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The believers of Jewish religion exceed four billion worldwide!
Judaism, the very original Arch of the Covenant for the three Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Jewish, Christianity and Islam, is now ubiquitously practiced, observed or the least affiliated in name with, by well over four billion inhabitants, i.e., more than two-third of the world population who identify themselves with any religion worldwide. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 5/31/17

The Trump Effect on EU-Iran Relations
The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament has called today to uphold the nuclear agreement between Iran and the UN Security Council members plus Germany as "an important success of international and notably EU diplomacy." It also called on the EU to "continue applying pressure on the US to fully deliver on the practical implementation" of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Eldar Mamedov - 5/31/17

Iran's President Rouhani: Delivering Human Rights After the Election
The re-election of President Hassan Rouhani on May 19, 2017 was due in large part to the perception by the Iranian citizenry that his government would do more to improve human rights in Iran than his rivals-an outcome clearly desired by a majority of voters. During Rouhani's campaign rallies, not only did he make explicit references to issues of political and social freedom and promises to uphold such freedoms in his second term, his supporters also repeatedly made clear their demands for improvements in human rights. - 5/31/17

Iran's Annual Non-Oil GDP Growth At 6.3 Percent
Iran's non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.3 percent during the past Iranian calendar year (March 2016-March 2017), according to the newest report of the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI). According to the same report, GDP growth, including the oil sector, touched 8.3 percent in the said period. - 5/31/17

David Albright's Hidden Talents
Nuclear proliferation expert and Iran nuclear agreement skeptic David Albright revealed a heretofore unknown talent on Tuesday: a mastery of the Persian language that apparently supersedes that of even native speakers of the language. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 5/31/17

Iranian Activist Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh: To Improve Women's Rights, Rouhani Must Curb Power of Security Agencies
Prominent human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh has called on newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani to improve gender equality in Iran by counteracting the policies of Iran's repressive security agencies. - 5/31/17

Sardar-e Jangal gas field in Caspian Sea could bring Iran high-tech
Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland body of water, was mainly a center of fishing activities and also a marine transportation hub by the middle of the past century. But discovery of the first oil and gas reserves in the world's largest lake in the late 1940s added to its strategic and geopolitical significance. -Mahnaz Abdi - 5/31/17

UAE pays Iran over $4B in gas dues
Reports say Iran has received over $4 billion from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for purchases of gas condensate made before sanctions were imposed against Iran in 2011. The payments have been made by Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), reported Al Jazeera on its website. - 5/31/17

The Expat's Guide to Working in Iran
Are you preparing to relocate to Iran for work? Or maybe you are already an expat in Iran and would like to get more familiar with working conditions in Iran. Read this article to find out the answers to your questions about moving to Iran for work as an expat. -Daryoosh Dehestani, TechRasa - 5/31/17

Photos: The Smile Of Poverty
Poverty has a bitter name. However, the people who live in the southern part of Kerman province of Iran have gotten used to it. There is so much poverty all over the place that its absence anywhere will look odd. The men and women of the villages are used to lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity, gas or sanitation. -Shahaboldin Ghayoumi - 5/30/17

Iran's Politics Color Ramadan Prayer Dispute
A debate over the potential return of one of Iran's greatest classical singers for a prayer recitation has provided a fresh test of the hard-line domination of state TV nearly a decade after unrest that roiled the country's establishment. The performance of Rabbana by Mohammad Reza Shajarian was a Ramadan fixture for three decades before it was eliminated from programming after comments by Shajarian that were sympathetic to reformist critics of Iran's 2009 presidential election. - 5/30/17

Iran Continues Deporting Undocumented Afghan Refugees
Nearly 130,000 undocumented Afghan refugees have been forced by the Iranian government to go home this year, heading to an uncertain future with the resurgent Taliban now holding more than 40 percent rural territory in Afghanistan. Hundreds more are ousted each day from Iran, in line with Iran's target of sending 600,000 back to Afghanistan by the end of the year. -Noor Zahid and Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 5/30/17

Avideh Zakhor: the brains behind Google Earth and Street View
For one of Silicon Valley's most important inventions, we can thank Avideh Zakhor, creator of the technology that brought us Google Earth and Street View. Before there was Google Earth and Street View showing us around the world, there was Zakhor and her team driving a truck loaded with sensors around Berkeley and flying in a helicopter overhead to gather imagery, mapping part of the city in three dimensions. -Ethan Baron, San Jose Mercury - 5/30/17

"Cold Breath" by Iranian director Abbas Raziji crowned best at Connecticut film festival
Iranian director Abbas Raziji's "Cold Breath" won the best film award at the Second Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (RIFF), which was held in the state of Connecticut in the U.S. from May 19 to 21. - 5/30/17

Rouhani faces pressure to improve human rights in Iran
In the week before the May 19 presidential election in Iran, the eventual victor, Hassan Rouhani, criticised the judiciary and the powerful Revolutionary Guards with rhetoric rarely heard in public in the Islamic republic. Now, in the eyes of his supporters, it is time to deliver. Millions of Rouhani's followers expect him to keep pushing on human rights issues. -Babak Dehghanpisheh, Reuters - 5/30/17

Iraqi Shi'ite Militia Backed By Iran Recaptures Border Area With Syria
An Iraqi Shi'ite force backed by Iran has said it pushed Islamic State (IS) militants out of villages on the border with Syria on May 29, in a step toward reopening a supply route to send Iranian weapons to President Bashar al-Assad. - 5/30/17

Iranian Director Mohammad Rasoulof Takes Prestigious Cannes Prize
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has won a prestigious prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Rasoulof, 45, was awarded the main prize in the Un Certain Regard competition on May 27 for his film A Man Of Integrity (Lerd), which tells the story of man working at a goldfish farm who becomes ensnared in corruption. - 5/29/17

Photos: Duck undergoes cataract surgery in Tabriz
Iranian ophthalmologist Behnam Ghaffarzadeh examines a duck that has just undergone cataract extraction at the surgeon's office in the northwestern city of Tabriz, May 25, 2017. -Amir Sadeghi - 5/29/17

Iranian Supreme Leader Calls Saudi Leaders 'Idiots' For U.S. Deals, Relations
Iran's supreme leader has called Saudi Arabia's leaders "idiots" and "worthless" for allying themselves with the United States and said their policies will ultimately lead to their "certain downfall." - 5/29/17

Rouhani's Beautiful Victory: What Comes Next?
Hassan Rouhani has undoubtedly won a brilliant victory in the presidential election, with a tally exceeding 60% of the valid votes cast in its first and only round (the 57% figure usually cited by the media included blank and invalid ballots). The result has exceeded the predictions of most experts -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 5/29/17

We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won't Admit It
The ultimate inspiration for such people is Wahhabism, the puritanical, fanatical and regressive type of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, whose ideology is close to that of al-Qaeda and Isis. This is an exclusive creed, intolerant of all who disagree with it such as secular liberals, members of other Muslim communities such as the Shia or women resisting their chattel-like status. -Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch - 5/29/17

Iraq's Iran-backed paramilitary advances toward Syria border
Iraq's Iran-backed Shi'ite paramilitary force said on Sunday it had dislodged Islamic State from a number of villages west of Mosul, scoring further progress toward the border with Syria. -Reuters - 5/29/17

Nine Iranian American Receive Ellis Island Medal of Honor
On May 13th, 2017 nine highly accomplished Iranian Americans, including IA-100 member Mohammed Farzaneh, were awarded the 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding achievement in their personal and professional lives, as well as their commitment to the preservation of their Iranian culture and heritage and noteworthy citizenship to the United States. - 5/27/17

FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP: Iran eliminated after Portugal scores at the 86th minute
Group C came down to the wire as a late deflected goal helped Portugal edge Iran 2-1 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 and send them to the knockout stages. Iran opened the scoring just four minutes into the match when Reza Shekari found space at the near post to head in Ali Shojaei's corner kick for his third of the tournament... - 5/27/17

Iran's President Rouhani urges peace, moderation as fasting month of Ramadan starts
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has written to the leaders of Muslim countries on the occasion of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, calling on them to follow the path of peace and moderation to counter Islamophobia. - 5/27/17

Rethinking Iran's Terrorism Designation
Some ideas take on a character akin to sacred texts whose validity is rarely questioned. One such belief is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest threat to the Middle East and the United States. The threat narrative has become required foreign policy catechism in Washington, D.C. -M. Reza Behnam, CounterPunch - 5/27/17

Iran, Russia seal oil-for-goods barter deal: Report
Iran has reportedly signed an agreement with Russia under which it will sell crude oil to Russia in exchange for products. The announcement was made by Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, as reported by Russia's RIA and TASS news agencies. - 5/27/17

Visas for Muslim-Majority Countries down 20 percent under Trump
Even though President Donald Trump's executive order banning travelers from six Muslim-majority countries was blocked by a federal appeals court on Thursday, new State Department data show that his administration has issued fewer visas to people from Arab and Muslim countries. -Newsweek - 5/27/17

In Remote Iranian Province, Women Make Gains At Ballot Box
Iran's sprawling southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province is notorious for insecurity, poverty, drug trafficking, and deadly clashes between security forces and militants. More recently, however, it made headlines this month for sweeping a record number of women onto city and village councils. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/26/17

Senate Panel Backs New Sanctions on Iran
CAPITOL HILL - A Senate panel has overwhelmingly approved new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's support for international terrorism and its ballistic missile program, the first move to punish Tehran since a landmark nuclear accord went into effect. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 5/26/17

Saudi Rulers To Take War Dreams In Iran To Grave: Iranian Official
Iran's Foreign Ministry says Saudi leaders will take their wish to provoke a military attack against the Islamic Republic to their graves. The strong-worded reaction by Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi came after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a recent interview that his country "will work to have the battle in Iran." - 5/26/17

Response to Passing of Deeply Flawed Iran Sanctions Bill (S.722)
"With a vote for this flawed sanctions bill the Senate Foreign Relations Committee decided to give Donald Trump new tools to kill the Iran deal and stumble into war with Iran. After Iranians overwhelmingly voted for openness and engagement, Senators have effectively endorsed Trump's calls for a provocative and dangerous approach to the Middle East. NIAC Action condemns this vote and urges the full Senate to abstain from moving the bill forward." -NIAC Action - 5/26/17

Iran Experts Assembly warns Bahrain of gathering 'storm'
Iran's Assembly of Experts has strongly condemned the Bahraini regime's recent raid on the residence of the spiritual leader of the country's Shia majority. The Assembly said in a statement on Friday that the inhumane treatment of Sheikh Isa Qassim by the Bahraini Al Khalifa regime, which has been aided by the Saudi regime, would "create a tide and a storm that will not subside except with the toppling of the oppressive Al Khalifah system." - 5/26/17

More Than 15,000 Petition Iran's Judiciary to Free Prominent Teachers' Rights Activist
An online petition signed by more than 15,000 people calling for the release of imprisoned teachers' rights leader Esmail Abdi has been delivered to the judiciary and the office of the president. "Mr. Abdi is not a thief, murderer, drug dealer, embezzler, foreign spy or traitor to his country," said the petition addressed to Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani. "He is a trade union activist elected by the teachers of Tehran according to the laws and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran." - 5/26/17

Costs of the Clenched Fist
In his first inaugural address, one of President Barack Obama's messages to America's adversaries was that "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." A few years later, the unclenching of Iran's fist was marked by the election of reformist Hassan Rouhani and the entry of Iran into negotiations with the United States and five other powers, leading to a detailed agreement in which Iran accepted severe limitations on, and intrusive scrutiny of, its nuclear program and closed all possible pathways to possible acquisition of a nuclear weapon. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/26/17

Iran: Newly Elected Reformist Council Member Arrested For Calling Prophet Mohammad "Secular"
Javad Giahshenas, a newly elected reformist member of the city council in Hamadan, northwestern Iran, was arrested for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammad. "The merciful prophet was secular and Islam is the same as liberalism," Giahshenas was quoted saying during a presidential campaign event at the Islamic Azad University of Hamadan, where he works as an academic staffer at the political science department. - 5/26/17

Trump's Alignment with Sunni Autocrats Masks Shallow Understanding of Region
President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia has engendered endless press reporting and analysis. Two key points stand out in the media coverage. First, the trip was mostly show than action. Second, the Saudis played up to Trump's craving for adulation and narcissism. They knew he was a fickle showman and acted accordingly. He of course loved it, and they proved that rich princely Bedouins could capture the world stage, at least for a fleeting moment. -Emile Nakhleh - 5/25/17

IRAN: Newly Reelected Rouhani Abandons Promise to End Six-Year House Arrest of Opposition Leaders
In his first press conference after being declared the winner of Iran's May 19, 2017 election, President Hassan Rouhani refused to commit to ending the more than six-year extrajudicial house arrests of three opposition leaders, a pledge he made during his first presidential campaign. - 5/25/17

U.S. Treasury Eyes More Sanctions On Iran, Reviews Aircraft Sales
The U.S. Treasury chief told Congress on May 24 that he is looking for ways to increase sanctions on Iran, including by reviewing licenses the Treasury previously granted to Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran. - 5/25/17

Arms Deal Stories Omit War Crimes Arms Will Be Used For
The Trump administration wrapped up a weapons deal with the Saudi Arabian government this week that will be worth up to $350 billion over the next ten years. News of the deal came as Trump visited Riyadh and paid fealty to one of the United States' most enduring allies in the Middle East. -Adam Johnson, LobeLog - 5/25/17

Iranian Women Face Bias in the Workplace: Human Rights Watch
Laws and policies that discriminate against women interfere with Iranian women's right to work, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Women confront an array of restrictions, such as on their ability to travel, prohibitions on entering certain jobs, and an absence of basic legal protections. - 5/25/17

'The Servant' travels to San Francisco to combat negative stereotypes
Short animated piece 'The Servant' directed by Iranian filmmaker Farnoush Abedi will take part at Black Film Festival in San Fransisco. Abedi says that her piece tells the familiar story of the master and subordinate; a giant cockroach serves to man and after a while, it gets tired of his servitude and disrupts the rules of the game. - 5/25/17

Iranian Activists Acquitted of National Security Charges for Peaceful Defense of Labor Rights
Trade union activists Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsani-Rad have been acquitted of the charge of 'acting against national security' for peacefully advocating for labor rights. Azimzadeh, chairman of the Free Workers Union of Iran (FWUI) and his colleague Ehsani-Rad, were taken to court by the Safa Rolling and Pipe Mills Company and accused of provoking its workers to go on strike in April 2015 to demand several months of unpaid wages and benefits. - 5/25/17

What's on Rouhani's second-term economic agenda?
Hassan Rouhani's re-election on May 19 is welcome wind in the sail of the moderate political forces in Iran. The sharp rise in the index of the Tehran Stock Exchange can also be seen as an indication that economic players view the election results as a positive development. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor - 5/25/17

Climbing Iran's Mount Damavand: The last corner of the Earth
It was a little after 4am when Peter Burke stepped out of his tent and onto the ice in the foothills of the Elburz mountain chain in Iran. Even in the pre-dawn gloom, he was acutely aware of standing in the shadow of mighty Mount Damavand, which at 5671 metres is the highest peak in Western Asia. - 5/25/17

Targeting Iran or England, terror has one origin (Saudi Arabia): Iranian Foreign Ministry
Speaking on Tuesday, Bahram Qassemi condemned in the strongest terms a terrorist attack at a concert hall in the English city of Manchester, which killed at least 22 people, and said the ideological origin of that attack was the same as the source of a raid that killed 11 Iranian border guards in the city of Mirjaveh on April 26. "We believe that the taproot and the ideological origin of terrorist incidents in Iran's Mirjaveh and the UK's Manchester is one and the same," Qassemi said. Though he did not name any party by name, he was most likely referring to Saudi Arabia. - 5/24/17

The Elders welcome Iran election result as spur for peace and tolerance
The Elders welcomed the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani in Iran as a sign that the Iranian people clearly desire peaceful relations with the outside world and a more tolerant society at home. The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights. - 5/24/17

Five Killed, Hundreds Arrested In Bahrain At Shi'ite Protest; Iran Blames Trump
At least five people were killed and hundreds arrested in Bahrain on May 23 after police stormed a sit-in by protesters supporting the Sunni-ruled kingdom's top Shi'ite cleric, Bahrain's Interior Ministry said. Human Rights Watch called the Diraz raid a crackdown on free expression and said there was no coincidence it occurred two days after a "convivial" meeting between Trump and King Hamad. - 5/24/17

Learning to Lose in Iran
Win or lose, it has become obvious that the fortunes of Hassan Rouhani and his administration remain bound to the memory of 2009 and the Green Movement. Calls for the release of the movement's imprisoned leaders by the cheering crowds were a constant reminder on the campaign trail that the indignity of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection continues to be a source of grievance for millions of Iranians, a legacy to be redeemed at the ballot box. -Shervin Malekzadeh - 5/24/17

President Rouhani's Battle With Hardliners Over UN 2030 Educational Guidelines Follows Him Into Second Term
A major challenge for newly reelected President Hassan Rouhani's second term is integrating guidelines from a UN agenda into the country's educational system-a project he began in the summer of 2016 that was stalled by fierce opposition from hardliners. - 5/24/17

Trump's Riyadh Speech: Bowing to the Saudi Regime
The bar for Donald Trump's speech in Riyadh had been set so low that it was scraping the sand. How much could be expected from a notorious exploiter of Islamophobia speaking to a gathering of leaders of majority Muslim countries? Getting through the experience without causing major new damage should perhaps be considered a success. Perhaps Trump and his speechwriters were wise not to attempt anything more. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/24/17

Trump in the Middle East: From 'America First' to Saudi and Israel first
President Donald Trump's visit to the Middle East has turned out as expected: no single act of outreach to the Muslim world could undo his fueling of Islamophobia and no amount of Iranophobia could cover up the irony of Trump and Saudi Arabia uniting against intolerance. -Trita Parsi, Middle East Eye - 5/24/17

Iran discovers new gas field in Persian Gulf
Iran says it has discovered a new gas field close to the giant South Pars natural gas field which it jointly shares with Qatar. Local media have quoted an unnamed official at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) as saying that the field - named Sepand - holds 1.5 trillion cubic feet of sweet gas of which about 792 billion cubic feet is recoverable. - 5/24/17

Iran's Conservatives Lose a Presidential Election and More
In the past two decades, Iranian presidential elections have been accompanied with surprising results and even tumult. Newcomers have won against better known and financed politicians while presumed establishment candidates and assumed winners have done poorly. This time around, the surprise was not in the results but the blunt conversation generated by the campaign and the skeptical way the voters assessed the promises of the candidates. -Farideh Farhi - 5/23/17

JUST WHISTLING A TUNE IN A HURRICANE Mr. Trump's Historic First Foreign Trip
I watched with great disgust President Trump's long delivery at the gathering of Moslem heads of state in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His half-hour-long speech was eloquently worded, obviously not his words, as he lacks the degree of literacy or the command of the language required for that. The content of his speech was rhetorical, hypocritical and transparently shallow and, I might add, disgracefully dishonest. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 5/23/17

Women win highest ever seats in Tehran City Council election
Six women have been elected to Tehran's 5th city council election, registering a record high out of the total 21 members. The number of female councilors has been doubled in the 5th council elections compared with the previous rounds, in which women's number was not more than three - 5/23/17

Rouhani's Victory: The View from Brussels
The first Western leader to congratulate Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as Iran's president on May 19 was the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. It is clearly an indicator of the importance the EU attaches to relations with Iran. Also remarkable is Mogherini's message lauding Iranians for "passionately taking part in the political life of their country." -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 5/23/17

Iran's President Rohani Criticizes Trump's Saudi Summit, Says Vote Shows Iranians Want Engagement
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized a summit of Muslim countries that was attended by U.S. President Donald Trump, calling the meeting in Saudi Arabia a "a show with no meaning." Trump addressed dozens of leaders of Muslim states in Riyadh on May 21, urging leaders to fight against Islamic extremism and calling for the isolation of Iran, which he accused of fueling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror." - 5/23/17

Iran finishes third in 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games
Iran came third in the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, winning 39 gold, 26 silver and 33 bronze medals and 98 in total in the 11-day long battle. - 5/23/17

Iran-EU trade up 165% in first quarter of 2017
The European Union's trade with Iran amounted to 5.3 billion Euros in the first quarter of 2017, a 165 percent rise from 2 billion Euros in the first quarter of 2016, based on the latest figures released by the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat. - 5/23/17

Word on the Street after Moderate's Landslide Win in Iran
Iranian people came to streets to celebrate the victory of Hassan Rouhani, the moderate candidate in Iran's twelfth presidential election. Rouhani secured 57% of the 40 million votes Iranian cast. He defeated the hardliner candidate Ebrahim Raisi, a former notorious prosecutor and jurist, who received 38.5% or 15.7 million of the votes. -Sara Rustampour - 5/22/17

Pro-Rohani Reformists Sweep Tehran Council Elections
Iran's moderates and reformists have swept to power in Tehran's City Council, winning all 21 seats and driving the conservatives from power. It was another boost to the moderate and reformist camp after President Hassan Rohani won a resounding victory in the May 19 presidential election. - 5/22/17

Interview: Tony Award Nominee Arian Moayed, Star of the Provocative Dual-Language Adaptation of Hamlet
Waterwell Theatre Company is undertaking a professional stage production of Shakespeare's Hamlet set in 1917 Tehran, during the dawn of World War I. Performing Shakespeare's words in both English and Farsi, Waterwell's adaptation of Hamlet explores the shifting cultural identities that Persians were battling as the rest of the world was modernizing. With passages spoken in Farsi, this version of Shakespeare's celebrated tragedy explores parallels between Hamlet's central existential dilemma and the compromises of a nation faced with the encroachment of Western influences, then and now. - 5/22/17

Mr. Trump, When you were Dancing in Riyadh...
Dear Mr. Trump, when you were dancing in Riyadh and calling for a "regime change" in Iran, the Iranians were changing their regime, just a little more. This is what they have been doing over the past decade, step by step, one election at a time, and without American boots on the ground. -Fatemeh Keshavarz, Huffington Post - 5/22/17

Iran's Zarif Scorns Saudi Deals With U.S., Alleged Ties To September 11 Terror Attacks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia for their weapons and investment deals and suggested that the Arab country's policies were to blame for the September 11 attacks in the United States. - 5/22/17

10 ways Iran is more democratic and modern than Saudi Arabia
Though both Iran and Saudi Arabia define themselves Islamic states, in almost every respect Iran is a far more modern and democratic country and society than Saudi Arabia is or can ever be. -Alexander Mercouris, The Duran - 5/22/17

Trump Calls For Coalition To 'Stamp Out Extremism,' Slams Iran During Landmark Speech
U.S. President Donald Trump has called for a "coalition of nations" in the Middle East to come together with the aim of "stamping out extremism" during a landmark speech on May 21, the second day of his visit to Saudi Arabia. - 5/22/17

Tillerson Says It Is Likely He Will Eventually Speak With His Iranian Counterpart
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it is likely he will eventually speak to his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, "at the right time," although he has no plans to talk to him at this point. - 5/22/17

Hassan Rohani Declared Winner Of Iran's Presidential Vote
President Hassan Rohani has been declared the outright winner with nearly all the ballots counted from Iran's May 19 presidential election, a seemingly emphatic endorsement of the incumbent's efforts to reengage internationally and seek modest reforms within Iran's clerically dominated society. - 5/20/17

Scapegoating Iran Will Not Resolve Middle East Challenge
During his Middle East trip, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to pursue an ambitious list of objectives. Paramount among these is to strengthen regional cooperation in defeating the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) and Islamist terrorism in general... A key difficulty, however, is that President Trump and leaders of his administration clearly seek to achieve these ambitious goals by (mis)representing Iran as the world's leading exporter of terrorism and a threat to Israel and Arab states, especially those in the Persian Gulf. -Shirin T. Hunter - 5/20/17

NIAC Responds to President Rouhani's Reelection, Calls on Trump to Choose Diplomacy
"The Iranian people have spoken by coming out in record numbers to vote in Friday's presidential elections. By continuing to engage at the ballot box, and once more demonstrating their preference for the most moderate option available, they have chosen a path of gradual transformation through peaceful participation. Once again, the Iranian people have shown their persistence to choose their own destiny and to reject all attempts to stymie that right." - 5/20/17

Azim Gheychisaz: The first Iranian to climb the world's 14 highest summits
Azim Gheychisaz made history, becoming the first Iranian who has climbed the all 14 of the world's highest peaks. Gheychisaz climbed the peak of Mount Lhotse on Friday. Only 36 other climbers in the world have documented their climbs to all 14 of the world's highest peaks. The first mountaineer to make such an achievement was Reinhold Messner, in 1986. - 5/20/17

Iran Presidential Vote Pits 'Engagement' Against 'Self-Reliance'
Iranians are voting in a four-man presidential race that could reinvigorate efforts for an economic and diplomatic thaw with the West or draw the curtain on a four-year interlude in hard-line domination at all levels of government. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/19/17

PHOTOS: Iranians go to polls to elect president
Iranians are voting at a presidential election in which four candidates, including incumbent Hassan Rouhani, are competing for the presidential post. The polls opened at 8:00 local time (03:30 GMT) on Friday. More than 54 million people are eligible to vote the election. Exit polls are expected on Saturday. - 5/19/17

What Future Will Iran Choose?
As Iranians head to the polls to vote in their presidential elections on Friday, much attention has rightly focused on the choice they will make. The incumbent Hassan Rouhani, and his hefty coalition of reformists and pragmatists, are trying to fend off a hardline conservative ticket headed by judiciary stalwart Ebrahim Raisi. - 5/19/17

U.S. Bombs Syrian, Iranian-Backed Forces For First Time, Leaving Eight Dead
U.S. forces have for the first time bombed a convoy of Syrian government and Iranian-backed militia forces after Russia was unable to keep them from entering an area where U.S. allies have been preparing to battle the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, the Pentagon says. - 5/19/17

Most Yarsani Religious Minority Candidates Disqualified From Iran's 2017 Councils Elections
The majority of Yarsani candidates seeking seats in Iran's May 2017 elections for local councils have been disqualified, the faith's spokesman, Siavash Hayati, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). The Yarsan spokesman told CHRI that in Hashtgerd, northeast of Tehran in Alborz Province, 28 of the faith's 30 candidates were rejected by the local election monitoring committee. - 5/19/17

Sherman: "We Are Safer" Because of JCPOA
In a May 16 event held by the Cato Institute, Ambassador Wendy Sherman spoke at length about the Iran nuclear deal and its status under the Trump administration. Sherman, who served as Barack Obama's under secretary of state for political affairs from 2011-2015 and was one of the key figures in negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, also discussed the administration's policy toward Iran more generally. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 5/19/17

Presidential Vote Count To be Announced Gradually in May 2017 Elections
The authority in charge of counting ballots in Iran's presidential election has backed down from its initial decision to announce the winner after all votes have been counted. "The Interior Ministry actually agrees that it is more practical to report the vote count gradually," said Assistant Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Moghimi on May 17, two days before Iranians vote for their next president and local councils. - 5/19/17

Raeesi 2017, Or Ahmadinejad Redux?
In the run up to the 2017 election, the emergence of Ebrahim Raeesi as the most likely candidate to defeat President Hassan Rouhani has drawn comparisons with the surge of support for Ahmadinejad in 2005. But how much do the two elections really have in common, and how likely is Raeesi to become the next president of Iran? -Reza HaghighatNejad, LobeLog - 5/19/17

Analysis: Iran's Younger Generation Positioned To Restore Political Roar
When Mahmud Ahmadinejad was elected to a second term as president in 2009 as a result of what is widely regarded as vote-rigging, Iran's younger generation played a leading role in the massive street protests that ensued and gave birth to the opposition Green Movement. Iran's rulers were shaken. For the first time since the days of the shah, Iranians screamed "death to the dictator!" from Tehran's rooftops. Iran's youth were energized -- and angry. -David Patrikarakos, RFE - 5/18/17

US Extends Obama-era Nuclear Sanctions Relief for Iran, Adds Other Sanctions
The Trump administration has announced that it will continue nuclear sanctions relief for Iran, keeping in place an Obama-era deal. Under the 2015 deal, sanctions punishing Iran for its nuclear program were waived in exchange for Iran's commitment to roll back the program. But continuing the sanctions relief requires the renewal of a six-month waiver. The most recent waiver, issued by former Secretary of State John Kerry in December, was set to expire this week. - 5/18/17

John Kerry, security experts team up to defend Iran deal from Trump
Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry along with other top security experts have come to defend the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, from the country's hardline President Donald Trump. Through a newly formed organization called Diplomacy Works, Kerry and several national security experts who served under former U.S. President Barack Obama are fighting to protect the nuclear agreement, The Independent reported. - 5/18/17

Rouhani's Unlikely Supporters
According to the polls, incumbent Hassan Rouhani is the frontrunner in Iran's upcoming presidential elections, which will be held on May 19. However observers acknowledge that the win is still not guaranteed and that Rouhani faces a tough re-election. According to Rouhani supporters, the greatest threat facing Rouhani is not posed by election rivals but by an apathetic public who may choose not to participate in elections or, even worse, boycott Friday's vote. -Sussan Tahmasebi, LobeLog - 5/18/17

Flag of Iranian football team Persepolis to be raised in North Pole
The flag of Persepolis Football Club, Iran Professional League champion, will be raised in the North Pole for the first time in the world. At the lunch ceremony which was held on May 9 with the participation of Persepolis officials, coaching staff and players, the flag of the club was delivered to Hossein Naseri, the innovator of the adventurer manager idea, to be taken to the North Pole in September 2017. - 5/18/17

Iranian Judiciary Forbids Campaigners From Printing Rouhani's Criticism of Revolutionary Guard
Since reformist leader Mohammad Khatami endorsed incumbent President Hassan Rouhani's second-term election campaign, hardliners have been working to suppress the message, as well as Rouhani's criticism of his powerful, hardline opponents, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 5/18/17

Iran's Instagram election sees rivals battle on social media
This is an Iranian election like no other, where the main battles are being fought on social media. For the first time candidates, as well as voters, have discovered the power of messaging apps as a way of bypassing state media and reaching out directly to each other. -Leyla Khodabakhshi, BBC - 5/18/17

French automakers rushing into Iran's market in the absence of rivals
French carmakers are rushing into Iranian market in the absence of rivals. PSA and Renault are turning the U.S. absence in the Iranian market into an advantage by piling into a resurgent market still off-limits to foreign rivals fearful of sanctions under Donald Trump's administration, Reuters reported on Tuesday. - 5/18/17

Rouhani Not a Sure Bet in Iran's Presidential Elections
Iranians will go to the polls Friday, the same day Donald Trump begins his first foreign trip as U.S. President arriving in Saudi Arabia, where the kingdom's leaders vowed this month to start "the battle against Iran." Trump and America have figured prominently in Iran's presidential election campaigning with hardliners on the Principilist wing of Iranian politics claiming the legacy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who used to argue, "All our troubles are caused by this America." -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 5/17/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activists Use Elections as "Opportunities" to Put Forth Demands
A member of the Women's Citizenship Center, a non-governmental organization in Tehran, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that women's rights activists are increasingly using their leverage as an important voting block to put forth their demands during elections. - 5/17/17

Rouhani and Raisi: Battle Unfolds Polarizing Iran's Presidential Election
As Hassan Rouhani continues to receive support from reformist leaders, the battle unfolds between him and the hardliner's candidate, Ebrahim Raisi who has now joined forced with Tehran Mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. Meanwhile, Hardliners are attacking Rouhani accusing him of abusing power to purchase his residence in Tehran lower than the market price. They are also spreading rumors about Rouhani's son death, who died some twenty years ago. - 5/17/17

Iran receives 4 new ATR planes
Iran has received the first batch of medium-range planes that it has purchased from Franco-Italian aviation player ATR. Four ATR 72-600 turboprop planes landed in Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport on a direct flight from the French city of Toulouse. - 5/17/17

Iranian Opposition Leader Musavi, From House Arrest, Announces Will Vote For Rohani
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011, will vote for President Hassan Rohani in Iran's election on May 19, according to the opposition website Kalameh. The website reported on May 16 that Musavi has requested that security forces bring a mobile ballot box to his residence so that he can cast his vote. - 5/17/17

Rouhani's Attempt to Adopt UNESCO Educational Guidelines Emerges as 2017 Election Issue in Iran
In the run-up to Iran's presidential election on May 19, 2017, the country's hardline supreme leader has strongly denounced the Rouhani government's attempt to integrate guidelines from a UN agenda into the country's educational system. Conservative voters have meanwhile been pointing to the document as alleged evidence of centrist President Hassan Rouhani's so-called pro-Western beliefs. Rouhani is currently seeking a second term. - 5/17/17

U.S. Signs Defense Deal With United Arab Emirates With Eye On Iran
The United States has signed a new defense cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which like Saudi Arabia regards Iran as a strategic adversary that is fomenting conflicts throughout the Middle East. - 5/17/17

Iran Bans already Vetted Reformist Candidates from Running
As the elections draw near, Iran's Supreme Leader warned that any "rebellion" in the course of the elections would provoke a "slap" from state security forces. Meanwhile 37 candidates who had been previously vetted by Iran's Election Committee have been banned from running for City and Village Councils Election in Iran. - 5/17/17

Results of Iran's presidential election to be announced all at once: Interior minister
Iran's interior minister says the results of the country's upcoming presidential election will be announced all at once, and not at different stages. Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli made the remarks in a televised interview on Tuesday, saying this has been enshrined in Iran's Presidential Election Law. - 5/17/17

Here Are The Smears Marring Iran's Election(s)
While elections in Iran look like slug-it-out campaigns, with many of the trappings of competition -- government critics, disagreement on high-profile issues, and televised public debates -- they are kept tightly in check by unelected officials under the country's clerically dominated system. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 5/16/17

Tehran City Council Candidate Says "Military Organizations" Intervened to Disqualify Reformist Candidates
Ali Tajernia, a reformist politician and former member of Iran's Parliament, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that his last-minute disqualification from the Tehran City Council election, following pressure by "military organizations," is "illegal" and he will file a formal complaint. - 5/16/17

Iranian Vice President Drops Out Of Presidential Race, Backs Rohani
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has dropped out of the presidential race and thrown his support behind incumbent Hassan Rohani, who is seeking a second term in the May 19 vote. Jahangiri, a reformist politician, was believed to have joined the race to boost Rohani's chances of reelection and defend the government's policies in televised debates. - 5/16/17

Turkey's Erdogan Expected To Press Trump On Syria, Gulen, Iran Case
In a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on May 16, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to press the United States to refrain from arming Syrian Kurdish rebels that Ankara considers to be terrorists. The White House meeting comes amid intense and complex international diplomacy over the war in Syria, where Turkey and the United States both support forces in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's government. - 5/16/17

I live in Irvine but my congresswoman seems to be the representative from Trump Nation
I live in Irvine with my family and thousands of other American citizens of Iranian descent. I came to this country as an immigrant and a refugee of war, and I have never taken for granted the opportunities America represents. All across the country, Iranian Americans have worked to better their communities, participating in all walks of civic life. But because Iran is one of the countries targeted by Trump's ban, we now face persecution and separation from family and friends in our native country. -Farshad Farahat, Los Angeles Times - 5/16/17

As Trump Cozies Up to Saudi Arabia, War With Iran Becomes More Likely
Many people view Donald Trump as the most dangerous man on the planet, but next week he flies to Saudi Arabia for a three-day visit during which he will meet a man who surely runs him a close second as a source of instability. This is deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31 - the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia since his father King Salman, 81, is incapacitated by old age - who has won a reputation for impulsiveness, aggression and poor judgement in the two-and-half years he has held power. -Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch - 5/16/17

Iran starts construction of ion therapy center
KARAJ - Iran began building its National Ion Therapy Center with Austrian help on Monday, in a 200 million Euros project which follow the country's landmark nuclear deal with six world powers in July 2015. - 5/16/17

Iran to tap southern coasts maritime tourism potential
Iran aims to take advantage of southern coasts to make the best use of its maritime tourism potential by means of developing hospitality infrastructures, diversifying sea routes, and drawing private sector investors. "Constructing maritime hotels and building recreational vessels by the private sector in the country's free zones is currently on the agenda," Mana news agency quoted an official with the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization as saying on May 10. - 5/16/17

Rohani Says Iran Faces 'Historic Decision' In Upcoming Presidential Poll
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told a Tehran crowd of some 20,000 supporters that the country is "on the edge of a great historic decision" with its May 19 presidential election. Rohani, 68, told the crowd at Tehran's Azadi Stadium that "we should not let Iran become isolated again." - 5/15/17

Photos: Magnitude 5.7 Quake In Northeastern Iran Kills Two, Injures Hundreds
A 5.7-magnitude earthquake that shook the northeastern province of North Khorasan on Saturday night claimed two lives and left more than 400 injured. The earthquake hit 3 cities and 97 villages of the province at 22:30 local time which was followed by 26 aftershocks. - 5/15/17

In Online Video, Khatami Urges Iranians To Vote For Rohani
Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami urged Iranian voters in an online video to reelect President Hassan Rohani on May 19. Khatami, who was the country's president from 1997 until 2005, has since been banned from any appearances in Iranian media by the country's hard-line judiciary. - 5/15/17

Persian Empire in Sasanian Era: Subject of Symposium at Library of Congress
The African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress (AMED), in cooperation with the Iranian-American Alumni of the Alborz High School will present a symposium on the legacy of the ancient Persian Sasanian empire (224-651 AD). The event is part of an annual series of symposia on the ancient civilizations of the Near East organized by AMED at the Library of Congress. - 5/15/17

U.S. Calls On Iran To Free Jailed Baha'i Leaders
The United States has condemned Iran's imprisonment of leaders of the Baha'i religious minority and called on Tehran to release them and other prisoners of conscience. Seven Baha'i leaders were arrested by Iranian authorities nine years ago and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment. They were reportedly sentenced to 20 years in prison. Their sentences were later reduced to 10 years. - 5/15/17

Qalibaf Quits Iran's Presidential Race, Backs Hard-Line Cleric Raisi
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has withdrawn from Iran's presidential race to back hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi. In a May 15 statement published by Iranian media, Qalibaf said the decision was vital for the "preservation of the interests of the people, the revolution, and the country." - 5/15/17

Will Proposed Wall Along Turkish-Iranian Border Keep Out Kurdish Separatists?
Ankara's apparent intention to build a wall along its border with Iran is being met with skepticism by some regional experts who question its practicality and whether it will curb cross-border terrorism as Turkey intends. -Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 5/15/17

Iran: The Sanctions Hotel
At the height of Iran's isolation, a fashion designer and an architect attempt to turn an old mud palace into a hotel. This film chronicles the five-year struggle of architect Amir Anoushfar and designer Shadi Parand to preserve one of Iran's largest historical buildings by turning it into an international boutique hotel. -Al Jazeera - 5/15/17

Iran's President Hits Back At Rivals In Final TV Debate
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has hit out at his two main conservative challengers, who accuse him of mismanagement, corruption, and failing to improve the economy following a landmark 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. The attacks and tit-for-tat accusations came during the third and final presidential debate aired live on Iran's state-controlled television on May 12 ahead of the vote on May 19. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 5/13/17

Iran's Elections: What You Need to Know
On May 19, the Islamic Republic of Iran holds presidential elections, the first following the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement. Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is running against five other candidates, approved by Iran's Guardian Council to compete in the election. The race has centred heavily on economic policies for tackling high unemployment and growing inequality, together with how to reintegrate the country into global financial platforms following the rollback of sanctions in the aftermath of the nuclear deal. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 5/13/17

29 Members of EU Parliament Urge Iran to Release Detained Journalists and Activists Ahead of 2017 Elections
Ahead of Iran's elections on May 19 for president and local councils, 29 members of the European Parliament have written a letter to Federica Mogherini, the representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission, urging the EU to call on the Iranian government to stop the pre-election intimidation campaign against journalists and activists and ensure a free and fair vote. - 5/13/17

U.S. Said Near $100 Billion Arms Deal With Saudis Ahead Of Trump Visit
A week ahead of President Donald Trump's planned visit to Riyadh, the United States is preparing an arms deal for Saudi Arabia worth more than $100 billion, the Reuters news agency reported on May 12. - 5/13/17

Iranian Local Teacher's Union Leader Exiled for Singing Popular Ballad to Students
A teacher in a port city in northern Iran has been exiled for singing to his students. Aziz Ghasemzadeh has been ordered by the Gilan Education Department to move to Roudbar, 65 miles south of Anzali, for one year, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 5/13/17

The Moral Myopia of Trump's Foreign Policy
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaking May 4 at the State Department outlined a broad overview of President Trump's "America First" foreign policy. Since there has been concern about this new direction for America's global engagement, Tillerson's speech was both revealing and troubling. -John Bryson Chane, LobeLog - 5/13/17

14th-century Persian poet Hafez a guide for today's Iranian-Canadians
Hafez, the 14th-century Persian poet, still draws a crowd, if the hundreds of Iranians gathering this weekend for several presentations are any evidence. Nasser Kanani, an expert in electrochemistry, is the guest speaker, better known in engineering circles for his textbook on electroplating, rather than his recently-published two-volume study of the poet called Hafez and His Divan As Viewed By the West. Mohandez, the Canadian society of Iranian engineers and architects, sponsored Kanani's lectures at Toronto's Aga Khan Museum and an Iranian community centre -CBC - 5/13/17

U.S. District Court Judge "Inclined to Agree" That Muslim Ban Unconstitutional
On Thursday, Judge Tanya Sue Chutkan a judge at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order staying the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) motion for a nationwide freeze on President Trump's Muslim travel ban, indicating that she is "inclined to agree with Plaintiffs that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims with respect to Sections 2 and 6 of the Second Executive Order." - 5/12/17

Several Reformist Candidates Disqualified at Last Minute From Tehran City Council Election
A number of prominent reformist politicians have been disqualified from running in Tehran's City Council election despite being previously approved by the election monitoring committee. - 5/12/17

Iran's Supreme Leader Issues Familiar Anti-Protest Warning Ahead of 2017 Elections
Any citizen or candidate who attempts to disrupt the upcoming elections will receive a "hard slap in the face," warned Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in a recent speech reminiscent of one he gave in June 2009 amidst the widespread, peaceful protests against the vote count that year. - 5/12/17

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif says Riyadh 'dangerously' seeking tension
Days after the Saudi deputy crown prince ruled out dialogue with Tehran, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Saudi Arabia is pursuing a "dangerous policy" in seeking tension with Iran. "We believe that Saudi Arabia is seeking tension," Zarif told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday. "The policy is a dangerous one and has no use but insecurity for Saudi Arabia." - 5/12/17

Financial tech gaining steam in Iran
The Iranian capital played host to the four-day FINEX 2017 exhibition April 15-18. The annual event gathered more than 250 Iranian entities involved in banking and finance. While organizers dubbed it an international expo, only three foreign firms took part. -Alireza Ramezani, Al Monitor - 5/12/17

Iran's presidential election casts shadow over show organised by country's leading artist
Parviz Tanavoli and the Lions of Iran, a long-planned exhibition in Tehran featuring works by the country's leading artist and artefacts from his personal collection alongside loans from the National Museum of Ancient Iran of objects depicting pre-Islamic lions, could travel abroad, Tanavoli hopes. -Art Newspaper - 5/12/17

Women and the Iranian Elections
A group of women's rights activists issued a statement on May 6 outlining their demands for the next president of Iran. The statement, which calls for improved economic opportunities for women, reform of discriminatory laws, access to public spaces such as sports stadiums, and more appointments for women to managerial and cabinet positions in government, has received some press and attention. But it seems unlikely to bring about significant change in the focus or discourse of the presidential hopefuls. -Sussan Tahmasebi - 5/11/17

Iran's Supreme Leader Warns Against Damaging National Interests In Vote
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned against any attempts to disrupt the May 19 presidential election. In a May 10 speech, Khamenei said that those disrupting Iran's national security "will be given a strong slap." - 5/11/17

Iranian Authorities Block Attempts by Gold Medalist's Husband to Stop Her From Competing Abroad
For the second time, Iranian authorities have allowed two-time Iranian Paralympic gold medalist archer Zahra Nemati to travel abroad to compete despite her estranged husband's attempts to force her to stay home. According to Article 18 of Iran's Passport Law, a married woman needs her husband's permission to travel abroad. - 5/11/17

Pedestrian walkways, bike lanes, green spaces: An unusual election platform for a politician in Iran
Last month, in a surprise, Taraneh Yalda, a 62-year-old architect, won the approval of Iran's conservative election monitors to run for a seat on Tehran's City Council. Hailing from a family of artists and musicians, and educated in Italy and France, Yalda is one of a handful of progressive candidates in a field of more than 2,700 vying for 21 places on the council. -Los Angeles Times - 5/11/17

Reformist Iranian Journalist: Hardliners Working to Sabotage Rouhani Campaign With Intimidation Tactics
By preventing speeches in favor of President Hassan Rouhani and blocking his campaigners from reaching voters, hardliners are trying to weaken the incumbent president ahead of the May 19, 2017 election, Mohammad Sadegh Javadi-Hessar, a reformist journalist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) - 5/11/17

Iran's non-oil growth to boost in 2017: IMF
According to the latest report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Regional Economic Outlook, Iran is expected to see non-oil growth accelerate from 0.75 percent in 2016 to almost 3.5 percent in 2017. - 5/11/17

Europeans see huge potential in Iran's energy market
European exhibitors participating in the 22nd International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition of Iran (Iran Oil Show 2017) believe that there is huge potential for business in Iran's oil, gas and petrochemical sectors. The exhibition, which was held at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds from May 6 to 9, hosted some 2500 domestic companies and 1500 foreign participants from 37 countries including Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, China, South Korea, Australia, the U.S. and Canada. - 5/11/17

What Does Victory in Yemen Look Like?
The Saudi-led war in Yemen, which was initially supposed to have lasted only a few weeks, has now dragged on for more than two years. The fighting has reached a predictable stalemate, in roughly the same place as it has so often before: the steep and nearly impenetrable mountains. It is widely conceded that there's no military solution to this conflict -James Spencer, LobeLog - 5/11/17

IRAN: Rohani Chides 'Executioners And Jailers' In 'Risky' Campaign Gambit
Less than two weeks before voting in Iran's presidential election, incumbent Hassan Rohani has risked crossing the political establishment's "red lines" in an unusually blunt attack against two conservative rivals. In a campaign speech in the western city of Hamedan, Rohani said on May 8 that voters did not want someone who in the four decades since Iran's revolution has only known how to "execute and jail." - 5/10/17

Iran upsets Japan to win Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship title
The national Iranian volleyball team has lifted the trophy at the conclusion of the 2017 Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship following a resounding victory over Japan in the final showdown of the tournament in the northwestern Iranian city of Ardabil. - 5/10/17

Pall Corporation first US tech firm to invest in Iran in years
An Iranian company says a top American technology leader plans to invest in an Iranian oil equipment production project - what could be the first direct investment by a US oil company in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Speaking at a press conference at Iran's Oil Show, Neda Mousavizadegan, the managing director of Iran's Panid Engineering, named the US company as Pall Corporation. - 5/10/17

Iran futsal players finish 3rd in Victory Day Women Cup 2017
The national Iranian women's futsal team has finished its campaign at the 8th edition of International Futsal Tournament for Women National Teams in Russia, and finished in the third place at the end of the four-nation tournament. - 5/10/17

Rouhani's rivals are making pledges Iran cannot afford
While incumbent Hassan Rouhani's main challengers in the Iranian presidential race are making grand pledges of bigger cash handouts and more jobs, there is little to suggest that the promises can be realized. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monito - 5/10/17

MTN To Invest 1.1 Billion Dollars In Iran Fiber Optic Project
Iran says South Africa's MTN will invest as much as $1.1 billion in an ambitious fiber optic internet connectivity project which will be launched in eight major cities across the country. - 5/10/17

Pakistan Criticizes Iran for Threatening Cross-Border Military Action
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says the Iranian ambassador in Islamabad was summoned Tuesday following the reported remarks by the Iran's military chief. A ministry statement said, "The Iranian side was urged to avoid issuance of such statements that could vitiate the environment of fraternal relations." - 5/10/17

Reformist Iranian Journalist Tortured Under Ghalibaf's Police Command Demands Accountability
A reformist journalist who was detained and tortured in a secret detention center under the supervision of current Iranian presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf in 2004, when Ghalibaf was the commander of police forces, is demanding accountability. - 5/10/17

Iran Guards look beyond election to next supreme leader
Determined to protect a dominant security role and vast economic interests, Iran's Revolutionary Guards military force is quietly backing a hardliner in May 19 presidential polls, with an eye toward a bigger prize: the succession of the supreme leader. -Reuters - 5/10/17

Iran U23 volleyball team advance to World Championship
Reigning champions Iran thrashed Thailand in thrilling three sets 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 to pawe their way to the final showdown at the 2nd Asian Men's U23 Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium and book a berth for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's 23 World Championship in Egypt. - 5/9/17

Iran's Rohani Slams Conservative Critics, Says Their 'Era Is Over'
Iranian President Hassan Rohani took aim at his hard-line opponents on May 8, saying their era of "violence and extremism" is coming to an end. Rohani's comments, reported by the semi-official ISNA news agency, came as he campaigned in western Iran less than two weeks before the May 19 presidential election in which he is seeking a second term. - 5/9/17

Meet The Iranian Who Looks Like The Soccer Legend Lionel Messi
An Iranian student who happens to look uncannily like soccer great Lionel Messi, nearly ended up in jail for disrupting public order. A photo event in Reza Paratesh's home town of Hamedan attracted so many fans that police had to close it down, according to AFP. - 5/9/17

Court Judges Focus On Whether Trump Travel Order Targets Muslims
U.S. appeals court judges asked tough questions about President Donald Trump's temporary ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, with several voicing skepticism that national security was the measure's true goal. - 5/9/17

Student Imprisoned For Refusing to Collaborate With Iran's Intelligence Ministry Denied Medical Care
Political prisoner Hamid Babaei is being refused hospital treatment by the authorities of Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 5/9/17

Rouhani Staff Repeatedly Blocked From Campaigning in North Tehran Weeks Before 2017 Elections
For the second week in a row, the staff at the campaign headquarters of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani in north Tehran has been prevented from campaigning in the run-up to Iran's May 19, 2017 elections for president and local councils. - 5/9/17

Iran reports rise in number of tourists
Iran says the number of tourists that visited the country last year increased by above 30 percent from a year earlier - what could be an indication that one of the world's top travel destinations is already finding its lost flavor after the removal of sanctions. - 5/9/17

Made in Iran, Born in America
'Made in Iran, born in America' - that's been your motto for quite some time now. How has Iran made you, despite having lived almost all of your life in the States? Taravat Talepasand: I have been harassed almost all of my life for not being Iranian, as I wasn't born in Iran. This surprised me, since as a child I had resented being Iranian only because I was growing up in a predominantly white, Republican, suburban, racist town in Portland. -Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient - 5/9/17

Iran starts exports from South Pars oil layer
Iran exported the first cargo of crude oil to the tune of 700,000 barrels from the South Pars oil layer last week. Hamid Bovard, the managing director of Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), made the remarks in a press conference on the sidelines of Iran Oil Show 2017 in Tehran. - 5/9/17

FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP: Iran finishes third to make Asian history
Iran ended their Bahamas 2017 campaign on a high with a 5-3 win against Italy in the play-off for third place to become Asia's highest ever finishers at the Beach Soccer World Cup. These two teams met during the group stage at Bahamas 2017 with Italy edging Iran 5-4 in a thrilling match. The Europeans scored first that day, but it was Iran's turn this time. - 5/8/17

Iranian Island of Qeshm in Persian Gulf registered as UNESCO Global Geopark
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has registered Iran's southern Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf on its Global Geoparks list. "The Qeshm Island has been granted the designation of UNESCO Global Geopark for a four-year period from May 5, 2017 to May 4, 2021. And the first revalidation will take place in 2020," the UNESCO official website announced on Friday. - 5/8/17

Saudi kingdom will be destroyed if Riyadh does anything 'ignorant': Iran's Defense Minister
Following Saudi deputy crown prince's comments about moving the battle to Iran, Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says if the Saudis do anything stupid, the Iranian army will hit back and destroy all of the kingdom -- apart from Mecca and Medina. - 5/8/17

Iran's Rouhani Promises to Withdraw Anti-Labor Amendments While Police Quash Peaceful Protests
During a ceremony marking International Labor Day on May 1, 2017, President Hassan Rouhani, who will be running for re-election on May 19, pledged to withdraw an amendment opposed by trade unionists. Meanwhile, the police blocked a separate ceremony organized by independent labor organizations in Tehran, arresting one activist. - 5/8/17

Those guilty in mine incident should stand trial: Iran's President Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that those who are found guilty in a coal mine incident should face trial. An explosion on Wednesday at the Azad-Shahr coal mine in northeastern Golestan province left 35 people dead. Visiting the site of the coal mine, the president called for investigation into the incident in order to prevent repetition of such disasters in the future. - 5/8/17

Iran State TV Censors Portions Of Rohani Campaign Film: Reports
The semiofficial ILNA news agency says Iran's state TV censored portions of a campaign film released by President Hassan Rohani, two weeks ahead of the May 19 presidential election. ILNA on May 6 did not provide further details, but a member of the Rohani campaign told the Associated Press that state TV had cut several segments of the film, titled President Rohani. - 5/8/17

Iran Warns It Will Attack 'Terrorist Safe Havens' Inside Pakistan
Iran has warned Pakistan that Tehran would hit militant bases inside the neighboring country if Islamabad does not confront Sunni insurgents who carry out cross-border attacks. Iranian state media quoted the army's chief of staff, Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, as saying on May 8 that Tehran expects "the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists, and shut down their bases." - 5/8/17

In Second Iranian Presidential Debate, Conservatives Accuse Rohani Of Failing To Cash In On Nuclear Deal
The six approved candidates in Iran's presidential election came together in Tehran on May 5 for the second of three live debates on state TV. Iranian President Hassan Rohani came under criticism from his main conservative rivals during a live televised presidential election debate on May 5 -- a debate focusing on politics and culture. Rohani's rivals accused him of failing to improve Iran's economy in the aftermath of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers, under which Iran significantly limited its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/6/17

Iran's coal mine blast tragedy, day 4: 13 bodies still missing
Searches continued into the fourth day to find the remaining 13 bodies trapped after a blast hit a coal mine in the northeastern province of Golestan on Wednesday. Following a blast in Zemestanyurt mine, 35 workers who were inside the mine at the time of explosion are believed to be dead while so far 22 bodies have been found. - 5/6/17

Beyond the Ban: Contemporary Iranian Art Exhibition in New York
Beyond the Ban: Contemporary Iranian Art is a group exhibition showcasing the work of leading Iranian artists based in the United States, and featuring painting, photography, video and prints. Artists include Shirin Neshat, Nicky Nodjoumi, Nahid Hagigat, Shoja Azari, Hossein Fatemi, Sara Issakharian, Nazanin Noroozi and Raha Raissnia - 5/6/17

Iran's President Rouhani Government Touts Amendment Blocking Police From Unilaterally Stopping Music Concerts
The government of President Hassan Rouhani has announced the passage of a new amendment intended to block police from preventing sanctioned music concerts without a court order. The Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry announced on May 3, 2017 that based on the now revised Public Areas Administrative Regulations, a prosecutor's order is required for police forces to stop a music concert. - 5/6/17

Prominent Iranian Political Activist Faezeh Hashemi Barred From Speaking at Rouhani Campaign Event
Speeches by reformist politicians and supporters of incumbent president Hassan Rouhani have been cancelled ahead of the May 19, 2017 presidential election, including two by former member of Parliament Faezeh Hashemi. Hashemi, an outspoken political activist and the daughter of the late former President Akbar Hashemi Rafasanjani, was prevented from speaking at the opening of Rouhani's campaign office in Arak, 148 miles south of Tehran, on April 30. - 5/6/17

US Congress mulls crackdown on Iranian airlines
A new legislation is circulating through US Senate that would require the government to crack down on an Iranian airline company, American media reports say. Mahan Air is the target of the measure which would require the Trump administration to provide Congress with a list of all airports where the commercial carrier has landed, the report said. - 5/6/17

Short Briefing Paper on Iran's Upcoming Presidential Elections
Do Iran's Presidential Elections Matter? Who are the Candidates? What Is the Process? What Is at Stake? Iranian presidents are sandwiched between the Supreme Leader (the ultimate decider),parliament, and the Guardian Council (the arbiter of law's conformity with Islam). Together,these institutions have a direct say and exercise veto powers on presidential policies and key appointments. -The Iran Project - 5/6/17

FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP: Iran advance to semi-finals for first time
Iran advanced to the semi-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time in their history with a thrilling 4-3 win after extra time against Switzerland. Iran will now face Tahiti in the semi-finals on Saturday. - 5/5/17

New Trump's "Extreme Vetting" Proposal Raises Alarm Bells
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is profoundly concerned by the Trump administration's newly released proposal for "extreme vetting" interview questions. "Donald Trump's Muslim ban has been blocked by multiple courts so now he is attempting to circumvent the judiciary and impose a Muslim ban through new measures," said Shayan Modarres, Legal Counsel for NIAC. "This proposal makes America less safe and would do further damage to the values and protections that are fundamental to this country." - 5/5/17

An Interview with Scholar and Historian Ervand Abrahamian on the Islamic Republic's "Greatest Crime"
The executions of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in 1988 has received renewed attention due to the presidential election coming up on May 19, in which one of the candidates-Ebrahim Raisi-was a member of the committee that ordered the killings. - 5/5/17

Hardliners Pounce on Rouhani Campaigner's Criticism of Iran's Military Policy in Syria
Gholamhossein Karbaschi, the reformist former mayor of Tehran and a supporter of President Hassan Rouhani, has come under attack for publicly criticizing Iran's military engagement in the Syrian civil war. - 5/5/17

Russia, Turkey, Iran Agree on 'De-Escalation Zones' for Syria
Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to a Moscow-proposed deal Thursday to establish so-called "de-escalation" zones in Syria to try to end the six-year conflict in the country. Representatives of the three Syria cease-fire guarantor nations signed a memorandum to that effect at the end of the latest round of peace talks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. -Daniel Schearf, VOA - 5/5/17

Iran urges global action against Saudi support for extremism, terrorism
"It is imperative for the international community to take necessary action to compel Saudi Arabia to stop its reckless sponsorship of terrorism and extremism in the region and across the globe," Iran's UN Ambassador Gholam-Ali Khoshrou wrote in a Thursday letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council. - 5/5/17

Hopes Fade As Iran Mine Explosion Death Toll Climbs To 35
Rescuers searched a damaged Iranian coal mine for a second day on May 4 as hopes of finding survivors faded following a blast, with the labor minister saying the death toll had risen to 35. The explosion tore through the Zemestanyurt mine in Golestan Province on May 3, reportedly trapping up to 80 miners underground at a depth of about 1,800 meters. - 5/4/17

Take Action: Make sure Iranian Americans are counted in the next U.S. Census
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and a coalition of Iranian-American organizations comprised of Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) and Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) are urging for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to include an ethnicity category in the Census for Middle Eastern and North African (MENA). - 5/4/17

China, Iran's biggest exporter after sanctions lifted
Official figures show Iran's imports from China saw a major rise over the past four years in what is seen as a result of the removal of sanctions against the country and the subsequent return of global shipping lines to its ports. Figures reported by Iran's state news agency IRNA show that imports from China since 2013 - when President Hassan Rouhani was elected to office - had already reached $43.7 billion. - 5/4/17

Deadly Militant Attack Strains Fragile Pakistan-Iran Ties
Iran is pressing Pakistan to capture and punish Sunni militants who staged last week's deadly terrorist attack on Iranian border guards before allegedly fleeing to the neighboring country. A high-powered 12-member Iranian delegation, led by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, visited Islamabad Wednesday and raised the issue with Pakistani leaders. -Ayaz Gul, VOA - 5/4/17

Iran Denounces Saudi Refusal To Engage In Dialogue As 'Destructive'
Iran has reacted to a rare televised interview by Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince, accusing him of stoking tensions in the region with a "destructive" statement ruling out dialogue with Tehran. While Prince Muhammad leveled many criticisms at Iran's Shi'ite-led government, Qassemi said it was Saudi-backed Wahhabism that had bred "radical ideologies" espoused by the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda and that is feeding the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. - 5/4/17

Iran Conducts Failed Missile Launch in Strait of Hormuz
An Iranian submarine has made an unsuccessful missile launch attempt in the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. military official confirmed to VOA on Wednesday. The Yono-class submarine attempted to launch a cruise missile early Tuesday, the military official said. -Carla Babb, VOA - 5/4/17

The Virtues of Voting in Iran
Nearly 40 million Iranians will vote for president on May 19. Yet, many outside observers will interpret this participation as a mobilization of bad faith, an "as if" politics in which the authorities pretend to provide competitive elections and the public votes as if there were a meaningful choice between candidates. At best, citizens will cast their ballots in abeyance, as a stop-gap to keep the truly awful out of office in anticipation of the day that the system itself comes to an end. -Shervin Malekzadeh, LobeLog - 5/4/17

Shirin Ebadi: Iran's 2017 Presidential Hopefuls Have Unacceptable Human Rights Records
Not one of the candidates running for Iran's presidency has an acceptable human rights record, Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a recent interview. Ebadi said she was especially appalled by the candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi, who served on a committee that implemented the executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. - 5/4/17

Iran honoring JCPOA commitments: Nuclear Agency Head
The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stressed that the historic deal between Iran and the group of six world powers is "a significant gain" for nuclear verification. Yukiya Amano made the remark in a message to the participants of the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons being held on Tuesday. - 5/3/17

Judiciary Shuts Down Reformists' Campaign Headquarters in Iran's Second Largest City
The campaign headquarters of reformists in Khorasan Razavi Province, northeastern Iran, was shuttered on May 2, 2017-three weeks before the country's presidential and local council elections on May 19, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 5/3/17

Tehran Book Fair opens with message from Italian president
The 30th Tehran International Book Fair opened on Tuesday with a message from Sergio Mattarella, the president of Italy as the event's guest of honor. In his message, Mattarella said that he feels honored that his country is the special guest of the cultural event. - 5/3/17

Saudi Crown Prince Rules Out Opening Dialogue With Rival Iran
In a rare televised interview, Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince has said there is no possibility that he would open a dialogue with rival Iran because of its Shi'ite ambitions "to control the Islamic world." Ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained since Iran's 1979 revolution, with each side competing to be the more powerful force in the Muslim world. - 5/3/17

Commander Says Iranian Forces Will Stay In Syria As Long As Assad Needs Them
Iran will continue providing military assistance to Syria despite the death of more than a thousand Iranian fighters in the conflict, a senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards has said. "We will continue our advisory help as long as they need it," Mohammad Pakpour, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ground forces, told Iran's Fars news agency. - 5/3/17

Iran hosts nuclear safety forum in Isfahan
Iran's central city of Isfahan is hosting the 24th annual meeting of the Forum of the State Nuclear Safety Authorities of the Countries Operating WWER Type Reactors, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reported. - 5/3/17

The Art Theater takes a Stand
Since the presidential election in November, a number of Champaign-Urbana organizations have hosted events and protests to take a stand against the conservative policies being rolled out by the Trump administration and to foster discussion about social justice issues that affect the community. In May, the Art Theater will participate in an international film series called The Seventh Art Stand, a cinematic act of solidarity against Islamophobia and the travel ban. -Smile Politely - 5/3/17

From chip shop to art gallery: Kazem Hakimi's photographs of his customers
In East Oxford, where I grew up, Kaz has been a local celebrity since before I was born. Father of nine, grandfather of four and the friendliest man for many miles, he has fashioned an unlikely community hub out of the standing-room-only chippie on Iffley Road. -Independent - 5/3/17

Iran Khodro beging mass production of Peugeot 2008
French auto giant Peugeot has started the mass production of its latest flagship crossover in Iran - a landmark move that could cement its presence in the Middle East's biggest vehicle market. The production of Peugeot 2008 subcompact SUVs officially started in the central site of Iran Khodro Industrial Group (IKCO) in capital Tehran in a ceremony attended by the country's President Hassan Rouhani. - 5/2/17

Beach Soccer World Cup: Iran breezes past Nigeria to reach quarter-finals
Iranian beach footballer won penalty shoot-out over Nigerian rivals to finish second in Group B and advance to quarter-finals of 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Bahamas. The 2-1 victory on penalties for the Persian side came after an eye-catching 4-4 draw after extra time. - 5/2/17

Persian Parade Illuminates Madison Avenue
Parades are one of New York City's greatest traditions and yesterday, the NYPD Mounted Horse unit, that has patrolled the city streets since 1858, led the 14th Annual Persian Parade on Madison Avenue. Prominent Iranian-American community leaders followed along with city and state officials and a commanding float depicting Persian King Cyrus the Great and his famous barrel-shaped clay cylinder, said to be the first recorded declaration of human rights dating back some 2,600 years ago. -Davar Ardalan, Huffington Post - 5/2/17

Photos: Opening of Tehran's Milad Tower zip-line
The Milad Tower Complex in Iran's capital city Tehran is now equipped with a zip-line at the service of visitors who seek further entertainment and excitement. -Maryam Kamyab - 5/2/17

Two German Tourists Killed In Minibus Accident In Southern Iran
A minibus carrying German tourists overturned in southern Iran on May 1, leaving two dead and at least 17 injured, Iranian media reported. The bus driver was reported to have lost control due to high speed on a rainy road between Shiraz and Saadat Shahr, a small town about 20 kilometers from the ancient ruins of Persepolis. - 5/2/17

Iranian bank to open branch in Germany's state of Bavaria
German officials say the Middle East Bank of Iran has received a license to open a branch in the country's state of Bavaria which hosts a wide range of big industrial names. The announcement was made by Markus Wittmann, a top official with an economic delegation from Bavaria that was in Tehran over the weekend for talks on ways to promote mutual trade. - 5/2/17

37 countries to participate in Iran Oil Show 2017 held May 6-9 in Tehran
According to Shana news agency, in this year's exhibition 1016 domestic companies and 811 foreign exhibitors from different countries including China, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, France, Britain, U.S. and Canada are going to showcase their latest products and achievements in oil, gas, refining and petrochemical sectors. - 5/2/17

PHOTOS: Magnificent tile-work at Mo'aven al-Molk shrine in Kermanshah, Iran
The Takieh Mo'aven ol-Molk is Iran's finest Hosseinieh, a distinctively Shiite shrine where plays are acted out during the Islamic month of Moharram to commemorate the martyrdom in 680 of Imam Hossein at Karbala. Enter downstairs, through a courtyard and a domed central chamber decorated with grisly scenes from the Karbala battle. -Vahid Hoseini - 5/1/17

Winners of 35th Fajr Film Festival Announced
Winners of the 35th edition of Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF) were announced Thursday night, with 'The Home' from Iran snatching Golden Simorgh for Best Film in main competition section. Bulgarians Margita Gosheva and Stefan Denolyubov won the Silver Simorgh for Best Actress and Best Actor for their roles in Glory. - 5/1/17

Iran's Rohani Warns Of Authoritarianism If Rivals Win Presidential Election
Iranian President Hassan Rohani warned Iranians that a vote for his hard-line rivals could bring greater authoritarianism to the country, while his main opponent assailed him over his economic policies. "Iranians will prove to the world at the May 19 election that the era of violence, extremism, and pressures in our country is over and Iran is pursuing the path of reason," Rohani said. - 5/1/17

Iran exports to Europe up by 300% after JCPOA: EU
Iran's exports to the European Union have increased by over 300 percent after the implementation of the historic 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete says. - 5/1/17

Videos Appear Defending Iranian Presidential Hopeful's Role in 1988 Prisoners Massacre
Since Ebrahim Raisi announced his candidacy for Iran's presidency, videos have been appearing online defending the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners, which Raisi implemented as part of a special committee. - 5/1/17

Iran's Supreme Leader Dismisses Rohani Rapprochement Policy Toward West
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has criticized President Hassan Rohani for saying his rapprochement policy toward the West had caused the threat of war to diminish. Khamenei's comments at an April 30 meeting with workers from across the country come amid Iran's intensifying presidential election campaign, in which pragmatist Rohani is seeking a second term. - 5/1/17

Iranian Filmmaker Keyvan Karimi Released From Prison Early
An Iranian filmmaker has been released from prison early after serving around five months based on his conviction on charges of "insulting sanctities" and "spreading propaganda." Keywan Karimi, a 31-year-old Iranian Kurd, was released on April 19, the global rights watchdog Amnesty International said in a statement late last week. - 5/1/17

CEO Of Persian-Language Gem TV Killed In Istanbul, Turkey
The founder and chairman of the Persian-language Gem TV company has been shot dead in Istanbul, media reports say. Saeed Karimian, a British citizen of Iranian origin, was gunned down along with his Kuwaiti business partner in Istanbul's Maslak neighborhood late on April 29, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. - 5/1/17

Much Ado About Nothing: Politico's Iran Deal Investigation Debunked
It is a sign of the times that when we need to march in defense of facts, of women deserving equal rights, and of science not being a Chinese conspiracy, we also have to defend something as self-evident as the undeniable value of the nuclear deal with Iran from 2015. But in a post-fact era, even diplomatic triumphs that saved the United States from both the threat of nuclear weapons and another endless war in the Middle East face perpetual relitigation. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 5/1/17
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