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America's Most Jewish Congressional District Bucks Anti-Iran Challenger
Will Democrats pay politically for supporting the Iran deal? At least where Democratic primaries are concerned, that doesn't seem to be the case. On Tuesday, Rep. Jerry Nadler, an incumbent from New York with more than two decades in the House, overwhelming won his Democratic primary-with almost 90 percent of the vote-virtually ensuring him re-election this fall. -Ali Gharib - 6/30/16

Explainer: What's Behind Sudden Clashes In Northwestern Iran?
Clashes erupted this month between Kurdish fighters and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), with each side claiming to have inflicted casualties on the other. The country's heavily censored media have even reported the fighting and acknowledged fatalities on the government side. But why the sudden flare-up? -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 6/30/16

OFAC elaborates on implementation of the Iran nuclear deal
John E. Smith, acting director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department, has enumerated on the pros and cons of the nuclear deal between Iran and great powers which went into effect in January. - 6/30/16

Plight of Jailed Iranian Activist on Hunger Strike Raised in Social Media
Over sixty days into a hunger strike, jailed labour activist Jafar Azimzadeh is reportedly in grave health condition and Iranian judiciary's lack of attention to his situation has triggered a wave of concern in social media. - 6/30/16

Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Play It Again, Sam" coming to Tehran theater
An Iranian troupe is scheduled to perform Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Play It Again, Sam" in Tehran. The play will open at Tehran's Hafez Hall on July 12 and will run for twenty nights. Davud Bani-Ardalan will direct the play translated into Persian by Mohammadreza Avzar. - 6/30/16

Foreigners' purchase of Iranian shares near $23m in a month
"Overseas investors purchased 798 billion rials (about $22.7 million) of shares in Iran's capital market during the third Iranian month of Khordad (May 21- June 20, 2016), a senior official in Central Securities Depository of Iran (CSDI) said. - 6/30/16

What Donald Trump Teaches Us About How We Become Americans
Grammar made the news this month, pushed into the spotlight by Donald Trump's renewed campaign to limit the terms of American citizenship. In the wake of the Orlando shooting Trump reaffirmed his pledge to stand strong against "the Muslims," promising not only to keep out those seeking refuge from distant shores but, more ominously, to monitor Muslim families already living in the United States. -Shervin Malekzadeh, Huffington Post - 6/30/16

War Between Kurds and Turks?
Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), has mentioned several times in the last few months that Turkey and its Kurdish population will go to war. He stated such a possibility in early March while in Washington and has repeated it several times since. "By summer, the tension between the PKK and the government could grow," he said at the time. -Robert Olson, LobeLog - 6/30/16

My Lions and the Lions of Iran: Lecture by Parviz Tanavoli
For thousands of years the lion played an important role in the identity of Iran and as an iconic symbol of the country, but sadly the lion is now extinct in Iran. This talk will preview an exhibition due to open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran in March 2017 entitled 'The Lion in Iran and the Art of Parviz Tanavoli'. - 6/29/16

Over 3,300 transplants carried out in Iran last calendar year
More than 3,300 transplants were performed in Iran over the last Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2015- March 19, 2016), the director for transplant management department of Health Ministry has said. Some 2,500 of the surgeries are pertaining to kidney transplants, Kazemeini said, adding, 716 liver and 102 heart transplant surgeries were performed over the same period. - 6/29/16

Iran will never invade another country, will defend itself decisively: President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic will never use its military might to invade another country but will decisively defend itself against any potential aggression. - 6/29/16

A Talk by Aydin Aghdashloo about Contemporary Iranian Visual Arts
Please join us on Saturday, July 9, 4-6 pm in UC Irvine's Humanities Gateway 1030 for a talk by the renowned Iranian artist, Aydin Aghdashloo titled "Audience, Marketplace and Economy: Iranian Visual Arts 1951-2016". - 6/29/16

Iran Appoints New Chief Of Armed Forces
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Mohammad Baqeri, a Revolutionary Guard general, as the chief of staff of the country's armed forces. Baqeri replaces Hassan Firouzabadi, who has been appointed the top military aide to the commander-in-chief. - 6/29/16

House GOP Plan for Iran Riddled with Errors
Paul Ryan recently published the National Security Policy section of the House GOP's new "A Better Way Plan" aimed at uniting the party around core policy positions in advance of the Republican National Convention on July 18-21. The national security section covers the full spectrum of U.S. foreign policy and is highly critical of the Obama administration's foreign policy achievements. -Karina Bakhshi and AzarUbtene Zamaninia, NIAC - 6/29/16

Female Musician Makes Waves in Male-Dominated Afghanistan
In a conservative and traditional country like Afghanistan, where women can be burned, lashed and stoned simply for their gender, it takes a lot of courage for a young woman to play music in public. Fazila Zamir has plenty. -Sitara Sadaat, Huffington Post - 6/29/16

Obama Is Right Not to Say "Radical Islam."
The recent verbal attacks by the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his supporters on President Barack Obama for avoiding the phrase "radical Islam" in his public pronouncements are simplistic, racially inflammatory -- and flatly misinformed. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/29/16

Leaked Salaries Cast Iran Officials In Harsh Light, But To What End?
Simmering anger in Iran's hard-line media over official salaries has forced President Hassan Rohani's administration onto the defensive with a likely reelection bid for the relative moderate on the horizon. - 6/28/16

SHAHNAMEH Exhibitoin at Copenhagen's David Museum
David Museum in Denmark has organized an exhibition to introduce various aspects of Shahnameh, the national epic of Persia. This exhibition gives the public an opportunity to experience an ancient, exotic, and dramatic world in pictures. The stories are played out through nearly 60 works of art, in addition to a display of weapons. - 6/28/16

Abbas Kiarostami leaves Iran to receive treatment at Paris hospital
World-renowned filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who is suffering repercussions from several operations for his severe gastrointestinal disease, left Iran on Monday to receive additional treatment at a hospital in Paris. - 6/28/16

Ailing Iranian Political Prisoner Denied Critically Needed Medical Care for Her Diabetes
Political prisoner Nahid (Omolbanin) Gorji has been denied adequate medical care even though she is suffering from diabetes and heart disease, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/28/16

Undercover informants to prevent women from using Caspian Sea beaches
Undercover morality police will be engaged in Gilan-Iran for the "establishment of a more spiritual atmosphere in the province's beaches and preservation of moral values" under a new plan called "Pure Gilan", officials of the northern Iranian province announced. - 6/28/16

Iranian President Rouhani urges firm action over Saudi embassy raids
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for firm judicial action against the individuals involved in raids on Saudi diplomatic perimeters in two Iranian cities back in January. Addressing a ceremony that marked the beginning of the Judiciary Week in Iran on Tuesday, President Rouhani emphasized the importance of public trust in the judicial institution. - 6/28/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Serbia Defeats Iran 3-1
Serbia's Uros Kovacevic scored match-high 19 points as his team overcome Iran 3-1 (25-19, 24-26, 25-18, 25-21) in Pool F1 encounter at the World League 2016. - 6/27/16

'I, Sajjad Qaribi, am an Iranian soldier'
A gigantic Iranian bodybuilder, weightlifter, and powerlifter has taken the Internet by storm, stealing his fellow sportsmen's thunder with his jaw-dropping muscular bulk and self-effacing and patriotic attitude. Sajjad Qaribi, 24, from the Iranian city of Bushehr, is as monumental in the southern Iranian city as is its nuclear plant. - 6/27/16

Two organisers arrested in Mashhad, Iran for arranging a youth gathering
Two generation Z Iranians have been arrested in the northeastern city of Mashhad for organising a youth gathering near a shopping centre. The call for a meeting was organised using Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging service that has become popular in Iran in the past two years. - 6/27/16

Iran's Leader Denounces Bahrain Government's 'Foolishness'
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused Bahrain's Sunni-led government of "blatant foolishness and insanity" for stripping the kingdom's most prominent Shi'ite cleric of his citizenship. - 6/27/16

Inward-facing Iranian home lets light filter in through a facade of wooden slats
Timber slats cover the walls and the windows of this house in Isfahan, Iran, allowing light to filter in without compromising the privacy of its occupants. Designed by Tehran-based Bracket Design Studio, the house is one a of a growing number of impressive new architectural projects in Iran, in a construction boom triggered by the lifting of economic sanctions. -Dezeen - 6/27/16

Kurdish Political Prisoner Put in Solitary Confinement to Force Him to End Hunger Strike
Kurdish political prisoner Ayoub Assadi has been placed in solitary confinement to force him to end his hunger strike even though medical staff at Kashmar Prison's clinic in Iran's Razavi Khorasan Province had recommended his immediate hospitalization. - 6/27/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Wallace steers Brazil to the victory over Iran
Wallace De Souza scored match-high 17 points leading Brazil to a 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-16, 25-17) victory over Iran in the Pool F1 encounter on Friday afternoon. - 6/25/16

The Brexit Risk to the Iran Deal
The vote has certainly made a splash in Iran. Hamid Aboutalebi, Rouhani's deputy chief of staff for political affairs, tweeted that "Brexit is a 'historic opportunity' for Iran" that must be taken advantage of. On the other side of Iran's political aisle, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri has praised the Brexit vote, suggesting that it represents a rejection of American policies. Whatever the logic of these statements, political actors in Iran are clearly watching the Brexit fallout with interest. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 6/25/16

Two Iranian Rangers Killed By Poachers
Two rangers were killed while chasing poachers in Geno biosphere reserve in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan on Thursday, the Department of Environment's website reported. While patrolling the area, the two rangers, Mohammad Dehqani and Parviz Hormozi, were shot in the head and the heart and passed away, Hormozgan province department of environment director general said. - 6/25/16

Iranian Labor Rights Activist in Critical Condition After 50-Day Hunger Strike
Labor rights activist Jafar Azimzadeh is in critical condition in Evin Prison after enduring a wet hunger strike for more than 50 days, his wife, Akram Rahimpour, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/25/16

Single-Digit Inflation Rate Achieved In Iran: CBI
The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has announced that the inflation rate for the 12-month period ended in the last day of the third Iranian calendar month of Khordad (June 20) compared to the same period in the previous year hit 9.7 percent, the Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday. - 6/25/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Manavinezhad inspires Iran to a 3-1 victory over Bulgaria
Iran's Mohammadjavad Manavinezhad scored match-high 21 points to help his team to prevail over Bulgaria 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-20) in the opening match of the second week in FIVB Volleyball World League with a Group 1 match in Belgrade. - 6/24/16

U.S. Diplomat: Boeing Deal Shows It's 'Possible To Do Business With Iran'
Leslie Tsou, senior adviser on Iran at the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said in a June 23 interview that the Boeing deal announced this week shows "it is possible to do business with Iran" despite companies' concerns about U.S. sanctions that remain in place. - 6/24/16

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Declines Russian Bid To Enlist Iran
The China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization has refused to enlist Iran, despite a request from Russia. While begun in China, the Asian security bloc has served as a platform for both Moscow and Beijing to project influence in Central and South Asia. But unlike Russia, China is showing some reluctance to give it a strong anti-Western bias. - 6/24/16

Ample grounds for Iran, Netherlands to bolster relations: Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hails cordial relations between Iran and the Netherlands, saying there are plenty of grounds for the two countries to strengthen cooperation in a variety of fields." There are many opportunities for bilateral cooperation between the two countries in different fields," Zarif said in a joint press conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders in Amsterdam on Thursday. - 6/24/16

Meet Alaleh Kianerci; The Prosecutor Named Checked In The Brock Turner Stanford Rape Letter
Alaleh Kianerci is the Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney attorney who fought to get Brock Turner prosecuted. She's been practising law since 2007 when she was admitted to the bar and, prior to that, she attended the University of California Santa Barbara and then the Santa Clara University of Law. -The Brief - 6/24/16

British Airways delays its relaunch of flights to Iran
British Airways has postponed the long-awaited resumption of its flights to Iran until September, a report says. The six-weekly direct service to Tehran from London was due to start from July 14 but has now been pushed back due to "some technical issues," The Telegraph has quoted a British Airways spokesperson as saying. - 6/24/16

Discovering Iran: from Caspian Sea to Persian Gul
The recent diplomatic thaw and growing awareness of its attractions are set to make Iran a must-visit destination. Arron Merat takes a tour from Tehran to the Gulf -Guardian - 6/24/16

Open Letter: Let Rumi Be Played By A Middle Easterner!
Dear David Franzoni and Stephen Joel Brown, I think we speak for the entire Iranian-American community in applauding you for filming a biopic of beloved 13th century Persian poet Rumi. For most Persian speakers, Rumi is sacred... -Elham Khatami and Trita Parsi, NIAC - 6/24/16

Iran's Zarif meets French President in Paris
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Boosting bilateral ties following Iran's historic nuclear deal, economic and business affairs, and the Middle East security issues, especially the conflict in Syria, were discussed during the Wednesday meeting, Zarif said. - 6/23/16

Momentum Builds for Iranian American Candidates
With the New York and Washington primary elections fast approaching, Iranian American candidates Anna Kaplan and Cyrus Habib are poised to have strong showings and advancing towards their respective general elections. If successful, they will become the first Iranian Americans to be elected to the U.S. Congress and to state office. - 6/23/16

Protecting the World's Shia: Where's the International Community?
Only a few short months ago, Saudi Arabia executed the Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr, and the Nigerian military killed hundreds of the country's Shia and severely wounded their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Yaqoub Zakzaki. Now, Bahraini authorities have stripped one of the principal leaders of the Bahraini Shia, Sheikh Isa Qasim, of his citizenship. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/23/16

Imprisoned Iranian Journalist Who Sent Letter to Supreme Leader Saying He Was Tortured is Hospitalized
A little over a month after he sent a letter to Iran's supreme leader stating that he had been tortured, imprisoned reformist newspaper editor Ehsan Mazandarani was rushed from Evin Prison to a hospital in Tehran after suffering a heart attack following his hunger strike. - 6/23/16

The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Gulf Littoral States
It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran disagree these days on virtually all issues facing the tumultuous Middle East. The two countries have opposing agendas on a host of matters, ranging from OPEC's oil production policies to the U.S. military's role in the region, as well as the bloody conflicts plaguing the Arab world. -Giorgio Cafiero and Joshua Hodge, LobeLog - 6/23/16

Iran needs 551 airplanes by next 9 years: Transport Minister
Iran's air fleet needs 551 new airplanes by the Iranian calendar year 1404 (March 2025- March 2026), Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi announced on Wednesday. The Iranian air fleet includes 266 airplanes, 100 of which are grounded due to their old age, Akhoundi told IRNA. - 6/23/16

Iran's economy is running just fine -- if you're a bigwig at a state-owned company
One Iranian newspaper has dubbed it "Payslip-gate." A series of leaks has exposed astronomical salaries among top executives at state-owned companies in Iran, a sign of persistent inequality in an economy struggling to recover from international sanctions. -Los Angeles Times - 6/23/16

Iran ranks 13th on list of global steel producers
The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has announced that Iran's surge in production has pushed the country up on the list of global steel producers. The international trade body for the iron and steel industry has released its latest figures on global production, which shows a solid gain for Iran. - 6/23/16

20-year-old Iranian hacker Shayan tells his story on air
Shayan, a 20-year-old Iranian hacker, told his story and how he got into trouble when he was 16. Shayan is a young high school dropout and a computer geek from Ahvaz, southwest Iran, who first became a hacker by hacking unique e-mail addresses with three to four characters. - 6/23/16

Bahrain's Unending Repression: Enough Already!
The al-Khalifa ruling regime's decision to strip Sheikh Isa Qasim of his Bahraini citizenship on a trumped-up and patently false charge is yet another example of the ruling family's deepening repression. This respected Shia cleric has always called for non-violent resistance and has abhorred the confrontational tactics that some hotheaded protesters have employed in the past. -Emile Nakhleh - 6/23/16

Commentary: One Year In, the Iran Nuclear Deal Is Working
Nearly a year after Iran and a U.S.-led international community reached a landmark nuclear deal, the good news is that there almost isn't any news about Iran's nuclear program. In its second report since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was implemented Jan. 16, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found no evidence that Iran has failed to comply with its pledges to restrict its nuclear activities. Stringent IAEA monitoring is one reason why it is extremely unlikely that Iran could build a nuclear weapon undetected. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 6/22/16

San Francisco State University announces $5 million gift to establish the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies
San Francisco State University has received a $5 million gift from alumna and Iranian-American philanthropist Neda Nobari to establish the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies (CIDS). This endowment establishes SF State as an academic pioneer in the field of Iranian diaspora research. - 6/22/16

19 Soldiers Die As Bus Plunges Into Ravine in Southern Iran
19 people died and dozens more were injured when a bus carrying soldiers plunged into aavine early Wednesday on a road linking the cities of Shiraz and Kerman in southern Iran, ISNA reported. - 6/22/16

Iranian Authorities Reverse Decision to Release Detained Dual National Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Richard Ratcliffe's hopes were dashed when he found out that his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national who has been detained in Iran without legal representation since April 3, 2016, wasn't going to be released after all. - 6/22/16

Students suspended for dancing at University event in Iran
Dancing at a university event precipitated the suspension of a group of students at University of Sistan and Baluchistan last week. A video circulated social media and various sites last week showing a number of students dancing on stage at a University of Sistan and Baluchistan event. The clip also showed some people among the audience joining in the dance. - 6/22/16

Commentary: Iran's Foreign Minister Toes the Supreme Leader's Line on Human Rights
When Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently tried to side-step questions about the country's abysmal human rights record, he yet again exposed his government's inability-or reluctance-to face the issue even though President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to improve it. - 6/22/16

Major rise in foreign investments in Iran
The Financial Times says the latest figures show that the volume of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Iran has reached the highest level in years following the removal of sanctions against the country in January. - 6/22/16

PSA Peugeot Citroen signs JV deal with Iran Khodro
French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen says it has signed a final agreement with Iran Khodro to form a joint venture to produce vehicles in Iran. PSA has announced in a statement that the agreement provides "a crucial milestone" in its cooperation with Iran Khodro. - 6/22/16

Iran Inflation At 25-Year Low
Iran says its inflation rate has dropped into single digits for the first time in a quarter of a century. Vice President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told parliament on June 21 that annual inflation fell to 9.5 percent in the Iranian calendar month that ended the day before. - 6/22/16

Muslim Comedian Negin Farsad On How To Make White People Laugh
An Iranian-American Muslim female comedian with a master's degree in African-American studies walks into a cafe. No, this isn't the beginning of a joke; it's the beginning of a profile on Negin Farsad. -Shannon Carlin, Refinery29 - 6/22/16

New Report: Inside the Women's Ward: Mistreatment of Women Political Prisoners at Iran's Evin Prison
Political prisoners held in the Women's Ward at Iran's Evin Prison are routinely denied medical care and hospitalization, face severely restricted or denied visitation rights even with their young children, are deprived of regular telephone contact with their families, and are not provided adequate nutrition, according to a report released today by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/21/16

Iran Shuts Down Ghanoon Newspaper Following Critical Reporting
Iranian newspaper Ghanoon says it has been closed by the judiciary following complaints from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The paper said on its website on June 20 that it has been accused of "libel and publishing falsehoods to create public anxiety." It didn't elaborate. - 6/21/16

Iran Crowned 2016 International Basketball Challenge Champion
The national Iranian men's basketball team has impressed the spectators at the 2016 International Basketball Challenge, also known as the 2016 Atlas Challenge, in China, and been crowned as the champion of the six-day international sporting event. - 6/21/16

Boeing confirms sales deal with Iran Air
US aviation giant Boeing has confirmed a major plane purchase order placed by Iran's flag-carrier airline Iran Air. The Chicago-based manufacturer issued in a statement released by The Associated Press said on Tuesday that it had signed deal with Iran Air "under authorizations from the US government following a determination that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear accord reached last summer." - 6/21/16

Iran Warns Bahrain Over Top Shi'ite Cleric
In a statement carried by Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency, the commander of the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qasem Soleimani, warned Bahrain's government that it faces "dire repercussions" for its action against Qassem. Soleimani said the response may include "armed resistance" and the "overthrow"of the ruling dynasty. - 6/21/16

Iranian female karate fighter earns second spot at WKF Karate 1 rankings
Iranian karate fighter Hamideh Abbasali has been placed second in the latest edition of the World Karate Federation (WKF) Karate 1 rankings. According to the rankings released by the largest international governing body of karate with over 130 member states, the 26-year-old Iranian sportswoman racked up 980 points to stand behind a representative from Switzerland. - 6/21/16

New Rules at Rajaee Shahr Prison Target Iranian Political Prisoners for Harsh Treatment
Rajaee Shahr is one of Iran's most notorious prisons. Most of its inmates are considered dangerous criminals, but Ward 12 holds more than 60 political prisoners who have been tried and convicted by Iran's Revolutionary Courts in prosecutions completely lacking in due process. - 6/21/16

Opening Persia
Forget everything you've ever heard. Iran is open for tourism. This Middle Eastern country, for decades demonized as dark and dangerous, has become today's surprising destination of choice for the adventurous and curious traveler. -Patricia Schultz, Travel Weekly - 6/21/16

Biden Slams Trump's Anti-Muslim Stands, Embrace Of Putin
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's anti-Muslim policies could backfire and hurt the United States. "Some of the rhetoric I'm hearing sounds designed to radicalize all 1.4 billion" Muslims around the world, Biden said on June 20 at the Center for New American Security, a Washington think tank. - 6/21/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Iran prevail in a five-setter against Argentina
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 18, 2016 - In a match marred by a high number of unforced errors Iran managed to beat Argentina 3-2 (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 13-25 and 15-11) to earn its first victory of this year's FIVB World League. - 6/20/16

Will FATF Acknowledge Iran's Progress on Its Financial Sector?
Later this month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-an intergovernmental body that sets and promotes standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing-will issue a new public statement regarding jurisdictions with deficient anti-money-laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) regimes. As has been true since 2007, Iran will likely be identified as such a jurisdiction. -Tyler Cullis - 6/20/16

UN Refugee Chief Says Displaced Afghans 'Forgotten'
The UN's refugee chief has said displaced Afghans had already been "forgotten" by the international community before they began arriving in Europe in large numbers last year. On a visit to Iran on June 18, Filippo Grandia said his first regional tour as the new UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was focused on Afghan refugees. - 6/20/16

Iranian State TV Claims Officials Busted Massive Terror Plot
"In a criminal plot of the anti-Islamic terrorist takfiri groups, a series of bombings had been planned in several places of the country for the coming days ... the terrorists were arrested and some bombs and a huge amount of explosives were seized," National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani is quoted as saying. - 6/20/16

Buyers eyeing Iran's Esfahan Steel Company
Esfahan Steel Company, Iran's third-largest maker of the metal, is reportedly seeking buyers amid plans to boost production. Bloomberg says in a report that companies from South Korea and Luxembourg are interested in taking a stake in the company. Iran and the Steel Pensioners' Fund for retired Iranian steel workers want to sell a 73 percent stake, added the report. - 6/20/16

Religious Minority in Iran Asks Khamenei for Constitutional Protection
The leadership of the Yarsan faith in northwestern Iran has written to Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, seeking his blessing for a constitutional amendment that would end discrimination against the faith's followers and recognize their religious beliefs. - 6/20/16

Hill Update: Following the Money in Iran
On 6/16 Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, urging Lew the Treasury Department "to use the influence of the United States to ensure that Iran remains on the list of countries designated by the Task Force as 'high-risk and non-cooperative' jurisdictions for money laundering and terrorist financing." -Lara Friedman, LobeLog - 6/20/16

The Box: A Play About Solitary Confinement
In 2009, journalist and playwright Sarah Shourd was living in the Middle East when she went on a hike with her fiancee and a friend. Little did she know it, but her life would never be the same. While pursuing what they were told were fantastic views over a nearby ridge, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by Iranian soldiers. - 6/20/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Anderson takes USA to a comeback over Iran
Matthew Anderson stars with 23 points in a breathtaking match as USA comeback to beat Iran 3-1 (23-25, 25-13, 27-25 and 26-24) for the second round of FIVB World League pool B. - 6/18/16

Iran next to join emerging power SCO: Kazakhstan President
Iran is next to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which will officially have India and Pakistan on its roster next week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said. Leaders of the regional security group, led by China and Russia, will meet for the summit of their leaders in Uzbekistan's capital of Tashkent on June 23 and 24. - 6/18/16

Another Israeli Right-Winger Breaks With Netanyahu on Iran Deal
When world powers led by the United States signed a nuclear deal with Iran, American neoconservatives and other pro-Israel hawks were positively apoplectic. Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois who enjoys a consistent windfall of pro-Israel campaign cash, said that the deal was worse than the Munich agreement with Nazi Germany. The Wall Street Journal opinion page's Bret Stephens actually used that as a headline: "Worse than Munich." -Ali Gharib - 6/18/16

Iran's Judiciary Evades Responsibility for Lashing Sentences against Striking Miners
After a month-long silence amid widespread condemnation of the decision by Iran's Judiciary to intervene in a local labor dispute and punish 17 protesting mine workers with lashing sentences, the Judiciary's spokesperson has finally spoken out by evading responsibility for the ruling. - 6/18/16

Pro-Israeli sides warn Boeing on Iran deal
A groundswell of opposition is building among pro-Israeli politicians in the US against Boeing's plans to sell aircraft to Iran. The Chicago-based aerospace giant has reportedly received requests for more information after Iran said on Tuesday it had reached an initial agreement with Boeing for the supply of jetliners. - 6/18/16

1979 Revolution: Black Friday: Gripping Adventure Game Puts You in the Iranian Revolution
NAVID KHONSARI WANTS to make honest video games. Not just games that say something about the world, but games that draw on real events and bring a documentary approach to an interactive experience. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, the first title from his studio, iNK Stories, distills what was a pivotal event for the world and for Khonsari into a short, emotionally resonant game. -Jake Muncy, Wired - 6/18/16

Brazil Defeats Iran 3-0 In FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 Opening Match
Brazil used a service storm over Iran to win 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 28-26) in the opening match of the FIVB Volleyball World League 2016. Lucas Saatkamp, with 17 points, and Ricardo Lucarelli, with 16, were the top scorers and main attractions on court. - 6/17/16

Iran, Russia eyeing Sukhoi Superjet joint production deal
Iran says it is looking into a plan to jointly produce Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) airplanes with Russia - what could take the Islamic Republic to the club of global plane makers if materialized. - 6/17/16

Iranian Conservative Group Says Support for Feminism is Support for Killing Babies
Promotion of feminism was equated by Iran's Deputy of Women's Social and Cultural Council, with a call to murder of babies. This week Mehrangiz Rouhafza was quoted as saying: "Those who promote feminism are advocating the cause of pro-abortion groups which in other words is a promotion of the deliberate murder of babies." - 6/17/16

Brexit and What it Means for Britain and for Europe
On June 23, the British people take part in a rare referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or to leave. Referenda are not vey common in Britain, and apart from its rarity this referendum may decide the fate of Britain for decades to come, and its outcome can also have a profound bearing on other EU states. -Farhang Jahanpour - 6/17/16

Turkey to triple trade with Iran to $30B
Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci says the country has serious plans to triple trade with Iran to $30 billion "as soon as possible". Tufenkci told Reuters on Thursday that the January removal of sanctions against Iran has already prepared the grounds for Tehran and Ankara to boost the level of their mutual trade. - 6/17/16

Iranian Kurds, Revolutionary Guards Clash, 15 Dead
Iranian news agencies report that fighting between Kurdish rebels and elite Revolutionary Guards forces near the Iraqi border has left at least 15 dead, including 12 Kurds and three guards. The clash came days after five Kurdish rebels and five Sunni Islamist militants were killed, along with a police officer, in separate clashes elsewhere in Iran. - 6/17/16

Why our nuclear deal with Iran is turning to dust
Many of Europe's largest banks won't do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement - but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors -Robert Fisk, Independent - 6/17/16

The Condo Feud That Erupted Between an Iranian Fugitive and a Toronto Mogul
Sam Mizrahi, one of Canada's best-known property developers, was building two luxury condominiums in midtown Toronto last year when he says he received a phone call from someone who demanded millions of dollars, threatened to burn his house down and ruin his reputation. -Bloomberg - 6/17/16

U.S. Judge Rejects House Arrest For Wealthy Trader In Iran Sanctions Case
A U.S. judge has rejected a wealthy gold trader's request to pay for his own house arrest in Manhattan as he awaits trial on charges of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions. - 6/17/16

Hill Update: Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia
As we have over the last year, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran.] - 6/17/16

Iran-Germany ties benefit whole world: Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says cooperation with Germany is beneficial to the Middle East and the rest of the world. Zarif made the remarks during a press conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Wednesday night. - 6/16/16

WHO's Cancer Warning No Shock For 'Hot Tea'-Happy Iran
The UN agency for cancer research wants everyone to cool it. A review of more than 1,000 studies indicated that drinking "very hot" beverages is "probably carcinogenic to humans," the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced on June 14. - 6/16/16

Iran Sues US Over Frozen Assets
Iran has filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice to recover $2 billion worth of assets frozen in the United States. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani made the announcement in remarks Wednesday on state television. The tribunal also confirmed that the suit was filed, on Tuesday. - 6/16/16

Iran film projects on Rumi revived as Hollywood reveals new project
Some dormant movie projects about Molana Jalal ad-Din Rumi in Iran have recently come into the spotlight once again after Hollywood cineastes David Franzoni and Stephen Joel Brown revealed their plan to make a biopic about the Persian poet and mystic. - 6/16/16

Iran's President Rouhani raps UN for delisting of Saudis, deplores regional conditions
The Iranian president has leveled heavy criticism at the United Nations for delisting Saudi Arabia from its child perpetrators report, lamenting that international organizations are growingly losing their credibility. - 6/16/16

Summer Theater Camp in Persian: July 11-22, 2016 in Richmond, California
A great camp for kids to experience theater in Persian and do some amazing work in their mother tongue. At the end of the two weeks, July 22nd, there will be a performance in Persian for the members of the family. - 6/16/16

No Time for Goodbyes: Political Prisoner Forced to Begin Harsh Prison Sentence Without Summons
Former student activist Arash Sadeghi unexpectedly began serving his 19-year prison sentence in Tehran's Evin Prison on June 7, 2016 when he visited the jail to inquire about the official start date of his sentence. - 6/16/16

Iran Air off safety blacklist, can fly in EU
The European Commission announced on Thursday that the Iranian flag carrier Iran Air has been taken off a safety blacklist and has thus been cleared to fly in the European Union. - 6/16/16

Next Iranian Superstar? Yazdanichariti Scores 45 Points At World Cup Next Iranian Superstar? Yazdanichariti Scores 45 Points At World Cup
We became aware of Iran's Hassan Yazdanichariti when he downed one of the United States biggest stars, Aaron Pico. After he took out Pico, he made the jump to the senior level at 70kg, where he took out another star American wrestler, James Green, en route to a world silver medal. -Flo Wrestling - 6/16/16

Iran's first environmental charity foundation established
The first environmental charity foundation of Iran has been set up in the western province of Lorestan, the province's chief of the department of environment Mehrdad Fat'hi-Beiranvand said. Despite the fact that Lorestan constitutes 0.7 percent of the country's area, the province's biodiversity is almost unbeatable, Beiranvand told YJC. - 6/16/16

Zarif, Kerry meet in Olso to discuss Iran's complaints
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry have met to discuss the implementation of last year's nuclear accord and obligations in its implementation. The 70-minute closed-door talks in a downtown Oslo hotel on Wednesday touched on Iran's complaints that it's not getting the sanctions relief it deserves under the agreement. - 6/15/16

Iranian Daily Ghanoon Targeted Over Article Critical Of Tehran Detention Facility
An Iranian newspaper is facing legal action over an article critical of detention conditions at a penitentiary facility in Tehran, with a senior prosecutor blaming such writings for public feelings of "hopelessness." - 6/15/16

Iran deal allows for sales of passenger planes: U.S. State Department
The spokesman of the US State Department says Iran's historic nuclear agreement with the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1) allows Western jet manufacturers to trade with Tehran. His comments followed reports that Iran had reached an agreement with Boeing Co. for the supply of jetliners after months of negotiations. - 6/15/16

Iran Accuses British-Iranian Woman Of Seeking To Overthrow Government
Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has accused a British-Iranian woman arrested in April of seeking to "overthrow" the clerical establishment. The IRGC made the accusation in a June 14 statement published by Iranian news sites. - 6/15/16

Zarif, Mogherini exchange ideas on sidelines of Oslo Forum: JCPOA under scrutiny
Top foreign policy decision-makers of Iran and EU sat together on the sidelines of the Oslo Forum 2016 to clear away obstacles hindering full implementation of the nuclear deal. Participating in the meeting were Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini with other senior diplomats. - 6/15/16

Supreme Leader: Iran will burn JCPOA if U.S. tears it up
"We will not violate the JCPOA; however, if the other side violates it, as the U.S. presidential candidates are threatening to tear up the JCPOA, we will burn it," he said during a meeting on Tuesday with the heads of the three branches of the government and other ranking officials of the country. - 6/15/16

NIAC Welcomes Humanitarian Benefits of Pending Boeing Sale to Iran
"NIAC applauds the news that Boeing and Iran Air have reached a preliminary agreement for the sale of 100 civilian passenger aircraft and hope that a final agreement can be reached in the near future. For years, NIAC has warned about the deterioration of airline safety in Iran as a result of sanctions and is hopeful that the situation will soon improve. - 6/15/16

UN Body Calls for Immediate Release of Bahareh Hedayat
The United Nation's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has issued an opinion on the case of the Iranian women's rights activist and human rights defender, Bahareh Hedayat, demanding her immediate release. The opinion ruled Hedayat's imprisonment since 2009 is arbitrary and against international law. - 6/15/16

Why Is Iran Our Enemy?
It's a repressive theocracy, but Tehran is no threat to the United States and is a staunch opponent of jihadi groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. -Jeff Faux, Nation - 6/15/16

East meets West in music by Iranian soprano Darya Dadvar
Darya Dadvar is one of Iran's most accomplished sopranos. The singer, who lives in Paris, recently performed in the French capital with the intercultural Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris-Est. Darya's unique style combines traditional Iranian songs with European classics. Her ability to bridge the gap between Iranian music and baroque, jazz or blues has earned her a cross-cultural following. -Euronews - 6/15/16

US has to do more on nuclear deal: Iran
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a news conference in Norway on Tuesday that Iran had yet to feel gains from a July nuclear agreement with the West and other parties. "I believe the United States on paper has removed all the sanctions," Zarif said in a joint news conference with EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Oslo. - 6/14/16

Diplomacy, not military approaches, to end Syria crisis: Iran FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says only diplomacy and not military approaches can settle the five-year-old crisis in Syria. "The Syrian crisis can be only resolved politically, and a solution to the Syrian crisis will not be achieved through military means," Zarif said in a joint press conference with Norway's Foreign Minister Boerge Brende in Oslo on Monday. - 6/14/16

Women to hold 45% of labor market share in Iran by 2026: Official
By the next ten years about 45 percent of the Iranian labor market will be in the hands of women, Moslem Khani, an advisor to the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare said in Tehran on Monday. - 6/14/16

Iran condemns Orlando terrorist mass shooting
Iran has slammed the terrorist mass shooting in the US city of Orlando, reaffirming the necessity of launching a firm campaign against the scourge of terrorism. "The Islamic Republic of Iran, in line with its principled policy in condemning terrorism and its strong determination to firmly and decisively counter this ominous phenomenon, denounces the recent terrorist attack in US [city of] Orlando," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, said on Monday - 6/14/16

Architecture booms as Iran opens its doors to the world
Iran is "on the verge of a new era for architecture" according to local architects, as change sweeps through the Islamic republic following the lifting of crippling economic sanctions. -dezeen - 6/14/16

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Claim Kurdish Rebels Killed In Operation
Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says it has killed five Kurdish rebels near the country's border with Iraq. The IRGC said in a statement on June 13 that the five were members of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and were responsible for the killing of three Iranian Basij militia members more than one month ago. - 6/14/16

Iran defeats Russia, repeats title win at Wrestling World Cup
Iran's national wrestling team has won the title of the 2016 Freestyle World Cup after defeating Russia's outfit. Defending champion Iran defeated Russia 5-3 in Inglewood in the US city of Los Angeles late on Sunday - 6/13/16

Human Rights Double Standard: Iran and Saudi Arabia
The question of how to help promote human rights globally has always had a political dimension. States often press these issues in the case of those countries of which they disapprove and ignore or downplay transgressions by friendly countries. In the last decade or so, the use of human rights as a policy tool, and hence the politicization of the human rights issue, has attained new heights, particularly at the United Nations and its Human Rights Commission. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/13/16

Virginia Civil Rights Activist Strives to Bring Diversity to Democratic National Committee
For Yasmine Taeb, coming to the United States from Iran exposed her to the harsh challenges of immigrant life and sparked a desire to advocate for those in similar situations. As a human rights and civil liberties activist, Taeb hopes that she can bring a unique perspective to politics by serving as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She is running for one of Virginia's five DNC seats. - 6/13/16

Intro to a series: The New Cold War
There are many ominous signs that dark clouds are gathering over international relations, from the South China Sea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea to the Middle East, and to Ukraine and the Baltics. We are entering a new and perhaps a more ominous Cold War. -Farhang Jahanpour - 6/13/16

Collection of Persian music from 1970s released in Tehran
"The Treasury of the Art of Iranian Music", a collection containing solo and duet performances of Persian music recorded in the early years of the 1970s, was introduced during a ceremony held at Tehran's Aryana Gallery. - 6/13/16

Iranian female duo gives a voice to ethnic minorities
Naqsh Duo is a musical project that aims to bring Iran's forgotten ethnic musical voices into the international scene. -Al Jazeera - 6/13/16

Interview with Peter Jenkins: This American Rose Is Sick
The Iran nuclear deal, popularly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been widely lauded as a historic understanding that untangled an apparently intractable dilemma spanning over more than a decade, and opened broad new prospects for Iran and the international community to collaborate with no specter of distrust and confrontation around the corner. -Kourosh Ziabari, LobeLog - 6/13/16

Iran outmuscles India 8-0 in Freestyle World Cup 2016 in Los Angeles
National Iranian freestyle wrestling team has registered its second victory in a row at the Freestyle World Cup 2016, which is currently underway in the United States, and trounced the Indian side. - 6/12/16

Anti-Iran hostilities to continue despite nuclear deal: FM Zarif
Iran's foreign minister says the nuclear deal reached last year with the P5+1 group of world powers does not guarantee an end to all hostilities against the Islamic Republic. Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks on Sunday as he attended a parliament session in Tehran to brief lawmakers on the results of the nuclear deal reached in July last year. - 6/12/16

Birthday Celebrated Via Skype for 2-year-old Stranded in Iran
Relatives of a British-Iranian mother detained without charge in Iran have celebrated her 2-year-old daughter's birthday with a party outside the Iranian Embassy in London. Nazanin Ratcliffe was arrested April 3 at Tehran airport by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as she tried to return to Britain with her daughter, Gabriella, after visiting family in Iran. Officials also confiscated Gabriella's passport, so she is stuck in the country and being cared for by her grandparents. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA - 6/12/16

Iraq needs Iran, Soleimani in fighting Daesh: FM Jaafari
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says his country needs Iran's assistance in fighting terrorists, dismissing US questions about Tehran's role in the Arab country. Jaafari told Lebanon's al-Mayadeen television in an exclusive interview aired on Saturday night that the US cannot dictate its views on Iraq. - 6/12/16

Neocon: Forget about Paying Iran Back
With all this going on, I thought it a little strange that Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake would dedicate his latest column to something much less dramatic: Iran's military budget. But here's the catch; Lake is distraught not because Iran is spending money on its military-though surely that doesn't please him-but because a small portion of the budget came from the United States. -Ali Gharib - 6/12/16

Saudi-UN Dispute Grows
diplomatic feud between Saudi Arabia and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is escalating. The U.N. chief says the kingdom pressured him into removing the Saudi coalition in Yemen from a blacklist of entitites that harm children during conflicts. -Margaret Besheer, VOA - 6/12/16

Tehran Condemns Canada Court Ruling On Iranian Assets
Iran has condemned a Canadian judge's order for Tehran's non-diplomatic assets in Canada to be handed over to victims of attacks allegedly carried out by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and by militants from Lebanon's Hizballah -- groups that both are sponsored by Tehran. - 6/12/16

Guard Assaults Ailing Iranian Political Prisoner in Hospital
Imprisoned newspaper editor Ehsan Mazandarani, who has been hospitalized in Tehran since May 31, 2016 due to his life-threatening hunger strike, was attacked by a prison guard in his hospital room during a family visit. - 6/12/16

Hill Update: New Iran Sanctions?
As we have over the last year, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran -LobeLog - 6/12/16

Hardliners: The Real Barrier to Iran's Economic Revival
Despite these international realities, Iran's hardliners continue to mortgage Iran's economic and political future by insisting on policies that, even if they had some obscure justification in the past, have become obsolete in the changed world. This unrealistic, or even surrealistic, aspect of Iranian politics was in full display during ceremonies marking the recent anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/10/16

Iran, Russia, Syria agree to promote anti-terror cooperation
Iran, Russia and Syria have agreed to step up cooperation in their fight against Takfiri terror groups wreaking havoc across the Syrian soil and elsewhere in the region. "We made decisions for what must be done on the regional and operational levels in an agreed upon and coordinated manner," said Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan on Thursday. He made the remarks following a meeting with his Russian and Syrian counterparts, Sergei Shoigu and Fahd Jassem al-Freij, in Tehran. - 6/10/16

Signs of Friendship toward the United States are Everywhere in Iran Today
We walked into our Tehran hotel last week and the pianist in the lobby startled us by playing The Star Spangled Banner. He did it again every time we returned from our outings in the city. This was only the first of many surprises for our group of American visitors to Iran this May (2016). -William O. Beeman, Huffington Post - 6/10/16

Christian Convert Repeatedly Imprisoned for his Faith Denied Timely Adjudication
A Christian convert's appeal against his five-year prison sentence has not been adjudicated more than a year after his third conviction on repeated charges related to his new faith, a source knowledgeable about the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/10/16

States Cast Shadow over Iran Nuclear Deal
For anyone who has forgotten that states occasionally conduct their own foreign policy, welcome to the latest potential battleground for implementing the Iran nuclear agreement. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have some form of Iran sanctions measures on their books. These sanctions are an important and often-overlooked obstacle to improved U.S.-Iran relations. -Jo-Anne Hart, LobeLog - 6/10/16

Iran's broken financial system
The Iran nuclear deal was destined to be controversial in its negotiation, conclusion and implementation. Nowhere is the deal more complex than in the area of sanctions relief. But blaming sanctions for the failure of a windfall for Iran to materialize -- as critics and supporters alike are saying -- misplaces attribution and undermines prospects for the deal's success. -Elizabeth Rosenberg and Richard Nephew, Politico - 6/10/16

Father's birthday plea for daughter stuck in Iran
The father of a toddler stuck in Iran without either of her parents nearby plans to sing Happy Birthday to her via Skype at a campaign event later. Richard Ratcliffe will celebrate Gabriella's second birthday near the Iranian embassy in London's Hyde Park. -BBC - 6/10/16

Iran's Hidden State: Here's What Every Investor Needs to Know
Among the charitable foundations that dominate Iran's economy, the most prominent is the custodian of the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad. Rooted well before the revolution, the foundation known as Astan Quds Razavi has expanded into industries from agriculture and livestock farming to real estate, construction, mining, transportation, medicine and energy. AQR reportedly owns 43% of the city of Mashhad and 90% of the arable land in Khorasan Province, where it is located - though it also has properties all over the country. -Natela Outtier - 6/9/16

Iranian-Canadian Academic Detained During Visit to Iran
Iranian-Canadian woman Homa Hoodfar, a scholar and expert on gender and development in Islam, was arrested on June 6, 2016 during a visit to Iran after being summoned to Evin Prison in Tehran. - 6/9/16

Red Card For Yellow Pants: SpongeBob Gets Iran Soccer Player In Hot Water
An Iranian soccer player has been banned from domestic matches for six months over "inappropriate" behavior that included the wearing of SpongeBob SquarePants trousers. Iranian media reported on June 7 that the morality committee of the Iranian Football Federation based its decision on goalkeeper Sosha Makani's "unconventional attire." - 6/9/16

Kamkars to team up with London orchestra, choir for charity concert
The Kamkars, Iran's leading Kurdish family music ensemble, will team up with two music groups in London to give a charity concert, which will raise funds for children displaced by war in Syria and Iraq. - 6/9/16

PhD Student Imprisoned for Refusing to Work for Iran's Intelligence Ministry Denied Rights
Hamid Babaei, a PhD student incarcerated for nearly three years in Rajaee Shahr Prison following a trial that lasted less than 10 minutes, has been denied his rights to conditional release and furlough (temporary leave granted to most of Iran's inmates). Babaei has also been suffering from severe gum disease and other dental problems in prison, but the authorities have ignored his need for proper medical treatment... - 6/9/16

U.S. Said to Rebuff EU Bid to Shield Banks on Iran Sanctions
European Union governments have hit a wall with the U.S. in attempts to shield banks and companies that do business with Iran from the threat of financial sanctions. -Bloomberg - 6/9/16

Destination Iran: Alexander + Roberts Opens a New Frontier
On Thursday, Alexander + Roberts will open sales for tours to Iran. It will be the first time the company has offered a tour to Iran, but the initiative has been in the making for a long time. -Travel Pulse - 6/9/16

Gulf Lobbyist Fails to Disclose Ties to Qatar in Media Appearances
On Monday, MapLight's Andrew Perez published an excellent investigation into Ed Rogers' advocacy against the Iran nuclear agreement while working as an undisclosed lobbyist for Saudi Arabia. Rogers' behavior is particularly troubling since he registered as a lobbyist for Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) seven months after signing a contract with the Saudis. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 6/9/16

Want to Invest in Iran? Here's What You Need to Know Before You Go
As a three-decade program of American sanctions against Iran nears its end, Natela Outtier visited Tehran for a close-up look at some of the hidden hazards in this evolving market. - 6/8/16

Khamenei on Negotiations with US
On Friday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a significant speech that categorically ruled out negotiations with the United States beyond nuclear issues. The anti-US rhetoric itself was unsurprising given that the speech marked the 27th anniversary of the death of Iran's first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. But the content of the speech, an important reflection of how Khamenei is taking stock in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, explicitly underscored three aspects of Iran's foreign policy trajectory. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 6/8/16

West invents fake documents to normalize Iran-U.S. ties: Larijani
Larijani was referring to a BBC report published on Friday in which it claimed that Imam Khomeini sent a secret letter to President Jimmy Carter just prior to the victory of the Islamic revolution promising to protect the U.S. interests if the Shah regime is toppled. - 6/8/16

Famous Iranian classical singer seeks comeback despite ban
Since he expressed support for the 2009 Green Movement protests, the voice of Iranian master Mohammad Reza Shajarian reciting Rabanna has not aired on Iranian television during the holy month of Ramadan. The famous version of the prayer by arguably Iran's greatest classical singer, who began his career as a Quran reciter, would signal to Iranians it was time to break their fast. -Arash Karami, Al Monitor - 6/8/16

Iran to three U.S. Congressmen: Your visa request is publicity stunt
The office of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad issued a letter on Tuesday rejecting a request by three U.S. Republican Congressmen to receive visas to visit Iran to monitor the July 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and great powers. The letter said, "We consider your visa request to have been a publicity stunt". - 6/8/16

Iran, Russia, Syria defense chiefs to meet in Tehran
Defense ministers from Iran, Russia and Syria are scheduled to meet in Tehran on Thurday to discuss the campaign against terrorism as well the recent developments in the Middle East. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Syrian counterpart Fahd Jassem al-Freij will participate in the meeting on the official invitation of their Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehqan. - 6/8/16

Russia-Israel Ties Grow With Kremlin's Influence in Region
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's second meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin in less than two months Tuesday underscores increasingly closer relations between the U.S. ally and Russia as Moscow's influence grows in the Middle East. -Daniel Schearf, VOA - 6/8/16

U.S. Military Assistance and Yemen
As the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, the international community is increasingly questioning the involvement of external government actors there. Particularly under the microscope is the U.S. government, whose support to Yemen over the past decade has largely been in the form of military and police aid to fight al-Qaeda. -Colby Goodman, LobeLog - 6/8/16

Officials Seek to Confront Iran's Increasingly Popular "White Marriages"
The increasing popularity of Iranian couples living together without getting officially married has alarmed officials of the Islamic Republic who question the morality of the practice and its impact on population growth demanded by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. - 6/7/16

New Iranian Bill Aims to Keep Women Out of Workforce
A bill that would reduce the working hours of female employees, which was passed in the last days of Iran's outgoing Parliament on May 10, 2016, is as an attempt by the state to "bring the 'out-of-control half of society' back under its control," a women's studies expert told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/7/16

Jump in foreign investments in Iran's OTC
Iran's media have reported a major rise in foreign investments made in the so-called over-the-counter (OTC) market or better known in Tehran as Fara Bourse. The English-language newspaper said in a report on Monday that the OTC has already attracted Rials 2 trillion (about $57.7 million) in foreign investment so far in the current Iranian calendar year (started 20 March). - 6/7/16

Iranian female MPs to focus on empowering breadwinner women
Implementing a comprehensive plan aimed at empowering women heads of families is the priority of female members of the parliament, MP Soheila Jelodarzadeh said here on Saturday. - 6/7/16

Iran Air eyeing 'historic' deal with Boeing
Iran Air, the national flag carrier airline of the Islamic Republic, says it is discussing what is seen as a "historic aircraft purchase deal" with global aviation giant Boeing. Iran Air CEO Farhad Parvaresh has told Reuters that serious talks with Boeing to the same effect are underway, expressing hope that these would lead to an agreement sometime soon. - 6/7/16

Towards An Archive of the Basij: Memories from Iran's Volunteer Militia
In winter 2010, I had traveled with a group of Iranian veterans to the south of the country along the Iran-Iraq border, visiting the first towns the Iraqi army invaded in September 1980. Right outside of Khorramshahr, the Iranian port city that the Iraqis occupied for the first two years of the eight-year war, veterans showed me the old battlefields where they spent endless days during their youth, fighting in close combat in dark and bloody trenches. -Narges Bajoghli, Ajam - 6/7/16

Armenians Push Away from Russia's Embrace
When Armenia joined the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan justified the decision in part by asserting that membership would enhance Armenia's national security. But, as the early April flare-up in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory showed, such security benefits are more theoretical than real. -Marianna Grigoryan, LobeLog - 6/7/16

Starless Dreams: Documentary about dreams, nightmares, and hopes of girls in the rehabilitation center for juvenile delinquents in Tehran
Starless Dreams by the award-winning Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei will be screened at Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York on June 10 and 11. This is the first film ever made about girls in the correctional and rehabilitation centers of Iran. The film has gained much critical acclaim and won prestigious festival awards already. - 6/6/16

Orange County Doctor Sets Out to Combat Party Politics
When Dr. Max Gouron moved to Texas in 1972, getting involved in politics was a distant thought. Born and raised in Tehran, Gouron moved to the United States to attend Rice University in Houston on a full scholarship and later went on to obtain his M.D. from the University of Texas Health Center. In 1999, he moved to Orange County and has been a practicing anesthesiologist for almost two decades. - 6/6/16

Bleed the Night: Award Winning Zombie Short Film by Reza Ghassemi
Audrey is stuck in limbo with no sign of escaping the living-dead. She wakes up time and time again, alone in the trunk of a car, unsure of reality. An ode to Korean crime thrillers like Oldboy and I Saw the Devil, Bleed the Night surprises audiences with its unique narrative on rebirth and second chances. - 6/6/16

Negligence by Major Tech Companies like Google and Telegram Aiding Iran's Cyber Army
Large technology firms are failing to provide sophisticated and country-specific user security measures, and as a result, are helping Iran's state agencies target Iranian citizens online, an investigation by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has found. - 6/6/16

Iran Ships 7 Million Dollars Hand-Woven Carpets to US
INCC head has reported on acceleration of Iran's hand-woven carpet exports to world market by return of traditional customers including the US. "A great portion of carpets in the current year have been sent to the US covering nearly seven million dollars," highlighted Kargar outlining resumption of exports to America as a promising sign." - 6/6/16

Exclusive: As Iran's oil exports surge, international tankers help ship its fuel
More than 25 European and Asian-owned supertankers are shipping Iranian oil, data seen by Reuters shows, allowing Tehran to ramp up exports much faster than analysts had expected following the lifting of sanctions in January. -Reuters - 6/6/16

"Lantouri" wins best film award at 2nd Zurich Iranian Film Festival
The social drama "Lantouri" by Reza Dormishian, has won the Best Film Award at the 2nd Zurich Iranian Film Festival which was held in Zurich, Switzerland from May 26 to June 1, 2016. The 2016 edition of the Iranian Film Festival is dedicated to films on issues of immigration, integration, and matters related to women in Iran and around the globe such as honor/virginity, solitude, sacrifice, and love. - 6/5/16

US must take concrete, objective steps on JCPOA: Iranian FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US should take more objective steps to guarantee international banking transactions with Iran under last year's nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries. - 6/5/16

Hardline Council Fires New Shot against Rouhani Administration in Battle Over Social Media in Iran
The directive by Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council to require social messaging apps to start storing user data in Iran within a year was the result of a majority vote by people directly appointed to the body by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/5/16

Iran volleyball achieves first-ever Olympic qualification
Iran volleyball achieved a historic feat as they earned their first-ever Olympic Games qualification, beating Poland 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 34-32) at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday. - 6/5/16

Kaboovand, Jailed Iranian Rights Activist On Hunger Strike, Close To Death
Mohammad Sedigh Kaboodvand jailed Iranian journalist and activist is approaching 30 days on hunger strike and doctors have been trying to prevent him from going into cardiac arrest. His potassium levels dropping to dangerously low levels. - 6/5/16

Iran Blasts US Report That Tehran Sponsors Terrorism
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman instead charged that U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was the real leader in funding terrorist activity and claimed that Washington "turns a blind eye to the broad political and financial support by Saudi Arabia and its other allies to this ominous phenomenon in the world." - 6/5/16

Kerry Deplores Doctoring Of Official Video On Iran Nuclear Talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was "clumsy and stupid and inappropriate" that someone in the department's press office edited out embarrassing footage in a press briefing on the Iran nuclear talks. - 6/5/16

Lockheed may sell Iran commercial helicopters
Lockheed Martin Corp, the largest arms maker in the US, is said to be considering the idea, Reuters reported Saturday, citing an official with Sikorsky, a subsidiary of the company. The choppers could be Sikorsky's S-76 and longer-range S-92. - 6/5/16

Trump Versus Clinton on Foreign Policy
Following Hillary Clinton's June 2 foreign policy speech in San Diego, California, the whole world knows what she thinks of Donald Trump's becoming commander-in-chief next January. "[His ideas] are dangerously incoherent. They're not even really ideas--just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies." -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 6/5/16

Iranian Music Distributors Summoned to Prison: Don't Forget Us
Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, all managers of BargMusic-one of the main producers and distributors of underground music in Iran since its launch in 2009-have been summoned to Evin Prison in Tehran to begin serving their prison sentences next week, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/3/16

Boeing says Iran can buy planes in euros
Global aviation giant Boeing says Iran's airlines could purchase its passenger jets in euros rather than in dollar if the United States' financial system does not open up to Iran. The announcement was made by Marty Bentrott, Boeing's vice-president for Middle East sales, on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meeting in Dublin. - 6/3/16

Khomeini Grandson Defends Decades-Old Mass Political Executions
Ali Khomeini, a grandson of revolutionary leader and Islamic Republic of Iran founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has defended thousands of summary executions of political prisoners in 1988 following a fatwa by his grandfather. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/3/16

Conference Call: Post Sanctions Iran Market Review
Turquoise Partners will be hosting a conference call on the current opportunities in the Iranian market post sanctions. The call will be led by Rouzbeh Pirouz, Executive Chairman, Ramin Rabii, Chief Executive Officer, Shervin Shahriari, Chief Investment Officer and Cyrus Molavi, Director of Asset Management. - 6/3/16

Armenia OKs abolishing Iran visa regime
Armenia has announced that it has approved signing an agreement with Iran to abolish the visa regime between the two countries. Armenia's media have quoted the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan as saying that the agreement will help develop relations between Iran and Armenia. - 6/3/16

Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows
On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies - and indeed, they've never had diplomatic relations... But beneath the surface, these two old adversaries actually have a lot in common. In fact, in the contemporary Middle East, they've become the strangest of bedfellows. -Medea Benjamin, LobeLog - 6/3/16

Persian Easy Rider: Globetrotting Biker Girl Takes on the World
An intrepid Iranian adventurer named Mahsa Homayounfar has travelled thousands of kilometers around the world on her motorcycle. -Sputnik - 6/3/16

Cyrus Habib Kicks Off Campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Washington State
On May 16, the highest-ranking Iranian American in political office and the first Iranian American to serve as a State Senator filed paperwork to run for Lieutenant Governor of Washington State. His campaign for Lieutenant Governor, the highest state office after Governor, began with a kick-off event in downtown Seattle - 6/2/16

Brookings: JCPOA "Unlikely" to Cause Regional Arms Race
In a newly released report, Brookings Institution fellows Robert Einhorn and Richard Nephew argue that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will not lead to a "proliferation cascade" throughout the Middle East. Instead, their report suggests that the Middle Eastern nations thought most likely to pursue nuclear weapons are constrained from doing so, for a variety of reasons. In fact, Einhorn and Nephew conclude, the rigorous implementation of the JCPOA can reduce the likelihood of a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race by taking the possibility of Iran's pursuit of a weapon off the table. -Derek Davison - 6/2/16

Iran volleyball team overwhelms China 3-2 in Rio 2016 qualifier
Iran's national volleyball team has got one step closer to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following a last-gasp win over the strong-minded Chinese team at the Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament. - 6/2/16

Iran: Women Prisoners Collectively Punished For Baha'i Leader's Meeting with Activist during Her Furlough
Inmates at the Women's Ward in Evin Prison have been told that their furloughs (temporary leave) have been canceled and that they will no longer be able to send letters to relatives, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/2/16

Iran's House of Cinema honors Asghar Farhadi
A large number cineastes gathered at the Iranian House of Cinema on Tuesday to attend a ceremony that the center held to honor Asghar Farhadi for the success of his latest drama "The Salesman" at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. - 6/2/16

'Islamic' Chair Cover Gets Iranian Activist In Trouble
A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women's rights activist has created a controversy by posting a picture on social media that shows her sitting on a chair with Islamic motifs while holding a glass of wine. - 6/2/16

Iran sees no deal on oil output freeze: Oil Minister
Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran will continue to ramp up oil production until it returns to levels before sanctions cut its exports. As he arrived in Vienna ahead of Thursday's meeting of OPEC ministers, Zangeneh said a return to individual producer output quotas is the only way to manage the oil market. - 6/2/16

"Why Do They Hate Us?": Ask the Catfish!
Imagine a kind of news and information media where the programmers, the show hosts, their guests and the reporters are all people of honor and integrity and not beholden to special interest groups or lobbies just to keep their privileged positions and tenure. Well, keep on deluding yourselves with such utopian dreams. That said, let's turn to a recent program aired Monday evening, May 23rd, on CNN, and repeated on Saturday, Memorial Day weekend. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/1/16

Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami sets two world record
Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami sets two new World Record in the clean & jerk and total for the 85kg weight class. Rostami lifted 175kg in the snatch and 220kg in the clean & jerk, improving the world record by 2 kg in the clean and jerk. - 6/1/16

Iranian Parliament Confirms Long-Serving Speaker For Another Year
Parliament in Iran has confirmed the reelection of its long-serving speaker for another year. According to state TV, Ali Larijani received 237 votes out of 276 lawmakers present on May 31 in the 290-seat house. Reformists Massoud Pezeshkian and Ali Motahhari were elected as Larijani's deputies. - 6/1/16

In Iran, an Actress, a Bared Arm and a 'Woman Power' Tattoo
A popular Iranian actress whose latest movie won two awards at the recent Cannes Film Festival threw her native country into an uproar on Tuesday after images emerged suggesting that she had a feminist tattoo on her arm. -Thomas Erdbrink, NY Times - 6/1/16

Iran inks economic agreements in Finland, Poland
Iran has struck a number of economic agreements worth some 1.2 billion dollars during an Iranian delegation's trip to Poland and Finland, says an official. Mohsen Jalalpour, head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture told the official IRNA news agency on Wednesday that Iran's economic delegation signed 50 agreements; 30 in Poland and 20 in Finland, in different sectors. - 6/1/16

Iranian Gold Miners Lashed for Protesting Layoffs
Seventeen miners in northwestern Iran have been lashed on orders of the Judiciary after their employer sued them for protesting the firing of hundreds of their colleagues, the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported on May 25, 2016. - 6/1/16

Europeans are new customer of Iranian heavy water
Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced on Tuesday that European countries seek to buy 20 tons of heavy water from Iran. He also said Iran will sell 32 tons of heavy water to the U.S. only after it receives the money for it. - 6/1/16

Iraq to Host World Cup Qualifiers in Mashhad, Iran
The Iraq Football Association confirmed that their matches in the 2016 World Cup qualification will be held in Mashhad, northeast of Iran. The Iraqi football team has been drawn in Group B along with Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. - 6/1/16

Gold Trader Asserts U.S. Stretched Law In Iran Sanctions Case
A Turkish-Iranian gold trader arrested on charges he helped Iran evade sanctions has charged that the U.S. government is using "an unprecedented reach" of law to prosecute him. - 6/1/16
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