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Photos: Kandovan Rocky Village and Hotel
Kandovan is a tourist village in the province of East Azarbaijan, near Osku and Tabriz, Iran. Its fame is due to its troglodyte dwellings. Some of the houses are at least 700 years old and are still inhabited. Kandovan is also known for its scenic beauty. - 3/31/13

Iran hijab singer angers ultraconservatives
Winners usually take it all, the prize and the fame. But for 31-year-old Iranian singer Ermia Va Majid, it is a rather different climb to victory and fame. Ermia was declared the grand winner of the Iranian version of X-Factor, Googosh Academy -Al Arabiya - 3/31/13

Tehran University head rejects claim he's been fired
Farhad Rahbar, the head of Tehran University, has rejected news of his dismissal, stressing on national television that he is still leader of the country's top university and news of his removal "should not be taken seriously." - 3/31/13

Obama is channeling Bush fever in Iran
Ten years after the Iraq debacle, are we -- mind-bogglingly -- headed to war with Iran? The signals suggest yes. -Falguni A. Sheth, Salon - 3/31/13

Direct flight from Cairo to Tehran signals diplomatic thaw
A direct passenger flight left Cairo for Tehran on Saturday March 30, the first such flight in more than three decades. The Associated Press reports that Iran-Egypt relations have been slowly improving since the election of Mohammad Morsi as Egyptian president - 3/31/13

Longtime Iranian political activist dies
Veteran Iranian political activist Ahmad Haj Seyed Javadi, who co-founded the Freedom Movement, a nationalist-religious organization, has died at the age of 96 in Tehran. - 3/31/13

Female Bahraini doctor says 'severely' tortured in jail
A female Bahraini doctor says the Al Khalifa regime forces have 'severely' tortured her and several other doctors, who treated injured anti-regime protesters, in order to extract false confessions. - 3/31/13

Iran's roads, urban development minister to run for president
Iran's Roads and Urban Development Minister Ali Nikzad has officially announced his decision to run for president in the country's upcoming presidential election. The election will be held in June and presidential hopefuls will register from May 7 to May 11. - 3/31/13

Photos: Nowruz Travelers Flock to Bushehr
During Iranian new year holidays, people flock to the coastal areas of Bushehr to enjoy the warm waters and the scenery. This is the busiest travel time in Iran, and any visitors live in tents during their vacations, which has become a common thing in many Iranian cities in recent year. - 3/30/13

Iran, US, Austria form coalition to save wrestling in 2020 Olympics
Austria has joined Iran and US to save wrestling in the list of 2020 Olympic Games. Austrian media said that Austria joined Iran and US forming coalition to keep wrestling in the list Olympic Games. - 3/30/13

Photos with Imam Reza
The shrine of Imam Reza is visited by millions of Shiites each year, and it is among the favorite destinations during Iranian new year holidays. These photos show the pilgrims posing for photos to immortalize their visit to the shrine. - 3/30/13

Turkey resumes gold exports to Iran
Turkey exported $120 million in gold to Iran in February and, according to Reuters, this evidence reveals that despite U.S. restrictions, the trade of natural gas for gold continues between the two countries, albeit at lower levels. - 3/30/13

Photos: Nowruz Gifts For Arasbaran Quake Victims
Life in the Arasbaran region hasn't returned to normal yet, and the quake-stricken people are still in need of help. With the arrival of the Iranian new year, the most festive time of the year in Iran, group of volunteers visited the region on Wednesday and delivered donated gifts to the people so they could enjoy the occasion as well. -Masoume Fariborzi - 3/29/13

Photos: Iranian Family
According to wikipedia, in human context, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...Well, here are some snapshots of Iranian family members for comparison against yours... - 3/29/13

Iran: Investigation of Haleh Sahabi's Death Closed Without Visual Evidence Review
Haleh Sahabi, a member of the Mothers for Peace group, died at her father's funeral on June 1, 2011, after security forces attacked her and she sustained a blow to her body. - 3/29/13

Iranian Group Wants To Give Michelle Obama An Award For Proving Oscars Are 'Political'
An Iranian military commander says his group will give U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama an award for revealing the "real nature" of Hollywood's annual Oscar awards. - 3/29/13

Iranian fruit prices soar past legal limit
Iranian media report that fruit is being sold at up to four times the prices set by the government for popular fruits during the Norooz holidays. Oranges and apples that sold for 15,000 and 16,000 rials a kilo respectively before the beginning of New Year on March 21 are now going for 60,000 and 40,000 rials. - 3/29/13

Iran will not negotiate on its Persian Gulf islands: Lawmaker
The Iranian delegation to the 128th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has reiterated Iran's sovereignty over the three Persian Gulf islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa. - 3/29/13

Chinese tanker, able to carry 2 million barrels of crude, seen at Iran port
A Chinese supertanker with the capacity to carry two million barrels of crude has docked and embarked at an Iranian port, the first such move since the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran's oil in July. - 3/29/13

Iran, North Korea, Syria Block Adoption Of UN Arms Trade Treaty
United Nations member nations have failed to agree on a landmark treaty to regulate global trade in conventional arms. Iran, North Korea, and Syria blocked adoption on March 28 of a draft, worked out in nine days of talks at the United Nations in New York. - 3/29/13

Iranians sent 4 billion SMS for New Year greetings
Iranian people during the first 48 hours of the Persian New Year sent over 4 billion SMS exchanges to greet Happy New Year to each other. A total of over 4 billion SMS sent within 48 hours considers a growth of 74 percent over last year and is a record for the Iranians mobile phone users. - 3/28/13

The University In The Past Year: Heaviest Pressures; Highest Costs
The Iranian calendar year turned into a new year on the first day of spring - March 20th - as it does every year. So this is a time of reflection on many issues and for many people in the country. For students and university professionals, this was the year when they witnessed unprecedented onslaught on the student movement and activities. -Arash Bahmani, Rooz - 3/28/13

Persian Studies at the University of Maryland
Aspiring to be the premier center for the study and appreciation of Persian culture in the United States, the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies was established at UMD's School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in Fall 2004. - 3/28/13

Iran to build world's tallest double-curved concrete arch dam
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Thursday inaugurated construction operation of the world's tallest double-curved concrete arch dam in this western province. During the inauguration ceremony, the President hailed efforts of the Iranian experts and workers to carry out such projects in the country. - 3/28/13

Nowruz celebrations in Turkey and Georgia
Hundreds of thousands celebrated the Iranian New year in Turkey's largely Kurdish city of Diyabikar. This ancestral festival, which has been observed for more than 3,000 years, marks the Iranian New Year - 3/28/13

Obama Makes Nice Speeches but One Sided Support for Israel Continues
Phyllis Bennis: President Obama recognizes injustice and need for two states but does nothing to pressure Netanyahu to make concessions to Palestinians -RNN - 3/28/13

Iran Denies Involvement Nagorno-Karabakh Broadcasts
BAKU -- The Iranian Embassy in Baku says Tehran has nothing to do with a new radio station broadcasting in the Talysh language from Azerbaijan's breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The denial was issued on March 28. - 3/28/13

Iran: Jailed reformist pushes for former president to run
Jailed Iranian reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh has announced that he has symbolically established a virtual headquarters for inviting former president Mohammad Khatami to run in the 11th presidential election. - 3/28/13

BRICS countries slam threats against Iran
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS member states, have expressed concern about military threats against Iran: We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. - 3/28/13

Photos: The best of Nowruz 1392
The festival of Nowruz is celebrated by many groups of people in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, but particularly by Persians or various Iranian Peoples. It is called Navroz in India, Nevruz in Turkic, Uyghurs who live in Northwestern China call it "Noruz", and it is called Sultan Nevruz in Albanian. - 3/27/13

Photos: Bed and Breakfast, Yazd style!
The central Iranian city of Yazd is among the favorite destinations during new year holidays. Some of the historical houses in the central Iranian city of Yazd have been converted to bed and breakfasts. These magnificent houses offer the travelers a taste of the old times in a very relaxing and calm setting. - 3/27/13

Photos: Iranian village of Laft in Persian Gulf
Laft is an Iranian village located on the island of Qeshm in the the Straits of Hormuz, to the southwest of city of Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan Province. According to the 2006 census, Laft's population was 3,899, in 765 families. Laft is more than 2000 years old, and it is among the destinations during Iranian new year holidays. - 3/27/13

Decision Time For Iran's Great Reformist Hope
To run or not to run, that is the question for Mohammad Khatami. The calls are growing louder for the former Iranian president, a reformist who held the office from 1997 to 2005, to enter an election race lacking contenders who stray from the norm. It can't be an easy decision. - 3/27/13

In Iran, Concern Grows Over Dervishes On Prison Hunger Strike
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has expressed concern over the conditions of two jailed dervishes who are reportedly on hunger strike in an Iranian prison. The two men -- Salehedin Moradi and Kasra Nouri -- are members of Iran's largest Sufi order, the Nematollahi Gonabadi order, which in recent years has come under increasing pressure from Iranian authorities. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/27/13

Southern California: Sizdeh Bedar 2013 at Lake Balboa
On March 31, 2013, Time TV will be having this years "Sizdeh Bedar Festival" at Lake Balboa. This will be a great venue for us all. We would love to have you there with us as well. We are expecting 20,000- 25,000 visitors from Valley, Santa Monica, West Wood and Los Angeles. - 3/27/13

Iran protests to Saudi Arabia over spying claims
Iran has summoned the Saudi Arabia's charge d'affaires in Tehran over Riyadh's allegations that the Islamic Republic has links to a spy cell in the Arab kingdom. - 3/27/13

Conservative denies Iran's Supreme Leader directed voters
Iranian hardliner Ahmad Khatami has denied that Iran's Supreme Leader ever directed the public to vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the last presidential election. - 3/27/13

Iran's trade with Dubai declines sharply
Trade between Iran and Dubai has fallen by 31 percent compared to last year, Dubai customs officials report. Reuters reports that U.S. sanctions on Iran are at the root of this decline in trade between Iran and Dubai. - 3/27/13

Photos: The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam at Tchogha Zanbil
The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, surrounded by three huge concentric walls, are found at Tchogha Zanbil. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal, as shown by the thousands of unused bricks left at the site. - 3/26/13

Report: Why Sanctions On Iran Aren't Working
Sanctions have so far failed to affect the Iranian government's nuclear policy and are unlikely to do so in the future given the perceptions and calculations of the Iranian elite, according to a new report by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). - 3/26/13

Photos: The tomb of revered Persian poet Ferdowsi
Hakim Abul-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi, commonly known as Ferdowsi (940 - 1020 CE), was a highly revered Persian poet. He is the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and the Persian-speaking world. - 3/26/13

San Francisco - Art People Gallery's Persian New Year Celebration
Saturday March 30 - Please join us at Art People Gallery to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and an exhibit of Persian art. The 30 winners of our SNAC Iran 2012 competition will show their works at Art People. - 3/26/13

Ahmadinejad ally swears election will be clean
Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, a close aide and advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has announced that the government will not allow anything to compromise the health and transparency of the presidential election. - 3/26/13

Iran: Two more Gonabadi prisoners join hunger strike
Another two Gonabadi prisoners in Iran have begun a hunger strike in protest against the treatment of their lawyers, who are currently being held in solitary and are reportedly being mistreated. - 3/26/13

Iran resumes exporting goods to Iraqi Kurdistan
A provincial official said that export of goods from Qasr Shirin border city to Iraqi Kurdistan region has been resumed after halt due to Nowrouz holidays in the past three days. - 3/26/13

Photos: Iranian Life by Amin Arjmand
Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. The name "Iran", which in Persian means "Land of the Aryans", has been in native use since the Sassanian era, in antiquity. It came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia. - 3/25/13

Mother of jailed Iranian activist fears for son's health
Monavar Hashemi, the mother of jailed student activist Majid Dori, has expressed grave concern regarding her son's condition in jail and she is urging the authorities to grant him sick leave. Dori was arrested in July of 2009 and has not been given a furlough for the past four years. - 3/25/13

12 Iranians, 12 Opinions, 1 Stance
A dozen Iranians and Iranian Americans disagree on everything from politics to food. But what is one thing that unites Maz Jobrani, Shahrokh Moshkinghalam, Reza Aslan,... Watch this video to find out - 3/25/13

US, Israel cyber attacks on Iran act of force: NATO
According to The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, commissioned by NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Estonia, "Acts that kill or injure persons or destroy or damage objects are unambiguously uses of force," The Washington Times reported on Sunday. - 3/25/13

Iran: Dervishes plead with jailed peers to end hunger strike
A group of Gonabadi dervishes has issued an open letter urging Saleh Moradi and Kasra Nouri, the two jailed Gonabadi dervishes who have been on hunger strike for over two months, to end their refusal to eat. - 3/25/13

1001 Nights children television series: The Gift Of Norooz
A poor family learns the true spirit of giving during the Persian New Year.... - 1001 Nights is an award-winning television series created and produced by Aly Jetha & Shabnam Rezaei. - 3/25/13

Photos: Ancient Persepolis is a favorite destination for Iranians during new year holidays
One of the favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays is the ancient ruins of Persepolis. Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE). - 3/24/13

Iranian labour advocate slams inadequate wage increase
The head of the Mashhad Worker's House says the pay increase given to workers for the New Year does not match the rate of inflation and is at least 20 percent lower than what workers need to cover minimum household expenses. - 3/24/13

Iran has big spike in holiday road accidents
Iranian media report that 74 people were killed and 670 injured in road accidents since the New Year began on Thursday March 21. IRNA reports that Eskandar Momeni, the head of traffic police, announced that in the four days since the New Year holidays started, 444 cars have overturned in traffic. - 3/24/13

Iran: Mashaei highlights need to win public trust about healthy performance of upcoming presidential election
Presidentˈs Advisor Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei on Sunday highlighted the need to win public trust about healthy performance of the upcoming presidential election. Elsewhere in his interview he said that the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suffered heavy pressure from the sanctions. He termed the sanctions ˈunprecedentedˈ. - 3/24/13

US Issues 1 Million Green Cards, Naturalizes 757,000 in 2012
Naturalizations increased the most among people born in the Dominican Republic and Cuba between 2011 and 2012. Vietnam, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria and Somalia were among the top 20 countries of origin. - Kate Woodsome, VOA - 3/24/13

Kerry in Baghdad for Talks with Maliki on Iraq, Syria
A senior State Department official says Kerry will be very direct about stopping or at a minimum inspecting each of those Iranian flights over Iraqi airspace - the scale of which U.S. officials say indicates that they can not be entirely humanitarian. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 3/24/13

India to ink transit agreement with Iran to ship goods to Afghanistan
India is set to sign a transit agreement with Iran, and invest over USD 100 million in the southeastern Iranian port city of Chabahar in order to facilitate the transportation of commodities to Afghanistan. - 3/24/13

Nearly 3,000 Years Late But Right On Time: Cyrus Cylinder Makes U.S. Debut
For 2,600 years, the weighty praise of world leaders has been heaped upon the fragile clay of the Cyrus Cylinder. The diminutive object, now cracked and missing one-third of its original form, has withstood the test of time as a symbol of tolerance. -Richard Solash, RFE - 3/23/13

Obama says Iran's future brighter with no nuclear program
Obama responded to Ayatollah Khamenei's statements, saying the Iranian leader should concentrate on improving conditions for his people. He said Iran could face a transformed future if it would stand down from its nuclear program. - 3/23/13

Iran besieged by quakes but no deaths reported
In the first days of the Iranian New Year, three locations in Iran were hit by significant earthquakes that reportedly did not cause any fatalities or damage. Iranian media report that on Thursday, the city of Sari in the northern province of Mazandaran was hit by a 4.9 Richter earthquake at 11 PM and was felt in many neighbouring cities. - 3/23/13

UN Human Rights Council Overwhelmingly Votes to Renew Iran Mandate
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomes the United Nations Human Rights Council's 26 to 2 vote to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran for the third consecutive year. The Campaign also urged Iranian authorities to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and allow him to enter the country. - 3/23/13

Iran Readies Legal Action Against 'Argo' Film
A high-profile French lawyer says Iran will soon take legal action in Europe and the United States against the Academy Award-winning movie Argo, for what Iran alleges is deliberately falsifying history and misrepresenting Iran. - 3/23/13

A Nowruz Dedicated to the Iraqi People, 10 Years Later
Nowruz this year is haunted by the shadow of the devastating conflict in Iraq, just as it was 10 years ago. As millions around the world in Iran, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey, and elsewhere celebrate the advent of a New Year, the joy of this springtime celebration of rebirth is stalked by the specter of the horrific wounds inflicted upon the Iraqi people beginning exactly 10 years ago. -AJAM - 3/23/13

Kerry Urges Release Of Iran Pastor
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Iranian authorities to immediately free an Iranian-American Christian pastor who has been sentenced to eight years in jail. - 3/23/13

Iranian tycoon claims EU sanctions are unfair
Iranian billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani has amassed the kind of fortune that could qualify him for a place on Forbes rich list. Instead he is on an EU sanctions list, accused of facilitating illicit oil deals for the Islamic Republic. -Fardad Fahrazad, BBC - 3/23/13

Noam Chomsky: 'No individual changes anything alone'
Noam Chomsky is one of the world's most controversial thinkers. Now 84, he reflects on his life's work, on current events in Syria and Israel, and on the love of his life - his wife -Aida Edemariam, Guardian - 3/23/13

Photos: 4th International Nowruz Festival in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Norouz international event was held in in the Turkmenistan's capital of Ashgabat on Thursday. Nowruz (new day) marks the New Year for a number of regional countries, including Iran and Turkmenistan. The theme for the 4th International Nowruz Festival was peace and humanity. - 3/22/13

Farhang Foundation Nowruz and Short Film Festival Draws Thousands to LACMA
On Saturday evening, March 16th 2013,The Farhang Foundation, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), kicked-off its 5th Annual Nowruz (Iranian New Year) Celebration at LACMA. This year's festivities began with the 2013 Farhang Short Film Festival Awards Ceremony and Reception - 3/22/13

U.S. seeks to cut off Iran's use of euro
The U.S. is looking at sanctions that would prevent Iran from using the euro in its international business dealings. U.S. sanctions have already cut off most of Iran's access to international transactions using U.S. dollars and, as a result, Iran has to carry out its business in other currencies. - 3/22/13

Khamenei Leaves Door Open To Direct Nuclear Talks With U.S.
Iran's supreme leader, who's known for his staunch opposition to talks with the United States on Iran's nuclear program, said in a speech to mark the Persian New Year on March 21 that he's not opposed to direct talks with Washington. "I'm not optimistic about these talks, but I'm not opposed to them either," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 3/22/13

PAAIA Hosts Annual Nowruz Reception on Capitol Hill
On March 14, 2013, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), in conjunction with Congressman Michael M. Honda (D-CA/17th), Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA/4th)VA), Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA/10th), and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY/12th) hosted a Nowruz reception for members of Congress and congressional staff on Capitol Hill. - 3/22/13

Detained Iranian opposition leaders get family visits
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, the Iranian opposition leaders being held under house arrest, were allowed a visit from their children on the occasion of the Iranian New Year. - 3/22/13

10 Years After Iraq, Stop War with Iran
A measure (S.Res.65) is moving rapidly through the Senate that would call for the U.S. to commit to war if Israel decides to strike Iran. Under such a scenario, it would be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who decides and announces that the U.S. is going to war with Iran. Take action by calling your two Senators and one Representative in Congress to oppose the new war and sanctions legislation. - 3/22/13

US Lawmakers: Cyber Attacks Will Have Consequences
Members of a U.S. congressional panel have expressed concern about the threat cyber attacks from other nations pose to U.S. national security. Some lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to make sure governments which might be encouraging or tolerating cyber attacks know that these incidents will have serious consequences. -Cindy Saine, VOA - 3/22/13

China Feb oil imports from Iran rises by 81% on year
A recent report shows that China's February crude oil imports from the Islamic Republic of Iran have increased by more than eighty percent compared to the corresponding period last year. - 3/22/13

Photos: Iranians mark new year by the tomb of Cyrus the Great
A large group of Iranians gathered by the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae on Wednesday to mark the beginning of the new year. Pasargadae, the capital of Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC) and also his last resting place, was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. - 3/21/13

Happy Nowruz to All!
I'm having a holiday sensory overload today. It's International Day of Happiness. It's the Spring Equinox. It's the New Year for Persians who have celebrated this holiday for thousands of years. And it's the last day of the Baha'i Fast, marking the New Year, or Nowruz (Persian for New Year) at sunset. I'm Persian. I'm Baha'i. And I'm all for spreading happiness. So, let's celebrate! -Homa Sabet Tavangar - 3/21/13

Anahita: Ancient Persian Goddess and Zoroastrian Yazata
This book is the most extensive study of the figure of Anahita in recent years, and includes new and never published before research. Anahita: Ancient Persian Goddess and Zoroastrian Yazata is essential reading for all those interested not just in this Goddess and her history, but also all those interested in Persian and Middle Eastern history. - 3/21/13

Ayatollah Khamenei delivers New Year's message
Iran's Supreme Leader identified politics and economics as his country's chief challenges as he marked the Iranian New Year, which began on March 20. Ayatollah Khamenei acknowledged the "severity" of international sanctions imposed on Iran but added that, rather than crippling Iran, the sanctions had given rise to "numerous achievements." - 3/21/13

Iran Marks New Year Holiday
Analyst Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute says many of Iran's political leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are trying to promote traditional Persian holidays like Nowruz to focus on nationalism rather than the more religious aspects of the country's Islamic Republic. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 3/21/13

Obama, Netanyahu Issue Warnings to Iran and Assad
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran and Syria were major topics of conversation on Obama's first day in Israel, as he began a four-day Middle East trip. -Dan Robinson, VOA - 3/21/13

Iranian prisoners given furloughs for Norooz
Iranian authorities gave furloughs to a number of political prisoners on the occasion of the Iranian New Year and the arrival of Norooz. Reports also indicate that jailed journalist Jila Bani-Yaghoub was not allowed a leave, although her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi, another jailed journalist, was given leave. - 3/21/13

Spain - Nowruz Festival Persian-Flemish-Kurdish Music & Dance
Saturday March 23 - This year we celebrated in style - Persian, Kurdish and Flemish Dance and Music. Persian and Spanish "Isfahan-Granada Ensemble", Kurdish musicians and dancers "Sham Ensemble" and "Kurdish Dance Group" will delight us. - 3/21/13

Oops: The U.S. Secret Service almost accidentally shot Iran's president
According to Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady, an unplanned shotgun blast in 2006 nearly caused a global calamity. The briefing reportedly said that the "apparent accident" happened outside the InterContintental Hotel, as Ahmadinejad was loading his motorcade. -The Week - 3/21/13

UN head praises Nowruz as unifying force
The UN Secretary General issued a message on the occasion of Nowruz and the arrival of spring: "On this International Day of Nowruz, I offer my best wishes to those who celebrate, and express hope that all people can use the occasion to reflect on the beauty of nature, the promise of spring and the power of culture to build peace," Ban Ki-moon said in his message on Tuesday. - 3/20/13

Photos: Haftsin in villages of North Khorasan
These photos show the people in the villages of North Khorassan in northeastersn Iran with their Haftsin spreads welcoming the arrival of Nowruz. 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. - 3/20/13

Photos: Chaharshanbeh-Suri Celebrations In Tehran - Part II
Chaharshanbeh-Suri is an old tradition of Iranians practiced on the last Tuesday of the Iranian calendar year before the arrival of the new year Nowruz. Chaharshanbeh Suri is celebrated by jumping over bon fires while reciting short verses wishing their problems to be over and they gain the brilliance of fire. This is a purification rite and is a very popular aspect of Nowruz celebrations. - 3/20/13

Photos: Chaharshanbeh-Suri Celebrations In Tehran - Part I
People celebrated Chaharshanbeh-Suri on on Tuesday night across Iran. These photos show the people in the capital city Tehran enjoying this festive occasion. Chaharshanbeh-Suri is an old tradition of Iranians practiced on the last Tuesday of the Iranian calendar year before the arrival of the new year Nowruz. - 3/20/13

Obama Makes First Visit to Israel as President
JERUSALEM - U.S. President Barack Obama arrived to a full ceremonial welcome at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport Wednesday and declared that America's alliance with Israel is "eternal and forever." - 3/20/13

Iran: Rafsanjani's Daughter Released From Evin Prison
Political prisoner Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of the head of Iran's Expediency Council, has been released after six months in Evin Prison. ILNA reports that Faezeh Hashemi was released on Tuesday March 19 at the end of her jail term, as her lawyer had previously announced. - 3/20/13

PAF Presents: SHURKA BAZAAR in New York - following Persian Parade
On April 14, 2013, in honor of Persian Parade's 10th year anniversary, Shurka Bazaar will transform Madison Avenue, alongside Madison Square Park, into an urban oasis. A Persian Bazaar of ancient times. - 3/20/13

Khamenei Mobilizes Loyalists to Swing Iran's Election
Iran's supreme leader may have helped Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to win two presidential elections, but he is now bent on stopping his turbulent protege from levering his own man into the job. -Reuters - 3/20/13

Photos: City of Mashhad Welcomes Iranian New Year
The city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran is welcoming the new year Norouz with eye-catching decorations in the streets. Symbols of Norouz and other artworks greet the pedestrians who sometimes pose with them and grab a snapshot of these festive days. - 3/19/13

Video: President Obama Sends Nowruz Message to the Iranian People
President Obama sends best wishes to the Iranian people as they celebrate their new year Nowruz. In his video message, the President speaks directly to the people and leaders of Iran about the opportunity to begin a new relationship between our two countries. - 3/19/13

Photos: Sarbedaran Ritual Welcoming Iranian New Year
In the city of Sabzevar in northeastern Iran, an interesting traditional ritual is performed in the last days of the year before the new year (Norouz) arrives. In this ritual known as Sarbedaran, men move in a circle performing various moves with their hands and wooden sticks. - 3/19/13

The Ayatollahs Who Supported Ahmadinejad Gone Vocal: Ahmadinejad May End Up In Evin Prison
The verbal attacks of Iran's principlists - ruling hardliners - against president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad take on new colors and excuses by the day: Former supports of the president are complaining for various reasons; his behavior in Venezuela; his 8-year record; his remarks on the economy of the country; etc. - 3/19/13

Ahmadinejad removes heads of Tehran University, Teachers Training University
"Unfortunately, and according to precisely acquired information, in two important universities, the University of Tehran, which is the mother of the countryˈs universities and the proudest among them...the general atmosphere is managed differently, which is somewhat contrary to the general direction of the nation and beneath the dignity of the universities and the university faculties." - 3/19/13

Iranian reformist group joins chorus to enlist Khatami to run for President
The Coordination Council of the Reformist Front has issued a statement calling on former president Mohammad Khatami to run in the 2013 presidential election. The statement, published in ISNA and ILNA, states that the reformists have reached a consensus in choosing Mohammad Khatami as their candidate for the presidential race. - 3/19/13

New York - Persian Arts Festival Celebrate Norooz 2013
NYC's Persian Arts Festival, Inc. (PAF), an organization devoted to providing a platform for Persian artists and visionaries, joins forces with Le Poisson Rouge and other Persian cultural organizations to present a New Year extravaganza featuring Persian fusion from three of the city's top-tiered bands. - 3/19/13

Six Powers Detail Nuclear Proposals To Iran
The European Union says six world powers have given Iran more details of their proposals to end a standoff over Tehran's nuclear program. The proposals were outlined in talks in Istanbul on March 18. - 3/19/13

Washington DC - GMU Persian Club Mega Norooz Party
Established in 1986 by a small group of George Mason University student, the GMU Persian Club was an effort to bring the growing Iranian community of George Mason University together around the common values of Persian Arts and cultural history. - 3/19/13

U.S. Calls On MKO Group To Accept Albania Resettlement Offer
The United States has called on the leaders of exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MKO or MEK) to "immediately" accept an offer from Albania to resettle 210 of its members. Tirana's March 16 offer was rejected by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which oversees the MEK. - 3/19/13

NOWRUZ and CHAHARSHANBEH SURI
Nowruz, "New Day", is the holiest and most joyful festival of the Zoroastrian year and the most important national festival for all Iranians. Its celebration is recorded from the Achaemenian period around 500 BCE. Nowruz first appears in Pahlavi texts from the Sasanian period, as nog roz. It is a celebration of spring equinox, when the sun begins to regain strength and there is a renewal of growth in nature. -Massoume Price - 3/18/13

Photos: Gilan Rural Heritage Museum Welcomes Norooz
Guilan Museum of Rural Heritage is holding special programs to welcome the Iranian New Year Norooz. The new year begins precisely with the beginning of spring on vernal equinox, which will be on March 20th this year. - 3/18/13

Leaders of top Iranian universities to be fired
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has instructed his Minister of Science and Technology to dismiss the heads of the Tehran and Tarbiat Modarres universities, referring to them as "possible security" concerns. - 3/18/13

Photos: Colored Egg Festival at Tehran's Water-Fire Park
Painted Eggs - symbolizing Humans and Fertility - is one of the Nowruz seven "Haft Chin" items which still decorate today's "Haft Sin" tables - a major traditional table setting of Nowruz. - 3/18/13

Iran's skyrocketing real estate prices
Since autumn 2011, real estate prices in Iran's major cities, and especially in Tehran, have skyrocketed, turning developers into overnight millionaires. Part of the increase is due to a rise in the price of housing materials and land, which was triggered by the cut in fuel subsidies and the sharp drop in the exchange rate for the rial in relation to foreign currency. - 3/18/13

Consequences of Lying to Government Officials and Agents
There have been some recent important federal and criminal cases involving Iranians with respect to violation of OFAC regulations and certain white-collar crimes which compel all of us to be aware of our individual and community rights and ways to avoid such acts which might be innocent or volitional. -Jamshid S. Irani, Esq - 3/18/13

Expert nuclear negotiators begin Iran talks in Istanbul
Iranian media report that nuclear negotiations with the G5+1 at the expert level began on Monday March 18 in Istanbul, with both sides discussing the proposed packages. - 3/18/13

Yesterday: Iraq. Tomorrow: Iran?
It was 10 years ago this week that George Bush launched his ill-fated war of choice in Iraq. The anniversary comes as politicians in Washington and Israel continue to discuss the option of military action against Iran. The parallels with a decade ago are striking. -David Cortright, TIME - 3/18/13

Iran in talks with Britain to resume consular activities
The Iranian government is holding talks with Britain about the resumption of consular activities between the two countries, the Iranian deputy foreign minister for consular and expatriates' affairs, Hassan Qashqavi, said on Sunday. - 3/18/13

Washington - Persian Circle Norouz 1392
Friday April 5 - The Persian Circle is a cultural student organization with the mission of promoting unity among the Persian community at the University of Washington and the Seattle area, as well as promoting Persian heritage and culture by organizing various events and social gatherings. - 3/18/13

Berkeley - Afsaneh Dance Academy Nowruz Showcase and Party
Wednesday March 20 - Join us at the Afsaneh Dance Academy 8th Street Studio for an evening of intimate showcase performances. Students of the Afsaneh Dance Academy, and guest artists. Come celebrate with us for the turning of the seasons, Silk Road style! - 3/18/13

Ancient Persian Ruler Influenced Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Democracy
The discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder was a hundred years in the future when Thomas Jefferson and other founders of the United States adopted the progressive ideas of the ancient Persian ruler Cyrus the Great. They knew of Cyrus through classical Greek writers and Biblical accounts. -Lea Terhune, IIP - 3/17/13

Iran Launches Indigenous Destroyer In Caspian Sea
The Jamaran-2 destroyer was launched in the Caspian Sea waters Sunday in the northern port city of Bandar Anzali in Gilan province in the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi - 3/17/13

Iranian government regulates dating sites
The Iranian government has announced regulation guidelines for online dating, announcing that people can now legally set up dating websites on the internet after getting the necessary licence. - 3/17/13

Iranian reformist figures arrested, no reason given
Opposition websites report that a group of top reformist figures has been arrested by Iranian authorities. The Kaleme website reports that former lawmaker Hossein Loghmanian and four other reformist activists were arrested en route from Hamedan to meet former president Mohammad Khatami in Tehran. - 3/17/13

Iranian distributor seeking to premiere Asghar Farhadi's "Past"
The Iranian film distribution company Filmiran is seeking to premiere Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" in Iran. The 11-million Euro picture is his first project that is being shot outside of his native Iran. The French company, Memento Films Production, is the producer of the film. - 3/17/13

Footballer Daniel Davari invited to Iranian national team
Iranian-German keeper Daniel Davari has been invited to the Iranian national football team for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait on March 26. Davari had been invited to Iran football team for the match against Lebanon on February 6 but withdrew due to his concentration on his club's matches. - 3/17/13

Reformists call on former Iranian president to run again
91 prominent Iranian reformist figures have issued a letter addressed to former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, urging him to nominate himself as a candidate in the presidential election. - 3/17/13

France - Sabalan's Norouz 1392, Association Culturelle Franco-Iranienne
Saturday March 23 - On the occasion of Norouz, Sabalan welcomes this initiative and makes its resources available to people wishing to collaborate in the organization of Nowruz in the best conditions. - 3/17/13

Iran Navy warns off Australian plane near Sri Lanka
A top Iranian naval official says Iran's 24th fleet has warned off an Australian reconnaissance plane as it approached the Sri Lankan coast. Commander Siavosh Jarreh said on Sunday that the Australian aircraft was approaching the Iranian fleet, which comprised of a helicopter carrier and a destroyer, for imaging. - 3/17/13

Amsterdam - Stichting Andishe Noruz 2013
Saturday March 23, 2013 at Jan Rebelstraat 21 1069 CA Amsterdam - We invite you and your family to join us in the Iranian New Year Feast. - 3/17/13

US Has Little Influence in Iraq Decade After Invasion
President Barack Obama's withdrawal of most troops from Iraq and the scaling-down of U.S. diplomats in Baghdad closes the defining foreign policy campaign of his predecessor, President George W. Bush. A decade after the invasion, which began March 19, 2003, analysts debate what the United States got out of the war in Iraq. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 3/17/13

Iranian-Jewish Dialogue on the Cyrus Cylinder
The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA), and National Iranian American Council (NIAC) invite you to a shared panel and celebration in honor of the presence in Washington of the Cyrus Cylinder and its significance for the peaceful interaction of civilizations based on universal human rights and human dignity. - 3/16/13

EU's Ashton Urges Push On Iran, Sees 'Possible' Serbia-Kosovo Breakthrough
European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton has called on Western negotiators to be "determined and creative" in their discussions with Tehran on Iran's nuclear program. Speaking on March 16 at the German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, Ashton said negotiators had to do more to build a level of "communication" and "trust" with the Iranian side. - 3/16/13

In A Historic Declaration, UN Condemns Violence Against Women
Muslim and Western countries have approved a new United Nations declaration aimed at combatting violence against women and girls. The nonbinding declaration, adopted by consensus by the UN Commission on the Status of Women, says that violence against females cannot be justified or ignored by any "custom, tradition, or religious consideration." - 3/16/13

The Steadfast Front: Prime Suspect In Attacks Against Iran's Parliament Speaker
Over a month has passed since the day when Majlis chief's speech in Qom was disrupted by protesters. Now a website belonging to the principlists has posted a video clip that accuses the Steadfast Front to be the principal attackers on Larijani's speech. -Arash Bahmani, Rooz - 3/16/13

US Cyber Command to Take Offensive
The U.S. Department of Defense has made a rare acknowledgement that it is developing offensive cyber capabilities. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this past week, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, said 13 cyber warfare "teams" would be ready by 2015. -Matthew Hilburn, VOA - 3/16/13

The Senate's 10-Year Iraq War Anniversary Gift: War With Iran
When we mark the grim 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq next Tuesday, most Americans will be reflecting on the enormous human, economic, and geopolitical costs that the disastrous war and occupation inflicted. What they won't be doing is hoping for an anniversary gift from the people who got us into that war. -Jamal Abdi - 3/16/13

Iran: Mousavi's daughters get visit with detained parents
Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard were finally allowed a visit from their daughters on Wednesday March 13, under severe security measures. Mousavi's daughters have also been facing state pressure in the form of arrest and threats and they have been warned against informing the public about their parents' situation. - 3/16/13

Obama in Mideast - Substance and Symbolism
As President Barack Obama arrives in Israel on the first leg of his Middle East trip next week, many Israelis are hoping his visit will reaffirm his commitment to Israel. And when he visits the Palestinian city of Ramallah, many Palestinians are expecting a clear U.S. commitment to creation of an independent Palestinian state. -Mohamed Elshinnawi, VOA - 3/16/13

Persian New Year: Norooz or Nowruz?
As we approach the Persian New Year, which coincides with the Spring Equinox, the debate on the spelling of the name is refreshed once again. The good news is that in 2010, the United Nations, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approved resolutions to commemorate the Persian New Year. The bad news is that the spelling that was adopted is phonetically incorrect. - 3/15/13

Photos: Egg Coloring Festival in Tehran
An egg coloring festival is being held in Tehran March 15-16 with the participation of 92 artists. The festival is organized by Tehran's Beautification Organization in Fire and Water, City, and Parvaz parks. - 3/15/13

Heavy security on call for Iranian election
The Tehran Governor said on Wednesday March 13 that 99 Basij battalions and 15,000 police officers are prepared to keep the peace during the presidential election in June. The last presidential election in 2009 led to mass street protests, when millions of protesters demonstrated peacefully in the streets to challenge the legitimacy of the vote count. - 3/15/13

Photos: Iran's Army successfully test-fires short-range missiles
The Ground Forces of the Iranian Army have successfully test-fired two short-range missiles during a day-long military exercise in the central city of Kashan. The Thursday maneuver was aimed at maintaining the preparedness and enhancing the defensive capabilities of the forces' rocket-launching and missile units. - 3/15/13

Pentagon: Iranian Warplane Moves Against US Drone in the Persian Gulf
The Pentagon says an Iranian warplane approached an unarmed U.S. military surveillance drone earlier this week over international waters in the Persian Gulf. - 3/15/13

Obama, US Officials Reiterate All Options Open on Iran
In an interview with Israel's Channel 2 television, Obama said it would take Iran "over a year or so" to develop a nuclear weapon, adding as he put it, "obviously we don't want to cut it too close." It was not clear whether he meant that U.S. and Israeli timelines agree about any so-called "breakout" decision by Iran to proceed to development of a weapon. -VOA - 3/15/13

AEOI Chief: Interruption in operation of Bushehr power plant normal
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoun Abbasi Davani said Wednesday that interruption in activities of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran is ˈnormalˈ as the facility is currently in a pilot phase. - 3/15/13

Iran's petrochemical exports exceed $10 billion
Iran exported over $10 billion worth of petrochemical products in the first 11 months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 20, 2012. The exported products amounted to 14.5 million tons in weight, the Shana News agency reported. - 3/15/13

3 Facts to Note in 2013 Worldwide Threat Assessment Report
Almost ten years to the day of the foolish invasion of Iraq, the discrepancy that existed between the media description of the Iraqi threat and the non-manipulated assessment of the U.S. intelligence community is being seen again -- but this time on Iran. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 3/15/13

Iran Oil Exports Seen Rising by IEA Even as Sanctions Widen
Imports from Iran rose to 1.28 million barrels a day in February from 1.13 million barrels in January, the Paris-based adviser to 28 oil-consuming nations said in a report today. U.S. rules took effect last month that require importers to pay in local currencies kept in escrow accounts, the agency said. -Bloomberg - 3/15/13

Photos: Deprived Village of Golgah
The village of golgah is located in Maneh and Samalghan region in North Khorasan province of Iran. Life in this village hasn't moved forward into the 21st century, and the people living in this village are still deprived of basic necessities such as drinking water. The local river is the source of the water which is hauled to the village in pots and pans. - 3/14/13

Iranian actresses file complaints against conservative filmmaker for calling them prostitutes like Angelina Jolie
Last September, conservative Iranian filmmaker called Iranian cinema "A whorehouse." Farajollah Salahshour, a filmmaker with close ties to hardline circles in Iran, said Iranian actresses are on par with Angelina Jolie, and that Iranian cinema needs an international prostitute to continue its activities. - 3/14/13

Museums Celebrate Norooz Across the United States
On March 7, 2013, over 500 Iranians from across the U.S. gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Seventh Annual NoRuz at the MET. The annual fundraiser raises money for the restoration and collection of art for their Iranian and Central Asian Art galleries, which house one of the most expansive collections of Iranian art in the world. - 3/14/13

"The Backdoor to War with Iran" - Wilkerson Attacks Senate Resolution
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: Resolution S.RES.65 sends the message to Iran that the US objective is regime change, not a negotiated settlement to nuclear question - 3/14/13

The Promise of Almaty
Could the Almaty talks have been the turning point the international community has so long been yearning for? "Useful" and "realistic" are two words not generally used when characterizing Iranian nuclear negotiations, yet that's exactly how American and Iranian officials labeled the Almaty talks that concluded on February 27th. -Omid Irani - 3/14/13

UN's Iran Rights Rapporteur Says Sanctions Could Worsen Situation
The United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, says his work has had a positive impact on the rights situation in the Islamic republic. Shaheed, who earlier this week presented his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, told RFE/RL in an interview that the lives of several Iranians who were sentenced to death were spared because of his efforts. - 3/14/13

Iran: Reformist Group calls on former presidents to run
Mohammad Khatami announced earlier that reformists have a plan to save the country, adding that he is not so concerned about his own presence in the race as there are many able reformist figures that could be chosen to run. Khatami maintained that he will respect the choice of the reformist collective. - 3/14/13

Northern California: Persian Center's Nowruz 2013
Wednesday, March 20 - It is the mission of the Persian Center to create an environment to conduct various social, cultural, educational and recreational activities designed to strengthen the sense of integrity of all Iranians and people of Iranian descent, to engage individuals with an interest in or relation to the Persian community and culture. - 3/14/13

London - United Universities of London Iranian Societies (UULIS) Norouz Night 1392
Sunday 24th March - United Universities of London Iranian Societies is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its objectives shall be to bring all the London's Iranian student societies together- to promote the Persian culture, traditions, language, history, music and hospitality. To unite all the societies for a greater cause, the welfare and interests of Iran and all the Iranian students in London. - 3/14/13

US Presses China, Other Countries, on Cyber Attacks
McCaul, writing last week in the Wall Street Journal, cited a January report by the U.S. cyber security firm Mandiant which identified China as the source of nearly 90 percent of cyber attacks targeting the United States. He said such attacks have also come from Iran and Russia. - 3/14/13

Fifth Iranian Announces Intention To Run For President
Iranian parliamentary deputy speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar has publicly announced his intention to run for president. Bahonar's March 14 announcement comes after four other politicians said they would compete in the June 14 presidential election. - 3/14/13

Drug shortage to force closure of Iranian operating rooms
The head of the Anesthesia and Special Care Association of Iran has warned that a number of operating rooms in various Iranian hospitals are facing closure due to a shortage of anesthesia. Mohammad Mehdi Ghiamat said: "With the approach of the New Year holidays, only emergency cases can be taken to operating rooms, and the situation for other patients will remain unclear." - 3/13/13

Cyrus Cylinder: Ancient Persia Foreshadowed Modern Values
The Cyrus Cylinder has left its British Museum repository for its first U.S. tour, beginning at the Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington. "The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia" showcases this 2,600-year-old archeological treasure amid other artifacts from the Achaemenid Empire (550-331 B.C.) founded by the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great. -Lea Terhune, IIP - 3/13/13

Iran: UN expert raises alarm over increased degree of seriousness of human rights violations
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, today expressed alarm with numerous allegations and reports he continue to receive about the current human rights situation in Iran, "which require to be addressed urgently." - 3/13/13

Iran Targets Means Of Bypassing Online Censorship
Iran has stepped up its already tough Internet censorship policy by blocking the most popular antifiltering tool used by Iranians to access blocked websites. Beginning last week, Iranian authorities began blocking virtual private networks (VPNs), which an estimated 30 percent of the country's Internet users employ to get around state censorship. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/13/13

Call To Action: OURstory: Addressing the Middle East in the Classroom
Iranian parents and students can take action on a local level to help shape their school district's curriculum focusing on the Middle East. Through IAAB's "OURstory Campaign," members will address their local school districts' shortcomings regarding teaching about the Middle East. Click below to learn more and become a part of this campaign. - 3/13/13

Iran's coming wage hike leaves experts unimpressed
Iran says the country's minimum wage will increase by 25 percent for the upcoming Iranian new year, but labour activists and economic experts have dismissed the hike as insufficient. Official sources have put the rate of inflation at 31 percent, which has made labour activists critical of the mere 25-percent increase to the minimum wage. - 3/13/13

Iran, 18th most populous country in the world
Iran has a population of 76 million, standing at the 18th most populous country in the world, the director of Iran's National Organization for Civil Registration said in Tehran on Tuesday. According to Mohammad Nazemi-Ardakani, the birth rate in the country is currently 18.5 percent per 1,000 people, with mortality rate of 5.5 percent per 1,000 people. - 3/13/13

Maryland - The Iranian American Cultural Society of Maryland Chaharshanbe Suri Festival
Tuesday March 19 -- IACS' mission is to preserve, promote and encourage positive attributes of Iranian culture and to enhance intercultural diffusion between other nationalities and Iranians living in the United States. - 3/13/13

I stand by the Iranian people against Hollywood: French lawyer
Renowned French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who plans to file a lawsuit against Hollywood companies over the production of films which promote Iranophobia, has said that she will stand by the Iranian people in this case. - 3/13/13

UC Berkeley - 19th Annual ISCO Norouz Cultural Show
Friday, March 15 - It is with great pleasure that we invite you all to celebrate the coming of spring and the Persian New Year with us. Join us for an incredible afternoon featuring a wide variety of musical ensembles, dance performances, and other special guests in the Chevron Auditorium of I-House. - 3/13/13

Iran's Maghreb daily shut down by press board
Iran's Press Supervisory Board has suspended the publishing licence of Maghreb daily alleging that the newspaper has violated legal limitations imposed on the press. Maghreb was introduced into the news kiosks last September and has held a critical stance toward state policies. It was shut down once in December for similar charges. - 3/12/13

Ancient Symbol of Human Rights Visits US
An ancient clay cylinder credited with containing the world's first declaration of human and religious rights, is touring the United States. Dating from the sixth century BCE, and smaller than an American football, the artifact is inscribed with proclamations from King Cyrus the Great of ancient Persia, present-day Iran, who ruled almost 2,600 years ago. - 3/12/13

Iranian American Wonderkid Runs 100 Yards For 40 Yard Touchdown
American Football may be in its infancy in the UAE, but 12-year-old Kian Sohrabi is doing his best to put it on the map. Sohrabi has been the talk of the sport's community over the past few days, and it's little wonder, after scoring a stunning touchdown that has had Sport360 towers in raptures. - 3/12/13

Iran's National Internet launched, restrictions put on VPN use
In an interview with Radio Zamaneh, telecommunications and internet expert Moahmoud Tajalimehr speaks about the Iranian government's efforts to block VPN use as a part of its more general plan to create a closed internet space referred to as the "national Internet." - 3/12/13

Photos: Ground broken for Pakistan section of IP gas pipeline
Construction of the Pakistan section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline officially started on Monday. The project was launched during a ceremony on the Iran-Pakistan border attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. - 3/12/13

ENEMIES OF THE INTERNET 2013: And the winners are...
For this year's "Enemies of the Internet" report, Reporters Without Borders has identified Five State Enemies of the Internet, five "spy" states that conduct systematic online surveillance that results in serious human rights violations. They are Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam. - 3/12/13

Iran, Armenia Find Solidarity in Isolation
While the West seeks to isolate Iran over its disputed nuclear program, landlocked Armenia seeks to build relations with its neighbor -- without violating international sanctions. In all of Christian Armenia, there is only one mosque: "The Iranian Mosque," restored 15 years ago by Iran. -James Brooke, VOA - 3/12/13

UC Davis - Iranian Alumni Association Nowruz Celebration
Saturday, March 23, 2013 - The Iranian Alumni Association (IAA) cordially invites you to a dazzling evening of dancing, dining and entertainment to celebrate the spring celebration of Nowruz. - 3/12/13

Washington DC - Georgetown University Nowruz
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - Join the Georgetown University Iranian Cultural Society for its annual dinner show. There will be delicious Persian food, egg painting, performances by Georgetown and local student! - 3/12/13

EU Expands List Of Targets For Iran Rights Sanctions
The European Union has imposed further sanctions against Iran for alleged human rights violations. EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels on March 11, added nine people to the list of Iranian nationals facing a travel ban and an assets freeze. - 3/12/13

The Cyrus Cylinder: Its Significance for Today
The Cyrus Cylinder has traveled to the United States for the first time, and it will tour five major metropolitan centers, starting March 9th at the Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., traveling afterwards to Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Despite its antiquity, the cylinder may still have a significant role to play on the international stage today. -Farhang Jahanpour - 3/11/13

Photos: Iran hosts National Nowruz Welcoming Festival
Iran has held Nowruz Welcoming Celebration during a ceremony in the capital city of Tehran on Sunday to mark upcoming spring and Iranian New Year. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi along with a number of officials attended the national celebration held at Tehran's Summit Conference Hall. - 3/11/13

Iranian, Pakistani Presidents Inaugurate Gas Pipeline
Iran and Pakistan have inaugurated the building of a natural-gas pipeline linking the two countries that has been firmly opposed by the United States. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, led a groundbreaking ceremony in the Iranian port city of Chah Bahar on March 11 to mark the start of construction on the 780-kilometer-long Pakistani segment of the pipeline. - 3/11/13

The First Iranian-Armenian Earth Scientist to be Honored by the Geological Society of America
The special session honors the 40 years of Dr. Manuel Berberian's research which has contributed significantly to our understanding of the geologic evolution and active tectonics of Southwest Asia. This multidisciplinary session is expected to bring together an international group of researchers, ranging from veteran experts to students, to present and identify frontier avenues of research involving the geology, geophysics, and active tectonics of Southwest Asia. - 3/11/13

Nostalgia and Naivete - Watching Argo as an Iranian-American
My reaction to last year's blockbuster hit, and now multiple Oscar-winner, Argo was probably different than most people. Among many things, it made me nostalgic. Watching those Americans trapped in Tehran, bizarrely enough, evoked memories of my adolescence. While the film did not portray the Iran I knew, it reminded me of the overwhelming, irrational, and hypersensitive feelings I had while living in the country as an teenager. -Holly Dagres - 3/11/13

New York - Memorial Art Gallery Nowruz
Sunday March 24, 2013 - "Ode to Wine: A Program of Poetry, Art and Culture." Celebrate Now-ruz, the Persian New Year, and the start of spring. Our third annual event features a presentation on the origin of Now-ruz by RIT professors Shahin Monshipour and Robert Dunbar. a lecture and poetry recitation by Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz, ... - 3/11/13

Norooz App for iPhone, iPad, Android Phones and Tablets
Norooz is a colorful children's app that uses age-appropriate language and interactive features to explain the official start of the Persian New Year and the many traditions surrounding this festive holiday, which has been celebrated by Iranian people for more than 3,000 years. - 3/11/13

Trial continues for Iranian judicial officials accused in deaths
Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran Prosecutor, Hassan Zareh Dehnavi, also known as Judge Haddad, and Ali Akbar Heydarifar, the former deputy prosecutor, are three judiciary officials now facing charges in connection with the torture and death of detainees at Kahrizak Prison in 2009. - 3/11/13

Tehran official says disabled citizens need more support
Iran's Interior Ministry has failed to provide adequate support for the enhancement of public spaces for disabled Iranians, says a member of the Tehran Council for Improving Public Spaces. - 3/11/13

Iranian Foreign Minister sees bright outlook on sanctions
The Iranian Foreign Minister says international sanctions on Iran will gradually be lifted in the New Year. The Mehr News Agency reported that Ali Akbar Salehi told a news conference on Sunday March 10: "I have some information that cannot be revealed just yet, but the coming year will be a promising year for the gradual lifting of the sanctions." - 3/11/13

Analysis of Mr. Secretary's 1st Foreign Tour: A Trip Which Betrayed Washington's Strategy
John Kerry, the second secretary of state appointed by the US President Barack Obama, who is 69 years old and the 68th US secretary of state, embarked on an 11-day tour of Europe and the Middle East on March 6, 2013 -Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour - 3/11/13

Pop Up tour exhibiting works of Iranian stencil/street artists Icy and Sot
ICY (born 1985) and SOT (born 1991) are stencil artists from Tabriz - IRAN. they started their professional career in 2008 they had uploaded previous works as early as 2006 and they influenced and dragged their friends to street art. Their works are about peace, war, Love, hate, hope, despair, children, human rights and the Iranian culture. - 3/10/13

Iranian President Under Fire For Hugging Chavez's Mother
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad offers his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, during the funeral service at the Military Academy in Caracas on March 8. The photo was released to the media by the press office of the Venezuelan presidency. - 3/10/13

Washington DC - The Smithsonian Celebrates Nowruz
Saturday, March 16, 11 am-5 pm: A festive day awaits at the fifth annual Nowruz celebration of the Persian New Year. This year, the daylong festival coincides with the United States debut of one of the world's iconic objects from the ancient world, the Cyrus Cylinder. - 3/10/13

Iranian Workers Protest For Their Backed Up Pay
Hundreds of workers and retirees of Iranian metal industries gathered in front of Tehran governor's offices to protest against the delays in payment of their wages and benefits. The workers have gathered on several occasions in front of various ministries and each time ended their protests based on official promises by ministry and government officials to resolve the matter. - 3/10/13

New York - Cornell University Norooz, A Celebration of Spring
Thursday March 28, 2013 8:30pm: Cosponsored with the South Asia Program, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Department of Sociology, Anthropology Department, American Studies Department, and International Students Board. - 3/10/13

Factory layoffs in Iran add to fear of trend
One hundred workers at the Iran Pouya Refigeration Factory were laid off this week, ILNA reports. The head of the Workers House in the west end of Tehran announced on Saturday March 9 that the Iran Pouya Refrigeration Factory was shut down after laying off its 100 workers. - 3/10/13

Iran to build refineries in African states: source
Iran has come to terms with Algeria, Angola, and South Africa to build small refineries for them, the Fars news agency quoted an informed source as saying. Iran has also been holding talks with Pakistan to establish refineries there, the source said, adding the two sides will hopefully ink a deal in the near future. - 3/10/13

Iran Allocates 2.1 Billion Euro To Build Gas Condensates Refinery
Iran has allocated 2.1 billion Euro so far in establishing the Persian Gulf Star gas condensates refinery in southern Hormozgan province, IRNA quoted Hormozgan Province governor general Ebrahim Azizi as saying. The refinery is the largest gas condensates refinery in the world - 3/10/13

Photos: Volunteers cook 220 Kilograms of Samanoo for Norouz!
Every year, two weeks before the arrival of the Iranian New Year Norouz, a group of devoted people gather at the Alroghieh Mosque in the southern city of Shiraz and cook a large amount of samanoo for distribution among the needy in the city. This year the volunteers cooked 220 kilograms of samanoo! - 3/9/13

Press Crackdown Continues in Iran: 3 Publications Banned, 3 Journalists Arrested
Continuing the latest crackdown on journalists that began on January 26, Iranian officials banned three publications in Tehran today (March 6) and arrested three more journalists this week. No official charges have been issued against the journalists or the publications. - 3/9/13

Iran Parliament Calls For End To Medical Drug Delays
Iranian Parliament has called on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to immediately free up the drugs that have been stalled in customs and allow them entry into the market. Iran has been facing serious drug shortages in recent months due to a lack of foreign currency, as international sanctions on Iranian banks have restricted financial transactions and the import of medical drugs. - 3/9/13

Photos: Ahmadinejad attends funeral ceremony of late President Chavez
President Mahmood Ahmadinejad attended funeral ceremony of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and expressed condolence to his family. He expressed condolence to the Acting President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuelan nation and government. - 3/9/13

Iran Looks To Car Exports To Power It Through Sanctions
Western sanctions may be sapping Iran's economic strength, but Tehran believes it still has an ace to play: its automotive industry, the country's second-biggest export earner after oil and gas. As Iran starts its new fiscal year this month, it views automotive and other industrial exports as its best hope for making up some of the billions of dollars Tehran loses from sanctions that target its international oil sales. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 3/9/13

Iran: Death row prisoners in Ahwaz begin hunger strike
The Human Rights Reporters Committee said on Friday March 8 that the five prisoners sentenced to death - Hashem Shabaninejad, Hadi Rashedi, Mohammadali Amourinejad, and Jaber and Mokhtar Alboshokeh - along with another inmate who is sentenced to 20 years in jail, Rahman Asakereh, began a hunger strike on March 2 in protest against the conditions at Karoon Prison in Ahwaz. - 3/9/13

Oregon - Andisheh Center invites you to celebrate Chahar-shanbeh Soori
A group of dedicated and caring individuals formed a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with the primary goal of fostering Iranian cultural heritage in the Portland metro area and to meet the cultural needs of the thousands of people of Iranian descent living here. As a result, Andisheh Center - aka Kanoon Andisheh or center of thoughts - was founded in December 1997. - 3/9/13

Nowruz 2013 - Send Persian New Year greeting ecards
Wish that Nowruz brings the blessings of happiness, prosperity and love. Reach out to all you know with this New Year greeting. Invite and wish a friend or a loved one for a grand celebration on Nowruz with... - 3/9/13

Iran, Iraq resume talks on gas deal
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has started a new round of talks with Iraqi officials in Baghdad, discussing the implementation of a previously signed deal with the Iraqi side to export Iranian gas to Iraq. - 3/9/13

International Women's Day, 8 March 2013: Women's rights: time to turn decades of empty promises into concrete changes for women
Two key groups of independent experts within the United Nations Human Rights system urged world governments, on International Women's Day, to commit decisively to women's rights and turn decades of empty promises into concrete changes for women and girls around the world. - 3/8/13

Crying wolf over Iran's nuclear program
After producing his comic diagram during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last September, drawing a red line in order to stop Iran's alleged imminent nuclear bomb, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for immediate action against Iran before it was too late. -Farhang Jahanpour - 3/8/13

Cherishing Gender Equality and Culture of Human Rights
The freedom from discrimination is well recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 2: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status..." - 3/8/13

A Journey Through Iranian Cinema With Mark Cousins
In A Journey Through Iranian Cinema With Mark Cousins, Iranian filmmaker Ehsan Khoshbakht catches up with Mark during the English tour of The Story of Film. Mark explores the impact of the films of Forough Farrokhzad, Abbas Kiarostami and the Makhmalbaf(s) have had on his life as filmmaker and film lover as he reminisces about the two trips he made from Scotland to Iran in his campervan. - 3/8/13

Concern grows for missing jailed Iranian activist
An opposition website reports concerns over the whereabouts of jailed student activist Zia Nabavi, who after being summoned to court last Tuesday was not returned to his cell. The Kaleme website reports that Zia Nabavi was taken to court from Ahvaz Prison, where he is serving a 10-year prison sentence, and he has not been returned to prison since. - 3/8/13

Iran: Warnings against new form of sedition
Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, Prosecutor General of Iran warned the public against the new form of sedition brewing all across the country. Mohseni Ejei, who is also the spokesman for the judiciary, said: "All evidence is pointing at the arrival of seditious activities in the beginning months of the year." Iranian New Year begins on March 21. - 3/8/13

Ahmadinejad Under Fire For Making Chavez A Messiah
Mahmud Ahmadinejad's eulogy to Hugo Chavez might have come from the heart, but it has drawn the Iranian president criticism at home. Some Iranian religious figures and media did not take kindly to condolences that Ahmadinejad posted on his personal website following the death of his Venezuelan counterpart. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 3/8/13

Texas - Iranian Cultural Foundation Celebrates Nowruz
The Iranian Cultural Foundation-Houston (ICF-H) is a non-profit, non-political organization with no religious affiliation that fosters the educational, social, and charitable interests of the Iranian-American community. It promotes the appreciation of Persian culture and nurtures a deeper understanding between the Iranian and American communities. - 3/8/13

World Leaders Gather for Chavez Funeral
Dozens of world leaders have gathered in Venezuela's capital for the state funeral of the late president Hugo Chavez. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuban President Raul Castro are among the leaders in Caracas for Friday's funeral. The U.S. is sending a diplomatic delegation. - 3/8/13

San Diego - House of Iran Nowruz Celebration
At 2:00 pm the lawn program begins with the usual speeches and National anthem, followed by a musical program. Professional dancers from Los Angeles and dancers from the local Persian Dance Academy will perform some of their traditional ethnic and folk dances in their authentic costumes. In addition, there will be reading of poems plus singing and playing of instruments. - 3/8/13

TED Fellows Name a Hero: Taghi Amirani: Iranian Filmmaker Launching Debut Feature "Coup 53" Honoured at TED2103
Amirani, a Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of Amirani Media, who is currently working on mounting his first feature film, Coup 53 - the true story of Operation Ajax and the overthrow of Mossadegh in the CIA coup staged in Iran in 1953 - was shocked into uncharacteristic speechlessness. He managed only to croak, "This is a mind f***!" - 3/7/13

Grieving Iranian mother threatens public suicide if justice denied
The mother of Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who was pronounced dead five days after his arrest by the Iranian Cyber Police, has threatened to commit suicide in public if the authorities don't start proceedings against those responsible for her son's death. - 3/7/13

Pro-Reform Journalists Arrested In Iran
Two pro-reform journalists have been arrested in Iran. The journalists for the "Maghreb" newspaper were reported detained on March 6. ISNA, the Iranian Students' News Agency, said managing director Mohammad Mehdi Emami Nasseri and political editor Alireza Aghaeirad were detained by agents from the Tehran prosecutor's office. - 3/7/13

Iran wants proof to open base to nuclear inspectors
Fereydoon Abbasi said on Wednesday March 6 at a press conference: "Parchin has not been the site of any nuclear activities, and if they want to visit this site, they have to provide us with convincing evidence and documents so that we can discuss the matter with our country's military authorities, because they have taken the final decision on this issue." - 3/7/13

Ahmadinejad Allies' New Attack: State-Run National Radio and TV Talks Rubbish
Iran's state-run national radio and television network, Seda va Sima, recently ran a documentary on how the first president of the Islamic republic was removed from power and implied similarities between that presidency and Ahmadinejad's possible future. The movie instantly became the talk of the town. -Arash Bahmani, Rooz - 3/7/13

Iran completes first phase of mapping of archaeological sites
The first phase of the project to map all of Iran's archaeological sites has been completed by a team of experts. A total of 45,000 archaeological sites appear on the map, team director Abbas Moqaddam said at the ceremony. - 3/7/13

Do not repeat Iraq's mistake on Iran: Hans Blix
Ten years after the US invaded Iraq, Hans Blix, and former head of IAEA warned world powers, "not to repeat Iraq's mistake about Iran." World "memories are short," the now 82-year-old Swedish ex-diplomat told a small group of journalists at a press gathering in Dubai. "Memories of the failure and tragic mistakes in Iraq are not taken sufficiently seriously," he said. - 3/7/13

Ahmadinejad Predicts Chavez Will Return Alongside Jesus, Hidden Imam
The death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has prompted eulogies from around the world, but few of the messages have been as eccentric as the second-coming predicted by Iran's president. And as if returning to Earth alone was not enough, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad says Chavez will do so alongside some esteemed company. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 3/7/13

Dallas - Parastoo Nowruz 2013 Festival
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. - 3/7/13

Toronto - Iranian-Canadian Network Nowruz
The Board of Directors of IC Network would like to invite you to the organization's yearly Nowruz Celebration.We would like to also take this opportunity to wish you a healthy, joyful and prosperous Persian New Year 1392. - 3/7/13

Photos: Paragliding in Mazandaran, Iran
Paragliding is a favorite adventure for tourists visiting the town of Galugah by the Caspian Sea in Iran's Mazandaran province. The heights at the village of Mahdirjeh offer a great point to soar about the beautiful landscape and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. - 3/6/13

World powers laud "useful" nuclear talks with Iran
The G5+1 says its talks with Iran in Kazakhstan were "useful" and it will actively use diplomatic means in the coming months in order to achieve concrete results. The world powers met with the Iranian delegation on February 26 and 27 in the Kazakh capital of Almaty after an eight-month hiatus. - 3/6/13

Iran gets currency relief in light of positive talks
The exchange rates in Iran for the dollar, the price of gold and automobiles have declined in recent days, following the implementation of a number of economic strategies and the positive vibes emanating from the nuclear talks in Almaty at the end of February. - 3/6/13

New UN report calls for release of seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders
The UN's independent investigator on Iran has called for the immediate release of seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders, asking that Iran "fully honor" its legal commitments to freedom of religion or belief. The plea came last week from Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, in his annual report to the Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva. - 3/6/13

Venezuelan President Chavez Dead at 58
Venezuelan officials say President Hugo Chavez has died after a long struggle with cancer. Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the death on national television Tuesday. He urged the Venezuelan people to show strength and courage, and to be united and fulfill the expectations of "this great leader." -Candace Williams, VOA - 3/6/13

Seattle - kAnoon Nowruz Celebration 2013
kAnoon offers educational programs with the goal of preserving and propagating Iranian culture. We strive to create an environment in which youth as well as adults can explore boundaries of Persian music, language, fine and performing arts through offering convenient classes. - 3/6/13

Iran and P5 Plus1: Outlook of 2nd Meeting in Almaty
Although none of the two parties have revealed the details of the negotiations after the talks were over, their positive comments have led most analysts to be optimistic about the results of negotiations between Tehran and the P5+1 group - comprising the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China, plus Germany. - 3/6/13

Third ECO ministerial meeting begins in Tehran
The third ministerial meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) kicked off in Tehran Wednesday with participation of oil and energy ministers of the member countries. Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the ECO. - 3/6/13

Denmark - Nowruz Iranian New Year Celebration
The Iranian society in Denmark consists of a few thousand people who mainly came to Denmark in 1980's and many of them are currently active in various business and contribute to many social, cultural and political activities. - 3/6/13

The sheikh and I: Ghostwriting for a crown prince in exile
THE LAST I HEARD, the Sheikh was under house arrest, and his security guy was in jail. This was not the way it was supposed to turn out. The Sheikh's idea was for it to end in triumph, with his grand return to the royal palace, flags waving, trumpets blaring, the masses applauding; new alliances with the West -LA Review of Books - 3/6/13

Southern California Iranian-Americans, 670 AM KIRN Radio Iran and The Midnight Mission Give Back to Skid Row Residents in Honor of Iranian New Year Nowruz
The Midnight Mission proudly announces that its second annual Nowruz at the Midnight Mission event-a special street celebration to toast life and revive and renew the spirit during this festive time of renewal-will take place on Friday, March 15th from 3pm to 6pm at The Midnight Mission on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. - 3/5/13

Iran's currency strengthens about 9 percent
The Iranian currency jumped about 9 percent against the U.S. dollar because of apparent government intervention and a positive tone at nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, currency websites and Iranian media reported on Monday. - 3/5/13

"The Persian Square" by Iran Davar Ardalan now available on iPad
Rich with evocative images and vignettes, The Persian Square spans the extraordinary range of Iranian-American self expression, chronicling the myriad and indelible contributions Iranian emigres have made over their decades, fashioning American lives out of Persian identity and traditions. - 3/5/13

The P5+1 meeting with Iran: Did someone blink?
On March 1, 2010, an essay in Haaretz titled "Who will blink first in Iran's nuclear poker game?" stated that "Israel is on the verge of a preemptive war to try to foil Iran's nuclear program." So, the question was who would blink first? Would it be Iran that would give up its nuclear program? Would it be Israel that would be forced to withdraw its threat of military attack? Or would it be the US that would ratchet up the pressure on Iran to please Israel? -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 3/5/13

Financial trends have shrunk Iranian purchasing power
Iranians' purchasing power has declined by 72 percent in the past eight years, according to the daily Iranian newspaper Shargh. Shargh writes that the dollar has gone up from 8,740 rials in 2005 to 32,000 rials at the beginning of 2013, which means a 10-million rial monthly salary used to be worth $1,114 but now amounts to $313. - 3/5/13

Iran says journalist crackdown foils enemies' plans
Iran's Intelligence Minister says recently detained journalists are "puppets of world arrogance" and their arrests have created "havoc" in the network of the country's enemies. IRNA reports that Heydar Moslehi said on Monday March 4: "Some domestic media were linked to anti-Revolutionary networks, and identifying them has once again led to the defeat of our enemies' programs." - 3/5/13

Dubai - Magic of Persia's Nowrouz Concert
Following a great success during Magical Nights 2012, Magic of Persia will be hosting its second Shanbehzadeh Ensemble concert in March 2013. Back by popular demand, Shanbehzadeh Ensemble will be back in Dubai to celebrate Iranian Nowrouz once again! - 3/5/13

San Diego - Association of Iranian American Professionals of San Diego's Charshanbeh Soori and Nowruz
AIAP, Association of Iranian American Professionals, is a San Diego based 501 (c) (3) nonprofit aspiring well-being of Iranian American community and promoting Persian culture through Professional Networking Events, Cultural Events, Seminars and Workshops, Monthly Hikes, Charities and several other services. - 3/5/13

Iran's car exports tripled to $294m in 11 months
Iran exported 49,952 cars, valued at about $294 million, during the first eleven months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 20, 2012. During the same period in the previous year, 18,455 cars, worth $96 million, were exported. Iraq, Ukraine and Azerbaijan were the main importers of Iranian cars. - 3/5/13

Former IRGC head Mohsen Rezai running for Iranian presidency
Mohsen Rezai, the Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, has officially announced his candidacy for the presidential election. Iranian media report that on Monday March 4, Rezai announced that he is running in the 11th presidential election, slated for June 2013. - 3/5/13

Zardari Says Iran-Pakistani Pipeline To Go Ahead
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has announced that Pakistan will go ahead with a long-delayed gas pipeline project with Iran despite objections from Washington. Speaking in Lahore on March 4, Zardari said the project, estimated to cost $1.5 billion, will be launched on March 11. - 3/5/13

Would the Turkish Model Work in Arab Spring Countries?
The leader of one of the most popular political parties in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began, says his model for the development of democracy in the Muslim world is Turkey. And Hillary Clinton, when she was the U.S. secretary of state, also cited Turkey as an example of how Arab Spring nations could embrace democracy. -Mohamed Elshinnawi, VOA - 3/5/13

Perpetuation of Myth: An Exhibition by Iranian-American Artists
The Museums of Los Gatos presents Perpetuation of Myth a new exhibition at The Art Museum of Los Gatos at 4 Tait Avenue, Los Gatos, California. Perpetuation of Myth, curated by Nazanin Hedayat Munroe is on view March 7 - April 14, 2013. - 3/4/13

Photos: Yazd faces water shortage as supply from Isfahan cut by protesting farmers
Outraged that precious water from their local river is being diverted, last week a group of farmers in Isfahan, Iran destroyed a pump channelling water to the city of Yazd. They've been guarding the pump day and night ever since, refusing to let the authorities fix it. Meanwhile, residents of Yazd are suffering from a severe water shortage, leading to fears of unrest there. - 3/4/13

Photos: Haji Firouz in the streets of Shiraz
In Iranian culture, Haji Firouz is the traditional herald of the Nowruz season. Wearing black make-up and a red costume, Haji Firouz sings and dances through the streets with tambourines and trumpets spreading good cheer and the news of the coming New Year. - 3/4/13

Southern California - 2013 Nowruz Celebration at LACMA
March 16-17 at Los Angeles County Museum of Art - This program celebrates the arrival of spring with a full day of exciting activities throughout LACMA's campus, including live performances, music, storytelling and calligraphy for children, and a traditional Nowruz display known as Haft Seen! - 3/4/13

Iranian reformists seek election discussion with Supreme Leader
Iranian reformists have written to Iran's Supreme Leader to discuss the possibility of their participation in the 2013 presidential election. ISNA reported on Sunday March 3 that Mohammad Javad Haghshenas, the deputy head of the Reformists Front, referred to the letter when he said: "In this letter, we have discussed the issues surrounding the 2013 election and the possibility of party participation." - 3/4/13

Iranian activist Shiva Nazar-Ahari nominated for award
The Human Rights Reporters Committee writes that Nazar-Ahari is one of nine reporters, bloggers and cyber space activists nominated for the 2013 Netizen Award, which will be awarded by Reporters Without Borders and Google on March 12 to mark the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. - 3/4/13

Blocking Medicine to Iran
Patients in Iran are dying of treatable diseases because of shortages in life-saving medicines. The past year has been nothing short of catastrophic for the Iranian health-care sector: Imports from American and European drug makers in 2012 were down by an estimated 30 percent since 2011, and they continue to fall. -Siamak Namazi, NY Times - 3/4/13

Southern California - NIPOC NoRooz Celebration and SizdahBedar 2013
Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County (NIPOC) was founded in 1986. Mission: Promoting professional and business opportunity among our members. Raising awareness of rich Persian heritage and culture among Iranians and Americans. Unifying Iranian-Americans in serving public and social causes in our community - 3/4/13

"Amour" to hit Iranian theaters
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's romance drama "Amour" will be screened at Iranian theaters on March 6. "Amour" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year. The film previously received a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. - 3/4/13

Iran to establish NGL plant on Kharg Island in Persian Gulf
Iran will inaugurate a natural gas liquids (NGL) production plant on Kharg Island, which is located in the Persian Gulf, by the end of the next Iranian calendar year (March 2014). The project is now 50 percent complete, ISNA quoted Iranian Offshore Oil Company official Reza Bayazi as saying on Sunday. - 3/4/13

Iran Inflation Rate Hits 29.8%: Nut Prices Soar!
Prices of nuts, a favorite snack during Persian New Year, have risen sharply in the past year, following the steep decline in the value of Iranian currency. For most Iranians the nuts are now out of reach, like many other items. - 3/3/13

London - Iran Heritage Foundation's Norouz Gala 2013
Saturday March 16 at The Dorchester, London - The Iran Heritage Foundation is a non-political UK registered charity with the mission to promote and preserve the history, languages and cultures of Iran and the Persian world. The objectives of the Foundation are pursued by organising, on a worldwide basis, diverse activities of cultural or scholarly merit. - 3/3/13

Hamed Haddadi to wear No. 98 with the Suns in honor of Iran
Phoenix Suns center Hamed Haddadi has decided to pay tribute to his home country by choosing to wear No. 98, Iran's international telephone code. According to ESPN's NBA reporter Arash Markazi, the switch was made from his old number 15 as a sort of homage to his native Iran. The number 98 is Iran's international telephone country code. - 3/3/13

More Iranian Journalists Released
Soleyman Mohammadi and Pejman Mousavi, two of the recently detained journalists, were released on Saturday March 2, the opposition website Kaleme reports. Mohammadi and Mousavi, both on the staff of the Bahar daily, were arrested on February 1 in a wave of journalist arrests initiated by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. - 3/3/13

Head Of Iran's Qods Force Suggests Assad Is Vulnerable
The head of Iran's Qods Force, which has been accused by U.S. officials of providing military aid to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, doesn't seem to believe the Syrian dictator can win. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/3/13

Iran: IRGC official defends role in elections, accuses president
Mojtaba Zolnoor, the Iranian Supreme Leader's adviser in the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has denounced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's allegations against the Guards and accused the president of distorting the image of the IRGC. - 3/3/13

Child Foundation 12th Annual Nowruz Bazaar in Irvine, California
Join Child Foundation at the 12th annual Nowruz Bazaar on March 17th, 2013 from 11 am to 6 pm at the Hilton Irvine. There will be children's activities, live music, Haji Firooz, DJ Maha, and much more! Meet Irvine's Mayor Dr. Steven Choi and receive a free medical checkup from the Hoag Medical Doctors. - 3/3/13

Texas - Persian Cultural Center Norooz 2013
Saturday, March 9 at Persian Cultural Center in Richardson, Texas. Persian Cultural Center (Texas PCC) is an educational and cultural organization with no affiliation with any religious or political ideology; dedicated only to education, art, culture, and establishment of sense of community. - 3/3/13

Texas - Persian Cultural Center Norooz 2013
Saturday, March 9 at Persian Cultural Center in Richardson, Texas. Persian Cultural Center (Texas PCC) is an educational and cultural organization with no affiliation with any religious or political ideology; dedicated only to education, art, culture, and establishment of sense of community. - 3/3/13

Iran leaders gain as football loses
"My experience as the national team manager of Iran was that football plays a major role in the political, social and even economic direction that the nation takes and the people who decide the direction of the country are constantly using the game for their political agenda," said Afshin Ghotbi, head coach of the national team from 2009 to 2011. John Duerden, Aljazeera - 3/3/13

JUST THINKING FREELY: Potentials for a US-Iran Rapprochement
On Tuesday, February 26, the P5+1 and Iran commenced negotiations in Almati, Kazakhstan, and Chuck Hagel began his first day on the job as the new Secretary of Defense. Both these events bore great significance, considering what had gone on to lead to this stage of the game. -Kam Zarrabi - 3/2/13

Senators Push Promise to Support Israeli Strikes on Iran
New legislation introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) calls for the U.S. to provide military, economic, and diplomatic support for Israel should its government decide to launch military strikes on Iran. - Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 3/2/13

Iran: Probe of attack on Larijani's speech raises concerns
Iran's Parliament is concerned that the people who planned an attack on the speech of parliamentary chief Ali Larijani in Qom on February 10 have other plans to disrupt the system. On February 10, Ali Larijani's speech to mark the anniversary of the Revolution was interrupted by a group of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supporters, who chanted slogans and threatened to become rowdy. - 3/2/13

Boston - Iranian Association of Boston Celebrates Norouz 1392
Established in 1989, The Iranian Association of Boston (IAB) is a non-political, non-religious organization and has no affiliation with any political or religious organization. The Iranian Association of Boston is dedicated to promoting the cultural and social understanding of Iran. - 3/2/13

Iranian Intelligence Minister warns against budget abuse during elections
Heydar Moslehi, Iran's Minister of Intelligence, has warned against the abuse of government budgets for illegitimate purposes in the presidential and city council elections. Conservative and reformist factions have both expressed concern about potential interference in the elections process by the Ahmadinejad administration. - 3/2/13

Googoosh Nowruz 2013 Concerts
Sunday March 24 in Dubai and Tuesday March 26 in London - Googoosh's phenomenally successful career in the performing arts spans 6 decades, and she is regarded as the most iconic and influential female singer of Iran. - 3/2/13

The Ball is in Iran's Court
This week's P5+1-Iran meeting was highly encouraging but the long shadow of the past looms large. For the first time, United States and Iran appear to have begun real negotiations. Though no agreement has been reached yet, the meeting in Kazakhstan this week was a relative success. -Trita Parsi, The Diplomat - 3/2/13

Indian Shipping Company Stops Carrying Iranian Oil
Mercator's tanker -- the "Omvati Prem" -- was the only ship with local emergency insurance available for charter by Indian refiners when sanctions from the United States and European Union were imposed on ships carrying Iranian crude oil. - 3/2/13

Hakim (Physician-Philosopher) Razi - A book by Parviz Azkaei
Zakaria Razi (865-925), the musician, alchemist and the father of modern chemistry, the philosopher and physician is the reviver of ancient Iranian world-views after the advent of Islam. For this reason, Parviz Azkaei's great comprehensive work on Razi's life, covering the history and socio-political conditions of his time as well was The Book that as an Iranian, I was craving for all my life. -Roya Monajem - 3/1/13

Iran: Anger over water shortages leads to violence in Esfahan
Two months into protests in Esfahan Province over water transfers to Yazd Province, protesters and security forces clashed and several buses were set on fire. The Kaleme website reported on Thursday February 28 that the clashes occurred when a group of officials who had arrived to make repairs to the water pipelines were met with resistance. - 3/1/13

Iranian Lawyers Call on Iranian Authorities to Cease Infringements on Independence of Legal Profession in Iran
On the occasion of Defense Lawyers' Day (February 25th) in Iran, a group of 35 Iranian defense and human rights lawyers has published an open letter calling on the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) to cease infringements on the independence of Iran's legal profession. - 3/1/13

Stirring Video Asks Tehranis 'What's Your Wish?'
There's a moving new video produced by a young Iranian artist Ali Molavi, who asked people in Iran a difficult question: "What's your wish for today?" It's called "One Question Fifty Answers - Tehran." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/1/13

On Heels of Argo Oscar, Former Hostages Say U.S. and Iran Must Break "Wall of Mistrust"
On the heels of Argo's Oscar victory, and on the eve of renewed Iranian nuclear negotiations retired Ambassadors Bruce Laingen and John Limbert - two former hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran during the 444 day crisis - called for sustained diplomacy and an expansion of U.S.-Iran talks. -Solmaz Elmi-Sarabi, NIAC - 3/1/13

Support the Introduction of Legislation Acknowledging Nowruz and the Cyrus Cylinder
Representatives Henry Waxman (D-33rd/CA) and Peter Roskam (R-6th/IL) plan on introducing a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. Congress recognizing the Iranian New Year (Nowruz) and acknowledging that the Cyrus Cylinder has, over the centuries, come to symbolize one of mankind's first documents on human rights. - 3/1/13

Southern California - Celebrate Nowruz 2013 with the homeless
Steeped in history, Nowruz is an annual celebration that marks the beginning of the Iranian New Year for people of all faiths. It is also a time of deep spirituality when light symbolically conquers darkness, and people open their hearts to help those less fortunate than themselves step into the light. - 3/1/13

Iran's aviation officials consider 100 percent fare hike
Head of Iranian Airlines Association announced that they have made an application to increase airfares by 100 percent if the government fails to offer appropriate subsidies to the airline companies. Scrapping of government subsidies on fuel and food coupled with international sanctions on Iran's oil and financial sectors has led to unprecedented hike in the inflation rate. - 3/1/13

Thousands of drug convicts face work camps in Iran
The head of Iranian prisons has announced that 10,000 prisoners charged with drug-related offences will be transferred to work camps. IRNA reports that Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Friday March 1: "Ten thousand drug convicts will be transferred to work camps in Esfahan and Khorasan." - 3/1/13

Southern California - International Society for Children with Cancer Nowruz Bazaar
Please join ISCC in celebrating the arrival of Persian New Year by attending our Nowruz Bazaar supporting underprivileged children suffering from cancer. The Nowruz Bazaar features a variety of delicious homemade torshis, jams, pastries, haft-seen items and entertainment for children and adults. - 3/1/13

Senators Push Resolution Committing US to Aid Israel in Attack on Iran
A bipartisan group of US senators is pushing a resolution declaring that if Israel attacks Iran "in self-defense," the United States will join in the military assault on Israel's behalf. Leaving aside the fact that under no reasonable definition of "self-defense" could Israel conceivably justify an attack on Iran, the resolution is both an illustration of Congress's fealty to Israel, as well as their aggressiveness towards Iran. -John Glaser, Antiwar - 3/1/13

The Syrian Back Door to War With Iran
So why in the name of all that's holy are we allying with and arming these monsters? In a word: Iran. The Western alliance with the Syrian sons of Osama bin Laden is a cold geopolitical calculation. We're out to show the mullahs of Tehran that we mean business. Syria could wind up opening an oh-so-convenient back door to war with Iran. -Justin Raimondo, Antiwar - 3/1/13
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