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Labor Leaders Detained in Iran as International Workers' Day Approaches
On the eve of International Workers' Day on May 1, Iranian authorities have arrested at least five labor leaders. The arrests have taken place in the context of intensifying labor protests, strikes, and arrests of individuals organizing or participating in labor protests. - 4/30/15

Washington Post: Iran Charges Against US Journalist 'Ludicrous'
The executive editor of The Washington Post says espionage and other charges against a correspondent of the paper imprisoned in Iran are "ludicrous" and "preposterous." In an exclusive interview Wednesday with VOA's Persian News Network (PNN), the Post's Martin Baron said correspondent Jason Rezaian is an "innocent and good man who deserves to have his freedom as any other human being." - 4/30/15

Who's Killing Corker's Iran Bill, and Why
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) sufficiently neutered his Iran deal review bill-now known as the "Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act"-that two weeks ago it passed out of his committee unanimously. Moreover, the White House promised not to veto it. Of course, that White House pledge was predicated on Corker's bill being passed as is, unamended... -Derek Davison - 4/30/15

Final Verdict: Five to Seven Years for Facebook Users in Iran
An appeals court in Tehran has sentenced six individuals to prison terms ranging from five to seven years for postings on their Facebook pages. Two additional individuals are facing as of yet unknown terms for their activities on the social networking site. - 4/30/15

Iran Calls Cargo Ship Interception a Commercial Issue
Iran's foreign minister said the interception of a cargo ship Tuesday in Iranian waters was a commercial legal matter, not a security or political issue. Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking Wednesday in New York, said the MV Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged ship, was involved in a long-standing Iranian court case, recently concluded, over monetary claims. - 4/30/15

When Duty Calls, Do Iranian Police Enforce Islam?
Is the role of Iranian police to serve and protect the people, or the revolution? That's up for interpretation in the Islamic republic, where the country's president and supreme leader have recently voiced different opinions on the police's role in enforcing Islamic values. President Hassan Rohani sparked the debate when he addressed police commanders in Tehran on April 25. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/30/15

Amendments Submitted to Corker Bill on Iran
For those of you who are paying attention to the ongoing Senate debate over the Corker bill asserting Congress's authority to review any final deal negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, the Council for a Livable World/Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has just put out this helpful guide to the proposed Republican amendments to the bill the vast majority of which will, if passed (by the House, as well), almost certainly provoke a veto by Obama. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/30/15

U.S. Seeks Iran's Help To Forge Political Settlement In Yemen
The United States sought Iran's help to bring Yemen's warring parties into talks on a political settlement when U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers met on April 27, U.S. officials say. - 4/30/15

Deal with Iran Would Not Move Jews Toward GOP
Andrew Kohut, founding director of the Pew Research Center and director of Pew's Global Attitudes Project, wrote a piece last week for Real Clear Politics asking, "Would Iran Deal Imperil Jews' Loyalty to Democratic Party?" On first blush, this sounds like a clickbait headline... -Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum - 4/30/15

World Premiere of Isfahan Blues in San Francisco
The two admired and beloved theater companies come together for a world premiere play inspired by Duke Ellington's 1963 tour of Iran. Isfahan Blues imagines the relationship between a famous American jazz musician and a beautiful and charismatic Iranian film star, if they disappeared on a road trip to the city of Isfahan. - 4/29/15

Iran Seizes Cargo Ship in Strait of Hormuz
Iranian forces have seized a cargo ship traveling under the flag of the Pacific island nation of the Marshall Islands. The Pentagon says the ship remains off the coast of Iran as the U.S. military monitors the situation. - 4/29/15

Poe's Financial Ties To MEK May Explain Maryam's House Testimony
Wednesday's scheduled congressional hearing on "ISIS: Defining the Enemy" is rapidly shrinking in size. Two key witnesses are refusing to attend due to the invitation to testify that Ted Poe (R-TX), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, extended to Maryam Rajavi, leader of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK). -Eli Clifton - 4/29/15

Overstretching the Specter of Iranian Imperialism
Opponents of the nuclear agreement (really, of any agreement) with Iran continue, in an effort to divert attention from the relative advantages of having versus not having negotiated restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, to present an image of Iran as a ruthless and relentless imperialist intent on gaining control of the entire Middle East. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 4/29/15

Iran: Rohani foresees improved industrial conditions after nuclear deal
Iranian President Hassan Rohani says conditions for production and manufacturing will improve when an agreement is reached with the world powers and he warned "sanctions go-betweens" to begin looking for another kind of livelihood. - 4/29/15

Iran sees jump in prized caviar output
Iran expects to export 1.5-2.0 tons of caviar produced in its hatcheries this year amid a ban on commercial fishing of sturgeon in the Caspian Sea. The world's biggest exporter of the delicacy produced 1.2 tons of caviar last year in addition to 600 tons of sturgeon meat, according to the head of Iran's Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi - 4/29/15

Senate Rejects Bid To Require Senate Approval Of Iran Nuclear Deal
The U.S. Senate on April 28 turned back an attempt to elevate any nuclear deal with Iran into an official treaty that would require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate. The rejection of the treaty amendment by 57 to 39 gives momentum to a more limited proposal to provide Congress with a 30-day period to review the nuclear deal under negotiation between Iran, the U.S. and European allies. - 4/29/15

Iran to rein in emotional reaction to forex rate
A senior Iranian banking official says the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will curb any emotional variance in foreign exchange rate due to a possible agreement with world powers. - 4/29/15

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi on Nuclear Deal, Islamic State, Women's Rights
We are broadcasting from The Hague, where we are speaking with the women Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. -Amy Goodman, Democracy Now - 4/29/15

The Paradigm shift for the American critical role in (re-)shaping the future of the Middle East
With the imminent prospect of signing a comprehensive accord between Iran and the P5+1 by the end of June, the pivotal American/Western policy must now inevitably focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. -Rachel Eliassi Kohan - 4/29/15

Kerry Visits Iranian NY Diplomatic Residence
In a sign of how much U.S.-Iranian relations have thawed as negotiations over Iran's nuclear file progress, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Iran's Foreign Minister Javid Zarif Monday for about an hour at the New York residence of Tehran's U.N. ambassador. -Margaret Besheer, VOA - 4/28/15

Iranian women's magazine shut down for reporting on 'White Marriage'
Iran's Press Supervisory Board has shut down Zanan Emrooz (Today's Women) magazine and filed a complaint against it in court. The Tasnim website reports that the magazine has been shut down for "publishing material in violation of religious and national values". - 4/28/15

Verifying Iran's Nuclear Commitments
On April 22, in the latest of a long line of congressional testimonies on Iran's nuclear program, the president of the Institute for International Science and Security, David Albright, issued a challenge to the six powers seeking a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. -Peter Jenkins - 4/28/15

Iran Slams Nuclear Powers At UN Conference
Iran has demanded countries possessing nuclear weapons to scrap any plans to modernize or extend the life of their atomic arsenals. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was speaking in New York on April 27 at the start of a five-year review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. - 4/28/15

Saudi Arabia teetering on edge of collapse: Iranian Commander
A top Iranian commander has lashed out at the Saudi aggression against Yemen, saying Riyadh is on the verge of collapse. "Today, Saudi Arabia is brazenly and obnoxiously bombarding and massacring a nation, which is seeking the denial of the hegemonic system," said commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari on Monday. - 4/28/15

Tehran police to crack down on luxury vehicles after Supreme Leader's comments
After the Iranian Supreme Leader criticized the prevalence of luxury cars in the streets, traffic police officials have announced that they are prepared to deal with possible violations by such vehicles. - 4/28/15

Hajji Baba of New York City: 'Parviz Khatibi loved his country enough to tell it the truth'
Satire has the power to spark great controversy, illuminate injustice, and help bring forth social change. Throughout the 20th century, Parviz Khatibi was a clear voice of dissent in Iran, and his work encouraged people to always question what they often assumed to be the truth. -Reorient - 4/28/15

Support an Iranian-American Kickstarter Project - Tye*
We are a young startup based in the Silicon Valley. We have multiple patents pending for our flagship product, Tye* hub, and Tye* remote. "Tye* is the first 3-in-1 smart anti-theft device that will revolutionize how we protect our valuables like gadgets, pets, and luggage with peace of mind", said Shahriar Ilislamloo, co-founder Perseus Micrologic. - 4/27/15

The World Must Stop the Saudi Massacre of the Yemenis
After four weeks of savage bombing of their impoverished neighbor, Yemen, the Saudis declared "Mission Accomplished", and promised to halt their aerial bombardment at midnight on 22 April 2015. Yet only three hours later, they resumed their attacks with greater intensity from the sea and the air. -Farhang Jahanpour - 4/27/15

Iranian nuclear official signals agreement on lifting sanctions
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday April 25 that the parties negotiating a nuclear pact have agreed that all sanctions against Iran will be eliminated when the agreement takes effect. - 4/27/15

Debut novel by Catherine Dehdashti brings together Iranian matriarch, Minnesota waitress
Minnesota writer Catherine Dehdashti has released her debut novel, Roseheart. Astory about family, Roseheart is set in the 1990s, and told through the sardonic voice of Valerie Kjos. She's a young Midwestern Gen X'er whose life is just barely coming together with her boyfriend when his Iranian mother, Goli, comes for a visit that seems to never end. - 4/27/15

Iran names priority oil sector projects
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) announced in a statement on Sunday that it has defined 21 top priority oil sector projects. The NIOC added in the statement that the projects will be introduced to investors in the upcoming Iran Oil Show that will be held in Tehran 6-9 May, 2015. - 4/27/15

Will the U.S. Get Serious Now About Eliminating Its Own Nukes?
A few years ago, a plucky contestant on Dancing with the Stars popularized a terrific phrase when asked about her daring routine late in the contest. It was time, she quipped, for her to "go big or go home." We'd like to see that can-do attitude manifested at the upcoming UN review conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty - the so-called NPT RevCon. -LobeLog - 4/27/15

Truce: Iran, the U.S. and the Middle East After the Nuclear Deal
The recent framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1-the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China-removed a major hurdle toward resolving the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program. Though a final deal between Iran and the West before the self-imposed June 30 deadline is far from guaranteed, it cannot be excluded and now seems more reachable than ever before. -Trita Parsi, NIAC - 4/27/15

Iran nuclear team heads to New York
Iran's delegation of nuclear negotiators has set off for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York, where nuclear talks will also be held on the sidelines of the event. - 4/26/15

Iran's President Rohani says religious oversight not the job of police
Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a meeting of security force commanders on Saturday that the police must enforce the law and not Islam. "The police are not responsible for executing Islam, they are charged with the execution of the law, and any other expectation would create confusion and cause problems for the people." - 4/26/15

Iran sets rules for joint ventures with US carmakers
A top Iranian official said on Sunday the country is interested in the prospects for domestic carmakers to form joint ventures (JVs) with their American companies in the Iranian auto market "provided that they accept seven key preconditions". - 4/26/15

Nepal quake spares Iranian mountaineers, girls football team
The Iran Mountaineering Federation expressed regret about the death of several mountaineers in the Nepal earthquake and announced that the three Iranian mountaineers in the Himalayas have not been harmed. - 4/26/15

Final Phase of Iran Nuclear Talks Begins
Iranian and international negotiators resumed talks in Vienna this week as part of efforts to finalize an agreement on the future of Tehran's nuclear program by the end of June. They are working from a list of agreed parameters, but important differences remain, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged when he announced the framework accord April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland. -Al Pessin , VOA - 4/25/15

Inspection of ships by the naval forces in the maritime territories
The article was written couple of years ago at the peak of Iran-US problems in the Persian Gulf. However in the light of recent issues in the waters around Yemen, and once again between the US and Iranian naval forces, it is worth reading to know the legal limits of whatever is going on. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 4/25/15

Tehran's Nature Bridge wins Architizer A+Awards
The global architectural award program The Architizer A+Awards has selected Iran's Tabiat (Nature) Bridge as one of the winners in +Engineering category. Tabiat Bridge was designed in order to improve access for pedestrians between two public parks, which are divided by highways. - 4/25/15

42 Percent Of Iranian Graduates Unemployed: Parliament Speaker
Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says 42% of Iranian university graduates are jobless. Speaking on the sidelines of a cultural ceremony in the northern city of Shahroud, Larijani described inflation and unemployment as two major problems facing Iranian people. - 4/25/15

Iran flotilla in Gulf of Aden: Navy Commander
Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari has dismissed reports about a warning to Iranian ships in the Gulf of Aden, saying the flotilla is currently carrying out its mission in the strategic region. - 4/25/15

Iran summons Saudi diplomat over obstruction of aid to Yemen
Iran has summoned Saudi's charge d'affaires on Friday over the refusal of the kingdom to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people who sustained injuries during Saudi's airstrikes. - 4/25/15

How the US Contributed to Yemen's Crisis
As a Saudi-led military coalition continues to pound rebel targets in Yemen, the country is plunging into a humanitarian crisis. Civilian casualties are mounting. With U.S. logistical support, the Saudis are attempting to re-instate the country's exiled government - which enjoys the backing of the West and the Sunni Gulf monarchies - in the face of a military offensive by Houthi rebels from northern Yemen. None of this had to be. -Stephen Zunes, LobeLog - 4/25/15

19 Reasons Why You Should Never Visit Iran
No doubt you've heard a lot about Iran in the media. And it's true, Iran is a truly evil and terrifying place. Here we present 19 reasons you should never, ever, visit this godforsaken land. -Pulptastic - 4/25/15

Iran to join talks aimed at resolving Syrian crisis
The United Nations has announced that it has invited Iran to be part of the negotiations to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. - 4/25/15

The Triple Fear of Persian Gulf Elites
Since the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, UK, France + Germany) powers began to engage in nuclear talks with Iran, Western leaders have sought to allay the security concerns of their allies in the Gulf over a possible deal. But what often is missed is a distinction between the security of the peoples and security of the elites and regimes in the Gulf. -Eldar Mamedov - 4/24/15

Has Yemen Reshaped the Middle East Geopolitical Map?
Does anybody remember the old Cold War geopolitical concept of the "Northern Tier states?" They consisted of three countries-Turkey, Iran and Pakistan (sometimes Afghanistan) that lay along the southern border of the Soviet Union; they were perceived in the West as a potential bulwark against Soviet aggression southwards into the Middle East. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 4/24/15

Prospect Of Iranian Nuclear Deal Stirs Hope For Detained Americans
When Iran and the United States found some common ground at the negotiating table earlier this month, it gave Naghmeh Abedini a welcome glimmer of hope. Her husband, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012 on charges of threatening the country's national security through private religious gatherings. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/24/15

Iranian Expats Face Arrest upon Return to their Homeland
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a video today highlighting the plight of the thousands of Iranians who wish to return to their homeland, yet fear likely imprisonment upon arrival for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, art, or lifestyle. - 4/24/15

The European Union, The Southern Corridor, And Turkmen Gas
The European Union is more active lately in searching for new sources of natural gas, motivated in no small part by its rocky relations with Russia over the Kremlin's involvement in Ukraine. The EU's Southern Gas Corridor project to bring gas from the Caspian Basin to Europe is getting new attention and taking on increased importance, which can be seen in the increased contact among officials from the EU, gas exporters Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and transit countries Turkey and Georgia. -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 4/24/15

Dust storms continue onslaught on Iran's western provinces
Iran's western provinces have been suffering the impact of dust storms since Wednesday April 22, with limited visibility and disruptions to daily life being felt from Eastern and Western Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Kermanshah, to Khuzestan, Lorestan, Ilam, Chahar Mahal Bakhtiyari, and today also in Fars province and the City of Shiraz. - 4/24/15

Adelson Holds Court as Kristol Blasts Corker, AIPAC
Casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson will once again host the annual convention and ring-kissing ceremony of the Republican Jewish Coalition. It will begin Thursday night in Las Vegas with a private dinner for the RJC's board and top donors, as well as special (gentile) guests, Mitt Romney and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/24/15

Prominent Iranians' Views on Impact of Nuclear Agreement on Human Rights
"Our next agreement will be on our civil rights!" was one of the slogans people chanted in Tehran only hours after a nuclear agreement was reached on April 2, during their street celebrations. During his election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly pledged to observe citizens' rights, end the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders, and release all political prisoners... - 4/23/15

Tikrit: Threat or Opportunity for Iran's Regional Hegemony?
Although Iraq's regular army, along with U.S.-led coalition aircraft, eventually restored Baghdad's control over Tikrit last week, major credit for the victory over the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) belonged to Iraq's eastern neighbor. It was the paramilitary Popular Mobilization forces (or Hashd al-Shaabi), led mostly by veteran Iranian commanders, that brought the fight to the militants. - Arash Reisinezhad - 4/23/15

US Lawmakers Urge Tough Stance as Iran Nuclear Talks Resume
House lawmakers on Wednesday called for U.S. negotiators to be tough with Iran, as talks resumed to finalize the details of a landmark framework deal aimed at curbing the scope of Tehran's nuclear programs. -Cindy Saine, VOA - 4/23/15

Iran Seeks China's Help to Build New Nuclear Plants
The framework nuclear deal between Iran and global powers has opened up new investment possibilities in an economy that has been stunted by international sanctions. Last week, a top Iranian atomic energy official said in addition to Russia, China will also help it build additional nuclear power plants. -William Ide, VOA - 4/23/15

Iranian Media on the Nuclear Issue
Certain conservative media outlets are an important platform for Iran's security and military services such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence. These media function as tribunes for the hardline political groups close to the Iranian Supreme Leader. -Pupak Mohebali and Saeed Aganji, LobeLog - 4/23/15

Moderate Iranian candidates face threats from conservative group
Ansar-e Hezbollah, the ultra-conservative group dedicated to preserving Islamic principles in Iran, has announced that if Hassan Khomeini and Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri arrive in Gorgan for a speech, they will receive the same reception that outspoken MP Ali Mortahari got in Shiraz. - 4/23/15

Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran
When diplomats at the Iran talks in Switzerland pummeled Department of Energy scientists with difficult technical questions - like how to keep Iran's nuclear plants open but ensure that the country was still a year away from building a bomb - the scientists at times turned to a secret replica of Iran's nuclear facilities built deep in the forests of Tennessee. -New York Times - 4/23/15

The Best Case Against the Iran Deal Has Some Holes
There's a lot wrong in Vox's interview with Michael Doran, the neoconservative Hudson Institute scholar, on diplomacy with Iran, which bears the very Vox-ish headline "This is the case against Obama's Iran deal that everyone should hear." Let's start with just one problem. -Ali Gharib - 4/22/15

U.S. Warns Iran About Shipping Weapons To Yemen
President Barack Obama says the U.S. government has warned Iran against delivering weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic in the region. "We've been actually very straightforward to them," Obama said in an MSNBC interview on April 21. - 4/22/15

Saudis announce end to bombing in Yemen
The Saudi-led regional coalition has announced an end to its air strikes on Yemen on Tuesday night, April 21, adding that its operations in Yemen will now focus on politics. - 4/22/15

Iran Nuke Deal Would Be a Mixed Bag for Azerbaijan
A lot still has to happen before a deal to monitor Iran's nuclear program can be implemented. But if it goes through, Azerbaijan could face a diplomatic quandary. From Baku's point of view, a nuclear deal, along with a possible rapprochement between the West and Iran, would have its advantages and disadvantages. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 4/22/15

More migrant boats in danger as Europe grapples with problem
As boats carrying asylum seekers continue to head for Europe despite repeated catastrophic accidents, the International Organization of Migration announced that its offices in Rome received calls on Monday April 20 about three more vessels carrying migrants in the Mediterranean that met with trouble and sought aid. - 4/22/15

Iran: Metal wall being built around Parliament raises concerns
Iranian MPs have spoken out against the construction of a wall around the parliament building that began in March. The wall is meant as a security measure against protest gatherings. - 4/22/15

FIVB Volleyball Men's World League 2015: U.S. to host Iran in Los Angeles
The U.S. Men's Volleyball Team, the 2014 FIVB World League champion, will begin defense of the title in Southern California and Hoffman Estates, Ill., this summer. USA Volleyball will host Iran at the Galen Center in Los Angeles (May 30-31) - 4/21/15

Iran Charges US Reporter With Spying
A U.S. reporter jailed in Iran is being charged with four crimes, including espionage. A lawyer for Jason Rezaian told The Washington Postthat Rezaian also faces charges of "conducting propaganda against the establishment" and "collaborating with hostile governments.'' - 4/21/15

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off
Rising tensions over the conflict in Yemen appear to be pitting the United States against Iran in a sensitive showdown in the Gulf of Aden. Citing current instability and the need to ensure that vital shipping lanes in the area remain open, U.S. naval officials said Monday they are sending two more ships to the waters off the coast of Yemen to take part in "maritime security operations." -Aru Pande, Jeff Seldin, VOA - 4/21/15

Iran Teaching Head Sent To Jail
The secretary-general of Iran's Teachers' Organization was arrested on April 20 and transferred to Tehran's Evin prison to serve a five-year sentence, Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency reported. Alireza Hashemi was sentenced to prison in 2010 for "pursuing union demands" and "meeting with relatives of jailed teachers," his deputy, Tahereh Naghiyi, told ILNA. - 4/21/15

US carmakers ready to invest in Iran market: Report
Secretary-general of the Iranian Auto Parts Manufacturers Association says American carmakers have voiced their readiness to enter Iran's car market once sanctions against the country are lifted. The automobile industry is seen as Iran's biggest non-oil sector. It accounts for nearly 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). - 4/21/15

Yemen and the American Impulse to Take Sides
A strong Manichean streak runs through American perceptions of the outside world. That streak involves a habit of seeing all conflict and instability in binomial terms, a presumption that one of the perceived two sides is good and the other bad, and an urge to weigh in on the presumptively good side. -Paul R. Pillar, National Interest - 4/21/15

Reimagining the Middle East
Once Iran concludes a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the Middle East would be ripe for bold, creative, and courageous policy moves by the United States. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 4/21/15

Iranian-Americans: A Bridge to Understanding and Peace
On the last day of March, about a hundred distinguished Iranian-Americans gathered at the Willard, Washington, D.C.'s most storied hotel, over authentic Persian cuisine and classical music, to celebrate the arrival of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. -Jahandad Memarian, Huffington Post - 4/21/15

Pars Equality Center Celebrates 5th Anniversary with the Official Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Daryabari Iranian Community Center
On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Pars Equality Center (PEC) - a Bay Area-based non-profit organization providing social and legal services to the Iranian-American community - celebrated its 5th Anniversary with the Official Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the new Daryabari Iranian Community Center, located at 1635 The Alameda in San Jose. - 4/20/15

Photos: Protests grow over film of stray dogs dying in agony
The killing of stray dogs in Shiraz has triggered widespread protests across Iran and they continued today, with large groups of animal rights activists in Tehran gathering in Pardisan Park, across from the Department of the Environment. Protesters wanted the department to identify and prosecute whoever killed the dogs. - 4/20/15

Where Does Hillary Stand on the Iran Agreement?
There is little indication to suggest that Hillary Clinton has chosen to oppose the deal brokered between the P5+1 and Iran. But Clinton's ties to Saban will be an important relationship to keep an eye on as she rolls out her campaign's foreign policy positions and announces her support or opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran. -Eli Clifton - 4/20/15

US trade delegation studying post-sanctions Iran potentials in rare visit
Reports have emerged in the media that a delegation of American businessmen has traveled to Iran to explore the avenues for investments after the sanctions against the country are removed. - 4/20/15

Khamenei: US Created 'Myth' of Iranian Nuclear Weapons
Iran's Supreme Leader lashed out at the United States on Sunday, accusing Washington of inventing the "myth" of Tehran's nuclear weapons threat. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also urged "defensive preparedness" for Iranian armed forces after a top U.S. general warned last week about military action against Tehran's nuclear sites. - 4/20/15

Iran Legislation: Winners and Losers
Editor's note: As we have done recently, we are posting excerpts of the latest Legislative Round-Up of the week by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now. Readers of this blog will be particularly interested in the analysis regarding Sen. Corker's legislation on congressional oversight of any Iran deal. -Lara Friedman, LobeLog - 4/20/15

Afghanistan, Iran To Work Together Against 'Macabre' IS Threat
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rohani have vowed increased cooperation between their predominantly Muslim countries to counter the threat from militant group Islamic State (IS). Ghani arrived in Tehran on April 19 for a two-day state visit, his first official trip to the neighboring country since taking office in September. - 4/20/15

Divorce on the rise in Iran, marriages in decline
Iran's divorce rate has risen by five per cent, with 19 divorces being registered each hour, according to reports from the Census Organization. Ali Akbar Mahzoon, the head of the Statistics Bureau, told IRNA that in addition to the five-percent increase in divorces, there has been a 6.5-percent decline in registered marriages. - 4/20/15

Iran starts testing Iraq gas pipeline
The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday that preliminary tests have been carried out over 50 kilometers of the final stretch of the pipeline which has been installed to take gas to Iran's western neighbor. - 4/20/15

Obama Says Iran Bill Will Not Derail Negotiations
U.S. President Barack Obama said on April 17 he does not see proposed legislation in Congress derailing negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. Obama called the bill allowing Congress to review any deal a "reasonable compromise" that he planned to sign. - 4/18/15

Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran
The Iranian trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is set to start soon, but Rezaian has yet to meet with his lawyer, and his family still does not know the exact charges against him. His brother, Ali Rezaian, told VOA's Persian service Friday that despite reports in the Iranian media that Jason has been charged with espionage, the precise indictment has not been made public. -Molly McKitterick, VOA - 4/18/15

Animal-Rights Activists In Shiraz Protest Apparent Stray-Dog Killings
A group of animal-rights activists protested on April 17 in the city of Shiraz, the capital of Iran's Fars Province, against animal cruelty and abuse of stray dogs. The rare protest, in front of the building of the provincial department of environmental protection, was organized after a disturbing video emerged on social media showing four men giving stray dogs what appeared to be lethal injections. - 4/18/15

Iran, Saudis on Collision Course over Yemen
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia continued to escalate Saturday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slamming Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. "You planted the seeds of hatred in the hearts" of people in the region, said Rouhani at Iran's National Army Day ceremony, in comments directed at Saudi Arabia. "And you will see the response sooner or later," he added. - 4/18/15

Open Letter from Yemen Scholars Protesting War
We write as scholars concerned with Yemen and as residents/nationals of the United Kingdom and the United States. The military attack by Saudi Arabia, backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council states (but not Oman), Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, the UK and above all the US, is into its third week of bombing and blockading Yemen. This military campaign is illegal under international law - 4/18/15

Iran's Justice Minister joins call against "dirty money" in campaigns
The Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had previously expressed concerns about "dirty money" backing parliamentary candidates in the coming elections, and now Mostafa PourMohammadi has expressed disappointment that there is no strict legislation to ensure transparency in election campaign funding. - 4/18/15

Story of Esther inspires new philharmonic piece
Composer Behzad Ranjbaran drew from the biblical story and the Persian mythology of his native Iran for the piece premiering Saturday at the Binghamton Philharmonic. - 4/18/15

Iran Hawks Clearly Unhappy With Corker
Three days after the Obama White House surprised many of its staunchest foreign-policy supporters by lifting its veto threat over a watered-down Corker-Menendez bill, it's become quite clear that hard-line neoconservatives and their congressional allies are unhappy. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/18/15

Princesses of Persia: Unveiling Iran's Female Ninja 'Assassins'
Sputnik unravels the truth about Iran's all-female squad of martial artists three years after Western media published a story claiming Tehran was training ninjas to kill enemies of the Islamic Republic. - 4/18/15

Official: Iran needs 500 passenger planes
Iran needs to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years to renovate its aging fleet, head of the country's aviation organization says. A number of plane manufactures have traveled to Iran over the past year, discussing possible agreements and assessing the market, Ali Reza Jahangirian said, without naming the airlines. - 4/18/15

Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli's 'Heech Garden' Exhibit Mixes Old With New
It has been 39 years since Parviz Tanavoli, one of Iran's most well-known contemporary artists, held a solo exhibit in the United States. Today, the creator of "Heech" (the Persian word for naught or nothing) walks around ruminating his memories in the "garden of his naughts" at the Davis Museum in Massachusetts. -Sara Dehghan, VOA - 4/17/15

Worsening Conditions for Women in Iran Begin to Draw Attention
Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran. - 4/17/15

Iranian News Agency, U.S. Spokesman Spar Over Jailed Reporter
The continued detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran on security charges has led to an online spat between a Persian-speaking U.S. State Department spokesman and an Iranian news agency affiliated with the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). - 4/17/15

IMF forecasts Iranian economy to grow 0.6 percent in 2015
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast the Iranian economy to grow in the years to come. In its World Economic Outlook 2015, the international creditor noted, "Growth in the Islamic Republic of Iran is projected to be 0.6 percent in 2015 and 1.3 percent in 2016, a downward revision from the October 2014 WEO." - 4/17/15

Teachers' silent protests held across Iran on Thursday
Thousands of Iranian teachers gathered in silence in dozens of cities across the country in front of the ministry of education and governor's buildings on Thursday April 15. - 4/17/15

Aerospace companies keen on establishing Iran footing: Official
The head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) says many aircraft manufacturers have visited the country in the past year, even before the recent Tehran-P5+1 statement in Switzerland on the Iranian nuclear program, which laid the ground for further negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear deal. - 4/17/15

Putin, Netanyahu, and the S-300 Missile Sales to Iran
There have been numerous reports about how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently called Russian President Vladimir Putin to express Israeli displeasure with Moscow ending its embargo on the sale of Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. Putin reportedly responded by telling Netanyahu that these missiles are "purely defensive" and so "pose no threat to Israel." -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 4/17/15

Obama's Triple Crown
It was only a couple years ago that I was bemoaning Obama's failure to fulfill his promise to resolve major confrontations in the world diplomatically. "Smart power," in the Obama lexicon, had largely been window dressing on the same old exercise of hard power - the widespread drone strikes, the surge in Afghanistan, the intervention in Libya, the Special Forces operations in Africa and elsewhere, the Pentagon's "pivot" to the Pacific.-John Feffer, LobeLog - 4/17/15

Rugby a surprise boost for Iran's underprivileged girls
Rugby is a very rare sport in Iran, and it's even rarer for women and children. But a NGO working with girls from rough neighbourhoods has found that the sport is boosting their self-esteem in ways they hadn't predicted. -France24 - 4/17/15

President Rohani: Iran Not Negotiating With U.S. Congress
Iranian President Hassan Rohani says the Islamic republic is not negotiating with the U.S. Congress on a potential nuclear deal. "Our counterpart is not the U.S. Senate or the Congress, our counterpart is the group known as P5+1," Rohani said in an April 15 speech in the northern city of Rasht. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/16/15

Congress Learns to Compromise on Iran?
One of the most striking things about the congressional discourse about the Iran talks had been the overwrought denunciations of diplomacy by Republicans. You don 't have to look hard. Mark Kirk, the Illinois senator, takes every chance to compare diplomacy with Iran to the Munich agreement that handed the Sudetenland over to Hitler. -Ali Gharib - 4/16/15

Putin: Iran's 'Flexibility' Fueled Decision to Lift S-300 Ban
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Iran's willingness to try to reach a settlement over its nuclear program was behind his decision to clear the way for the possible sale of an S-300 air defense system to Tehran. - 4/16/15

Economics Will Decide the Fate of the Iran Deal
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a terrible record in predicting the future of Iran's nuclear programme, but it's hard to argue with his suggestion that last week's accord between Iran and the P5+1 countries will "bolster Iran's economy". -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, LobeLog - 4/16/15

Israel's Netanyahu Likens Iran To Nazi Germany
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the world is "closing its eyes" toward Iran's aggressive policies in the Middle East, as it has done toward Nazi Germany. - 4/16/15

Iran wins 'pistachio war' with US
Iran ousted the US as the leading producer of pistachio nuts last year and reclaimed the position which it has long held to its credit, an official has said. Production of the nut surpassed 235,000 tonnes thanks to satisfactory precipitations and Iran's implementation of development measures for better yield, an official with the agriculture ministry, Ali Mohseni said. - 4/16/15

US Would 'Welcome' Iran Engagement, Under Certain Circumstances
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. would welcome broader engagement with Iran, if an Iran nuclear agreement wound up helping Iran change its approach to the region and to the world. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 4/16/15

Secretary Kerry Weighs In
Just last week, the pagliacci at the head of America's Department of State, John Kerry, gave an interview on the much-esteemed house organ of domestic propaganda, the "PBS NewsHour". The entire interview was a farce of human reason, yet was mindlessly absorbed by millions of armchair Americans, 41 percent of whom cannot name the Vice President of the United States. -Jason Hirthler, Counterpunch - 4/16/15

Russia's No. 2 oil firm reopens Iran office
Russian oil company Lukoil has reopened its offices in Iran in anticipation of the removal of economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. Lukoil Deputy Vice President Ravil Maganov said the company was back in Iran, UPI reported Wednesday. - 4/16/15

Two Presidents and the Ayatollah
Despite appearances, Ayatollah Khamenei and Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani are not worlds apart in their thinking on US-Iran relations. In the aftermath of announcing the parameters of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, each of the men took to the podium. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 4/15/15

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Decision to Give Congress a Veto on the Iran Deal
Earlier today (April 14), Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) negotiated compromise language that makes very minimal adjustments to the earlier version of Corker's bill, S. 615, "The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015." The revised bill was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will go to the floor of the Senate and eventually the House in the coming weeks. -Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Now - 4/15/15

Iran pitted against Oman in 2018 World Cup qualifiers
Team Iran avoided a difficult group in its Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in the ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday. Iran has been drawn with Oman, India, Turkmenistan and Guam in Group D. - 4/15/15

Alleged Assault On Iranian Teens Stokes Anti-Arab Sentiment
Awave of public fury and anti-Arab sentiment has engulfed Iran after the alleged sexual assault of two teenage Iranian pilgrims traveling through Saudi Arabia's Jeddah airport last month. The two boys were on their way back to Iran after performing the Umrah Islamic pilgrimage when they were allegedly assaulted by Saudi officers during a security search. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 4/15/15

Post Executive: Iran Denying Jailed Reporter Legal Counsel
The Washington Post's executive editor said Tuesday that the newspaper's Iranian correspondent, jailed in Tehran on unspecified charges, was being denied acceptable legal representation. Martin Baron said that Jason Rezaian, who was arrested last July, had been allowed only one meeting with a lawyer and that they were not allowed to discuss the charges against him. - 4/15/15

Iran's annual inflation rate hits 14.8%: Official
The inflation rate for the past Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20) hit 14.8 percent, the Tasnim News Agency quoted Iran's Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, as saying on Tuesday. - 4/15/15

MPs grill Iranian Communications Minister on increasing internet bandwidth
Iranian Parliament was not persuaded by the Communications Minister's explanations for "increasing internet bandwith before the launch of the National Internet" and gave him a yellow card. IRNA reports that of the 195 MPs present, 99 voted against, 70 voted for and 11 abstained in response to the explanations offered by Mahmoud Vaezi. - 4/15/15

Kerry Confident About Iran Nuclear Deal's Prospects
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he is confident about reaching a final nuclear agreement with Iran, after President Barack Obama pledged to sign a bill that would subject the deal to U.S. congressional review.Kerry spoke ahead of a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Germany that was expected to include discussion of the negotiations, which yielded a framework deal earlier this month. - 4/15/15

For Iran, respect is the death knell of colonialism
If U.S. President Barack Obama was correct when he declared that his meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama City last weekend marked the end of the Cold War, we should get ready for a potentially even more momentous historical marker if Iran and the P5+1 powers led by the U.S. reach full agreement on Iran's nuclear technology and the lifting the sanctions. Such a deal could well signal the end of the colonial era in the Middle East. -Rami G. Khouri, AlJazeera - 4/15/15

AIPAC to UANI: Make Gary Samore Shut Up!
I attended a lunch panel on Iran hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) yesterday with Eric Edelman, John Hannah, Ray Takeyh, and Jonathan Ruhe as the featured presenters. The conversation on the dais veered between quite hawkish and moderately hawkish, as one might expect from members of JINSA's Iran task force. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/15/15

Obama Administration Not Swaying US Lawmakers on Iran Deal
CAPITOL HILL- Initial Obama administration pleas that U.S. lawmakers set aside legislation giving them a say on a final Iran nuclear accord appear to be falling on mostly deaf ears in the Republican-led Congress. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 4/14/15

Russia Flexes Missile Diplomacy With Iran
Russia's potential delivery of anti-aircraft S-300 missile systems to Iran has long been shrouded in controversy and contradictions. But with Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree allowing shipments of these high-precision systems to Tehran, will Moscow finally make good on these deliveries? -Carl Schreck, RFE - 4/14/15

Iran's says oil output to reach pre-sanctions levels "very fast"
Iran said on Tuesday it can increase its oil production to pre-sanctions levels "very fast". Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters the country has already carried out necessary tests to increase production from its producing fields. - 4/14/15

Russia says started strategic barter trade with Iran
Russia says it has started a strategic "oil for goods" barter trade with Iran, stressing that the due proceedings are already "working well". Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the country is currently providing a "considerable" volume of goods to Iran in exchange for the Iranian crude oil without providing any specific figures. - 4/14/15

Pakistan Treads Lightly Between Iran, Saudi Arabia
Pakistan's prime minister sought to reassure Saudi Arabia and its Arab coalition in Yemen that his country "does not abandon friends and strategic partners, especially at a time when their security is under threat." Nawaz Sharif's assurance came Monday after a flurry of statements from officials in Arab countries expressing their disappointment at Pakistan refusing to join their coalition. -Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA - 4/14/15

New Report on Washington Post Writer Seen as Prelude to Espionage Trial
An Iranian news report that suggests that an imprisoned Washington Post correspondent is a spy who furnished economic and industrial data to the Central Intelligence Agency was viewed by friends on Monday as a sign that a trial might be held soon. -NY Times - 4/14/15

U.S. Tech Companies And Investors Look to Gain From Iran Deal
The possibility of an Iran free of the economic sanctions that have weighed on it for years could be a boon to Western businesses, which already are considering ways to take advantage of potentially easier access to Iran's economy and consumers. -Kaveh Waddell, National Journal - 4/14/15

What Are the "Poison Pills" in the Corker-Menendez Bill?
1. The initial presidential certification [page 3, lines 13-15]. The bill requires that the President transmit any nuclear agreement with Iran to the appropriate congressional committees, with a certification that the agreement: "ensures that Iran's nuclear activities permitted thereunder will not be used to further any nuclear-related military of nuclear explosive purpose..." -Edward Levine, LobeLog - 4/14/15

Iran beats the United States to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup
Iranian wrestlers overpowered the US squad competing on home soil to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup. Iran's wrestling team managed to beat the Americans 5-3 on Sunday at the Forum in Los Angeles to win the prestigious international title for a fourth time in a row. - 4/13/15

Obama Criticizes Partisan Jabs at Nuclear Deal with Iran
U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday that partisan wrangling over nuclear negotiations with Iran and on other foreign policy matters has gone too far. "It needs to stop," he declared during a press conference at the close of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. - 4/13/15

Putin signs decree lifting ban on delivering S-300 to Iran
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a presidential decree paving the way for the long-overdue delivery of S-300 missile system to Iran, the Kremlin says. Putin's decree lifts a ban on "the shipment from Russia to Iran" of the S-300 missiles, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday. - 4/13/15

Climate change threatening Iran's food security
Iran is facing growing warnings that its deteriorating water crisis could eventually undermine its food security. Renowned American environmental analyst Lester Brown has warned that Iran needs to revise its food security policies by taking into consideration the future impacts of environmental changes. - 4/13/15

US investors eyeing Iran's stock market
Iran says US companies are interested in making investments in its stock market. Officials in Tehran say they have been approached by US companies for investments in the Iranian stock market. - 4/13/15

Executions Useless in Preventing Drug Crimes says Prominent Iranian Lawyer
In an interview with ISNA (the Iranian Student News Agency), the prominent Iranian lawyer Nemat Ahmadi lambasted Iran's anti-drug law, calling it "lacking in preventive powers" despite its stipulation of the death penalty as punishment for drug traffickers. - 4/13/15

Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement
This report is the fourth in a series of papers published by The Iran Project that provides a basis for better understanding the standoff between the United States and Iran. It analyses relations between Iran and its neighbors and offers policy recommendations for the United States in the region after a nuclear agreement with Iran is concluded. -The Iran Project - 4/13/15

Reports: Iran Suspends Pilgrimage Flights To Saudi Arabia
Iranian state media report that Iran has suspended flights to Saudi Arabia for the year-round Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca over the alleged sexual abuse of two Iranian teenage boys during a security search by Saudi officers at Jeddah's international airport in March. - 4/13/15

Obama Upbeat On Final Iran Nuke Deal
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is optimistic a comprehensive accord to curb Iran's nuclear program will be finalized despite strong words this week from the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. - 4/12/15

Pakistan stays neutral in Yemen despite Saudi request
Pakistan's Parliament issued a statement on Friday April 10 directing the government to remain neutral in the crisis in Yemen and assist the parties in reaching a peaceful solution. Also, the Turkish foreign minister announced on Friday April 10 that his country will cooperate with Iran and continue close consultation with Arab countries to solve the crisis in Yemen. - 4/12/15

Iran accepted on UN women's agency board despite US objection
Despite opposition from the United States, Iran has been accepted as a member of the governing board of the UN Agency for Women. This is a three-year term, and Iran's membership will commence at the beginning of 2016. The state of women's rights in Iran has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups. - 4/12/15

Iran TV Channel Hacked
Hackers have attacked the social media accounts of Iran's Arabic-language channel Al-Alam on April 12, posting material supportive of the Saudi-led air strikes against rebels in Yemen and claiming the rebel leader had been killed. - 4/12/15

Iran's first barista champion competes in Seattle
Seattle is always proud of its coffee, but the bragging rights inside the Washington Convention Center this week were for the world's best. Forty-nine countries sent a national champion to the 2015 World Barista Championships. One of them almost didn't make it. Mehran Mohammed Nezhad is from Iran. -Alison Morrow, KING 5 News - 4/12/15

Will A Nuclear Deal Bring The U.S. And Iran Together?
"What should I wear, now that we will be hanging out with the Americans?" It's a joke that was making the rounds among Iranians after a framework nuclear deal with world powers was hammered out after lengthy negotiations in Switzerland. And it reflects the wish of many Iranians for a normalization of ties with the country their leaders have branded "the Great Satan." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/11/15

Iranians protest Saudi sexual assault on teen pilgrims
Hundreds of Iranian protesters gathered in front of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday April 11 following a rally call on social media to protest against the "sexual assault of two Iranian teenagers" at Jeddah Airport. - 4/11/15

Prominent Iranian Activists Optimistic on End of Ban on Women at Sports Stadiums
Two prominent Iranian human rights defenders have expressed optimism over the recent moves in Iran to amend the laws banning women from sports stadiums, but note that real and permanent changes will require time and sustained citizen support for its realization. - 4/11/15

Khamenei's Nuclear-Deal Comments: Posturing Or A Negotiating Tactic? ​
In his first comments since the nuclear framework was announced, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not offer his full backing to the tentative agreement. Khamenei, who has the last say in all state affairs in the Islamic republic, said there was nothing to celebrate, as a deal is far from done, while, again, reiterating his full support and trust in the Iranian negotiators. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/11/15

Bait-and-Switch Sanctioning of Iran
The idea of Iran as a regional marauder that is gobbling up other countries in the Middle East and against which pressure must therefore be unrelenting has become one of the favorite themes of those determined to kill the nuclear agreement with Tehran. As an argument for rejecting the nuclear deal, this approach has always suffered from major factual and logical flaws. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 4/11/15

Iranian airliner's engine explodes during takeoff in Turkey
An Iranian Airbus had an engine explode while taking off from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. The pilot managed to stop the plane and evacuate the passengers while the engine was in flames, and no lives were lost. - 4/11/15

Iran-China Alliance Not Considered Threat to Nuclear Talks
The U.S. State Department says it does not believe Iran's alliance with a new multi-billion-dollar, China-led development bank will destabilize the ongoing Iran nuclear talks. Iran is one of about 35 countries that have been accepted as founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB. -Pamela Dockins - 4/11/15

Robert Kagan: Neocon Renegade?
I, for one, am very eager to hear what Robert Kagan thinks about the framework agreement that has just been negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran. I'm particularly interested in what he thinks of Israeli and Republican efforts to sabotage it in one way or another. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/11/15

Iran's Ayatollah Calls Saudi-led Airstrikes in Yemen 'Genocide'
Iran's supreme leader called the military intervention by its main regional rival, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen as genocide, sharply escalating Tehran's rhetoric against the two-week-old campaign of airstrikes. - 4/10/15

Opinion: Iran Advances Beyond 'Third Tier' Cyber Power
Even as Iran has applied the brakes to its nuclear program over the past 18 months and provisionally agreed last week to a deal lasting more than a decade, it has continued to advance its prowess in the field of cyber-attacks, experts say. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 4/10/15

US Senator: Airstrikes Could Eliminate Iran Nuke Sites
A Republican U.S. senator, who authored an open letter to Iran asserting Congress' ability to override a nuclear accord, now says a military strike against Tehran's atomic facilities, could be achieved quickly through a bombing campaign lasting only "several days." -Michael Bowman, VOA - 4/10/15

Assessing the Agreement with Iran
The spate of immediate reactions to the nuclear agreement between Iran and the six negotiators (the US, France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and China) has eased somewhat. We can now sit back calmly and assess the nuclear agreement. -Charles Naas, LobeLog - 4/10/15

Iran slams Saudi authorities for rejecting Iranian planes
Iranian aviation authorities have condemned Saudi Arabia's refusal to allow an Iranian airplane carrying pilgrims to land in Jeddah, noting there were no problems with the passengers' visas, and they attributed the Saudi actions to the political atmosphere of the region. - 4/10/15

Father Of Modern Iranian Sculpture Gets First US Show In Nearly 40 Years
With his head of silver hair and stylish black blazer, Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli looks younger than his 77 years. He's been called the father of modern Iranian sculpture, but he hasn't had a major museum show in the U.S. in almost four decades. -Andrea Shea, NPR - 4/10/15

Poll: Third of Republicans Favor Iran Nuclear Deal
Thirty-one percent of Republicans favor a new nuclear deal with Iran, creating a challenge for their party's lawmakers who largely oppose the framework accord sealed between Tehran and world powers, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday. - 4/10/15

Lausanne strengthens hand of Iran's reformers in next election
For many Iranians, the interim agreement is not about the number of centrifuges or level of uranium enrichment. It's an opportunity to reengage with the world and resume reforms through the ballot box -Haleh Anvari, Guardian - 4/10/15

Iranians to wrestle in Freestyle World Cup 2015 in Los Angeles
Iran national freestyle wrestling team headed to Los Angeles this morning to attend the FILA Freestyle World Cup 2015 (April 11-12). After a preparation session yesterday the team departed Tehran for Moscow. The wrestlers will then fly to Los Angeles and will arrive in place two days before weight grouping session. - 4/9/15

Khamenei: Iran Nuclear Deal With West Not Final
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is stressing that a framework agreement with the West is no guarantee a final deal will be reached to scale back Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions. In an address Thursday, Khamenei said he is "neither for nor against" the interim agreement reached last week by Iran and six world powers, insisting the deal is unfinished and non-binding. - 4/9/15

Iran Calls For Treaty On Global Nuclear Disarmament
Iran has accused the world's five nuclear powers of failing to eliminate their stockpiles and called for talks on a treaty aimed at nuclear disarmament by a target date. Gholam Hossein Dehghani, Iran's deputy UN ambassador, told the UN Conference on Disarmament on April 8 that the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France have pledged to disarm but have made no progress. - 4/9/15

Washington, Tehran Spin Framework Deal Different Ways
There are two sides to every story. When it comes to the framework nuclear deal reached this month between world powers and Iran, there is the account provided by the United States, and there is the Iranian account. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/9/15

Iran's President Rouhani urges regional states to end aggression against Yemen
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned of the adverse consequences of the ongoing military campaign against Yemen, calling on regional countries to stop aggression and establish a ceasefire in the impoverished country. - 4/9/15

Iran Navy's 34th fleet sets sail for Gulf of Aden
The 34th fleet of the Iranian Navy has left for the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait in line with the country's policy of safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region. - 4/9/15

Shell mulling Iran return after sanctions: Reports
The multinational oil and gas giant, Royal Dutch Shell plc is reportedly seeking to return to Iran once sanctions against the country over its nuclear program are lifted. Iranian media reports said Wednesday that the Anglo-Dutch energy company was mulling over investment opportunities in Iran again. - 4/9/15

Paul Singer's EMP Fetish
The 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls making the rounds of potential campaign moneymen are treating hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer as a major kingmaker, along with his fellow Republican Jewish Coalition director, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 4/9/15

The U.S. and Israel: Diverging Interests
It is often alleged that the basis for U.S.-Israeli relations lies in "shared concerns and interests." However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics - the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. -Lawrence Davidson, Counterpunch - 4/9/15

AIPAC's "No One Wants War" in Iran Claim Debunked
After Iran and world powers announced a framework agreement last week laying out guidelines for a final nuclear deal due by the end of June, opponents of a deal went immediately on the defensive. One group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was perhaps the most explicit. Their next-day "memo" reportedly circulated in temples over Passover, one of the many famous policy documents they release to activists framed opposition to the framework agreement as rebuttals to arguments in favor of it. -Ali Gharib - 4/8/15

Fun Farsi Games App
When Leyla Pope, the creator of Fun Farsi Games, wanted to download an interactive iPhone application for her three year-old daughter to teach her Farsi she was disappointed to find games for French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish but none for Farsi. - 4/8/15

Iran's Supreme Leader to Turkey's Erdogan: Not seeing hidden hands in region is self-deception
On Tuesday the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to bitter facts in certain regional countries including "savage" terrorist acts in Syria and Iraq, saying if any official does not see the hidden hands of enemies in these acts, he has deceived himself. - 4/8/15

Tehran Professor Decries Iran's Criticism of UN Human Rights Expert
The following is a translation of Tehran University Professor Sadegh Zibakalam's letter to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Marzieh Afkham, responding to her statements on the latest report of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. - 4/8/15

CIA Chief Praises Iran Nuclear Deal
CIA Director John Brennan defended the framework nuclear deal with Iran and said some criticism of it is "disingenuous." Brennan said in a speech at Harvard University on April 7 that he was surprised Iran had agreed to make so many concessions on its controversial nuclear program during negotiations with six world powers. - 4/8/15

Who Is Bankrolling Mark Kirk?
Sunday New York Times published a front-page, must-read article ("GOP's Israel Support Deepens as Political Contributions Shift") about the ever-tightening relationship between billionaire donors, like Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer associated with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and key Republican politicians -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 4/8/15

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Commander Supports Nuclear Agreement
The commander of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has expressed support for the nuclear framework agreement that was announced on April 2, clearing the way for a comprehensive deal that could curb Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. - 4/8/15

China Says Iran Accepted As New Bank Founding Member
Chinese media says Iran has been accepted as a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). State news agency Xinhua said on April 7 the bank's existing 26 members -- including China, Britain, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, and Italy -- also agreed to include the United Arab Emirates as a founding member. - 4/8/15

Why Iran's Revolutionary Guard Supports the Nuclear Deal
With the framework of the Iran nuclear accord now in place after eight days of intensive negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, the specter of conservatives in both Iran and the United States derailing a final deal looms large. Journalists and pundits point to Iran's conservative Revolutionary Guard and paramilitary Basij organization as potential forces that could disrupt the hard work of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. -Narges Bajoghli - 4/7/15

Despite Odds, Turkey to Expand Trade With Iran
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make a state visit Tuesday to Tehran. The Turkish president has indicated expanding trade relations will be a priority of his visit, with the prospect that international sanctions against Iran could soon be eased. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 4/7/15

United States Says Iran Sanctions Would Be Phased Out
The United States says economic sanctions on Iran would be gradually phased out if a final nuclear agreement is reached between Tehran and six world powers before the June 30 deadline. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on April 6 that Washington was clear with Iranian officials in its demand that sanctions on Tehran would be lifted in different phases under a final deal. - 4/7/15

Detained Iranian Opposition Leader 'Very Happy' About Nuclear Talks
The son of opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi says his father is "very happy" about the course taken by Iranian President Hassan Rohani in nuclear negotiations with major powers aimed at finding a lasting agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/7/15

Iranian Rights lawyer fears potential backlash over nuclear framework
Prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh says activists in Iran feel the consensus reached in Lausanne between Iran and the 5+1 is positive but fear that it could trigger a backlash against human rights in Iran by extremists in the establishment. - 4/7/15

Samore Goes To Bat For The Framework Agreement
Say what you will about pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), from their connections to Iran-conflict profiteering to allegations of ties to intelligence agencies, they leave a path of unanswered questions about their motivations, funding, and mission. But over the past week, the group's ability to push for tighter sanctions on Iran and evermore hawkish U.S. negotiating positions seems to be slipping. - 4/7/15

President Obama: Iran Nuclear Agreement a 'Once-In-A-Lifetime' Opportunity
President Barack Obama said the framework nuclear agreement reached last week with Iran represents a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to bring some stability to the Middle East - stability which would be good for Israel as well as other nations. However, some members of the U.S. Congress remain unconvinced and a key U.S. lawmaker plans to go ahead with legislation requiring Obama to submit any final agreement to Congress for debate and a vote. -Victor Beattie, VOA - 4/6/15

Photos: Nature Bridge in Tehran
Inaugurated in 2014, Iran's largest pedestrian bridge called "Tabiat Bridge" (Nature Bridge) has a unique structure designed by Leila Araghian. The design of this three-level, 2,000-Ton Structure pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views. - 4/6/15

Iranian women not allowed to attend sports events: Official
Just a few hours after Deputy Sports Minister Abdolhamid Ahmadi said that female fans have been allowed to attend sporting events, an Interior Ministry official denied any plan has been confirmed so far. - 4/6/15

Lights and Shadows of the Lausanne Agreement
The results obtained in Lausanne on April 2 in the negotiation between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) and Iran represent an outstanding landmark in the long process initiated by the first contacts in 2012 between Iran and the United States under the aegis of the Sultan of Oman. -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 4/6/15

The Wider Ramifications of the Ukraine Crisis
The Ukraine crisis, as well as the broader deterioration in relations between Russia on the one hand and America and Europe on the other, is not taking place in a void. Many momentous events are happening simultaneously, including growing conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim World, increased tension between China and several of its neighbors, and the rise of India and certain other non-Western nations. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 4/6/15

Event at Stanford University: Women, Literature and Arts in the Middle East
Attiya Ahmad (George Washington University), "Refracted Images: the Ordinariness of Middle Eastern Gendered Photography in Socio-Historical Context." - Dominic Brookshaw (Oxford University), "Telling Stories: The Female Voice in 19th and 20th Century Persian Poetry" - Nasrin Rahimieh (University of California, Irvine), "Women Writing Ordinary Lives" - 4/6/15

Hassan Rouhani: reformist insider who has ended Iran's isolation
The Iranian president has long carried the hopes of his country's reformists. Now, thanks to last week's nuclear deal with the US, the pragmatist has made good on his promise -Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian - 4/6/15

Peace with Iran Could Limit Ability to Bomb It, Warns McCain
Shortly after world powers successfully negotiated a nuclear-framework agreement with Iran, Sen. John McCain warned that a lasting peace with the Middle Eastern nation "could greatly limit our ability to bomb it." -Satire by Andy Borowitz, New Yorker - 4/6/15

Israel PM sticks to 'bad deal' illusion over Iran's nuclear agreement
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again denounced a joint statement issued by Iran and the P5+1 countries in Switzerland as a "bad deal" which will endanger Tel Aviv's survival. - 4/5/15

Iran To Ease Ban On Women Attending Sports Matches
Iranian authorities say they will partially lift a ban on women attending men's sports matches. The official IRNA news agency quoted Deputy Sports Minister Abdolhamid Ahmadi as saying on April 4 that Iran's State Security Council had approved a plan by his ministry to allow women and families to attend some sports events. - 4/5/15

Iranian artworks shine at Dubai Christie's auction
Iranian artworks shone once again at the Dubai Christie's auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art held on March 18. "Zahra's Image", a mirror mosaic work made in 2009 by Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian that sold for $395,000, was among the highlights of the auction, Christie's announced on its website. - 4/5/15

The Importance of the Iran Agreement
A dominant reaction to the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program, based especially on the State Department's fact sheet about the deal, is that it is remarkably detailed and thorough. The lead article in the New York Times described the agreement as "surprisingly specific and comprehensive." -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 4/5/15

Turkish President To Press Ahead With Iran Visit
Reuters news agency reports the visit, set for April 7, comes in spite of recent tensions between the two countries. Some Iranian lawmakers had called for the visit to be cancelled after Erdogan publicly backed a Saudi-led military operation against Iran-allied Huthi rebels in Yemen. - 4/5/15

Iran expects US ships in ports once sanctions lifted
Iran says it is expecting American shipping lines to visit its ports once the economic sanctions against it are lifted in light of the emerging comprehensive final agreement over the Iranian nuclear energy program. - 4/5/15

Photos: Tehran Erupts in happiness after Rouhani endorses the nuclear agreement and presses for interaction with the world
People poured into the streets of Tehran celebrating President Rouhani's endorsement of the preliminary nuclear agreement with the 5+1 group. In his televised address, Rouhani said the nuclear agreement is just a step toward interaction with the world including all those countries that want to respect the Iranian nation and "work with the people of Iran within framework" of mutual interests. President Rouhani also stated that there is no doubt that cooperation and interaction will benefit all. - 4/4/15

Iran: A Lesson in the Art of Building Confidence
Much of the comment on yesterday's "decisive step" towards a "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA), which will ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, has been based on the factsheet put out by the White House. -Peter Jenkins - 4/4/15

This Is a Framework that Can Be Defended in Tehran
What a day it was and on sizdeh bedar no less, the thirteenth and last day of the Nowruz holidays! So, whether planned or not, for the "government of hope and prudence," the name used to distinguish Rouhani's government from the Islamic Republic's previous administrations, it was an especially auspicious day to announce an agreed framework. -Farideh Farhi - 4/4/15

Iran nuclear deal: They've done it!
At last they have done it! After 36 years of hostility between Iran and the West, 12 years of nuclear negotiations initially between Iran and the European Troika (Britain, France and Germany), followed by talks between Iran and the P5+1, finally the two sides have agreed on a framework for a final, comprehensive agreement before the end of June. -Farhang Jahanpour - 4/4/15

Initial Accord with Iran Holds Promise for Human Rights: But Risks of Hardline Backlash Remain
The understanding reached on Iran's nuclear program on April 2 is a welcome development, averting at least for now, an inexorable descent into confrontation, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 4/4/15

Iranian FM Zarif: Sanctions resolutions will be annulled once UN endorses comprehensive plan of action
TEHRAN - Under the mutual understanding reached between Tehran and the 5+1 group of world powers Iran will keep its peaceful nuclear program without shutting down any facilities, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said upon his return to Tehran following the talks in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday. - 4/4/15

Nuclear Deal Sparks Mixed Reactions In Iran
Iranian supporters of the framework nuclear deal announced on April 2 describe it as a historic achievement that will offer a better future for the people of Iran and improved ties with the world. Hard-liners, however, say the deal is a disaster that achieves "nothing" for the country. -Golnaz Esfandiari and Farangis Najibullahi, RFE - 4/4/15

Obama Prepares for Showdown with Congress Over Iran Deal
Two days after the deadline for reaching a deal over Iran's nuclear programme had passed, negotiators looked like they would be going home empty handed. But a surprisingly detailed framework was announced Apr. 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as in Washington, and in the same breath, U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged the battle he faces on Capitol Hill. -Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog - 4/4/15

The Iran Agreement Is Historic: Will Congress Destroy It?
Take Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois and AIPAC stalwart. Building on his past theme comparing negotiations to the Munich Agreement that ceded the Sudetenland to Hitler, but didn't satisfy the Nazi appetite for conquest, Kirk lashed out. "Neville Chamberlain got a lot of more out of Hitler than Wendy Sherman"-the State Department number three-"got out of Iran," he said. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 4/4/15

Iranians Exchange Jokes About Tentative Nuclear Deal
Jokes are circulating among fun-loving Iranians about the tentative nuclear agreement reached in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 2. Here are a few we received from Iran that highlight the high hopes and expectations many Iranians have from the deal -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/4/15

Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program
Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. - 4/3/15

Photos: People in Tehran Celebrate After Nuclear Agreement
Many Iranians celebrated publicly and privately the announcement of a preliminary agreement in Lausanne that could lead to a permanent nuclear deal that would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Sanctions imposed on Iran have made life more difficult for ordinary Iranians who are hoping that a permanent nuclear deal will lead to a better economy, more work opportunities, and better ties with the world. - 4/3/15

Photos: Iranian nuclear negotiators arrive in Tehran amid warm public welcome
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other nuclear negotiators have arrived in Tehran early Friday Morning after 9 days of hectic talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. The negotiations resulted in the announcement of a preliminary agreement that could lead to a permanent nuclear deal by June 2015. The negotiating team landed in Tehran's Mehrabad Airport and received a warm welcome by a crowd awaiting their arrival. - 4/3/15

Obama's Leadership and the New Framework Agreement with Iran
Well, Obama did it. Or, rather, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the other members of the P5+1 (the UN Security Council members, Germany, plus the EU)-and let us not neglect Iran- have done it. This is not a bad several months' work. But now for the denizens of Washington and Washington-watchers everywhere, plus every possible party in the Middle East, the "fun" really begins. -Robert E. Hunter - 4/3/15

US-Iranian Relations after Lausanne
For the best view of the prolonged US-Iran negotiations taking place in the Alps of Lausanne, you might step back about 35 years and contemplate the view from the Alborz Mountains in Tehran. It was then-as with greater caution now-that the U.S. was trying to fashion a new relationship with Iran on the wreckage of the past. - 4/3/15

For better US-Iran relations, the Iranian people are the key
American neoconservatives, Israeli hawks, and Arab dictators alike are haunted by the same nightmare: After a nuclear deal, the US and Iran will gravitate toward an unspoken alliance, after which the US will betray its security commitments to historical allies in the Middle East. -Trita Parsi, Quartz - 4/3/15

Iranian-British Woman Jailed For Going To Volleyball Match Pardoned
An Iranian-British woman jailed in Tehran last year for taking part in a protest against a ban on women's attendance at sports stadiums alongside men has been pardoned. A British Foreign Office spokeswoman on April 2 welcomed news that Ghoncheh Ghavami was pardoned while expressing concern that "she is still subject to a travel ban." - 4/3/15

How Obama Should Handle Bibi
To paraphrase Genesis, "And the eyes of the public were opened, and they knew that Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to the two-state solution was naked." The question now is whether the Obama administration will allow Israel to sew some fig leaves together and return to the charade of negotiations that will not lead to a resolution. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 4/3/15

On Legitimacy and Legality in Yemen
Some hard-bitten fathers have been known to advise their youthful offspring that whenever someone prefaces their remarks with "To be honest," they are about to lie through their teeth. The same might be applied to politicians who wrap themselves in words like "legitimacy" and "legality." -James Spencer, LobeLog - 4/3/15

Parameters of the tentative Iran nuclear deal
Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. -CNN - 4/2/15

Iranian FM Zarif Says 'Significant Progress' in Extended Nuclear Talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says there has been "significant progress" but no "final result yet" at talks aimed at reaching a deal on Tehran's nuclear program. "We have made significant progress in the talks but still we have not agreed on the reviewed solutions," said Zarif, who met for hours overnight with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry while lower-level officials also held talks. - 4/2/15

Photos: Iranians Celebrate Sizdah-Bedar (Persian Festival Of Nature)
People across Iran celebrated Sizdah-Bedar, the traditional Persian festival of nature, on Thursday by spending time outdoor. Sizdah-Bedar, an ancient Iranian nature festival, is held on the 13th of Farvardin (first month in Iranian calendar) and marks the end of the Persian New Year (Norouz) celebrations. - 4/2/15

The Deal with Iran: Five Arguments to Watch Out For
As the nuclear talks with Iran enter the final stretch, and as the media coverage reaches the point of hysteria, it is useful to step back a bit and offer a few observations about how to approach the kinds of revelations and arguments that we might expect in the coming days or weeks. Here are five things to watch out for. -Gary Sick - 4/2/15

The Consequences of Saudi Paranoia about Iran
By militarily attacking Yemen, Saudi Arabia has committed its second aggression against a regional country in less than four years. The first was in Bahrain in 2011. This time, in addition to some Gulf Cooperation Council members, the Saudis have also dragged in Pakistan and Egypt. They may also engage other Arab states. -Shireen T. Hunter - 4/2/15

'Nuclear deal to unleash Iran's economic power': Report
According to the CNN report, the checklist of attributes Iran possesses is impressive. The country has the second largest population in the Middle East with roughly 80 million, 9% of proven oil reserves, 18% of proven gas reserves and an abundance of strategic minerals. - 4/2/15

The Obama Arms Bazaar: Record Sales, Troubling Results
With the end of the Obama presidency just around the corner, discussions of his administration's foreign policy legacy are already well under way. But one central element of that policy has received little attention: the Obama administration's dramatic acceleration of U.S. weapons exports. -William D. Hartung, LobeLog - 4/2/15

Should We Beware Iran's "Charmer in Chief"?
Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake starts an attack on the trustworthiness of Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohamed Javad Zarif, with the words: "Now is the time to praise Javad Zarif." Well, now is also the time to praise Lake-for the subtlety and cunning of his attack. Not for him the crude bombast of so many opponents of a nuclear agreement with Iran. His article shows that he is a master of insinuation and innuendo. In offering seemingly to praise Zarif, he comes instead to bury him. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 4/2/15

Economics Likely to Trump Politics in Turkey-Iran Rift
Turkey and Iran have accused each other of trying to dominate the Middle East as they back opposing sides in the crisis in Yemen, but the war of words is unlikely to permanently damage a relationship driven by deepening economic ties. -Reuters - 4/2/15

Kerry extends Iran talks, French foreign minister returns
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his German and French counterparts extended marathon talks in Switzerland on Wednesday for a second day beyond a self-imposed deadline to reach a preliminary agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. -Reuters - 4/1/15

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: April 25 to May 16, 2015
UCLA Film & Television Archive presents the "UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema," which will screen Saturday, April 25 - Saturday, May 16 at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village. This year's program will include works from well-known Iranian filmmakers as well as up-and-coming directors. Filmmakers Rakhshan Banietemad, Sharam Mokri, Kamran Heidari and Sepideh Farsi will attend in-person to discuss their work. - 4/1/15

Samore Says Congress Unlikely to Reject Nuclear Deal
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) president Gary Samore made a surprising admission on Monday when he said that Congress was unlikely to override a presidential veto of any new sanctions-related legislation in the wake of a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. -Eli Clifton - 4/1/15

Persian Language and Culture: Summer Courses and Programs at The George Washington University
At the Persian Language and Culture Summer Institute, students gain a solid foundation of the basics of the Persian (Farsi) language, as well as a better understanding of Iran's contemporary society, history, and culture, through various extracurricular activities, film screenings, lecture series and field trips in the Washington, DC area. - 4/1/15

Iran Demands Halt To Saudi-Led Strikes, Calls For Dialogue In Yemen
Iran has called for an "immediate halt" to the Saudi-led military operation against Shi'ite Huthi rebels in Yemen, warning that the "attack" endangered the whole region. Speaking in Kuwait on March 31, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein-Amir Abdollahian said Iran and Saudi Arabia could cooperate to solve the Yemeni crisis. - 4/1/15

Saudi War in Yemen Amid Malaise and Confusion
Much has been written about the reasons behind the Saudi military strikes against Yemen, and many pro-Saudi writers have touted the so-called Arab and Muslim coalition against the Houthis of Yemen. No clarity, much confusion, and a touch of mystery have surrounded the launching of the so-called Operation Decisive Storm. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 4/1/15
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