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Iranian School Curricula to Incorporate Environmental Awareness
Teaching environmental concepts to students has never been implemented in a systematic and nationwide form in Iran. In recent years some limited efforts have been made in a number of schools which have been projects undertaken by volunteers through initiatives of particular principles, parent councils or teachers. - 3/31/14

Iran: President Rohani Says New Phase Has Begun In Economy, Culture, Foreign Policy
President Hassan Rohani said Saturday the government has introduced a new challenge into economy, culture and foreign policy. Rohani termed the governmentˈs steps in foreign policy sector as ˈa good startˈ and said a lot is yet to be done. An old friendship can be destroyed by a speech or statement, Rohani said, but he added that to rebuild a lost trust is difficult and takes a long time. - 3/31/14

Uniting Iran and America in life and death: a tribute to Professor Richard N. Frye
Many have tried to unite humanity through their life. Rare is the person who consciously seeks to bring unity through his/her death. Special is the human being who looks at death as yet another chance to bring humanity together. -Omid Safi, RNS - 3/31/14

Iranians sue UK banks over closed accounts, claiming racial discrimination
A group of Iranians, including a nine-year-old girl, have taken three high-street UK banks to court for what they believe is a misreading of sanctions policy, alleging they have been subjected to racial discrimination after being told that their accounts had to close. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 3/31/14

6th Annual Festival of the Silk Road: Sunday, April 27th in San Jose, California
Afsaneh Art & Culture Society/Ballet Afsaneh proudly presents the 6th annual Festival of the Silk Road - 2014. Dance, music and poetry from the Silk Road including Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, China, India, Azerbaijan, Egypt, the Balkans, the Roma & more.. - 3/31/14

Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War
U.S. isn't the only country that's faced difficult choices over Syria. Iran and Syria have been close allies for decades. And in Iran, discussions about Syria are surprisingly frank, complex and demonstrate growing divisions over how to handle a costly war that has no end in sight. -Deborah Amos, NPR - 3/31/14

No casualty in Tehran-Mashahd train derailment
Iran's East-North Railway general manager has said that a train with passengers from Tehran to Mashhad jumped off a track near Shahroud on Sunday, and fortunately there have been no report of casualties. - 3/31/14

Mehran Tamadon Wins Cinema Du Reel Grand Prize for "Iranian"
It took two years for Mehran Tamadon to persuade the four supporters of the Iranian regime to risk taking part in an experiment with him. Now he receives them as guests at his family's country house to try out something that does not exist in Iran: a pluralistic society. - 3/30/14

Photos: 'Earth Hour' observed in Tehran
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement for the planet organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held worldwide annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March, as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. - 3/30/14

Afghan Candidates Pledge Peace, Prosperity Amid Violence
Afghanistan is getting ready for presidential elections and all eight candidates are campaigning hard for the top slot. With current president Hamid Karzai constitutionally barred from a third term, the April 5 vote will be the first time power will be democratically transferred to a new leader. -Sharon Behn, VOA - 3/30/14

Jask to become Iran's 2nd oil export terminal
Iran's port city of Jask in the southern province of Hormozgan will turn into the country's second crude oil export terminal in the near future, a high-ranking Iranian official says. - 3/30/14

Iran's new envoy to UN denies link to controversy
The Iranian president has appointed Hamid Aboutalebi as the new Iranian envoy to the United Nations. Western media have focused on Aboutalebi's alleged connection with the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979. Aboutalebi has reportedly denied any direct connection with the incident - 3/30/14

Iranian Environment Official Reveals Lake Oroumieh Drying At Severe Level
Hassan Abbasnejad, the head of the Western Azerbaijan Province environment department, announced that the water levels in Lake Oroumieh have fallen by 40 percent. Iran's Lake Oroumieh (also spelled Urmia) is the largest lake in the Middle East and the third largest saltwater lake on Earth. - 3/29/14

Iran's Human Rights Showing Little Progress, UN Votes to Renew Special Mandate
March 28, 2014- The United Nations Human Rights Council voted 21 to 9 to renew the mandate of Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, a welcome development for human rights in Iran, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 3/29/14

Museum items can't be seized to pay Iran judgment
The case targeting the Persian antiquities at the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute was closely watched nationwide by other museum officials, who feared a ruling against the Chicago museums could set an alarming precedent that might put their own collections at risk. AP - 3/29/14

Representative Cyrus Habib's bill to aid entrepreneurs, create jobs wins approval in Washington State's Senate
The state's economy will get a boost from entrepreneurs tapping into a 21st-century model of financial backing to start businesses and create jobs, under the Washington Jobs Act of 2014, a bill passed by the Senate March 8. -Rep. Cyrus Habib - 3/29/14

Obama Seeks To Reassure Saudi Arabia Over Iran, Syria
U.S. President Barack Obama has held talks with King Abdullah in Riyadh amid tensions between the two countries over Iran's nuclear program and the civil war in Syria. After the two-hour meeting, a White House statement underscored the "strong" bilateral relationship. - 3/29/14

Nuclear talks with Iran productive: Wendy Sherman
US Under Secretary of State and top American negotiator at the nuclear talks with Iran Wendy Sherman has described the negotiations with the Islamic Republic as "productive" and "substantial." Citing "decades of mistrust," however, Sherman expressed doubt that Washington and Tehran can overcome major differences between them even if they can achieve a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear issue. - 3/29/14

Sunni group says captive Iranian border officials not in Pakistan
A spokesman for the Sunni group Jeysh-ol-Adl says the abducted border officers are in Iranian territory, and Pakistan's foreign ministry has also announced that the Iranian hostages are not in Pakistan. He went on to confirm the execution of one Iranian border officer, adding that the others are in good health and will be released if Iran meets Jeysh-ol-Adl's demands. - 3/29/14

Norouz can lead to "political union" among countries: Iranian President
Iranian president who was attending the the 5th international Norouz (Persian New Year) celebrations in Kabul on Thursday said that Norouz is an elegant heritage of ancient time and a good opportunity to lead to political union among the countries. - 3/28/14

This Norooz, Wishing Iranians (Access to) a Healthy New Year
Since 2012, due to current U.S. and European sanctions on Iran, ordinary Iranians often cannot access the life-saving medicine they need to address critical health issues. -Yasmin Radjy, NIAC - 3/28/14

2014 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Winners Announced
The winners of the 2014 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival were announced on Saturday, March 22, 2014, during the 6th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film festival Award Ceremony & Reception at LACMA before a live audience at the museum's Leo S. Bing Auditorium. - 3/28/14

The Revolving Bookstand: Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an
Eleven years before composing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson bought a Qur'an. How did this purchase influence Jefferson and what role did Islam play with other American Founding Fathers? Wm. Scott Harrop reviews Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders by Denise Spellberg in this month's Revolving Bookstand feature. - 3/28/14

Pakistan vows to help find captors of Iranian officials
A spokesperson for the Pakistani foreign ministry has condemned the abduction and killing of an Iranian border official. IRNA reports that Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan denounces terrorist activities anywhere in the world and expressed regret over the death of the Iranian border officer. - 3/28/14

Iranian Culture Minister Deflects Blame For Print Censorship
Ali Jannati, the Minister of Culture and Guidance, says the government is not responsible for bans on books and newspapers. - 3/28/14

Rohani: U.S., Soviet Union Brought Violence To Afghanistan
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said during a visit to Kabul foreign countries that have twice occupied Afghanistan "have brought violence and extremists" to the country. Without specifically naming the Soviet Union and United States, Rohani said the occupiers had "brought the unfortunate seeds of violence" in Afghanistan, which has "damaged the lives of people." - 3/28/14

Congress prepares second front on Iran sanctions
House lawmakers are working on new terrorism-related Iran sanctions after ceding to the Barack Obama administration's request to back off the nuclear issue, Al-Monitor has learned. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is mulling ways to target Hezbollah and its Iranian patron in order to disrupt the group's support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. -Al-Monitor - 3/28/14

Iran is at a crossroads
The title of this post is a quote from Shaul Bakhash, a George Mason University professor who moderated a panel discussion, "Iran, the Next Five Years: Change or More of the Same?" at the Wilson Center today. "In a way, we've been here before," said the esteemed scholar, referring to the presidencies of centrist leader Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, when the country was perceived as moving towards openness at home and abroad. -Jasmin Ramsey - 3/27/14

Photos: Norouz Travelers in Isfahan
Isfahan is located on the main north-south and east-west routes crossing Iran, and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty, when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. - 3/27/14

Column: The Value of Human Rights Advocacy with Friends and Foes
Human rights criticism by the West is often seen in targeted countries as reflecting double standards and cultural relativism. Iran, for example, bristles when the United States and Europeans chide it for one of the highest rates of capital punishment in the world. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 3/27/14

Jailed Iranian journalist gets furlough
Ahmad Zeidabadi, a jailed Iranian journalist and the head of the Tajkim-e Vahdat alumni organization, has been given furlough from Evin Prison. He has been sentenced to six years in jail, exile to Gonabad and a lifelong ban from social and political activity. Zeidabadi won the 2010 Golden Pen award from the Global Press Institute and the 2011 Press Freedom Award. - 3/27/14

300-II Movie: who are the barbarians?
The film "300" is totally based on biased fictions written by the historians such as the greatest liar of all times, Herodothes. It claims that 300 Spartans killed one million Iranians because they simply hold their shields over their heads (a normal practice of all armies in the ancient times). They call the Persians as barbarians in the film. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 3/27/14

Afghans Criticize Government's Handling Of International Norouz Event
In a move that has been widely criticized, the Afghan government abruptly ditched its original plan to hold the one-day event at a specially-built castle in Paghman, a picturesque resort town outside Kabul. Instead, the festival has been moved to the grounds of the capital's heavily fortified presidential palace. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 3/27/14

What Prompted Putin's Annexation of Crimea?
Columbia University professor Robert Legvold said said Putin believes by annexing Crimea, he rectifies what he sees as the historical injustice of 1954, when then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred the peninsula from Russia to Ukraine, then a Soviet republic. -Andre de Nesnera, VOA - 3/27/14

Women can play larger role in Iranian economy
Iran is facing a socioeconomic issue in women's unemployment. According to an article published in the March 2014 issue of Iran Economics, only 13% of the workforce consists of women and the latest official statistics for women's unemployment stands at 15.6%, though unofficial unemployment figures for this group is 38.3%. Furthermore, only 9.2% of the entrepreneurs in Iran are women. -Al-Monitor. - 3/27/14

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra pushes back trip to Iran
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announced Wednesday that it will delay the target date for a potential concert tour in Iran, a project planned jointly with the Pittsburgh-based American Middle East Institute. -Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 3/27/14

Some Iranian Political Prisoners Get New Year's Furlough Despite Ban
A number of political prisoners were given a temporary leave on Tuesday March 25, five days into the Iranian New Year. It had been reported earlier that the judiciary had cancelled the customary New Year furlough for political prisoners in reaction to the meeting in Tehran between EU diplomat Catherine Ashton and a number of women's rights activists. - 3/26/14

Iran Oil and Gas 2014 Summit in Dubai: Getting Involved in Iran Oil and Gas Pending a Future International Agreement
The Iran Oil & Gas 2014 Summit, organised in Dubai on 23rd-25th June by International Research Networks Ltd will gather NOCs, IOCs, Governmental bodies, oil and gas Law Practices, Top Contractors and Associations as well as oil and gas Experts, Academics and Consultants to discuss new business opportunities in the country. - 3/26/14

Containing Iran Helps Putin's Russia
Not long after the outbreak of the crisis over Ukraine and Crimea, many observers began asking the following question: what impact could renewed Russo-Western tensions have on the fate of the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program? -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog - 3/26/14

Pakistan expected to secure Iranian guards' release: Iranian FM
"The Pakistani government knows pretty well that the government and people of Iran expect the life of our hostages in Pakistan to be protected so that they would return to their families safe and sound and soon as possible," Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday. - 3/26/14

Iranian Women in Film and TV: A Panel Discussion, Seminar in Los Angeles
Noor Iranian Film Festival in association with Iranian American Women's Leadership Conference proudly present a Panel Discussion and Seminar with Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mahnaz Afshar, Nazanin Boniadi, and Necar Zadegan. Moderated by Homa Sarshar. - 3/26/14

Brazil Should Support the Struggle of Iranian Trade Unionists
As an Iranian labor activist, I have always looked for models that my country can follow to improve. Striking a balance between worker rights, economic developments, international trade, and vital social-programs is indeed no easy task, especially for countries with troubled pasts. -Mansour Osanlou - 3/26/14

Are you brave enough to invest in Iran?
A big country, with healthy demographics. Very low debts. Plenty of room to catch up with the rest of the developing world. And a ton of oil in the ground. This surely is one emerging market that everyone wants to invest in. -Marketwatch - 3/26/14

Moonshine is just a phone call away in Islamic Iran
Despite the ban on alcohol and frequent police raids, drinking in Iran is widespread, especially among the wealthy. Because the Shiite-dominated Muslim state has no discotheques or nightclubs, it all takes place at home, behind closed doors. -Parisa Hafezi, Reuters - 3/26/14

How to Nowruz like a Persian
The festival of spring came to mark the beginning of the New Year, preceded by Frawardigan-Night of All Souls-dedicated to the remembrance of the spirits of the dearly departed. Houses were cleaned and food and drinks were laid out for these spirits believed to come down to earth during this time of the year to visit their homes and families and receive blessings. -A.J. Cave - 3/25/14

"Red Lines and Deadlines" with Director Taghi Amirani: March 25th in San Francisco
In 2004 filmmaker Taghi Amirani gained unprecedented access to Shargh, at the time Iran's leading reformist newspaper. With full official permits from all the relevant Iranian authorities he went behind the scenes with the paper's young journalists as they went about their job of reporting and commenting on a wide range of social, cultural and political stories. - 3/25/14

Persian New Year Celebrations in Portland, Oregon
Iranian Student Association of Portland Norouz Celebration: Saturday, March 22nd' Persian New Year Celebration: Saturday, March 29th; Nowruz Ensemble: Festive Traditional Persian Music: Saturday, April 12th - 3/25/14

Pakistani Jihadis Claim Execution of Iranian Hostage
Sunni Muslim militants have killed one of the five Iranian border guards they have been holding hostage for the past six weeks, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Monday. It identified the victim as Jamshid Danaei-Fard, shown sitting against a mud wall in an unidentified location with the other four captives in a grainy photo apparently taken by their captors -Maryam Manzoori, VOA - 3/25/14

Iranian Media: Replica US Aircraft Carrier Just A Movie Prop
A replica of a US aircraft carrier spotted near the coast of Iran is a set being built for a movie which will display the US Navy warships' downing of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988, the Iranian media said. - 3/25/14

Will US sanctions scuttle a nuclear deal with Iran?
Tyler Cullis and Trita Parsi outline the findings and ramifications of a new report from the National Iranian American Council (NAIC) on President Obama's legal authority to roll back sanctions against Iran as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal. -Iran Matters - 3/25/14

Hezbollah Winning in Syria: At What Price?
As the Syrian uprising against the Baathist regime enters its fourth year, it is clear, given the changing balance of power on the ground, that predictions about the imminent collapse of the Assad dynasty, which constituted conventional wisdom from 2011-12, are far from the mark. -Aurelie Daher, LobeLog - 3/25/14

"Bita Prize For Young Persian Artists" Awarded To Pianist Dena Taherianfar
In a ceremony held at Stanford University last Wednesday evening, March 12, 2014, global philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari awarded the First Annual Bita Prize for Young Persian Artists to acclaimed seventeen-year-old concert pianist Dena Taherianfar. - 3/24/14

Iranian Minister Of Culture Echoes Supreme Leader's Call For Cultural Crackdown
After Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei alerted Iranian cultural officials to "dangerous cultural invasions" and called on them to take defensive action, Iran's minister of culture and guidance spoke in support of the leader's cultural insights and supported policies of censorship. - 3/24/14

Photos: Iranian President visits nursery downtown Tehran on Nowrouz
President Hassan Rouhani on Friday visited Shobeir Nursery downtown Tehran on the first day of Nowruz (Iranian New Year). -Shobeir Nursery cares for 100 U-6 infants and babies who are under the guardianship of the government, and it is staffed with 90 personnel. - 3/24/14

Kerry hoping Iran, US to resolve differences soon
Kerry said his sister used to teach in Iran before Islamic Revolution. The US secretary of state said he was already exposed to Iranian culture through his sister who used to live and teach in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Kerry also admired his son-in-law who is of Iranian origin. - 3/24/14

Ramin Bahrami to perform at The WALLIS in Beverly Hills on April 9
The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts presents acclaimed classical pianist Ramin Bahrami in a program entitled "A Trip to Italy," a recital of Bach and Scarlatti, on Wednesday, April 9 at 8pm in the Bram Goldsmith Theater. - 3/24/14

Born in the U.S., Playing for Iran
Steven Beitashour was 11 during the 1998 World Cup in France, where the United States, the country of his birth, faced Iran, where his parents were born. The family gathered at home in San Jose to watch as Iran won, 2-1, in a match that drew extraordinary interest because of the political estrangement between the countries. -Jere Longman, NY Times - 3/24/14

Rare Glimpses of Iran's Lost Underworld
When Iran was still a Westernized monarchy, Mr. Golestan recorded in stark black-and-white the daily lives of Iran's dispossessed. An exhibition of one of his most dramatic subjects - prostitutes confined to Tehran's red-light district known as the Citadel of Shahr-e No (New City) - opens in the Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam -NY Times - 3/24/14

Questions for the Board of Directors of Iran's Bar Association
The 28th elections for the board of directors of Iran's Bar Association were held as: 1. A large number of attorneys are still in prison because of their oath of professional commitment. In addition to the members of the bar association, there are many other attorneys who fall under article 187 but who are behind bars because they too have indicated their commitment to their professional oath... -Nasrin Sotoudeh - 3/23/14

Russia, Sanctions, and Politics in Iran
The crisis over Crimea has naturally raised questions about possible effects of this disturbance on other issues and specifically ones that depend on U.S.-Russian cooperation. This includes the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. -Paul Pillar, LobeLog - 3/23/14

The manufactured story about Iran's nuclear program
In his latest groundbreaking book, entitled A Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of Iran Nuclear Scare, the historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter catalogs a long list of false reports manufactured by Israeli intelligence agencies in order to mislead the public and pave the way for a war against Iran. -Farhang Jahanpour - 3/22/14

Why did Iran's Khamenei Question the Holocaust on Nowruz?
When former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's final term ended in August 2013, many Iranians at home and abroad hoped they could put his Holocaust-denying ways behind them. That hope was enhanced by incoming Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's public notice that the government of Hassan Rouhani would not engage in the same contemptible behavior. -Jasmin Ramsey - 3/22/14

Former Iranian president announces regret that political arrests continue
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said in his New Year's message that the year just ending could have been more glorious had house arrests and imprisonments ended, referring to the house arrest of opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi and the imprisonment of political prisoners charged in connection with the election protests of 2009. - 3/22/14

PAAIA Celebrates Nowruz on Capitol Hill
PAAIA's annual Nowruz reception on Capitol Hill is part of its broader effort to celebrate and foster greater understanding of Iranian culture, and to project an accurate and positive image of the Iranian American community. In attendance were ten members of Congress as well as more than a hundred and fifty congressional staff and special guests. - 3/22/14

Interview: Israeli President Calls For Peaceful Iran Ties
On the occasion of the Persian New Year, Norouz, Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a message of peace to Iranians. In an exclusive interview with Israel-based journalist Farnoush Ram for RFE/RL's Radio Farda in Jerusalem on March 19, Peres called for peaceful relations between Israel and Iran, insisting his country is against war. - 3/22/14

Persian New Year's Table Celebrates Nature's Rebirth Deliciously
The first day of spring is cause for a celebration, especially after the winter many of us have been having. But it's hard to top the 13-day festivities of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. -Davar Ardalan and April Fulton, NPR - 3/22/14

Iran announces acquisition of passenger planes
Iran's minister of transportation and urban development announced that Iran has purchased six passenger airplanes. The Mehr News Agency reports that Abbas Akhondi also said that the purchase of another three airplanes is in the works. - 3/22/14

US Needs to Put Its Mideast Plan on the Table
The kidney-shaped West Bank is now so thoroughly penetrated by settlements that it resembles that organ crisscrossed by arteries and veins. Indeed, the number of settlers on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem has more than doubled since 1995 from 230,000 to more than 560,000. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 3/22/14

Iranian Ship, in Plain View but Shrouded in Mystery, Looks Very Familiar to U.S.
Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value. -Eric Schmitt, NY Times - 3/22/14

New Year optimism among Iranian revellers in Dubai
Every March, the Iranian community in the United Arab Emirates swells by thousands as compatriots cross the Gulf to celebrate the Persian New Year, or Norouz, abroad. International sanctions have recently seen a dip in their numbers, but there is optimism of a return to better times, as Marcus George reports from Dubai. -BBC - 3/22/14

Does General License G Really Allow Academic Exchanges With Iran?
With the Persian New Year upon us, it seems the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the main US federal agency tasked with the administration of economic sanctions, has gotten into the spirit. Today it issued General License G, a regulatory authorization designed to permit academic exchanges between Iran and the United States. -Erich C. Ferrari - 3/21/14

Iranian Judiciary Denies Customary Furloughs To Political Prisoners
Iranian opposition groups say that the judiciary has decided to cancel the New Year furlough customarily extended to political prisoners in Iran in March. The families of political prisoners have reported that since the Rohani government took power, political prisoners are consistently being sacrificed in the fights between the judiciary and the government. - 3/21/14

Ashton Says Iran Nuclear Talks 'Substantive,' Announces Next Round
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says Iran and world powers have held "substantive" and "useful" discussions at the second round of talks on a long-term settlement of the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Ashton said the sides would meet again in Vienna on April 7-9. - 3/21/14

EU diplomat gives Norooz greeting in Persian following talks
Catherine Ashton, the head of EU foreign policy, extended Norooz congratulations in Persian to all Iranians at the end the joint news conference she held with the Iranian foreign minister at the end of two days of talks in Vienna. - 3/21/14

Israeli President Calls For Peaceful Iran Ties
Israeli President Shimon Peres has called for peaceful relations between Israel and Iran, saying the Jewish state is against war. Peres was speaking in an exclusive interview to RFE/RL's Radio Farda in Jerusalem on March 20, on the occasion of the Persian new year, Nowruz. - 3/21/14

Iran forecasts increase in oil, gas output
Iran's crude oil output is forecast to increase by about 200,000 barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day, and its daily natural gas output is forecast to increase by about 100 million cubic meters per day to 400 million cubic meters per day, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday. - 3/21/14

Do Neocons Want a Deal with Iran?
As talks over a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program continue in Vienna (the next round will be April 7-9) it seems that even those neoconservatives who supported sanctions and negotiation as peaceful paths to a settlement want little from these talks beyond a justification for war. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 3/21/14

President Obama's Nowruz Message to the Iranian People
President Obama sends best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz. In his video message, the President speaks directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the possibility for the first time in many years of a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world - including a better relationship with the United States and the American people. - 3/20/14

NIAC Applauds General License for U.S.-Iran Academic Exchanges
NIAC strongly supports the Obama Administration's decision this Norooz to exempt educational exchanges from sanctions. NIAC is pleased that 'General License G' addresses key obstacles to building bridges between Iran and the U.S. Educational exchanges are immensely important in tearing down the barriers and rebuilding a long overdo friendship between Iranians and Americans. - 3/20/14

John Kerry joins the Norouz celebration
On the occasion of Iranian New Year (Norouz), United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, sent a twit today sharing the photo of "Sofreh Haftsin" outside his office and sending his best wishes for a happy new year. - 3/20/14

Happy Nowruz and New Iranian Year
Originating in Iran's ancient history, Nowruz is celebrated by more than 300 million people worldwide on March 21, the day of the spring Equinox, which marks the sun's crossing of the Equator and the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Nowruz is as one of the oldest and most cherished festivities celebrated for at least 3,000 years. -Firouzeh Mirrazavi - 3/19/14

Photos: Sarbedaran Persian New Year Ritual Dance
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. This is similar to other rituals performed after harvesting crops when people would pray to God. - 3/19/14

Iranians Prepare For Traditional New Year Celebrations
Iranians are shopping for traditional food and other items ahead of the Nowruz holiday, or Persian New Year. Celebrations will start on Thursday night, with music, dance and elaborate meals. A festive table traditionally includes seven dishes, known as "haft-seen," or "seven S's," because their names start with the letter "S" in Persian. -Zlatica Hoke, VOA - 3/19/14

Ashton's Meeting in Tehran
Iranian news agencies are reporting that a "knowledgeable source" is suggesting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif cancelled his dinner meeting with EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton on the eve of nuclear talks in Vienna to protest her meeting with civil and women's rights activists, including the mother of Sattar Beheshti, a blogger who was tortured and died while in custody, during her recent visit to Iran. -Farideh Farhi - 3/19/14

Videos: Persian New Year, Norouz
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. - 3/19/14

Father of jailed Iranian blogger begins sit-in over denied visit
Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, the father of jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, began a sit-in on Monday March 18 in front of Evin Prison to protest "the behaviour of the prosecutor and prison officials. Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki insists that the prosecutor must release his son for medical reasons, but the judiciary has refused to address his concerns, - 3/19/14

Hard-Line Iranian Weekly Suspended
Iranian news agencies say the country's Press Supervisory Board has suspended the hard-line weekly "9 Dey" over its editorial content. Alireza Moaf, the weekly's editor in chief, was quoted as saying that articles critical of the government's "nuclear, cultural, and economic policies" are the main reason for the suspension. - 3/19/14

Iran plans to resume crude oil swaps
Iran plans to restart crude oil swap operations, which were halted in June 2009 by the administration of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The decision to halt the swap activities compelled the Caspian Sea littoral states to choose other routes to deliver their oil products to international markets and also increased the smuggling of oil and oil products, Press TV reported. - 3/19/14

A Sliver of Light: Freed U.S. Hikers on Captivity in Iran & Activism Against Solitary Confinement
In a Democracy Now! special, Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal recall their harrowing ordeal as American hikers imprisoned in Iran. The three tell their story in a new memoir, "A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran." - 3/19/14

Iranians Celebrate Chaharshanbeh Souri
Similar to other years, Iranians all across the country celebrate the ancient Persian tradition of Last-Wednesday-of-the-Year Fireworks (Chaharshanbeh Souri) tonight as a prelude to Nowruz (the start of the new year). On the evening of Chaharshanbeh Souri, people make fires and jump over them. Chaharshanbeh Souri is an ancient Iranian fire festival dating back to at least 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival marks the arrival of spring and revival of nature. - 3/18/14

Iran Nuclear Talks: What Each Side Wants
Another round of talks between world powers and Iran begin in Vienna this week. Today, both sides want a deal, and fast. The positive atmosphere that characterised the recent rounds will likely endure. Gone are the days of "procedural nonsense," according to a European negotiator, replaced by "frank discussions." But there remain significant obstacles to a final nuclear agreement. -Dina Esfandiary - 3/18/14

Nowruz Meet and Greet at Oakland Museum of California
Oakland's popular weekly family nights will represent the Persian New Year celebration "Nowruz"! Join OMCA and Off the Grid on 10th Street for a taste of local music, food, art, culture! Savor California beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages around the Koi Pond at the Blue Oak beer garden. - Friday, March 28, 2014, 5-9 pm - 3/18/14

EXHIBITION in Los Angeles: Displacements: The Craft Practices of Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin
The Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) presents Displacements: The Craft Practices of Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin, an exhibition of new works by Iranian-American artists Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin. - 3/18/14

Iran gives green light to film project on Cyrus the Great
The Iran Cinema Organization has authorized a film project, which plans to spotlight the life of the founder of the Persian Empire Cyrus the Great, producer Ali Mo'allem said on Saturday. The application for permission to produce the project entitled "Cyrus the Great" was submitted to the organization two years ago, Mo'allem said in a press release. - 3/18/14

Iran shares Syrian plan with UN envoy
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Iran has proposed a four-article plan for resolving the Syrian crisis. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy to Syria, arrived in Tehran on Sunday March 16 to discuss the Syrian conflict with Iranian officials. - 3/18/14

Morality Police Bust Nighttime Party In Mazandaran, Iran
Massoud Jafari, the head of Mazandaran Province security forces, says 13 women and four men have been arrested at a "mixed night party." The Mehr News Agency reports that Morality Police were informed of a night party being held in city of Abbas Abad and immediately went into action, acquiring a warrant to arrest the people at the party. - 3/18/14

Economic Sanctions Play Out In Strange Ways In Iran
It's hard to see crippling sanctions at a modern shopping mall in north Tehran - the shops are stocked, the cafes are full. The latest western electronics - even iPhones and iPads, are available for those who can afford it. -Deb Amos, NPR - 3/18/14

Iran grabs the crown at the 2014 Men's Freestyle World Cup in Los Angeles
On Sunday evening, the Iranian outfit landed in the first position of chart after it won over the Russian outfit 4-2 in the final bouts at The Forum in city of Inglewood, southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Iran had mightily overwhelmed Armenia 8-0, Turkey 7-1 the hosts 5-3 and India outfit 8-0 earlier in its march to the final competitions. - 3/17/14

Shervin Pishevar Awards Cyrus Prize to Dropbox Co-Founder at Bita Daryabari's 4th Annual Pars Equality Center Nowruz Gala
Pars Equality Center celebrated its 4th Annual Nowruz Gala in honor of the Persian New Year in San Francisco. The nearly $500K in funds raised at this popular yearly event will go towards the continued funding of the Center's social and legal programs in both the Bay area and Los Angeles, as well as helping PEC's expansion into additional U.S. markets. - 3/17/14

Nowruz, the Persian New Year at the spring vernal equinox
The blossoming of the white, red, yellow and violet crocuses of the saffron family in their front yard and the deep yellow forsythia hedgers on their property line, herald the arrival of spring in New York. Daria was reminiscing on last Tuesday night's gathering-the family had attended Chaharshanbe Suri, the Zoroastrian fire ritual in the Cultural Center, which is the prelude to Nowruz. -Davood Rahni - 3/17/14

The Persian Empire Strikes Back
Hollywood returns to the battlefield with'300 : Rise of an Empire' which made a big splash at this year's Comic Con. It's a sequel to the Swords and Sandals film adapted from Frank Miller's controversial comic book about an ancient feud which opposed a handful of Spartan warriors to the invading Persian Army at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. -Darius Kadivar - 3/17/14

"Subsidence of One Million Hectares of Land" in Iran
One million hectares of natural areas and lands in Iran are plagued with subsidence due to the unregulated extraction of underground waters and the depletion of aquifers. Meanwhile, the rate of soil erosion poses a serious threat to the future of the country's environment and natural resources. - 3/17/14

2014 Nowruz Celebration in Orange County
Honoring the Iranian New Year in Orange County with Music, Dance, Family-friendly Entertainment, and a Special Nowruz Concert Featuring the "Nowruz Ensemble with guest vocalist Mamak Khadem" - 3/17/14

U.S. must make tough decision in nuclear talks: Iranian FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has asked Washington to make a "tough decision" to be realistic and acknowledge that Iran has never sought to obtain nuclear weapons. - 3/17/14

Iranian Director Majid Majidi Laments West's Islamophobia
The Oscar nominated Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi criticized the West for disseminating Islamophobia in the world during a panel at the Palais De Nations in Geneva on Thursday. The panel was organized by the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV) and the Society of Iranian Women Advocating Sustainable Development of the Environment. - 3/17/14

CIA suspends chief of Iran operations over workplace issues
WASHINGTON - The CIA's chief of Iran operations was placed on paid administrative leave and sent home from agency headquarters after an internal investigation found he had created an abusive and hostile work environment that put a crucial division in disarray, according to current and former officials. -LA Times - 3/17/14

Photos: Iran defeats US in 2014 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup in Los Angeles
Iran has beaten the United States following victories in the 2014 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, which is currently underway in the US. On Saturday afternoon, wrestling enthusiasts jubilated at The Forum in city of Inglewood, southwest of downtown Los Angeles, as they witnessed the Iranian squad win over the host team 18-10 in their third Pool A encounter. - 3/16/14

"300: Rise of an Empire" And Its Ahistorical Depiction Of Xerxes The Great And Queen Artemisia
The historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus wrote in Book 7, Chapter 187 that: "Amongst all these immense numbers there was not a man who, for stature and noble bearing, was more worthy than Xerxes to wield so vast a power." Yet, the Warner Bros.' movies 300, and its followup 300: Rise of an Empire" which premiered last week, elected to characterize the Achaemenid king based on the eponymous Frank Miller comic book series. -John Trikeriotis - 3/16/14

Wrestlers Focus on Competition, Not Politics
LOS ANGELES - Freestyle wrestlers have put politics aside in Los Angeles, as 10 national teams face off in the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup. The match-ups Saturday pitted the U.S. team against Iran, and Ukraine against Russia. -Mike O'Sullivan, VOA - 3/16/14

Eshghi's Meeting Creates A Firestorm: "I Told Ashton That Sattar Died Under Torture"
The mother of Sattar Beheshti - a blogger who dies in prison - told Rooz that EU's foreign policy chief said she would enquire about her son's murder from Iranian authorities. "Ms Ashton treated me in a very friendly and respectful manner. She said she would talk to Iranian officials about Sattar and ask them about him," she said. -Fereshteh Ghazi - 3/16/14

Iran says foiled sabotage attempts at nuclear sites
During the past months some cases of sabotage attempts were foiled by the help of the Intelligence Ministry and other security bodies, an Iranian nuclear official said in Tehran on Saturday. - 3/16/14

UN Rights Rapporteur Forced to Grade Iran from Afar
Following the release Friday of his report to the Human Rights Council on the situation in Iran, U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed urged Tehran to engage with U.N. mandates - firstly by permitting him to enter the country. "Nobody has been able to go to Iran as a U.N. mandate-holder for nine years now," Shaheed told IPS in Geneva, Switzerland, where the council is based. -Omid Memarian - 3/15/14

Free our Soldiers: Petition in Support of 5 Abducted Iranian Border Guards
On 6 February 2014, five Iranian border guards were kidnapped by a Pakistan based terrorist group called " Jeishol-adl (The Army of Justice)". The following petition has been issued in support of the abducted soldiers and signed by large number of artists, scholars, athletes, journalist and activists. - 3/15/14

Congressman Keith Ellison Joined NIAC's Day of Service
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) joined NIAC volunteers on March 9 to spend the day working with Sharing and Caring Hands, an organization helping homeless families, in Minneapolis. NIAC's 4th Annual Day of Service engaged Iranian Americans in community service projects in 10 cities nationwide. - 3/15/14

Rouhani has yet to deliver on press reforms in Iran
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) joined 26 other human rights and civil society groups on Wednesday in an open letter calling on the member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. - 3/15/14

Prominent Iranian Political Prisoner Abdollah Momeni Released From Evin
Abdollah Momeni, a prominent student activist and spokesman for Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat, was released on March 13 after five years in jail. Momeni, who headed the Free Citizens for Mehdi Karroubi presidential campaign, was arrested in June of 2009 in the aftermath of the controversial presidential election, which was marred with allegations of vote fraud. - 3/15/14

Iran welcomes enhanced trade with Oman: President Rouhani
Iran and Oman signed an agreement in 2009 for the construction of a 200-kilometre undersea gas pipeline linking the two countries. "The export of gas to Oman will mark a significant economic development in the relations between the two countries," Sibeveih said, adding that excess gas, which is projected to account for 50 percent of the total amount of the gas exported to Oman, would be delivered to Japan, South Korea and India. - 3/15/14

US, Russia Rift Affects Syria, Entire Middle East
Middle East analysts say the erosion of relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine crisis is likely to have an impact on the Middle East, especially the conflict in Syria, which is now entering its fourth year. -Meredith Buel, VOA - 3/15/14

Iran dismisses Britain's harsh remarks
In his address to the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, David Cameron called Iran a "despotic regime" and accused Tehran of making efforts to arm Palestinian resistance fighters. - 3/15/14

Why Iran's youth don't fly the nest
Many young Iranian adults live rent free with their parents - at a social cos.... "So why don't you leave the nest?" I reflexively inquire. My friend pauses and stares at me. I'm not sure if he's stopped pouring me a drink because he feels I've had too much or because I've asked him one too many stupid questions - maybe both. -Guardian - 3/15/14

Bibi's Epic Fail
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to the United States has ended in an unprecedented failure. On the Palestinian front, the Iranian front and the domestic US front, Netanyahu's efforts last week ran badly aground. Let's review the categories. -Mitchell Plitnick - 3/14/14

U.S.-Iran Diplomacy Now Stronger Than Netanyahu's Pressure
"The status quo, in which Netanyahu visits Washington, addresses AIPAC, and Congress agrees to slap new sanctions on Iran, has been turned on its head," said NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi. "The White House, leaders in Congress, outside organizations, and the American people have all put their foot down and said that we don't want a war and more sanctions, we want to give diplomacy a chance." - 3/14/14

Nowruz Sweets and Dishes
Like any good holiday, food plays a major role at Nowruz. Having a feast is half the reason for getting together! There are specific foods associated with Nowruz: noodles for untying life's complications, fresh herbs for rebirth, eggs for fertility, and fish for life. -Firouzeh Mirrazavi, Iran Review - 3/14/14

Iran faces zero population growth in three decades
The head of Iran's Civil Registry says the country's population growth rate will hit zero in 30 years. Mohammad Nazemi Ardekani said the country then will begin facing a decline in population. The report established that Iran's current population is 77.3 million with a fertility rate of 1.7. - 3/14/14

Iranians Discuss Nancy Fraser's and Women of Color's Critiques of Feminism
Nancy Fraser's recent article, "How Feminism Became Capitalism's Handmaiden and How to Reclaim It" has led to some interesting discussions among Iranian women and men inside Iran and in exile. In her article, Fraser argues that the second wave of feminism has abandoned its original ideal of social justice and has been co-opted by capitalist careerism. -Frieda Afary, Zamaneh - 3/14/14

Persia in New York
Beyond the tragedy of Brooklyn-based band the Yellow Dogs, a vibrant scene of Iranian artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and actors is flourishing in America, centered in New York. If there's a silver lining to the story, it's the chance to recognize and celebrate the vital work of Iranians in the arts living here. -Vanity Fair - 3/14/14

Putin Speaks To Rohani About Ukraine, Nuclear Program
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rohani. According to a Kremlin statement, the March 13 telephone conversation between the two leaders covered Iran's nuclear program and the crisis in Ukraine. - 3/14/14

Give Iran Peace (Talks) a Chance?
Prominent neoconservative writers Bret Stephens and Reuel Marc Gerecht called for a much tougher approach to talks with Iran over its nuclear program in a debate hosted here by the McCain Institute on March 11. The discussion comes one week before talks aimed at a final deal between Iran and world powers resume in Vienna. -Derek Davison - 3/14/14

'Modelling Iranian style': surgical alterations and the 'porn star' look
There is a "fever for modelling" in Tehran right now, says a photographer who has been working in the field for 20 years, as the profession has become a "status marker" in a vanity-driven culture. And the look that's in vogue among female models is far from what many would consider natural Iranian beauty. -Sara Afzal, Guardian - 3/14/14

Rebels, Islamists Form Dangerous Alliance in Pakistan's Unruly Southwest
One is a band of separatists fighting for independence from Pakistan. The other is a feared group of Islamists bent on killing Shi'ite Muslims whom they see as infidels... in Pakistan's volatile, resource-rich province of Baluchistan, separatists have teamed up with radical Sunni Muslims in their fight against the Pakistani government. -Reuters - 3/14/14

The Iranian Genome Project Seeks Samples
Dr. Pardis Sabeti MD/Ph.D., professor at Harvard University and MIT's Broad Institute, has had the opportunity to study the genetics of many different populations throughout her storied career. But one population missing from the genetics research done by Dr. Sabeti and others is her own - the Iranian population. - 3/13/14

"A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" Exhibition Opens at Library of Congress March 27
An exhibition at the Library of Congress will explore the rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last millennium, from illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications. The exhibition will bring attention to the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus. - 3/13/14

EU diplomat's meeting with Iranian activists stirs controversy
Tehran Member of Parliament Mehdi Kochakzadeh has taken shots at the Ministry of Intelligence and the Foreign Ministry for allowing EU diplomat Catherine Ashton to meet with "elements guilty of sedition." On the last day of her recent visit to Iran, Ashton, the head of EU foreign policy, met with a number of Iranian women's rights activists. - 3/13/14

Partovi twins quietly emerge as top Silicon Valley angel investors
Ali and Hadi Partovi may not be household names, but the twins have quietly helped launch some of Silicon Valley's biggest startups of recent vintage. Hadi co-founded Tellme Networks, which Microsoft bought for a reported $800 million. Ali co-founded Internet advertising pioneer LinkExchange, which Microsoft bought for $265 million -Peter Delevett, San Jose Mercury - 3/13/14

Iran Heritage Foundation Curator for Persian Manuscripts at British Library
British Library are seeking to appoint a Curator to work with the British Library's collections of Persian manuscripts. Building on work already completed during the previous two years, your main duties will be creating electronic records for both catalogued and uncatalogued material, and to further knowledge of the collections, working closely with the Persian curators, the Iran Heritage Foundation and the UK Higher Education Sector. - 3/13/14

Iran imports over $1.6b worth of medicine in 11 months
Iran imported $1.601 billion worth of medicine in the first eleven months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, 2013, an official at the Iranian Customs Administration said on Wednesday. Imports of medicine rose by 23.5 percent in value and 29 percent in volume compared to the previous year - 3/13/14

Iranian Films at 13th Annual Tiburon International Film Festival
Falling Leaves, directed by Ali Jaberansari; From Tehran to Heaven, directed by Abolfazl Saffary (in person); Duet, directed by Navid Danesh - at Tiburon International Film Festival, April 10-18 - 3/13/14

Hundreds protest transfer of Iran's Social Security Fund
Five hundred Tehran workers and retirees insured under the Social Security Fund gathered in front of the Parliament building on Wednesday March 12 to protest plans to hand over the health insurance branch of the fund to the Ministry of Health. - 3/13/14

Iran Thaw Seen Opening $6 Billion Market for Steel
Global steelmakers have Iran in their sights. Even after seven years of international sanctions and the economic pain they've inflicted, the Islamic Republic still consumes more steel than France or the U.K. It's a major carmaker and needs massive infrastructure for its oil and gas industry, consuming about 20 million tons a year of the metal, most of it homemade. -Bloomberg - 3/13/14

Iranians Report Low Confidence in Justice System, Putting Iran 82nd of 99 Countries
A new report by the World Justice Project indicates Iran's ranking at 82 among 99 countries measured for what citizens think of their justice system. The WJP Rule of Law Index measures how the rule of law is experienced in everyday life around the globe. The ranking reflects both household surveys and expert surveys held for Iran in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan. - 3/12/14

Nowruz at the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles: "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"
On Friday March 14th the Midnight Mission and Southern California Iranians will reunite for the third annual Nowruz at the Midnight Mission event in Downtown's Skid Row sponsored by Skechers USA, Inc. The spirit of Nowruz is one of renewal and promises of a better, brighter start, a pursuit the Midnight Mission strives for every day. - 3/12/14

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrives in Muscat, Oman
President Hassan Rouhani arrived in the Omani capital Muscat for a two-day visit Wednesday morning. Iran-Oman relations are example of good-neighborliness between two countries, Rouhani said during a meeting with Oman's King Sultan Qaboos. - 3/12/14

Interpol: Missing Malaysian Jet Unlikely Terrorist Event
The head of Interpol says the disappearance of a Malaysian passenger jet does not appear to be related to terrorism. Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble says new information about two Iranian men who used stolen passports to board the plane makes terrorism a less likely explanation for the jet's disappearance. -William Ide, VOA - 3/12/14

Bank of Hawaii Re-Opens Accounts for Iranians in U.S.
NIAC welcomes the decision by Bank of Hawaii to re-open bank accounts for Iranian customers. As NIAC Advisory Board member Dr. Farideh Farhi first reported, the bank had terminated the accounts of Iranian customers in the U.S. in an effort to comply with U.S. financial sanctions against Iran. - 3/12/14

Rouhani has not increased freedoms in Iran, U.N. chief says
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has failed to fulfil campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and there has been a sharp rise in executions since his election, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. -Reuters - 3/12/14

"When I was in Love," a Hessam Abrishami Solo Exhibition
ABRA Gallery is very pleased to present Hessam Abrishami's second solo show in Westlake Village (California). Through these forty paintings, Hessam will be expressing his love affairs throughout his life, inviting viewers a glimpse through his past pleasures. - 3/12/14

Russia, Iran Reach Preliminary Deal On New Nuclear Reactors
Iran and representatives from Russia's state nuclear power company, Rosatom, have reached preliminary agreement on the construction of at least two more nuclear reactors. The two reactors would be built at Bushehr, where Iran's sole nuclear power plant, also built by Rosatom, is located. - 3/12/14

Iranian (Persian) New Year 2014-1393 Times
Nowruz (Norouz) Times - 2014 - 1393 Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Iranian year. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, the start of spring in the northern hemisphere. - 3/11/14

EU diplomat's meeting with Iranian women draws fire
On her first trip to Tehran, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with Gohar Eshghi, the mother of Sattar Beheshti (the jailed blogger who was pronounced dead three days after his arrest by the Tehran Cyber Police) and women's rights activist Nargess Mohammadi. - 3/11/14

Nuclear solution must enshrine Iran's rights and dignity: Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that the Islamic Republic will only accept a solution to the decade-long standoff on its nuclear program which respects the country's "dignity and rights". - 3/11/14

Amir Hossein Zanjani's Solo Exhibition at Salsali Private Museum in Dubai: "Philosophical And Social Idea Of The Submission To Power"
While Zanjani's portrayals give off piercing visions of the powerful persuasion of military force similar to real-life events such as the German 3rd Reich and the dictatorship of North Korea, they also refer to the social conflicts of the paradoxical and innate human subconscious desire to follow, submit and be conquered. - 3/11/14

Iranian dervishes released following arrests at protest
Dervishes arrested in the protest in front of the Tehran's Prosecutor's office were released today, Monday March 10. The Majzooban-e Noor website reports that the dervishes were arrested yesterday as they gathered in front of the Tehran Prosecutor's office to protest the failure of prison authorities to address the medical needs of jailed dervishes. - 3/11/14

NIAC Commends EU High Representative Ashton for Landmark Iran Visit
"Catherine Ashton's trip to Iran is a welcome step towards resolving the tensions between Iran and the West through dialogue and diplomacy. Institutionalized silence and pressure politics have only deepened distrust, which has played into the hands of hardliners, perpetuated the nuclear crisis and seen the human rights situation in Iran deteriorate. - 3/11/14

Iran: Prosecutor's office stresses Facebook ban amid reports of free access
The deputy Prosecutor General of Iran announced that no officials anywhere in Iran have the authority to stop the filtering of Facebook as deemed necessary by the state body responsible for determining permissible activity on the internet. - 3/11/14

Whatever's Happening In The Gulf Is Probably About Iran
The Saudi decision to break ties with Qatar is, as Thomas Lippmann notes, another in a line of recent "sulking" diplomatic moves by the oil giant. Qatar's failed bet on the Muslim Brotherhood made this an opportune time for the Saudis to move against them, but Saudi fears about an Iranian resurgence may well have been the real reason behind their action. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 3/11/14

President Rouhani tells Ashton Iran seeks new ties with EU based on common interests
The Iranian government is determined to "interact constructively" with the entire world, including the European Union, based on "common interests and mutual respect", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Tehran on Sunday. - 3/10/14

Ashton Plays Down Hopes Of Iran Nuclear Deal
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has cautioned there is "no guarantee" that talks with Tehran over its disputed nuclear program will lead to a comprehensive final deal. Ashton made the remark at a joint press conference in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. - 3/10/14

Movie.ology: 300, and then we dance "the Persian"
With the battle at Thermopylae (meaning Hot Gates) in 480 BCE Persian history became Hellenic (Greek) history, and when the (religious) war-weary Europeans pulling out of the crusading Middle Ages picked the ancient Hellenes and Romans as the pillars of the Western Civilization, Greek history became world history. -A.J. Cave - 3/10/14

Iran: President Rohani fires back in brewing debate over cultural issues
Two days after Iran's Supreme Leader expressed concern over cultural issues in Iran, President Hassan Rohani lashed back at the rising criticism, denouncing "pressure and policing methods" as a way of confronting cultural issues facing the country. - 3/10/14

Tehran authorities withdraw permits for Women's Day events
International Women's Day events in Tehran were cancelled on March 8 after authorities withdrew the permit. Women's rights activists such as Elaheh Kolayi, Alieh Shekarbeigi and Soraya Azizpanah were set to speak at the event, which was organized by the independent women's group Asr-e Kherad in collaboration with the Etemad Newspaper and the Iranian Sociological Association in a program entitled "Women Must Get Organized." - 3/10/14

Pro-dervish protesters attacked by security forces in Tehran
On the second day of a gathering in support of Gonabadi dervishes in front of the Tehran Prosecutor's office, security forces had a violent confrontation with protesters. The report indicates that the security forces tried to disperse the crowd by arresting a number of people and confronting people with violence. - 3/10/14

Plebiscite in Crimea and Public International Law
In light of the fact that Crimean Peninsula is part of Ukraine as a country, it has no right at all in the public international law to ask for annexation of this territory to any country or perform a referendum for determining the issuers related to sovereignty in the region. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 3/10/14

Is Iran really changing under Rouhani?
It is hard to dispute the assertion that the political discourse of the Hassan Rouhani-led administration represents not merely a change, but perhaps even a coup in Iranian politics. Some of this new discourse is published or aired in the media. But the most significant - and profoundly indicative - discourse is held behind closed doors in private meetings conducted by emissaries of the new Tehran administration in Western capitals. -Azzam Tamimi, AlJazeera - 3/10/14

Life as an 'illegal' rock star in Iran's Islamic state
"Iran doesn't have a rock history. We need to build a rock history for Iran," says Rasoo, 22, front man for The Muckers, one of Tehran's leading rock bands. - 3/10/14

Photos: Iranian Woman Mahnaz Mirzaei Rules Sarapardeh Coal Mine!
Mahnaz Mirzaei was born in 1980 in the town of Zarand in Kerman province of Iran. She received a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from Kerman's Shahid Bahonar University. Mirzaei who is interested in tough or in her words "manly" jobs, chose to work at a coal mine. In 2005, she started working at an underground mine. Because of her hard work, dedication and interest, she was promoted to the head of the mine in 2006. - 3/8/14

Release Shafipour, Hedayat, and All Other Iranian Women Prisoners of Conscience
As the world prepares to honor and promote the economic, political, and social achievements of women on International Women's Day, Iran has sentenced yet another young woman, Maryam Shafipour, for her peaceful activities. - 3/8/14

Free Iranian Women Activists: Imprisonment of 3 Highlights Plight of Female Rights Defenders
Iran's government should immediately and unconditionally free three female rights defenders unlawfully detained for their support of women, students, and political dissidents, Human Rights Watch said today, International Women's Rights Day. On March 2, 2014, one of the three was sentenced to seven years in prison. The others were already serving prison terms. - 3/8/14

EU's Ashton in Iran for official talks
European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, for an official visit. Ashton, heading a politico-economic delegation, arrived in Tehran on Saturday and was welcomed by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi at Mehrabad International Airport. - 3/8/14

Rohani Criticizes Practice Of Closing Iranian Newspapers
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized the practice of shutting down newspapers that offend the government. In statements broadcast on March 8, Rohani defended "freedom of the press with responsibility," saying that public trust is harmed when the government stifles the media. - 3/8/14

Iran's Dervishes On Hunger Strike Inside, Outside Prison
It started on March 1 when one jailed dervish -- blogger and rights activist Kasra Nouri -- went on hunger strike to protest what he described as the mistreatment of his fellow prisoners. Nouri was angered that two jailed members of the Nematollahi Gonabadi order of Sufis were not receiving proper health care. He then was joined by others. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/8/14

Abbas Kiarostami to preside over Cannes Cinefondation and Short Films jury
The world-renowned Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami was selected as the president of the Cinefondation and Short Films jury of the Cannes Film Festival, the organizers announced on Thursday. The jury is composed of directors Noemie Lvovsky from France, Daniela Thomas from Brazil, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun from Chad, and Joachim Trier from Norway. - 3/8/14

Iran Media Censors Polish FM On Iranian Media Censorship
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski expressed shock after seeing Iranian media censorship at work during his recent trip to Tehran, and bewilderment after discovering his critical message was not aired on Iranian television. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/8/14

Conflict Continues Over Tehran University Chancellor's Dismissal: Plans for Secular University Lecturers?
The removal of Farhad Rahbar, the chancellor of Tehran University continues to dominate news stories in Iran. Farhad Rahbar has an intelligence background as he had at one time been a member of Iran's ministry of intelligence, while also holding other posts such as the chairmanship of the plan and budget organization during Ahmadinejad's administration. -Jalal Yaghoubi - 3/7/14

Petrochemical Industry Key to Iran's Economic Growth
Recently, Dr. Masoud Nili, Rouhani's economic advisor, called on the private sector to identify an industry or a group of industries with the highest potential for economic growth until the end of this year and generate 3 percent growth until the end of next year. Iran's top five industries include auto manufacturing, construction, agriculture, petrochemicals, and tourism. -Leila Piran - 3/7/14

Iranian Activist Arrested After Speech Labeled "Seditious"
Saeed Razavi Faqih, an Iranian political activist and reformist, has been arrested in Iran, according to Iranian media reports. IRNA reports that the Hamadan prosecutor issued a warrant for his arrest after Razavi Faqih gave a speech to a gathering of reformists in Hamadan. - 3/7/14

Iranian Midwives Protest Hiring Proposal By Health Ministry
Following a Ministry of Health proposal to engage midwives as nurses in hospitals, Iranian midwives staged a demonstration in from of the ministry building. The Etemad daily reports that demonstrators gathered holding banners that denounced the ministry proposal. - 3/7/14

Disturbing Video Of Public Iranian Execution Sparks Debate
To share or not to share. That's the question being asked following the emergence of a video of a public hanging in Iran. Those who have shared the disturbing video on social media argue that it sheds light on the cruel methods the Islamic establishment employs to mete out justice. Opponents, however, believe that sharing the video helps promote a culture of violence in Iran fueled by acts such as public executions.-Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/7/14

AIPAC's Plan C on Iran Diplomacy Blunted
It's been a difficult annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its hopes of getting Congress to set the toughest possible conditions on any final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. -Jim Lobe - 3/7/14

Iran rejects Israeli lies on Gaza arms shipment
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed as "lies" the recent Israeli allegation that Tehran sought to send missiles to the blockaded Gaza Strip. "An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza captured just in time for the annual AIPAC anti-Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence? Or same failed lies," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday. - 3/7/14

Report of "Medical Access for Iranians" Event in San Francisco
On Sunday, February 22, over 140 members of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), Havaar, and National Lawyers' Guild (NLG) attended a charity fundraiser in San Francisco to raise awareness about the impact of US sanctions on ordinary Iranians' medical access. - 3/6/14

Netanyahu's Anti-Iranian Rant
Benjamin Netanyahu's tiresome vilification of Iran has taken on the characteristics of a rote obsession that diverges farther and farther from truth, reality, and his own ostensible objective. -Paul Pillar, National Interest - 3/6/14

Rouhani's Silent Allies
Just recently, President Rouhani angrily lashed out at the opponents of the nuclear agreement. "Why is the University silent? Why must we [only] hear from some illiterates who are being paid by certain circles?" he asked. The president's attempt to embolden his fans did not have the impact he was hoping for. The educated class did not break the silence. Instead, the comments angered "illiterates" who thought they were the subject of his ridicule. -Hossein Ghazian - 3/6/14

Battle Over 'Resistance Economy' Deepens Divisions in Iran
While government media and propaganda organizations are filled with the term "resistance economy" these days, reports indicate a deepening difference among economic activists and the various contradictory rules in the laws and economic practices. In this light, the government has suddenly reduced its direct subsidies to the public while at the same time major economic corruption cases are surfacing almost at a daily frequency. -Firoozeh Matin - 3/6/14

Iran loses to Guinea in football friendly
Iran football team lost to Guinea 2-1 in a friendly here on Wednesday. The Asian powerhouse will face Trinidad and Tobago in its final preparation for the 2014 World Cup. The match will be held in Sao Paolo, Brazil on June 8. - 3/6/14

Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities
Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. --Deborah Amos, NPR - 3/6/14

Rising gasoline imports let Iran stop production of dirty fuel
The National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company reports that Iran has tripled its gasoline imports. In the past three years, eight to 10 million litres of gasoline have been produced on a daily basis by petrochemical complexes in Iran, and according to experts, that has been extremely detrimental to air quality. - 3/6/14

Call for Entry: 2014 Noor Iranian Film Festival
The 7th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival is launching its 2014 Call for Entries, inviting filmmakers around the world to submit feature films, documentaries, shorts, animation and experimental works. Submissions will open on March 15, 2014 and end on July 15, 2014. - 3/6/14

Sormeh in the European World Music Charts
This month the trio Sormeh have claimed the No.12 spot on the European World Music Charts. Sormeh is a talented group of three musicians that endeavor to override all musical boundaries and oppositions. -Austrian Music Export - 3/6/14

Iranians in Malaysia dismayed by visa change
Many Iranians in Malaysia are upset about the ending of the policy that enabled them to obtain a 90-day visa on arrival (VOA), according to the Malaysian Iran Friendship Association (MIFA). - 3/6/14

Iran's Imperiled Environment
The surge in population in the last four decades and the unpremeditated urge for rapid development, compounded by drought and sanctions, are responsible for a serious deterioration in Iran's fragile environment. Awareness of the precarious situation is beginning to sink in with attention focusing especially on the vital interrelated problem areas discussed below. -Bijan Rouhani and Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian - 3/5/14

Netanyahu Issues Warning on Iran Uranium Enrichment
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says international efforts to restrict Iran's nuclear program must include a complete end to its enriching uranium. Talks underway appear aimed at allowing Iran to enrich some uranium at lower-grade levels. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 3/5/14

Photos; Iranian Defense Ministry Equips IRGC with New Ballistic Missiles, Air Defense System
The Iranian defense ministry started the mass-delivery of different ballistic missiles, including Qadr, Qiam, Fateh 110 and Khalij-e Fars missiles, as well as Mersad air defense system to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base on Wednesday. - 3/5/14

Iran: Gonabadi dervishes join jailed peers in hunger strike
After nine jailed dervishes announced that they will refuse food to protest their mistreatment by Iranian prison authorities, 31 Gonabadi dervishes from across the country began their own hunger strike in support of their jailed peers. - 3/5/14

NIAC Statement on House and Senate Iran Letters
National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Policy Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding Congressional letters on U.S.-Iran negotiations sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the Senate and Representatives Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the House: - 3/5/14

Unlock Iran: New Digital Platform To Raise Awareness Of Human Rights Violations In Iran
Yesterday, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) launched UNLOCK IRAN, a unique platform that gives participants a digital view of what their lives would be like if jailed in Iran. The initiative calls on the international community to elevate the discussion of human rights issues in Iran at a time of critical reengagement with the Iranian government. - 3/5/14

President vows to uphold Iranians' rights in nuclear negotiations
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has pledged to uphold the Iranian nation's rights in the course of negotiations with the world powers on its nuclear activities, saying his government will not cross the "red lines" under any circumstances. - 3/5/14

My (Brief) Detention By Iran's Morality Police
On my third day in Tehran last week, I was detained by Iran's notorious "morals police." My introduction to the morality squad began with shouts and threats and ended with fruit juice and a hug from a lady cop in a black chador that covered bleached blond hair and a snug red leather jacket. -Deborah Amos, NPR - 3/5/14

Iranian President Hassan Rohani adopts Supreme Leader's idea for "Economy of Resistance"
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei introduced the term "economy of resistance" in the midst of the country's rising economic problems and the widespread international sanctions imposed on the country, calling on the branches of government to devise methods of getting through the growing number of global crises in order to become "an inspiring model of an Islamic economic system." - 3/5/14

Iran to pump gas to Baghdad by mid 2014
Tehran and Baghdad have reached an agreement under which Iran will pump natural gas to its western neighbor in the coming months. Based on the agreement, 25 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas will be delivered to Sadr, Baghdad and al-Mansouryah power plants through a pipeline. - 3/5/14

FOOTBALL: Iran defeats Kuwait in Asian Cup qualifier
Iran football team defeated Kuwait 3-2 in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifying campaign at Enghelab Stadium in Karaj, Iran on Monday. Iran stayed seven points ahead of Kuwait in Group B with 16. - 3/4/14

Why some people have no tolerance for linguistic diversity?
I was talking with two friends in the dressing room of a gym. A lady came from the shower, walked to her locker, grabbed her clothes, turned around to us and said: "I don't understand a word of what you are saying to each other". My friend: "Don't worry, madam. Our conversation is not very exciting. We are discussing a Persian recipe". -Ferdows Kazemi - 3/4/14

Iran: Karroubi campaign worker given seven-year sentence
Maryam Shafipour, an Iranian student activist who worked on Mehdi Karroubi's presidential campaign in 2009, has been sentenced to seven years in jail by the Revolutionary court. Shafipour was arrested last July and held in solitary confinement for 67 days before being released on bail in February. - 3/4/14

Families of Iranian political prisoners drum up support for demonstration on Saturday
The families of jailed dervishes and other political prisoners in ward 350 of Evin Prison have rallied people to gather at the Tehran Prosecutor's office on Saturday March 8 at 11 AM to demand just treatment of prisoners. - 3/4/14

Obama calls Iran a large and powerful country
The U.S. president says it is profoundly in the interest of all to let diplomacy play itself out during the course of negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programs, reiterating his position that he is opposed to imposing new sanction on Tehran. - 3/4/14

PARSA Community Foundation Scholars at Tufts University Tackle Large Global Issues
"Having been raised in a region where people are suffering from misguided economic policies," explains Maliheh Birjandi-Feriz, a first year PhD candidate in economics at Yale University, "I realized that development and economics are not about statistics and math, rather they are about people and their livelihood." - 3/4/14

World Premiere Viola Concerto by Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran in Santa Rosa Symphony's March 22, 23 and 24 concerts in Weill Hall
Santa Rosa Symphony Music Director Bruno Ferrandis leads the orchestra in a world premiere by award-winning contemporary composer Behzad Ranjbaran on March 22, 23, and 24, 2014, in Weill Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center. - 3/4/14

Here's the AIPAC-Approved House Version of Iran Letter to Obama
With the snow in Washington and Russian moves in Crimea diverting all national news attention away from AIPAC's ongoing policy conference, I understand House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer are circulating their own AIPAC-approved letter among colleagues for signature. -Jim Lobe - 3/4/14

Deailng with Defeat in Afghanistan
Over 100,000 American and allied forces have been in Afghanistan for over a decade and there has been heavy fighting in localized areas with substantial civilian casualties. We have used our highly aggressive Special Forces and drones that have had some success militarily but frequently produced civilian losses. And, the Taliban usually move back in once the foreign forces depart and reportedly have a strong presence in over half of the provinces. -Charles Naas - 3/4/14

Archive.ology: start with (clay) dinosaur bones, spice with love
Once upon a time people used something called paper for writing all sorts of things, from love letters to secret sauce formulas to stockholder reports. It was when writing was just word-winding. They say some hyper competitive Silicon Valley companies (there was no other known kind) even went as far as hiring detectives to sort through paper trash of their competitors to patch together highly guarded business secrets. -A.J. Cave - 3/3/14

Iran and its Youth: A Series of Dialogues
The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto is pleased to present a series of interactive conversations that will take place in Berlin, Toronto, London, and Silicon Valley - all live online - during the first week of March 2014. - 3/3/14

Iranian Culture Minister muses about looser internet restrictions
The Iranian minister of culture and guidance says 4 million Iranian internet users are on Facebook and it is not practical for the government to persist in imposing restrictions on access to the social media site. - 3/3/14

Iran Heritage Foundation's Norouz Gala 2014 in London
Iran Heritage Foundation Invites you to celebrate The Persian New Year NOROUZ with its legendary hospitality on Saturday 22nd March 2014 at The Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London W1K 7TN. Featuring Rising Star Rana Mansour - 3/3/14

The Pars Equality Center 4th Annual Nowruz Gala In Northern California
We are pleased to announce that with the kind generosity and support received from both Iranian and American community, event has been sold out three weeks prior to the date. Please check our auction items at - 3/3/14

Iran, China explore mutual investment opportunities
A delegation of over 100 Chinese traders and economic managers attended a conference, titled Iran-China Investment and Business Cooperation Forum, in Tehran on Sunday. Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng led the delegation. - 3/3/14

Saudi Arabia Offers Sophisticated Weapons to Syrian Rebels
WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia reportedly is offering to provide Syrian rebels more sophisticated weapons, including shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that can take down fighter planes and helicopter gunships. They could be a game changer in the Syrian civil war. -Meredith Buel, VOA - 3/3/14

Spain says keen to expand ties with Iran
The Spanish foreign minister who was visiting Tehran on Sunday said that Madrid is keen to increase relations with Iran, particularly in economic spheres. Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a planned four-day visit, cut short his trip to attend an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday to discuss the situation in Ukraine. - 3/3/14

IAEA: Iran Nuclear Deal Being Implemented As Planned
The chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog says a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is being implemented as planned. Iran struck a deal with the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Britain, and China in November to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions. - 3/3/14

AIPAC Moves to Plan C for Congress
First, it wanted the Senate to pass a binding bill that was certain to sabotage the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. When that stalled in mid-January at only 59 co-sponsors, all but 16 of whom were Republicans, it initiated discussions about a non-binding resolution essentially endorsing Kirk-Menendez and laying out the conditions for a final "acceptable" agreement with Iran that was also certain to be rejected by Tehran. -Jim Lobe - 3/3/14

Russia, China Agree on Ukraine; G7 Condemns Russian 'Violation'
Russia's foreign ministry announced Russia and China have coinciding views on the situation in Ukraine, while the leaders of the G7 group of nations are condemning what they say is Russia's "clear violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty. - 3/3/14

Iran Security Council Files Lawsuit Against Conservative Journalist for Critical Articles
Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretariat has filed a lawsuit against a conservative journalist for "acting against the resolutions of the Council," after he published four articles in a Tehran newspaper sharply criticizing Hassan Rouhani's foreign policy and the Geneva Agreement about Iran's nuclear program - 3/3/14

Women given senior positions in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province
The Iranian president has appointed two women to the position of governor in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. Massoumeh Parandvar is now serving as the governor of Hamoon, while Homeira Rigi, with a history of leadership roles in the health and interior ministries, is now governor of Qasreqand. - 3/1/14

Iranian businessman released, faces corruption trial in Turkey
Reza Zarrab, an Iranian businessman, is the prime suspect in the financial corruption case in Turkey involving several senior government officials. The newspaper Today's Zaman reports that Zarrab and two sons of ministers in the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan were released today by order of the Supreme Court of Turkey, following their arrest on financial corruption charges in December 2013. - 3/1/14

Football: Iran assistant coach Namazi resigns
Omid Namazi has stepped down from his role as assistant coach of the Iranian national football team on Friday. He resigned from the post to spend more time with his family. The Iranian-American Namazi was appointed as Carlos Queiroz's assistant in 2011. - 3/1/14

Indian PM calls for expansion of relations with Iran
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for the expansion of relations with Iran in all spheres during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi on Friday. Singh and Zarif discussed the most recent developments in bilateral relations and important regional issues. - 3/1/14

Iranian Power Minister warns utility rates to rise dramatically
Iranian Power Minister Hamid Chitchian says the price of utilities will increase by 25 percent in the coming Iranian year (starting March 21). Chitchian told the Reporters Club that the increase has been approved by cabinet and will take effect in the New Year. - 3/1/14

Polish FM Cuts Short Iran Visit To Deal With Crimea Crisis
Sikorski arrived in Iran on Friday night for what was meant to be a three-day visit - and the first visit to Iran by a Polish foreign minister in 10 years. With a delegation of 20 Polish business leaders, Sikorski's entourage was exploring business opportunities that could become available if Iran reaches a permanent agreement with world powers on its nuclear program. - 3/1/14

Reformist says Iranian journalists 'defenseless'
In an interview via email with Al-Monitor, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, a prominent reformist journalist shared his thoughts about President Hassan Rouhani's promises on freedom of the press. - 3/1/14

Blackballed by AIPAC?
In my 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service, only one institution has denied me admission to their press or public events. That was the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) shortly after the broadcast in 2003 of a BBC Panorama program on neoconservatives and their promotion of the Iraq war. -Jim Lobe - 3/1/14

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