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Secretary Tillerson Eschews Iran Diplomacy in Favor of Regime Change
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated he has no plans for negotiations with Iran and expressed favor for moving to support elements within Iran intent on regime change during testimony on the State Department budget in the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday. Tillerson's remarks are certain to ratchet up tensions with Iran, where elements remain deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions and have levied charges on ordinary citizens for alleged collaboration with hostile powers. -Darius Namazi, NIAC - 6/23/17

Iran: The Road to War?
The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at...Iran. Donald Trump's first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at...Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about...Iran. The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is... well, do I really need to spell this out any further? -John Feffer, LobeLog - 6/23/17

​Iran's Qeshm Air to buy 10 planes from Boeing
Only a day after two Iranian airlines announced deals to purchase planes from European aviation giant Airbus, another Iranian carrier says it has sealed a third deal to buy advanced aircraft from US plane-maker Boeing. Iran's media quoted the head of Qeshm Air as saying on Friday that the company had placed an order for 10 Boeing 737 MAX planes. - 6/23/17

Prominent Civil Rights Activists Urge Iran's Parliament to Ban Use of Deadly Force Against Border Couriers
The killing, by border guards, of another kulbar-the Persian word for the border-crossing couriers who transport illegally imported goods into Iran-has prompted 250 Iranian civil rights activists to demand that Parliament implement measures to protect the downtrodden laborers. - 6/23/17

IRAN: Denied Due Process, Detained Telegram Channel Admins Go on Hunger Strike
Six administrators of channels on the Telegram messaging application who were arrested in the run-up to Iran's May 2017 presidential election have gone on hunger strike in Evin Prison to protest their prolonged detention without access to legal counsel. - 6/23/17

Arab States Boycotting Qatar Demand It Cut Ties With Iran, Shutter Al-Jazeera
Four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia have issued a list of demands for ending their boycott of Qatar, including requiring Doha to shut down the Al-Jazeera network and cut most ties with Iran. Doha did not have any immediate reaction to the list. Nor did the United States, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had encouraged the Arab countries earlier this week to provide a list of demands that was "reasonable and actionable." - 6/23/17

Tehran to host 18th International Congress of Microbiology
The Iranian Congress of Microbiology brings infectious disease specialists together for presentation and discussion of research in the fields of clinical microbiology and infection from academia, the clinical setting and industry. The congress aims to contribute to improvement in prophylaxis and treatment of infectious diseases throughout the world. The 18th edition of the congress will take place at Tehran University of Medical Sciences on 29-31 August, 2017. - 6/23/17

Iran Begins Pipeline Gas Exports To Iraq After Years Of Delay
Iran has begun exporting natural gas to neighboring Iraq after several years of delays, Iranian state media report. The semiofficial Fars news agency on June 22 said the exports began late the previous day through a pipeline to Baghdad. - 6/23/17

Saudi-Iran Tensions Seen Worsening With Rise Of New Saudi Crown Prince
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran -- already running high -- could worsen with King Salman's designation of his aggressive and ambitious son, Muhammad bin Salman, as the next ruler, analysts say. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was designated as the kingdom's next ruler on June 21. The crown prince said last month on Saudi TV that he was not open to trying to improve relations with Tehran, which he accused of trying "to control the Islamic world" to spread its Shi'ite doctrine. - 6/22/17

Iran's Judiciary Chief Threatens Domestic Proponents of US-Instigated Regime Change With Death Penalty
The chief of Iran's judiciary has responded to recent comments by the US secretary of state describing the Trump administration's policy of regime change in Iran by threatening domestic proponents with the death penalty. - 6/22/17

Is the Saudi Prince Up to His New Job?
The audacious young prince of Saudi Arabia known as MbS owns it all now, for better or worse. As a wisecracking American might say, "Good luck with that." With his elevation Wednesday to be crown prince, heir to the throne, and first deputy premier reporting only to his father the king, Prince Mohammed bin Salman will exercise nearly complete control over his country's future. He was already minister of defense and chairman of the committee that sets the kingdom's economic policy. -Thomas Lippman - 6/22/17

Iran sets sights on arrival of 6.5 million foreign tourist this year
Iran aims to draw some 6.5 million foreign travelers by the end of the current calendar year 1396 (March 20, 2018), though the country's tourism infrastructure and public services are in need to be improved, a senior tourism official said on Monday. In 1395, some 5.5 million travelers visited Iran, fetching about $8 billion for the country - 6/22/17

Blundering Into Yet Another Middle East War
The Washington elite is waking up to the increasingly real possibility that the Trump administration may be moving the country into yet another Middle East war (with Iran). And much more quickly than anyone had anticipated. And through sheer incompetence and incoherence rather than by design. -Jim Lobe and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio - 6/22/17

Airbus to sell 73 planes to Iranian airlines Zagros and Iran Airtour
European aviation giant Airbus says it has signed basic agreements with two Iranian airlines over the purchase of a total of 73 planes. Airbus said in a statement that Iran's Zagros Airlines would pick up 20 aircraft from the single-aisle Airbus A320neo family and eight A330neo planes. It added that another airline, Iran Airtour, would also buy 45 planes of the A320neo type. The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show. - 6/22/17

Iran demands that Saudis release three detained Iranian fishermen
Iran's interior minister called on Wednesday for the immediate release of three Iranian fishermen who were detained by the Saudi navy last week, saying their boasts were pushed off course by waves. The development is expected to further complicate relations between the two countries, which escalated last month when U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and took a bellicose stance against Iran in an official speech. - 6/22/17

Trump's Love Affair With the Saudis
At this point, it's no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi royal family. -William Hartung, LobeLog - 6/22/17

India, Pakistan To Lead Rise In World Population To Nearly 10 Billion By 2050: UN
Countries with the world's youngest and fastest growing populations are concentrated in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Countries where fertility rates are below replacement level include China, the United States, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, and Britain. - 6/22/17

Iran's Terrorism Challenge: How Should It Respond?
Terrorist incidents in Iran have been on the rise in the last few months. At the beginning, they occurred in the two most vulnerable provinces Sistan and Baluchistan in the southeast on the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan and in Western Azerbaijan bordering Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. This was not surprising since these provinces, especially Baluchistan, had long been vulnerable to attacks by Sunni extremist groups, such as Jaish ul-Adl and Jundallah, supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/21/17

Beyond the Ban: Exhibition Spotlights Major Iranian-American Artists
Works by prominent Iranian-American artists were showcased to a packed house on June 14, the opening night of the "Beyond the Ban" art exhibition, a collaboration between the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and the Susan Eley Fine Art gallery in New York City. - 6/21/17

Iran's Khamenei Warns Iraq Against Relying On U.S., Weakening Shi'ite Militia
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned Iraq's leader against weakening Shi'ite paramilitary groups and relying on the United States in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.. At a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Tehran, Khamenei said the Shi'ite militias were the main forces pushing back against the Sunni extremist group in Iraq, and Baghdad should not trust the United States, Iranian state media reported. - 6/21/17

U.S. Shoots Down Armed, Iranian-Made Drone Over Syria Amid Russian Protests
The U.S. military says it has shot down an armed, Iranian-made drone that was bearing down on its forces near a garrison in Syria's southeast. The Pentagon said a U.S. F-15 aircraft flying over Syrian territory fired on the Shaheed 129 drone after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces on June 20. - 6/21/17

Italian runner Paolo Venturini to run in Iran's hot Lut Deseret to record name in Guinness
An Italian runner plans to travel 80 kilometers in Lut Desert in a 70-degree day to record his name in the Guinness Book of Records. Modin Afzali, coordinator of the program for the Italian runner and director of a tourism agency in Lut Desert, told Mehr News Agency that Paolo Venturini, the Italian nature adventurer will go to Gandom Baran, the hottest spot of the Lut Desert, on July 30th, when the temperature reaches 65 to 70 degrees centigrade, to run 80 kilometers in a day. - 6/21/17

Iran's Pistachio Exports Up 3% Year/Year
Iran has exported $1.240 billion worth of pistachios to the world markets in the past Iranian calendar year 1395 (ended on March 20) to register a three percent rise compared to its previous year, IRIB news reported. - 6/21/17

Iran's annual GDP growth at 12.5%: Central Bank
TEHRAN- Iran's growth of gross domestic product (GDP), including oil sector, hit 12.5 percent in the previous Iranian calendar year 1395 (ended on March 20, 2017), the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) reported. Iran's GDP stood at 6.691 quadrillion rials (about $178.5 billion) last year, based on the market prices in fiscal year 2011-12. - 6/21/17

Saudi Bullying of Qatar: A Spurious Game of Thrones Crumbling
The Saudi-Abu Dhabi aggressive siege of Qatar has gone beyond a mere tribal feud pitting the de facto Saudi ruler Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud and the UAE Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nuhayyan against Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar. The two-week manufactured "game of thrones," driven by faulty assumptions, has backfired and is already generating serious unintended consequences. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/21/17

First-Ever Film on Ancient Persian Monument TAQ KASRA: Fundraising Campaign
TAQ KASRA, a landmark in the history of architecture, is a 6th-century Persian monument. It was built in the capital of Persian Empire during the Sasanian dynasty. The palace was gradually declined after the Arab invasion in the 7th century and now it is located close to Iraqi capital Baghdad, less than 200 km far from the Persian territory. - 6/20/17

Reacting to the Tehran Attacks in Europe and the US
The European Parliament started its plenary session last week with a minute of silence to honor the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Tehran. In this way, the EP has joined a number of other institutions, as well as leaders of the EU and its member states, in offering sympathy to the Iranian people... Contrast this with the attitude in the United States. -Eldar Mamedov - 6/20/17

Iran's UN envoy: Remarks by US secretary of State against UN Charter
Iran's ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations says US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent anti-Tehran remarks are in violation of international laws and norms and against the Charter of the United Nations. Gholam-Ali Khoshrou made the remarks on Sunday in a letter of condemnation to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. - 6/20/17

Iran's oil industry paves way for capable women
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has issued an order, paving the way for women with high capabilities to boost presence in the oil industry. As per the ministerial decree which released on Sunday, all gender discrimination between male and female employees should be removed for all occupational positions, except for working on oil and gas platforms. - 6/20/17

Iranian Sculptor Parviz Tanavoli To Realize His "Lions" Dream
Prominent sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, best known for his sculpture series "Heech", will display his collection "Lions" at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, making his dream of 50 years come true. - 6/20/17

Attacks in Iran: The Enemies of My Enemies
As Iran fires missiles into Syria as part of its "crushing response" to the perpetrators of the recent unprecedented terrorist attacks in Tehran, these attacks can also have an enormous impact on Iran's internal politics. They could further solidify the position of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its support within the population and lead to an intensified crackdown on prisoners from minority groups. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 6/20/17

The Sordid History Of State Sponsored Terrorism Against Iran
For decades, Western empires have waged a silent war against Iran, using tactics ranging from supporting known terrorist groups to deposing the country's leaders and leveraging regional rivalries. The war continues today, even as the U.S. condemns Iran for sponsoring terrorism itself. -Eric Draitser, MintPress - 6/20/17

Iran Fires Missiles At ISIS In Syria In Response To Tehran Terror attacks
Late on Sunday Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps fired six missiles into eastern Syria, targeting Islamic State strongholds in retaliation for the recent ISIS-claimed terrorist attacks in Tehran. The national TV showed footages of missile attacks launched from western Iran. - 6/19/17

Iran, China Hold Naval Drills In Persian Gulf
Iran and China have held naval drills near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. The military drills on June 18 came amid heightened tensions between the Iranian and U.S. military in the Persian Gulf. - 6/19/17

FIVB Volleyball World League 2017: Russia batter Iran to book place in Curitiba
Russia stormed past Iran in their World League Group One clash in Lodz with a straight-sets victory (26-24, 25-18, 25-18) to seal their passage into the Final Six in Curitiba. Egor Kliuka was the star man in Saturday's epic victory against USA, and he top scored for the Russians again with 13 points, but it was Russia's defensive display which shone bright - Ilyas Kurkaev won three blocks from just nine attempts. - 6/19/17

US efforts to change Iranian government always ended in failure: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei
Referring to recent remarks by American officials about changing the Iranian government, the Leader noted, "They say we want to change the Islamic Republic establishment. Well, when have you not wanted to do this? You always wanted and you always failed and your nose has been rubbed in the dirt; [and] it will be like that from now on." - 6/19/17

Ailing Iranian Political Activist Detained Without Charge Subjected to Three-Month Solitary Confinement and Renewed Interrogations
More than three months after her arrest and detainment, ailing political activist Hengameh Shahidi has not been charged and is in poor health while being subjected to interrogations and solitary confinement in Evin Prison, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 6/19/17

Iran Says Saudi Arabia Killed Iranian Fisherman In Persian Gulf
Iranian officials say the Saudi coast guard has fired on two fishing boats in the Persian Gulf, killing one fisherman. "We are pursuing this matter to determine if the Iranian boats had crossed the Saudi border or not, but the action of the Saudis does not comply with humanitarian and navigational principles," Iran's June 17 statement said. - 6/19/17

Terrorist group completely dismantled in southeast Iran: IRGC Commander
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has managed to kill all members of a Takfiri terrorist outfit and completely dismantle it in a southeastern Iranian town, a senior IRGC commander says. "A terrorist team, which we had engaged a few days ago in the town of Qasr-e Qand, was completely dismantled today after the killing of five more of its elements," Commander of IRGC's Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour told Fars news agency on Sunday. - 6/19/17

The CIA Coup Against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq: Iran 1953 Covert History Quietly Released
The Department of State yesterday released a long-suppressed volume of historical records documenting the role of the United States in the 1953 coup against the Iranian government of Mohammad Mosadeq. "This retrospective volume focuses on the evolution of U.S. thinking on Iran as well as the U.S. Government covert operation that resulted in Mosadeq's overthrow on August 19, 1953," the Preface says. -Steven Aftergoo - 6/17/17

Iranian FM Zarif to Secretary Tillerson: U.S. Better Save Own Regime
TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday hit back at the United States for rhetoric of regime change in Iran, calling on Washington's officials to worry about saving their own regime instead of talking about changing the Iranian political system which enjoys a strong backing by its people. - 6/17/17

Iran still world's biggest natural gas player
A new report shows Iran still has the world's largest reserves of natural gas and is closely followed by market rivals Russia and then Qatar. The global energy giant British Petroleum (BP) in its annual report on world energy reserves put Iran's natural gas reserves at 33.5 trillion cubic meters (tcm). - 6/17/17

Iran, China to hold joint naval drill in Strait of Hormuz
The naval forces of Iran and China are to hold a joint military drill in the Strait of Hormuz. The Chinese Navy fleet, which docked at the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas on Thursday, will take part in the joint exercises in waters of the Islamic Republic on Sunday. - 6/17/17

Iranians rally behind soccer player suspended over wife's modeling
Last June, Mohsen Forouzan, a goalkeeper formerly with Tehran's Esteghlal Football Club, posted a photo on Instagram to announce his engagement to Iranian model Nasim Nahali. The photo quickly triggered reactions since Nahali was unveiled and the timing of the post coincided with the holy month of Ramadan. The Young Journalists Club, which is affiliated with Iran's state broadcaster, immediately described it as "a matter far [removed] from Sharia and ethics." -Zahra Alipour, Al-Monitor - 6/17/17

Iran's Judiciary Prevents Top Labor Activists From Attending International Conference
A travel ban imposed by the Iranian judiciary has prevented prominent labor rights activists Reza Shahabi and Davoud Razavi from attending an international labor conference in Switzerland, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 6/17/17

Senate's Iran Sanctions Bill Faces Differing Views in House
A newly passed Senate bill that would impose additional U.S. sanctions on Iran faces uncertain prospects for passage in the House, whose members are expressing differing views about its efficacy. Hours after the Senate approved the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act in a near-unanimous 98-2 vote Thursday, the House's majority Republican leaders had not said when they will act on it. The bill also would sanction Russia for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election, a charge Moscow denies. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 6/16/17

Iran's World Cup slogan revealed: "80 Million People, One Nation, One Heartbeat"
Iran football team, also known as Team Melli, will participate at the 2018 World Cup with "80 million people, one nation, one heartbeat," slogan. Unbeaten in eight qualifying games, Iran finished in dominant position in Group A not conceding a single goal on the Road to Russia. Iran national football team advanced to successive FIFA World Cups for the first time in their history Monday night. - 6/16/17

New US sanctions in breach of nuclear deal: Iranian official
Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, has slammed a new set of sanctions approved by the US Senate against Tehran as a breach of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 states, vowing a proper response to the hostile move. - 6/16/17

Iran says Israeli nuclear policies are source of global concern
Reza Najafi, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said Israel's nuclear policies openly violate "international norms and regulations" and jeopardize "the regional and global security". Najafi made the remarks in a speech to the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on Thursday. - 6/16/17

Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province lures tourism investors: Official
Sistan-Baluchestan, a southeastern Iranian province, is more and more attracting tourism investors in particular in its ecotourism and hospitality sector, the provincial tourism chief says. A Dubai-based Iranian individual aims to invest $500 million in building a tourism town in the region, ISNA quoted Kambiz Moshtaq-Gohari as saying on Wednesday. - 6/16/17

The Siege of Doha
There are several things that I find confounding about the current conflict within the GCC: First, as a member of the US policy team that first applied sanctions against Iran when our diplomats were being held hostage in Tehran, we drew the line at food and medicine. That has remained true in the succeeding 37 years. Despite all the onerous sanctions that the US has imposed against Iran over the years, which verge on economic warfare, there has never been a formal restriction on sales of food or medicine, including by US companies. -Gary Sick, LobeLog - 6/16/17

Secretary of State Tillerson: U.S. Will Work To Bring Peaceful Transition In Iran
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson told House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, June 14, that the United States policy towards Iran is based on support of internal forces who can bring about peaceful change. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi called US foreign policy towards Iran "confused" which could "easily be manipulated by wrong information." Specifically, he called Tillerson's remark about U.S. supporting internal elements for a peaceful transition,"unacceptable" and "interventionist". - 6/15/17

Iran's Parliamentary Committee Blocks Security Agencies' Attempts to Significantly Delay Death Penalty Amendment
A Parliamentary committee in Iran has blocked an attempt by security agencies to delay for a year a parliamentary vote on an amendment that could drastically reduce death penalty sentences for drug-related crimes. "Unfortunately, some security and government agencies wrote a letter requesting that the final vote be delayed for a year," Hassan Norouzi, a member of Parliament and spokesman for the Legal and Judicial Affairs Committee, told the Shargh newspaper on June 13, 2017. - 6/15/17

Iranian Navy Trains Laser on U.S. Chopper, Turns Spotlight on American Ship: U.S. Navy
PENTAGON - An Iranian military vessel trained a laser on an American helicopter that was accompanying three U.S. military ships in the Strait of Hormuz, Navy officials said Wednesday. Commander Bill Urban, spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, said the Iranian vessel, which came within 730 meters of the USS Baatan assault ship, acted in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner late Tuesday. -Carla Babb, VOA - 6/15/17

Iranian Security forces kill 2 terrorists, arrest 5
Iranian security forces have killed two terrorists and arrested five others in the southeast of the country. Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Wednesday night that security forces killed two terrorists in the city of Chabahar in Sistan-and-Baluchestan province earlier in the day. - 6/15/17

Iranian actress Golab Adineh wins Brooklyn's Best Artistic Achievement Award
Golab Adineh won the Best Artistic Achievement Award at the 20th Brooklyn International Film Festival, for her acting in 'Abji' (The Sis), directed by Marjan Ashrafizadeh. - 6/15/17

Iran calls on U.S. to fulfill commitments under nuclear deal
Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the US needs to honor its commitments under the landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries. The envoy said Iran's nuclear program was going ahead as per the JCPOA and that the latest IAEA report showed Iran's commitment to all of its obligations. - 6/15/17

Why Iranian women are wearing white on Wednesdays
A new social media campaign against a law which forces women to wear a headscarf is gaining momentum in Iran. Using the hashtag #whitewednesdays, citizens have been posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing as symbols of protest. -Nassim Hatam,BBC - 6/15/17

Does Qatar Really Threaten the Gulf?
Yet it is Qatar's good relations with Iran that constitute the most serious no-no from the Saudi perspective. While Qatar is no democracy, as a monarchy it is politically a good bit freer than Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or the UAE. (Both Oman and Kuwait enjoy still greater political freedom than Qatar--and both also enjoy good relations with Iran and have not joined the Saudi alliance against Qatar.) -Graham E. Fuller - 6/15/17

What Will Trump, Gulf Instability Mean for the JCPOA?
The Iran nuclear deal-Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA-is facing multiple threats, and whatever hope there may once have been that it could serve as a basis for improving U.S.-Iran ties is probably gone. Between the Trump administration's emerging focus on Iranian regime change and recent instability in the Persian Gulf, simply maintaining the deal itself is proving to be a serious challenge. That was the consensus at a June 13 panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council as part of its day-long "Preserving and Building on the Iran Nuclear Deal" event. -Derek Davison - 6/14/17

Gilehboom Eco Lodge: Live a green life far from the hustle and bustle
The couple Mahin Shamsikhani and Khosro Mahin-Roosta with their friend Shiva Shamshiri live a different kind of life. Although they are both engineering graduates from Tehran's Amirkabir University of Technology, they are now running an eco-lodge in a village in northern Iran. They established their eco-lodge 'Gilehboom' four years ago in Qasemabad Sofla in Gilan province and they are still happy with their decision. - 6/14/17

Iran will never tolerate Saudi warmongering: Supreme Leader's adviser
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, says the comments by "inexperienced" Saudi diplomats against the Islamic Republic show their ignorance about Iran and the region, stressing that Tehran will never tolerate Riyadh's warmongering policies. - 6/14/17

In Slight to President Rouhani, Iran's Supreme Leader Forbids Adoption of UNESCO 2030 Educational Guidelines
Iran's supreme leader has forbidden the government of President Hassan Rouhani from implementing any part of UNESCO's non-binding 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into the country's educational system. On August 16, 2016, Rouhani's cabinet agreed to put the Education Ministry in charge of integrating some of the agenda's guidelines into the country's educational system. - 6/14/17

Iranian Sports Symposium in London
Sports and athletic exercises were fundamental to the daily pursuits of the people of Ancient Iran. The religious teaching of Zoroastrianism advocated physical strength, mental power and courage, which were required for defending the homeland when need arose. Sportsmen thus held special status in society. The tradition has survived to the present day with Iranian victories in the Olympics. At this one-day symposium, historians and practitioners of Iranian sports come together to explore the history and the achievements of Iranian sportsmen/women, past and present. - 6/14/17

U.S. Senate Narrowly Defeats Bid To Block Some Saudi Arms Sales
The U.S. Senate has narrowly defeated a move to block President Donald Trump's planned sale of $500 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia out of concern they could be used to kill civilians in Yemen. The Senate's 53-47 vote on June 13 cleared the way for the United States to deliver the weapons, which are part of Trump's proposed $110 billion arms package for Riyadh. - 6/14/17

An organic and hand-made observatory is surrounded by palm trees in the iranian desert
In the last days of winter, the contemporary architects association of iran spend days in the harsh winter weather creating an observatory in the desert of esfahak, iran. the observatory is comprised of three circles within eachother - the center-most circle is the highest one, 'reaching for the sky', and the two other circles encompass a single person passageway that leads to the center. the foundation of the structure is joined together using mortar, some of which was mixed with the members' bare feet, where once clean and ironed shirts are soon covered in dirt. -Designboom - 6/14/17

A Call to End U.S. Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia
A coalition of activists and U.S. lawmakers alarmed about Saudi Arabia's punishing war in Yemen is trying to block the Trump administration's pending $510 million weapons sale to Riyadh. In a June 8 letter signed by 41 human rights groups, including Win Without War, Project on Middle East Democracy, and the Yemen Peace Project, activists have called upon legislators to reject the Trump's administration's proposed arms deal. -LobeLog - 6/14/17

IAEA verifies Iran's commitments to nuclear agreement
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the agency continues to verify Iran's fulfillment of its commitments under the landmark nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries in 2015. "The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in an introductory statement to the Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday. - 6/13/17

The Irrationality of Iran Vilification
"Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region," Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, "you find Iran." I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. -Danny Sjursen, LobeLog - 6/13/17

Manijeh Mir-Emaidi, A Devotee of Iranian Art and Culture
Sorrowfully, Manijeh Mir-Emadi (Naseri), painter, the founder and editor-in-chief of the first Iranian bilingual Art Magazine and Iranian Art Publishing left this world on 10 June 2017. Her main concern particularly in the past twenty years was to introduce Iranian Art and Artists to the world and lovingly devoted all she had in this path. -Roya Monajem - 6/13/17

Iran has intelligence of Saudi Arabia propping up terrorists near its borders: FM Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has obtained intelligence showing that Saudi Arabia is "actively" propping up terrorist groups along Iranian eastern and western borders. Speaking at the opening of the Oslo Forum in Norway, Minister Zarif referred to recent remarks by Saudi officials that foreshadowed the recent terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and called those remarks a "direct threat and very dangerous provocation" by Riyadh. - 6/13/17

IRAN: Some Female Sports Fans Allowed to Watch Men's Volleyball Match in Tehran, But Ban Persists
After being denied entry into Iran's sports stadiums since 2012, hundreds of women were allowed inside Tehran's 12,000-seat Azadi Arena on June 9, 2017 to watch a FIVB World Volleyball League match between Iran and Belgium. - 6/13/17

Iranian Human Rights Activist Told He Must Serve Additional Year in Prison on Day of Expected Release
While his family waited for him outside Rajaee Shahr Prison the day he was supposed to be released, on June 6, 2017, Navid Khanjani was told he would have to spend another year behind bars for his peaceful human rights activism. - 6/13/17

Iran's Foreign Minister Says In U.S. Best Interests To Abide By Nuclear Deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States has sent signals that are "not very promising" on a 2015 nuclear accord struck with major powers, but in the end will likely abide by the deal because it is in the country's best interests. - 6/13/17

Iran's tech boom: Amid blocks on Apple, Facebook, Google, new apps are emerging
"I want the world to look at Iran as a positive opportunity," says Niki Aghaei a creative consultant in Tehran, as she outlines how her home country has undergone massive digital and tech growth in the past few years. -Damian Radcliffe, ZDNet - 6/13/17

Iran qualifies for 2018 World Cup after defeating Uzbekistan 2-0
Iran's national football team has blanked Uzbekistan with two goals to be the second country that has booked tickets for the 2018 World Cup, scheduled to be held next summer in Russia. - 6/12/17

FIVB Volleyball World League: Manavi lives up to expectations in 3-2 win for Iran
Mohammadjavad Manavinezhad came in as a sub for Iran and lived up to the expectations coach Igor Kolakovic had from him. The fans in Tehran were also pleased with the home squad's 3-2 (29-27, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-11) victory over Argentina in a 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League clash. - 6/12/17

Manijeh Mir-Emadi, Iranian artist and founder of Tavoos Art Magazine, has departed this world
Sorrowfully, Manijeh Mir-Emadi (Naseri) painter, the founder and editor in chief of the first bilingual art magazine of Iran and Iranian Art Publishing left this world on the early hours of Saturday June 10, 2017. - 6/12/17

Iranian artist Alireza Pakdel wins Grand Prix at World Press Cartoon for "immigrants"
Iranian artist Alireza Pakdel has won the Grand Prix of the World Press Cartoon, one of the world's largest and most prestigious annual press cartoon contests held in Lisbon, Portugal. He received the prize for his cartoon "Immigrants", which also won the first prize in the editorial section of the festival, the organizers announced on Saturday. - 6/12/17

4 terrorists killed in Southern Iran, ISIS flag seized
Police forces in Iran have killed four terrorists in a southern province on Saturday June 11, seizing their arms and ammunition as well as a flag of the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh (ISIS). Azizollah Maleki, the police chief in Hormozgan Province, where the terrorists were killed during a firefight with security forces, made the remarks to reporters on Monday. - 6/12/17

Tehran, Vienna Seek Deeper Economic Ties: Austria To Open 1 Billion Euro Credit Line For Iran
Iranian Finance Minister Ali Tayyebnia and Industry Minister Mohammadreza Nematzadeh in separate meetings with Austria's Federal Minister of Finance Hans Jorg Schelling on Saturday and Sunday sought avenues for increasing economic and banking ties between the two countries. - 6/12/17

Iran exports first wheat cargo in years
Iran says it has exported its first consignment of wheat after a hiatus of multiple years - what is seen as a robust sign that shows the country has not only been able to support domestic needs but also move ahead with overseas sales. - 6/12/17

FIVB Volleyball World League: Kovacevic the star as Serbia outclass Iran
Uros Kovacevic scored 18 points in his team's hard-fought 3-1 win over home side Iran on Saturday. Amir Ghafour put the most points on the board for Iran, 13. Serbia's win came in front of 12000 home fans in Tehran on Saturday to continue their 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League on the right foot. - 6/11/17

ISIS Mastermind behind Tehran twin attacks killed: Iran's Intelligence Ministry
During a televised interview on Saturday, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said that the terrorist commander was killed earlier in the day by intelligence forces. He noted that the terrorist had fled the country following the ensuing security operations after the attack, but was killed with the cooperation of friendly foreign intelligence services. - 6/11/17

Germany's Bundeskunsthalle hosting "Iran: Ancient Cultures between Water and Desert" exhibition
Rare Persian artifacts are on display at the Art and Exhibition Hall of Germany (Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn) in an exhibition entitled "Iran: Ancient Cultures between Water and Desert". The exhibition is organized in the city of Bonn with cooperation of Iran's National Museum and Cultural Heritage Organization in Tehran. - 6/11/17

Immigrant-Americans With Support From Over A Million People Worldwide Create A Monument To Humanity In Los Angeles
The Farhang Foundation, a nonpolitical, nonreligious, not-for-profit Iranian-American cultural foundation, is proud to announce that The Freedom Sculpture: Freedom a Shared Dream, a monument honoring core American values of freedom, cultural diversity and unity, has raised more than $2.2 million, nearing the minimum goal of $2.5 million needed to complete the project. With over a million supporters from more than 50 countries following its progress on social media, the Freedom Sculpture has also become the most crowd-supported public monument gifted in U.S. history. - 6/11/17

Iranian artist Mehdi Mahdian wins prize at Finland's 2017 Poster Triennial
Iranian artist Mehdi Mahdian won special prize and a certificate of honour at the 20th Lahti Poster Triennial in Finland. Mahdian won a special prize and certificate of honour for his poster "Epopee Reading, Rostam and Sohrab Dramatic Quote". - 6/11/17

Iran sending planeloads of food to Qatar daily
Further indications have emerged that a blockade declared by several Persian Gulf states against Qatar has already opened a food corridor between Tehran and Doha since last week. Iranian officials say the country is already sending at least 100 tonnes of food supplies to Qatar by plane every day. - 6/11/17

Iran Criticizes Independence Vote In Iraq's Kurdistan Region
Iran has voiced its opposition to a decision by Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to hold a referendum on independence, saying the vote would lead to "new problems." Washington also said it was opposed to the vote, saying it would be a distraction from more urgent priorities, including the fight against the extremist group Islamic State. - 6/11/17

FIVB Volleyball World League: Iran defeats Belgium 3-2 in Tehran
A stunning all-round performance by Milad Ebadipour, who scored 20 points for Iran by contributing to a 3-2 (23-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-23, 15-12) victory over the European opponent in their first-ever encounter at FIVB World League. - 6/10/17

Donald Trump's Destabilization of the Persian Gulf
The Obama administration had to expend considerable political capital in fending off attempts, during the recent Congressional review period, to kill the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program. As a matter of policy toward that program, such expenditure should never have been necessary; the strict limitations and scrutiny of the program that are embodied in the agreement are clearly better for U.S. interests than the absence of such limitations and scrutiny if the agreement had been killed... -Paul R. Pillar - 6/10/17

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Must Apologize for Suggesting ISIS Attacks on Iran "A Good Thing"
"Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) must immediately disavow and apologize for his outrageous suggestion that the ISIS attacks on Iran should be viewed as 'a good thing.' After Trump's heartless message to Iran blaming the country for being attacked by ISIS, it was hard to believe that any lawmaker could find a way to go lower. Yet that is exactly what Rep. Rohrabacher did with his outrageous and deplorable line of questioning yesterday." - 6/10/17

PHOTOS: Thousands Gather In Tehran To Mourn Victims Of Attacks
Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Tehran as Iran held funeral ceremonies for the victims of twin attacks that killed 17 people earlier this week. The ceremonies began on June 9 at the parliament building, one of the targets of the June 7 attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State (IS). - 6/10/17

Iran's Aseman Airlines Concludes Purchase Of 60 Boeing Planes
Iran's Aseman Airlines sealed a deal in Tehran on Saturday with the American manufacturer Boeing on purchasing 60 aircrafts. As per the deal, Aseman is going to receive 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts as of 2022 over the course of two years, ISNA reported. - 6/10/17

Iran Arrests Seven New Suspects In Tehran Attacks Probe
Iranian authorities have arrested at least seven suspects for allegedly helping militants involved in this week's twin terrorist attacks in Tehran, state media reported on June 10. The IRNA news agency quoted Ahmad Fazelian, chief justice of Alborz Province west of Tehran as saying the seven are suspected of "providing support for the terrorist team." The suspects were detained in Fardis, a city in Alborz. - 6/10/17

Iranian-made Drone Targeted Coalition Patrol in Syria
PENTAGON - The armed, pro-regime drone shot down by U.S. aircraft Thursday after it fired upon U.S.-led coalition members on patrol in southern Syria was Iranian-made, officials tell VOA. Officials said a U.S. F-15 fighter jet took down the Shahed-129 drone, which can be used for combat and reconnaissance missions. -Carla Babb, VOA - 6/10/17

Iran Unites as Tehran Struck by Middle East's Proxy Wars
The 7 June attacks in Tehran struck at the symbolic heart of Iran's revolutionary republic. In this Q&A, Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst for Iran, says the outrages show how the region's proxy wars are now reaching far beyond the battlefield. -LobeLog - 6/10/17

Iran oil exports to West return to pre-sanction levels: Ground lost to Saudis reclaimed
Iran's hard-fought mission to recoup its oil market share in the West is almost complete after exports in May came within a whisker of pre-sanction levels. Exports to Europe in the month surged to their highest level since the lifting of sanctions in early 2016 to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), Reuters news agency reported, citing sources familiar with Iran's oil exports. - 6/10/17

A Last Chance for Peace for Afghanistan?
The Taliban is gaining more power, and Afghans are demanding more security from their government. The price of leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban would be enormous, and the stakes are much higher now than the first time the militant groups came to power in 1996. As the country descends into chaos, Afghans may wake up soon to realize that they either have to be ruled by the Taliban or share the government with the Taliban. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 6/10/17

Tehran Terror Attacks Expose Rifts Within Iranian Establishment
Appeals for unity answered with calls for revenge. Pledges of solidarity competing against vows to "eliminate" the culprits. The deadly twin terror attacks that rocked the Iranian capital, Tehran, on June 7 have triggered a dramatic split in public opinion. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 6/9/17

Iran holds funeral for victims of Tehran terror attack
Iran's Parliament (Majlis), which came under a terror attack recently, hosted a funeral ceremony in Tehran on Friday for the victims of the incident, and another concomitant one, which targeted Imam Khomeini's Mausoleum. - 6/9/17

Iranian Cleric's Comments Likening Loosely Veiled Women To Prostitutes Spark Backlash
Judging women by the degree to which they respect the compulsory hijab is nothing new in Iran. In the past, hard-liners have accused so-called "badly veiled women" of being responsible for everything from social ills to natural disasters. But recent comments by the Friday Prayer leader of the central Iranian city of Saveh, who likened women who don't fully respect the Islamic head scarf to prostitutes, appear to mark a new low. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 6/9/17

Iran's Rouhani Government Has Filtered Seven Million Websites in First Term
A cabinet minister appointed by centrist President Hassan Rouhani has admitted that the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology filtered "seven million" websites during Rouhani's first term (2013-17). The minister's comments contradict Rouhani's implied openness to improving internet freedom in Iran during his first and second-term presidential campaigns. - 6/9/17

Iran's Supreme Leader Says 1988 Executions of Thousands of Political Prisoners "Unfairly Judged"
Iran's supreme leader has broken his silence over the state's execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, which received renewed attention in the country's May 2017 presidential election when a judicial member implicated in the massacre ran for president. - 6/9/17

As Iranians Vote For Peace, Trump Helps Saudi Arabia Pick Another Fight
Iranians overwhelmingly chose to pursue peaceful, indigenous change through the ballot box... When juxtaposed with Saudi Arabia, the contrast is stark. -Reza Marashi and Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 6/9/17

Iran offers Qatar use of key southern ports, sends cargo plane with food supplies
Iran has offered to allow Qatar use its southern ports to carry on its vital import activities after the emirate's Arab neighbors united to isolate it. The announcement was made by Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. He was quoted by the Financial Times in a report as saying that Iran had offered Doha to use three of its ports in the Persian Gulf. - 6/9/17

US aircraft shoots down Iranian-made drone in Syria
US aircraft shot down an Iranian-made drone that fired on coalition forces patrolling with partner forces in southern Syria, a coalition spokesman told reporters on Thursday. This is the first time that pro-Syrian regime forces -- which the US says includes Iranian-backed Shia militias -- have fired on the US-led coalition. -CNN - 6/9/17

NIAC Statement on President Trump's Heartless Message to Tehran's Terror Victims
The National Iranian American Council released this statement following President Trump's callous response to the terrorist attacks in Tehran: "We support the people of Iran who have repeatedly demonstrated their dedication to the values of tolerance and diplomacy, despite the hardships they face. We underscore that administrations that cannot empathize with human suffering risk losing their humanity, and presidents who cannot genuinely recognize victims of terrorism are incapable of leading the fight against terror." - 6/8/17

Saudi Ambitions Threaten to Inflame Middle East
Saudi Arabia has once again been flexing its muscles in the Persian Gulf, partly encouraged by the Trump administration's full embrace of its regional views and policies. First came the spat with Qatar, supposedly over the latter's support for terrorism, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Several Gulf and Middle East Arab States moved to cut ties with Qatar. Ironically, Saudi charges of Qatari support for terrorism is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The Qatar affair was followed by terrorist attacks in Tehran -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/8/17

Tehran Security Increased After Attacks By 'IS Recruits From Iran'
Iranian officials said on June 8 that 17 victims were killed and more than 40 wounded in the attacks a day earlier -- the first major attacks in Iran for which the extremist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility. The Intelligence Ministry, meanwhile, said in a statement that five men involved in the attacks were Iranians who joined IS in Iraq and Syria. - 6/8/17

US Senate Works on New Iran Sanctions, Possible Russia Sanctions
The U.S. Senate has moved forward on a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran. The bill advanced on a procedural vote Wednesday. It now will be available for amendments before a final Senate vote. Bernie Sanders was one of the few senators opposed to holding the vote Wednesday because of twin attacks on Iran's parliament and a major historical site earlier in the day. -VOA - 6/8/17

Terrorism in Tehran: Reality Confounds Rhetoric
For Americans fed a diet of rhetoric about Iran that constantly links it to the sending, not the receiving, end of terrorism--in which "the leading state sponsor of terrorism" is the adjectival phrase routinely affixed to Iran, and in which official rhetoric such as President Trump's speech in Riyadh mashes Iran together with Sunni Islamist terrorism of the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) variety into one undifferentiated blob of evil--the deadly attacks today in Tehran generate much cognitive dissonance. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 6/8/17

Turkey, Iran Back Qatar In Dispute With Other Arab States
Turkey on June 7 threw its support behind Qatar in Doha's split with other Arab states, with Ankara accelerating troop deployment to Doha and offering to provide food and water supplies that have been cut off by Saudi Arabia. Turkey's move came as Iran, which already has offered to provide food to Qatar, where panicky citizens have been sweeping supermarket shelves clean, sent Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Ankara to discuss what he called the "worrying" developments between the Persian Gulf's Arab states. - 6/8/17

Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Geoeconomic Implications
In light of the fast-moving events in the Gulf over the past couple of days, LobeLog interviewed Sara Vakhshouri, a Gulf expert who specializes in the region's energy markets. A long-time contributor to LobeLog, Vakhshouri is president of SVB Energy International, a Washington-based strategic energy consulting firm that provides critical advice on the global energy market to private companies, governments, think tanks, investment banks, and media organizations. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 6/8/17

Bay Area chef circles back to childhood with Persian breads
Hanif Sadr grabs a baseball-size chunk of dough, flattening it into a circle. He's making kolaas, a yeast-raised Iranian flatbread of his youth, at his Berkeley home and test kitchen. The fingers on his right hand curl down, making it look like a bear claw. As his left hand deftly rotates the circle of dough, his bear claw flattens and stretches it. "This is called panje kesh, an Iranian technique to shape the dough with fingers," he tells me. -Leena Trivedi-Grenier, San Francisco Chronicle - 6/8/17

Terror In Tehran: Iran's parliament, Imam Khomeini's Mausoleum come under attack
Iran's Parliament (Majlis) and the mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in the capital Tehran have come under terrorist attack. According to reports, a dozen people have been killed in Wednesday's attacks while another 42 have been injured and admitted to 3 hospitals to receive treatment. The Daesh (ISIS) Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. - 6/7/17

TARGETING IRAN AGAIN
To repeat a Persian expression: A fool throws a pebble into a well; it takes a hundred wise men to retrieve it! So he goes around, as during his recent foreign trip, making bombastic comments reading from a prepared text he was given, not really knowing or even caring what he was uttering, and with no concern about the consequences of his utterances; after all, he does take pride in being an unscrupulous, predatory salesman, whose narrow perspective or focus does not require diplomatic finesse or a knowledge of international affairs. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/7/17

Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Tribal Feud with Regional and Global Implications
The key imponderable is whether the Saudi action, regardless of the veracity of the official justification, aims at regime change in Qatar by replacing Tamim bin Hamad with another Al Thani who could act as a Saudi quisling. If the Saudis indeed intend to depose Sheikh Tamim, the kingdom would not play such a dangerous game without a nod from Washington. -Emile Nakhleh - 6/7/17

John Kerry: New sanctions on Iran could be dangerous
Former Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Monday that imposing new economic sanctions against Tehran could be dangerous. "If we become super provocative in ways that show the Iranian people there has been no advantage to this, that there is no gain, and our bellicosity is pushing them into a corner, that's dangerous and that could bring a very different result," AP quoted him as saying in San Francisco at a fundraiser for Ploughshares Fund. - 6/7/17

Qatar in talks with Iran to secure food and water supplies
An official in Doha says Qatar has started talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after its biggest regional suppliers - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - cut trade and diplomatic ties with the country earlier this week. "We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries," Reuters quoted the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. - 6/7/17

Iran's airspace open to Qatari flights
With the dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries escalated, Iran has accepted flights performed by Qatari airlines to pass its airspace to travel to Africa and Europe. "The decision has been operational as of early Tuesday," said Reza Jafarzadeh, the public relations director of Iran Civil Aviation Organization. - 6/7/17

No restrictions for Americans traveling to Iran
Problems in issuing Iran visas for U.S. nationals have been solved so that they can easily obtain the entry permission for traveling to the country, says the chief executive of the Iranian Tour Operators Association. The time of visa application for U.S. citizens has been reduced to two weeks as it took at least one month in the past, ISNA quoted Ebrahim Pourfaraj as saying on June 5. - 6/6/17

NIAC Statement on Trump's Muslim Ban Tweets
The National Iranian American Council issued the following statement following President Donald Trump's tweets resurrecting his calls for "EXTREME VETTING" and a "TRAVEL BAN!" this morning: "In today's episode of daily misinformation, blame-shifting, and overall erosion of our democracy, the President of the United States revealed the categorical duality in his approach to combatting terrorism and his desire to persist with his nonsensical Muslim ban." - 6/6/17

Iran's 2017 GDP growth estimated at 4%: World Bank
In its latest report, the World Bank (WB) predicted a four-percent growth for Iran's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. According to the same report, titled as Global Economic Prospects (June 2017), the forecasted Ian's GDP growth in 2017 registers a 1.2 percent drop from the GDP growth previously predicted by WB in January 2017. - 6/6/17

An Iranian Woman Breeding Crocodiles Calls For Support
Mojgan Roostaei is the only Iranian female entrepreneur who works on crocodile breeding in the country. Roostaei, 33, is one of the exemplary job creators in the southern province of Hormozgan. She has called officials for providing financial support to improve her first-of-its-kind job. - 6/6/17

China says will support Iran's full membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization
A senior Chinese diplomat has thrown his country's weight behind Iran's membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an emerging economic and security alliance jointly led by China and Russia. - 6/6/17

IS Propaganda Increasingly Targeting Iran And Its Sunni
The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has recently expanded its campaign to recruit Iranians and disseminate its message to Persian speakers. In late March, IS published a rare video in Persian in which it called on Iran's Sunni minority to rise up against the Shi'a-dominated Iranian establishment. The video was dismissed by Iran's state broadcaster as "nonsense" and an attempt by the group to cover up mounting losses in Iraq. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 6/6/17

Aligning with Iran Necessary to Combat Sunni Extremism
As these policies have failed to "drain the swamp" of terrorism, the Trump administration should perhaps relax its embrace of Sunni regimes and partner with non-Sunni, Shia Iran in this seemingly endless war. Sadly, despite American huge losses in lives and treasure, al-Qaeda and its affiliates have surged, and IS has expanded its terror campaign across the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/6/17

What's Happening in the Persian Gulf
Early Monday morning, five Arab states-Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen-along with the Maldives, broke all diplomatic and physical ties with the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar. All six countries say they are withdrawing their diplomats from Qatar within 48 hours and expect Qatari diplomats to reciprocate within the same time frame, and other Qatari nationals in those countries have two weeks to leave. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 6/6/17

FIVB Volleyball World League: Ghafour on fire as Iran upset world champs Poland
Amir Ghafour was the leading scorer for Iran in upsetting the reigning world champions in a 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League match in Italy. In their third match of this campaign, the Asian squad finally achieved their first victory - 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 22-25) against Poland. - 6/5/17

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties and all land sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Riyadh took the lead on Monday to sever relations and other countries fell in line after an official source said the kingdom "urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same." - 6/5/17

Book Club Members in Iran Sentenced to Prison Time for Allegedly "Promoting Feminism"
Eight political and civil rights activists have received sentences of up to four years in prison for allegedly reading and spreading feminist literature in Iran-two years after the charges were laid and during a mass trial that limited their defenses to three written sentences. - 6/5/17

Appeals Court Strikes Down Additional Charges by IRGC Against Imprisoned Iranian Rights Activist Atena Daemi
Imprisoned children's rights activist Atena Daemi has ended her hunger strike after she and her sisters were acquitted of additional charges brought by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that resulted in additional time added onto her seven-year prison sentence. - 6/5/17

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei mocks Trump's sword dance with backward Saudi rulers
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday ridiculed U.S. President Donald Trump's sword dance with Saudi Arabia's backward and tribal rulers, noting they are allying against Iran in vain. "The U.S. president stands alongside the leaders of a tribal and backward system and does the sword dance, but criticizes an Iranian election with 40 million votes," Khamenei said - 6/4/17

FIVB Volleyball World League: Brazil defeats Iran 3-1
Evandro Guerra was the biggest contributor to Brazil's first win in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League. The South American giants overpowered Iran for a 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-22) victory in a Group 1 game held in Italy. - 6/4/17

International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is complying with nuclear deal commitments
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran has been living up to its commitments under the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries. - 6/3/17

FIVB Volleyball World League: Iran defeated by Italy in first match
The Iran men's national volleyball team has started off its campaign at the 2017 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball World League with a bitter loss to Italy. The Azzurri sealed an emphatic win in the first week of the tournament by defeating Iran 3-0 (25-22, 25-23 and 25-22) in a Pool A1 match played at the Adriatic Arena in Pesaro city, on the eastern side of central Italy. - 6/3/17

Musical Concerts Face Uncertain Future in Iran Despite President Rouhani's Vocal Support
Iran's presidential candidates faced no problems blasting cheerful music during campaign rallies ahead of the May 2017 elections. However, officially sanctioned concerts continue to be canceled following pressure by religious conservatives, while musicians and performers are subjected to threats and other forms of intimidation. - 6/3/17

Iranian Media Say 37 Injured In Shopping-Center Fire In Shiraz
Iranian state media is reporting that a fire at a shopping center in southern Fars Province has injured 37 people. The IRIB broadcaster says the fire in the city of Shiraz was started by an explosion early on June 3. - 6/3/17

Arresting People for Eating in Their Cars During the Ramadan Fasting Month in Iran is Illegal
Iranian police are not legally allowed to arrest anyone eating or drinking in their car during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan without a warrant, a legal expert told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "According to a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court, private cars are considered private spaces and a prosecutor would have to issue a warrant to enter," said attorney Mohammad Seifzadeh. - 6/3/17

Talks on Syria de-escalation zones ongoing, but more time needed: Russia
Russian, Iranian, and Turkish military experts are still working out details of the de-escalation zones they agreed to create in Syria on May 4, a Russian foreign ministry official said on Friday. "Military experts continue the work (on finalizing the memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones)," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS - 6/3/17

Trump is assembling all the pieces he needs to go after Iran
It is not always clear what President Donald Trump is thinking on any particular issue. On Iran, however, Trump appears to have decidedly hardline leanings. -Christopher Woody, Business Insider - 6/3/17

Iranian Artists, Activists Send Letter to President Rouhani Demanding Release of Imprisoned Music Producers
Two Iranian artists will have been behind bars for a full year as of June 5, sentenced for their peaceful artistic activities. Today, artists and supporters of artistic freedom from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East called for their release in an open letter sent by Freemuse and the Center for Human Rights in Iran to newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani. - 6/2/17

Trump Administration Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Reinstate Travel Order
The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately reinstate its temporary ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, arguing that it would make the United States safer. - 6/2/17

Turkey-Israel Rapprochement Threat to Iranian Ambitions?
With Turkey facing strained relations with most of its neighbors and allies, Ankara is deepening ties with Israel in a rare bright spot. Diplomatic relations collapsed in 2010 after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens on a boat seeking to break Israel's economic blockade of Gaza. A reconciliation deal reached last year has opened the door to a resumption in relations that could pose a threat to Iran's regional aspirations. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 6/2/17

Well-Known Iranian Cleric Urges Rouhani to Drop Justice Minister for Role in 1988 Prisoner Massacre
The son of the once heir apparent to Iran's first supreme leader is urging newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani to drop Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi from his cabinet for the major role he played in the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners. - 6/2/17

Pakistani Senate Chastises Government for Joining 'Anti-Iran' Coalition
Pakistan's senate demanded to know why the administration had sent its former army chief to head what some called an anti-Iran Arab military coalition, despite a 2015 parliamentary resolution that the country would maintain neutrality in regional conflicts. -Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA - 6/2/17

Europe and the United States: Diverging Destinies?
Germany does not regard Iran as the malign source of all instability in the Middle East or as the leading sponsor of Islamic terror. In 2005, Germany would gladly have concluded with Iran a nuclear agreement as good if not better than the agreement finally concluded in 2015, had the George W. Bush administration not anathematised the deal. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 6/2/17

On the front line of Iran's shadow war in Syria
A fighter who was critically injured in an explosion in the Syrian town of Khan Touman explains the reasons for him joining the Iranian effort in Syria -- one of thousands to have been deployed across Syria and Iraq -Kim Sengupta, Independent - 6/2/17

Pistachios, a source of tension between Iran and United States
Pistachio producers from Iran and the United States are on a war footing. Two of the largest producers of pistachios in the world, Iran and the United States (specifically, California), are engaged in a dispute that won't be solved soon. -Fresh Plaza - 6/2/17

AIC Partners with Educational Non-Profit ProjectExplorer.org to Create Film Series in Iran
AIC is partnering with the award-winning educational non-profit, ProjectExplorer.org, to send a small film crew to Iran in Spring 2018 to produce a series of short, high-quality, educational videos about everyday life in Iran. - 6/1/17

Iran's Anzali Free Zone on way to be a tourist hot spot
Soaring numbers of travelers to Anzali Free Zone by the Caspian Sea along with ongoing efforts to boost its tourism infrastructure are sure signs that it is on track to become a bustling tourist hub in northern Iran. - 6/1/17

Iran's Top Sunni Cleric Urges President Rouhani to Appoint Religious Minorities to Cabinet
The leader of Iran's Sunni population, Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that Sunnis should be invited to participate in the second-term government of newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani. - 6/1/17

Iran signs deal with Gazprom over Farzad B gas field: Oil Minister
Iran says it has signed a basic agreement with Russia's energy giant Gazprom over the development of Farzad B gas field - a project which the country has for long been negotiating with an Indian consortium. The announcement over Farzad B agreement was made by Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh. - 6/1/17

There Is No Peace In The Middle East Without Iran
Donald Trump might have missed the most positive news from the Middle East last week. It was not his antagonistic declarations in Riyadh, Israel, Brussels and Italy. It came from Iran: President Hassan Rouhani had managed the tour de force to be reelected against a conservative candidate and a few others, reaching 57% of the votes at the first round. -Georges Ugeux, Huffington Post - 6/1/17

Persian calligrapher renders love, beauty, history
Majid Roohafza says his calligraphy represents more than art. It is a way to illustrate thousands of years of Persian history, literature and culture. "Rendition of Love," an exhibition of his work, will open Friday and run through July 2 at First Unitarian Church's Undercroft Gallery in Shadyside. -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 6/1/17

See the Ancient Water Tunnels Below Iran's Desert
From above, it seems as though a series of holes were pierced in the desert's dry surface. But a hundred feet below the mysterious pits, a narrow tunnel carries water from a distant aquifer to farms and villages that wouldn't exist without it. These underground aqueducts, called qanats, are 3,000-year-old marvels of engineering, many of which are still in use throughout Iran. -Rachel Brown, National Geography - 6/1/17
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