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10 Iranian HEPCO Workers Striking For Unpaid Wages Charged With "Disturbing Public Order"
Ten striking workers at Iran's Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) in the city of Arak, south of Tehran, were charged with "disturbing public order" for participating in protests billed as "illegal gatherings" after they appeared in court on May 28, 2018. - 5/31/18

Back To Basics: Iranian Student Schools Supreme Leader On Democratization, Other Woes
Criticizing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is widely seen as among Iran's so-called red lines. Dozens of intellectuals, activists, and politicians have been sidelined, harassed, or jailed for challenging the man who holds the final political and religious say in the Islamic republic. Yet earlier this week, a female student rose in Khamenei's presence to harshly criticize the state of affairs in the country, including actions by powerful bodies controlled by the Iranian leader that have been cited by critics as major barriers to reform. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 5/31/18

Bijan Safai, M.D., D.Sc. Receives the Honorary Science Doctorate Bestowed by New York College of Podiatric Medicine
Bijan Safai, M.D., D.Sc. Chair and Professor of Dermatology at New York Medical College, received the prestigious D.Sc. Honoris Causa bestowed upon him by New York College of Podiatric Medicine at their May 2018 Commencement. Dr. Safai was recognized for his seminal contributions, prolific scholarships and clinical and humanitarian practice, his seminal role on advances in dermatology, immunology and cancer, his practice of specialized dermatology, and his pivotal founding leadership role in Physician Affiliate Group of New York. - 5/31/18

Major Russian, Indian Energy Firms Reportedly Moving To Pull Out Of Iran
The threat of U.S. sanctions has prompted Russian oil giant Lukoil to put its plans to develop projects in Iran on hold while the Indian company that owns the world's largest oil refining complex plans to stop buying oil from Iran, Reuters reported on May 30. -RFE/RL - 5/31/18

Mother of Activist Jailed by Iran Says He's on Hunger Strike
The mother of an Iranian citizen-journalist who has been jailed in Iran for four years says her son has been on a hunger strike for a month to raise awareness about poor conditions at his prison. In a phone interview with VOA Persian broadcast on Wednesday, Farangis Mazloom said her activist son, Soheil Arabi, began refusing food a month ago at the Great Tehran Penitentiary. She denied rumors that Arabi had committed suicide and shared with VOA Persian a recent audio recording of him speaking from prison. -VOA - 5/31/18

Iran Supreme Leader's Aide Puts Forward Proposals To Counter US Breaches Of
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has put forward a number of propositions to develop the country's nuclear capabilities and counter US breaches of the Iran deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), weeks after President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the agreement. - 5/31/18

Visions of Iran: Film festival tells stories from a country of contradictions
While most of the films shown at Cologne's Visions of Iran film festival were created by filmmakers born after the Islamic Revolution, it also features the final work of Iran's late cinematic master, Abbas Kiarostami. -DW - 5/31/18

Iranian Actors Boycott President's Iftar Ceremony
Several famous Iranian actors and actresses say they will not attend the president's iftar (breaking fast) ceremony that will take place on Wednesday, May 30. Using the Farsi hashtag "we do not go to Iftar", the protesting movie stars said on their social media pages that they will reject Hassan Rouhani's invitation due to political, social, and economic crisis that the country is facing. - 5/30/18

50 Years Later, Security Forces Are Still Trying to Silence the Iranian Writers Association
Police and security forces blocked an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the anti-censorship Iranian Writers Association (IWA) by raiding the home in Tehran where it was supposed to be held on May 25, 2018. - 5/30/18

Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei Demands Punishment in New Sex Abuse Scandal
Iran's supreme leader has called for swift punishment of those involved in a high school sex abuse scandal that erupted Monday with revelations in a state news report and a social media video of the alleged abuser. - 5/30/18

Fasting, Faith, And The Hijab: Rohani's Recipe For Iranian World Cup Success
As Iran's national soccer team finalizes its squad and tactics for the upcoming World Cup in Russia, President Hassan Rohani is offering his thoughts on how Ramadan, chaste women athletes, and faith among members of Team Melli, as it's known, can work in concert to make the Islamic republic victorious. - 5/30/18

Wave of Baha'i Arrests in Iran Raises Alarm at Faith's UN Office
The Baha'i International Community (BIC) at the United Nations has expressed alarm over a spate of arrests of Baha'i faith members in three Iranian provinces by agents of the Intelligence Ministry. "Baha'is have been arrested since the inception of the Islamic Republic. But this new wave of arrests, that is taking place more rapidly and throughout Iran, raises concern for the BIC about their situation and the fate of all the Baha'is living in Iran," said Diane Ala'i, the non-governmental organization's representative to the UN in Geneva, in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 25, 2018. - 5/30/18

Corporate exodus tests EU ability to keep Iran trade flowing
The EU's ability to protect Iran's benefits from the 2015 nuclear deal is being seriously tested as business exodus from the Islamic Republic continues. Swiss bank Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) on Tuesday became the latest firm to announce that it was winding down Iran-related activities while two Indian lenders were reported to have told their customers to wrap up Iran trade. - 5/30/18

Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei Distances Himself From Judiciary and State TV As Criticism Escalates
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has distanced himself from Iran's hardline Judiciary and "politically biased" state TV, most likely because of harsh criticism by regime insiders and increasing public dissatisfaction. Khamenei who was speaking to a group of university students in Tehran on Monday, May 28, said although he appoints Iran's Judiciary chief and the head of the state TV, he does not intervene in their management, Iranian media reported. - 5/29/18

Israeli Security Advisor To Meet Bolton To Coordinate Against Iran
Israel's National Security Advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbat left for Washington on Monday to meet John Bolton, his newly appointed American counterpart, Israel's Channel 10 reported. The meeting will reportedly take place on Tuesday and will focus on coordinating policy towards Iran. The agenda of the meeting is specifically to discuss the renewal and revamping of a joint memorandum of understanding the two sides had signed in December on how to deal with Iran. - 5/29/18

World Cup Warm-Up: Turkey defeats Iran 2-1
Turkey national football team defeated Iran 2-1 in a friendly match thanks to Cenk Tosun brace Monday night. Carlos Queiroz's squad faced Mircea Lucescu's men at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. - 5/29/18

German FM vows to assist Iran's economy if it adheres to nuclear deal
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Berlin is prepared to help Iran improve its economy and business ties by the time that Tehran remains committed to a landmark nuclear agreement it signed with major powers in 2015. "We will continue to make efforts to fulfill Iran's hopes for economic recovery and good trade relations as long as Iran is ready and able to prove that it adheres to its obligations under the nuclear deal," Maas said on Tuesday. - 5/29/18

Iranian hard rock singer Arian Naini gets green light for "Loneliness Border"
The Iranian hard rock singer Arian Naini got the nod for the first time from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to release a music video, Persian media reported on Monday. Kian Hejazi is the producer of the video, which has been directed by Saba Moqaddami. - 5/29/18

A Superstar's Funeral In Tehran Turns Into Angry Protests Against Iranian Authorities
Paying homage to a pre-revolution superstar in Tehran turned into a large and noisy protest against the ruling establishment on Sunday, May 27. Nasser Malek Motiee, 88, passed away on Friday evening of kidney failure in a hospital in the capital city. - 5/28/18

China To Host Iran's President Rohani During SCO Summit In June
China will host Iranian President Hassan Rohani in June, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said as major powers look for ways to save the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. The Foreign Ministry on May 28 did not give the exact date for Rohani's visit, but said he would attend the June 6-10 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit as an observer. - 5/28/18

India will not follow US sanctions on Iran: Foreign Minister Swaraj
India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj says New Delhi will keep trading with Iran and will only follow sanctions imposed by the United Nations and not those imposed by any other country, such as the United States, against the Islamic Republic. - 5/28/18

EU resolved to preserve Iran nuclear deal after US withdrawal: Mogherini
The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc is determined to save a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries despite the United States' move to withdraw from the deal. - 5/28/18

The Saudi Lobby's Scheme to Destroy the Iran Deal
They gave Obama their tepid approval, then poured millions into a three-year campaign to kill it--and won. The Saudi lobby's push began long before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was formally announced on July 14, 2015. In fact, Saudi lobbyists had been working behind the scenes in the U.S. for years to ensure that the Kingdom's concerns were incorporated into any deal Washington would agree to with Iran--if there was to be a deal at all. -American Conservative - 5/28/18

Legendary Iranian Actor Nasser Malakmotiei dies at 88
Iranian actor Nasser Malakmotiei who appeared in over 100 movies and TV series, in most of which he played the roles of virile characters, died at Tehran's Aatieh Hospital on Friday night, he was 88. He was suffering from a kidney disorder, Persian media outlets announced. - 5/27/18

Iran volleyball team beats Australia in straight sets at 2018 FIVB Nations League
The national Iranian men's volleyball team has defeated Australia in its second fixture at the 2018 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball Men's Nations League. On Saturday, the Iranian squad faced the Australian side, nicknamed the Volleyroos, in a fixture played at the Kindarena in the northern French city of Rouen, and thumped it 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-21). - 5/27/18

Iran Security Agents Prevent 50th Anniversary of Writers Association
Iranian security forces on Friday May 25 prevented the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Writers Association, the oldest and most prestigious trade union for Iranian writers. Upholding human rights, organizing Iranian writers and campaigning against censorship are the focal points of the Iranian Writers Association's activities. - 5/27/18

Iranian Truckers Continue Strike, Disrupting Essential Deliveries
Truck drivers in Iran continue their strike despite promises made by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development's officials to raise cargo fees. Truck drivers, who say "no more lip service", have been on strike since May 22, protesting high expenses and low cargo fees. For the fifth consecutive day, the strike continued on Saturday, May 26 across Iran. - 5/27/18

15 Iranian Government Officials Convicted Over 'Astronomical' Salaries
The head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court announced that 15 senior managers working for the government have been convicted to prison terms or cash fines due to "astronomical" salaries they have received. 21 more managers have been indicted, Abbas Pouriani told Tasnim News Agency on Friday, May 25. - 5/27/18

THE POMPOUS POMPEO: Trump's Barnyard Approach to Diplomacy
I watched, live, the newly appointed Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, deliver a half-hour-long prepared speech that highlighted his so-called "Plan B" approach to Iran at the neocon dominated Heritage Foundation last Monday. Hearing some of the key segments of his speech, it was quite clear that this "delivery man" was reading off a text prepared by a group-think that had to have included Netanyahu and Bolton ( nuclear capability, not now, not ever!) -Kambiz Zarrabi - 5/25/18

An Open Letter to Federica Mogherini and the European Imperative to Save the Iran Nuclear Deal
We, the undersigned, thank you for your speech on 8th May 2018, pledging the European Union's intention to remain steadfast in its commitment to the historic accord concluded between Iran and the E3/EU+3, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Too often, politicians have inclined to patronise and admonish, but, instead, you opted for a "universal language" of respect and dialogue. - 5/25/18

Iran, World Powers In Tough Talks To Salvage Nuke Deal
Senior diplomats from Iran and five world powers have begun meetings in Vienna to try to prevent a 2015 nuclear deal from collapsing after Washington's withdrawal from the deal earlier this month. "It won't be easy, but we'll try," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said ahead of the talks. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement on May 8 and announced the United States would reinstate sanctions against Iran. - 5/25/18

IAEA report confirms Iran's commitment to nuclear agreement
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed Iran's compliance with its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, but has called on the country to go beyond its obligations. According to an IAEA report shown to the media on Thursday, Iran is observing the key restrictions under the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). - 5/25/18

U.S. Plays Cat, And Iran The Mouse In 'Tom And Jerry' Comparison
When it comes to U.S.-Iranian relations, it is as simple as a game of cat and mouse; specifically, the iconic American cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, according to Iran's highest authority. The message within the Hanna-Barbera classic is recurring: while the tomcat (Tom), with its superior strength and size, might toy with the mouse, it is the clever and plucky mouse (Jerry) that always comes out on top. - 5/25/18

US slaps new sanctions on entities working with Iranian airlines
The US has imposed new sanctions against nine Iranian and Turkish individuals and companies as well as a number of aircraft providing goods and services to four Iranian airlines. The sanctions announced by the US Treasury Department on Thursday, targeted the entities cooperating with Iran's Mahan Air, Caspian Air, Meraj Air, and Pouya Air. - 5/25/18

After Talks With Macron, Putin Warns Of 'Lamentable Consequences' If Iran Nuclear Deal Collapses
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed Russia's appreciation for efforts by European countries to save the nuclear deal with Iran despite the withdrawal of the United States while warning of "lamentable consequences" if it was not preserved. Putin made the comments at a May 24 news conference in St Petersburg after talks his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron who traveled to Russia to discuss the Iran nuclear deal as well as conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. - 5/25/18

Why Pompeo's speech on Iran is outrageous
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation this morning, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo practically declared war on Iran. His unprecedented threats against Iran went even beyond what President Trump had said in the past. Commenting on the speech, JStreet wrote: "With their decision to violate the historic JCPOA arms control agreement, the president and his 'war cabinet' have created a strategic disaster of their own making and undone the major accomplishments of the previous administration. They have made the US, Israel and the world less safe." -Farhang Jahanpour - 5/24/18

No U.S-European Compromise Seen On Iran As Khamenei Steps Up Demands
The United States and European countries are "a long way from a compromise" on a new Iran nuclear deal, Germany's top diplomat said, as Iran's supreme leader called on European countries to reject U.S. demands for a tougher deal with Iran. - 5/24/18

Macron Heads to Russia to Save Iran Nuclear Deal
French President Emmanuel Macron heads to St. Petersburg Thursday for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, whose support is key on matters ranging from salvaging the Iran nuclear deal to securing steady European gas supplies. -Lisa Bryant, VOA - 5/24/18

Once a Foe, US Now Hopes Iraqi Firebrand Shi'ite Cleric Becomes a Friend
The prospect of firebrand Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr wielding the greatest influence of any Iraqi leader over the formation of a government in Baghdad would have prompted panic in Washington years ago. They are pinning their hopes, they say, on al-Sadr continuing to move away from his old sectarian militancy and to emerge as a more inclusive Iraqi nationalist and, most importantly for Washington, remaining an outspoken opponent of Tehran. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 5/24/18

Vida Ghaffari is the First Iranian-American to be inducted in the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame
On Saturday, May 19th, actress Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project, Jimmy Kimmel Live) and many celebrities and luminaries in the martial arts world were inducted into the prestigious USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame at their gala at the Doubletree Hilton in Los Angeles. Ghaffari was bestowed with the Trailblazer Award. She is the first person of Iranian descent to be inducted. - 5/23/18

Trump, Iran, Europe: A Rebellion Of The Lambs?
Donald Trump's decision to pull his country out of the nuclear deal with Iran arrived with a brutality that took Europeans by surprise. Of course, in the previous days, they had lost whatever illusions they still entertained. But there was still hope for a grace period that would allow them to obtain some gestures from Iran, or sanctions eased in return for their efforts. "One more minute, Mr. Executioner," they pleaded. But the blade of the guillotine fell nonetheless. -Francois Nicoulaud - 5/23/18

German Top Diplomat In U.S. To Discuss Iran Nuclear Dispute
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was set to meet with top-level U.S. officials on May 23 for talks expected to center on the consequences of the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. - 5/23/18

Iran's Rohani Calls For End To Ban On Women At Sports Events
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called for a decades-long stadium ban for women to be lifted, according to his office and media reports. "There should be no difference between men and women in Islam, and for that reason women should also be allowed to take part in sports events," Rohani said at a meeting with Iranian athletes in his office on May 22, according to a statement released by his office. - 5/23/18

'No Evidence' Detained Iranian Environmentalists Are Spies
An Iranian government panel has concluded there is no evidence against environmental activists rounded up on spying charges in recent months, the country's environment chief says. Isa Kalantari, head of Iran's department of environment, was quoted by state media as saying on May 22 that the conclusion had been reached by a panel set up to investigate the allegations against the activists. The panel included the ministers of justice, interior, and intelligence, as well as the president's legal deputy, Kalantari said. - 5/23/18

Pompeo: US Working to Bring Home US Detainees from Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Tuesday to bring home American detainees in Iran, saying "the entire United States government" is working "diligently" and is utilizing "every avenue" and "mechanism." -Nike Ching, VOA - 5/23/18

Renault Might Have To Leave Iran After US Pullout From JCPOA
French car manufacturer Renault might have to leave the Iranian market altogether as a result of the US pullout from the nuclear deal with Iran. Renault's partner Nissan is a key player in the US market, and Renault may have its hesitations, fearing its activity in Iran might affect Nisan's business in the United States. - 5/23/18

Iranian Officials Call For Unblocking Twitter
Six Iranian ministers and two lawmakers, all members of the state committee in charge of blocking websites, have issued an open letter to the country's prosecutor calling for the unblocking of Twitter. The letter was issued in response to "the growing public demands for unfiltering Twitter to allow the activity of the youth and media in [it]," the government website reported. - 5/22/18

Iran's Telegram Users Back on the Rise Three Weeks After State Banned the App
Three weeks after Iran banned the widely used Telegram messaging app, the telecommunications minister posted a chart online showing that the number of Iranian users had begun rising to pre-ban levels. The posting marks the first time an Iranian official has presented figures implicitly confirming the failure of state censorship policies. - 5/22/18

Iranian Factory Workers Resume Blockade of Key Railway Line
Iranian factory workers have resumed a blockade of the country's main north-south railway line as part of a protest against labor conditions in a western Iranian city. Iranian social media users said the workers of the HEPCO industrial complex in Arak blocked the railway line that runs along its perimeter on Monday. The HEPCO workers had removed the barricades five days earlier while also warning they would be reinstated if authorities did not accept their demands. - 5/22/18

The Myth of a Better Deal
From imaginary weapons of mass destruction to fantastical currency unions, "magical thinking" in foreign policy leads to nothing but catastrophe. Let's not do the same with Iran. -Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy - 5/22/18

Eleven Killed, Hundreds Sick In Iran After Mushroom Poisoning
More than 800 people have been poisoned after eating toxic wild mushrooms across western Iran, local media report. A Health Ministry official said on May 21 that that the effects of the fungi had killed 11 people so far, Tasnim news agency reported. - 5/22/18

Kazakhstan's Yeslyamova, Iran's Panahi Among Winners At Cannes Film Festival
At the awards ceremony on May 19, the prize for best screenplay was split between Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's script for Three Faces and Italian director Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro. The film by Panahi, who is banned from leaving Iran, premiered to a standing ovation at the festival where it was screened on May 12. - 5/21/18

Yupa: Iran national football teams' mascot unveiled
Yupa, the mascot of the Iranian national football teams, was unveiled ahead of the friendly match between Iran and Uzbekistan. The word 'Yupa' is derived from the Persian word 'Yuzpalang' means cheetah and 'Tizpa' means fast. Yupa has put a Pahlavani wristband on its right hand which is an Iranian symbol and has worn a captain's armband on its left arm. - 5/21/18

Iran: EU Not Doing Enough to Support Nuclear Deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that Europe's political support to save the 2015 international nuclear accord after the U.S. withdrawal was not sufficient if too many European companies end their investments in Iran. "The cascade of decisions by EU companies to end their activities in Iran makes things much more complicated," Zarif said after meeting with European Union energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. - 5/21/18

Iranian MP Accuses Khamenei's Representative of Fueling Unrest in Kazeroon
While clashes between riot police and angry demonstrators continue in the Southwestern city of Kazeroon near Shiraz, local officials blame each other for the unrest that has claimed at least two lives according to official figures. Vehemently defending the plan to divide the ancient city of Kazeroon, its representative to parliament has accused the local Friday Prayer leader of "provoking people to rebellion." -Radio Farda - 5/21/18

Rival Camps In Iran Point Fingers Over JCPOA Failure
The saber-rattling over the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, has intensified between the two rival camps in Iran. -Radio Farda - 5/21/18

Three Million Iranians Have Organ Donor Cards
Some three million Iranians have organ donor cards and some 10 percent have signed online consent forms for organ donation, Farahnaz Sadeq-Beigi, head of organ procurement program in Masih Daneshvari Hospital, a national research institute for tuberculosis and lung diseases, has said. - 5/21/18

EU Vows To Stick To Iran Nuclear Deal If Tehran Complies
The European Union will remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal as long as Tehran continues to adhere to the landmark 2015 accord easing sanctions in exchange for curbs on its atomic program, the EU's top energy official said on May 19. - 5/19/18

EU to make direct oil payments to Iran to bypass US sanctions
A plan by the European Union to make direct oil payments to Iran after the US re-imposes sanctions against the country is seen to risk the start of a trade war between Europe and the United States. The plan - which was unveiled on Friday - envisages Euro payments to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) for oil purchased by EU member states. It would be part of a package of measures adopted by the EU to save the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran after US President Donald Trump said he would take America out of it. - 5/19/18

Iran's President Rohani Calls On Muslim World To Cut Ties With Israel, Curb Ties With U.S.
At a summit of Muslim countries convened by Turkey in Istanbul on May 18, Rohani said "if Israel faces a united front of Islamic nations, it will never be able to continue its crimes," Rohani said. He said a "new and young generation of Palestinians is aware of their rights and has no intention to withdraw or compromise." It was a rare show of unity between Shi'a-ruled Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations - 5/19/18

Pompeo Asks U.S. Allies' To Help Push Iran Back To Negotiation Table
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a "diplomatic road map" on Iran that will call for European and other allies to help force Tehran back to the negotiating table after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, a U.S. official says. - 5/19/18

NYC's Premier Farsi Funk Band, Mitra Sumara, Announces New Album TAHDIG
Mitra Sumara, New York City's only Farsi Funk group, is proud to announce their debut album Tahdig, set for release on June 8, 2018 on Persian Cardinal Recordings. This international party band revives the vibrant Persian pop and funk music silenced by the Iranian Revolution. The popular music of Iran in the 60s and 70s combined disco, funk, and Latin beats with Middle Eastern melodies and poetic lyrics. Mitra Sumara interprets hits by Iran's beloved singers such as Googoosh, Soli, Leila Forouhar, and remakes intoxicating Southern Iranian Bandari beat tunes. - 5/18/18

Iran Signs Oil Deal With British Group, First Since U.S. Resumed Sanctions
Iran has signed an agreement with a British consortium to develop an oil field, in the first such deal with a Western firm since Washington announced it would exit the nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. The National Iranian South Oil Company signed an agreement with the London-based Pergas consortium to produce 655 million barrels of oil from the Keranj field in southwestern Iran in the next 10 years, Iran's Oil Ministry said on May 17 through its Shana news service. - 5/18/18

Local Police in South Iran Accused of Killing Two Protesters
At least two people are suspected to have been killed and several wounded after police in the south-western Iranian city of Kazeroon opened fire on a crowd in front of a police station where their relatives were detained for protesting the planned partition of the city, a resident told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 17, 2018. - 5/18/18

Iranian Canadian's Widow Maryam Mombeini Hospitalized Two Months After Being Banned From Leaving Iran
The wife of an Iranian Canadian academic who died in Iranian custody under suspicious circumstances in February 2018 was hospitalized for three days after exhibiting symptoms of a nervous breakdown. "My mother had been in Pars Hospital for three days because of stress and psychological pressures caused by loneliness, depression and stress," Mehran Seyed-Emami told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 16, 2018. - 5/18/18

They Want War With Iran, They're Settling For Economic War
On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Valiollah Seif, governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," accusing him of moving " millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to Hezbollah." OFAC's move opened a new front in the Trump administration's accelerating conflict with Iran. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 5/17/18

With $1 million gift from Farhang Foundation, UCLA plans to create new minor in Iranian music
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will begin the process of establishing an academic minor in Iranian music with a generous $1 million gift from Farhang Foundation. A signing ceremony on April 27 at UCLA commemorated the gift. - 5/17/18

Iran: Little Progress to Show UN on Disability Rights
Iran is facing a looming deadline to present its response to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a year after the UN body gave the Iranian government three recommendations for upholding and protecting the rights of the country's disabilities community. - 5/17/18

EU's Tusk Hits Out At Trump's 'Capricious' Policies Amid Iran Split, Trade Dispute
European Council President Donald Tusk has slammed "the capricious assertiveness" of the United States under President Donald Trump, who he said has "rid Europe of all illusions." Tusk made the comments on May 16 in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, before an EU summit where the U.S. decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal and the threat to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel products will be discussed. - 5/17/18

Violent Protest 'Leaves At Least One Dead' In Kazeroon, Southern Iran
A violent protest in the city of Kazeroon in southwestern Iran has left at least one person dead and six others injured, Iranian media report. Esmail Tabadar, the governor of the province of Fars, where Kazeroon is located, confirmed the death of one protester in a May 17 interview with the semiofficial ISNA news agency. - 5/17/18

Iranian Starts Blocking Internet Filtering Circumvention Tools
Iran's Information and Communication Technology Minister announced that based on an order issued by the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, his ministry has started blocking anti-filtering programs or internet filtering circumvention tools, as they are known. - 5/17/18

New US Sanctions Will Make Iranians Sicker
Sanctions against Iran are almost as old as I am. I was born in early 1980, and international sanctions against Iran began during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s as most global and regional powers supported Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in his invasion of the country. My father was injured and exposed to chemical weapons during that war, and as a result suffered from Parkinson's disease later in life. -Fariba Pajooh - 5/16/18

EU's Tough Choice: Analysts Say Staying In Iran Deal Is An Option If...
European officials eager to salvage 2-year-old nuclear curbs on Iran are said to be exploring ways to ensure Tehran's continued participation following the U.S. decision to abandon the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), under which Tehran limited sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 5/16/18

US Blacklisting Of Iran's Central Bank Chief Meant To Derail Nuclear Deal Talks: Tehran
Tehran has strongly condemned Washington for imposing sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran's chief over a week after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying such moves are meant to derail the ongoing negotiations to save the now six-party agreement. - 5/16/18

European Leaders To Discuss Ways To Shield Firms From U.S. Sanctions On Iran
European Union leaders at a summit in Sofia are expected to discuss measures that the bloc might take to shield European companies from renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said on May 15 that European commissioners will first discuss whether the EU's 1990s-era sanctions-blocking measures can be used to protect European business interests in Iran before leaders at the summit take up the matter. - 5/16/18

"You Know What Your Problem Is:" Young Man Expelled From Iranian University For His Baha'i Faith
A young man has been expelled from the University of Gilan in northern Iran because of his Baha'i faith in another example of Iranian universities discriminating against students for their religious beliefs without consequences. - 5/16/18

Merkel: Germany Remains Committed To Iran Nuclear Deal
Canceling a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran would be wrong, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, adding that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal was among several pieces of "troubling news" that had occurred recently. - 5/16/18

European firms jump the gun on Iran sanctions
Global companies have begun to take stock of how President Donald Trump's decision to exit the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran is going to affect overall business with Iran. -Press TV - 5/16/18

The Danger Of Process-Free Foreign Policy
The disturbing parallels between Donald Trump's policy toward Iran and the run-up to the disastrous U.S. offensive war against Iraq keep piling up. There is a drumbeat of belligerent rhetoric, with no limit to what the targeted country gets accused of doing. There is a highly selective, tendentious public use of intelligence, including presentations either to the United Nations or from an ambassador to the United Nations. There are even some of the same people, including John Bolton, who still says that the Iraq War was a good thing, who has made no secret of welcoming a war with Iran, and who today is Trump's national security advisor. -Paul Pillar - 5/15/18

Iran's Zarif Hails 'Constructive Meeting' With EU On Nuclear Deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed as "very good and constructive" the meeting he had on May 15 in Brussels with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. Zarif was in Brussels on the final stop of a global tour aimed at rallying support for a landmark 2015 nuclear between Tehran and six world powers in the wake of Washington's withdrawal from the deal. - 5/15/18

Enraged Workers Block Iran's North-South Railway
Workers from the Hepco industrial complex in the central city of Arak blocked and disrupted the Iran North-South railway for several hours on May 14, demanding overdue wages and protesting conditions at their factory. Hundreds of Hepco workers have not been paid for three months, state-run news agencies ILNA and IRNA reported. -Radio Farda - 5/15/18

Iran: Baha'i Leader's 10-Year Prison Sentence Extended Despite Judicial Ruling That He Is Too Ill to Be Incarcerated
Afif Naeimi, the seventh and last imprisoned member of Baha'i leaders in Iran known as the Yaran, returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison near Tehran on April 23, 2018, at the end of his medical leave despite suffering from life-threatening ailments. His wife Shahla Khalaji informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 1 that the judiciary's own medical experts had ruled that the 57-year-old is too ill to be incarcerated. - 5/15/18

Iran's Central Bank Sets Strict Limits On Cash Leaving Country Amid Currency Crisis
A new directive issued by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has set strict limits on the amount of foreign cash travelers can take with them out of the country amid a deepening currency crisis. According to the new directive published on CBI's website May 13, travelers leaving Iran by air are only allowed to carry 5000 euros ($5,980) or its equivalent in other foreign currencies. This is half the amount of foreign currency travelers could take with them before the new directive was issued. - 5/15/18

U.S. Security Adviser John Bolton: Washington Not Pushing Iran 'Regime Change'
White House national security adviser John Bolton says "regime change" in Iran is not currently part of the administration's policy, despite his past suggestions that the United States should push for a new government in Tehran. - 5/14/18

Shaparak Shajarizadeh Twice Arrested For Allegedly Removing Her Headscarf in Public in Iran
Shaparak Shajarizadeh has been arrested again for allegedly allowing her hair to show in public in Iran. Her lawyer, prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, called the ongoing arrests of Iranian women for allegedly violating the country's compulsory hijab rule a "manifestation of violence against women." - 5/14/18

Tehran City Council Elects New Reformist Mayor
Tehran City Council members elected Mohammad Ali Afshani as the new mayor of the Iranian capital May 13, after his predecessor resigned last month amid controversy. Afshani won by 19 votes, while his main challenger, Acting Mayor Sami'ollah Hossaini Makaram, garnered only one vote. - 5/14/18

Despite Facing Prison, Iranian Rights Lawyer Mohammad Najafi Still Seeking Justice For Deceased Detainee
Mohammad Najafi, a human rights lawyer facing years behind bars in Iran for publicly arguing that local police tried to conceal the cause of a detainee's death, says he is determined to continue seeking justice for the victim. "I will follow up on Vahid Heydari's case within the framework of the law and if his family wants me to represent them, I will do so and defend their rights to the fullest without the slightest hesitation," Najafi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran on May 6, 2018. - 5/14/18

AFC Women's Futsal Championship: Iran champions again!
The Iran women's national futsal team has vigorously ended its campaign at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Futsal Championship, and defended its title as the champion of the continental tournament. The Iranian sportswomen defeated the Japanese outfit 5-2 in the final showdown of the event at Indoor Stadium Huamark in the Thai capital city of Bangkok. - 5/13/18

Banned Iranian Director Jafar Panahi Gets Standing Ovation At Cannes Film Festival
A new film by Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who is banned from leaving Iran, has premiered to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Panahi's children and the cast of his film Three Faces were welcomed with thunderous applause as they arrived for the gala screening late on May 12, where one seat was left symbolically empty for the dissident director. - 5/13/18

Europeans Move To Protect Firms From Renewed U.S. Sanctions On Iran
European nations are moving to protect their companies from a resumption of stiff U.S. sanctions on firms doing business in Iran, in a critical part of their bid to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive and ensure it continues to benefit Iran's economy. - 5/13/18

Iranian Teachers Jailed, Shackled After Peaceful Protest
Iranian human rights activists say several teachers arrested for staging a protest in Tehran have been sent to the city's Evin prison, known for its jailing of political dissidents under harsh conditions. The activists said the teachers were jailed at Evin after participating in a peaceful demonstration Thursday outside the Iranian government's planning and budget office building in Tehran. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 5/13/18

President Rouhani Orders Talks With JCPOA Partners To 'Guarantee' Iran's Interests
Iran's president Hassan Rouhani has assigned his foreign minister to review the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), through direct talks with his British, Chinese, French, German and Russian counterparts. - 5/13/18

Iranian Court Sentences Eight To Death Over IS Attacks
An Iranian court has sentenced eight men to death in connection with terrorist attacks by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group that killed 18 people at the parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's mausoleum. The sentences were issued on May 13 by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. - 5/13/18

WHY OPT FOR PEACE WHEN MAYHEM AND WAR SERVE US SO WELL? Instability and War Make for Good Business!
So, the President has officially pulled the United States out of the Iran Nuclear deal, just as he had promised to do during his campaign for presidency. Trump, just as the crowd of his diehard supporters, has no clue about diplomacy, global affairs or even a clear picture of world geography, but he has been and continues to behave as a cut-throat, anything-goes, businessman. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 5/11/18

Six Lawyers in Iran File Petition Challenging Ban on Popular Telegram App
Six Iranian lawyers have presented a legal challenge to a recent judicial order blocking access in Iran to the widely used Telegram messaging and social media app, Telegram. On May 7, 2018, attorneys Payam Derafshan, Arash Keykhosravi, Abouzar Nasrollahi, Saeed Dehghan, Javad Parsa and Mohammad Moghimi filed a petition at the Court for Government Employees in Tehran to overturn the judicial order, which was issued by Assistant Prosecutor Bijan Ghasemzadeh on May 1. - 5/11/18

Traders Look To Replace Iranian Crude Oil As Sanctions Loom Again
Buyers of Iran's crude oil are winding down their business with the Islamic Republic after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimpose sanctions. - 5/11/18

Merkel Says U.S. Pullout From Iran Nuke Deal Undermines 'Global Order'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on May 11 that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal undermines confidence in the global order. Merkel said the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions was far from perfect, but stressed it should not be "unilaterally terminated" since it had been approved by the UN Security Council. - 5/11/18

How Iran Should Respond To Trump's Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal
The day that everyone was dreading arrived yesterday when President Trump announced that the United States will no longer adhere to the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). Before and after his announcement various commentators have discussed the implications of his decision for America's position in the world, its relations with Europe and the risks of greater turmoil in the Middle East. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog - 5/10/18

800 Iranian Environmentalists Call on President Rouhani to Uphold the Rights of Detained Colleagues
President Hassan Rouhani has not responded to a letter by 800 Iranian environmentalists demanding clarification on the "fate" of fellow environments who have been detained in Iran with extremely limited access to counsel for the past three to four months. "As you are aware, it has been close to 90 days since 13 environmental experts and wildlife activists were detained by security agencies in Iran amidst the broadcast and publication of several unsubstantiated and questionable television and newspaper reports," said the environmentalists in a letter sent to the president on April 2, 2018. - 5/10/18

AFC Women's Futsal Championship: Iran cruise into final
Islamic Republic of Iran's title defence remains on track after they beat Vietnam 5-0 to reach the AFC Women's Futsal Championship 2018 Final in style. - 5/10/18

China Reassures Tehran On Honoring Nuclear Deal, Buying Iranian Oil
China has said that it remains committed to Iran's nuclear deal with world powers and assured Tehran that it will continue buying nearly one-third of Iranian oil exports. "We express regret over this decision made by the United States," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. He said that China wanted to "ensure the integrity and sanctity" of a pact that Beijing believes was important for curbing nuclear proliferation and promoting stability in the Middle East. - 5/10/18

Political Figures Object To The Burning Of US Flag At Iran's Parliament
Outspoken MP Ali Motahari and a number of other Iranian political figures have criticized setting fire to a picture of the US flag and a copy of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) at the Majles session on Wednesday May 9, the morning after US President Donald Trump announced the United States' pullout from the nuclear deal with Iran. - 5/10/18

TOTAL's Gas Deal Scuttled By U.S. Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Accords
Billions of dollars in business deals between Iran and European companies inked after the 2015 nuclear agreement lifted sanctions on the Islamic Republic are now in jeopardy after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement May 8. The U.S. Treasury Department has said it will reinstate restrictions on companies doing business with Iran in the oil and banking sectors after 90 and 180-day grace periods respectively. - 5/10/18

Hold The Deal-Killers Accountable
At least President Trump's statement today about Iran made clear exactly what step he was taking: an outright material breach of U.S. obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear activities. Trump said that he will pile new sanctions on Iran, contrary to the commitment that was the U.S. side of the bargain that the JCPOA embodies and the United Nations Security Council has endorsed, even though Iran has scrupulously observed its side of the bargain. -Paul Pillar - 5/9/18

Iran implementing commitments under JCPOA: UN watchdog
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog says Iran is honoring its commitments under the nuclear agreement it reached with world powers in 2015 a day after US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the landmark deal in defiance of international warnings. - 5/9/18

Iranian Director Farhadi's Film Shown At Open Of Cannes Festival
Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's psychological thriller has played at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival while other Iranian, Russian, and Kazakh films were in the running for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or award. - 5/9/18

Iranian Opposition Leader Under House Arrest Declines "Limited" Lifting of Restrictions
Zahra Rahnavard, an Iranian opposition leader who has been under house arrest since February 2011, has declined an unofficial offer for some of the restrictions on her to be lifted, demanding that she and fellow opposition leaders under house arrest-Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi-be freed together and unconditionally. - 5/9/18

Boeing, Airbus licenses to sell jets to Iran to be revoked: US Treasury
The US Treasury says licenses held by aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran will be revoked after Washington announced its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. "The Boeing and (Airbus) licenses will be revoked," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday. "Under the original deal there were waivers for commercial aircraft, parts and services and the existing licenses will be revoked," he added. - 5/9/18

"Downtism Cafe" Launched on Tehran as Iran's First Business Staffed by People Living With Disabilities
Iran saw the opening of Downtism Cafe, the country's first cafe staffed by people living with disabilities including down syndrome and autism, on May 1, 2018. Downtism Cafe is located on the second floor of the Passage Ayeneh building on Vanak St. in northern Tehran. It was launched with the support of the State Welfare Organization, the main governmental body providing services to people living with disabilities in Iran, and the families of the cafe's employees. - 5/9/18

President Rouhani: Iran could remain in nuclear deal if its interests are guaranteed
President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Iran could remain in the 2015 nuclear deal without the U.S. if its interests are guaranteed, otherwise it has other plans. "The people should be sure that we will take necessary decisions for various moves of the U.S. and it is the U.S. who will suffer harms in this respect," Rouhani said at an administrative council meeting in Mashhad. - 5/8/18

Iran's State-Owned Telecommunications Company Has Yet to Comply With Judicial Order to Block Telegram
Investigations by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) show that Iran's Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC), which operates under President Hassan Rouhani's Telecommunications Ministry, has yet to comply with a prosecutor's order to block the Telegram messaging app. - 5/8/18

Iranian Women Defeat Uzbekistan 9-2 at AFC Futsal Championship
The Iran women's national futsal team has clinched another emphatic win at the preliminary round of the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Futsal Championship, and proudly advanced to the knockout stage of the continental tournament. - 5/8/18

Decision Day: Iranian Press Generally Pessimistic About The Fate Of JCPOA
Iranian newspapers from across the political spectrum commented May 8 on the fate of Iran's nuclear deal with the West, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Reports and comments in most Iranian newspapers are generally pessimistic, but reflect the internal political divisions. While newspapers closer to the Rouhani administration followed a more cautious approach, highlighting Iran's conditions to stay in the deal in case of U.S. withdrawal, hardline media adopted a tone of "we told you so". - 5/8/18

Oil Prices Highest Since 2014 Ahead Of Trump's Iran Decision
Oil prices surged to their highest levels since November 2014 as investors braced for U.S. President Donald Trump's decision on whether to withdraw from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. Fears that the United States will reimpose sanctions that were lifted in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities in 2016 sent premium crude prices above $70 a barrel in New York trading on May 7 for the first time since November 2014. - 5/8/18

An Iranian man plants hundreds of tulips out of love for his homeland's mothers
During the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (March 21-April 20), walking down Zarafshan Street in Shahrak-e-Gharb in northwestern Tehran has been a delight for many Iranians and foreign tourists. The sidewalk of the Zarafshan Street has been filled with colorful tulips for the past five years in an act of love of a son for his late mother. - 5/8/18

U.S. will face 'historic remorse' if it quits nuclear deal, Iran's President Rouhani warns
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the U.S. will suffer "historic remorse" if Donald Trump's administration quits the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The warning by Rouhani came just a week before Trump decides to either stay in the multilateral accord or leave it. - 5/7/18

German, French FMs Join Britain To Press Trump On Iran Nuclear Deal
The foreign ministers of Germany and France have joined Britain's foreign minister in a public push to convince U.S. President Donald Trump not to pull out of the nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran and six world powers. Speaking in Berlin on May 7 at a joint press conference with the French foreign minister, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said: "We believe that this agreement makes the world safer and without this agreement the world would be less safe. We fear a failure [of the nuclear accord] would result in an escalation." - 5/7/18

Iranian Lawyers: Rouhani Government Can Challenge Judiciary's Ban on Telegram Messaging App
Two lawyers in Tehran told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that the Iranian president has the authority to object to the prosecutor's order to ban the Telegram messaging app. Unlike political hardliners, President Hassan Rouhani and his Communications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi had previously repeatedly stated they were not interested in banning foreign social media apps, but they have not taken any substantive counter-measures since Telegram, used by a reported 40 million Iranians, was blocked in Iran on April 30, 2018. - 5/7/18

Iran Convicts 16 Women For 'Serving IS'
Sixteen women accused of being Islamic State (IS) militants have been sentenced to prison, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Ja'fari Dolatabadi announced May 6. "They were trained for terrorist actions in Syria and were detained after returning to Iran," Dolatabadi told Mizan Online, a website affiliated with Iran's judiciary, adding that police had confiscated more than three billion rials (roughly $70,000) that the women had allegedly been paid by IS. - 5/7/18

Reza Shah's Residence In Mauritius For Sale
Iran's Foreign Ministry is set to sell three estates owned by Iran in sub-Saharan Africa, including a previous residence of Reza Shah, who was forced to abdicate the throne by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941. -Radio Farda - 5/7/18

Iranian Currency Hits A New Low As Trump Announcement Looms
Despite government edicts and police pressure foreign currencies keep rising in Iran, as desperate travelers and others try to find U.S. dollars or euros on the black market. On Saturday, one US dollar was trading for 63,000 rials, approaching double of what it was a year ago. The euro has reached 75,000 rials, sold by by street dealers who face arrest since the government announced an official rate of 42,000 rials for the dollar in mid-April. -Radio Farda - 5/6/18

Cheongju 2018: Iran's Sareh Javanmardi achieves double gold
Iranian pistol specialist collects individual and team world titles on day three. The crowd began clapping in unison as the remaining two shooters fired their final shots. Amid the intense atmosphere, Sareh Javanmardi was telling herself that she would win - and she did. The Iranian defended her title in the P2 (women's 10m air pistol SH1), as day three of the 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships finished on Sunday (6 May) in Cheongju, South Korea. It was one of two individual medal events held on this day. - 5/6/18

Iran's President Rohani Strongly Criticizes Court Block On Telegram Messaging Service
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has strongly criticized a ban on the Telegram messaging service that was imposed by the country's judiciary, saying his administration does not support it. "The government wants a safe, but not controlled Internet," Rohani wrote on his Instagram account late on May 4. He said that the ban was neither ordered nor endorsed by the government. - 5/6/18

Hackers With Ties to Security Agencies Launch Phishing Attacks on Well Known Iranians and Dual Nationals
The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that during the first two weeks of April 2018, hackers attempted to take over the email and social media accounts of several well known Iranians and dual nationals working for charitable and academic organizations. - 5/6/18

Noted Iranian composer Nasser Cheshmazar dies at 68
Award-winning Iranian musician and composer Nasser Cheshmazar dies aged 68, leaving an indelible mark in the country's film industry. Cheshmazar died at Bahonar Hospital's ICU in Tehran on Friday after suffering a heart attack. - 5/6/18

Oman: Between Iran And A Hard Place
Oman doesn't like to take sides. In an increasingly polarized region, the oft-ignored Sultanate stands out for its efforts to seek common ground, finding paths to peace that sometimes elude larger powers. small size and its strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz makes it vulnerable to regional tensions and to the ambitions of its more powerful neighbors. Oman has therefore consistently sought to promote regional detente, often by providing a neutral site for talks and serving as a mediator. -Camille Lons, European Council on Foreign Relations - 5/6/18

Iran Will Not Renegotiate Nuclear Deal, Foreign Minister Says
Tehran will not renegotiate a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on May 3. "Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed years ago and has been implemented," Zarif said in video posted on YouTube. - 5/4/18

Iran Currency Crunch Hits Foreign Tourists
Newly arrived in the city of Tabriz in northwestern Iran, Corneilis Vamoorschot wanted to change his euros into rials, but quickly realized it wouldn't be a simple task. "We wanted to change at the bank, but the banks accept neither euros or dollars. We came to the foreign exchange bureau, but they had no money," said the Dutch tourist, enchanted by the city's brick bazaar, despite the inconvenience. -Radio Farda - 5/4/18

Russia's Rosatom begins work at phase 2 of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant
Russia has begun "soil stabilization" work on the site of Phase 2 of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in southern Iran, Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom has said. "On 3 May 2018, soil stabilization works under the reactor building of power unit No 2 commenced at Bushehr-2 NPP construction site," the agency said on its website on Thursday. - 5/4/18

Kurdish Shops In Western Iran Still Shuttered In Dispute Over Border Closing
The shopkeepers' strike in the northwestern majority Kurdish city of Baneh entered its 19th consecutive day May 3, with business owners keeping their shops closed in protest of the government's decision to ban the import of foreign goods at nearby border crossings. - 5/4/18

Europe's balancing act on the nuclear deal: wooing Trump without losing Iran
European leaders have been assiduous in lobbying Washington on the nuclear deal. But Europe must step up its diplomacy to ensure it does not lose Tehran in the process -Ellie Geranmayeh, European Council on Foreign Relations - 5/3/18

NIAC Requests U.S. Government Issue Exemption to Allow Mail to Iran
With many Iranian Americans finding in recent months that their mail to family in Iran is being returned to them with obscure instructions from the U.S. Postal Service, NIAC has taken formal action to call on the U.S. government to once again allow Americans to send mail to Iran. - 5/3/18

British Council Employee Being Held Without Access to a Lawyer by Iran's Intelligence Ministry
Agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry have arrested a London-based employee of the British Council, Aras Amiri, and are holding her without access to a lawyer on national security charges, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 5/3/18

Iranian Reformists Look On as Former Rouhani Campaign Manager Ordered to Serve Two-Year in Prison For Poem
A former campaign manager for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been ordered to serve a two-year prison sentence for reading a satirical poem at a campaign rally. The Appeals Court upheld the sentence and a suspended three-year prison term against Ali Mohammad Mohammadi for the charge of "insulting the sacred," his lawyer Mohammad Zam toldthe Judiciary's official news agency, Mizan, on April 25, 2018. - 5/3/18

Magnitude 5.2 earthquake jolts southwestern Iran, injures at least 76
An earthquake measuring 5.2 on Richter scale shook Sisakht in southwestern province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province on Wednesday morning, injuring 76. The quake hit the area on 8:38 a.m. local time. It was 8 kilometers beneath the earth's surface. Rescue workers were soon dispatched to the affected area. - 5/3/18

White House Joins Netanyahu In Making Case For Iran Deal
Something remarkable happened last night regarding the Iran nuclear agreement. Despite Donald Trump's years-long uninformed noise about how terrible the deal supposedly is, the White House inadvertently justified its existence. -Ben Armbruster, LobeLog - 5/2/18

Fmr IAEA Inspector: Netanyahu's Cartoons About Iran's Nuclear Program are 'Baseless and Childish'
In a 'show and tell' type talk, Netanyahu claimed that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program and tried to provide evidence that Iran is violating the JCOPA. Former US IAEA Nuclear Weapons Inspector Robert Kelley tells TRNN Netanyahu'ss claims are baseless, self-serving, and childish. -Sharmini Peries, The Real News - 5/2/18

Iran's Rial Slips Again Against Dollar, Despite Government Intervention
Iran's national currency, the rial, continues its downward spiral, and is approaching 60,000 rials to the dollar. Despite emergency intervention by President Hassan Rouhani's administration setting an official range of 42,000 rials to the dollar, state-run Iran Labor News Agency reported May 1, "Each dollar was exchanged for 59,200 rials at the markets early today." - 5/2/18

Rouhani's Citizens' Rights Charter: A Harmful Distraction
President Hassan Rouhani's signature domestic initiative-a Citizens' Rights Charter which lays out in 120 articles the rights and freedoms of Iranian citizens as stated in Iranian law-has no ability to impact the human rights situation in Iran in any meaningful way and has in fact done harm by distracting attention from the causes of rights abuses in Iran and the reforms needed. - 5/2/18

Iran men's team defeats US at 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships
The Iran men's national table tennis team has captured a hard-fought victory at the group stage of the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Sweden. The Iranian squad edged past the United States 3-2 in a Group H at the Halmstad Arena in the western Swedish city of Halmstad on Tuesday, after conceding a 2-3 defeat to Kazakhstan the previous day. - 5/2/18

Not linked to 9/11, Iran has to pay billions: US judge
A federal judge in New York has ordered Iran to pay $6 billion to the alleged families of 9/11 attacks even though a state investigation has found no link between Tehran and those who carried out the bombings. -Press TV - 5/2/18

In a Desperate Move to Squash Internet Freedom, Iran Blocks Telegram
The Iranian Judiciary has ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the country's most used messaging app, Telegram, in an attempt to thwart an estimated 40 million Iranians' open access to information. "Iran's blocking of Telegram is another example of the state's blatant hostility toward freedom of speech and a futile attempt to block the free flow of information," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 5/1/18

IAEA Saw No 'Credible Evidence' Iran Was Working On Nuclear Weapon After 2009
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it has "no credible" evidence Iran was working on developing a nuclear "explosive device" after 2009 and that the UN's nuclear watchdog considered the issue "closed" after it was presented in a report in December 2015. - 5/1/18

Iranian Women Reveal How They Entered Male-only Stadium
Female Iranian soccer fans are becoming more emboldened in their defiance of Iranian regulations that bar them from attending football matches. In recent days, Iranian social media users have been sharing a photo of five young women who disguised themselves as men to attend last Friday's domestic football league match at Tehran's Azadi stadium. The five fans used makeup to give themselves beards and male haircuts as they watched their home team, Persepolis, defeat visiting rivals Sepidrood of the northern city of Rasht. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 5/1/18

Iran Offers Turkmenistan New Gas-Swap Deal To Pakistan
Iran has made a surprise offer to Turkmenistan that officials in Ashgabat might find difficult to reject. The head the National Iranian Oil Company, Hamidreza Araqi, said on April 29 that Iran was prepared enter into a gas-swap deal that would transfer Turkmen gas to Pakistan. Turkmenistan is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis since the country became independent in late 1991, and the Turkmen government has been desperately seeking new export routes for its major export: natural gas. -Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL - 5/1/18

In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art
In the Fields of Empty Days explores the continuous and inescapable presence of the past in Iranian society. This notion is revealed in art and literature in which ancient kings and heroes are used in later contexts as paradigms of virtue or as objects of derision, while long-gone Shi'ite saints are evoked as champions of the poor and the oppressed. -Los Angeles County Museum of Art - 5/1/18

Iran's Qeshm Air in talks with Boeing on 20 jets: CEO
An Iranian airline says it is in negotiations with Boeing for the purchase of 20 passenger planes even as US President Donald Trump's threats to kill a nuclear deal this month have put Iran's aviation contracts in doubt. Qeshm Air CEO Mahmoud Shekarabi was quoted as saying that his company planned to buy 10 Boeing 737 MAX and 10 Boeing 737 Next Generation planes from the American planemaker. - 5/1/18

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