. - 3/20/12

Israelis, Iranians Agree Via Facebook: 'We Don't Want War'
Amid the drumbeat of war between Iran and Israel, an Israeli couple has launched an online peace campaign in an effort to reach out to Iranians and say no to a military conflict. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/20/12

Explainer: How Does A SWIFT Ban Hurt Iran?
The world's biggest interbank transfer network, SWIFT, says it will no longer handle transactions by Iranian banks blacklisted by the EU. In this quick explainer, RFE/RL looks at how the move will limit Iran's ability to trade internationally amid controversy over its nuclear activities. - 3/20/12

Northern Virginia: Bull Run Reginal Park's 13 Bedar 2012
Sunday April 1: The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is pleased to announce that on Sunday, April 1st 2012 it will open the Bull Run Special Events Center in to accommodate the Persian cultural festival known as 13 Bedar (or Sizdah Bedar). - 3/20/12

Hillary Clinton Sends Nowruz Message
I am delighted to send best wishes to all those celebrating the festival of Nowruz. For over 3,000 years, Nowruz has been a time of hope for millions of people around the world. - 3/20/12

Six Iranian pilgrims killed in Karbala bombings
Six Iranian pilgrims were killed and five others wounded in bomb blasts that hit the shrine city of Karbala in Iraq on Tuesday. In Karbala two car bombs exploded in a crowded shopping and restaurant area. - 3/20/12

Talk of war and rising prices cast uneasy pall over Iran
"My friends and I don't talk about politics or the thought of a war," she says, laughing. "I stopped watching the news all together. It's too depressing." Sepideh is not unlike millions of Iranians who, like their neighboring Iraqis did in early 2003, fear war is looming. -Mitra Mobasherat and Moni Basu, CNN - 3/20/12

Iran gobbles up U.S. wheat
Iran is buying American wheat for the first time in three years as it seeks to hedge against the growing impact of sanctions and weather-related crop shortages. Some 120,000 tonnes of hard red winter wheat grown in the Plains is on its way to the Islamic Republic, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. -CNN - 3/20/12

Photos: Isfahan Residents Picking Spring Flowers and Plants
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. These photos by Alieh Saadatpour show the people in Isfahan, central Iran, buying plants and flowers at a nursery to greet Norouz. - 3/19/12

2012 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Winners Announced
The winners of the 2012 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival were announced on Sunday, March 18, 2012, during the foundation's 4th Annual Nowruz (Iranian New Year) Celebration at LACMA before a live audience at the museum's Brown Auditorium. - 3/19/12

The Iranian Military and the Persian Year that is Ending: The Nightmares of the Commanders
The Iranian calendar year changes on March 21 from 1390 to 1391. This is the day when Iranians of all walks reflect on the past and look to the future. For the military it is a special year. -Bahram Rafiei, Rooz Online - 3/19/12

Persia in Crisis: Interview with Professor Rudi Matthee
"Shah Abbas was great in the sense that he was a forceful and even visionary ruler who went as far in centralizing Iran as anyone until the 20th century. But he was also a despot, resolute and, at times, ruthless, mercurial, alternating between magnanimity and cruelty, tolerance and vindictiveness. Like all despots in history, he needed these qualities and characteristics to stay on top of the fray in an unforgiving, extremely competitive environment." -Fariba Amini - 3/19/12

Notes on Dr. Zogby's "Dealing with Iran"
Dr. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and brother of the well-known pollster John Zogby, recently published an article on "Dealing with Iran" in Huffington Post that is problematic on a number of grounds. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 3/19/12

Iranian Cultural Association At Ohio State University's Norooz 2012
Friday April 6: Persian Dance Performance, Musical Performance, Dance Party with Daniel Asadi & Kael. Dinner will be provided by The Ohio Union. Traditional Persian Pastries will be provided by Nanak Bakery. - 3/19/12

New Jersey: Rutgers University Persian Cultural Club's Norooz 2012
Saturday March 31: Come join the Rutgers University Persian Cultural Club for a night to celebrate the Persian New Years, Norooz! Food will be catered by Negeen Persian Grill and music will be provided throughout the night. - 3/19/12

Seattle: University of Washington's Persian Circle Norouz 1391
Saturday March 31: Enjoy a night of dancing in celebrating Persian New Year - at UW! Appetizers and Soft Drinks will be available. DJ Behzad will be playing the most upbeat Persian Music all night long! So bring your Dancing Shoes! - 3/19/12

P5+1 IS Not Unanimous On Iran
Kayhan Barzegar: In my view, the P5+1 is gradually coming to terms with the existing reality of Iran's nuclear program and simply tries to manage and control the progress degree of the program by means of holding negotiations from the position of power. I think Iran is ready to cooperate, but again there is the issue of the level of cooperation and the other side's intention. - 3/19/12

How Mossad Justified Its Murder of an Innocent Iranian Electrical Engineer
On July 23, 2011, a 35-year-old Iranian electrical engineering student named Darioush Rezaeinejad was gunned down as he and his wife, who was also wounded in the attack, waited for their child in front of a kindergarten in Tehran. -truthout - 3/19/12

Gunboats, Super-Torpedoes, Sea-Bots: U.S. Navy Launches Huge Iran Surge
Sending more aircraft carriers to the waters near Iran, it turns out, was just the start. Yes, the U.S. currently has more seapower aimed at Iran in the Persian Gulf than in the fleets of most countries on Earth, Iran included. But that was just the Navy cracking its knuckles. -Wired - 3/19/12

Nowroz in History and Calendar
Much has been said and written about the history of Norouz; with a part founded on baseless old fables and a part dealing with rites and ceremonies practiced during this feast in various periods of our history. Nevertheless, there is still no documented historical analysis on the origin and emergence of this great Aryan feast, with its scientific and astronomical roots still not thoroughly studied and clearly revealed. -Yahya Zoka - 3/18/12

The Origin, History & Symbolism of No Ruz (Nowruz)
The Iranian New Year; No Ruz, (means New Day), is a celebration of spring Equinox. It is the most cherished of all the Iranian festivals and is celebrated by all. This occasion has been renowned in one form or another by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. -Massoume Price - 3/18/12

Photos: Masouleh Village Prepares To Greet Norouz
Cleaning and dusting the house in advance of arrival of Persian New Year Norouz is one of the important customs for the people. Following photos show the people in the village of Masouleh engaging in house cleaning. and gettign ready to greet Norouz! -Abouzar Bazri - 3/18/12

Photos: Shopping for Norouz in Gorgan
These photos show the people in Gorgan, northern Iran, doing their Haftsin and other Norouz shopping in preparation to greet the Persian New Year! A major part of the New Year rituals is setting a special table called Haftsin with seven specific items present. In the ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holly immortals protecting them. -Mohammadmehdi Amya - 3/18/12

Former Iran captain Ali Daei critically injured in car accident
Former Iran's captain and Bayern Munich striker Ali Daei has been critically injured in a car accident while returning to Tehran from Isfahan. - 3/18/12

Former Tehran Prosecutor, Indicted For Deaths and Torture, to Head Social Security Fund
Former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has been appointed as the head of the Social Security Fund, despite impending charges against him regarding the torture and death of inmates at Kahrizak Prison. - 3/18/12

Assistance of Interpol requested in Iran's Great Bank Fraud case
The trial of suspects in Iran's $3-billion bank fraud convened on Saturday for the third time, with the judge announcing that interpol has been called on in order to bring all the suspects in the case to trial. - 3/18/12

Toronto: Nawranj Iranian Association's Nourouz Gathering
Saturday March 24: It's Norooz time again and Nawranj Iranian Association is holding a gathering at U of T for everyone to have a chance to catch up with Eid Didani. It will be a unique night compared to other events planned by Nawranj. It's Open Mic Night! - 3/18/12

Netherlands: ParsZone Nowruz 2012
Saturday, March 24: Nowruz is the ultimate family celebration where you can enjoy chill, dance and make use of the hookah! Watch out for our Hadji Firouz because he will not let you just sit! - 3/18/12

Northern California: Persian American Association of Northern California's Nowruz 2012
Sunday March 25 in San Rafael: The mission of PAANC is to facilitate an environment that provides all, especialy Persian-Americans, a cultural, educational, social and business environment that will allow us to support the well-being of our communities living in Northern California. - 3/18/12

Two more Baha'is arrested in Shiraz
Iran's Baha'i community was targeted once again when two Baha'i residents of Shiraz were arrested at their homes on Saturday morning. - 3/18/12

Spokesman: No Iranian Arms Will Transit Iraq For Syria
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on March 17 that Baghdad had informed Tehran that it would not permit the use of its air space or territory for the transit of any arms cargo to Syria. - 3/18/12

Happy Nowruz and New Iranian Year
Nowruz is a strong testimony to Iranian rich civilization, national characteristics and history. It proves how a nation with its irreversible determination to endure, and even flourish, through periods of devastation, political chaos, hardship and oppression. -Firouzeh Mirrazavi - 3/17/12

Iranian activists call for release of political prisoners for Norooz
Iranian activists have issued a statement urging the government to release political prisoners for Norooz, the Iranian New Year. Zamaneh reports that 440 Iranian civic and political activists of various stripes have signed a statement demanding that the government allow political prisoners to spend the New Year with their families. - 3/17/12

London: Nowruz No War
Saturday 24th March: Nowruz No War is an event to celebrate the Persian New Year and learn about Iranian culture and its links to our own. Expect Film, Comedy, Live Music, Poetry, Debate & Photography. - 3/17/12

Iran Reportedly Removes World AIDS Day From State Calendar
The Iranian government body that sets the country's official cultural policy has reportedly removed World AIDS Day from the state calendar. The move has prompted concern among those fighting the spread of AIDS in the Islamic republic, where the disease is highly stigmatized. - 3/17/12

Iranian Teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari on the Verge of Execution
Abdolreza Ghanbari, 44, is a Persian literature teacher and a resident of the poverty-stricken Pakdasht, near the town of Varamin. He was arrested immediately following the street protests on 27 December 2009 (Ashura Day) at his place of work, and was tried on 30 January 2010 without the knowledge of his family or access to a defense lawyer. - 3/17/12

Fate Of Detained Iranian Scholar Uncertain
Concern has grown over the situation of detained scholar and sociologist Saeed Madani, after his wife revealed that she has only received one phone call from her husband during his 65 days of arrest. - 3/17/12

Iran: Guards Corp company wins Tabriz subway contract
Tabriz City Council has awarded the $12-billion contract to develop the Tabriz subway system to Khatam-ol-anbia Construction Camp, the consortium run by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. - 3/17/12

Higher Gasoline Costs Boost US Consumer Prices
The price of crude oil on the world market has risen in recent months, sparked largely because of the tension over the West's demand that oil-producing Iran curtail development of its nuclear program. - 3/17/12

Hagel Praises Obama on Syria; Chides GOP on Iran
Chuck Hagel, who co-chairs the Obama administration's Intelligence Advisory Board, says the United States should offer Iran "face-saving ways" out of the nuclear crisis and let Arab countries to take the lead in ousting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. -Al Monitor - 3/17/12

Norouz: The Ever-lasting Persian Celebration of New Year
In Iran Norouz marks the beginning of the year and symbolizes nature's renewal and rebirth after the passing of winter. It is a time when humans escape their doldrums and renew their ways by engaging in social activities and group efforts in work outside the home in the fields. -Mahbubeh Ela'hee - 3/16/12

To wake in harmony, to rise humane: Noruz, the Persian New Year
In conversation with renowned Iranian scholar of Anthroplogy Mohammad Mirshokraei: "Noruz is not incompatible with the principles of any religion. It is an independent tradition that is not in contrast with any race, ethnicity or belief system. This is why throughout the Iranian history; Noruz has been embraced by all linguistic, ethnic and ideological groups who have encountered Iran. They have been, influenced by and, of course, have also influenced Noruz in this encounter." - 3/16/12

Photos: Norouz Shopping in Tehran
Tehran and other Iranian citities are abuzz with excitement in the countdown to the Persian New Year, Noruz 1391 which coincides with Tuesday, March 20, 2012 (Tehran time). People are busy with the last minute ritualistic shopping spree, revival of their homes and hearts as they join hands with their families and friends to welcome the advent of spring. - 3/16/12

'The Bricklayer' Details Iranian Exile Experience on Stage
A new production has opened at the Houston Grand Opera in Texas that tells the story of an Iranian exile family. The opera, called The Bricklayer, is based on a short story by Houston-based Iranian-American writer Farnoosh Moshiri, who also wrote the libretto for the work. The story is one that reflects the experience of many people forced into exile, from Iran and elsewhere. -Greg Flakus - 3/16/12

Two Iranian political prisoners on hunger strike
Two more Iranian political prisoners, Mohammad Ali Velayati and Ahmadreza Ahmadpour, have started a hunger strike to protest the situation of political prisoners in Iran. - 3/16/12

Obama Says Diplomatic Window for Iran Nuclear Program Shrinking
U.S. President Barack Obama says Iran's window to find a diplomatic solution to international concerns over its nuclear program is shrinking. Our correspondent reports on why Iran is moving back toward talks with the international community and closer cooperation with U.N. nuclear inspectors. - 3/16/12

Iran and its neighbours' Artificial Islands
The Republic of Azerbaijan has been considering a project to create artificial islands in the Caspian Sea that would be the size of a city, with large residential, tourism and commercial centres to attract foreign investors and international tourists. - 3/16/12

Swift to Expel Iranian Banks After EU Ban
The world's largest electronic payment system says it will cut off Iranian banks blacklisted by the European Union, another step in the West's effort to further diminish Tehran's ability to finance its nuclear program. - 3/16/12

Southern California: Celebrate Nowruz 2012 with the homeless
Iranian-Americans will host a special celebration of Nowruz for over 2,000 residents of LA's Skid Row community at The Midnight Mission. This unique outdoor festival will feature a traditional Nowruz meal and delicacies as well as special performances by notable Iranian-American performers and dance ensembles. - 3/16/12

Florida - Iranian American Society of Daytona Beach Nowruz 2012
Saturday, March 24: Norouz Gala 1391 and Silk Road Dance Company. The evening includes a Cocktail Reception, Dinner and Dancing to DJ Borna. - 3/16/12

New York: Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York Navroze
Saturday March 31: ZAGNY & IZA will host a joint celebration function to celebrate Navroze and also Zarathushtra's birthday. This is the third such joint function in recent times. - 3/16/12

Momentum Shifts Against Iran War
US President Barack Obama did what few people expected him to do at the recent conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a hawkish pro-Israel group. He chose that moment to shift his strategy from out-hawking the hawks (which is next to impossible) to outsmarting them. -Trita Parsi, Al Monitor - 3/16/12

Epistle of Nowruz or Nowruznameh
Iranians knew that the sun has two major cycles. One is that it returns to the first minute of Aries after three hundred and sixty five days and a quarter of a day, but it cannot return on exactly the same day and time because the duration decreases continuously each year. When the Pishdadian King, Jamshid discovered that day, he called it Norouz and held a feast on that day. Other kings and people followed his example afterwards. -translated by Roya Monajem - 3/15/12

Photos: Shopping for the Persian New Year in Tehran
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. The arrival of new year also means new clothing, especially for children. -Vahid Sohrabi - 3/15/12

American Public Opposes Israel Striking Iran
A new poll finds that only one in four Americans favors Israel conducting a military strike against Iran's nuclear program. Seven in ten (69%) favor the US and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran, a position that is supported by majorities of Republicans (58%), Democrats (79%) and Independents (67%). -Program on International Policy Attitudes - 3/15/12

Middle East's biggest cable bridge inaugurated in Ahvaz
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday afternoon inaugurated a cable bridge, the biggest in the Middle East, in the city of Ahvaz in southwest Iran. The two-way bridge is 1,014 meters long and 22 meters wide, according to a report. - 3/15/12

Googoosh Nowruz 2012 Concerts
Googoosh's career in the performing arts has spanned 5 decades now. Googoosh was born on May 5th 1950 in Tehran. In 1966 she released "Ghessseyeh Vafa", this was to be the birth-point of a phenomenally successful career that would soon make her a household name and take her around the world. - 3/15/12

Virtual Music Ambassadors for Iran
The Department of State operates a program that sends American musicians overseas to provide a greater understanding of our society through music. This program evolved from the Jazz Ambassadors, a program established in 1955 by the U.S. Department of State, that sought to bridge existing differences between countries during the Cold War. -U.S. Virtual Embassy Tehran - 3/15/12

Iran's Farhadi to shoot next film in France
The acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi will shoot a French-language film in Paris next fall. The news was announced by Memento Films' Alexandre Mallet-Guy, who told the press that further details about the film will be released at the Cannes Film Festival in May. - 3/15/12

Iranian Labor Minister may be impeached over controversial appointment
A parliamentary report issued on January 10, 2010 blamed Saeed Mortazavi for sending 147 inmates, charged with involvement in the political unrest that occurred after the Iranian presidential election of June 2009, to the substandard Kahrizak detention center on July 9, 2009. - 3/15/12

Washington DC: The Navruz in D.C.
Sunday March 25, 2012: Celebrating Navruzi in Washington DC, having fun, dances, musics, sketches, games, food, and new friends and more. We will make it unforgettable event of the year, together. Join us, give us more ideas and support the Tajik Community for a better future. - 3/15/12

Ayatollah Rafsanjani retains leadership of Iran's Expediency Council
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been reappointed as the head of Iran's Expediency Council by the order of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. - 3/15/12

Top ten media failures in the Iran war debate
I did a brief interview for All Things Considered last Friday, on the topic of media handling of the current war scare over Iran. The interview got me thinking about the issue of media coverage of this whole business, and I'm sorry to say that most mainstream news organizations have let us down again. -Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy - 3/15/12

IEA Says Iran Oil Exports Could Fall 50 Percent
The International Energy Agency (IEA) claims that Iranian oil exports could fall by as much as 50 percent in July, when European sanctions over that country's nuclear program take full effect. - 3/15/12

BBC Accuses Iran Of Cyberattack
The BBC has suggested that a cyberattack against it on March 1 was part of Iranian efforts to disrupt the BBC's Persian Service, which along with other foreign broadcasters has long proved an irritant to the clerically dominated regime. - 3/15/12

Landmine explosion injures five in western Iran
Five employees of Iran's National Oil Company have been injured in a land mine explosion in the NaftShahr region of Ghasr-e Shirin Province. - 3/15/12

Photos: Chaharshanbeh-Suri Celebrations in Tehran
People in the capital city Tehran celebrated Chaharshanbeh-Suri on Tuesday night. Chaharshanbeh-Suri (festival of the last Wednesday) is an old tradition of Iranians practiced every last Tuesday night of Iranian calendar year. Iranian nation celebrate this evening by making fire and jumping over it, just a few days before the arrival of the Persian New Year Norouz. - 3/14/12

Photos: Chaharshanbeh-Suri Celebrations in Tabriz
People in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, celebrated Chaharshanbeh-Suri on Tuesday night. People leaped over the flames while shouting "your fiery red color is mine and my sickly yellow paleness is yours." -Mehrvarz Ahmadi - 3/14/12

New Bill Supports Direct Talks to Prevent U.S.-Iran War, Scraps "No Contact Policy"
A longstanding U.S. policy that prevents American diplomats from communicating with their Iranian counterparts is the focus of a new House bill aimed at reinvigorating U.S.-Iran diplomacy. -Beheshteh Farshneshani, NIAC - 3/14/12

Nothing Comes Between Iranians And Their Satellite Dishes -- Not Even The Police
For years now, the authorities in Iran have tried to crack down on the use of satellite dishes, which give Iranians access to foreign channels. The dishes are banned in the Islamic republic. Police officers spend a considerable amount of time searching for them, dismantling them, and confiscating them. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/14/12

Ahmadinejad Defends Leadership In Iranian Parliament Hearing
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has defended his leadership style in the first appearance by an Iranian president in parliament since the founding of the Islamic republic in 1979. - 3/14/12

Seattle: Iranian American Community Alliance Norooz 2012
Saturday March 24: The Iranian American Community Alliance is proud to present the Annual Norooz Celebration of 2012! Come enjoy great traditional Persian dance and music, followed by an amazing dance party. - 3/14/12

Report: Russia Tasked With Telling Tehran It 'Has Last Chance' To Avoid War
The Russian daily "Kommersant" reports that at a meeting at the UN on March 12, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to inform Iran that it has one last chance to negotiate and avoid war. - 3/14/12

Denmark: Nowrooz Iranian New Year Celebration
Saturday, March 17: Haji Firouz, the Kurdistan dance ensemble Rojan, and the best Iranian dance music by DJ Arya, and much more. - 3/14/12

Dallas: Parastoo NowRouz 2012 Festival
Saturday, March 24: For the past several years, a large group of Dallas Iranian Americans have been actively involved in the preparation of the NowRuz Festival. Hundreds of children and teenagers have participated in the Festival's artistic classes, including Persian dance, choir, theater, and music. They show off their new found skills by performing at the Festival. - 3/14/12

Asylum seekers arrested in Indonesia
Seventy-two Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers were arrested by Indonesian police while trying to cross from Loji to Australia's Christmas Island. - 3/14/12

Iran's South Pars gas field income reaches $40 billion in 2011
The Managing Director of the Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) Mousa Souri said South Pars gas field's income in 2011 reached $40 billion. - 3/14/12

BBC suffers sophisticated Iranian cyber-attack
The BBC, the largest broadcaster in the world, has suffered what is described as a "sophisticated" cyber-attack by the Iranian authorities against its Persian service, director-general Mark Thompson said. -ZDNet - 3/14/12

Washington DC: Nowruz Commission Gala
Nowruz Commission, an alliance of twelve cultures who celebrate Nowruz on the first day of Spring at the exact moment of vernal equinox as the beginning of a new year, announced its third annual gala event in Washington. The event will be held in the Hall of the Americas at the historal building of the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. - 3/13/12

Pars Equality Center to Host a Sold out Persian New Year Celebration
Pars Equality Center, the only nonprofit organization in the nation providing legal and social services to the Iranian American community, is hosting a sold out event to celebrate the Persian New Year Event on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel in Palo Alto at 7:00 PM. Over 500 Bay Area Iranian Americans will attend the event. - 3/13/12

Iran Authorities Block Ceremony To Honor Oscar-Winning Director
Iran's Ilna news agency reported that the planned ceremony -- for Asghar Farhadi and his film, "The Separation," which won Best Foreign Film at February's Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles -- was abruptly canceled on March 12 after organizers were denied the necessary permit. - 3/13/12

"Enemies of the Internet": Iran
The announced launching of Iran's "National Internet" has been widely covered in the media. Meanwhile the authorities have fortified filtering and their technical capacity to closely monitor the Web. Individuals and groups alike have been arrested in order to identify and neutralize dissident networks and intimate bloggers and journalists. - 3/13/12

Iranian human rights activist sentenced to five years and exile
Kouhyar Goudarzi, an Iranian journalist and human rights activist, has been sentenced to five years in jail and exile to Zabol. The Human Rights Reporters Committee reports that the sentence was issued on March 7 at the Revolutionary court. - 3/13/12

UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Receives Widespread Support in Human Rights Council
Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, presented his annual report today before the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Countries both in favor of and against the report, as well as Iran's representative, asked questions and expressed their opinions about its contents, the Council's future plans, and the Rapporteur's mandate. - 3/13/12

London: Victoria and Albert Museum's Night of Norouz
Friday March 30: Celebrate the ancient festival of the Spring Equinox, Norouz. Marking the Persian New Year, make merry with a programme of films, music, art and comedy. - 3/13/12

Northern California: An evening of music & poetry to celeberate spring, Baharaneh
Thursday April 12: Join us for a spring celebration of music with Persian-tuned pianist, Ramin Zoufonoun featuring his "Spring Suite" based on original compositions, arrangements of classical Persian songs about spring, as well cross-cultural pieces inspired by American Jazz and Iranian folk music, based on poetry by Rumi and Fereydun Moshiri. - 3/13/12

Mr. Khatami, Where is Your Redline?
Seyed Mohammad Khatami's last minute voting in the March 2 Iranian parliamentary election at a remote polling station was news at least as important as that of the manipulated election itself which was presented with conflicting statistical results. -Nooshabeh Amiri, Rooz - 3/13/12

Iranian MP raises possibility of replacing Ahmadinejad
Iranian MP Ahmad Tavakoli has announced that if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not reduce the frequency of his "errors, replacing him should not be delayed." - 3/13/12

The 0% Doctrine: Obama Breaks New Ground When It Comes to War With Iran
... President Obama commented forcefully on war, American-style, in ways that were remarkably radical. Although he was trying to ward off a threatened Israeli preemptive air strike against Iran, his comments should have shocked Americans -- but just about nobody noticed. -TomDispatch - 3/13/12

Iran is the world's 13th biggest car producer: report
Iranian car manufacturers produced 1.648 million cars in 2011, making the country number 13 in the world in terms of production, a recent report by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers said. - 3/13/12

Mollah Nassreddin's Blanket: That's What It's All About!
Mollah Nassreddin was resting in his loft when he heard a commotion down on the street below his window. He saw two people in what seemed to be a serious quarrel. He rushed down to mediate, and succeeded in separating the combatants. When he returned to his room he noticed that he was robbed of his blanket! -Kam Zarrabi - 3/12/12

Iranian MPs disagree over questioning of president in Parliament
Seven Iranian MPs want to tone down Parliament's stance regarding irregularities in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration, proposing that the president's questioning by Parliament on March 14 be changed to a "mutual exchange" to "discuss" current problems. - 3/12/12

Photos: Macaroni Bridge Lifts 261 Kilograms!
Last Wednesday Lorestan University in Khorramabad, western Iran, was the scene of macaroni bridges competitions between architecture students from across the province. - 3/12/12

New York: 9th Persian Day Parade 2012 & Chaharshanbeh Souri
Sunday April 15, Madison Avenue: The 9th Annual Persian Parade, will be held along the 12 blocks of Madison Avenue in New York City on April 15th, to showcase the great Persian Culture. - 3/12/12

Iranian Americans Give Back During Nowruz
The Iranian New Year, Nowruz, is a traditional time of giving for Iranian Americans. This year, it is an occasion for all Iranians to give back to the less fortunate members of their communities. It is in this spirit that the Iranian American community of Southern California is sharing the traditions of this festive time with the people of LA's Skid Row community. -Fardad Yazdi, PAAIA - 3/12/12

Former Tehran prosecutor to stand trial
Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran prosecutor, has reportedly been indicted for deaths and torture at the Kahrizak Detention Centre. The Tabnak website, a site linked to the security forces, reported on Sunday that Mortazavi has been charged with "complicity in murder", "violations of citizen rights" and "dishohouring Iran`s Security Forces. - 3/12/12

Iranian artists Haleh Jamali among finalists for Italy's Art Laguna prize
Haleh Jamali, an Iranian artist living and working in Edinburgh,Scotland, has been been shortlisted amongst the finalist for the Art Laguna prize. The finalist artists will show their artworks in the collective exhibition of the 6th International Arte Laguna Prize at the Arsenale of Venice from 17th March - 3/12/12

Another IAAB First: Camp JAVAN!
In response to widespread demand from parents in the Iranian American community, IAAB is pleased to announce Camp Javan, a middle school leadership camp for Iranian Americans. - 3/12/12

Toronto: Norouz 2012 Group Show
Saturday March 17: Queen Gallery is delighted to host our third annual exhibition in celebration of the Iranian New Year. This year we are bringing in a large collection of diverse artworks, including fine art, jewelry, and decorative Haft Sin items. - 3/12/12

Photos: Mashhad's Light Rail
The Mashhad Light Rail system is an urban rail network in Mashhad, second rapid transit system in Iran. The project has been known by a number of terms, including "light rail", "urban rail", and "metro". -Mehdi Bolourian - 3/12/12

Ex-Mossad chief: Iran's response to Israeli attack would be devastating
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said that an Israeli strike on Iran would lead to a missile attack on Israel that would have a "devastating impact" on the country, the Haaretz reported on its website. - 3/12/12

Virginia: George Mason University Norouz Show 1391
Saturday April 7: Come join the GMU Persian Club in celebrating the Norooz 1390 with our annual Norooz Show held in George Mason University's prestigious Center for the Arts building. Join us for a great time filled with amazing student talent: music, dancing, laughs, and singing. - 3/12/12

America Gets Stupid, Again, on Iran
It is estimated that up to a million people died as a function of George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq, which Bush later said was based on "faulty intelligence," the ex-president's way of passing the blame... Now, there is Iran -Lawrence Davidson, Common Dreams - 3/12/12

Iran must make move to rescue diplomacy
Iran should make a constructive offer now - before the new negotiations resume, possibly in early April. Iran needs to make a practical and positive move to support diplomacy and avert a possible war. The risk of war could increase if negotiations should fail. The crescendo of drumbeats of war last week has been deafening. -R.K. Ramazani - 3/11/12

Iranian author Simin Daneshvar laid to rest
Eminent Iranian author Simin Daneshvar was laid to rest in the Artists Section of Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery on Sunday morning. Literati and cultural figures accompanied Daneshvar to her final resting place during funeral procession that started from the Vahdat Hall. - 3/11/12

Academic Program Brought Iranian Students to U.S.
A university in Indiana and the University of Tehran (UT) have completed a student exchange program that brought 45 Iranian engineering students to the United States. The program got under way in fall 2007 with the arrival of five Iranian students on the IUPUI campus. -Phillip Kurata - 3/11/12

Chicago: Nowruz Parade 2012
Saturday, March 31 in Downtown: For the first time, the light poles in downtown Chicago will be decorated with official Nowruz banners! - 3/11/12

The Impact of Sanctions on Iranian Americans: Submit Your Stories
In a collaborated effort with the Asian Law Caucus (ALC), NIAC is calling on Iranian Americans whose personal, family, business, or charitable affairs have been impact by sanctions to submit YOUR stories for a forthcoming ALC report on the impact of sanctions on our community. - 3/11/12

Do you know what it means to be destitute?
Akbar Falahzadeh describes the deteriorating situation for workers in the Islamic Republic with ever-rising inflation, the decline of the manufacturing sector and mismanagement of the economy. - 3/11/12

Texas: Persian Cultural Center Norooz 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 7:30PM: Join us for Norooz celeberation, food, music, dance and theatre - 3/11/12

Southern California: UC Irvine Nowruz 1391 Celebration
Monday, March 19: Nowruz is the most significant festival in Iranian culture and is extensively celebrated by Iranian families throughout the history. Society of Iranian Graduate Students at UCI, is going to be part of this world wide celebration and has planned a fantastic event for Nowruz 1391 (2012). - 3/11/12

Iranian researchers simulate 3D proteins in HIV case
Iranian scientists succeeded to simulate the three-dimensional structure of the proteins efficient in penetration of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) into body. - 3/11/12

Netanyahu: No Israeli Strike on Iran in 'Days or Weeks'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will give international sanctions against Iran a chance to work, and is not planning an attack on its nuclear facilities in the coming "days or weeks." - 3/11/12

Iran Increases Wheat Imports
Reuters reports that Iran has purchased 300,000 tons of wheat from Russia and Kazakhstan. Recently, Iran also bought 120 thousand tons of wheat from the United States. In 2008, Iran resumed buying U.S. wheat for the first time in 27 years. In 2009, Iran bought 900,000 tons of wheat from the U.S. for $365 million. - 3/11/12

Iran slams UN human rights report
The 36-page report documents the cases of numerous victims of human rights violation, as well as accounts of violations of the rights of women, labour unions, human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, journalists, students, religious and ethnic minorities, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. - 3/11/12

Iran sets $75 billion target for non-oil exports for next fiscal year
Iran plans to export $75 billion worth of non-oil goods in the next Iranian calendar year, which starts on March 20, Deputy Industry, Mines and Trade Minister Hamid Safdel has announced. - 3/11/12

Iranian Women's Rights Activists Say No To War
Amid talk of possible military strikes from Israel or the United States, a number of Iranian women rights activists have taken to the web to express concern that war, and even the specter of war, exposes the country's females in particular to increased poverty, hardship, and discrimination. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/10/12

Netanyahu Invokes Holocaust and Threats to Americans in Iran AIPAC Speech
"Netanyahu also invoked the Jewish Purim tale, the holiday of Purim, comparing Ahmadinejad to Haman, a Syrian king who's the villain in this tale, who seeks to threaten the Hebrews of the Bible. And he called Haman a Persian anti-Semite, and presented Esther, the queen who was sort of the hero of this tale, as, you know, a modern hero, ignoring that Esther was also Persian." -TRNN - 3/10/12

Iran: Mothers of Laleh Park denounce persecution of activists
Zamaneh reports that the Mothers of Laleh Park released a statement saying: "While the possibility of a humane life is evaporating for Iranian people and especially freedom seekers, the criminals are rising in stature, and there are no fair courts answerable to the people." - 3/10/12

Iran: Quash Convictions and Free Rights Advocates
Iran's judiciary should immediately overturn a lower court ruling against a lawyer sentenced to 18 years in prison for his human rights activities and set him free, Human Rights Watch said today. - 3/10/12

Photos: Iran's Farhadi Returns Home After Oscar Win
Farhadi stepped in Tehran as accompanied by his family Saturday after winning the Academy Award for "A Separation" and making the Iranian nation happy. He visited Paris after his trip to the U.S. where he aims to make his next film. - 3/10/12

Do Iranian Americans Support or Oppose Military Action Against Iran's Nuclear Facilities
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) announced today that it has again commissioned Zogby Research Services to conduct a follow-up nationwide scientific survey of Iranian Americans on their views over military action against Iran. - 3/10/12

Parsing Supreme Leader Khamenei's Rare Praise For Obama
In a burst of rare praise, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has made approving comments about Barack Obama's discouragement of what the U.S. president called "loose talk of war" with Iran over its suspect nuclear facilities. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/10/12

Top Military, Intelligence Officials Join NIAC in Warning Against Iran War in Full-Page Washington Post Ad
A full-page ad in Washington Post's Monday March 5th edition featured top former military and intelligence officials urging President Obama to resist the pressure for a war of choice with Iran. - 3/10/12

Sanctions against Iran reviewed by European Parliament
The European Parliament held a meeting on March 8 to reflect on the impact of sanctions against Iran driven by human rights concerns. The meeting focused on the Islamic Republic's failure to improve its behavior around human rights abuses, even in the face of those punitive international sanctions. - 3/10/12

Fate Of Jerusalem Key to Mideast Peace
The flurry of diplomacy and talk of war in recent weeks by the United States, Iran and Israel has overshadowed what has been a central issue in the Middle East for more than four decades - the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. - 3/10/12

Dr. Milad Pooran's Campaign for U.S. Congress Gains Momentum
Things have been moving fast and furiously at Dr. Milad Pooran's campaign for 6th Congressional District of Maryland. Thanks to the help of so many supporters, Dr. Pooran has made great strides in reaching voters with his message of change and independence. - 3/10/12

If Iran attacked it will launch 11,000 missiles at Israel, US: envoy
Tehran's ambassador to Lebanon says Iran has prepared itself to launch about 11,000 missiles at Israel and U.S. bases in the region if they do a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Lebanese media reported. - 3/10/12

Iran, India set trade goal of $25 billion in four years
Tehran and New Delhi plan to hit $25 billion in annual bilateral trade in the next four years, said Joint Secretary of the Indian Commerce Ministry Arvind Mehta, while heading an 80-member trade delegation to Iran. - 3/10/12

NIAC's Jamal Abdi: AIPAC-backed resolutions are 'blank check for war'
Amidst the incessant Israeli war mongering over Iran last weekend, the Occupy AIPAC counter-summit tried to insert some reality into the discussion. A March 5 press conference at the National Press Club was one attempt to do that, as former State Department official Ann Wright and retired U.S. Navy Commander Leah Bolger spoke out against Israeli and U.S. policy on Iran. -Alex Kane, Mondoweiss - 3/10/12

The iconic Persian writer Simin Daneshvar Passes Away in Tehran
Simin Daneshwar, of the greatest Persian female writers passes away in Tehran. The most famous work of Daneshvar was the roman "Suvashun" which was translated into 17 languages including English, German and Dutch in 1990s. - 3/9/12

A Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons in Western Asia: Why It Would Be in the Long-Term Interest of Both Iran and Israel
Undoubtedly, urgent action towards de-escalation is needed in order to avoid the outbreak of a military confrontation with Iran. What governs the present crisis is the presumed logic of collision in a conflict around nuclear monopoly versus deterrence. -Ali Fathollah-Nejad - 3/9/12

Demanding Intrusive Inspections While Threatening
Contrary to inaccurate and biased US media reports, Iran is in fact in full compliance of its obligations under the IAEA's Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Even the latest IAEA report cannot deny this fact, but the US media, in a misleading effort, insists on reporting only those areas that the IAEA has put on its wish list for Iran to fulfill which is commonly referred to as Possible Military Dimensions or PMD. -Nader Bagherzadeh - 3/9/12

In A Switch, Iran's Hard-Line Cyberactivists Criticize Government Censorship
Blocking online content and arresting online journalists and bloggers has long been one of the main ways the Iranian regime strikes back at critics and opponents. In recent months, though, filtering appears to have been used increasingly as a tool in the ongoing power struggle within Iran's conservative camp. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/9/12

Photos: Welcoming Spring in Qom
The people and officials in the city of Qom in central Iran, in preparation of the arrival of Spring and Persian New Year (Norouz), participated in clean-up of the entrance to the city and surrounding areas on Friday. -Abolfazl Mahrokh - 3/9/12

Group Painting Exhibition for benefit of Cancer Charities at Seyhoun Art Gallery
Thursday March 15th: Participating Artists: Nasser Azizi, Bahram Dabiri, Jamshir Haghighat Shenass, Pooneh Jafarinejad, Parviz Kalantari, Leila Khatibi, Hossein Maher, Abdolhamid Pazoki and Mohammad Ali Traaghijah - 3/9/12

Iranian Software Designer Saeed Malekpour In Imminent Danger Of Execution
Last month, several of his cellmates released a statement calling for a re-examination of his case, declaring that he has repeatedly reassured them that his confessions were made under torture, adding that his body still carries the marks of his ordeal. - 3/9/12

Southern California: Nowruz at Balboa Park
Sunday March 18: The lawn program is held every year on a Sunday around the Persian New Year, which is the day of the vernal equinox. The new year is marked at the very instant when the sun leaves the astrological sign of Pisces and enters the sign of Aries. - 3/9/12

'Shahs of Sunset' stirs concerns among Iranian Americans
With U.S.-Iran tensions high, many worry about how 'Shahs of Sunset,' a reality TV show on Bravo, will portray their community. -LA Times - 3/9/12

Dubai: Magic of Persia's Norouz Concert
Thursday March 22: Magic of Persia will be hosting a Nowrouz Concert at The One and Only Royal Mirage, including performances by the Shanbehzadeh Ensemble, followed by a special performance by the Googoosh Music Academy winner, Mehran Attash. - 3/9/12

U.S. Says Iranian General Instrumental In Afghan Drug Traffic
The United States has named a general in Iran's elite Al-Quds force as a key figure in trafficking heroin from Afghanistan. The U.S. Treasury designated General Gholamreza Baghbani, who runs the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force office in Zahedan, near the Afghan border, as a narcotics "kingpin." - 3/9/12

The Media and Iran
The sorry state of American journalism is on full display in the coverage by the corporate media of the ongoing crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear fuel program. The leaders of both Israel and the U.S. have publicly threatened to attack Iran ... -Dave Lindorff, Counterpunch - 3/9/12

Tehran Housing Boom Is Last Resort for Iran's Savers Squeezed by Sanctions
Iranians are turning to real estate to protect savings, helping fuel a building boom in the capital, as international sanctions weaken the rial and the government curbs foreign- currency and gold purchases. -Ladane Nasseri, Bloomberg - 3/9/12

Pulling Back The Veil On Iran's Parliamentary Elections
Officially, the Iranian government has boasted of a turnout of more than 64 percent-and touted the figure as a rebuke to "enemies" (both domestic and foreign) that have sought to dishearten voters. But that number is deeply suspect; -Ilan Berman, Forbes - 3/9/12

UN Report Documents "Striking Pattern of Violations" in Iran
Shaheed's 36-page report concludes that it has "catalogued allegations that produce a striking pattern of violations of fundamental human rights." It includes several recommendations to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It specifically calls "for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and calls upon the government to protect the space for public criticism or advocacy." - 3/8/12

Iranian women second in Kabbadi World Cup
Iran finished at second place in the first Women's Kabaddi World Cup Championship in India on Sunday. The Indian clinched the title by beating Iran 25-19 at the Patlipura Sports Complex at Kankerbagh in Patna. - 3/8/12

Shidvar Island: A safe haven for the sea turtles
Shidvar Island, with an area of 80 hectares, lies southeast of Lavan Island in Hormuzgan Province. The island is one of the most important nesting sites of sea turtles in Iran, especially the Hawksbill Turtles. - 3/8/12

Iran's Supreme Leader Hails Obama Remarks
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has welcomed recent comments by U.S. President Barack Obama emphasizing diplomacy -- not military action -- to resolve the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program. - 3/8/12

Iran's Sepahan defeats UAE's Al Nasr in Asian Champions League
Sepahan opened the 2012 Asian Champions League (ACL) group stage with a win over Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates. Also, Iran's Esteghlal defeated Al Rayyan of Qatar 1-0 thanks to a late goal by Goran Jerkovic in the 2012 Asian Champions League (ACL) group stage on Tuesday. - 3/8/12

First Professor Aqabozorg Awards: Shahnameh experts honored
The winners of the first edition of the Aqabozorg Awards, which are dedicated to experts on Iranian poet Ferdowsi and his epic masterpiece the Shahnameh (Book of Kings), were announced on Tuesday. - 3/8/12

Chicago - Children's Museum Norooz
March 8-10: Visitors are introduced to the traditional Persian New Year spread, Haft Seen-Haft Sheen, egg painting, music and dancing, and a special visit from Amoo Norooz, or "Uncle New Year." - 3/8/12

Iran: Ahmadinejad establishes constitutional watchdog
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has established a Supervisory Committee for the constitution, despite opposition from the Guardian Council, which is already the supervisory body in the Islamic Republic system. - 3/8/12

Boston: Iranian Association of Boston Celebrates Norouz 1391
Saturday, March 17: Join Iranian Association of Boston, Pouya , Aftab Dance Group and DJ Kamran to celeberate Norouz. - 3/8/12

Northern California: 15th annual Norouz Show at UC Davis
Sunday, March 11: In celebration of the Iranian new year, the Iranian Student Cultural & Aesthetic Organization (ISCAO) invites you to join us for an unforgettable evening of Iranian music and dancing performed by UC Davis Students. - 3/8/12

Jailed Iranian activist gets human rights award
The Harald Edelstam Foundation today presents the name of the Laureate of the first Edelstam Prize, Mrs. Bahareh Hedayat. She has dared to play a leading role in the student's movement as in the women's rights movement in Iran, and has been an active critic of Iran's regime and President Ahmadinejad. - 3/8/12

World Powers Urge Iran Towards Nuclear Talks
A group of six world powers has called on Iran to enter talks on its controversial nuclear program without preconditions. At a board meeting of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Thursday, the group known as the P5+1 said that the process should be a "serious dialogue" that produces "concrete results." - 3/8/12

Regional Links, Karabakh Top Agenda Of Azerbaijani, Turkish, Iranian Meeting
The visiting foreign ministers of Turkey and Iran have held talks with their Azerbaijani counterpart on a broad range of issues that include disputed Nagorno-Karabakh and measures that could boost mutual ties. - 3/8/12

Iran's Supreme Leader Wants More Supervision In Cyber Space
Ayatollah Khamenei today issued an order to establish a Supreme Council for Cyber Space and also appointed its members. Iranian media report that Iran's Supreme Leader called on all government bodies to cooperate with the new council. - 3/7/12

Topless Iranian Women 'Say No To Political Islam'
This video of topless Europe-based Iranian women is making the rounds. They say in the video that their nudity "is a 'no' to political Islam." - 3/7/12

Jailed Iranian Blogger Khazali Intensifies Hunger Strike
There is growing concern over the fate of jailed blogger Mehdi Khazali, who has reportedly been on hunger strike over his detention for some 60 days. His defiance has turned him into a hero of Iran's opposition movement, and Khazali vowed to continue his strike until he is released. - 3/7/12

'Impossible Music Sessions' Put Spotlight On Censorship
The fifth and most recent of 'The Impossible Music Sessions" was staged this week in Brooklyn on March 3. Hardcore fans of music and freedom gathered to hear songs by Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad. But Aramnejad himself was not available to perform. He is currently in prison for composing songs against the Iranian regime. - Courtney Brooks - 3/7/12

The Iran Heritage Fellowship in the Arts of Iran
As part of its Institutional Partnerships Programme, Iran Heritage Foundation is supporting a Fellowship in the Arts of Iran at the Freer and Sackler Galleries (Washington D.C.). - 3/7/12

Obama Says Diplomacy Can Still Work With Iran
U.S. President Barack Obama says the expected resumption of talks between world powers and Iran over the country's suspect nuclear program provides another "window of opportunity" for a diplomatic solution to the standoff. - 3/7/12

FBI Offers $1 Million in Ex-Agent's Iran Disappearance
The United States is offering a rare $1 million reward for information leading to the safe return of a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who vanished in Iran five years ago and is believed to be held hostage in the area. - 3/7/12

Texas - Iranian Cultural Foundation Celebrates Nowruz Festival
Sunday March 18, 2012: Join us for our annual celebration of the first day of Spring. Please invite all of your friends as well. Bring your friends to Discovery Green, and let's celebrate one of the oldest continuous festivals in human history together. - 3/7/12

Southern California - International Society for Children with Cancer Nowruz Bazaar
Sunday March 11, 2012: Please join ISCC in celebrating the arrival of Persian New Year by attending our Nowruz Bazaar & Ghollak Shekan supporting underprivileged children suffering from cancer. - 3/7/12

Virginia: IP Society of Iranian Americans Norouz Ball 2012
aturday, March 10, 2012: The Intellectual Property Society of Iranian Americans (IPSIA) will begin celebrating Norouz, the Persian New Year, at the USPTO with a series of cultural events, including a Norouz Ball. - 3/7/12

Iranian scientist creates gas-filled aspirin to fight cancer
Iranian-American Khosrow Kashfi, Associate Medical Professor and Chemistry, Physiology and Pharmacology Coordinator at the City College of New York, has developed gas-filled aspirin drug which can boost its cancer-fighting ability. - 3/7/12

Motive for Iranian student's killing a mystery
Homicide detectives here say they are exploring every possible avenue, as they investigate the assassination-style killing of an Iranian dissident in mid-January. Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30, was shot and killed on January 15 as she drove her father's car home just before midnight. -CNN - 3/7/12

Ahmadinejad Eclipsed as Iran's Vote Goes to the Ayatullah
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the Iranian leader Americans most love to hate, and he's not doing so well back home, either. Ahmadinejad was the big loser in Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday, the results of which show a solid victory for the hard-line supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei. -Babak Dehghanpisheh, TIME - 3/7/12

Iranian teenager Tara loves covering Adele, but where female singers are banned, she is both talented AND brave
The video below begins like so many others on YouTube, a teenage girl laughing with friends as she prepares to show the world her version of a hit made famous by her idol. And in her spine-tingling cover of Adele's Someone Like You, Tara, 13, showcases a powerful voice beyond her years - but this particular clip is remarkable for another reason. -Daily Mail - 3/7/12

Noose tightens around Iranian oil exports
Concern about spiraling oil ­prices lay behind the administration's initial hesitancy to embrace sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, which facilitates Iran's foreign oil sales. -Reuters - 3/7/12

Photos: Environmentalists Protecting Migratory Birds in Northern Iran
The wetlands around the Caspian Sea town of Sorkhroud in northern Iran host thousands of migrantory birds in the winter. Some of these birds are caught by the local fisherman. The town's environmentalists buy the birds that have been caught alive, provide them shelter and then release them back into the wild. -Aboutaleb Nadri - 3/6/12

Iran Offers To Resume Nuclear Talks, Allow Inspectors Into Military Site
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have agreed to a proposal from Iran to resume talks on Tehran's nuclear program. EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is the contact person for the group, announced on March 6 she had responded to a February letter from Iranian nuclear negotiator Said Jalili proposing new discussions. - 3/6/12

Iran: Female students suspended over hijab violations
More than 10 female students at Iran University of Science and Technology (Elm va Sanat) have been suspended from their classes for "failure to adhere to the Islamic dress code." - 3/6/12

Persian New Year, Nowruz 2012 - 1391 Times
Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Iranian year. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, the start of spring in the northern hemisphere. - 3/6/12

Obama Meets Netanyahu
But he (Obama) was very careful to break very clearly, if you were watching for it, from the Israeli position. The Israeli position is to demand U.S. backing or U.S. leadership or U.S. participation in a military strike against Iran if Iran reaches the point of nuclear capability, which Israel says it's already reached. The U.S. doesn't agree with that. - 3/6/12

Controversial family law passes in Iranian Parliament
Iran's Parliament has passed Article 22 of the controversial family protection act requiring the registration of temporary marriages. The article has been amended however to make registration of temporary marriages only obligatory in certain cases such as those invovling a pregnancy. - 3/6/12

Jailed Iranian Journalist Harassed at Hospital
Issa Saharkhiz, an Iranian political prisoner currently hospitalized for heart complications, received a surprise visit on Monday from a group of government plainclothes officers, which caused the activist's medical condition to deteriorate. - 3/6/12

Iran Overturns Death Sentence for Former US Marine
Iranian state media is reporting that the Supreme Court has overturned a death sentence for a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen convicted of spying for the CIA. - 3/6/12

Video: Iranian Cinema Under Siege
The recent Academy Award for the Iranian film A Separation has once again put Iranian cinema in the spotlight for its original and innovative storytelling and reflection of daily societal issues. This international acclaim comes at the same time as the Iranian government continues its increased targeting and persecution of Iranian actors and filmmakers. - 3/6/12

New York - Iranian American Society of New York Nowruz Gala
Saturday March 24, 2012 - Join the Iranian American Society of New York and Jamshid Alimorad for Nowruz Gala - 3/6/12

Michigan: The University of Michigan's cultural show
Saturday, March 31, 2012 - The University of Michigan's Persian Students Association Presents "Soul va Safah" Peace and Happiness - The 2012 PSA Cultural Show - 3/6/12

New Jersey: Banou's Annual Nowruz Gala 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012 - Join Banou organization's Nowruz 2012 Gala for cocktail, dinner, and prizes. Musical guest is Faramarz Asef. Banou Inc. ("Banou") is a non-profit, non-political, and non-religious charitable organization - 3/6/12

Netanyahu Says All Options Available to Prevent a Nuclear Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country cannot afford to wait much longer for diplomacy and sanctions to deter Iran's nuclear program. Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, Prime Minister Netanyahu said all options are on the table to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. - 3/6/12

IAEA Mulls Solutions to Iran Nuclear Impasse
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog says Iran's nuclear program and its possible military dimensions remain a serious concern. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano's remarks come as U.S. and Israeli leaders meet on Iran in Washington. -VOA - 3/6/12

Debate: Attacking Iran, AIPAC, Israel-Palestine and Obama with Rashid Khalidi and Jonathan Tobin
AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, President Obama addressed the influential pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, emphasizing the U.S., quote, "will not hesitate" to use force to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. -Democracy Now - 3/6/12

Iran: Ahmadinejad administration accused of financial violation
The spokesman for the commission maintained that the crude revenues at the end of September were $53.02 billion but only $51.02 billion of that has been collected by the Central Bank. - 3/6/12

Keith Ellison and Walter Jones stand up for diplomatic engagement with Iran
The media war fever for military confrontation with Iran has grown so great that even the media noticed. Writing in the New York Times, Scott Shane asked the reasonable question: How is it that we're having such war fever with Iran, when polls show that after 10 years, the US public is weary of war? - Robert Naiman, Al Jazeera - 3/6/12

Republicans, Netanyahu and Iranian Children
"Attack Iran, Bomb Iran" is the monotonously uttered mantra of three out of the four Republican candidates whose foreign policy seems to involve one country alone. Concerned about an unborn fetus, the sanctity of life, and the usage of contraception -- as if all other problems have been resolved -- they and their constituents neglect to mention that if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked, what kind of environmental impact it will have on Iranians. -Fariba Amini - 3/5/12

A Letter from the Leading Actor of "A Separation" to Asghar Farhadi
When Angelina Jolie asked you about your next film and plainly said she wanted to be in your film and when you answered her by saying that your leading actress would be speaking French and she said that she could learn French by the time you start making your film, I simply felt proud. - 3/5/12

Khamenei Reigns Supreme In Parliamentary Polls
Early returns from the country's March 2 parliamentary polls show candidates closest to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei taking a majority of the 290 seats in the legislature. That could mean the further consolidation of power for the supreme leader at the expense of populist President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who has been locked in a power struggle against Khamenei. - 3/5/12

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Given 18-Year Prison Term, Wife Says
Iranian human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to his wife. Masoumeh Dehghan added that her husband has been banned from practicing law for 20 years. - 3/5/12

USA-Southern California: 2012 Nowruz Celebration at LACMA
For the last four years, Farhang Foundation has proudly hosted one of the biggest Nowruz (Iranian New Year) celebrations in Los Angeles. This year, our 4th Annual Nowruz Celebration at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), taking place on Sunday, March 18, 2012, will be bigger and better than ever. - 3/5/12

Obama: Diplomacy Top Option on Iran
President Barack Obama says the United States will use every element of its power, including military force if necessary, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Mr. Obama addressed the largest pro-Israel group in the United States on Sunday on the eve of his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. - 3/5/12

Photos: Migratory Swans in Sorkhroud, northern Iran
In the recent years, during winter about 5000 swans migrate from Siberia to the wetlands of the Caspian town of Sorkhroud in northern Iran. The swans return back to Siberia after the the cold ends. -Mohsen Rezapour - 3/5/12

Shades of doubt and shapes of hope: Colors in Iranian culture
From the realm of cultures and traditions, colors have also found their way into the day-to-day language of the Iranian people. Of the many words and expressions composed with colors, we bring you a few examples. -Maryam Ala Amjadi - 3/5/12

International Football Association Board approves hijab
The eight-man International Football Association Board has given the green light to Islamic female footballers that wish to wear the hijab, or headscarf, during matches. The IFAB agreed in principle in Bagshot, south of London, on Saturday to overturn the decision they took in 2007. - 3/5/12

Vancouver: Canadian Iranian Foundation Norouz Gala and Bazzar 2012
The Canadian Iranian Foundation & North Vancouver Recreation Commission proudly present: THE 5th ANNUAL SPRING FESTIVAL. Sunday March 11 and Saturday March 24 - 3/5/12

London - Iran Heritage Foundation's Norouz Gala 2012
Saturday 17th March 2012 - Grosvenor House, Park Lane: Iran Heritage Foundation cordially invites you to celebrate Norouz. The evening's programme will include Sattar, Vida Edalat & Saba Ensemble, DJ and an exciting auction - 3/5/12

Iran researchers succeed in early diagnosis of breast cancer
Iranian researchers succeeded in early diagnosis of breast cancer through designing a computer-Aided Detection (CAD) system to conduct sievev mammography and examine computerized images of the mammography. - 3/5/12

Khatami tries to justify his election surprise
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has attempted to justify his decision to cast a vote on Friday in Iran's parliamentary elections despite an apparent consensus among reformist groups that the elections should be boycotted. - 3/5/12

Iran may stop oil exports to Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands
The Iranian Oil Ministry has given ultimatums to certain European countries including Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Spain, Belgium and the Czech Republic setting new conditions for buying the Iranian oil. - 3/5/12

Ahmadinejad's Supporters Defeated in Parliamentary Election
Iranian conservative critics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have defeated his supporters in most of the parliamentary seats whose winners have been declared in the country's parliamentary election. - 3/4/12

Photos: Looking for couple of Goldfish for Haftsin
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. These photos show the people in Sari, norhtern province of Mazandaran, shopping for goldfish. -Mohsen Rezapour - 3/4/12

Dark Matter Core Defies Explanation
Astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Telescope have observed what appears to be a clump of dark matter left behind from a wreck between massive clusters of galaxies. The result could challenge current theories about dark matter that predict galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance even during the shock of a collision. - 3/4/12

Obama, Netanyahu to Hold Critical Talks on Iran Options
President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet at the White House on Monday to discuss Iran. President Obama made his strongest comments yet about options regarding Iran amid ongoing intense global concerns about a possible pre-emptive Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear sites. - 3/4/12

What Are Iran's Intentions?
The media resound with warnings about a likely Israeli attack on Iran while the U.S. hesitates, keeping open the option of aggression-thus again routinely violating the U.N. Charter, the foundation of international law. -Noam Chomsky - 3/4/12

Former Iranian President To Defend Decision To Vote
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, a major reformist figure, has announced that he will soon make a public explanation for his decision to cast a vote in Friday's parliamentary elections. - 3/4/12

Lecture and "Persia in Crisis" book signing at the Library of Congress
The decline and fall of Safavid Iran is traditionally seen as the natural outcome of the unrelieved political stagnation and moral degeneration which characterized late Safavid Iran. Persia in Crisis challenges this view. In this ground-breaking new book, Rudi Matthee revisits traditional sources and introduces new ones to take a fresh look at Safavid Iran in the century preceding the fall of Isfahan in 1722, which brought down the dynasty and ushered in a long period of turbulence in Iranian history. - 3/4/12

Threatening Iran
Under the Nuremberg Principles, later incorporated into the United Nations Charter, to which the United States is a signatory, the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, which is defined as a war started against another nation that does not pose an imminent threat of attack on the aggressor nation or nations, is the highest of war crimes... -Dave Lindorff, My Catbird Seat - 3/4/12

An review of the book "A Hundred Years Of Film Adverts And Film Posters In Iran"
The main aim of this book is to express the nature of poster and its dual role, both as an object of art in its own right, and as a mean to promote the film and express its theme, and with such a definition the book explores the contribution of posters throughout the history of Iranian cinema. -Kiomars Vejdani - 3/4/12

NYU Student Film Needs Persian Actors
An NYU student thesis film is looking for actors who speak fluent Persian and English. The film will be shooting in the Washington, DC area from April 12th to April 19th. The crew is based in New York. - 3/4/12

Tehran will see second round of elections
Parliamentary elections in Tehran will have to be taken to a second round because most candidates failed to receive a quarter of the votes. - 3/4/12

Iranian President's Rivals Increase Parliamentary Election Lead
Conservative rivals of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad appear to have extended their lead in Iran's parliamentary election. With 90 percent of ballot boxes counted, loyalists of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are expected to occupy more than three-quarters of the 290 seats in parliament, according to unofficial estimates. - 3/4/12

Photos: Iranian Opposition Says Voter Turnout Was Low
Kaleme website wrote: "Tehran streets were in some locations full of people engaged in New Year's shopping for Norooz, oblivious to the many polling stations ready to take their votes." Foreign media reported that their correspondents were taken directly to certain polling stations and forbidden from freely moving about the city in order to report on the elections. - 3/3/12

Tallying The Turnout In Iran's Elections
For the Iranian establishment, the turnout in the March 2 parliamentary elections is key. Iran needs a high turnout to claim public support and domestic stability at a time when it faces unprecedented diplomatic pressure and discontent at home. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said before the vote that the elections were the most critical in years. - 3/3/12

Iranian scientist arrested in U.S. denies charges: report
In an email interview, Atarodi said that he spends most of his time confined to his brother's Los Angeles-area home awaiting trial. A court official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Atarodi was released after posting $460,000 bond and has been ordered to wear a tracking device. - 3/3/12

Photos: Women's Islamic Iranian fashion festival opens in Tehran
The 1st Fajr Fashion Festival, offering a variety of the latest Islamic-Iranian designs, opened on the evenening of Wednesday February 29, 2012 in Tehran's Hejab Hall in the presence of the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance. - 3/3/12

Iran's scientist builds world's smallest radio station
Scientists at ETH Zurich and Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen led by Iranian Professor Vahid Sandoghdar have shown that even one flying photon can interact with a single atom or molecule. - 3/3/12

Early Iran Returns Show President's Conservative Foes Ahead
Supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were reported ahead in several constituencies, with the younger sister of Ahmadinejad, Parvin Ahmadinejad, said to be heading for a loss in their hometown of Garmsar. - 3/3/12

What the Iranian Nuclear Issue Needs
Today, we can identify three approaches to resolving Iran's nuclear issue. The first approach is that of diplomacy. In the current circumstances, it seems that this approach is gradually opening its way and gaining momentum after the agreement to pursue bilateral negotiations on the issue. -Mohammad Farhad Koleini - 3/3/12

The Jewelry of Behnaz Jalali
Born in 1978 Behnaz Jalali grew up under the influence of her grandfather, an outstanding calligrapher. She soon became deeply involved in painting and calligraphy and went on to study art in her university years. -Gallery Mamak - 3/3/12

Obama 'Not Bluffing' On Iran's Nuclear Program
In an interview with "The Atlantic" published on March 2, Obama said diplomacy and sanctions against Iran should be given a chance to convince Iran to curb its nuclear program. But he also told the magazine that if that fails, "all options are on the table," including a "military component." - 3/3/12

The Ayatollah is Right About One Thing: Nuclear Weapons are Sinful
Given my own deep prejudice toward religious zealotry, it has not been difficult for me to accept the conventional American view that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme theocratic ruler of Iran, is a dangerous madman never to be trusted with a nuclear weapon. -Robert Scheer, truthdig - 3/3/12

Photos: Iranians Vote in Parliamentary Elections
Friday's election, which is the first since the disputed 2009 presidential election, is being boycotted by Iran's main opposition and reformists groups. Iran's conservative government and clerical leaders have pursued a crackdown on the reformist movement since it staged mass protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election. - 3/2/12

Photos: Iran's March 2nd Parliamentary Elections
Iranians across the country are choosing a new parliament, in a vote seen as a test between conservatives who support and others who oppose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some 3,400 candidates are vying for seats in the 290-member parliament. More than 48 million Iranians are eligible to vote in Friday's election. - 3/2/12

Iranians Go To Polls In National Elections
The election is the first major Iranian vote since the disputed reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which sparked mass protests and a government crackdown on the reformist Green Movement. - 3/2/12

Iran's Parliamentary Elections Could Spell End For Ahmadinejad
The March 2 vote cannot unseat Ahmadinejad, of course; and with no reformist voice in the poll there is no doubt that the conservative establishment will rule the day. But it is within that establishment that cracks have emerged, and where analysts suggest that Ahmadinejad's opponents are poised to make gains. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 3/2/12

Iran Elections: 48 million voters denied information, 48 journalists denied freedom
As a result of in-fighting among the regime's clans and tension between Iran and the international community, these elections have been marked by threats and fear. Messages posted on billboards in the major cities say "If you don't participate in the elections, the westerners will attack the country" and "If the turnout is not more than 50 per cent, United- States will attack Iran." - 3/2/12

Election turnout grows: Iranian Official
A spokesman for the Guardian Council says participation in the ninth parliamentary elections has gone up by at least eight or nine percent compared to the last parliamentary elections. - 3/2/12

Could Israel Take Out Iran's Nuclear Sites? Experts Say Perhaps, But...
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to Washington next week to discuss his country's heightened concern over Iran's nuclear program. Israeli officials have warned of a possible preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, but the U.S. is trying to dissuade Israel from such action. -Gary Thomas, VOA - 3/2/12

UN Urges FIFA To Overturn Hijab Ban
The ban was introduced five years ago. Iran had to forfeit an Olympic women's qualifier against Jordan last June because Iranian players reportedly refused to play without the hijab. - 3/2/12

US Motorists Fume, Politicians Bicker Over High Fuel Prices
Speculators have bid up the price of oil amid tensions surrounding Iran, a major supplier of crude, and signs of a U.S. economic recovery expected to boost demand for energy. U.S. domestic oil production is up, but America's capacity to convert crude into gasoline is not. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 3/2/12

US Congressional Resolution on Baluchistan Creates Uproar in Pakistan
A provocative resolution by an American congressman calling for the secession of Pakistan's largest province has gone virtually unnoticed by much of the international media, but it has caused an uproar in Pakistan. - 3/2/12

Netanyahu Coming to Washington to Demand Obama Commit to Military Action
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is headed to Washington next week for the annual meeting of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. While in town, Netanyahu will meet on Monday with President Obama to demand that the President commits to military action aginst Iran. -Common Dreams - 3/2/12

Consequences Of An Attack On Iran Are No Joke
No one is talking about the harm that "surgical air strikes" against "suspected Iranian nuclear facilities" with GBU-28 "bunker-buster" bombs, which derive their ability to penetrate concrete and earth from depleted uranium, would inflict on 74 million Iranians -Marsha B. Cohen, Lobe Log - 3/2/12

Iran advances to Round 4 of World Cup qualifying games
Iran drew with Qatar 2-2, making it to the final stage of Asian qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup on Wednesday. - 3/1/12

Anti Iran Media Blitz: Is Iran a Real Threat, or is the Hype a Diversionary Tactic Serving Other Agendas?
The most convincing argument against an Israeli plan to attack Iran is, as I have said often before, Why engage in an unpredictable, costly and potentially disastrous war when the mere threats of war could accomplish the desired objectives? -Kam Zarrabi - 3/1/12

Iran: Fair Vote Impossible
Authorities continue to hold the opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, as well as Karroubi, under house arrest more than a year after they called for demonstrations in support of wide-scale protests following the disputed June 2009 presidential election. Dozens of other opposition figures are in prison after being unfairly tried for such offenses as "acting against the national security" and "propaganda against the regime." - 3/1/12

Iranian Cinema: Acclaimed Abroad, Under Siege at Home
At a moment when millions of people - including many Iranians - were watching to see what Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi would say in his Oscar acceptance speech, Farhadi chose to talk about the concerns of the Iranian people and "the dust of politics" that has overshadowed the hopes and dreams of a nation. -Hadi Ghaemi - 3/1/12

No Foreign Observers To Monitor Iran's Parliamentary Elections
Iran's influential supervisory Guardians Council has confirmed that no international observers will be permitted to monitor Friday's parliamentary elections. Guardians Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodai said on March 1 that the presence of international observers would be "an insult" to the Iranian people. - 3/1/12

Prose: More Humans, Less Humanity
In the beginning Nature's Rule of Law,Inspired every creature's awe? Instinct was a basic feature, That was instilled in every creature. -Ali A. Parsa - 3/1/12

The US policy toward Iran will fail and must change
The US official position is that Iran's nuclear program is geared toward developing "military capability." To stop Iran, the Obama Administration has committed itself to a 'dual-track policy of applying pressure in pursuit of constructive engagement, and a negotiated solution.' -Hooshang Amirahmadi and Shahir Shahidsaless - 3/1/12

Freemuse calls for unconditional release of the Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad
In a letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Freemuse calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Arya Aramnejad, a famous singer who has been imprisoned since 8 November 2011 under harsh and inhumane conditions. - 3/1/12

Iran seeks new oil customers, willing to wait for payments
Iran has told Pakistan it can supply 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day, adding that it would allow three months to pass before installment payments are due. - 3/1/12

Iran's Parliamentary Elections Set For Friday March 2nd
Iran's election headquarters announced that the parliamentary elections will begin all across the country tomorrow, March 2. The head of the elections bureau, Solat Mortazavi, told IRNA: "The minimum age for participation in the elections in Iran is 18." - 3/1/12

Clinton: MKO Cooperation 'Key' In Considering Terrorist Designation
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that cooperation by the exiled Iranian opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) during the closure of its Iraqi base at Camp Ashraf will be "a key factor in any decision" on whether to change the organization's terrorist designation. - 3/1/12

"Please Do Not Disturb" wins best film award at Sydney filmfest
The comedy drama "Please Do Not Disturb" by Iranian director Mohsen Abodlvahab won the best film award at the Persian International Film Festival, which was held from 23 to 27 in Sydney, Australia. In addition, the best short film award of the festival went Iranian filmmaker Amir Azizi's "The Silly". - 3/1/12

Iran says IAEA can visit Parchin base
Iran says it will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit its Parchin military base, as IAEA delegates have requested. - 3/1/12

Pakistan Says It Will Pursue Gas Project With Iran, Despite U.S. Warning
Pakistan's foreign minister says her country will pursue a gas pipeline project with Iran, despite a U.S. warning. Hina Rabbani Khar said on March 1 that the project was in the national interest of Pakistan, which is facing an energy crisis. - 3/1/12

Iran's Most Powerful Take Feud to the Polls
Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday are shaping up as a contest by proxy between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seeks public endorsement of his efforts to wield broad authority, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has struggled to keep his populist president in check. -Farnaz Fassihi and Bill Spindle, WSJ - 3/1/12

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