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Obama Pushes For Deal With Iran To Avoid 'Path To War'
U.S. President Barack Obama told supporters on July 30 that Democratic support in Congress for the Iran nuclear deal is "squishy" and they must work hard to counter an aggressive lobbying campaign against it. In a call with groups affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington think-tank, Obama said activists who want peace must not make the same mistake they did in the run-up to the Iraq war, when proponents of the war drowned out their weaker voices. -Patrice Hill, RFE - 7/31/15

Will Iranian Americans Get Sanctions Relief?
Despite the nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, the U.S. trade embargo with Iran will not be among the sanctions to be lifted. This means that Iranian Americans will continue to be prohibited from engaging in most trade-related transactions with Iran or Iranian parties. -Tyler Cullis, NIAC - 7/31/15

Photos: Iranian Green Protesters Circle Forest During Environment Chief's Visit
Environmental activists formed a human chain around Palang Dareh Forest on Thursday July 30 while the head of Iran's Department of the Environment, Massoumeh Ebtekar, was visiting Mazandaran Province in northern Iran to mark National Forest Day. - 7/31/15

Letter to Congress: Support Iran Deal Now
there are a few things you should know about me. Specifically, I am an honorably discharged, Navy, Vietnam era veteran. So I think a bit more about ensuring U.S. national security and the costs of wars than the average person. I am also Jewish. So issues such as the security of Israel and U.S. responsibilities for, and obligations to, are also something I think about. -David Isenberg - 7/31/15

Nuclear accord heralds new era of scientific ties in post-sanctions Iran: Science journalist
Prominent science journalist Richard Stone says the agreement between Iran and six global powers over Tehran's nuclear program heralds a new era of cooperation between Iranian and Western scientists. He made the comments during a seminar on science journalism and diplomacy, organized by the Iranian Association for the Popularization of Sciences, in the capital Tehran on Wednesday. - 7/31/15

Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is launching a five-nation tour of the Middle East and South Asia on Friday in a bid to strengthen economic and security ties and ease concerns about the Iran nuclear deal. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 7/31/15

Tom Cotton Assails Iran Deal (Again)
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) told a receptive audience at the neoconservative Hudson Institute on Tuesday that Congress should take action to defeat the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that was concluded in Vienna earlier this month between Iran and the countries of the P5+1 (United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China). - 7/31/15

Bad Analogies Abounding on Iran Deal
In their desperation to sabotage the nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran, neoconservative foes of the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) are resorting to all kinds of historical analogies. Their most popular, of course, date back to the 1930s: appeasement, Chamberlain, Munich, Hitler, and all of that other stuff that led to the Holocaust. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/31/15

The Kurdish Elephant
Let's mix some metaphors in the Middle East, all of them involving elephants. In the crisis zone that encompasses Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, the Kurds are the elephant in the room. They are the "problem" that no one really wants to talk about. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/31/15

US Lawmakers Seek Details of Iran Nuke Inspection Regime
U.S. lawmakers pressed top administration officials Wednesday for details on the international inspection regime that will enforce a landmark nuclear pact with Iran. The officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, testified before the Senate Armed Forces Committee to try to allay lawmakers' concerns and convince them to approve the deal reached earlier this month in Vienna. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 7/30/15

Joint Statement of Iranian-American Organizations on the U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal
As organizations that represent the Iranian-American community, we welcome the news of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by the United States, UN powers, and Iran. This historic diplomatic achievement will benefit the American people and the Iranian people alike by taking war off the table and creating the possibility for sustained peace and renewed relations. - 7/30/15

Iran: Arrest of surgeon in Mamasani stirs outrage
Iran's health minister has condemned the arrest and handcuffing of a surgeon in Mamasani. While some of the surgeon's colleagues and co-workers staged demonstrations in her support, the Governor of Mamasani says the whole affair was caused by a misunderstanding. - 7/30/15

Iranian Critics of Deal on the Defensive
Most observers of Iranian domestic politics believe that the nuclear agreement could not have happened without Ayatollah Khamenei's approval, and so, no forces in the parliament or any other power center can prevent the deal from being approved and implemented. Even the more ardent and sophisticated critics of the nuclear deal in Iran have come to accept that their cause is hopeless. -LobeLog's Tehran correspondent - 7/30/15

Iran sees 'new chapter' in ties with Total
Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran welcomes French energy giant Total's return to the resource-rich country amid Tehran's drive to step up oil and gas development projects after the removal of sanctions. Zangeneh made the announcement after meeting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who visited Tehran to "revive relations" after the finalization of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries. - 7/30/15

Qeshm village in Persian Gulf invites tourists to wooden Lenj workshops
Tourists who travel to the Persian Gulf's Qeshm Island, can join wooden Lenj construction workshops at Peyposht, a village near Laft port of Qeshm County, Hormozgan Province. The workshops reveal one of the most important historical aspects of Persian Gulf history in the region, the head of Iran's Cultural Heritage Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) Office in Qeshm Free Zone Abdoljavad Kamali said in a press release on Sunday. - 7/30/15

India pushing to revive Iran gas pipeline
With a delegation headed to Tehran soon, Indian officials will push for the revival of the $7 billion gas pipeline from Iran which has to cross Pakistan, a New Delhi-based newspaper says. India dropped out of the massive project under US pressures but a recent opening in the business environment in Iran has prompted Indian leaders to make a fresh bid for the pipeline, the Economic Times reported, citing informed sources. - 7/30/15

Facebook's first intern just landed $50 million from Peter Thiel and other investors
Darian Shirazi started his career at 15 years old, when he made his name reselling computer components on eBay. His sales were so impressive that eBay ended up offering him an internship for the next two summers. -Eugene Kim, Business Insider - 7/30/15

In Iran, Jason Rezaian's Reporting Strengths Led to Suspicion, Then Detention
They say Mr. Rouhani's internal political adversaries, who see the president as too conciliatory toward the West, may have been responsible for Mr. Rezaian's arrest. The adversaries might have seen an opportunity to embarrass Mr. Rouhani by imprisoning an American journalist perceived as close to his administration. Mr. Rouhani's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has said he knows Mr. Rezaian personally and has called him "a fair reporter." -NY TImes - 7/30/15

Netanyahu Lost His Iran Bet, but His Next Gamble May Be Disastrous
After the deal was announced, the prime minister's appearance was that of a desperate gambler who had lost everything. But now he wants to wreck what's left of U.S.-Israel relations. After losing his pants, he's now putting his underwear on the roulette wheel in a move that experts on American politics say hasn't much of a chance. -Yossi Verter, Haaretz - 7/30/15

Kerry: Alternative Iran Deal Is 'Unicorn Fantasy'
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned members of Congress that walking away from the nuclear deal reached with Iran would mean giving Tehran a "green light" to return to its enrichment efforts. "The alternative to the deal we've reached isn't a better deal... some kind of unicorn fantasy that contemplates Iran's complete capitulation," Kerry said. - 7/29/15

Rouhani to visiting French Foreign Minister: Nuclear conclusion should mark better Iran-EU ties
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers should pave the way for further promotion of ties between Tehran and Europe. "The nuclear agreement should mark [Iran's] better cooperation with Europe," Rouhani said in a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Tehran on Wednesday. - 7/29/15

EU's Mogherini Visits Iran, Vows to Implement Nuclear Deal
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insisted Tuesday during a visit to Tehran that she made the trip to begin implementation of the nuclear accord with Iran. Mogherini said she wanted to ensure the "smooth implementation" of the nuclear accord between Iran and the international community, which she said would pave the way toward better relations. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 7/29/15

Wieseltier on Iran: Laughable
It is everyone's right to present themselves as The Great Moral Arbiter. And the rest of us are within our rights to laugh at them. That's what first came to mind after I finished reading Leon Wieseltier's 2,000-plus-word jeremiad against the Iran nuclear deal in The Atlantic.-Ali Gharib - 7/29/15

Fabius highlights new Iranian relations in newspaper piece
In an exclusive Op-Ed statement published on Tuesday July 28 in the Iran daily, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius strikes a positive note regarding relations with Iran in advance of his visit to Tehran on Wednesday July 28. - 7/29/15

Sign the petition: Defend the Iran deal and stop Republicans from starting a war with Iran
The United States, Iran and five other world powers announced a historic deal to dramatically curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing international sanctions on Iran. Republicans are trying to sabotage the deal, put us back on the path to confrontation with Iran and start a war -- but they can't do it unless Democrats help them. - 7/29/15

Huckabee's Holocaust Remark Defended by Adelson-Funded ZOA
Former Arkansas governor and GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee's comparison between the Iran deal and the Holocaust brought an avalanche of denunciations from Jewish groups condemning his prediction that President Barack Obama will "take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." -Eli Clifton - 7/29/15

Most Polls Suggest Americans Support the Deal, Especially Jews
Two polls released this morning have rather different takes on the Iran deal. One, from J Street, confirms last week's LA Jewish Journal poll that American Jews broadly support the nuclear agreement, 60-40%. The other, from CNN/ORC, is an outlier from the bulk of post-deal polls in finding that Americans want Congress to reject the deal. This conclusion, however, is likely because of the poor construction of the poll. -Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum, LobeLog - 7/29/15

Iranian singer's pro-nuclear song no guarantee of government approval
Iran's Ministry of Culture says it has not given any guarantees to underground singer Amir Tataloo that singing a song in support of the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy policies would help him shed his underground status and earn him a chance to give public concerts. - 7/29/15

Mercedes-Benz exploring partnership with Iran Khodro
Mercedes-Benz is exploring a partnership with Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro for manufacturing trucks, vans, and buses, Iran Khodro Chief Executive Officer Hashem Yekke-Zare' said. The German automaker may open an office in Iran within two to three months, Yekke-Zare' said on the sidelines of a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday. - 7/29/15

The Iran agreement is a disaster for Isis: Federica Mogherini
"It always seems impossible until it's done": the words of a man who made the impossible come true - Nelson Mandela - resonated with me on 14 July, when the seven countries around the table in Vienna, under the steer of the European Union, finally reached a deal on Iran's nuclear programme. -Federica Mogherini, Guardian - 7/29/15

Iran, EU agree to resume stalled high-level talks
Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic and the European Union have agreed to revive stalled talks. Speaking at a press conference with visiting EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday, Zarif said Iran-EU "high-level" talks are to resume in the "near future." - 7/28/15

Kerry, Moniz Return to Capitol Hill to Push Iran Deal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz go before a Congressional committee again Tuesday as they continue their efforts to get support from skeptical lawmakers reviewing the international nuclear deal with Iran. - 7/28/15

US firms 'losers' when Iran doors open
US media are criticizing "strict, decades-old restrictions" that will continue to prohibit trade with Iran even after sanctions against the country are lifted. The Wall Street Daily has warned in an article that US corporations are set to lose big to their European and Asian rivals once the gates to the Iranian market open in a post-sanction period. - 7/28/15

Analysts: Russian Cooperation on Syria, Ukraine Less Promising Than Iran Deal
U.S.-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues, but analysts say any progress is likely to be slow in coming. Meanwhile, Russia may be planning to spend the political capital it earned by helping to negotiate the Iran nuclear deal. -Daniel Schearf, VOA - 7/28/15

President Obama on Monday lashed out at Republican presidential candidates for making what he called "ridiculous" claims about his policies and "outrageous attacks" that crossed the line of political decorum.
President Obama on Monday lashed out at Republican presidential candidates for making what he called "ridiculous" claims about his policies and "outrageous attacks" that crossed the line of political decorum. -Peter Baker, NY Times - 7/28/15

Iran says planes ready for US flights
After a hiatus of over three decades, Iran is now looking into the possibility of launching direct flights to the United States in light of the removal of sanctions that have prohibited the country from doing so. Iran's aviation officials say the country is technically prepared to launch direct flights to the United States, but an authorization to do so is still needed. - 7/28/15

Former Bush Diplomats Push Back on Criticism of Iran Deal
Two senior retired diplomats warned Friday that the U.S. would isolate itself from a global consensus if Congress rejected the nuclear agreement concluded between the P5+1 and Iran earlier this month. -Derek Davison and Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/28/15

The Citadel of the Original Royal Avesta in Persepolis
It is said both in the native and foreign sources that the original Avesta "written on 12,000 prepared cow-skins, and with gold ink," was burnt together with other treasures and books when Alexander of Macedonia set Parsgarde (Persepolis) on fire. In other sources, it is said that there were actually two copies, one kept in Shapigan treasury and the other in the "citadel of writings" dejnebeshteh whose exact location had never been found, thus a mystery. -Khoobchehr Keshavarzi - 7/27/15

Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications
In a meeting with government officials on July 18th, four days after the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, President Rouhani of Iran praised the work of his negotiating team and called the deal a triumph. Is the President right? Does the deal really signify a victory for Iran, as he claims, or an elusive surrender, as a number of critics have pointed out? To answer these questions, a brief review of the contents of the agreement is in order. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 7/27/15

Iran nuclear agreement is an historic opportunity for peace
Many congratulations to all parties involved in the historic agreement on the future of Iran's nuclear programme. Well done to Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari in bringing home an historic deal for Iran and the world. Commendations to John Kerry and the leaders from the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany in reaching an agreement that will result in Iran agreeing not to develop nuclear weapons. -Richard Branson - 7/27/15

Iran's state banks to join SWIFT once JCPOA comes into effect: Official
An official at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says the country's state-run banks will soon rejoin the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) once Iran's nuclear agreement with the world powers enters into effect. - 7/27/15

Anti-Iran Deal Groups Better Funded Than Pro-Deal Groups By Nearly Five to One
The Democratic Party has latched onto the message that critics of the Iran deal are spending big money over the next 60 days to kill the agreement in Congress. Last Wednesday, for example, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) commented that, "I know there's tens of millions of dollars lined up against the agreement." And Obama, interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show last week, criticized "lobbyists" and "money" working against the deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/27/15

Duluth orchestra, Iranian composer make music history
For perhaps the first time since the Iranian revolution in 1979, an Iranian composer living in Iran is collaborating with an American orchestra. It's the world premiere of "Kalileh," a classic Persian fable set to music by composer Hooshyar Khayam. - 7/27/15

Nader Tehrani Named Dean Of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
Nader Tehrani, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been appointed dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He joins Cooper this month. - 7/27/15

Iran builds $2.5 billion power plant in Iraq
Iran is building a natural gas combined cycle power plant in Iraq's Basra at a cost of $2.5 billion in the Persian country's biggest engineering services deal yet. - 7/27/15

On Iran Congress Risks Alienating Europe
Members of Congress opposing the Iranian nuclear deal don't seem to care that it's a multilateral agreement their longest-serving European allies support. Europeans are far from impressed that the US legislature has taken hostage the diplomatic roadmap on the nuclear file that they played a critical role in negotiating. GOP Republicans have clearly attempted to shift the debate from a vote on the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) announced last week to one on the US presidential legacy and US-Iran relations. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 7/26/15

Female Entrepreneurs Fuel A Changing Iran
It has been a long parade of investors and foreign CEOs in the office of Nazanin Daneshvar, a young female engineer who founded the e-commerce company Takhfifan (Persian for "discount"). She welcomes such visitors, and foreign journalists, who have come to Iran to discover a country as hopes have risen that the international economic sanctions will be lifted. -Sophie Fay, Worldcrunch - 7/26/15

Rouhani Government and Conservatives Clash over Laws on Female Dress
More than two-thirds of the members of the Iranian Parliament-216 MPs-have signed a resolution supporting the implementation of a law that requires women to observe strict rules on clothing in public. The Rouhani administration has expressed doubts on the effectiveness of coercive tactics against women who are not as observant as hardliners in the Islamic Republic would like them to be. - 7/26/15

The Sources of Opposition to the Iran Agreement
An air of unreality pervades much of the debate on the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program. Opponents of the agreement raise issue after issue on which the agreement is clearly superior to the alternative that would exist if the opponents succeed in getting the U.S. Congress to kill the deal, but the opponents keep raising such issues anyway. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/26/15

Iran's Kurdistan University establishes first Kurdish literature program
University of Kurdistan announced that in the coming year it is launching its first Kurdish language and literature program. The university reports that the program will start by accepting 40 students in September of 2015. - 7/26/15

Iran's "Smart filter" for internet now in second stage
Iran's minister of communications reports that the first stage of "smart filtering" for the internet has been "successful" and the second stage has now been launched. IRNA reports that according to Mahmoud Vaezi, the so called "smart filtering" is a complex project envisioned in three stages. - 7/26/15

For new Iranian American lobbying group, response to nuclear deal is pivotal first test
In 2002, during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq - and as the possibility of war with Iran loomed - four Iranian Americans formed the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), largely to voice opposition to war with Iran and urge diplomatic negotiations. Now, 13 years later, the group is launching an advocacy arm, NIAC Action, that aims to take Iranian Americans' voice in politics to the next level. -Catherine Ho, Washington Post - 7/26/15

Former AIPAC Official on Iran's Importance to AIPAC
So it was pretty compelling Thursday when The Nelson Report quoted a "former AIPAC official" on why the legendary lobby was so heavily invested in persuading Congress to reject the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1. I'm posting it here with Chris's permission. -Jim Lobe, Lobelog - 7/26/15

British Foreign Office Eases Travel Advice For Iran Visits
Britain's Foreign Office has eased its travel advisory on visits to Iran. The new advisory issued on July 25 no longer urges British citizens to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. However, it calls on Britons to avoid traveling to border areas close to Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. - 7/26/15

US Lawmakers, Obama Officials Spar on Iran Nuclear Deal
Secretary of State John Kerry sparred with members of a Senate committee during the first public hearing on the controversial deal to lift economic and other sanctions against Iran in exchange for it scaling back its nuclear program. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew joined Kerry Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. -VOA - 7/24/15

White House Calls Rally Against Iran Nuclear Deal 'Pro-War'
The White House has called a demonstration against the Iran nuclear deal a "pro-war rally." The main speaker at the demonstration, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is one of several GOP candidates who have said that, as president, they would be ready to launch an immediate military strike on Iran. The rally was held outside the White House itself. - 7/24/15

The Iran Deal: Where Are the Fault Lines?
It's tempting to see the successful negotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)between Iran and the P5+1 nations as the conclusion of nearly two years of negotiations. But the reality is that last week's achievement is only the beginning. Now comes the task of winning approval for the agreement among participating governments, maintaining the terms of the agreement (some of which last up to 25 years), and managing the deal's ramifications for the Middle East and beyond. -Derek Davison - 7/24/15

German Economy Minister defends landmark Iran visit
Germany's Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has defended his visit to Iran, dismissing criticism by pro-Israel lobby groups which are furious at Europe's bid for post-sanction business with Tehran. Speaking to reporters in Berlin Thursday, Gabriel said Tehran's refusal to recognize Israel is not a legitimate reason to avoid doing business with Iran. - 7/24/15

Iranian activist Nargress Mohammadi decries plight of mothers in prison
Nargess Mohammadi, the prominent Iranian human rights defender and deputy director of the Human Rights Defenders Centre who has been in prison for over two months, has written a letter from Evin Prison revisiting eight years of motherhood in the light of her activism. The letter, published on the Defenders of Human Rights Centre website, reveals that Nargess Mohammadi's twins have now left Iran and are living with their father. - 7/24/15

Hardline Iranian Clerics Stop Screening of Film on Shia Religious Figure
A highly anticipated award-winning film about the revered 7th century Shia religious figure, Imam Hossein, has been pulled from cinemas across Iran on the first day of its screening following criticism by conservative religious leaders. The film's director, Ahmad Reza Darvish, maintains that he has had the support of senior religious leaders throughout the production process. - 7/24/15

Tehran keen on removing obstacles in way of foreign trade: Iran industry minister
Iran's Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh says Tehran works to remove obstacles in way of foreign trade seeking long term economic cooperation with Europe in various areas including infrastructure, tourism, industry and investment. - 7/24/15

Correcting the Critics of the Iran Nuclear Deal
From the standpoint of U.S. security, the agreement on Iran's nuclear program announced on July 14 is a very good one. Iran consented to a significant rollback of its nuclear capacity and to a level of monitoring far exceeding any other country. The main goal of the U.S. and its partners has been met: Iran's path to a nuclear weapon has been blocked. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/24/15

Post Box public sculpture latest to be stolen in Tehran
Another bronze sculpture on public display in the streets of Tehran has been stolen. The Shargh daily reports that on Monday July 20, the 120-kg bronze sculpture entitled Post Box was stolen. The sculpture, which depicts a child dropping a letter into a mailbox, was installed in front of the Postal Museum in Tehran on Imam Khomeini (Sepah) Street. - 7/24/15

Greece, Iran, and the Rules of the Game
Alexis Tsipras had a choice. As the leader of the fledgling Syriza government in Greece, he could have told the European Union to stuff its austerity plan. He could have taken the risk that the EU would offer a better deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Or, failing that, he could have navigated his country into the uncharted waters of economic independence. But he chose to "follow the rules" by accepting the EU plan. - John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/24/15

The Fine or the Crude Art of Window Dressing Hypocrisy at its Best
Those who actually believe (perhaps better than 95% of the public here) that the main purpose of the nuclear agreement reached between the world powers and Iran was to delay and hopefully to stop Iran's clandestine efforts to develop atomic weapons can now be cautiously optimistic that the mission has been accomplished. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 7/23/15

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and UN Resolution 2231: The winners and the losers
The dust has settled and the long-awaited agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) called "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) is now a reality. The JCPOA curtails Iran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Also real is the UN Resolution 2231, which terminates all the previous sanctions resolutions against Iran passed by the United Nations Security Council. We can now announce the winners and losers in the 36-year battle between Iran and its adversaries. -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 7/23/15

Iran, Europe finalize $2B of projects: $178B more to go
Iran and the EU have opened a conference on trade and investment in Vienna, with Iranian officials pledging to splash out more than $180 billion on oil and gas projects. - 7/23/15

UN Petition Seeks To Win Tehran Reporter's Release
The Washington Post filed an urgent petition July 22 with the United Nations for the release of the newspaper's jailed Tehran correspondent, Jason Rezaian, on the anniversary of his arrest in Iran. The reporter faces 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted in Iran on charges of espionage and anti-government propaganda -- charges which he and his family vehemently deny. - 7/23/15

Turkey Allegedly Had Role in Helping Iran Dodge Sanctions
More details are emerging about the role Turkey has allegedly been playing in assisting Iran to dodge international sanctions involving the trading of gold by an Iranian businessman that Turkey's president once dubbed a philanthropist. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 7/23/15

Iranian teachers arrested as forces bust protest at Parliament
Teachers' efforts to stage demonstrations on Wednesday July 22 were unsuccessful; however, it appears that their protests have reached the ears of MPs, who have reacted to their demands in Parliament. - 7/23/15

Can Washington Meet Iran's Deepest Challenge--to US Hegemony in the Middle East?
Comments abound on Obama's achievement in reaching an agreement with Iran on nuclear issues. For a predictable minority it's not an achievement at all but a terrible setback. Most criticism focuses on the challenge of possible Iranian cheating. That misses the big picture: is Washington itself able to deal with an ascendant Iran--much like the challenge of an ascendant China? -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/23/15

Iran's Economy after the Nuclear Deal
The critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed last week between the Western powers and Iran cite the potential benefits of the agreement for Iran as the main reason why it is bad for the US and its allies in the Middle East. They're wrong, however, that the extra economic resources flowing to Iran as a result of lifting sanctions will empower it to expand its influence, destabilize the region, and to undermine Western interests. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani - 7/23/15

Thousands Protest In Times Square Against Iran Nuclear Deal
housands of pro-Israel protesters packed into New York's Times Square July 22 to demand that Congress vote down the proposed U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. Protesters, including Republican politicians, Jewish and evangelical Christian groups, chanted "Kill the deal," which they denounced as a threat to Israel and global security. - 7/23/15

No country big enough to disrespect Iran: Aide to Leader
The countries that threaten Iran with military action and those who order them to do so are merely "bluffing," said Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a Wednesday press conference with visiting Secretary of State at the Swiss Foreign Ministry Yves Rossier in Tehran. The Iranian official further emphasized that no country is big enough to threaten and disrespect the Iranian nation as "number one power in the region." - 7/23/15

Will Obama's Legacy Start or Stop with the Nuclear Deal?
Much to the chagrin of those who oppose Obama's nuclear deal, there is no telling where the informal bonds created by hours of unrelenting talks will end up taking the US and Iran. The departure of Javad Zarif and John Kerry from Vienna will surely not mark their final farewell as counterparts. On at least a few occasions, both sides discussed matters outside the nuclear file. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog - 7/23/15

Iranian Vets Also Push for Nuclear Deal
In hundreds of interviews with veterans in Iran from all political stripes, I heard the constant refrain that "war is horrible." Even for those who hold hardline views against the west, none of them wanted their children to experience what they had. Given Secretary Kerry's remarks, in the end, it seems to be the men on both the American and Iranian sides who experienced bloody wars firsthand, that wanted to most avoid a new conflict. -Narges Bajoghli - 7/22/15

Anti-Iran Deal AIPAC Spin-off Relies on Iranian Ex-Terrorist Group
When the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) declared war on the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers signed last week in Vienna, it put its money where its mouth is. AIPAC, Washington's most influential pro-Israel lobby reportedly plans on spending $20 million over the next two months urging Congress to vote against the deal. -Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib - 7/22/15

IAAB's Camp Ayandeh Turns 10!
Since 2006, Camp Ayandeh, through a positive and inclusive environment, has developed leadership skills and built a strong network of Iranian American students. The Summer Leadership Institute sponsored by the Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) will celebrate the 10th annual Camp Ayandeh between July 18th to July 27th at Cabrini College outside of Philadelphia. - 7/22/15

VOA Interview: Kerry Says Iran Deal Will Make World Safer
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says implementing the international nuclear deal with Iran will make the world safer, improve the standard of living for Iranians and potentially open up other opportunities between the United States and Iran. -Setareh Derakhshesh, VOA - 7/22/15

Obama Calls on Iran to Free 4 Americans
U.S. President Barack Obama demanded Tuesday that Iran release three Americans it is holding and help find a fourth believed to be in the country. "We are not going to relent until we bring home our Americans who are unjustly detained in Iran," Obama told a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Pittsburgh. - 7/22/15

Will Iran's Revolutionary Guard Support Nuclear Deal?
The Iran nuclear deal may be done, but the fight to make it happen - or not happen - is just beginning. Supporters and detractors are lining up on both sides, with one of the most formidable players, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, condemning the United Nations Security Council's unanimous endorsement Monday of the deal. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 7/22/15

Anti-Iran Deal Groups Backed by $145 Million
A high-profile list of U.S. non-proliferation, nuclear policy, Iran, and national security experts welcomed last week's announcement of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear program . Opponents of the deal, meanwhile, will make a last-ditch effort to derail the agreement reached in Vienna. They will use the 60-day congressional review period to pressure members of Congress, many of whom owe their seats to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to vote to reject the deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/22/15

Nuclear Deal: How Iran Could Enhance Regional Stability
Much has been written about the Iran nuclear deal and the threats that a post-sanctions Iran could pose for the region. This fear is primarily driven by Saudi Arabia's pathological obsession that a resurgent Iran would eclipse Saudi Arabia and other members of the primarily Sunni sheikdoms of the Gulf Cooperation Council. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 7/22/15

Iran's oil delegation in Vienna to discuss petchem investment
An Iranian oil industry delegation has set off for Vienna to introduce investment opportunities in Iran's petrochemical industry to European investors following the removal of international sanctions against Iran. - 7/22/15

Former Israeli National-Security Officials Like Iran Deal
Lest anyone believe that Israel, particularly its national-security establishment, is united behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to the week-old Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, Americans for Peace Now has set up a very helpful website featuring some quite authoritative voices of dissent. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/22/15

Security Council adopts resolution endorsing Iran nuclear deal
The United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution establishing a monitoring system for Iran's nuclear programme and considering the "eventual removal" of all nuclear-related sanctions against the country. - 7/21/15

'Gold rush' begins for Iran business
European companies see a huge potential for business in Iran and some of them have already marked out their target markets, waiting for a nod to move in. European delegations are already trickling in, adding to an increasingly hectic schedule which Iranian officials are running for foreign trade arrivals. - 7/21/15

Kerry Says Iran Sanctions Relief Could Be Felt Within Six Months
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says international sanctions on Iran could start to be lifted as soon as six months from now. "There are certain things that Iran needs to do and the [International Atomic Energy Agency] needs to do, and those things have to be resolved -- all of them -- before the sanctions begin to be relieved," Kerry told Voice of America's Persian News Network in an exclusive interview - 7/21/15

Heavy rains flood roads in northern Iran
Heavy torrential rains have flooded Chaloos and Haraz roads in Tehran and Alborz Provinces so far killing 35 people. Fifty vehicles are also reportedly missing in the Asara region of the two mountainous roads. Meanwhile five villages have been trapped by floods and another six were killed in Sijan from the floods. - 7/21/15

French FM 'to visit Iran next week' after breakthrough in nuclear talks
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has announced a plan to visit Iran next week in the wake of a landmark breakthrough in the nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries. Fabius announced his plan on Tuesday, but refrained from releasing more precise details. - 7/21/15

Iran's Zarif Defends Nuclear Deal In Parliament
Addressing Iran's lawmakers, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has defended what he said was a "balanced" nuclear deal with world powers. "We don't say the deal is totally in favor of Iran," Zarif, who led Iran's negotiating team, told the conservative-dominated parliament on July 21. "Any negotiation is a give and take." - 7/21/15

Iran in talks with 4 carmakers
The CEO of Iran Khodro Industrial Group (IKCO), Iran's leading car manufacturer, says IKCO is in final talks with four major foreign companies to set up joint ventures. Hashem Yekeh Zareh said IKCO has finalized a new contract with its French partner, Peugeot, which will be inked soon. - 7/21/15

Iran's Next Need: Internal Healing
Now that we Iranians have begun breaking out of our three-decade antagonism with the West, it is time to initiate a long overdue reconciliation at home. For 35 years now, Iranian people have been categorized as insiders and outsiders by the state. To understand the structure of this division, the key lies in the narrative of the Iran-Iraq war. -Haleh Anvari, NY Times - 7/21/15

The Nuclear Agreement; Fantasies vs Facts
But how the Iranians view this agreement and how it is being viewed in the United States tell two very different stories. And this difference should be of great interest and concern to the Iranians, much more so than to the American public, as events begin to unfold. -Kam Zarrabi - 7/20/15

Historical background of the Caspian Sea as a legal point in favor of Iran
A review of the last rounds of negotiations between Iran and the other Caspian littoral states, including the deliberations made and decisions adopted in the several summit meetings of the Caspian states, reveal that Iran has failed to persuade the other Caspian states to consider a fair and equitable share for Iran (at least 20 percent) of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 7/20/15

Russia's Stake in Iran Nuclear Deal
President Barack Obama said Russia was a "help" in securing the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program. In addition to that praise, printed in the New York Times, Obama talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone Wednesday, thanking Putin for Russia's role in the negotiations. Simon Saradzhyan, a researcher at Harvard University's Belfer Center, said Obama was underestimating the role Russia played in securing the agreement. -Jonas Bernstein, VOA - 7/20/15

Iranian FM Zarif hits back at US official for 'military option' remark
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says those who have used the language of force against the Islamic Republic after the successful conclusion of negotiations between the country and the P5+1 are incapable of properly engaging in diplomacy. - 7/20/15

US oil service giants yearn for return to Iran
Halliburton and Schlumberger, both among the world's largest oilfield services companies, are waiting in hopeful anticipation that Iran will ramp up oil exports, US media have said. - 7/20/15

Bipartisan Group of 60 Senior National Security Leaders Endorse Iran Deal
Coming on the heels of its release of a letter signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, the New York-based Iran Project has just released a statement this morning urging support for the accord signed by a bipartisan group of 60 former officials and lawmakers with extensive national-security experience. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/20/15

Pro-Israel Think Tank Head Denies Possibility of War
Those opposing the Iran deal often lead off their objections with a caveat: they don't think the alternative to the nuclear accord signed this week in Vienna is war. I happen to think it probably is. I put it this way: the alternative(s) to this deal puts us back on the path to confrontation. But, that said, I understand why opponents of the deal want to make like they're not warmongering. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 7/20/15

Kerry TV Tour Touts Iran Nuke Deal
In a series of high-profile television appearances Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the American public for the first time since signing off on an Iran nuclear deal last week. Kerry said the agreement, which culminated from months of talks between the top diplomats of seven countries, likely won't restart diplomatic relations with Tehran. - 7/19/15

Should the US Work With Iran to Fight IS?
World leaders reached a deal with Iran on July 14 to ease economic sanctions if Iran curbs its nuclear capabilities, and this has reopened the debate over whether the U.S. should work more closely with Iranian-backed militias, several dozen of which are now fighting against IS in Iraq. -Cecily Hilleary, VOA - 7/19/15

Tehran Professor: Iran's Anti-Americanism Has Run Its Course
An outspoken Tehran University academician said anti-American ideology under the slogan "Death to America" is at a dead end in Iran. Political science professor Sadeq Zibakalam said in an exclusive interview with VOA that because of changes that have occurred in Iran in recent years, "we are observing the sunset of 'Death to America.' -Isabela Cocoli, VOA - 7/19/15

Sorry, Folks, Nuclear Weapons Are Passe
Two lines of attack on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, finalized on Bastille Day this week, are that constraints on Iran expanding its uranium enrichment capacity will lapse after 10 years and that, in the meantime, Iranian cheating will be inevitable and hard to detect. -Peter Jenkins - 7/19/15

Merkel's deputy in Tehran to talk business
Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is in Tehran for high-level economic and trade talks with Iranian officials. Sigmar flew to Tehran on Sunday at the head of a delegation of "representatives from companies, industry groups and the sciences," his ministry said in a statement. - 7/19/15

Pursue Human Rights in Iran with the Same Vigor as the Nuclear Accord
The nuclear accord reached this week between Iran and the P5+1 countries represents a resounding victory for diplomacy and peace. It was achieved only through unrelenting determination borne from a realization that the benefits of an accord far outweighed those of any alternative. -Hadi Ghaemi, LobeLog - 7/19/15

Iran's Sunni Neighbors Seem Unconcerned About Nuclear Program
For all the talk about Iranian imperialism and the Sunni-Shia divide throughout the Middle East, the predominantly Sunni Muslim publics of at least some of Iran's neighbors don't seem too concerned about Tehran's nuclear program. -Jim Lobe, Lobelog - 7/19/15

Iran Deal: Avoiding the Fate of Sisyphus
The 5+1 negotiating team and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, much like Sisyphus in Greek mythology, have pushed the burden of mutual understanding on Iran's nuclear program to the hilltop. Now they see if they can avoid Sisyphus' fate and keep the agreement from slipping back into failure. Those of us who can only watch the process should realize that the various restraints on Iran are not the core of the issues that will now occupy the administration and Congress. -Charles Naas - 7/18/15

The Nuclear Deal With Iran And The Prospect Of Regional Transformation
We have been witnessing the ever intensifying catastrophic news of repetitive costly policies, military failures and human loss and despairs from southwest Asia aka the Middle East for the past few decades. However, the long much anticipated historic nuclear accord between the 5+1 countries spearheaded by Iran and the U.S., the fortuitous fruit of the longest diplomatic brinkmanship ever, is now poised to set a new milestone for non-confrontation and dialogue over war the progressive ramifications of which will be internationally reverberated for decades to come. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 7/18/15

Obama: Iran Nuclear Deal Goes Further Than Any Before
U.S. President Barack Obama says this past week's deal to get Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons does "more than anyone has done before" to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. He said without the deal, the world risks having another war in the most volatile region in the world. - 7/18/15

Iran's post-sanctions import demand to hit $200bn
Analysts say Iran's annual import demands could hit $200 billion by 2020 as the result of the removal of the US-engineered sanctions against the country. They say the UAE, Lebanon and Turkey remain best positioned to benefit from the upswing in Iran trade volumes that they say will occur over the next few years. - 7/18/15

Uncut version of controversial Iranian film "Resurrection" to open Baghdad festival
An uncensored version of the Iranian film Resurrection, which has generated serious controversy in Iran, will open the International Baghdad Film Festival. The film currently has two versions: one is complete and the other had 40 minutes of footage cut out, eliminating images of religious figures of Ashura. - 7/18/15

National Trust spokesman arrested upon return to Iran
The Youth Branch of the National Trust Party reports on its website that Gerami Moghaddam was arrested on Friday July 17 upon arrival in Iran. He had left Iran after the election protests of 2009, which led to the widespread arrest and exodus of numerous supporters of the Green Movement, which had supported the candidates who challenged the legitimacy of the presidential election. - 7/18/15

Pakistan Hopes to Benefit from Iran Deal, With Chinese Help
Pakistan has been planning to build a pipeline to import natural gas from Iran for years, but work on the proposed Iran-Pakistan pipeline stalled due to international economic sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear development program. -Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA - 7/18/15

AIPAC and Its "Better" Iran Deal
Well, it's finally upon us. The nation's most influential Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is declaring war on the Iran nuclear deal, a signature achievement of President Barack Obama's foreign policy. AIPAC has at long last come out directly against the deal, urging Congress to vote against it in order to scuttle the accord. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 7/18/15

Here's How Iranian Hardliners Have Reacted to the Nuclear Deal
On Tuesday night, mere hours after the agreement was announced, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hosted President Hassan Rouhani and members of his cabinet for a traditional Ramadan breaking-of-the-fast meal at his private residence. Khamenei reportedly said only a few veiled words about the deal during this meeting. -LobeLog's Tehran correspondent - 7/18/15

Former Iran Ambassador: Nuclear Deal is Model for Closing Path to Militarization and Weaponization
"The deal has closed all possible pathways toward possible militarization, weaponization of Iranian nuclear program," says Iranian Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator. "If the opponents in the region used the Iranian model for all countries in the Middle East, this would be the only way to assure a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East," -Democracy Now - 7/18/15

GCC Stays Onboard with Iran Deal
Sherlock Holmes once found a clue in a dog that did not bark. That is a useful way to look at the muted but generally supportive response of Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States of the Gulf to the multinational agreement designed to restrain Iran's nuclear program. They may not be happy with it, but there have been no howls of outrage or cries of betrayal. -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog - 7/18/15

The Nuclear Deal and Expunging Iran's Historical Ghosts
Amid the cacophony regarding what's next or what the nuclear agreement will or will not do, however, it is also important to reflect on the negotiations themselves and what they have already accomplished for Iran, a country besieged by the ghosts of many problem-ridden negotiations with the outside world in the past. -Farideh Farhi - 7/17/15

Experts: Nuclear Deal May Spark US-Iran Cooperation Against IS
President Barack Obama told reporters Wednesday he did not foresee formalizing any ties with Iran in the fight both countries are waging in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State. He did appear, however, not to rule out coordination with Iranian military advisers and Tehran-linked Shi'ite militias - if they are working under the command and control of the Iraqi military. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 7/17/15

The Iran Deal Through Israeli Eyes
Hawkish Israeli politicians and analysts have done their best to thwart any agreement between Iran and the P5+1. Their mantra has been consistent: No deal is better than a bad deal, and there is no such thing as a good deal with Iran (certainly not one to which Iran would ever acquiesce). -Marsha B. Cohen - 7/17/15

"Now comes the time to focus on human rights in Iran," UN expert welcomes opportunity created by nuclear deal
United Nations Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed today called on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international community to seize the opportunity created by the agreement on Iran's nuclear programme to address the human rights situation in the country. - 7/17/15

Vienna to host Iran-EU investment conference
Iran and the European Union will hold an international conference in Vienna on July 23-24 to discuss post-sanction opportunities for cooperation. The "Iran-EU conference on trade and investment" will bring together officials from Iran, Austria, France, the UK, Germany and other countries as well as their traders and entrepreneurs. - 7/17/15

Report: US firms in talks for Iran trade
US corporations such as Boeing and General Electric and tech giant Apple are studying potential entry into the Iranian market or expansion of their existing operations, American media report. - 7/17/15

100-Plus Former U.S. Ambassadors Applaud Iran Deal
As the controversy over the Iran deal heats up--and it's going to get a lot hotter, especially come September--more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors have signed on to a letter drafted by The Iran Project applauding what they characterized as a "landmark agreement" and urging its support by Congress. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/17/15

The Iran Nuclear Deal and the Question of "Trust"
Politico reports that the White House effort to lobby Senate Democrats on the Iran deal has already started, and the theme that seems to be common among skeptical Dems is that we can't trust Iran. Here are a few telling examples. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 7/17/15

Iran Deal Takes Quds Chief Off Blacklist
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman says the commander of Iran's elite overseas Quds force is among a number of individuals and companies who will be delisted by the United Nations as part of a nuclear agreement with Iran. - 7/17/15

Iran Deal: Obama Channels Nixon?
One of the greatest moments of U.S. diplomacy in the 20th century was Nixon's opening to China. It was a surprise, a breathtaking opportunity, and a true game-changer. It was also one of the strangest political matches of all time. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/17/15

Sadegh Zibakalam: Anti-Americanism at a 'dead end' in Iran
The country's preeminent public intellectual says anti-Americanism has run its course in the Islamic republic. Hardliners will try to roll back any openings, but in the long run, the country will find itself in a better place politically, economically and socially, he tells Maysam Behravesh -Guardian - 7/17/15

What the Nuclear Deal Says about Iran's Politics and Society
In the aftermath of the recent nuclear accord on Iran's nuclear program, it is important to understand correctly the Islamic Republic's motives for signing the deal with the United States (and the other P5+1 countries) and the factors that enabled the Iranian negotiators to reach an agreement. Without such an understanding, the United States will continue to make policy toward Iran on the basis of previous assumptions about the country. -Shireen T. Hunter - 7/16/15

Obama Defends Nuclear Deal With Iran, Challenges Critics
U.S. President Barack Obama has defended a landmark nuclear agreement reached with Iran, saying the deal is in the United States' national interests. "Without a deal, the international sanctions regime will unravel, with little ability to reimpose it. With this deal we have the possibility to peacefully resolve a major threat to regional and international security," Obama said at a White House news conference. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/16/15

Iran Deal Not a Green Light for Business
With the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers complete, American business interests are looking for opportunities. But before all the sanctions are lifted, U.S. and global businesses will have to clear plenty of hurdles before they begin investing in and selling to Iran. -Bernard Shusman, VOA - 7/16/15

For Iran, Some Sanctions Would Go But Many Would Remain
Many of the punishing UN, U.S., and EU financial and energy sanctions imposed on Iran in recent years to pressure Tehran to curb its nuclear activities are to be suspended or lifted in the wake of the deal struck in Vienna on July 14. But many other sanctions, particularly those imposed unilaterally by the United States years before the nuclear crisis, appear likely to remain in place for the indefinite future. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 7/16/15

Germany sending large trade team to Iran
Germany sees a big rise in trade with Iran, preparing the first high-profile foreign delegation for visit to Tehran this week since the conclusion of nuclear talks on Tuesday. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel will arrive at the head of a large political and trade delegation on Sunday for a two-day visit which will also take him to the central Iranian city of Isfahan. - 7/16/15

Iran's Nuclear Deal: A great achievement, but hard work ahead
The announcement of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is a rare moment in history that gives us hope and provides a basis for optimism. By contemplating what the alternative would have entailed, any agreement, no matter how defective, is a great achievement and has to be welcomed. -Farhang Jahanpour - 7/16/15

US removes shipping sanctions on Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and the country's leading ports operator, the Tidewater Middle East Maritime Company, have been removed from the US list of companies designated for sanctions and assets freeze. - 7/16/15

Broader Geopolitical Implications of Iranian Nuclear Accord
Now that an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has been reached, attention is turning to how it will affect Israel and the Gulf Arabs. The accord, though, also has implications for the broader geopolitical competition between Russia and China on the one hand and America and their neighbors on the other. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 7/16/15

As an Iranian-American, both sides of my split identity rejoice at a nuclear deal
By birthright, I would have had every reason to forsake the Islamic Republic and hope that talks to resolve the crisis over its nuclear program would fail. My family left Iran in 1979 - just after the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah - when my mother, pregnant with my sister, fled the country while several members of her huge but tight-knit family were in revolutionary prisons. I owe the Iranian government nothing, and could have easily said, Screw them. -Ali Gharib, Guardian - 7/16/15

Javad Zarif on Iran's Post-Deal Future
e long slog of diplomacy with Iran-a pariah nation since its 1979 revolution-was always about more than the bomb. It was about the return of the world's eighteenth-largest country--and its vast military, population, and consumer base--at a time when the Middle East is crumbling. -Robin Wright, New Yorker - 7/16/15

Iran Deal: Key Excerpts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
In the interests of providing information that can promote hopefully rational debate on a key issue, we are presenting below "key excerpts" of the JCPOA announced today in Vienna as released by the State Department. -Jim Lobe - 7/15/15

What The Nuclear Deal Means For Iranians
After feeling the pinch of economic sanctions for years, ordinary Iranians appear eager to soon see the benefits of this week's landmark nuclear deal. Many believe that more international cooperation will bring improved economic conditions, new business opportunities, and better ties with Western countries. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/15/15

UN Could Vote to Lift Iran Sanctions Next Week
The Iran nuclear agreement process is expected to move next week to New York, where the U.N. Security Council will adopt a resolution lifting all international sanctions related to the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. But a U.N. arms embargo will remain in place for five years and one on ballistic missiles will continue for eight years. - 7/15/15

Iran Deal Heads Toward Showdown With Adelson's GOP
The Iran nuclear deal announced in Vienna yesterday means that the tough international negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran are finally over. But now attention shifts to the 60-day period during which Congress has the option of voting to approve or disapprove the agreement or doing nothing at all. -Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe - 7/15/15

The Iran Nuclear Agreement: The Choice
Completion of the agreement to restrict the Iranian nuclear program puts into sharp relief the choice for anyone who weighs in on the topic and especially for the U.S. Congress, which will have an opportunity to accept or reject the deal. Gone is any meaningful kibitzing on how well the negotiators are doing their jobs. -Paul Pillar, LobeLog - 7/15/15

Russia Hails Iran Deal, Observers More Skeptical
Russia's top officials on Tuesday hailed the agreement that world powers reached with Iran to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. However, some Russian observers warned that it may be a case of "be careful what you wish for." - 7/15/15

Obama Faces Fight In U.S. Congress Over Iran Deal
With a landmark deal to curb Iran's nuclear program reached between Tehran and world powers, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration now faces potential hurdles in the U.S. Congress, where lawmakers offered reactions to the deal ranging from wariness to outrage. - 7/15/15

Russia And Iran Are Trading Places
After decades as an isolated rogue state, Iran appears to be finally coming in from the cold. And after decades of pretending to be a partner to the West, Russia has gone rogue. Tehran and Moscow are essentially swapping places. -Brian Whitmore, RFE - 7/15/15

A Long Road Reaches Iran Deal, But No Guarantees Going Forward
A final deal was reached on Iran's controversial nuclear program in the early morning hours of July 14 in Vienna, over a decade after talks between Iran and world powers began. "This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change - change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure," said U.S. President Barack Obama. - Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog - 7/15/15

Iranians Express Jubilation At Historic Nuclear Deal
In Iran, euphoric reactions are pouring in after a historic nuclear agreement was reached between Tehran and world powers. And many Iranians clearly regard it as a big stride forward for their country, whose poisonous confrontation with the West could deescalate as a result. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 7/15/15

Republicans hate the Iran nuclear deal because it means we won't bomb Iran
The Administration's agreement with Iran would curtail the latter's nuclear program. The only people who can hate that are the kind who just love war -Trevor Timm, Guardian - 7/15/15

Historic Iran Nuclear Agreement Reached
World powers have reached a deal with Iran that will limit the country's nuclear program in exchange for eased economic sanctions, ending more than a decade of tempestuous negotiations. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif announced the deail in Vienna following weeks of round-the-clock talks to iron out the details of the deal, which will cut back Tehran's nuclear program and require oversight by the U.N. nuclear agency. - 7/14/15

Nuclear Accord with Iran is a Victory for Diplomacy and Peace
he agreement between Iran and the P5+1 world powers on the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities, reached on July 14, 2015 after many months of arduous negotiation, is a major achievement, to be welcomed by all who are committed to the maintenance of international peace. - 7/14/15

Separate Paths: US Pursuit of Iran Nuclear Deal and Detainee Release
As U.S. and Iranian diplomats sat across a negotiating table in Vienna in hopes of brokering a historic nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran, President Obama stood alongside his Brazilian counterpart at the White House with a message to the families of four Americans detained in Iran. -Aru Pande, VOA - 7/14/15

Great Salt Lake's Iranian 'twin' is drying up
It's an inland sea of nearly 2,000 square miles with extremely salty water supporting a delicate web of life and providing natural resources for important industries. That may appear to be a description of Utah's Great Salt Lake. In fact, though, it describes a lake in Iran that is astonishingly similar to Utah's famous inland sea. The two salt lakes, on opposite sides of the world, are so nearly identical that scientists from both countries are working together to help them survive. -John Hollenhorst, KSL - 7/14/15

Plastic-Bag Free Day in Iran: Campaign promotes stopping use of plastic bags
On July 12, which is Plastic-Bag Free Day in Iran, several organizations once again geared up to raise public awareness about the environmental problems posed by plastic bags. For a week, Tehran and several other provinces will implement a program of using biodegradable bags in stores and markets bearing the logo "less plastic, cleaner earth, better health". - 7/14/15

NIAC Applauds Historic Iran Deal
National Iranian American Council ("NIAC") President Trita Parsi issued the following statement regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ("JCPOA") agreed to by the United States, its P5+1 partners, and Iran today: - 7/14/15

Iranian Intelligence Ministry Seeking "Maximum Punishment" for Prominent Human Rights Activist
The Intelligence Ministry has made a written request to impose the maximum punishment on human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, her husband Taghi Rahmani told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/14/15

Iran's equities soar amid optimism for nuclear deal
Iran's main share index has soared amid rising hopes that Tehran and the five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany, may soon finalize a comprehensive nuclear deal. The Tehran Stock Exchange Index (TEDPIX) increased by 582 units or 2.3 percent to close at 69.194 points on Monday, the third working day this week. - 7/14/15

Iran post company links up with DHL, TNT
The Islamic Republic of Iran Post Company has signed an MoU for cooperation with Germany's logistics firm DHL and Dutch package delivery firm TNT Express, its chief executive has said. - 7/14/15

Negotiators Work to Close Iran Nuclear Talks
Negotiators from Iran and a group of six countries, including the United States, worked Monday to close 18 months of talks and finalize their long-sought comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi expressed hope but said some issues remained and that he could not promise whether a resolution would be reached by the end of the day. - 7/13/15

Iran Nuclear Talks Approach 4th Deadline
Back-to-back meetings between nuclear negotiators in Vienna have pushed Iran talks to the final day, after three deadline extensions in as many weeks. With no announcements made, U.S. and European diplomats worked through dinner late Sunday in an effort to resolve what a senior U.S. State Department official warned earlier in the day were "major issues" to be resolved in the talks. -Victoria Macchi, VOA - 7/13/15

Iran Talks Continue As Deadline Looms
Diplomats from Iran and six world powers were continuing their talks in Vienna on July 13 in a bid to reach a final nuclear deal that brings sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program. The diplomats have said they are close to reaching a deal by a July 13 self-imposed deadline, but they warned there was no guarantee. - 7/13/15

Call for Submissions: 2016 Nowruz Banner Contest
Farhang Foundation is calling on aspiring and veteran graphic artists to submit original designs that conceptualize Nowruz (the Iranian New Year) or some other aspect of Iranian culture. Eligible designs will be considered as the central artwork featured on street banners and other marketing material that will proudly promote Farhang's 8th Annual Nowruz Celebration at LACMA throughout prominent boulevards of Los Angeles in March 2016. - 7/13/15

Iran Resumes Trial Of Washington Post Journalist
Iranian state media said the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian resumed behind closed doors in Tehran on July 13. Rezaian, a dual American-Iranian citizen, is accused of spying for the United States and distributing propaganda against the Islamic republic. Rezaian, who has been in custody for almost a year, denies the charges. - 7/13/15

Drought takes a toll on Iran's hydropower
Iran's hydroelectricity generation is flickering out amid a protracted drought which has drained dams across the country to their lowest ebb ever. Hydropower normally makes up 14% of Iran's overall electricity mix, but this share has declined to less than five percent - 7/13/15

Iran: Fars MPs resign en masse to protest proposed governor
All 18 Iranian MPs who represent Fars Province quit their posts and walked out of an official session of Parliament to protest the appointment of a new Fars governor. The Fars MPs who resigned today are all from the conservative Principalist faction that opposes reformists. - 7/13/15

How Freelance Diplomacy Bankrolled by Rockefellers Has Paved the Way for an Iran Deal
Advocating for an Iran truce is a loose coalition of peace groups, think tanks, and former high-ranking U.S. diplomats bound together by millions of dollars. -Peter Waldman, Bloomberg - 7/13/15

Iran Nuclear Talks in Vienna Continue; No Agreement Yet
Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks plan another day of meetings Sunday, after a hectic day of closed-door meetings that lasted well into the evening Saturday at the Palais Coburg in Vienna. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, hopeful that an agreement with Iran and major powers is close, said Sunday the talks are "getting to some real decisions," but there are still "a few tough things to do." -Victoria Macchi, VOA - 7/12/15

Iran, World Powers Inch Closer To Nuclear Deal
Iran and six world powers inched closer to a final agreement ahead of a July 13 deadline for a deal that would rein in Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, but hurdles remained. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned that some difficult issues persisted in talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany. - 7/12/15

The Future of Saudi-Iranian Relations Will Be Written in Oil
Saudi Arabia's cantankerous objections to nuclear talks with Iran have run counter to U.S. goals and have left some puzzled over the cause of its combative behavior. A deal with Iran, of course, means much more than a stride toward global non-proliferation. It will open new realms of possibility within both Iranian and American polities -Henry Johnson - 7/12/15

Aircraft makers salivate over post-sanctions Iran
Western plane manufacturers are anticipating contracts with Iran worth billions of dollars as soon as sanctions against the country are lifted as a result of the nuclear negotiations. - 7/12/15

Women now comprise one-third of homeless Iranians
The Iranian president's advisor for Women and Family Affairs says one third of Iran's homeless are women. ILNA reports that according to Shahindokht Molaverdi, 5,000 of the 15,000 homeless in the country are women, adding that these statistics are documented and should not be interpreted as "blackwashing" the system. - 7/12/15

Iran's oil income hits $53.6b in 2014: OPEC
Iran's oil income amounted to $53.6 billion in 2014, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported, ranking Iran 9th among 12 member states. The country's oil income dropped by $8.3 billion in 2014 compared with the year before. - 7/12/15

Iran, US resume nuclear talks in extended time
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry have resumed talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, in a bid to iron out the remaining disagreements over a final deal on Tehran's nuclear program. The top Iranian and US diplomats met as talks entered their 15th straight day in Vienna on Saturday. - 7/11/15

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended Again
An interim nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers will be extended through Monday, to provide negotiators in Vienna more time for talks on a comprehensive deal, a senior U.S. State Department official said Friday. "To allow for the additional time to negotiate, we are taking the necessary technical steps for the measures of the Joint Plan of Action to remain in place through July 13," the official said. -Mary Alice Salina, VOA - 7/11/15

Parliamentary Bills Further Threaten Autonomy of Legal Profession in Iran
In an escalating war of words that reflects the long-running conflict between the Judiciary and lawyers over the legal profession's independence in Iran, the Iranian Bar Association Union's president, Bahman Keshavarz, reiterated in an interview with the official ISNA news service on June 21 that the Union does not operate under the auspices of the Judiciary and that it is a private institution. - 7/11/15

Analyst: Ending Iran Sanctions Could Push Down Oil Prices
Iran's economy has been hammered by a series of sanctions that have pushed it into recession, slashed the value of its currency, sparked soaring inflation, and hurt its oil sector. If and when Iran works out a deal with the United States and other nations to limit its nuclear program, some of those sanctions will end. - Jim Randle, VOA - 7/11/15

US filmfest awards Iran's 'Story of a Rainy Night'
Iran's 'Story of a Rainy Night' has won two awards at the 2015 edition of the Fear No Film Festival in the US. Directed by Mehdi Fard-Qaderi, the short film received the event's Grand Jury Best of Show and the Audience Award Applauding awards. - 7/11/15

After BRICS, Putin Hosts Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit In Ufa
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted regional leaders at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on July 10, a second day of meetings meant to show the West that Moscow has friends and influence elsewhere at a time when ties with the United States and EU are tense. - 7/11/15

Saudi company accused of dumping in Iran
Iranian producers of cooking oil are accusing a Saudi holding with a controlling stake in a company in Iran with dumping, the Fars news agency reported on Friday. Saudi Arabia's largest food producer Savola is already under scrutiny for owning 80% of shares in Iran's Behshahr Industrial Company which accounts for 40% of the country's edible oil market. - 7/11/15

Kerry on Iran Talks: 'We Will Not Wait Forever'
On the eve of the latest in a string of deadlines for the conclusion of talks on Iran's nuclear program, a resolution seemed to be just out of reach of negotiators. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday if difficult decisions are not made in Iran nuclear discussions, negotiators are ready to "end this process." -Mary Alice Salinas , VOA - 7/10/15

Iranian FM Says Nuclear Talks To Continue Over Weekend
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on July 10 nuclear negotiations between Iran and major powers were likely to continue during the weekend. Zarif accused the United States and its allies of having "excessive demands" and said they had frequently changed their positions. - 7/10/15

Rouhani, Putin discuss military, nuclear power ties: Russian Official
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have exchanged views on ways to broaden bilateral cooperation in the fields of military technology and nuclear power, a Russian official says. - 7/10/15

Iran Continues to Look to the East
One of the biggest raps against President Hassan Rouhani's foreign policy in Iran is that he and his administration are too eager to expand relations with the West. Yet, in the two years after his election, Rouhani has met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, no less than four times and held numerous telephone conversations, not to mention authorized dozens of bilateral diplomatic missions. -Alireza Shams Lahijani - 7/10/15

Iran's Rouhani lauds visit to Russia as highly significant
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says he discussed further promotion of cooperation with leaders attending a joint summit of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) during his significant visit to Russia. - 7/10/15

Will Apocryphal Blow-Ups Come To Define Iran Nuclear Talks?
Regardless of the accuracy of the reports, which could not be independently verified, Iranians have launched a new hashtag in support of Zarif's message: #NeverThreatenAnIranian. Some used the hashtag to portray Iran's foreign minister as a hero (or even superhero) standing up to pressure and fighting for Iran's interests while rejecting "excessive" Western demands. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/10/15

The Arts in Iran Are Defying Conservatism
The arts and cultural activity in Iran today have greatly expanded from the time of the Revolution of 1978-79. Many aspects of the arts challenge conservative religious authorities, but they are flourishing nonetheless to the great appreciation of the Iranian public. -William O. Beeman, Huffington Post - 7/10/15

Longest Iran bridge to reach Qeshm Island
Iran is building its longest cross-sea bridge, linking the Qeshm island in the Persian Gulf to its coast in Bandar Abbas to join a transit corridor which stretches all the way up to the Caspian Sea and the Central Asia. - 7/10/15

The Heavy Historical Baggage of U.S. Policy Toward the Middle East
There is much to be said for what is commonly called a "zero-based review"--a fresh look at a problem or project unencumbered by existing assumptions and practices. Just about any organization or mission could benefit periodically from such an assessment, to make possible the removal of accumulated historical impedimenta. This is true of U.S. foreign policy, which exhibits far more continuity than is often assumed. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/10/15

High-level Push Continues for Iran Nuclear Deal
The high-level diplomatic efforts to finally seal a comprehensive international agreement on Iran's nuclear program continued on several fronts Thursday, with one day left before the newest, and perhaps final, self-imposed deadline. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the two sides are "on the verge" of an agreement. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA - 7/9/15

Saudi Arabia Casts Wary Eye on Iran Deal
As Iran and world powers move toward a possible nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia faces drastic geopolitical shifts. Analysts say lifting sanctions on Iran could greatly increase competition for oil sales, as well as create other far-reaching consequences for the kingdom. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 7/9/15

Obama Said To Put Odds Of Iran Nuclear Deal At Only 50 Percent
U.S. President Barack Obama put the odds for an Iran nuclear deal at only 50-50 in a closed-door White House meeting with Senate Democrats, congressional participants said July 8. Senator Chris Coons said Obama was uncertain whether the Iranians would go along with some of the tougher conditions being set by the United States and its European allies, making a deal "at best a 50-50 proposition." - 7/9/15

Jailed Iranian activist takes stand for mothers imprisoned in Evin
Jailed human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi has written a letter from Evin Prison addressed to the Tehran prosecutor to protest the visiting conditions at the prison. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that Mohammadi has called on Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi to allow the prisoners in the women's ward to contact their families by phone. - 7/9/15

Iranian journalist Sajedeh Arabsorkhi released after serving sentence
Iranian journalist Sajedeh Arabsorkhi has been released from Evin Prison after serving her one-year sentence. The Human Rights Activists News Agency reports that Arabsorkhi was released on Wednesday July 8 at the end of her sentence. - 7/9/15

Iranian Baha'i Art Teacher Arrested in Front of His Students, No Charges Announced
The Baha'i artist Shahriar Siroos was arrested by Iran's Intelligence Ministry agents on June 30 in Tehran and is being held at Evin Prison but the charges against him are not yet clear, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/9/15

Genetically Modified Crops Growing In Iran Amid Lax Laws
Iran imports $5 billion of genetically modified (GM) crops a year despite government restrictions on the production of biotech products, local media said on Monday. In the absence of clear regulations, the Ministry of Agriculture has approved repeated imports of GM crops such as rice, soybeans, rapeseed and edible oil "with prior knowledge", a review by the ministry's Behzad Qareyazi says. - 7/9/15

Kish gas field in Persian Gulf to produce 9 billion cubic meters natural gas per year
Kish gas field near the southern Iranian island of Kish will produce 9 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year when its development plan is finished. According to the Iranian media, Iran Economy Council has made a decision in its latest session, which was attended by First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, to allocate USD 1.4 billion to the development of the field. - 7/9/15

Iran's Unserious Critics
The Republican chorus gets ever louder: Walk away from an Iran nuclear deal. But of course there is a deal in place, an interim one, much derided by that same chorus when it was concluded in November 2013. At the time, Bob Corker of the Senate Foreign Relations committee lambasted the accord as requiring "no sacrifice on their part whatsoever." -Roger Cohen, NY Times - 7/9/15

Nurturing Extremism in Gaza
The histories of many lands have repeatedly demonstrated two patterns in the relationship of extremism to political and economic conditions. One is that the combination of miserable economic circumstances and a lack of peaceful political channels for pursuing grievances tends to gravitate people toward extremist groups and ideologies. The second is that the resulting extremism is on a sliding scale. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/9/15

Senior US Official: Iran Nuclear Deal Hinges on Tough Choices
A senior U.S. official said Tuesday a nuclear deal with Iran is still possible, if parties involved in the negotiations return to the table ready to make tough political choices. "We are probably closer than we've ever been because there is more of an alignment of that moment in history," the official, who did not wish to be named, told reporters in Vienna, adding "We don't know if we can get there." -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA - 7/8/15

Nuclear Deal Would Boost Rohani But Turn Up Pressure From Hard-Liners
For Iranian President Hassan Rohani, a nuclear deal with global powers would be a double-edged sword. An agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief would bolster Rohani's reputation among Iranians who want better ties with the world and allow him to claim credit for the removal of painful economic punishments, potentially increasing his leverage with hard-line conservatives in the ruling establishment. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/8/15

Iran ex-president says lifting sanctions would be a 'giant step' after US hostility
Rafsanjani, a close confidante of Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, and a heavyweight leader himself for 40 years, hailed Iran's decision to negotiate directly with Washington. "We have broken a taboo," he told the Guardian in a rare and exclusive interview in his Tehran office. -Ian Black, Guardian - 7/8/15

Iran ranks 21st in terms of scientific productions in biotechnology
The latest report released by the Scopus, the world's largest abstract and citation database, shows that the Islamic Republic has achieved this international ranking in 2014 by offering 3,957 products in the field of biotechnology. - 7/8/15

2015 Iranian Festival in Portland, Oregon
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 11:00 AM -4:00 PM -- Andisheh's mission is to build a bridge among communities in Oregon and SW Washington by celebrating the Iranian-American heritage through arts and culture. - 7/8/15

Iran Says Offering 'Constructive Solutions' In Nuclear Talks
Western sources at the talks have been quoted as saying that while Tehran's main focus previously was on economic embargoes imposed by the European Union and United States that have crippled Iran's economy, it has shifted its emphasis to ensuring that UN measures limiting its ballistic-missile program and arms trade are scrapped as soon as the deal goes into effect. - 7/8/15

Top port operator DP World weighs Iran investment
DP World, one of the largest port operators in the world, is weighing investments of up to $1 billion in Iran, the IRNA news agency quoted officials as saying. A delegation from the Dubai-based company, including its chairman and executives and their British partners, is visiting Iran on a three-day trip to study investment opportunities, it said. - 7/8/15

Nuclear Noise: Iran Hard-Liners' Music Video Takes Shot At Vienna Talks
Iranian hard-liners have launched a viral-video offensive likening Tehran's counterparts in tense nuclear negotiations to wolves and stoking memories of bitter chapters in U.S.-Iranian history. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/8/15

Misreading Public Opinion on Nuclear Negotiations With Iran
As the P5+1 and Iran negotiate over the future of Iran's nuclear program, some have begun to argue that the Iranian people are so supportive of reaching a deal that the Iranian government would face severe public opposition if it does not come to an agreement with world powers. -Ebrahim Mohseni, LobeLog - 7/8/15

Iran Nuclear Talks to Continue Through Friday
An interim nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers will be extended through Friday to provide more time for talks on a final agreement, the United States said Tuesday. "We've made substantial progress in every area, but this work is highly technical and high stakes for all of the countries involved," Marie Harf, the spokeswoman for the U.S. delegation, said in a statement. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA - 7/7/15

With Iranian "Windfall," Perfect is the Enemy of the Good
What will Iran do with the money it gets as a result of an expected nuclear deal? That's a big question swirling around Washington these days. There's going to be a good of money involved, likely north of $100 billion in frozen funds that Iran will be entitled to repatriate. There will be even more in increased revenue, though this will trickle in more slowly than many think, owing to the required investments and time needed to get, for instance, the energy sector operating at anything near its capability. -Ali Gharib - 7/7/15

Insurance deal aims to protect Asiatic Cheetah in Iran
The Asiatic Cheetah, which now can be found only in Iran, has been offered increased protection through an agreement between the United Nations Development Program and Dana Insurance. - 7/7/15

Iran: Blogger's father sentenced weeks after son's release
Only weeks after jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was finally released due to health problems, his father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, has been sentenced to four months in jail. - 7/7/15

Document Reveals Billionaire Backers Behind United Against Nuclear Iran
Among the many groups engaged in advocacy over a potential deal between Iran and world powers, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) stands apart as by far the most mysterious. Late last month, UANI announced it would launch a "multi-million dollar" ad campaign, noting "a growing concern that U.S. negotiators could be pressured into making dangerous concessions in order to cement a deal," according to the group's CEO, Mark Wallace. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/7/15

Germany's Bauermann picked as Iran's basketball coach
Signing his contract with Iran's Basketball Federation, Dirk Bauermann became the head coach of Iran's national team. The former coach of Germany Dirk Bauermann was appointed as new head coach of Iran's national basketball team on Monday penning a three-month contract. - 7/7/15

What Do Iranian-Americans Think of the Nuclear Deal?
MY family left Tehran in 1979, in the aftermath of the revolution that created the Islamic Republic of Iran. We arrived in the United States with nothing but a single suitcase each, assuming this would be only temporary. Once things settled down, we would surely be returning to our lives back in Iran. That was 36 years ago. -Reza Aslan, New York Times - 7/7/15

Iran's IRGC launches 2nd Qadir radar system
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched a long-rangeradar system in the southwest of the country to enhance its air defense capabilities.The second Qadir radar system was put into service in Iran's southwestern city of Ahwaz on Saturday. - 7/7/15

Iranians ready for new chapter as nuclear talks approach conclusion
Many hope Iran's economy and perhaps its complex political system will be transformed by the easing of sanctions and a new relationship with west -Ian Black, Guardian - 7/7/15

Overwhelming Expert Consensus Favors Agreement with Iran
There is an overwhelming consensus among non-proliferation, nuclear policy, and national security experts that a negotiated accord is the best, and likely the only, way to ensure that Iran never builds a nuclear weapon. But you would not know that if you relied on congressional hearings or most media coverage of the negotiations. -Joe Cirincione, LobeLog - 7/6/15

Foreign Ministers Try to Close Iran Nuclear Deal
Foreign ministers from Iran and a group of six world powers were in a familiar position Monday in Vienna, where they gathered for a final push to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program a day before their latest deadline. The diplomats have expressed a mix of progress and the need to finalize key unresolved issues in their bid to limit Iran's nuclear activity in return for needed sanctions relief. - 7/6/15

The Iran I Saw
There wasn't much exceptional about my recent lunch out with a couple dozen young, aspiring entrepreneurs. It was a typical, crowded, buzzing, Nandos-like joint-good food cheap, easy to pull tables together so we could talk. These were men and women debating the latest technologies, describing their recent ideas... -Christopher Schroeder, Politico - 7/6/15

Iranian Activist Appeals Six-Year Prison Sentence for Her Membership in Peaceful Political Group
Civil and political activist Minoo Mortazi Langroudi has launched an appeal against the six-year prison sentence she received for her peaceful activism. Ms. Langroudi was convicted on charges of disturbing national security and propaganda against the state, based on her activities with a peaceful group that is critical of government policies. - 7/6/15

Disputes over missiles and arms embargo hold up Iran talks
A dispute over U.N. sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program and a broader arms embargo were among issues holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Monday, the day before their latest self-imposed deadline. -Reuters - 7/6/15

Meet Arshya Vahabzadeh: Named as One of MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators
Iranian American physician, Arshya Vahabzadeh, was recently named as one of MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators-a list of forty accomplished young professionals working to better the United States healthcare system. - 7/6/15

Iran vows to double oil exports after sanctions lifted
Iran said on Sunday that it has serious plans to increase its oil exports to almost double the current levels after sanctions against the country are lifted. "We are like a pilot on the runway ready to take off. This is how the whole country is right now," Mansour Moazami, Iran's deputy petroleum minister for planning and supervision affairs, told the Wall Street Journal. - 7/6/15

Baba Joon: The first Persian-language Israeli film starring Hollywood Actor Navid Negahban
The film stars Iranian actor Navid Negahban, staring Emmy-award-winning show Homeland, as Abu Nazir. Whose recent work includes Clint Eastwood's new film American Sniper; Cyrus Nowrasteh's film The Stoning of Soraya M. and more. Navid has also had guest-starring roles on The Mentalist, 24, Lost, Law and Order, CSIand more. - 7/6/15

Iran's Nuclear Program A Child Of Washington
The start of Iran's nuclear program can arguably be pegged to December 8, 1953. It was on that date that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered what was later dubbed his Atoms For Peace speech to the United Nations General Assembly. -Tony Wesolowsky, RFE - 7/6/15

U.S. Sends Conflicting Signals to Bahrain
After claiming that Bahrain has achieved "meaningful progress," the United States decided to lift the holds on security assistance to Bahrain's military forces. Since this decision took place, the government summoned and then arrested Majeed Milad, the former chairman of the municipal council of the capital city of Manama as well as a board member of al-Wefaq, the main opposition party. -Matar E. Matar, LobeLog - 7/6/15

Kerry Cites Progress, But Says Iran Nuclear Talks 'Could Go Either Way'
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Vienna on July 5, said there has been genuine progress in the Iranian nuclear talks but that "we are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues" and that the talks "could go either way." Kerry, in remarks to reporters, said "it is now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement." - 7/5/15

Iranian actor apologizes for pro gay marriage tweet
Bahram Radan, a famous Iranian actor, has apologized to Iranians for posting a tweet in support of a ruling by the US Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage across the entirety of the United States. - 7/5/15

"No Legal Basis" for Charging Iranian Lawyer with Shaking Hands with Female Client
Iranian defense lawyer Mohammad Moghimi, who spent four days in detention for shaking hands with his female client, insists there are no legal grounds for the charge against him. "I hope they will stop pursuing this matter because the charge leveled against me does not have any legal basis. It's laughable," Moghimi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/5/15

Some Iranian MPs plan to confirm Babak Zanjani is in prison
A number of Iranian MPs say they are planning a visit to Evin Prison to see jailed Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani. The Iran daily reports that Hossein Dehdashti, a member of the committee investigating the Zanjani matter, said the MPs want to ascertain that Zanjani is indeed in prison. - 7/5/15

Under Obama US More Popular Abroad
The Republican/neocon narrative that the United States has steadily lost its standing in the eyes of the world since Obama succeeded George W. Bush has been rather strongly undermined by the findings of a major new survey of 40 countries by the Pew Research Center and its Global Attitudes Project (GAP). -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/5/15

'Expert Groups' Hammering Out Details of Iran Nuclear Deal
U.S. officials in Vienna say international nuclear and sanctions experts are grinding through details of various issues in an effort to negotiate a final agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA - 7/4/15

Zarif Says 'Never Been Closer' To Nuclear Deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said a lasting nuclear deal with Iran has "never been closer." In a message posted on YouTube late on July 3 (below), Zarif also said that there is "no guarantee" of success. - 7/4/15

Iran beats Russia with straight sets in FIVB World League
Iran's national volleyball team has registered a straight-sets win against Russia in the 2015 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World League. On Friday, the Iranian squad picked up a home victory and won the pool B match at the 12,000-seater hall of the Azadi Sports Complex in western Tehran in consecutive sets (25-21, 25-21 and 25-21). - 7/4/15

Iran denies report on 'tentative agreement' over sanctions relief
Iran has denied a report claiming that it has reached tentative agreement with the P5+1 group of world countries on the removal of the sanctions against the Islamic Republic in the course of ongoing nuclear negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna. - 7/4/15

Iran sports body invites female reporters to cover volleyball showdown
With only two games of the world volleyball league championships left to be played in Iran, Iran's Volleyball Federation has called on female reporters to arrive at Azadi Stadium on Friday and Saturday nights to cover the matches between Iran and Russia. - 7/4/15

Other Reasons to Review IAEA's Al-Kibar Conclusions
The UK's former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Peter Jenkins, has done us the service of calling into question the methods by which the Agency's inspection team may have obtained or collected the uranium particles that contributed importantly to its conclusion that the building destroyed by Israeli missiles in 2007 at Dair Alzour "was very likely a nuclear reactor." -Robert Kelley, LobeLog - 7/4/15

Kerry, Zarif to Meet on Key Iran Nuclear Disputes
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna Friday on key disputes that have prevented nuclear negotiators from meeting a June 30 deadline. The discussions follow IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's trip to Tehran where he met with President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. -Mary Alice Salina, VOA - 7/3/15

Yet-To-Be-Fully-Released Poll Suggests Solid Support for Iran Deal
The Chicago Council for Global Affairs (CCGA) has just released the highlights of a public opinion survey taken in late May and early June concerning public opinion on Iran's nuclear program. The numbers should encourage the Obama administration in its drive to conclude a deal between the P5+1 and Tehran in the next week. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/3/15

The Father Of Iran's Nuclear Program Recalls How It All Began
It was late in 1973 when Akbar Etemad got the call -- the shah wanted to discuss ways to launch a nuclear program that would cement Iran's place among the world's modern nations. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi had reached the conclusion that Iran needed to diversify its energy sources for the future in order to provide for a rising population. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/3/15

Russia Says Iran Nuclear Deal In Sight
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said Iran and world powers are close to a nuclear agreement. TASS news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying in Vienna on July 2, "All parties are of the opinion that this matter will be resolved in the coming days." - 7/3/15

Law to let volunteers enforce morality worries Iranian administration
Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa PourMohammadi says the legislation regarding the Islamic tenet of "Enforcing Good Behaviour and Forbidding Bad" is breaking rules about the branches of government and their jurisdictions. - 7/3/15

No Official Reason Given for Arrest of Former Professor and Activist by Security Agents in Tehran
The family of former chemistry professor and activist Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, has not been given an official explanation for why he was arrested and imprisoned nearly two weeks ago. - 7/3/15

Shiraz Arts Academy 3rd Anniversary Concert in Sunnyvale, California
An evening of music performances by Shiraz Arts Academys' talented students and prominent instructors. Sunday, August 16, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Sunnyvale Theatre - 7/3/15

Are We Negotiating With Iran or Persia?
Much more than a name is involved. In terms of a national state of mind the two identities sit side-by-side-but not quietly. "Iran" and "Persia" diverged a long time ago as cultural and political concepts but one cannot exist without the other-and wishing won't make the harsher one go away. -Clive Irving, Daily Beast - 7/3/15

The Islamic State and the Terrible Twos
The Islamic State celebrated its one-year anniversary in customary fashion. Other organizations might sponsor parades and make speeches. ISIS spilled blood. A beheading in France, the murder of 38 tourists at a resort in Tunisia, and a bomb blast at a mosque in Kuwait all reminded the world, if it had somehow forgotten, that ISIS isn't merely interested in securing sovereignty over a particular stretch of territory. It has much grander ambitions. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/3/15

Chicken in Vienna
With the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in its final days (and seven days of overtime having just been announced), a broken leg is not the most serious impairment to Secretary of State Kerry's ability to conclude an agreement that will ensure Iran remains a non-nuclear-weapons state and advances U.S. interests in other respects... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/2/15

Amherst University Reverses Ban On Graduate Students
Facing a backlash from international students, the U.S. state of Massachusett's flagship university said it is lifting a ban on Iranian nationals in certain graduate programs. Instead, the university said it is instituting monitoring measures to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran. - 7/2/15

Mansoureh Shojaee' letter to the Chief of Justice of Islamic Republic of Iran
In protesting the unlawful action that has taken place in processing my lawsuit in the Revolutionary Court, I Mansoureh Shojaee, journalist, researcher, woman's activist, address this letter to you. At the present time, I am a resident scholar at Hague, Netherlands, a research scholar in the area of social justice, human rights, and gender studies. - 7/2/15

Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage. Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly four years. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 7/2/15

Iranian Chess Grandmaster Crested at DC International 2015
Iranian chess grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami stood on the top of the podium at DC International 2015. On Tuesday and in the last round of the blitz section of the 9 round Swiss competitions held in Washington DC, the 32-year-old Iranian national came first with the overall score of 7 out of 9. - 7/2/15

Tehran Center For Female runaways Funded Mostly By Donations
Iran's minister of labour and social welfare says a center for homeless and runaway women will soon open in Tehran. ILNA reports that the center has been funded mainly by various charitable donations from within the country. - 7/2/15

IAEA Chief, Iranian Officials Work to Resolve Nuclear Issues
The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog met with Iranian officials Thursday in Tehran in the latest effort to resolve long-standing questions about the country's nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano held talks with the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, and was also due to meet with President Hassan Rouhani. - 7/2/15

Iran's Alliance of Convenience with the Taliban?
Ismail Kosari, a conservative member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and the chair of Defense Committee of the Iranian parliament, confirmed in early June the Taliban's trip to Tehran: "I can't divulge any details, but what I can say is that they have declared their readiness to talk." -LobeLog - 7/2/15

Iran repatriates 13 tons of frozen gold
Iran has secured the release of 13 metric tons of its gold assets blocked in South Africa under US-led sanctions, central bank Governor Valiollah Seif has said. The repatriation came thanks to the Iranian negotiating team's follow-up of the matter in the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said in a statement. - 7/2/15

Iran Nuclear Negotiators Eye New Deadline
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif sit down for more talks in Vienna, on Wednesday, a day after Iran nuclear negotiators extended their deadline for an agreement to July 7. Their talks come a day after both President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani commented on the negotiations underway in Vienna. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 7/1/15

The WINEP Letter and the Bipartisan Fallacy
For the past week, a letter from a varied group of policy experts has been making the rounds, mostly as a case against doing a deal with Iran. More particularly, many of these experts have been opposed to doing this deal currently being hashed out in Vienna. -Ali Gharib - 7/1/15

Iran's Supreme Leader sets growth target at 8%
Iran's new development plan, unveiled by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Tuesday, envisages sustainable growth of eight percent over the next five years. The Leader's blueprint for the years 2016-2021, communicated to President Hassan Rouhani and heads of the judiciary and legislature, also calls for economic diplomacy, notably in Southeast Asia, to "revive foreign investment and enter global markets". - 7/1/15

IAEA's chief Amano due in Iran Thursday for nuclear talks
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano is due in Iran on Thursday for talks on Tehran's nuclear program. During his stay in Iran, the IAEA chief is expected to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. - 7/1/15

Cyrus Copeland Investigates in New Book, Was Dad a Spy?
Searching for the truth behind allegations that his American father was a CIA spy in Iran, Cyrus Copeland has crafted a gripping memoir. Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, A Mother's Heroism, and A Son's Quest (Penguin/Blue Rider, 2015) takes readers through a dramatic, yet witty journey in understanding his dual Iranian and American identity. - 7/1/15

Congress on Iran and Israel
As we have over the past few months, 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. - 7/1/15

French firm snaps up Iran railway deal
France's architectural firm AREP signed an agreement on Wednesday for redevelopment of three railway stations in Iran, marking a return of European companies as nuclear negotiations with Tehran are reaching a climax. - 7/1/15

Iran's Communications Minister says Telegram not restricted by government
Following reports of disruptions in access to Telegram social networking site, Iran's minister of communications denied any involvement from government censorship in blocking the site. ISNA reports that Mahmoud Vaezi the communications minister said on Tuesday the ministry has no plans on restricting social networking sites. - 7/1/15

Iran: Police and Basij crackdown on eating, drinking during Ramadan
Shiraz and Hamadan officials reports that since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, 600 people in total have been arrested in the two cities for breaking their fast in public. - 7/1/15
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