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Iranian-American Organizations File Amicus Brief In Supreme Court Travel Ban Case
PARS Equality Center, The Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) have filed an amicus ('friend of the court") brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the challenge to the Trump administration's third travel ban. - 3/31/18

Dance, Exhibition, Music, Visual art in New York: ON LOVE: The Art of Lines, Shapes & Symbols
Four extraordinary artists with roots around the world will create large-scale calligraphic paintings on the windows of the Winter Garden around the poetic theme of love. Artists from Iran, Japan, India and the United States will use words, letters, shapes and symbols from their respective languages and alphabets to explore the linguistic and artistic connections to calligraphy. Over two weeks the artists will produce a magnificent temporary art installation which the public can watch as it's being crafted. - 3/31/18

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2018 Academic Scholarships
Momeni Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent anywhere in the world. Scholastic Achievement Scholarship - At least three (3 ea.) scholarships for an amount of $1,000.00 dollars each will be awarded to students that are graduating from high school and plan to attend college in Fall of 2018. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents of United States. - 3/31/18

Top Adviser Highlights Deadlock Between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's military adviser Hossein Dehghan has likened defiant former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "the door of a mosque, which may not be burnt or thrown away," an allusion to the fact that Ahmadinjad is part and parcel of the Islamic regime in Iran regardless of his harsh criticism of Khamenei and his government. - 3/31/18

Iranian Judoka Pulls Out Of Grand Prix To Avoid Facing Israeli Athlete
Once again, an Iranian judoka has pulled out of an international competition to avoid facing an Israeli athlete because of a controversial Iranian government policy. Mohammad Abbas Nejad was set to face Israeli athlete Yarin Mnagid on March 30 in the 66 kilogram weight category at the Tbilisi 2018 Judo Grand Prix. - 3/31/18

Iranian Receives U.S. Visa To Help Brother With Cancer
An Iranian man has been allowed to travel to the United States to donate bone marrow to his U.S. citizen brother with blood cancer, the family's lawyer says. Kamiar Hashemi was granted a visa by the U.S. State Department, obtaining a rare waiver to President Donald Trump's travel ban, Mahsa Khanbabai said on March 29. -Radio Farda - 3/30/18

Trump's Silence On A Saudi Nuclear Bomb
It's said that the only two people Donald Trump does not criticize are Vladimir Putin and Stormy Daniels. You can add Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) to that list. With the prince's two week trip to the United States coming to a close, Trump remained stone silent after the heir apparent to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced his nuclear plans on American television. "Without a doubt," MbS told CBS host Norah O'Donnell, "if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible." Not a single voice of protest was heard from the Trump administration. -Joe Cirincione - 3/30/18

There Will Be War With Iran If Sanctions Do Not Work, Crown Prince Warns
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has once again urged the international community to squeeze Iran economically and politically, The Wall Street Journal reported on March 29. The Saudi crown prince told the WSJ that sanctions "will create more pressure on the regime". Meanwhile Prince Mohammad insisted that Riyadh was trying to avoid military conflict with Tehran. - 3/30/18

Christian Property in Iran to Be Taken Over by Supreme Leader's Organization
Sharon Gardens, a valuable property near Tehran confiscated from Iran's largest Christian Protestant organization by a group under the control of the country's supreme leader, was hit with an eviction order on March 7, 2018. - 3/30/18

Even If US Doesn't Exit Iran Nuclear Deal, Risk Of War Remains
When the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany signed a deal that effectively prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons, those in Iran and in other signatory states who did not want to see another war erupt in the Middle East sighed with relief. This sense of relief was short-lived. When Donald Trump became president, anxieties about a potential war with Iran reemerged.-Shireen T. Hunter - 3/29/18

Record Rise Of The US Dollar Angers Iranians
The rapid and record fall of the Iranian currency has made many Iranians angry at President Hassan Rouhani, who has repeatedly dismissed the rise of the dollar against the rial as insignificant and transient. On March 28, the Iranian currency, rial, hit a new low of 52,000 to the US dollar. The rial was around 38,000 to the dollar just a year ago. -Radio Farda - 3/29/18

Iran-Azerbaijan relations beneficial to entire world: President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hailed amicable ties between Iran and Azerbaijan, saying cooperation between the two neighbors is beneficial to the entire world. Addressing an Iran-Azerbaijan business forum in Baku on Thursday, Rouhani said, "We are today witnessing the best of ties between the two nations and governments." The outcome of such bilateral relations, Rouhani added, will be "in the interest of the region and the whole world." - 3/29/18

Three Cases Provide Glimpse Into Ongoing Denial of Medical Care to Political Prisoners in Iran
ozens of prisoners in Iran held on politically motivated charges are being denied medical treatmentand leave despite visible symptoms of their deteriorating health, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Political prisoners in Iran, including elderly inmates, are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care. The threat of withheld medical care has also been used as an intimidation tool against prisoners who have challenged the authorities or filed complaints. - 3/29/18

Looming US Showdown With Iran Puts Ankara in Tight Spot
Top diplomats from Turkey and the United States are working hard to bridge the deep gulf between the two NATO allies. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tina Kaidanow is in Ankara for talks this week, while Turkey's top diplomat, Umit Yalcin, will visit Washington this weekend. However, the effort may be complicated, as Ankara improves ties with neighboring Iran while America prepares a tougher approach to that nation. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 3/29/18

Iran football team beats Algeria 2-1 in pre-World Cup friendly played in Graz, Austrian
The Iran men's national football team, domestically known as Team Melli, has defeated Algeria in a friendly match as part of its preparations for the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. On Tuesday evening, Team Melli beat the Fennecs 2-1 at the Liebenauer Stadium, sponsored as the Merkur-Arena, in the Austrian city of Graz. - 3/28/18

Natural gas: An underrated driver of Saudi hostility towards Iran and Qatar
Debilitating hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran is about lots of things, not least who will have the upper hand in a swath of land stretching from Central Asia to the Atlantic coast of Africa. While attention is focused on ensuring that continued containment of Iran ensures that Saudi Arabia has a leg up, geopolitics is but one side of the equation. Natural gas is the other. -James M. Dorsey - 3/28/18

Iran cements ties with neighbors ahead of Trump D-day
Iran and Turkmenistan appear to have put a snowballing gas debt dispute behind them following President Hassan Rouhani's visit which culminated in the signing of 13 documents for broadening of relations. Rouhani began his first visit abroad in the new Iranian year to Ashgabat where the two sides held "very constructive and valuable" talks and made "good decisions" in line with the interests of the two nations. - 3/28/18

Attorney Blocked From Taking on Human Rights Cases in Iran Calls For Revision of "Flawed" Law
A lawyer representing the family of an Iranian Canadian academic who recently died in an Iranian prison has joined the growing list of attorneys in Iran who have criticized the judiciary's decision to force citizens held on politically motivated charges to pick their lawyer from a list. - 3/28/18

End Of Hope For Trump's Middle East Policy
This past week could go down as the worst for the US role in the world since the misbegotten 2003 invasion of Iraq, whose tragic consequences still bedevil us. In both cases, the damage has been almost entirely self-inflicted, the result of abysmal judgment at the top of the US government, plus the failure of other institutions-Congress, the media-to do their proper jobs. -Robert E. Hunter - 3/27/18

Iranian Environmentalists Remain Detained Months After Arrests While Families Seek Answers
Seven environmentalists who were arrested in Tehran nearly two months ago remain in detention with no or extremely limited access to legal counsel while their families are being kept in the dark about any charges against them. The detainees-Sam Rajabi, Niloufar Bayani, Morad Tahbaz (also holds American citizenship), Amir-Hossein Khaleghi, Taher Ghadirian, Houman Jowkar and Sepideh Kashani-are former and current staff members of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation (PHWF). - 3/27/18

Iran's President Rouhani in Turkmenistan to boost ties
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, on a state visit meant to enhance bilateral ties. President Rouhani was officially welcomed by his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, upon arrival in Ashgabat on Tuesday. - 3/27/18

Iran Calls Trump's Move To Appoint Bolton 'A Matter Of Shame'
Iran has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to appoint former UN Ambassador John Bolton as national-security adviser, with a senior official saying that it is shameful and is a sign that Washington hopes to overthrow the government in Tehran. - 3/26/18

Official Suggests Iran May Soon Block Access to Widely Used Telegram Messaging App
A provocative comment by a high-level official in Iran has resulted in renewed fears among the public that the government may soon block access to the country's most widely used private messaging app, Telegram. - 3/26/18

Play on role of women of Tabriz in Constitutional Movement to go on stage in Ankara
"Pasha" ("Pasa"), an Iranian play that sheds light on the role of women in Tabriz in the Constitutional Movement (1905 to 1911), will be performed at the 12th edition of the Ethos Ankara International Theater Festival, which is scheduled to open in the Turkish capital on Tuesday. - 3/26/18

Iran in talks to sell more heavy water: AEOI spokesman
Iran is in talks to sell more heavy water after sales to the United States, Russia, and other countries, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi has said. The official, quoted by Fars news agency on Monday, also said the country was to unveil its achievements in the area of heavy water technology on April 9, the National Atomic Energy Day. - 3/26/18

A Madman on the National Security Council
What makes Bolton unique among hawkish operators is that he doesn't feel the need to hide any of these machinations. The man wants to pulverize Tehran and he's not afraid to say so. In 2015, Bolton wrote a piece for the New York Times subtly titled "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran." Never mind that the adverbial clause in that sentence had no definitive evidence in its favor -Matt Purple, American Conservative - 3/26/18

Trump's Insincere Nowruz Message
Reading President Trump's Iranian New Year's (Nowruz) statement reminded me of what our granddaughter used to say when her diaper was full: "Yuck." It is a strange message. The reader is left asking, "What's the purpose?" Similar messages by Trump's predecessors usually said to Iranians, "We love you but we hate your government" or "We love you and we need to engage with your (difficult) government." -John Limbert - 3/25/18

Coalition of 10 Iranian American Organizations Hosts Nowruz Celebration in Washington, DC
On March 15th, 2018, PAAIA joined nine other Iranian American organizations to host the 4th Annual Community Nowruz celebration at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Along with delicious Persian cuisine, a gorgeous Haftseen, and celebratory Persian music, the event featured addresses by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Jamie Raskin, and founder of HealthEZ and IAPAC board member Nazie Eftekhari. - 3/25/18

Trump's New War Cabinet
On Thursday, President Trump moved one step closer to completing his preferred cabinet. General H.R. McMaster, whom Trump called boring, was replaced as national security advisor by ultra-hawk John Bolton. This is the same John Bolton who wrote the forward for Pamela Geller's hate-filled book about President Obama, called on Israel to nuke Iran, ... -Shahed Ghoreishi, LobeLog - 3/25/18

EU plans to shield firms trading with Iran: Guardian
The EU is preparing for the aftermath of a possible US withdrawal from a landmark deal with Iran, drawing up contingency plans to support European companies trading with Iran, a UK report says. They are considering providing emergency credit lines and funding support to the companies which face "potentially devastating loss of financial support by commercial banks" if President Donald Trump goes ahead with his threat to ditch the deal, the Guardian reported. - 3/25/18

Iran Criticizes U.S. Sanctions Over Hacking Scheme
Iran has criticized new U.S. sanctions against 10 of its citizens and an Iranian company over their alleged involvement in a state-sponsored large-scale hacking and intellectual property theft scheme. The U.S. Treasury Department unveiled charges on March 23 against nine Iranians along with sanctions against 10 individuals and the Mabna Institute, which it accused of hacking hundreds of universities on behalf of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. - 3/25/18

With Bolton Pick, Trump is Assembling an Iran War Cabinet
Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement regarding the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor: "Donald Trump may have just effectively declared war on Iran. With the appointment of John Bolton, and nomination of Mike Pompeo at State, Trump is clearly putting together a war cabinet. As the world awaits Trump's May 12 decision as to whether he will abandon the Iran nuclear deal, all of the signs now point to a decision to move to war footing. - 3/23/18

Iranian American Groups Urge Trump Admin to Investigate "Targeting" of Civil Servant Sahar Nowrouzzadeh
Seven Iranian American organizations including the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) have called on the Trump administration to investigate credible allegations that career government employee Sahar Nowrouzzadeh was demoted from a top advisory position because "high level officials at the White House and State Department worked with a network of conservative activists to conduct a 'cleaning' of employees" including Nowrouzzadeh. - 3/23/18

The Iran Deal Is Dead, Long Live The Iran Deal
With the news that John Bolton will be Trump's new national security advisor, the death of the Iran Deal is all but assured. Bolton has vocally advocated for war with Iran, which he sees not as an option of last resort but as the only appropriate course of action. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 3/23/18

Sixth Iranian Baha'i Faith Leader Completes 10-Year Prison Sentence
Mr. Vahid Tizfahm completed his 10-year sentence yesterday. At 44, he is the youngest of the seven former Baha'i leaders in Iran who were unjustly imprisoned for their religious beliefs in 2008. Mr. Tizfahm is the sixth of the former group, known as the Yaran, to complete his sentence and be released. The Yaran was an ad-hoc group which tended to the basic spiritual and material needs of the Iranian Baha'i community. It was formed with the full knowledge and approval of Iranian authorities after formal Baha'i institutions were declared illegal in Iran in the 1980s. - 3/23/18

US Announces $1 Billion in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia
The State Department approved nearly $1 billion in new arms sales for Saudi Arabia as the kingdom's crown prince continued his American tour. Some critics of the kingdom have raised concerns about arms sales to Riyadh as its forces remain involved in Yemen's three-year civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Critics have condemned Saudi Arabia for airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. -VOA - 3/23/18

U.S., Europeans Wary As They Discuss Creating Iran Nuclear Side Deal
The United States has had "constructive" talks with France, Britain, and Germany about creating a side agreement to the Iran nuclear deal but is making contingency plans should the effort fail, the lead U.S. negotiator has said. "We have had constructive talks with the Europeans towards a supplemental agreement, but I can't predict whether we will reach an agreement with them or not," Brian Hook, a U.S. State Department policy director and lead U.S. negotiator, told reporters on March 21. - 3/22/18

Crossroads: New play written and directed by Bahram Beyzaie
Approximately year eighty of the Persian calendar. In a busy crossroads of Tehran, a woman and a man run into one another, torn apart by the events of the last fifteen years! March 23rd-April 1st at Stanford University - 3/22/18

The Untold Story of John Bolton's Campaign for War With Iran
But the strong likelihood that Donald Trump will now choose John Bolton as his next national security advisor creates a prospect of war with Iran that is very real. Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy. -Gareth Porter, American Conservative - 3/22/18

China's Silk Road fires up Iran's rail revolution
Iran's rail industry gets a fresh boost from China's dedication of $845 million to build a train line connecting Tehran to the western cities of Hamadan and Sanandaj. A Wednesday report said China National Machinery Industry Corp, known as Sinomach, signed a contract worth 5.35 billion yuan with Iran which is on a railway modernization and expansion drive. -Press TV - 3/22/18

Yolo County in Sacramento, California proclaims Tuesday, March 20, 2018 as Iranian-American Day
WHEREAS, Iranian/Persian history dates back to 2,000 B.C. The people of Iran have celebrated Noruz, the New Year, on the first day of spring for 3,000 years; and WHEREAS, the Iranian people have a long tradition of tolerance and respect for human rights, including the establishment, in 550 8.C., of the earliest significant monarchy that contributed to the civilization of the world, under Cyrus the Great. Cyrus the Great freed the Jewish people from Babylonian oppression; and - 3/21/18

Does The Road To Korean Denuclearization Run Through Tehran?
The March 15 edition of the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg that seeks to make trouble for Iran by exploiting President Donald Trump's decision to meet North Korea's supreme leader in May. Dubowitz and Goldberg have two aims. The first is to insinuate that Iran, like North Korea, wants to acquire nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The second is... -Peter Jenkins - 3/21/18

Trump Touts Arms Sales To Saudi Crown Prince, Discusses Iran
President Donald Trump has praised U.S. defense sales to Saudi Arabia at a meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman at the White House, where the two discussed simmering tensions with Iran. During the March 20 meeting, the powerful Saudi crown prince, who is likely to succeed King Salman, spoke with Trump about their perceived flaws with the Iran nuclear deal and countering Iran's involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts. - 3/21/18

For the Persian new year, a menu full of memories
Iranians around the world are marking our new year this week. Nowruz means "new day" in our native language, and the ancient holiday's 13 days of celebration mark what we consider the most logical time to start the year: spring, the annual rebirth of nature. For me, this time is made rich from a lifetime of memories, as it is for most Iranians. New clothes are purchased. Families deep-clean their homes for weeks in advance; we do this because the days bring a constant parade of visits from friends and relatives. -Journal Gazette - 3/21/18

Iran's President Rouhani opens 'strategic' rail line near Iraqi border
President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday opened a new train line, linking a major city near the border with Iraq to the national railway network. The railway to Kermanshah in western Iran ended 27 years of anticipation for the mainly-Kurdish city to have an alternative transportation mode and for the project to be completed. - 3/21/18

Chomsky On The Middle East
Noam Chomsky is a linguist and an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy. This interview took place on February 28 in his office at the University of Arizona's Department of Linguistics in Tucson, Arizona. -Fariba Pajooh, LobeLog - 3/21/18

Trump poses new threat to Iran's resurgent rug trade
As many as 80 countries received shipments of handmade Iranian carpets totaling $400 million in value in the Persian year which ended on Tuesday, head of Iran National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar told Fars news agency Wednesday. "More than $100 million worth of Iranian carpets were exported to the United States in the 11 months of 1396 while in the past years, those exports had reached zero as a result of sanctions and malicious policies of the United States," he said. - 3/21/18

Iran And The Middle East
As Mike Pence said on March 13: "President Trump has called on the Congress and our European allies to enact real and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions... make no mistake about it: This is their last chance. Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed in the coming months, the United States of America will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately." This is bullying language directed at close allies, inspired not by sober determination of US interests and capabilities, but by hatred of President Obama and disdain for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its protocols. -Richard Dalton, LobeLog - 3/21/18

Nowruz The Persian New Year at the spring vernal equinox in IRAN, Central/West Asia and in Diaspora is commemorated
The flower buds of yellow, violet, red and white crocuses of saffron bulbs, intermingled with the blossoming daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and the Persian violets, herald the arrival of Nowruz (Norooz). The Persian New Year, signaling the rebirth, rejuvenation and reconciliations, appropriately arrives on the spring vernal equinox. -Davood N. Rahni - 3/20/18

EU plans no additional sanctions against Iran: Foreign Policy Chief
The European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says the bloc has no plans to impose more sanctions on Iran after reports emerged that European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have proposed fresh sanctions against Tehran under the pressure of Washington. - 3/20/18

Trump Lambastes Iranian State, 'Hostile Army' IRGC In Norooz Greeting
U.S. President Donald Trump has used an annual message to Iranians and others celebrating Norooz, the Persian New Year, to sharply criticize Iran's government and the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). - 3/20/18

Iranian athletes, artists launch campaign to reduce road accidents during Norooz
A group of famous Iranian athletes and artists have initiated a campaign titled 'please_stay_alive' with the aim of cutting road accidents and fatalities. Many Iranians take a trip during the two-week Norooz (Persian New Year) holidays, starting on March 21, however, considerable number of accidents and fatalities in this period is recorded every year. - 3/20/18

PHOTOS: Tehran adorned with giant colored eggs ahead of Persian New Year Norooz
To mark the beginning of the Persian New Year, also known as Norooz, visual artists have decorated Tehran with large colored eggs. The new year starts on Tuesday, March 20 this year. Norooz (literally "New Day") is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by the Iranians and Turkic peoples, along with some other ethno-linguistic groups, as the beginning of the New Year. - 3/19/18

Iranian karate practitioners grab three silver medals at Karate 1 - Premier League Rotterdam 2018
Iranian karate practitioners have exhibited great punching, knee strikes as well as open-hand techniques at the Karate 1 - Premier League Rotterdam 2018, and scooped three silver medals in the prestigious international tournament. - 3/19/18

Iran's Conservatives Again Push To Block Telegram
Once more, conservatives in Iran are ramping up pressure on President Hassan Rouhani's government to block the messaging app Telegram. In an Op-Ed published on the website KhabarOnline, Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Iran's High Council for Cyberspace, wrote that it was not in Iran's interest to continue to allow access to Telegram inside the country. - 3/19/18

Pompeo's Appointment Bodes Ill For The Middle East
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's departure and his replacement--current CIA director Mike Pompeo--will not move the Middle East to a better place. Nor will the possible elevation of the current deputy director of the CIA Gina Haspel to the director of the Agency bring clarity to American policies and intentions in the region. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 3/19/18

Total says committed to its contract with Iran
French energy giant Total says it is fully committed to the development of an Iranian gas field, adding the firm will seek a waiver if the US decides to unilaterally pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. - 3/19/18

U.S. Senator Says Trump Likely To Withdraw From Iran Deal
A senior U.S. senator says he believes President Donald Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in May. The comments by Bob Corker (Republican-Tennessee), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a television interview broadcast March 18 came less than two months before Trump must decide whether to extend U.S. sanctions relief to Tehran under the landmark deal. - 3/19/18

Another Bite Of The Apple? Tech Giant's App Store Goes Dark For Iranians
Iranians hungry for the latest in Western gadgetry got an abrupt shock on March 15 when they were unable to access a key distribution platform for Apple-friendly software. Famously tech-savvy through decades of government efforts to shield the citizenry from outside news and cultural influences, Iranians who tried to visit the App Store were greeted with the message: "The App Store is unavailable in the country or region you're in." Many users reported that the App Store was available again the next morning. - 3/18/18

U.S. Negotiating 'Supplement' To Iran Nuclear Deal With European Allies
The United States and European powers are negotiating over a possible "supplemental" agreement to the Iran nuclear deal that would address Iran's ballistic-missile development and involvement in Middle East conflicts, a U.S. diplomat said. U.S. envoy Brian Hook said the allies had "very good" talks about a "supplemental" accord in Vienna on March 16 as Reuters reported that Britain, France, and Germany have proposed new European Union sanctions against Iran over its ballistic-missile program and its role in the Syrian civil war. - 3/18/18

Iran stomps Sierra Leone 4-0 in pre-FIFA World Cup warm-up in Tehran
The Iran men's national football team, domestically known as Team Melli, has routed the Sierra Leone national football team in a friendly fixture as part of preparations for the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. On Saturday evening, Team Melli thumped the Leone Stars 4-0 at the end of a match staged at Azadi Stadium in western Tehran. - 3/18/18

Iran Arrests Close Ally Of Ex-President Ahmadinejad
Iranian authorities say they have detained a close ally of former hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a former vice president and chief of staff of Ahmadinejad, was arrested on March 17, the website of Tehran's prosecutor said. It said Mashaei was arrested by police officers who were acting on the orders of the judiciary. o further details were provided. - 3/18/18

Iran beach volleyball team placed second in 2018 FIVB World Tour
The national Iranian men's beach volleyball team has finished as the runner-up at the end of the Muscat one-star men's event on the 2018 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour, following a defeat against Germany. - 3/18/18

Signatories to Iran nuclear deal meet in Vienna amid Trump's threat
Signatories to Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers have held a new round of their periodic meetings to review its implementation amid US threats to kill the multilateral accord. Representatives from Iran, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany convened in the Austrian city of Vienna on Friday for a meeting of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, or JCPOA. - 3/16/18

As Short-Term Solutions Fail, Iran's Currency Loses More Value
The exchange rate for the US dollar against the Iranian currency, tuman, rose to a record high on March 13 as attempts by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) during recent months to defend the local currency appear to have failed. One dollar was traded for 4,800 tumans in Tehran on Tuesday, showing yet another hype since its steep decline began 10 months ago. - 3/16/18

Death of Man Accused of Filming Protests in Iran Marks Fifth Detainee Death in Two Months
The death in custody of a nursing student arrested for allegedly filming anti-state protests in the Iranian Province of Ilam marks the fifth known death of a detainee in Iran within the course of two months. Officials claimed Taleb Basati, 26, died of a stroke but his death certificate only says "head injury and trauma" according to a friend. As in the other four cases, the authorities have told the victim's family to not ask questions about their loved ones' cause of death and to avoid speaking to media outlets. - 3/16/18

Chinese firm to fund Iran plane purchases
Iran's media say the country's national airline Iran Air has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to provide funding for the company's plane purchase campaigns - most notably those pursued with Airbus and Boeing. The Persian-language newspaper Iran reported that the agreement had been signed on Monday at Iran Air premises in Tehran, citing a statement by the country's Ministry of Roads and Urban Development. - 3/16/18

Trump's And Pompeo's Path To Nuclear Crisis
The prospective replacement of Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo clears one of the last apparent hurdles between Donald Trump and his destruction of a significant diplomatic achievement that has been squarely in the interests of the United States, of nuclear nonproliferation, and of the containment of conflict in the Middle East. This is, of course, the multilateral agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear program, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 3/16/18

Saudi Prince Says Kingdom Will Build Nuclear Weapons If Iran Does
Saudi Arabia's crown prince asserted on March 15 that the kingdom will develop nuclear weapons if Iran does, in a television interview immediately denounced by Tehran. Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015 that prohibits it from developing nuclear weapons, and beyond that. Tehran has said it has no ambition to develop such weapons of mass destruction. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal, and Tehran has said that, if the United States withdraws, it will no longer be bound by the deal. - 3/16/18

Railroad Project to Connect Iran With Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Iran held the first-ever quadrilateral meeting in Baku to discuss regional cooperation. At the center of the discussions was the construction of Rasht-Astara railroad, the 180-kilometer-long rail line that will connect the Iranian and Azerbaijani cities. The project is expected to be completed in three years. -Asgar Asgarov, VOA - 3/16/18

U.S. Reports Major Drop In Encounters With Iranian Vessels In Persian Gulf
The Pentagon says the U.S. Navy has experienced a major, unexplained drop in close encounters with Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf since August. "They don't seem to be engaging in the same provocative behavior" seen in previous years, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on March 15 as he returned from a trip to the Middle East. - 3/16/18

Evoking Sophia Loren In Iran
... my ears perked up when I heard cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda-the hardline Friday Prayer Leader of the holy city of Mashhad, the seat of Imam Reza Shrine-mention Sophia Loren in his Friday speech. The occasion for remembering Loren was a Women's Day performance of Iranian folklore dance by eight and nine year olds in front of the mayor of Tehran. -Farideh Farhi - 3/15/18

Iran Signs $4 Billion Oil Deal With Russian Firm
Iran has signed a $742 million deal with Russian state-owned energy firm Zarubezhneft to boost production at two oil fields in the country's west. Zarubezhneft and Dana Energy, a private Iranian company, will jointly develop the Aban and Paydar fields in Ilam province near the Iraqi border, to boost production from 36,000 to 48,000 barrels of oil per day. - 3/15/18

Iran's Growing Water Shortage Protests Spur Accusations of Mismanagement
Escalating street protests by Iranians against water shortages in a rural part of central Iran have inspired more domestic criticism of the government's handling of the nation's water resources. Overseas-based human rights groups say the protests by farmers in Varzaneh in Isfahan province began last month and escalated into violent confrontations with security forces last week. -Michael Lipin and Mohammad Naficy, VOA - 3/15/18

Men Detained at Women's Rights Rally in Iran Remain Behind Bars After Female Detainees Released
The women who were detained at a women's rights demonstration in front of the Iranian Labor Ministry in Tehran on March 8, 2018, have all been released but five male demonstrators remain behind bars. The last of the female detainees were freed from Gharchak Prison in the city of Varamin after posting bail on March 12, a source with knowledge about the cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 3/15/18

Pompeo: Springtime For Irano/Islamophobes
"Great news for the Republic!" tweeted Sebastian Gorka, on hearing the news that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Gorka, who was forced to resign from his position as a former deputy assistant to the President in major part due to his apparent membership in a Hungarian "knighthood" that collaborated with the Nazis in World War II, thinks quite highly indeed of the former Kansas congressman. -Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 3/15/18

This business owner learned to take risks at a young age
Anoosheh Oskouian, 54, is chief executive of Ship & Shore Environmental Inc., a multimillion-dollar Signal Hill company that makes pollution-reducing equipment. The firm also helps cut energy costs and develop energy alternatives for U.S. and foreign industrial companies. -Los Angeles Times - 3/15/18

Pentagon Voices Support For Iran Nuclear Deal Amid Tillerson Exit
A top U.S. military commander expressed the Pentagon's continued support for Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, hours after the announced departure of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a top defender of the deal in the U.S. administration. U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 13 that he shares the views of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joe Dunford that the deal is still in the best interests of the United States. - 3/14/18

Iran: End Persecution of Families Seeking Truth and Justice For Detainees Who Died in Detention
The Iranian authorities should end their cruel campaign of harassment and intimidation against the families of detainees who have died in detention under suspicious circumstances, Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Human Rights Watch and Justice for Iran said today. - 3/14/18

Europe, Iran Baffled By US Position On Nuclear Deal
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "the worst deal ever" for the US. In his first State of the Union address in January, Trump called on Congress to "fix the terrible flaws" of the Iran nuclear deal. The president has threatened to withdraw from the accord if Congress and Europe fail to amend it by May 12. -Mohammad Ghaderi and Javad Heiran-Nia, LobeLog - 3/14/18

Outspoken Iranian Academic Sadegh Zibakalam Sentenced To Prison, Banned From Political Activities
An outspoken pro-reformist Iranian political analyst says he has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of "spreading propaganda" against the Iranian establishment. In a short video posted online, Sadegh Zibakalam, a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, said he planned to appeal the sentence. - 3/14/18

Tehran City Council Names Street After Former Primer Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq
Tehran city council has named Naft (oil) street after Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. Mosaddeq is very well-known for his efforts in nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in 1951. Prior to the nationalization of the industry it had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. - 3/14/18

Women and their achievements feature on billboards in Iran
A soldier, war photographer, and an Olympian are some of the women gracing public billboards in Iran's capital Tehran in a rare move in the conservative country. The billboards showcase the achievements of ground-breaking Iranian women, including the late mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani who in 2014 became the first woman to win the Fields Medal - the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics. -BBC - 3/14/18

Iran Jails Ahmadinejad's Vice President For Corruption
Iran on March 13 jailed Hamid Baghai, a vice president under former hard-liner Mahmud Ahmadinejad, following his conviction for corruption, Iranian media reports said. "Police officers apprehended and transferred the convict to prison," the Tehran prosecutor's office said, cited by the Fars news agency. - 3/14/18

Iran's Cultural Cleavages And The Need For National Compromise
Popular demonstrations in Iran at the end of 2017 reflected economic and other grievances along with a growing frustration and impatience with the Islamic system's shortcomings. However, the demonstrations also revealed deep cultural cleavages in Iranian society. Some of Iran's cultural divides are very deep rooted and are related to Iran's Islamization after the Arab/Islamic conquest of the Sassanid Empire in 642 CE. Others are of more recent origin and developed with the start of Iran's modernization in the late nineteenth century. -Shireen T. Hunter - 3/13/18

The Tyranny of Social Media
There have been many studies showing the effects of (social media) in-group and out-group biases on individual decision making. Therefore, the availability or popularity of a particular social media platform among members of any movement can have a huge impact on outcome. The fact that about 48 million Iranians today use Telegram, a 40% consumption of Iran's internet bandwidth, calls for an analysis of its role in the recent uprisings across the country. -Behnam Zoghi and Jalal Shahinitiran - 3/13/18

Prominent Iranian Human Rights Lawyer to Appeal Hijab Protester's Prison Sentence
A woman who was sentenced to prison in Iran for removing her headscarf in public is being used as an example to dissuade others from repeating the peaceful protest against the compulsory hijab, according to prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh. "What Narges did was appear in public without the hijab, that much is true," Sotoudeh told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on March 10, 2018. "But in court, she was tried for 'encouraging corruption,' as if she ran a house of prostitution." - 3/13/18

Iran Considers Lifting Its Nine-Year Ban on Twitter
The Iranian government's top internet policy body is currently debating whether it should lift the state's nine-year ban on Twitter. "The issue regarding un-filtering Twitter is being followed up by the minister of telecommunications who has presented it to the SCC with a positive view," said Saeed Mahdiyoun, the deputy director in charge of drafting regulations for Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council (SCC), on March 8, 2018. - 3/13/18

Iran Accuses US of Supporting IS in Afghanistan; Washington Denies Allegation
Iran has accused the United States of helping Islamic State militants in Afghanistan to fuel regional terrorism and threaten neighboring countries. Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the allegations while speaking to a gathering of diplomats, scholars and journalists in Islamabad. -Ayesha Tanzeem & Ayaz Gul, VOA - 3/13/18

Iran's Parliament begins impeaching three cabinet ministers
The Iranian labor minister has secured a vote of confidence during a hearing session at the Parliament (Majlis) on his alleged mismanagement, as the legislature begins an impeachment process involving three cabinet ministers. The parliament held a hearing session on Tuesday to discuss the performance of Ali Rabiei, who faced charges of mismanaging unemployment and other government enterprises. - 3/13/18

New book SOFREH: Take a journey in words and images through the culture of Persian celebration
SOFREH: The Art of Persian Celebration is a journey in words and images through the culture of Persian celebrations. Never before have the splendour and beauty of these ancient traditions been presented in such an intricate and novel fashion. Sofreh, Persian for spread, is the focal point of the celebrations. These two lavishly illustrated volumes devoted to compositions created for the Persian New Year and marriage ceremonies are beautifully presented and richly documented. - 3/12/18

Three Iranian Students Arrested During Protests Sentenced To Prison
Three Iranian students who were detained during the widespread protests earlier this year have been sentenced to nine years in prison by the Revolutionary Courts. The students were all charged with propaganda against the regime, acting against national security, and disturbing peace and public order through participation in unlawful assemblies. - 3/12/18

Dollar in doldrums in Iran
Iranians have been dealing with an ever-increasing devaluation of the rial since the beginning of the present Iranian calendar (March 21, 2017) but the major and unexpected depreciation occurred almost a month ago, in mid-February, when is supposed to be the biggest crackdown on foreign exchanges in six years. At the time, U.S. dollar broke all records and jumped to almost 50,000 rials in Tehran's currency exchange shops, while it used to be bought almost 37,500 rials earlier in past April, 38,000 rials in past September, 41,000 rials in past December and 43,000 rials in early January, 2018. -Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh - 3/12/18

Iran Finds Black Box, Bodies From Turkish Plane Crash
Iranian state media reports that authorities have recovered the black box from a Turkish private jet that crashed in southwestern Iran on March 11, killing all 11 people onboard. Turkish media reports said the plane was carrying Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of Turkish businessman Huseyin Basaran, along with seven of her friends and three crew members. - 3/12/18

'Startups, the golden solution for tackling urban development challenges': Tehran Mayor
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi has expressed the municipality's readiness to actively support startups, considering them as 'the golden solution' for tackling challenges of urban development. The municipality has a positive and supportive view towards startups and recognizes them as a prerequisite for developing a smart city, Mehr quoted him as saying on Sunday. - 3/12/18

BBC UN appeal: Stop Iran harassing Persian service staff
The BBC is making an unprecedented appeal to the UN to stop Iran from harassing its Persian service staff in London and their families in Iran. It says Iran has stepped up a campaign of intimidation, including threats, arrests of relatives and travel bans. Iran began targeting the BBC's Persian service after the disputed 2009 presidential election, when Tehran accused foreign powers of interference. -Kasra Naji, BBC Persian - 3/12/18

Renewed Serbia-Iran Flights Seen As Possible Migrant Route
Direct flights between Iran and Serbia have resumed after a gap of 27 years with the landing on March 10 of an IranAir jet at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport. With the resumption, some groups in Serbia have raised concerns that the flights might be used as a new route for migrants from Iran looking to remain permanently in Europe. All flights on IranAir's twice-weekly Tehran-Belgrade service have been fully booked until the end of the summer, Serbian media have reported. - 3/12/18

Knife attacker shot dead outside Iranian ambassador's residence in Vienna: police
A knife attacker has been shot dead outside the Iranian ambassador's residence in Vienna, police say. According to local police, the 26-year-old Austrian was killed on Sunday just before midnight after he attacked a security guard while trying to enter the ambassador's residence in Vienna's Hietzing district. - 3/12/18

Sacramento developer Ali Youssefi, instrumental in downtown resurgence, dies at age 35
Ali Youssefi, a dynamic young developer involved in some of Sacramento's most important projects during its current renaissance, died Saturday after a battle with cancer. He was 35 - 3/12/18

Conservative Iranian Officials Outraged That Little Girls Were Allowed to Dance at Women's Day Event
Iran's ultra-conservative prosecutor general has demanded that the organizers of a Women's Day event in the capital city be punished for allowing little girls to dance on a stage. His demand has been echoed by religious hardliners around the country but some liberal commentators have pointed out that the issue has been blown drastically out of proportion. - 3/11/18

Feminist Trio Takes Defiant Song To Tehran's Subway, Video Goes Viral
A video of three Iranian women singing a famous feminist song on Tehran's subway on March 8 to mark International Women's Day is going viral on social media and highlighted ongoing challenges to veiling and other discriminatory laws. The women are not wearing the Islamic head scarf, known as the hijab, that is mandated for women in public under Iran's clerically dominated system. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 3/11/18

Russia says Iran to become Eurasian Economic Union member in May
Russia says Iran could join an emerging economic bloc that it leads as early as May in a move that could eventually help both nations dodge the impacts of US-led economic sanctions they face. Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted by media as saying that Iran's membership to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) could help the expansion of bilateral trade and investment between Tehran and Moscow. - 3/11/18

An Iranian judge who punishes minor crimes with tree planting not jail
Mohammad Reza Amuzad is a judge in Galikesh, northern Golestan province, who punishes minor crimes with alternative sentences such as planting trees in the province. During the past one and a half year that he has judged in this rather small city, Amuzad has passed many cases of alternative sentences since he believes they are more preventive than jail, Khabaronline reported on Saturday. - 3/11/18

Iranian-Armenian actor Levon Haftvan dies at 51
Levon Haftvan, the Iranian-Armenian actor who played roles in acclaimed movies such as "Kupal" and "Parviz," died of heart attack on Saturday. He was 51. Haftvan suffered a heart attack on Friday night while acting in a scene in the TV series "Bride of Darkness" and was taken to the hospital where he passed away the next day, Persian media reported. - 3/11/18

Four Arrested After Breaching Iranian Embassy In London
British police arrested four people who had climbed on to a balcony of the Iranian Embassy in London and waved flags in an apparent protest against the government in Tehran. London police said on March 9 that the four men, who remained in custody, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and being unlawfully on diplomatic premises. The men, who did not manage to get inside the building, came down voluntarily after around three hours. - 3/11/18

Will EU Blacklist All Of Hezbollah?
When President Donald Trump threatened not to waive sanctions on the nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) unless the agreement's supposed flaws were "fixed," he also issued a number of demands directed specifically at European allies. One of them was that the EU put the Lebanese organization Hezbollah on the terrorist list. At the moment, just Hezbollah's military wing is on the list. Trump demanded that the EU extend the designation to all of Hezbollah including its political wing. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 3/11/18

Iran Reportedly Blocks Women's Day Gathering, Detains Some Participants
Several women who had attempted to gather in Tehran to mark International Women's Day have been detained, reports said. Women's rights activists had announced that they would stage a peaceful protest outside the Labor Ministry in the Iranian capital on March 8 to call for more rights. - 3/9/18

Tehran, Moscow set to broaden economic cooperation
The 14th meeting of Iran-Russian Joint Economic Committee wrapped up on Tuesday with signing a cooperation document by Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Masoud Karbasian and Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin in Moscow. - 3/9/18

Supreme Leader Khamenei Claims Iran's 'Enemies' Behind Anti-Hijab Protests
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has accused foreign "enemies" of funding recent protests over the compulsory hijab. Khamenei's remarks in a March 8 speech were his most extensive public comments on a series of peaceful acts of protest in which dozens of women have removed their head scarves in public and waved them on sticks. "As a result, some girls were deceived and removed their veil here and there," Khamenei said. - 3/9/18

Seyed-Emami Family: Iran is "Trying to Prevent Us From Rebuilding Our Lives"
Upon arriving in Vancouver, Canada, on March 8, 2018, the sons of Kavous Seyed-Emami-the Iranian-Canadian academic who died in Tehran's Evin Prison last month-issued a statement about the "chaotic ordeal" they have suffered at the hands of the Iranian Judiciary and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps since their father was pronounced dead on February 9. - 3/9/18

Iranian Woman Gets Two Years In Prison For Removing Head Scarf
An Iranian woman who removed her Islamic head scarf on a Tehran street has been sentenced to two years in prison, local media report. The semiofficial Tasnim news agency on March 7 quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying that the woman was attempting to "encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public." - 3/8/18

Ongoing Harassment: Wife of Iranian-Canadian Who Died in Iran's Evin Prison "Banned" From Leaving Country
The Iranian government should immediately allow the wife of Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami to leave Iran as she wishes and stop intimidating and harassing the Seyed-Emami family, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). In the early hours of March 8, 2018, the Seyed-Emami family-mother and two sons-were en route to Vancouver, Canada, from Tehran when the mother, Maryman Mombeini, was prevented from boarding the plane at the Imam Khomeini International Airport. Her passport was also briefly confiscated. - 3/8/18

CAMA Gallery of Iranian Art announce opening of London gallery on April 5th, 2018
Following the success of their space in Tehran, CAMA Gallery, the new international market leaders in Modern and Contemporary Iranian art, have announced the opening of their London gallery on the 5th of April with an inaugural exhibition of 19 Contemporary Iranian artists. - 3/8/18

Outspoken Iranian Professor Sadegh Zibakalam Fined as Noose Tightens Around Freedom of Speech in Universities
Sadegh Zibakalam, a Tehran-based reformist political analyst and academic known for his criticisms of Iranian state policies, has been fined for telling a foreign newspaper that the majority of Iranians do not support the Islamic Republic. The Tehran University political science professor told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 28, 2018, that he was questioned at Branch 2 of the Culture and Media Court in Tehran after he made the comments in an interview with Deutsche Welle. - 3/8/18

PAAIA Mourns the Loss of Founding Member, Dr. Bahman Atefi
PAAIA joins the Iranian American Community in mourning the loss of Dr. Bahman Atefi, who passed away suddenly in his home on Monday night. We extend our sincere condolences to his family, his friends, and all those who knew him. Born in Tehran, Iran in March 1953, Dr. Atefi came to the United States to study at Cornell University where he received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Later, he earned his Doctorate of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). - 3/8/18

A NOBLE LIFE: Tribute to Dr Farhang Mehr
The recent passing away of Dr Farhang Mehr on 4 March 2018 brought to an end a vibrant, tumultuous and productive life that spanned 94 years. Born in Tehran on 11 December 1923, he had been raised by his parents as a Zoroastrian. From an early age he had been a top student at the Firooz Bahram High School where he had also dabbled in music developing an interest in playing the violin and learning ballroom dancing. An educated man with Iranian degrees in engineering, law, economics and political science he had also received several Western degrees in England and America. Like many of his generation he had partaken in the rapid modernization of his ancient and proud country. -Cyrus Kadivar - 3/8/18

The Non-Existent Waiver Process Under Trump's Muslim Ban
The National Iranian American Council is appalled by the revelation that, despite the Trump Administration's claims that there is a "waiver" process to ensure his Muslim ban does not target family members of Americans, only two such waivers had been issued by Feb. 15 - out of 8,406 visa applications from "banned" countries. NIAC applauds the efforts of Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Van Hollen, who uncovered this information as part of an inquiry to the State Department. - 3/7/18

Netanyahu launches another tirade against Iran at AIPAC
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Iran is responsible for "darkness descending" on the Middle East, hailing the US administration's threat to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries. - 3/7/18

The Middle East's nuclear technology clock starts ticking
The Middle East's nuclear technology clock is ticking as nations pursue peaceful capabilities that potentially leave the door open to future military options. Concern about a nuclear arms race is fuelled by uncertainty over the future of Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement, a seeming US willingness to weaken its strict export safeguards in pursuit of economic advantage, and a willingness by suppliers such as Russia and China to ignore risks involved in weaker controls. -James M. Dorsey - 3/7/18

Four Deaths in State Custody in Iran in Two Months Heighten Grave Concerns for Detainees
The recent death of a devotee of Iran's largest Sufi order in Tehran marks the fourth known death of a detainee in state custody in Iran in two months. "It's outrageous that detainees in Iran keep dying in state custody," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "These people are arrested, they die, and nobody knows what happened," added Ghaemi. "This lack of transparency is unacceptable." - 3/7/18

Historical Tabib mansion in Shushtar, Iran turned into boutique hotel
The 19th-century Tabib Shushtari mansion has recently been repurposed into a boutique hotel after being fully restored. The mansion is located in the ancient city of Shushtar, southwest Iran. The hotel has 10 rooms with a capacity to accommodate 39 people. - 3/7/18

Iran, Russia discuss Superjets, trade in local currencies
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak says Moscow and Tehran have discussed deliveries of Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger planes to Iran amid uncertainties about deals with Boeing and Airbus. "We discussed the possibility of Sukhoi Superjet 100 purchase by our Iranian partners and outlined a plan of how this can be put it into practice," Russian media quoted him as saying in Moscow Tuesday. - 3/7/18

Kremlin Confirms Putin, Rohani, Erdogan To Meet in April
The Kremlin has confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rohani, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet for talks during April. A March 7 Kremlin statement about the gathering did not specify the exact date or where the meeting would take place. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are all deeply involved in the war in Syria. - 3/7/18

Son Of Senior Iranian Cleric Arrested After Criticizing Islamic Establishment
Iranian authorities have detained an Iranian cleric who recently accused the Iranian establishment of being repressive and unjust. The detained cleric, Hossein Shirazi, is the son of the 75-year-old Ayatollah Sadegh Shirazi -- a senior cleric who is said to have followers in Iran and Iraq. Both have been critical of the Iranian clerical establishment. - 3/7/18

All to regret nuclear deal failure: Iranian President tells visiting French FM
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says everyone will regret the possible collapse of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015 as the US continues its efforts to sabotage the deal and issues threats to pull out of it. In a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Tehran on Monday, the Iranian president added that it is imperative to save the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in order to improve regional security, stability and cooperation. - 3/6/18

Louvre Museum Sponsors First Major Western Art Show In Tehran
More than 50 artworks from the Louvre museum in Paris arrived at the National Museum of Iran on March 5 in the first major show by a Western museum in Iran's history. The 40-day show reflects France's determination to use cultural diplomacy as it seeks to rebuild ties with Iran that have been strained recently by a dispute over Iran's ballistic-missile development. - 3/6/18

41 Tehran University Students Facing Prosecution For Participating in December 2017 Protests
The Iranian Judiciary has opened cases against 41 students of Tehran University who allegedly participated in protests in the capital city in January 2018, the university's Deputy Chancellor for Cultural Affairs Majid Sarsangi announced on March 1, 2018. "What we can do in terms of helping these students with their problem is to have talks with our dear colleagues in the Judiciary so that they may treat them with the highest degree of Islamic mercy, and that's what's being done right now," said Sarsangi. - 3/6/18

Iranian Environmentalists Detained in Crackdown Denied Legal Counsel Amid Claims Some Were "Jewish Spies"
Several environmentalists who were arrested by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Intelligence Organization in January 2018 continue to be denied access to legal counsel more than six weeks into their detention. "The families want to know what the charges are so that they can visit the detainees in prison and exercise their natural right to get a lawyer," a source with knowledge about the case told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 28, 2018. - 3/6/18

Netanyahu to Trump: Israel, US Have a Common Challenge to Stop Iran
"Iran must be stopped; that is our common challenge," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday. The two leaders, sitting alongside each other in the Oval Office, discussed how to thwart Iran's military advances in the Middle East and the 2015 international accord designed to curb Tehran's nuclear weapons development. Both Trump and Netanyahu have deemed it inadequate. -Steve Herman, VOA - 3/6/18

How A Persian Gulf Security Agreement Could Serve U.S. Interests
At the Munich Security Conference in February, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif repeated his administration's proposal to engage Iran's Persian Gulf neighbors with the goal of creating a Persian Gulf Security Agreement. According to Zarif, the talks for such an agreement would be "founded on dialogue, common principles, and confidence building measures" with the goal of avoiding "turmoil or potentially far worse." -Shahed Ghoreishi, LobeLog - 3/6/18

US upholds ruling to seize Bank Melli Iran's assets
The US Supreme Court has turned down Bank Melli Iran's appeal against American claims to millions of dollars of the state-owned lender's frozen assets held abroad. A number of Americans have been seeking $17.6 million of Iranian assets which Visa Inc and Franklin Resources Inc owe to Bank Melli. They are among some 90 Americans who have been granted by a US lower court to seek nearly $1 billion of Iranian money in compensation for its alleged role in militant attacks. - 3/6/18

Iranian cinema returns to Edinburgh as tribute to female directors
Beginning with the works of young filmmaker Ida Panahandeh, the audience experienced love and loss as two former lovers are reunited after a fatal accident in Israfil (2017). Panahandeh's Nahid (2015) addressed the social challenges faced by a single mother who wants to settle down with her new boyfriend. The 2015 feature introduced the Iranian concept of temporary marriage, or 'sigheh', an Islamic law allowing a man and woman to legally couple without an official change of marital status. -Sara Konradi, Student Newspaper - 3/6/18

UN Nuclear Watchdog: Iran-Accord Failure Would Be 'Great Loss'
The failure of a landmark 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to restrict Tehran's nuclear program would represent a "great loss," the head of the UN's atomic watchdog has said. "As of today, I can state that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments" under the deal, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a speech opening a quarterly meeting of the IAEA's board of governors. - 3/5/18

French Foreign Minister in Tehran for potentially tense talks
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is in Tehran for a two-day visit which is expected to be far from easy after a series of harsh statements made by French leaders about Iran's missile program and its role in the Middle East. The top French diplomat was greeted by a group of protesters as his flight touched down at Tehran's Mehrabad airport mid-night Sunday. The protesters carried placards which read "Iran is not Libya," in an apparent reference to France's role in NATO's bombing of the African country and the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. - 3/5/18

Iranian Baha'i Leader Spent 10 Years in Prison, Authorities Incapable of Producing Any Evidence of Wrongdoing Throughout
The Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to suppress Baha'is by putting their leaders behind bars and denying them rights as equal citizens, according to a former leader of the persecuted community released after serving a 10-year sentence in prison. "When I was preparing to get released, one of the prison staff asked me whether I had stopped believing in my faith after 10 years. Then he answered his own question and said, 'No,'" Saeid Rezaie told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in an interview on February 20, 2018. - 3/5/18

Worrying road accidents in Iran: Some 14,000 deaths in 10 months
Some 13,874 people were killed in road accidents over the first 10 months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2017-January 20, 2018). According to Iran's forensics organization, men constituted 10,889 of the deaths over the aforesaid period, Fars news agency reported on Saturday. - 3/5/18

Professors to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: Use Persian New Year Norooz as opportunity to promote peace
A group of distinguished professors and intellectuals have written a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres calling on him to use Norooz, the Persian New Year, as an opportunity to remove "structural violence" in international system in order to achieve true peace (Positive Peace). Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a cultural tradition observed by numerous peoples, Norooz is an ancestral festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. It promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness... - 3/4/18

Iranian Journalist Confronts FIFA President Over Iran's Ban on Women in Stadiums: "It's Our Right"
Thirty-five women who went to Tehran's Azadi Stadium to watch a match between two popular soccer teams were detained by police on March 1, 2018, and held for several hours, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Female journalist Niloofar Hamedi, who was at the scene, directly confronted FIFA President Gianni Infantino outside the stadium as shown in a video posted on her Twitter account. "We need a guarantee. It's our right," Hamedi is heard saying as Infantino is whisked away. - 3/4/18

Iran: Guardian Council Rejects Bill That Could Protect Rights of People Living With Disabilities
Iran's Guardian Council has rejected a proposed bill that would make it a legal right for people living with disabilities in the country to have a say about issues pertaining to their community. The body of six clerics and six jurists vets laws and elections for conformity with Islamic principles and its interpretation of the Constitution. - 3/4/18

Selling Saudis The Nuclear Rope To Hang US
Selling nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia and allowing them to build massive uranium-enrichment facilities and plants to extract plutonium is a stupendously dumb idea. So, it is perhaps fitting that the Trump administration is sending Rick Perry to discuss all this with the Saudis. -Joe Cirincione, LobeLog - 3/4/18

French FM Takes Tough Line On Iran's Missiles Before Visit
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said ahead of a March 5visit to Tehran that the country needed to address concerns over its ballistic-missile program or risked new sanctions. "Iran's defense program is not the concern of other countries such as France, that they should come and tell us what missiles we can have. Do we tell France how it should defend itself?" said Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - 3/4/18

Iran Stops Flaring Gas Worth Millions Of Dollars
Iran inaugurated a gas processing complex on Wednesday, February 28, that will help the country to stop flaring gas worth of million of dollars. According to Iranian officials, the complex of Hengam Oilfield in Qeshm island located in southern Iran can process 827 million cubic meters per day of natural gas which was previously flared. - 3/4/18

Iranian Hijab Protester, Maryam Shariatmadari, Charged With "Acting Against National Security"
An Iranian woman who was arrested in Tehran for peacefully protesting against Iran's compulsory hijab law has been formally charged, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Maryam Shariatmadari, who is currently being held in Gharchak Prison in Varamin, south of Tehran, is facing the charges of "fostering bad hijab" and "acting against national security. - 3/2/18

Did Bad Economic Conditions Cause Iran's Protests?
Like other Iranian president before him, President Hassan Rouhani is having a bad second term. Only six months after his decisive re-election, protesters were in streets shouting "Death to Rouhani." Then came a sharp fall in the value of the rial, by 10% in two weeks, which threatens to undo the principal economic achievement of his first term-lowering inflation-and his plans to lower interest rates. Iran's Central Bank had to increase interest rates last month to stop the fall of the rial. These are precarious times for Rouhani, who has won two elections promising economic revival. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani - 3/2/18

Opposition Leader Under House Arrest and 68 Female Documentary Makers Lend Support to Iran's Hijab Protesters
As people protesting against the Islamic Republic of Iran's mandatory hijab law continue to be arrested, an increasing number of political and cultural personalities inside the country are expressing support for the peaceful movement. In late February 2018, prominent opposition figure Zahra Rahnavard, who has been under house arrest for more than seven years, said for the first time that she opposed the compulsory hijab. - 3/2/18

Prominent Iranians Lifting The Veil On The Hijab Debate
A small number of Iranian women, risking arrest to protest compulsory head scarves, have rekindled debate about Iran's so-called hijab rule. The Islamic scarf, or hijab, is one of the pillars of the Islamic republic and among its most visible symbols. It became compulsory after the 1979 revolution, after which Iranian women were required to cover their hair and body in public. Those who violate the rule face police harassment, fines, and even jail terms, and a number of the recent hijab protesters have already been taken into custody. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 3/2/18

Iran Banishes Women From Tehran Football Match Attended by FIFA Chief
Iran has blocked several dozen women from attending a major Tehran football match witnessed by the head of FIFA, the sport's world governing body, prompting criticism from rights activists. Iranian state news agency ISNA said police "transferred" 35 women who had gone to Azadi Stadium on Thursday to try to watch the match between local rivals Esteghlal and Persepolis. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 3/2/18

Oh, Magog!
Welcome back, Gog and Magog. I can't say that I've missed you. You might remember the Gog and Magog story from 2003, when George W. Bush was making plans to invade Iraq and assembling a "coalition of the willing." French President Jacques Chirac was quite unwilling, so Bush went to great lengths to break down his resistance. What Trump does care about, however, is Iran. The administration wants to keep U.S. troops in Syria to block Iran from expanding its influence in the country. Add to that the various indications that the Trump administration is gearing up for a direct confrontation with Iran, and you've got a perfect recipe for Gog and Magog. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 3/2/18

Iranian Wrestling Officials Quit Over Israel Policy
The head of Iran's wrestling federation has resigned after criticizing the authorities for letting athletes be punished because of the country's ban on facing Israeli opponents. After news of Khadem's resignation, the councils for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling said they were resigning en masse, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported. - 3/1/18

Iran bans using dollar as base import pricing currency
Iran moved a step closer to a plan to ditch the dollar in its trade activities by announcing that purchase orders by merchants that are based on the greenback would no longer be allowed to go through import proceedings. Iran's domestic media reported that the policy was in line with an official request by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and was specifically meant to address fluctuations in market rates of the dollar. - 3/1/18

45 European MPs Call on EU Foreign Policy Chief to Support Iranian Women's Anti-Compulsory-Hijab Protest
Forty-five members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have sent an open letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urging her to call on Iranian officials to immediately release the women who have been arrested for participating in the recent anti-compulsory-hijab protests in Iran. - 3/1/18

Uber CEO: Trump is ruining America's most valuable brand
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has lived the American Dream. Now he thinks President Trump is ruining it. "I'm incredibly lucky to have emigrated to the United States at a time when the US was welcoming," said Khosrowshahi, who came to the country as an Iranian refugee at the age of 9. -CNN - 3/1/18

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