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German Iranologist Heidemarie Koch honored in Tehran
The Persian literary monthly Bokhara paid tribute to German Iranologist Heidemarie Koch, author of "Persepolis, Shiny Capital of the Persian Empire", during a ceremony at the Mahmud Afshar Foundation in Tehran on Thursday. - 5/31/14

President Rohani responds to critical Imams
Iranian President Hassan Rohani responded to the attacks against him by the Tehran and Mashhad Friday Mass Imams, saying "Some are constantly concerned with people's religion and the judgement day without expert knowledge of either." - 5/31/14

US, Iran Push to Meet Deadline on Nuclear Deal
STATE DEPARTMENT - International efforts to limit Iran's nuclear program have entered a new phase with the outline of what a final agreement might look like. But talks could drag on beyond July's deadline, adding to pressure on both Washington and Tehran. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 5/31/14

Hooshang Seyhoun, Iranian Architect Dies at 93 in Vancouver
Hooshang Seyhoun prominent Iranian architect passed away in Vancouver on May 27 at the age of 93. Seyhoun's work includes several monuments such as the Avicenna Mausoleum in Hamedan, Nader Shah Mausoleum in Mashhad and Omar Khayyam Mausoleum in Neyshapour. Seyhoun is also credited for many prominent buildings in Tehran and Ahvaz - 5/31/14

Iranian Hardliner Rejects Rohani's Hands-Off Approach
The Tehran Friday Mass Imam and Islamic Republic hardliner Ahmad Khatami took a jab on Friday at President Hassan Rohani's statements about avoiding government interference in people's private lives. - 5/31/14

WSJ Editorial Board Toes MEK Line on Iran's Nuclear Program
The Wall Street Journal's opinion pages have long served as a welcoming home to pundits toeing a hawkish line on Iran, Iraq and a laundry list of foreign policy challenges facing the United States. Tuesday, the Journal's editorial board exclusively published details of a report provided by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an exiled Iranian opposition group that until less than two years ago was designated a terrorist group in the United States and Canada. -Eli Clifton, Nation - 5/31/14

Congress and Attempts to Kill the Iran Deal
Those who want permanent pariahdom for Iran and thus oppose any agreement with the government in Tehran keep looking for ways to use the U.S. Congress to sabotage the deal that has been under negotiation in Vienna and would restrict Iran's nuclear program. -Paul R. Pillar, National Interest - 5/31/14

Asia's Early 2014 Iran Oil Imports Exceed Nuclear Deal Levels
TOKYO -- Iran's Asian buyers kept their oil imports from the OPEC member in the first four months of 2014 above the level allowed by the deal that eases some Western sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program. -Reuters - 5/31/14

Iran working on self-sufficiency in producing medicine: President Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani said here on Friday that Iran is trying to become self-sufficient in some medicines production. Talking to reporters, President Rouhani made the remarks when inaugurating the first production line of growth hormone in Tehran. - 5/30/14

How IAAB Shaped My Ayandeh
I never quite understood why my dad seemed to locate every Iranian within a 10-mile radius of us. The car mechanic down the road is Iranian? Let's take our car to him. That new cafe is owned by Iranians? Let's try it... -Darya Minovi - 5/30/14

Iran's inflation rate drops to 28.4%, down 2% in month: Official
Iranian government spokesman Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht has announced that the inflation rate for the 12-month period that ended in the second Iranian calendar month of Ordibehesht (May 21) dropped to 28.4 percent, a 2 percent decline compared to the previous month. - 5/30/14

Iran: Student bursaries from Ahmadinejad era under scrutiny
Iranian Parliament is investigating the list of students who received bursaries under the ninth and tenth governments, the administrations of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ISNA reports that according to Ghassem Jafari, a spokesman for Parliament's Education and Research Commission, 3,000 students are now under investigation for allegedly receiving bursaries without meeting the criteria for eligibility. - 5/30/14

Iran Reports Its First Death From MERS Virus
Iran reportedly has suffered its first fatality from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Reports by state media on May 29 about the death come a day after the first cases in Iran were publicized. - 5/30/14

US religious leaders meet with major Iranian cleric in Qom
The US delegation who met with Ayatollah Javadi Amoli included Dr. Joel Hunter, Dr. Barbara Skinner, Head of National Network of US-African Priests, Dr. James August Kovalevsky, Professor Anthony Destro, from Faculty of Washington Catholic University, and Dr. Alex Roy Medley, Head of National Council of US Churches. - 5/30/14

President Rohani's Minority Advisor Faces Challenges
Hassan Rohani's advisor on ethnic and religious minority affairs has been the subject of serious attacks by the right-wing factions of the Islamic Republic administration, and according to Keyhan, he has been summoned by the judiciary to give certain explanations. - 5/30/14

Was the Iranian threat fabricated by Israel and the U.S.?
In a new book and in a conversation with Haaretz, U.S. historian Gareth Porter charges that U.S. and Israeli policies on Iran have been based on fabricated evidence. -Shemuel Meir - 5/30/14

PAAIA Releases 2014 National Survey of Iranian Americans
Iranian Americans strongly support establishing U.S. Interests Section in Iran and facilitating greater understanding between the peoples of Iran and the United States - 5/29/14

Egypt, Iran, Pakistan among top growth countries with respect to tobacco consumption: WHO
On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Pakistan are expected to be among the top growth countries, with respect to tobacco consumption, worldwide, in the next 40 years, the United Nations Information center said in a press release on Thursday. - 5/29/14

Iranian activists object to hanging of chief fraud suspect
Prominent Iranian cultural and civil activists in Iran have issued a letter denouncing the hanging of Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, the prime suspect in the $3-billion fraud, as ordered by the Iranian judiciary. - 5/29/14

Iranian Journalist arrested while at work at Tehran weekly
Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk was arrested in Tehran on Wednesday morning. Mizan Khabar reports that security forces entered the offices of the "Tejarat-e Farda Weekly" and arrested Azarpeyk at work. - 5/29/14

The "Right" Stuff: Israel and the EU Elections
The shift of sentiment and political influence toward the right and far-right in Western Europe is being viewed by some in Israel as an opportunity to garner European sympathy for anti-Arab sentiment and policies. -Marsha B. Cohen - 5/29/14

Do Iran Nuclear Talks Offer Obama Opening on Syria?
President Obama says he is working to boost support for Syrian rebels and for neighboring countries threatened by the violence of the ongoing civil war. Negotiations on a nuclear accord with Iran might give Obama an opportunity to weaken Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. - 5/29/14

Lecture at UCLA: The Oil City in an Age of Jazz: Nostalgia and Modernity in Abadan, Iran
We often hear how oil is both a blessing and a curse that engenders wealth for the select few and misery for many: black gold for the elites and 'the devil's excrement' for the masses. The discovery and extraction of oil entails environmental pollution, political violence and economic corruption, it feeds dictatorships and smothers democratic forces. - 5/29/14

Former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Killed In Syria
Aformer officer with Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been killed in the fighting in Syria, Iranian media report. The reports say that Abdollah Eskandari had travelled to Syria to defend the Sayida Zeinab shrine located in the southern suburbs of Damascus. The shrine is a center of pilgrimage for Shi'a from around the world. -Golnaz Esfandiari. RFE - 5/29/14

Iranian Hackers Stalked U.S. Officials, Report Says
An Iranian hacking network is behind an elaborate three-year campaign to use social networks to strike up friendships with U.S. lawmakers, defense contractors and at least one four-star general, and then extract data from them, according to a new report. -Bloomberg - 5/29/14

Apple's first reseller approved in Iran following lifting of U.S. sales ban
Following the U.S. government lifting a United States embargo for exports of products into Iran on May 30th of last year, reports from Fars News Agency and other local publications note the first company has now been granted permission by authorities in the country to start selling Apple products -Jordan Kahn, 9to5mac - 5/29/14

Zarif, Ashton Hold 'Useful' Talks In Istanbul on Iranian Nuclear Program
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton held two days of "useful" informal nuclear talks in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday. - 5/28/14

Official Denies Iran Wants To Question Facebook CEO
An Iranian official denies Tehran wants to question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A judiciary official in the Iranian province of Fars has denied reports claiming the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to a local court. - 5/28/14

Generals And Rouhani Make a Deal: Guards to Stop their Criticism; Administration to Award Projects
The volleys between Rouhani's administration and the influential Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) continue. Soon after the chairman of the joint command of Iran's armed forces publicly censured the state-run media for the Guards' undermining of the administration, the government spokesman responded by announcing that it would welcome the Guards' activities in economic projects. -Shirin Karimi - 5/28/14

Iran: Representative of families of political prisoners released
hmadreza Haeri, a representative of the families of political prisoners, has been released after 10 days in custody. The Neday-e Sabz Azadi website reports that Ahmadreza Haeri, brother of political prisoner Saeed Haeri, was released on the night of Monday May 26. - 5/28/14

Iran Reports Its First Cases Of MERS Virus
Iran has recorded its first two cases of the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Iranian media quote Health Ministry official Mohammad Mahdi Gouya as saying the virus that causes MERS was confirmed in two sisters in the southern province of Kerman. One is reported to be in critical condition. - 5/28/14

Briton among eight jailed in Iran for web insults
Eight people, including an Iranian-born British woman, have been jailed in Iran on charges including blasphemy and insulting the country's supreme leader on Facebook. The opposition website Kaleme reported that two of the eight, identified as Roya Saberinejad Nobakht, 47, from Stockport, and Amir Golestani, each received 20 years in prison -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 5/28/14

Bay Area Iranian-American Democrats Endorse Dave Cortese for San Jose Mayor
Bay Area Iranian-American Democrats (BAIAD) announced today that its members have voted for the organization to endorse Supervisor Dave Cortese in the San Jose Mayoral primary election. - 5/28/14

Khosravi funeral in Tehran cancelled
The funeral that had been planned in Tehran for Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, who was hanged this week for the charge of "corruption on earth" as the main suspect in Iran's $3-billion bank fraud, will instead be held in his native village in Roodbar. - 5/28/14

Will a Reassuring IAEA Picture Influence US-Iran Negotiations?
The IAEA continues to certify that all the nuclear material declared to it by Iran is in peaceful use. The Agency mentions no evidence for Iranian possession of undeclared nuclear material, but cannot yet say with confidence that there is no undeclared nuclear material in Iran. That is a logical consequence of the incomplete nature of the IAEA's information of Iran's nuclear program; the November 11, 2013 agreement will help the IAEA round out its knowledge. -Peter Jenkins - 5/27/14

Iran Judge Summons Facebook CEO To Court
A judge in southern Iran has reportedly ordered Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in court. The official ISNA news agency said Zuckerberg is wanted to answer complaints by individuals who say the Facebook-owned applications Instagram and Whatsapp violate their privacy. - 5/27/14

Iran's Attorney General Announces: All Three Branches of Government Are Corrupt
Two weeks after yet another suspect was arrested in the huge three billion Toman financial embezzlement case, Iran's attorney general Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejhei announced that individuals from all three branches of government had engaged in unlawful activities. He said those involved included people close to the administration, members of the Majlis and deputies in the judiciary. -Hossein Mohammadi - 5/27/14

Iranian government acts on complaints from laid-off pregnant workers
President Rohani's deputy for women's affairs says each week they are handling 20 complaints from women who have been laid off following pregnancy. The Etemad daily reports that Shahindokht Molaverdi said a large number of pregnant workers are losing their jobs after pregnancy. - 5/27/14

Singing Amy Winehouse in Tehran
For decades, both before and after his 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini railed against "Westoxication"-the poisoning of Iran's Islamic society by Western culture. The new theocracy banned everything from music and dancing to modern art. -Robin Wright, New Yorker - 5/27/14

Iranian Security Forces Chief Replaces Deputy
Radan, who became Ahmadi Moghaddam's deputy in 2008, initiated the program "Improving Public Security", which involved shaming petty criminals in public. Criminals were held in small cells in Kahrizak as part of this project, and later in 2009, political detainees were also transferred to this centre, where at least four of them died under torture. - 5/27/14

Pars Youth Grant: The American Dream
The Pars Youth Grant /The American Dream was initiated with the help and generosity of The Kordestani Family Fund, which has as one of its core principals, investing in the education of our youth.This new endeavor hopes to contribute to our younger generation's success. - 5/27/14

The Iranian Drones That Save Lives
Your neighborhood quadcopter probably doesn't have the ability to launch Hellfire missiles, but just saying the word "drone" conjures up images of flying, buzzing death. But what about drones' potential for saving lives? - 5/26/14

Iran: Producer of "Happy" dancing video remains under arrest
Sasan Soleymani, who produced the video of Iranian youth in Tehran dancing to the Pharrell Williams song Happy, remains in custody in Rejai Shahr Prison, even though all six people who appeared in the video have been released on bail. - 5/26/14

Iranian Actress Apologizes For Kiss At Cannes Film Festival
Iranian actress Leila Hatami has apologized for kissing the Cannes Film Festival president on the cheek -- an act which angered authorities in Tehran. In a May 23 letter to Iran's cinema organization quoted by the state news agency IRNA, Hatami said she was "sorry for hurting the feelings of some people." - 5/26/14

Iran's Zarif, EU's Ashton Meet In Istanbul
Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Zarif and the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are meeting in Istanbul May 26 and May 27 to discuss Teheran's nuclear program, sources tell RFE/RL. - 5/26/14

Evin infirmary head latest casualty in prison staff changes
Majid Rezazadeh has been removed from his position as the head of the Evin Prison Infirmary, the opposition website Kaleme reports. According to Kaleme, Rezazadeh's treatment of political prisoners in Evin had been very inappropriate throughout his tenure, adding that his role in the attack on Ward 350 prisoners was "destructive" and "negative". - 5/26/14

Iran students gear up solar car for US challenge
Clouds may still linger over relations between Washington and Tehran, but that's not stopping a group of Iranian students and their teachers from gearing up for a summer road trip through the American heartland. -Nasser Karimi, AP - 5/26/14

Jordanian-Born Texan Charged With Murdering Iranian Student
U.S. federal prosecutors say a fraud investigation has led them to charge a Jordanian-born man with murdering an Iranian student and women's rights activist in Texas. Ali Irsan, 57, was indicted by a grand jury in Houston, Texas, on May 23 for the January 2012 killing of Gelareh Bagherzadeh. - 5/25/14

Iranian Police, Security Forces Violently End River Demonstration
A human chain of more than 500 people along the Zayandeh River in Isfahan was violently broken up by police and plainclothes forces. The local website Saheb News reports that protesters were quickly swarmed by officers and forced to leave the area. The report adds that at least two people were injured and seven to 10 were arrested. - 5/25/14

Leila Hatami clad in 180-year-old attire at Cannes
The outfit represents the naqdeduzi art, the traditional Iranian embroidery which dates back to the Achaemenid era, dress designer Mehrnush Shah-Hosseini told the Persian service of ISNA on Sunday. All embroidery on the garment has been embellished with threads of pure gold, she added. - 5/25/14

How Gold Helped Iran Withstand U.S. Financial Fury
Throughout much of 2012 and 2013, the United States and Iran fought a financial war. With the benefit of hindsight, my friend Jim Rickards calls it a draw. -Addison Wiggin, Forbes - 5/25/14

Iran Hangs Billionaire Convicted of Fraud
The billionaire businessman who was the mastermind behind Iran's biggest fraud case was hanged Saturday in Tehran. Authorities say Mahafarid Amir Khosravi was put to death at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. - 5/24/14

An Iranian Conservative's Guide to Suppressing YouTube Videos
Friends, who among us has not been confronted by that irritating and morally corrosive internet video that both grates on the nerves and threatens to undermine everything that is good and decent in society? Are you interested in protecting others from being exposed to this filth? I'm here to help. Here's a step-by-step guide to keeping YouTube's dangerous grip off our beloved Islamic Republic -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 5/24/14

Tsunami of foreign tourists hitting Iran: Official
When taking into account Shia pilgrims and visitors from neighboring countries, more than 4 million foreigners toured Iran from March 2013 to March 2014, each accounting for an estimated $1,200 of revenue, Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (CHTHO) Director Masoud Soltanifar said. - 5/24/14

Former reformist Iranian MP Behzad Nabavi serves out sentence
Behzad Nabavi, a prominent reformist and executive member of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Party, was released from Evin Prison after completing his sentence. ISNA reports that Nabavi left Evin Prison on May 22. - 5/24/14

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Iranian Official For Rights Abuses
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced sanctions against Morteza Tamaddon, an Iranian government official, for being involved in activities limiting the freedom of expression and assembly of Iran's citizens. - 5/24/14

Arrest of "Happy" Iranians Highlights Rouhani's Domestic Battles
It was a perfect headline for the satirical online news site, "The Onion." "Young Iranians Arrested for Being Too 'Happy in Tehran'," reads a May 20 New York Times blog title, with similar reports produced by news media from all over the world. But the true story began a month ago when a group of young men and women in Iran produced a homemade music video to the hit song "Happy" by U.S. entertainer Pharrell Williams. -Jasmin Ramsey - 5/23/14

What does the Iran-IAEA Joint Statement Mean?
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a joint statement on May 21 to the effect that they had agreed on a further set of practical measures within the framework of their November 11, 2013 cooperation agreement. The first two measures relate to IAEA concerns about a possible military dimension (PMD) to Iran's nuclear program, and the other three to Iran's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreement: -Peter Jenkins - 5/23/14

French archaeologist Remy Boucharlat deported at Tehran airport
TEHRAN -- French archaeologist Remy Boucharlat was deported at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on Monday, Persian media reported on Tuesday. So far, no comment has made by Iranian officials about the deportation of Boucharlat. - 5/23/14

Iran Court Reportedly Orders Instagram Blocked
Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency is reporting that a court has ordered that Instagram be blocked over privacy concerns. Mehr said a court order had been given to Iran's Ministry of Telecommunications to ban the popular mobile phone photo-sharing service because of a lawsuit. - 5/23/14

Rouhani to Putin: Iran-Russia cooperation essential for regional stability
Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai on Wednesday. - 5/23/14

Tehran's improved air quality linked to better gasoline
Yousef Rashidi, the head of the Air and Climate Division of Iran's Department of Environmental Protection, reported that in an unprecedented trend, Tehran's air quality has not reached unhealthy levels in the past two months. - 5/23/14

Iran: Victims' families mercy saves more killers from death sentence
Two more people have escaped death by hanging with the consent of their victims' families in recent days. The Iranian judiciary has promoted its efforts to gain consent from the families of victims to forego the execution of prisoners on death row. - 5/23/14

'Daily Show' inspired Middle Eastern newscast turns to Kickstarter
Based on the structure of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," a satirical newscast all about the Middle East called "The Mideast Show" was dreamed up by Brooklyn resident Kayvon Afshari earlier this year. -Queens Courier - 5/23/14

Iranian 'Happy' Dancers Released from Jail
Police in Tehran have released six Iranians who were arrested for posting a dance video featuring American singer Pharrell Williams's hit song "Happy" on the Internet. Reyhaneh Taravati, one of the Iranian women arrested posted a message on Instagram Wednesday to announce the news. Taravati, "reihanet" on instagram, posted a photo of herself and thanked the singer and all others for their support. - 5/22/14

Iran Says Nuclear Deal 'Very Likely' By July Deadline
Iranian President Hassan Rohani says Tehran and six world powers are "very likely" to reach a final deal over the Islamic republic's nuclear program by a July 20 deadline. "We can achieve this," Rohani told reporters on May 22 in Shanghai, where he attended a regional security forum. - 5/22/14

Iran reaches five-step deal with atomic watchdog
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have reached an agreement for taking five practical steps by August 25, which include Iran providing crucial data on nuclear "tests in vast dimensions." - 5/22/14

Russia, China Finally Sign $400 Billion Energy Deal: Why Now?
After almost a decade of negotiations, Moscow reached a 400 billion dollar energy deal with Beijing yesterday, allowing the Russian state-controlled Gazprom to export gas to China for 30 years. The key agreement guarantees long-term market access for Russian gas in the Asian market, where Russia has historically had a negligible market share. -Sara Vakhshouri - 5/22/14

"Not So Happy In Tehran": Dancing to Pharrell William's "Happy" Lands Iranian Youths in Jail
Six young men and women, who were arrested and detained in Tehran for making a video in which they danced to Pharrell Williams' hit song "Happy," should be immediately released, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The youth were paraded on state TV on May 20, 2014, where they were forced to express remorse for their "guilty" act. - 5/21/14

Can Iran's Zarif Pull Through?
"He may be the only person in the world who can telephone both Senator Dianne Feinsten and the Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah," writes the veteran U.S. foreign affairs journalist Robin Wright about Iran's famous foreign minister. -Jasmin Ramsey - 5/21/14

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urges full demolition of WMDs
Addressing the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday, the Iranian president said that the "only way to remove the threat of these weapons is their full demolition." - 5/21/14

Persian Studies Program at San Jose State University
In 2011, PARSA Community Foundation awarded San Jose State University (SJSU) with a $200,000 grant to start a Persian Studies Program. SJSU, a major public university in Silicon Valley, has built a program that offers countless opportunities for students and members of the community to encounter Persian language and culture. - 5/21/14

Another AIPAC Miscalculation?
When the history of pro-Israel lobbying in Washington is fully written, it may well be that the push for confrontation with Iran will be seen as a major turning point. On Monday, a consistently hawkish, pro-Israel Democrat, Robert Menendez (D-NJ), withdrew the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's docket... -Mitchell Plitnick - 5/21/14

Iran: Mounting Pressure on Baha'is: Facing Prison, Cemetery Destruction
Iranian authorities should ensure that prison sentences against 20 Baha'is unlawfully convicted of national security crimes are overturned. Security and intelligence forces arrested the group of 20 in July 2012. Authorities should also halt the Revolutionary Guard bulldozing of an old Baha'i cemetery in Shiraz. - 5/21/14

Iranian Environmental Activists Oppose Pro-Hunting Folk Songs
A number of environmental groups are protesting the promotion of hunting in a folk music album recently released in Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiyari Province. Kor Sayyad or "Hunter's son", an album of folk songs by Ali Ahmadpour, presents lyrics describing and promoting the hunting of animals, according to environmental activist groups. - 5/21/14

Prosecutor Says Minister Broke Law By Refusing To Censor WhatsApp in Iran
Iran's prosecutor general says the Ministry of Communication's refusal to censor the messaging service WhatsApp in Iran is "against the law" and the minister must be held accountable. - 5/21/14

End of Mandate for EU's Ashton Raises Questions Over Iran Talks
As Iran and international negotiators work towards a July deadline to complete an accord with Tehran on its nuclear program, a practical issue may be on their minds: the looming changeover of the European Union's foreign policy chief. -Reuters - 5/21/14

Water Crisis Looms In Iran
Negin (not her real name) is doing her part to avert a major water shortage in Tehran this summer. The 35-year-old mother of two is taking official calls to be economical when it comes to water use -- and warnings that supplies in the Iranian capital could be restricted if the calls are not heeded -- very seriously. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/20/14

Prominent Iranian filmmaker arrested with Gonabadi dervishes
Iranian filmmaker and journalist Mohammad Nourizad was arrested in Shiraz while meeting with a number of civil activists, including Gonabadi dervishes, at the Hafez Mausoleum. The report adds that the prominent filmmaker and government critic was planning on visiting the families of a number of jailed Gonabadi dervishes. - 5/20/14

The Biggest Mideast Crisis You Probably Don't Know Enough About
The Middle East's seemingly endless conflicts are diverting attention and resources from a graver long-term threat that threatens the whole region, the growing scarcity of water, and the situation will get worse before it gets better - if it ever does get better. -Tom Lippman - 5/20/14

Campus protest in Tabriz stops speech by former Ahmadinejad minister
Reports from Tabriz University indicate that a speech given on campus by Mohammad Hossein Safar Herendi, a former Keyhan editor-in-chief and minister of Culture Guidance under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was interrupted and cut short by protesting students. - 5/20/14

Iran's nuclear talks will eventually reach a conclusion: President Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani predicted on Monday that Iran's nuclear talks with world powers will eventually reach a conclusion, although there are lots of difficulties in the path of talks. To reach an agreement is a win-win game which is in the interests of both sides, Rouhani said - 5/20/14

Why Russia Hasn't Played Spoiler to the Iran Nuclear Talks
U.S.-Russian relations have sharply deteriorated, to put it mildly, over Ukraine in recent months. There has been widespread talk about the re-emergence of a new Cold War between Washington and Moscow. Indeed, some have even argued that Moscow does not want to see American sanctions on Iran lifted because this would allow Iran to compete with Russia in exporting petroleum to the West and elsewhere. -Mark N. Katz - 5/20/14

Panel in London: The Future of Iranian Theatre
A panel of theatre insiders will discuss the current state and future of Iranian theatre, with questions from the audience. The session will be chaired by Nelson Fernandez, director of NFA International Arts and Culture, and formerly of the British Council. - 5/20/14

Iran Rail Expo 2014 opens
The second international exhibition of rail transportation, related industries and equipment (Iran Rail Expo 2014) on Monday at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds. Tens of companies from Iran, Germany, Turkey, China, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, and Austria are showcasing their latest achievements in the exhibit. - 5/20/14

Iranian Actress Leila Hatami Sparks Outrage By Kissing Cannes President
An Iranian actress has been criticized by authorities in Tehran for kissing the president of the 67th Cannes Film Festival. Leila Hatami was photographed kissing 83-year-old Gilles Jacob on the cheek during a red-carpet ceremony in the French city. - 5/19/14

Photos: Mianeh suspension bridge, mountainous nature attract tourists
Mianeh, northwestern Iran, has attracted many eyes from Iran and around the world with pastoral beauty. The suspension bridge over the mountains of the region remains a good place for bungee jumping and diving. -Salar Pouyan, MNA - 5/19/14

European tourist visits to Iran up 240%
The entry of European tourists to Iran has risen 240 percent between April 9 and May 10 compared to the same period last year, Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization Director Masoud Soltanifar said on Saturday. - 5/19/14

Iranian Education Ministry Considers "Citizens' Rights Charter" For Textbooks
Iranian President Hassan Rohani had said at the beginning of the school year that students have to know how to defend their rights and protest against any violations. "I believe the right to protest is where human dignity begins to flourish and it must begin in our schools," Rohani was quoted as saying. "This is what will move the society toward lawfulness." - 5/19/14

Iran to launch three satellites by March 2015
Iran will launch Tadbir, Sharif, and Fajr satellites into space by the end of the current Iranian year which ends on March 20, 2015, Iran Space Agency director Hamid Fazeli announced on Saturday. Preparations are being made to send the satellites, the ISNA news agency quoted Fazeli as saying. - 5/19/14

Shabnam Piryaei's novel FORWARD published: Not Your Typical Diaspora Story
Shabnam Piryaei, award-winning filmmaker and author of ode to fragile, has published a novel that challenges the dominant narratives of Iranian immigration, spirituality and sexuality. 15% of the profits from her book are being donated to OMID Foundations. Forward is available through Amazon and through the publisher's website - 5/19/14

Actress Leila Hatami's Cannes kiss sparks outrage in Iran
Iranian actress Leila Hatami outraged authorities in her home country on Sunday after a photograph emerged of her kissing the director of the Cannes Film Festival, Gilles Jacob, on the cheek. -France24 - 5/19/14

Iran: Thousands ask family of murder victim to show mercy
A large group of citizens of Ravansar in Kermanshah Province gathered at the grave of murder victim Omid Moradi to urge the victim's family to consent to rescinding the death penalty against his convicted murderer. - 5/19/14

The Three-War Doctrine
U.S. troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan. The "war on terrorism" now seems so last decade. U.S. military spending has leveled off, and the Pentagon is looking at some fairly serious reductions after 2015. Last month, President Obama finally pulled the various threads of his foreign policy approach into a "doctrine" that emphasizes incremental diplomacy and leaves military intervention as a last resort. - John Feffer, LobeLog - 5/19/14

Foreign Companies Strike Hopeful Note at Iranian Oil Fair
As Iran and the West attempt to hammer out a deal over the country's nuclear program, there was a spike in participation by foreign companies at an annual oil & gas expo in Tehran -Kay Armin Serjoie, TIME - 5/19/14

President Rohani champions internet access for Iranians
President Hassan Rohani says he welcomes people's use of social networking sites and he urged the ministry of communications to increase internet speed and bandwidth for better public access. Rohani said the days of despotism and one-way message delivery through loudspeakers and tribunes are over. - 5/18/14

No report of progress as latest nuclear talks conclude
The fourth round of nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 has ended in Vienna with no announcement of the result. While past sessions have ended with press conferences to announce a certain level of progress, this time the talks ended without any statements from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton or Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. - 5/18/14

Column: Iran Role Resurges With Nuclear Talks, Saudi Overture
As Iran resumed talks this week with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), the Barack Obama administration and France tried to downplay expectations for quick progress...But expectations are growing that a long-term nuclear deal will be reached and that it will lead to a more recognized role for Iran in resolving other crises such as the Syrian civil war. -Barbara Slavin - 5/18/14

Iranian Foreign Minister Says Nuclear Deal 'Possible'
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif: "Agreement is possible. But illusions need to go. Opportunity shouldn't be missed again." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that clinching a final nuclear deal with world powers is still "possible." - 5/18/14

NIAC Welcomes Yahoo Decision to Reverse Iranian Email Restrictions
Washington, DC - NIAC welcomes the decision of Yahoo to reverse its long-standing policy and ensure that the people of Iran are able to create Yahoo email accounts by September 2014. This follows the sustained campaign of NIAC and other groups to ensure US sanctions do not limit Iranians' access to vital communication tools. - 5/18/14

Iranian women theological students pay first visit to the US
As the United States and Iran sat down in Vienna to begin drafting a long-term nuclear agreement, an exchange of another kind was playing out in and around a pastoral university a couple of hours from Washington. -Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor - 5/18/14

Iran says politicized approaches could endanger world's energy security
MOSCOW - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has criticized any 'politicized approach' in the global oil market, saying it could endanger security of the market. Speaking on the sidelines of the 14th International Energy Forum (IEF) in Moscow on Thursday, Zanganeh said that politics should not disrupt the balance of the global energy market. - 5/18/14

Why Canada is getting it wrong on Iran
As the west seizes upon the opportunity to engage with the moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, Canada just seems to be going in the opposite direction, ignoring not only calls for dialogue by the international community but also from the very Iranian dissident voices Ottawa claims to be defending. Instead, Canada is siding with radicals - dodgy exiled groups and rightwing Israelis - and moving away from the realities on the ground. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 5/18/14

Iran Wins Greco-Roman World Cup
Iran defeated defending champion Russia in the final match of the 2014 FILA Greco-Roman World Cup in Tehran, capital of Iran. The Iranian wrestlers beat Russia 6-2 in Tehran's full-packed Haftom-e Tir Hall on Friday. - 5/16/14

Iran Says Ready To Supply Natural Gas To Europe
Good diplomats find opportunities in crises, and Iran's policymakers seem to be following the rule. Amid rising tensions between the European Union and Moscow over Ukraine, Iranian oil officials have repeatedly said Tehran is ready to supply natural gas to Europe, which currently gets 30 percent of its gas imports from Russia. - 5/16/14

Iranian FM Zarif Meets National Football Team in Austria Camp
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Carlos Queiroz's side at their training base in Austrian capital of Vienna on Thursday. The Iranian team of nuclear negotiators, led by Zarif, is in Vienna for a fresh round of talks with the representatives of six world powers over Iran's peaceful nuclear program. - 5/16/14

NIAC Urges Bank of America to Halt Iranian Account Closures
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) expresses serious concern over the recent string of bank account closures at Bank of America that target Iranians and Iranian-Americans and urges Bank of America to halt all further account closures and to revise its enforcement policy in order to provide necessary notice and recourse to its customers of Iranian descent. - 5/16/14

Controversial Iranian Exile Shakes Up Canadian Parliament's Human Rights Program
A weeklong series of events in Canadian parliament on Iran's human rights record caused worry among some human rights advocates who fear that the activities could harm their efforts. The controversy centers around Iran Accountability Week... -Ali Gharib, The Nation - 5/16/14

Iranian opposition leader gets medical care after daughters protest
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has been under house arrest for over three years, has begun medical treatments following a two-week delay. Mousavi's daughters reportedly told the opposition website Kaleme that they met with their parents on May 14 and were told that the authorities have allowed doctors to proceed with Mousavi's heart treatments. - 5/16/14

A Saudi-Iranian Rapprochement?
Paul Pillar has a blog up at the National Interest on the possibility that Saudi Arabia and Iran are moving toward some form of rapprochement. The latest development, as Paul points out, is the long-awaited invitation this week by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal to his Iranian counter part Mohammad Javad Zarif. -Jim Lobe - 5/16/14

US "Political" Breakout Demand Could Derail Iran Nuclear Talks
As diplomats began drafting a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme and Western sanctions in Vienna Tuesday, U.S. officials were poised to demand a drastic cut in Iran's enrichment capabilities that is widely expected to deadlock the negotiations. -Gareth Porter, IPS - 5/16/14

Iran's environment department halts hotel development
A court order requested by Iran's Department of the Environment has halted a large hotel development in Arina on the banks of the Jajrood River in Tehran Province. The five-star hotel has been under construction on a road between Tehran and Fasham, metres from the Jajrood River. - 5/16/14

Report on Evin Prison "attack" to be prepared, made public
Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, a spokesman for the Rohani administration, says the ministries of intelligence and justice have been charged with preparing a report on recent events at Evin Prison and the result will be made public. The announcement comes after the Minister of Justice dismissed the importance of the Evin Prison events, saying there would be no probe into the matter. - 5/15/14

Khamenei's Role in the Final Nuclear Accord With the West: Another Poisoned Chalice on the Way?
Abbas Araghchi, a senior Iranian negotiator at the nuclear talks with the world major powers known as P5+1 announced that the talks have entered the final drafting phase, members of Iran's hardline Steadfast Front belonging to the Principlists group have through a 100-signature letter called for the return of former negotiator Saeed Jalili to the talks. -Nazanin Kamdar - 5/15/14

Iranian music official slams disruption of approved concert in Yazd
The head of the Music Department of the Ministry of Culture and Guidance has expressed dismay regarding "arbitrary individuals attacking a concert in Yazd", adding: "This kind of action is not approved by any government body in the Islamic Republic." - 5/15/14

Art exhibit to review two centuries of Iranian culture of marriage
An art exhibition, which will open at Tehran's Naqsh-e Jahan Gallery on Friday, will review the Iranian culture of marriage from the Qajar period (1783-1924) to the modern era. Eleven tableaus created by the combination of paintings by Pegah Vaalizadeh and copper works by Shahram Moslemi will be put on display at the exhibition entitled "Ashes on Lovers". - 5/15/14

Kermanshahi Bear euthanized for 'tens of shells' in its body
Veterinarians in Tehran University Veterinary School euthanized a bear diagnosed for being targeted with more than 100 bullets shot by hunters. The bear was reportedly noticed by local pastors in rural setting in Eslamabad Gharb of Kermanshah, a western province of Iran. - 5/15/14

Meet Lily Gilani: Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives
Lily Gilani, CEO and co-founder of BuzzCounsel.com, is running to represent California's 33rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A first generation immigrant, Gilani holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and has been practicing law for more than two decades. - 5/15/14

Chinese Companies To Invest 2.6 Billion Euros To Build Refinery In Southwestern Iran
Chinese companies will invest 2.6 billion Euros to build a refinery in the city of Abadan in southwestern Iran. The new refinery will have an output capacity of 210,000 barrels per day, the Shana news agency reported on Wednesday. - 5/15/14

India's April Iran Oil Imports Drop as Buying Spree Cools
India cut its monthly Iranian crude imports by 42 percent in April from March, in a further sign that Asian oil buyers are reining in an early-2014 spree that took Tehran's exports well past levels allowed under an interim deal with the West. -Reuters - 5/15/14

Iran, World Powers Discuss Nuclear Deal
Negotiators from Iran and a group of six world powers are holding a new round of talks in their effort to craft a long-term agreement on Iran's nuclear program. They met Wednesday in Vienna with plans to begin drafting the text of the deal as they approach their target deadline of July 20. - 5/14/14

Iranian President Hassan Rohani reacts to his critics
Hassan Rohani Iranian president reacted to the barrage of criticism against his administration and especially his nuclear negotiating team saying some have abused the slogan of "fighting against super powers to empty the pockets of the people and to loot the people's property." - 5/14/14

The "Rubik's Cube" Challenges to a Final Iran Nuclear Deal
As talks aimed at a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran continue, with principals from Iran and world powers meeting in Vienna this week, two recent analyses of the negotiations have compared the talks to a "Rubik's Cube." -Derek Davison - 5/14/14

First Photo Of Iran Opposition Leader Musavi Emerges From House Arrest
A photo of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi has emerged online and been widely shared on social media. The photo seems to have been released to mark Father's Day, celebrated in Iran this week. The snapshot is the first to be made public since Musavi was put under house arrest in February 2011 for challenging Iranian leaders. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/14/14

ADL Survey Shows Iran Least Anti-Semitic Middle East Country
The results of a new survey released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as deplorable as they are, show that Iran is the least anti-Semitic country in the Middle East. Not that the ADL is doing anything to point this out in their just-released report entitled, Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism. This surprising fact can only be uncovered by comparing Iranian responses with those of other Middle Eastern countries. -Marsha B. Cohen - 5/14/14

World Cup 2014: Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz fumes as infighting leaves his squad woefully underprepared
Carlos Queiroz's Iran team are currently on a warm-weather training camp in South Africa to prepare Team Melli for arguably the toughest pool of the tournament: Group F which includes Lionel Messi's Argentina, African champions Nigeria and dark horses Bosnia. But little has gone right so far. -James Montague, Telegraph - 5/14/14

Saudi Arabia ready to negotiate better ties with Iran: FM
Saudi Arabia is ready to negotiate better relations with regional rival Iran, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters in Riyadh on Tuesday. The kingdom has also invited Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit Riyadh, Faisal said, hinting at a thaw between the Persian Gulf's two biggest rivals since Tehran reached an interim nuclear deal with world powers. - 5/14/14

Iran to supply 400,000 oil bpd to China: Official
Iran has renewed its oil export contracts with its Asian buyers, agreeing to deliver 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to China, a senior Iranian oil official says. - 5/14/14

An Artistic Glimpse Into Exiled Iranians' Nostalgia for the Homeland
Many Iranians living in the diaspora are faced with nostalgia for a home country that they cannot return to because of the threat of persecution. Iranian-Canadian photographer Saman Aghvami attempted to capture that feeling in a photo exhibit called "I'm Not There" for Toronto's Contact Photography Festival. -Mahsa Alimardani, Global Voices - 5/14/14

Iran cyberpolice blocked in bid to identify blogger
An Iranian blog-hosting service has refused to comply with the authorities after being told to disclose private information about one of its users. Iran's cyberpolice, known as Fata, wrote earlier this month to Bayan, a Tehran-based IT firm, asking it to reveal the log records for a blogger using its hosting service. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 5/14/14

Iran unveils replica of American drone: IR-RQ-170!
The Iranian version of the RQ-170 which has been manufactured through the reverse engineering of the US drone which was tracked and hunted down in Iran late in 2011, has been equipped by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) with bombing capability to attack the US warships in any possible battle. - 5/13/14

Tough Road in Vienna to Iran Nuclear Deal
Iran and world powers will resume negotiating a final deal on Tehran's nuclear programme Tuesday in Vienna while experts warn the hardest work is about to begin. Representatives from Iran and the U.S. indicated last month that the drafting of a final deal would begin during this round of talks scheduled for five days - the longest session since the extended talks that led to the interim "Joint Plan of Action" (JPOA) reached Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva. -Jasmin Ramsey - 5/13/14

FireEye Reveals Rise in Advanced Threat Activities by Iranian-Linked Ajax Security Team In Post Stuxnet Era
FireEye, Inc., the leader in stopping today's advanced cyber attacks, today released "Operation Saffron Rose,"a research report detailing the activities of a cyber-espionage group likely based in Iran. The group, which FireEye researchers are dubbing the Ajax Security Team, has progressed from mostly defacing websites in 2009 to full-blown espionage against Iranian dissidents and U.S. defense firms today. - 5/13/14

The Elements: The Paintings of Mehri Yazdani
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library is showcasing paintings by Mehri Yazdani, an Iranian-American Artist. This is the first time that Mehri Yazdani is exhibiting her work in Silicon Valley, a great opportunity for the community to know an award-winning artist and to observe her remarkable paintings. - 5/13/14

Farhad Ahrarnia's Exhibition in London: STAGE ON FIRE
For his third solo show at Rose Issa Projects, Farhad Ahrarnia combines his interest in dance, high modernism, and the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East to explore the relationship between various national, cultural and political institutions and 20th-century avant-garde arts. - 5/13/14

MPs tell negotiators to protect Iran's "nuclear achievements"
Iranian media report that in a statement read in Parliament today, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the negotiating delegation are asked not to relinquish Iran's nuclear rights, including uranium enrichment, nuclear research and the promotion of nuclear energy, and the heavy-water reactor in Arak. - 5/13/14

Steve Beitashour wants to play for Iran in World Cup
Steven Beitashour wants to make a couple of things clear right away. First of all, his decision to play for Iran in this summer's World Cup had nothing to do with politics. "I just thought about soccer," Beitashour says. "It's a great opportunity, especially to play on the international stage." -Kevin Baxter, LA Times - 5/13/14

How to strike a win-win deal with Iran
The United States and its allies are now preparing for the home stretch in their nuclear negotiations with Iran. And, as they approach the finish line, it will be critical for insightful voices to help the Obama administration parse through difficult issues that remain on the negotiating table.-Reza Marashi and Trita Parsi, CNN - 5/13/14

A 'nightmare becoming reality'? Iran unveils American drone replica.
Iran captured a US stealth surveillance drone in 2011, and started working to reverse engineer its own. Yesterday it unveiled what it claims is a replica, plus bombing capabilities. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 5/13/14

Iran Nuclear Talks: What do Rouhani's Hard-line Critics Want?
With the July 20 deadline for reaching a final deal on Iran's nuclear program looming, Tehran and world powers will resume negotiations on May 13 in Vienna. While the talks could theoretically be extended, efforts by Iran and the P5+1 to strike a final deal soon will be strong, given the considerable domestic pressure faced by the negotiating parties, particularly Iran and the United States. -Adnan Tabatabai - 5/12/14

Iran will not surrender to nuclear and scientific apartheid
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the country will not take even a single step back in its efforts to pursue nuclear technology. Rouhani made the remarks in Tehran on Sunday during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, during which three nuclear achievements in the health sector were also unveiled. - 5/12/14

Japan defeats Iran to lift AFC Futsal Championship 2014
Goalkeeper Yushi Sekiguchi saved three penalties in the shootout as Japan retained the AFC Futsal Championship title following a 2-2 draw after extra-time in Saturday's final at Phu Tho Stadium. - 5/12/14

Reform Journalist Detained In Iran
Iran's official news agency has reported that Iranian authorities have detained a reformist journalist on security charges. IRNA quoted the journalist's attorney, Giti Pourfazel, as saying that a court on May 10 had charged Serajeddin Mirdamadi of plotting against Iran's ruling clerics and ordered his temporary detention. - 5/12/14

Iranian President urges enhanced cultural, economic cooperation with Pakistan
President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that relations between Tehran and Islamabad should be based on broadening secure and developed borders. President Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif in Tehran. - 5/12/14

Istanbul honours Iranian mother who spared son's killer
Samereh Alinejad, an Iranian woman who pardoned her son's murderer at the moment of his hanging, has been recognized as the Mother of Year in Istanbul. - 5/12/14

Hassan Nasrallah's Complaints and the Confessions of the Governor: Qom Strives to Relax Religious Tensions
Last week the governor of the province of Qom responded to complaints by Lebanon's Hassan Nasrollah who had called for greater controls over religious satellite television networks whose programs came from clerics and others in the Iranian city of Qom. Some broadcasts have been criticized for their anti-Sunni content. -Kaveh Ghoreishi, Rooz - 5/12/14

What will an Iranian nuclear deal look like? Here's one option.
There has been no shortage of reports on the Iranian nuclear standoff. But among the most useful and timely is a report today by the International Crisis Group (ICG) that provides a blueprint for how a final nuclear deal can be reached. It comes only days before Iran and six world powers meet for a fourth time, with the July 20 deadline to conclude a deal looming. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 5/12/14

Judiciary leader slams "vicious attacks" over Evin incident
The head of Iran's judiciary says the judiciary has been targeted with "vicious attacks" in recent months, especially in connection with the events in Ward 350 of Evin Prison. The Mehr News Agency reports that Sadegh Larijani told a meeting of heads of courts across the country that the attacks are aimed at destroying the reputation of the Islamic Republic and its judiciary. - 5/10/14

Nuclear negotiators should not be undermined: Tehran mayor
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said on Thursday that the Iranian nuclear negotiating team should not be undermined at home and the society should not be divided on the nuclear issue. "The nuclear issue is one of the most complicated foreign policy projects in the history of Iran, and future generations will definitely air judgment about it," Qalibaf told cleric war veterans at a meeting in Tehran. - 5/10/14

Tehran Prayer Leader Warns Rohani Ministers Against Reformist-Era Policies
Tehran's Friday prayer Leader Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani warned the ministers of culture and science on May 9 not to pursue policies of the era of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami. The warning comes amid growing pressure from conservatives on Iran's President Hassan Rohani who is criticized over his nuclear and domestic policies. - 5/10/14

Japan's Mitsui ready to invest $4b in Iran transport projects
Japan's Mitsui Group is ready to invest $4 billion in rail, airport, and shipping projects in Iran. Senior managers of Mitsui recently held talks with officials of the Iranian Transport and Urban Development Ministry in Tehran, the Mehr News Agency reported on Thursday. - 5/10/14

How the West gets Iran wrong
Much has been said and written about liberalism, economics and even feminism in Iran. Yet despite much lamenting among outsiders determined to paint a grim picture of Iran by focusing on the supposed stifling of political thought and discussion in the country, the reality is in many respects quite different. So what has really been going on? -Akbar Ganji, CNN - 5/10/14

Iran takes steps to extradite fraud suspect from Canada
Iran's international police have announced that talks with Ottawa have led to promises from Canadian authorities to look into the extradition of the former head of Melli Bank, Mahmoudreza Khavari, who is a suspect in a major financial fraud case. - 5/10/14

Israeli Ex-Atomic Chief: Iran 10 Years Away from Nuclear Weapons
Another Israeli expert has contradicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assessment of Iran's nuclear program. "The Iranian nuclear program will only be operational in another 10 years," said Uzi Eilam, the former head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, during an interview with Ronen Bergman published today in the Israeli daily, Ynet. -Jasmin Ramsey - 5/9/14

Iranian Takes Novel Approach To Publish Book
After trying and failing for years to obtain a publishing license for his novel, Iranian writer and journalist Mohammad Motlagh finally had enough. Instead of taking the Culture Ministry's no for answer, on April 28, Motlagh began posting his novel -- one chapter at a time -- on Facebook. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/9/14

GCC Military Command or a More Open Society
On 30th April 2014, Saudi Arabia staged its largest-ever military exercises codenamed "Abdullah's Shield" after the kingdom's 91-year old ruler and coinciding with the ninth anniversary of his ascension to the throne. -Farhang Jahanpour - 5/9/14

DANA website becomes latest muzzled Iranian news outlet
The Tehran Prosecutor has blocked the news website DANA following the shutdown of the Qanoon newspaper. He told attendees that the Dana website, which had posted a story about the head of Fuel Headquarters, has been blocked, and Qanoon daily, which quoted that article, has been shut down. - 5/9/14

Iran to Face Japan in AFC Futsal Championship Final
Iran defeated Uzbekistan 10-0 on Thursday and advanced to the 2014 AFC Futsal Championship final match. Iran will play Japan on Saturday in the final and Uzbekistan face Kuwait in the bronze medal match. - 5/9/14

Iran's Yazd province hit with water supply shutdown
Mohammad Hossein Emami, the head of Yazd province Crisis Management, reported that the water supply has been cut off in nine cities and towns in the province. The report on Yazdi News indicates that the municipal water supply is usually provided by transfer from other areas and a fall in precipitation in the region has caused the complete water shutdown. - 5/9/14

Iran Central Bank gets two portions of frozen assets
The Central Bank of Iran says the fourth and fifth installments of the $4.2-billion blocked funds that were promised as part of an interim nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers have been transferred to its designated account. - 5/9/14

Iran's Brain Drain Is the West's Gain
Drawing on a cigarette in his flat in central Tehran, Araz Alipour can count on one hand the number of friends who stayed in Iran after college. "Easily 90 percent of them have gone overseas," the 29-year-old software developer says, reflecting on the flight of many of the nation's science and engineering students. "Of my 45 university classmates, maybe five remain." -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg - 5/9/14

Iranian Women Snap 'Stealthy' Photos Free Of Hijab
An unveiled young woman stands in front of a sign that reads: "Sisters, observe your hijab." Another with red hair and dark glasses stands next to the ruins of Persepolis, while two others, also sans hijab, dance happily on the shores of the Caspian Sea. They are among dozens of Iranian women inside the country who have posted their hijab-less photos on a newly launched Facebook page to share their "stealthy" moments of freedom from the veil. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/8/14

President Rouhani rejects WhatsApp ban in Iran
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has vetoed a plan to ban WhatsApp, following a row over censorship of the popular messaging application, media reports said Wednesday. The reformist Sharq daily reported that Rouhani has ordered the WhatsApp ban, proposed shortly after Facebook bought the messaging service for $19 billion in February, be stopped. - 5/8/14

Iranian newspaper Qanoon shut down for reporting on former official
Qanoon newspaper was shut down on Wednesday March 7 by the order of the Tehran prosecutor's office. Earlier, the newspaper's publishers had said that the Tehran prosecutor "indicted" the daily for reporting that Mohammad Royanian, the former Chief of Fuel Headquarters, had been released on bail. - 5/8/14

Iran on path of interaction and friendship with the world: President Rouhani
Iran's relations with the world are on the path of friendship and interaction and within the framework of honor, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday. Rouhani made the remarks in an address to a gathering of people in Ilam, which is the capital of the western province of Ilam. - 5/8/14

Hard-Liners In Tehran Protest Against 'Bad Veiling'
Hard-liners have protested in Tehran against what they said was the flouting of the Islamic dress code that became compulsory after the 1979 revolution. The official news agency IRNA put the number of protesters at about 4,000. - 5/8/14

Defenders of Iran's natural caves raise alarm
The growth of Iranian tourism has resulted in the deterioration of a number of Iran's natural and pristine caves. The head of Iran's Association of Caves and Speleology criticized the management of these natural resources, saying: "It is regrettable that they have taken urban facilities into the caves and destroyed the natural space and the condition of these caves." - 5/8/14

Spoilers trying to scuttle nuclear talks: Iranian negotiators
Spoilers and "dark forces" are attempting to wreck efforts to clinch a historic deal between Iran and the West on the country's nuclear program, senior members of Iran's negotiating team have told the Guardian. - 5/8/14

Amid Ukraine Crisis, Russia Makes Asia Pivot
As Ukraine's internal stability continues to deteriorate, the United States and European Union have imposed additional sanctions against Russian leaders, punishing them for what increasingly appears to be Kiev's failures. In the face of US and, especially, European hostility, Russia has accelerated plans to shift its attention, and its business interests, elsewhere. -Derek Davison - 5/8/14

Murder victims' families spare hundreds of convicts in Iran
Iran's Prosecutor General and spokesman for the judiciary Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei has announced that in the past Iranian calendar year, 375 death sentences were cancelled with the consent of the victims' next of kin. - 5/8/14

Iran builds robot fish for military, research purposes
Iranian researchers at Tehran's Sharif University of Technology have designed a fish robot imitating motions of living organisms and could be used for research, industry and military purposes. - 5/8/14

The MEK's Influence in EU Politics Matters
The good news is that MEK lobbying efforts against diplomacy with Iran are unlikely to succeed. Even with the extravagant funds the MEK has spent on endorsements by political elites, the group's prominence in the EU is confined only to one part of the EP...It would be a mistake, however, to completely disregard the capacity of the MEK to poison the present atmosphere of European-Iranian relations. -Eldar Mamedov - 5/7/14

Queiroz announces Iran's World Cup squad
Carlos Queiroz has announced Iran's pre-World Cup squad of 28 players; Karimi and Rahmati have not been invited. Mehr News quoted Iran's Football Federation website that Carloos Queiroz had invited 28 players, among them European and other so-called 'legionnaires.' - 5/7/14

Over 600 foreign firms attending Iran Oil Show
The 19th International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition of Iran (Iran Oil Show 2014) opened in Tehran on Tuesday with over 600 foreign companies from 32 countries in attendance. Over 1,200 Iranian companies are also participating in the exhibition. - 5/7/14

Caspian Economic Cooperation Organization
Iran first suggested the establishment of Caspian Cooperation Organization in February 1991 following the collapse of the former USSR and creation of several independent new states in the coasts of the Caspian Sea. The idea was discussed among the littoral states but facing serious opposition from the Azerbaijan Republic, it was not followed later. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 5/7/14

Iran's Parliament 'Satisfied' With Minister's Holocaust Explanation
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he would not allow his country to be damaged with statements about "Holocaust denial." Zarif made the comments during a May 6 session of parliament where hard-line lawmakers questioned him over his Holocaust remarks and other issues. - 5/7/14

Seven Iranians enlisted in Mars One volunteers
Seven Iranians have successfully passed 'medical health' phase of Mars One project, and entered the next phase, and have been enlisted in 705 volunteers of one-way Mars One project. - 5/7/14

Scientists to delve into Iran's weather of one million years ago
Javad Nezamdoust told Mehr News that a group of geologists from University of Oxford would launch an examination of stalactite and stalagmite in cooperation of Iranian cave explorers to find the weather quality and precipitation patterns of Iran. - 5/7/14

Iranian News Agency Removes IRGC Commander's Comments On Iranian Forces In Syria
Iran's hard-line Fars news agency has removed comments by a commander of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who was quoted as saying that the Islamic republic is militarily involved in Syria. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/7/14

Iran's car exports drop 24%
Iran's car exports dropped by 24 percent in the first Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (March 21-April 20), the ISNA News Agency reported on Tuesday. The country exported just 685 cars in the mentioned period of time. Iraq was the main destination for the Iranian cars, accounting for 98 percent of imports. - 5/7/14

'We're Worried,' Say Hard-line Opponents Of Iran's Nuclear Deal
Iranian hard-liners have concerns about Tehran's ongoing negotiations over its nuclear program, and they want the government to know about it. To get their point across, a group of government critics gathered this week under the slogan "We're Worried" to air their belief that too many concessions are being made to world powers when it comes to Iran's nuclear ambitions. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/6/14

Iranian Military Delegation Visits China
An Iranian military delegation has met with Chinese officials in Beijing for talks on cooperation. The Iranian group was led by Defense Minister and Armed Forces Logistics General Hoseyn Dehkan, who met with Defense Minister Chang Wanquan on May 5. - 5/6/14

Iran needs young population to make progress: Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that Iran will not be able to make progress without a young population. Ayatollah Khamenei highlighted the importance of taking measures to encourage the people to make use of the services provided by midwives in order to help implement the major policy of increasing the country's population. - 5/6/14

Criticism prompts Rohani to defend nuclear negotiations
After Basij hardliners organized a gathering for those concerned about the nuclear negotiations, saying the Rohani administration has been overly accommodating of Western demands, President Hassan Rohani spoke in defense of his policies. - 5/6/14

IRGC-linked film predicts Rohani's nuclear surrender to West
Iranian media close to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have announced that on Tuesday May 6, they are launching a documentary at the Tehran University School of Management examining the nuclear negotiations that led to the Geneva Agreement between Iran and the 5+1. - 5/6/14

Iran: Supreme Leader avoids Tehran Book Fair for first time
Iranian President Hassan Rohani launched the book fair this year by making statements against censorship. This has created controversy and been repudiated by other top Islamic Republic figures, such as the head of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati, and Gholamali Haddad Adel, the head of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature. - 5/6/14

Iranian Activist Says Her Release Is A Gesture, Not A New Era
When Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, was released in September 2013 -- along with 11 other high-profile political prisoners - many Iranians saw the move as opening a new era following the election of centrist President Hassan Rouhani. -Deborah Amos, NPR - 5/6/14

The President Strikes a Nerve
President Obama has gotten much attention from a single extended response he gave to a question about his foreign policy from Ed Henry of Fox News in a press conference last week in Manila. The apparently strongly felt need, on the part of some of the president's hardline critics, to strike back at his remarks and to try to discredit them indicates that he spoke some embarrassing truths. -Paul Pillar, LobeLog - 5/6/14

Iran Nuclear Deal: Uphill on the Homestretch?
To date, negotiators on both sides of the talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program, which resume next week, have been remarkably discreet. Even at the political level, people have been unusually quiet. This is an excellent omen. In the past, too many opportunities have been nipped in the bud due to an excess of statements calibrated for domestic purposes. -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 5/5/14

Confrontation with the world is not path to success: Iran's President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said confrontation with the world will not bring the country success and thus his government has adopted a constructive approach toward the world. Responding to certain criticism of his government's policies, which are based on "constructive interaction" with the world, Rouhani said, "Yes, we want to talk to the world; we want to speak with logic and resolve our issues." - 5/5/14

Week Of Iran Nuclear Talks Starting In New York
Nuclear experts from Iran and six world powers are due on May 5 to start a week of talks in New York aimed at reaching a permanent agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program and eases Western concerns Tehran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. - 5/5/14

Hollywood and its portrayal of the Immortals
There are many historical incongruities that have pervaded this film (300: Rise of an Empire) and its predecessor 300, which was based on the 480 BCE, Battle of Thermopylae. However, one of the distortions which has been remained consistent throughout both of these motion pictures is that of the Immortal -John Trikeriotis - 5/5/14

Opposition leader's daughter suspicious of his health problems
Nargess Mousavi, the daughter of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, has expressed grave concern regarding the health of her father and the development of health complications that, according to her, were not present prior to the leader's arrest. - 5/5/14

Armenian FM: Yerevan ready to broaden cooperation with Tehran
Visiting Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Monday that Yerevan welcomes expansion of relations and cooperation with Tehran. The Armenian foreign minister heading a delegation arrived in Tehran on Monday. - 5/5/14

Iran's 30th flotilla foils pirate attack on Indian ship
"An Indian oil tanker dubbed Jok Lok was heading toward the Suez Canal through the Red Sea when it was attacked by seven ultra speed boats belonging to pirates," Iranian Navy's Deputy Commander for Operations Admiral Siavash Jareh said on Sunday. - 5/5/14

Deal for export of Iranian gas to Iraq finalized
Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Ali Majedi said on Monday that the deal for export of gas to Iraq has been finalized. Majedi said laying pipeline to carry Iranian gas to Iraq has been worked out and negotiations with the Iraqi officials are under way to initiate export of Iranian gas to Iraq. - 5/5/14

Marsha Mehran, Writer of Iranians' Irish Experience, Dies at 36
Marsha Mehran, an Iranian-born author who wrote a hugely successful debut novel centered on Iranian expatriates in Ireland, was found dead on Wednesday at her home in the village of Lecanvey in County Mayo, on Ireland's northwest coast. She was 36. - 5/5/14

Actress: In Iran, my counterpart faces prison
At first blush, the biography of Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani could read very much like my own. Ahangarani is a working actress who supports social causes in her time away from set. The difference? In October, Ahangarani was sentenced to 18 months in prison for her peaceful activism. -Nazanin Boniadi, CNN - 5/5/14

American Skateboarders in Iran
The short film posted above is part of videographer Patrik Wallner's skateboarding documentary, the Visualtraveling series, which features countries that people wouldn't normally associate with skateboarding. In "The Persian Version," an international group of professional skateboarders offer a truly unique way to see Iran, where I was born. -Jasmin Ramsey - 5/4/14

Photos: Rohani's Adviser Visits Church And Synagogue In Shiraz
Hojatoleslam Ali Younesi, President Hassan Rohani's adviser for ethnic groups and religious minorities, visited a church and a synagogue in the city of Shiraz on Friday. Younesi stressed that the general policy of the Islamic system in Iran and the present government in particular is that no Iranian be deprived of its rights for religious reasons. - 5/4/14

Well known Iranian musician Lotfi dies from cancer
Prominent Iranian Tar player and musician Mohammadreza Lotfi passed away on Friday May 2 in Tehran at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer. Lotfi launched the Sheyda music group in 1976 and was also one of the founders of the Chavosh Music Institute, which has produced some of the most prominent works in Iranian traditional music. - 5/4/14

Iran Human Rights: President Rouhani, Listen to Your Public
While enjoying unprecedented successes in international relations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani seems to be suffering a stalemate when it comes to building trust and cooperation between different factions in the Iranian state. As a result, he seems plagued by continuous human rights disasters at home, while issuing no public condemnations. -Sussan Tahmasebi - 5/4/14

Catherine Ashton to appear in Iranian apparel
An Iranian costume designer Mitra Tamjidi has designed a dress for the EU Foreign Policy Chief Catheirne Ashton, inspired by old-fashion Iranian clothing. Ashton is scheduled to put on the dress in one of her diplomatic meetings. - 5/4/14

At Least 300 Dead In Afghan Landslide
Afghan officials have lowered to 300 the confirmed death toll from a landslide in the north of the country. Badakhshan Governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb gave the new toll to reporters on May 3. He was speaking at the scene of a mudslide that engulfed the village of Aab Bareek in Badakhshan province on May 2. - 5/4/14

Roudbar farmers protest decline in product prices
Farmers in southern Roudbar have protested declining prices for agricultural products by unloading the fruits of their labour in front of the governor's office. The Dana website reports that following the sharp fall in the price of agricultural products, farmers who have suffered heavy losses gathered in front of the Roudbar South governor's office. - 5/4/14

Several Labor Activists Observing May Day Arrested In Iran
A number of labor activists have been detained in the Iranian capital as they gathered to observe International Workers' Day on May 1. The activists were among dozens of workers who were aiming to stage a protest outside the Labor Ministry and also at another location, in western Tehran. - 5/2/14

"Freedom: A Shared Dream" - International Public Urban Art Competition Sponsored by Farhang Foundation
This momentous art competition commissioned by Farhang aims to create a historic piece of public art that celebrates the ideals of cultural freedom and religious tolerance that were central to the legacy of Cyrus the Great, Persian King from 2,500 years ago, and were shared by the Founding Fathers of the United States. Once completed, this artwork will be gifted to the city of Los Angeles on behalf of the Iranian American community. - 5/2/14

Iran's petrochemical gasoline linked to cancer
Iran's Department of the Environment has published a report confirming gasoline produced at petrochemical refineries "causes cancer." The Shargh daily reports that the statement says: "To combat sanctions and provide for the country's gasoline needs, the former administration began a rushed effort to produce petrochemical gasoline without a long-term plan." - 5/2/14

Iran Accused Of Excavating Baha'i Cemetery
The Baha'i International Community has accused Iran of excavating a cemetery where hundreds of Baha'i followers are buried. The community called on Iranian authorities to halt the work in the graveyard in the southern city of Shiraz. - 5/2/14

You've got to watch this skateboard tour of Iran. It's beautiful
If National Geographic made skate videos, they'd probably look like "The Persian Version" - a dazzling, 30-minute film that follows a crew of professional skaters as they zigzag across Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. -GlobalPost - 5/2/14

Biographies of 1200 Iranian luminaries published in bilingual book
A book containing the biographies of 1200 Iranian luminaries from ancient times to the modern era has been published in Persian and English in two volumes. Entitled "Persian Nobles", the book has been compiled by Ahmad Lorestani, publisher Asr-e Guyesh announced in a press release on Wednesday. - 5/2/14

A Khatami Selfie
Selfies are in and Iran's Internet-savvy former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi knows it only too well. On May 1, Abtahi posted a selfie with former President Mohammad Khatami on Instagram. The reformist Khatami, who remains popular among young people, doesn't seem to have been aware that Abtahi was taking a selfie. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/2/14

The low-budget biopic riling Iran's president
A new low-budget film is causing a big headache for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. I am Rouhani is an hour-long documentary telling the story of the president's life. The film was produced by Shafagh Multimedia Group, a company close to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which has been critical of Mr Rouhani's reform programme and rapprochement with the West. -Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, BBC - 5/2/14

Documenting Rohani: Is New Mystery Film Fact Or Fiction?
A peacemaker eager to make nice with a mortal enemy, Iraq, during wartime. A dealmaker willing to help free American hostages in exchange for the Great Satan's weapons. A negotiator who mistakenly suspended Iran's nuclear program in an effort to appease the Europeans. Is this the true, unadulterated history of Hassan Rohani's political career? Or is this a distorted account of the Iranian president's past, one intended to smear him and portray him as a closet hard-liner? -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/1/14

Photos: Public co-operation helps bring dried Iranian lake to life
Abundant rainfall in Southeastern Iran has brought water back to Lake Hamoun after 15 years of dryness. Local people celebrated the event in and around the lake. With the rise of floods, the Sistan-Baluchistan Department of the Environment enlisted public assistance and began efforts to facilitate greater water accumulation in the lake. - 5/1/14

Why Is Yahoo Blocking Email for Iranians?
In September 2013, Yahoo revised its registration process to require users to provide a phone number for new accounts. Country codes belonging to countries sanctioned by the United States were disabled, meaning Iranians have been effectively prevented from setting up new Yahoo accounts. -Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 5/1/14

Iran's inflation rate hits 32.5%: Central Bank
Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has announced that the inflation rate for the 12-month period ending the first Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (March 21- April 20) hit 32.5 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. - 5/1/14

Two Iranian women to compete in Paris-Dubai rally
The competition which began on April 15 and will continue into May 5, is an extraordinary automobile rally to link French capital, Paris to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The route drives 6,925km from France, Switzerland, Principaute of Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran to the UAE. - 5/1/14

Detained Iranian Opposition Leader Mousavi Undergoes Emergency Heart Procedure
On Tuesday, April 29, 2014, an emergency heart procedure was carried out on Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader who has been held under house arrest for three years, without the prior knowledge and consent of his family. - 5/1/14

Photos: Rare whale found dead on Persian Gulf shore
The carcass of a rare whale has washed up on the coast of Deylam in Bushehr Province. The head of the Department of the Environment in the region said the 14-metre-long whale washed up near Lilitin village, IRNA reports. - 5/1/14

Facelifting Tehran One Wall at a Time
Interview with Mehdi Ghadyanloo, a muralist, urban and street artist who lives and works in Tehran, Iran: "I am 33 years old. I studied art and drawing for undergraduate, followed by a masters degree in animation. I have always loved making art. I don't know where it began as my family is involved in agriculture." -Young Persian Artists - 5/1/14

Iranian zoo faces prosecution by government over chained captive bear
The environmental authorities of Iran have sued a zoo for keeping animals in poor conditions, particularly for chaining a bear to a post. Iran's environment department said on Wednesday it had inspected Babolsar's zoo, in the northern province of Mazandaran, and was pursuing a legal case following complaints by the public over the mistreatment of animals held there. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 5/1/14
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