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Sand Storms Turn Some Regions in Iran into "Hell"
Iran is facing a series of environmental disasters this summer, including forest fires, record heat indexes in some provinces and sandstorms threatening the capital, Tehran. Namak (Persian Salt) Lake in Qom province, which once measured 200,000 hectares, has completely dried up because of climate change, the ill-considered construction of tens of dams and depleted underground water resources. -Fatemeh Aman - 7/31/16

Iran spurs Japan on $10 billion investment plan
A senior Iranian official has called on Japan to move faster on rolling out a credit package worth $10 billion for investment in Iran. Japan signed a bilateral investment treaty and an agreement for a $10 billion debt guarantee for Iran in February after Tehran reached a nuclear accord with the US, EU, China and Russia. - 7/31/16

150 Boys and Girls Arrested in Crackdown on Co-ed Parties
One hundred fifty young girls and boys were arrested for attending an "inappropriate mixed-gender" birthday party near the city of Tehran, according to an announcement by the police commander of western Tehran province. The arrests are the latest in an ongoing crackdown on mixed-gender parties that has resulted in the detainment of scores of young people in the past few months. - 7/31/16

US-made aircraft allowed to fly to Iran
The US has taken another minuscule step toward easing trade restrictions against Iran, allowing international companies to fly American-made aircraft there. Iranians are increasingly becoming uneasy about the consequences of a landmark nuclear deal with the West and other countries, which was presumed to put an end to years of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. - 7/31/16

3 states behind leaking data on Iran nuclear program: Official
A senior Iranian official says three countries were involved in the leak to the media of confidential information about the country's long-term nuclear program, which prompted a strong protest from Tehran. - 7/31/16

Iran: Reformist Newspaper Editor's Prison Sentence Reduced on Appeal
The seven-year prison sentence of reformist newspaper editor Ehsan Mazandarani has been reduced to two years on appeal, his brother-in-law Sam Hosseini told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/31/16

Promising Outlook for IKCO-LG Electric Car Deal
Iran Khodro's CEO Hashem Yekezare recently confirmed a South Korean press statement that his company is in talks with LG International Corp to jointly develop electric-powered vehicles. The earlier news, which Financial Tribune reported in May, marks a turning point for Iran's largest automaker and assembler, which shows that it is actually thinking beyond CKDs and SKDs for the first time. -Morteza Raad, Financial Tribune - 7/31/16

Trump v. Clinton: What's a Good Neocon to Do?
In my opinion, the notion that neoconservatives are moving en masse into the Hillary camp is premature. True, Kagan supports Hillary. But the co-founder with Bill Kristol of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and its successor, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), has been an outlier, if not a renegade, in the movement in recent years. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/31/16

Photos: Grass Skiing World Cup in Dizin, Iran
Dizin, Iran is hosting the 2016 Grass Skiing World Cup. Thirty-eight athletes from eight nations (Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Japan and Iran) are fighting for medals in this event for young Grass Skiing talents. - 7/29/16

Iranian Daily Under Fire For Airbrushing Cigarette From Cleric's Hand
A major reformist Iranian daily has created controversy by altering an iconic image of a prominent deceased cleric to remove a cigarette he was holding. The cleric, Ayatollah Mahmud Taleghani, a key figure of the 1979 Islamic Revolution who became Tehran's first Friday Prayers leader after the revolution, was a known chain smoker who wasn't shy about his habit. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/29/16

Russia pushing North-South route to reality
Russia says it has presented a plan to Iran which envisages establishing a unified transport company with India to operate along the emerging North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) - an ambitious intercontinental multi-modal route that would link St. Petersburg to Mumbai. The plan was raised during a visit to Tehran by Alexander Zhilkin, the governor of Russia's Astrakhan region. - 7/29/16

Afghanistan: On the Eve of a Religious War?
The Islamic State (ISIS or IS) recently threatened the Shia Hazara minority in Afghanistan with more attacks in retaliation for fighting in Syria in defense of President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. "Unless they stop going to Syria and stop being slaves of Iran, we will definitely continue such attacks," the message said. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 7/29/16

Iran's Water Policies Triggering Regional Resistance
The Iranian constitution has concrete language prohibiting any form of development detrimental to the country's environment. However, the large scale water transfer projects considered by the government as remedies to the ongoing water shortage vows in various regions of the country have fallen short of showing concrete consideration of sustainable development. - 7/29/16

Riyadh failed to rally anti-Iran support in Arab League summit: Iran
Tehran has slammed the Saudi regime for pushing ahead with its "divisive policies" in a recent Arab League summit, saying the outcome of the meeting showed Riyadh has failed to muster support against Iran. - 7/29/16

Iran's global banking problems deepen with rise of Trump, Brexit
Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the rise of U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump have paralyzed efforts by Western governments to encourage already highly reluctant international banks to do business with Iran. - 7/29/16

Study Finds World's Tallest Are Dutch, Latvians
Americans, once among the world's tallest people, have dropped from having men and women at 3rd and 4th in the global height rankings a 100 years earlier, to placing 37th and 42nd respectively in 2014. Iranian men have gained an average of 16.5 centimetres (cm) in height, and South Korean women 20.2 cm. -Reuters - 7/29/16

Real Target of Tehran's Demand for Apple to Open Office in Iran is US Sanctions
Tehran's recent ultimatum to Apple, the US tech giant, to open up an office in Iran or face a ban on Apple products in the country, was presented as a bid to end the loss of tax revenue from millions of iPhones smuggled into Iran, but its real goal is to break through the wall of US sanctions still blocking investment in Iran. - 7/28/16

Yemen: An Opportunity for Iran-Saudi Dialogue?
The news out of Yemen continues to be grim. Week after week the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that committed troops to the Saudi-led Operation Restore Hope-previously dubbed Operation Decisive Storm-see body bags return home. And they aren't getting any closer to their goal of a "decisive victory" against Iran and what they see as Tehran's proxy, the Houthis. -Dina Esfandiary and Ariane Tabatabai - 7/28/16

Iran's Intelligence Ministry Interferes in Case of Imprisoned Christian
Iran's Intelligence Ministry has directly interfered in the case of imprisoned Christian convert Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran-who has been on hunger strike to persuade the authorities to consider her for early release-in another example of the Judiciary's lack of independence. - 7/28/16

Militant Clergy--the Future of Shia Islam?
Mohammad Aqamiri might be the first-ever Shia cleric from Iran who martyred himself in Syria after the Syrian uprising. While studying and teaching at Qom Seminary in 2013, Aqamiri enlisted in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and died defending the holy shrine in Syria. He is not alone. -Saeid Golkar, LobeLog - 7/28/16

Iranian posters exhibit offers a glimpse into the visual language developed to bypass censorship
The works integrate the clean minimalism that characterizes contemporary art with the complexity that informs Persian typography. -Naama Riba, Haaretz - 7/28/16

China to invest $3bn in Iran's fish farming
More signs have appeared to show that East Asian countries are interested in Iran's fish farming business. China has joined South Korea to announce that it is planning to invest $3 billion in Iran's fisheries. - 7/28/16

Top Oil Market Embraces Iran Once Again as Asia Imports Jump
The Persian Gulf state boosted exports to major oil consumers in Asia during the first half of this year, after international sanctions that restricted its supplies were eased in January. Japan's purchases increased 28 percent, India bought 63 percent more, South Korea's imports more than doubled while shipments into China gained 2.5 percent during the six months, government and shipping data compiled by Bloomberg show. -Heesu Lee, Bloomberg - 7/28/16

Iran's payslip scandal spells trouble for Rouhani
"Payslip-gate", as it has come to be known, has been dominating the news headlines in Iran for months. The scandal began in May when the payslips of top managers at the state insurance company were leaked to the media, showing they were receiving very generous salaries. -Amir Azimi, BBC - 7/28/16

US Administration Failed to Enable Iran to Access Its Oil Revenues
One year has passed since Iran and the P5+1 group reached an agreement on Tehran's nuclear program known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); an agreement, which put an end to more than one decade of tension between the two sides over Iran's nuclear program and turned into an important model for peaceful resolution of a difference. -Interview with Peter Jenkins by Sara Massoumi - 7/27/16

M&A deals, alternative approach towards Iran market
Like any other opened up economy, the Iranian economy- recently relieved from sanctions - has been tried to be penetrated in the past few months. There is no argument that the second economy of the Middle East with around 80 million population which has been neglected for the past ten years in the current competitive business environment is hard to pass. -Mohsen Mohammadi - 7/27/16

Iranian officials allowed to receive maximum $2800 per month
Iran has set ceilings for monthly salaries of political and non-political figures following widespread criticism of inflated salaries. The same figure for non-political figures, managers of economic institutions and factories will be 180 million rials (about $5,000) - 7/27/16

Iran basketball team notches 3rd win in 2016 William Jones Cup
The Iranian national men's basketball team has captured its third consecutive victory at the preliminary round of the 2016 William Jones Cup in Taiwan, defeating the Egyptian contingent in the international tournament. - 7/27/16

Iran to eradicate hepatitis in 15 years: Official
Hepatitis will be eradicated in Iran by the next 15 years, the director for communicable diseases department of the Health Ministry has said. Infected blood, infected syringe, infected food stuff and drinks, and high risk sexual behaviors are of the causes of the hepatitis, Tasnim news agency quoted Mohammad-Mahdi Gouya as saying on Monday. - 7/27/16

White House Names Russia, China, Iran, North Korea In Cyberattack Guidelines
The White House on July 26 issued new guidelines on how government agencies should respond to major cyberattacks. hite House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco named Russia and China as cyber adversaries that have become more assertive. She said Iran and North Korea also are capable and willing to carry out destructive attacks. - 7/27/16

Poets and pistachios: A journey to the heart of Iran
Hopes are high that Iran has finally turned a corner and a new era beckons. Rahmatollah was characteristically coy about it all. "The future? Only God knows but good things are coming," he said, gazing out over Mount Karkas. -Nick Boulos, Telegraph - 7/27/16

Medical errors, the tip of the iceberg of problems plaguing Iran's health system
Ali Nasr, Iranian podiatrist based in Canada, with years of experience in Iranian hospitals says the surge of antagonistic public feelings surfacing against physicians following the death of Abbas Kiarostami is partly triggered by the lack of mutual trust in doctor-patient relationship in the country, and partly by the fact that the health and medical culture has not kept abreast of the times. - 7/26/16

What the Turkish Coup Means for Iran
Iran was among the very first governments to express its support for the democratically elected government of Turkey during the recent failed coup d'etat. High Iranian officials such as the president, foreign minister, and the speaker of the parliament also spoke to their counterparts in Turkey. Considering that Iran's relations with Turkey, especially its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have been rather frosty in the last several years, why was Iran so eager to register its opposition to the coup attempt? -Shireen T. Hunter - 7/26/16

USERN to bring Nobel Laureates in Medicine to Iran
The first international congress of Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN) along with the first festival will be held in Tehran in November. Tehran will be a hub for scientists coming from around the world; notable among them is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 Sir John B. Gurdon and one of the Abel Prize Laureates 2015 Louis Nirenberg from Canada - 7/26/16

Arrested Iranian-American from San Diego Held Incommunicado and without Access to Lawyer
Iranian-American Robin (Reza) Shahini, the latest victim of a string of arrests and prolonged detainments of dual nationals who have travelled to Iran, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization in the city of Gorgan, 255 miles east of Tehran, and has been held without access to a lawyer, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned. - 7/26/16

Iran self-sufficient in wheat for 2nd year
Iran expects its state-sponsored purchases of wheat from domestic farmers to surpass 10 million tonnes this year, Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati says. Harvests in the 2016/2017 crop season are on track to make the country self-sufficient in wheat for the second year running, the government's official news website said. - 7/26/16

Tehran, Yerevan reach new gas deal
Iran's oil minister has announced that on the basis of a new agreement between Tehran and Yerevan, Iranian gas will be transferred to Georgia through Armenia. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with the visiting Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Yolyan, Iran's Bijan Zanganeh said transit of Iranian gas via Armenia marked the main axis of the session. - 7/26/16

Venice Critics' Week: New Film from Iranian Director Who Was Sentenced to Jail and 223 Lashes
Among the films at Venice festival is "Drum," the feature-film debut of Iranian director Keywan Karimi, whose sentence to jail and 223 lashes for his documentary "Writing on the City," about political graffiti in Tehran, recently sparked outrage and appeals for clemency in the international film community - 7/26/16

Harder vs. Softer, the Republican and Democratic Foreign Policy Platforms
With its emphasis on the use of diplomacy and economic development, the Democratic platform embraces what is known as idealism, a school of foreign policy that holds that America is a force for good in the world and that, with a combination of military strength and soft power, can shape global affairs. More than twice as long on foreign policy as the Democratic version, the Republican platform presents a harder-edged, Reaganesque manifesto with some, but by no means all, of Trump's controversial ideas. -Masood Farivar, VOA - 7/26/16

US Media Find European Terror Deaths 19 Times More Interesting Than Mideast Terror Deaths
A survey conducted by FAIR of US media coverage of ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks in Europe and the Middle East reveals a disparity of coverage, showing that European deaths are roughly 1,800 percent more newsworthy than deaths in the Middle East. -Adam Johnson, LobeLog - 7/26/16

Focus Iran Summit 2016: September 26-27, 2016 in Tehran
Following many years of international trade isolation, Iran has returned to the global fore by opening its doors to foreign investments and alliances. A vastly abundant state of geo-strategic importance, Iran is a Middle Eastern dynamo with well-established capital markets, a rooted industrial sector, and at its core - a young and well-educated population of under 80 million people. - 7/25/16

Tehran Confirms Arrest Of Iranian-American
Iran has confirmed the arrest of an Iranian-American who was visiting family in the country, the latest in a series of arrests of dual nationals by the Islamic republic over the past year. - 7/25/16

Daily output of Iran's South Pars gas field to rise to 540mcm by March 2017
South Pars field, which Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf, is estimated to contain a significant amount of natural gas, accounting for about eight percent of the world's reserves, and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensate. Meanwhile, the country maintained its rank as the third natural gas producer in the world after the U.S. and Russia for the second consecutive year. - 7/25/16

Iran takes third place in Asia Water Polo Junior Championship
Iran's national junior water polo team has finished its campaign at the 5th edition of the Asian Water Polo Junior Championship in Indonesia, and claimed the third place after breezing past the Uzbek squad. - 7/25/16

Traces of Neolithic era uncovered in Iran's Fars province
The first season of archaeological excavations in Bavanat county in Fars province has led to the discovery of 200 objects with the oldest having traces back to the Neolithic era. Morteza Khanipour, the leader of the archeological team, said the Hermangan site located west of Jashnian village in Bavanat county, Fars province, has been discovered in April 2015. - 7/25/16

Pokemon Go hits Iran Like a Storm
Pokemon Go took the world by surprise and Iranians also started playing the same day it was released in the US and Australia. Iranians are catching more Pokemons than you think. No, you read it right. Iranians are actually playing Pokemon Go even though it has not officially been launched in the country yet. -Alireza Jozi, Techrasa - 7/25/16

Meet Our Summer Interns: Karina Bakhshi-Azar
"My name is Karina Bakhshi-Azar and I am a rising senior at Virginia Tech's honors college majoring in both political science and public relations. I'm a first generation American with an Iranian father and Norwegian mother. I intend to pursue a career in law dealing with human rights violations in the Middle East with a specialization in women and children's rights. -NIAC - 7/25/16

Israel/Palestine: Bad Policy, Bad Politics
To understand why the United States fails so miserably in efforts to achieve an Israeli/Palestinian peace, all you need to do is take a look at the mix of bad policy and bad politics found in the Israel/Palestine sections of platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties. -James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 7/25/16

Trump Got Pretty Much Everything Wrong About The Iran Deal
Last night, Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination. Then he delivered a rambling 75-minute speech promising law and order and painting a picture of a United States in chaos, besieged by crime and both foreign and domestic enemies. Much of it wasn't factually true, and fact checkers are having a field day pouring through the 27-page speech. -Eli Clifton - 7/23/16

Photos: Rare crane hatches at Tehran's Birds Garden
A grey crowned crane, a rare species which is on the verge of extinction, hatched on Wednesday at Tehran's Birds Garden, Tasnim news agency reported. A special birthday ceremony was held on this occasion at the garden with a number of environmentalists and officials in attendance. - 7/23/16

More than 50 Iranian youth arrested in mixed gender party
The head of the judiciary for Damavand municipality has announced that more than 50 young Iranian women and men have been arrested in raiding of a mixed-gender party in Ab-e Sard region. Damavand is a rural mountainous area northeast of the Iranian capital, Tehran, where Tehranians go to relax, hike or rent a cottage and party. - 7/23/16

Bus accident kills 16, injures 13 in north Iran
At least 16 people have been killed and 13 others injured after their bus smashed into a concrete electricity pylon and overturned in a mountainous road in northern Iran, a provincial police official says. - 7/23/16

The Republicans' 'Principled' Case For Killing The Iran Deal
As the nation takes stock of the bizarre fever dream that took place in Cleveland this past week, it's easy to forget that the GOP actually unveiled its platform that translates the rhetoric - from "lock her up" to "kill the deal" - into actual policy proposals. -Jamal Abdi, Huffington Post - 7/23/16

Islamists at War in Turkey
Last week witnessed what may be the last act of an unfolding struggle between two major Islamic movements in Turkey. Turkish president and leader of the AKP party Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused exiled Islamic leader Fethullah Gulen of plotting the failed coup against the government. Immediately thereafter Erdogan has unleashed massive Stalin-style purges and arrests across the country of anyone suspected of any connection with Gulen, or indeed of anyone of any ideology who opposes Erdogan. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/23/16

Another Iranian-American Detained In Iran, Family Says
The U.S. State Department said on July 21 that it is looking into reports that another Iranian-American has been detained in Iran. Family members said Iranian authorities took Robin Shahini, 46, of San Diego, California, into custody on July 11 while he was visiting his sick mother in Iran and he has not been heard from since. - 7/22/16

French Carmaker Signs Deal To Build Citroens In Iran
French carmaker Peugeot-Citroen (PSA) said it has signed a preliminary agreement with Iranian company SAIPA to produce and sell Citroen cars in the country. In a statement released on July 21, the Paris-based carmaker said PSA and SAIPA will invest more than $330 million over five years. - 7/22/16

Iran's Conservatives Lash Out at New Female Fashion Trends
Iran's anti-vice squads, also referred to as the morality police, are particularly busy in the hot summer months when Iranian women wear lighter clothes and are less observant of the mandatory hijab. But this year the squads are focusing on a new "threat:" women wearing clothes with large English words on them. - 7/22/16

Iran busts terror cell near Pakistan border, detains 40: Interior Minister
Iranian security forces have arrested 40 members of a terror cell that planned to carry out attacks in the eastern parts of the country, the interior minister says. Rahmani Fazli said the Iranian forces discovered and destroyed a 40-meter-long tunnel dug at a depth of 20 meters, which the terrorists had planned to use for their attacks. - 7/22/16

Congress Should Let the Boeing Deal Proceed
Before adjourning for the summer, lawmakers in Congress found time to pass several bills that could imperil one of the most significant global security achievements in many years: the year-old nuclear deal that President Obama struck with Iran. This is not the first time that hard-line Republicans and their well-funded lobby group allies have tried to sabotage the deal... -New York Times Editorial - 7/22/16

From Iran to Nice, We Must Confront All Terrorism to End Terrorism
France has unfortunately been the epicenter for two terrorism-related events in recent weeks. The tragic truck attack in Nice, which received international attention, and a rally recently held in Paris by a notorious Iranian opposition group -- the "Mujahedin-e Khalq," or MEK, which for years has committed acts of terrorism against Iran. While it might not be immediately evident, there is a connection between the events -- the groups behind them have been accused of atrocities and have historical ties to Saudi Arabia. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Huffington Post - 7/22/16

Iranian Cinema: Abbas Kiarostami's long shadow
THE first time I met Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami he was captivated by a shadow. We were gathered at the Italian ambassador's historic residence in the tranquil Farmanieh district of north Tehran. The ambassador loved cinema, and often invited Iranian film-makers to screen their latest works outdoors in his lush garden, la "Cinema Paradiso". - 7/22/16

Iranian American Candidate Campaigns for Minority Rights
First-generation Iranian American, Ahsha Safai is no stranger to fighting against discriminatory policies targeting marginalized minority communities. The candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 11 boasts a long track record of passionately advocating for underrepresented populations - not just the Iranian American community, but families from a wide range of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, particularly in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. - 7/21/16

Iranian Athletes' Message In Rio: "Peace, Friendship, Coexistence"
President Rouhani said that Iranian athletes' message in Olympics, Paralympics is "peace, friendship, coexistence". Rouhani attended a ceremony held for seeing off Iranian athletes departing for Rio Olympics and Paralympics and said that Iranian athletes' success in these games contribute to national pride, as well as hope and exhilaration in the society - 7/21/16

Iran planning return to debt markets
Iran says it is planning a return to the international debt markets in an effort which could help it rebuild public finances that have been battered by a plunge in oil prices. - 7/21/16

UN chief calls on world powers to make JCPOA beneficial for Iranians
"I urge JCPOA participants to uphold their respective commitments and Member States to support the full and effective implementation of this agreement," said Ban in a statement released on Wednesday, which coincides with the first anniversary of a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal. - 7/21/16

Newly literate Iranians to be awarded $40 each
People who acquired literacy in the current school year (started September 23, 2015) will be awarded a total of 300 billion rials (nearly $8.5 million), Ali Baqerzadeh, director of the Literacy Movement Organization of Iran has said. - 7/21/16

Iran's Aseman Airline to get Mitsubishi planes
Iran says one of its airlines is planning to buy over two dozen planes from Japan's industrial giant Mitsubishi thus confirming earlier reports that a deal to the same effect is in the pipeline. - 7/21/16

Persian Heart, Northern Soul
Iran's father of rock is back (and banned). Joobin Bekhrad reflects on his 1974 classic, Gol-e Yakh -Reorient - 7/21/16

Atena Farghadani: Iranian cartoonist opens up about her captivity
In her first interview to Western media since winning her release, Atena Farghadani talks about the horrific conditions behind bars in Iran and how she plans to continue producing political art, even if that means going to prison again -Independent - 7/21/16

U.S. appeals court voids forfeiture of Iran-linked New York office tower
A federal appeals court said on Wednesday the U.S. government cannot seize a Midtown Manhattan office tower originally built by the Shah of Iran, whose owners it claimed were fronts for the Iranian government. -Reuters - 7/21/16

US urged to facilitate Iran banking transactions
The US has been urged by fellow members of the P5+1 group of countries to facilitate banking ties with Tehran through the clarification of transaction channels with the Islamic Republic, a senior Iranian official says. - 7/20/16

Republican Platform: Build Border Wall, Outlaw Gay Marriage
The Republican Party has crafted a new platform that both shows the direct influence of its 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump, as well as the traditionally conservative values upon which the party is built. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 7/20/16

Iran threatens to re-open shuttered uranium enrichment facilities after UN report
Iran's parliament speaker urged the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) on Wednesday to prepare a plan for the re-opening of shuttered uranium enrichment facilities, reacting to the recent UN report on the implementation of the JCPOA. - 7/20/16

Tots Caught: Tehran Kindergarten Shut Down Over Mixed-Gender Swimming Pool
An Iranian official says a kindergarten has been shut down in the capital over a mixed-gender swimming pool. Tasnim had reported disapprovingly that the pool belonged to a kindergarten on Africa Street in an affluent neighborhood of the capital that had allowed mixed swimming and "proudly" posted the pictures on its official website. - 7/20/16

Former Iranian Banker Arrested On Corruption Charges
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has arrested the former manager of one of Iran's major banks and his deputy over alleged corruption, IRGC affiliated news agencies Fars and Tasnim reported on July 20. - 7/20/16

The Saudis and 9/11: Is It Finally Over?
From the perspective of the Saudi Arabian government, no news was really good news. The long-withheld 28 pages of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, released on Friday, provided scant evidence, and no incontrovertible proof, of government responsibility or involvement. Saudi officials celebrated as if their country had just been acquitted of a crime, as in a sense it had. -Thomas Lippman - 7/20/16

The Islamic State and Arab Muslim Regimes: Time for Another Look
The Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has claimed that the French-Tunisian truck driver who plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice killing nearly 100 people and injuring over 200 as one of their "soldiers." The West and the Arab Muslim states must now take a hard look at IS and the radical violent ideology that drives it. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 7/20/16

Europeans keen to invest in Iran's renewable energy sector: EWEA Chief
Giles Dickson, the CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), said that renowned European companies are keen to invest in Iran's renewable energy sector, especially in wind energy sphere. Dickson made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times on the sidelines of the 4th Iran Wind Energy Conference which was held in Tehran on Tuesday. - 7/20/16

DNA from ancient skeletons suggests farming was invented multiple times in the Fertile Crescent
Scientists have discovered an ancient population of farmers from the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent, and their existence is a strong sign that agriculture was invented more than once, a new study says. -Los Angeles Times - 7/20/16

Ban report based on incomplete info: Iranian FM
Iran says a report by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the implementation of a nuclear deal with the country is "based on incomplete information." "We have said before that the UN has had no role in writing the JCPOA, thus, as we have seen, what he (the UN chief) has done does not benefit the agreement," Zarif said. - 7/19/16

Iran is 'toying with lives' of political prisoners by denying them medical care: Amnesty International
The Iranian authorities are callously toying with the lives of political prisoners by denying them adequate medical care - putting them at risk of irreversible damage to their health or even death - according to a new report by Amnesty International today. - 7/19/16

Iran to send 63 athletes to Rio 2016
The Iranian Olympic mission comprises 63 athletes representing 14 sports federations including the Athletics, Archery, Boxing, Cycling, Fencing, Judo, Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling federations. - 7/19/16

Persian Gazelle III solar car touring Iran
The Persian Gazelle III solar car manufactured by Iranian students at Uni. of Tehran is currently making a tour from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf to introduce environmentally friendly technologies to people across the country. - 7/19/16

JCPOA commission to convene in Vienna for fourth meeting
The commission monitoring the implementation of a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is to convene for a fourth meeting in Vienna. The Iranian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, arrived in the Austrian capital on Tuesday to attend the Joint Commission meeting, which is to convene later in the day. - 7/19/16

Exploitation of prisoners' labour in Iranian jails
Prison work for inmates in Iran is a chance to briefly escape the inexorable walls that prescribe their daily lives for years on end or perhaps for the rest of their lives. However, prison workers have become slaves in ventures solely aimed at replenishing the pockets of prison officials. - 7/19/16

Causes and Consequences of the Coup in Turkey
One of the major reasons for the coup was the unhappiness of elements of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) who were opposed to the directions that the war against the PKK/KCK has taken during recent years. There was also considerable dissatisfaction around the decision by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to support the Islamic State (IS) after the March 2011 outbreak of civil war in Syria. -Robert Olson, LobeLog - 7/19/16

Iran's Lut Desert inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List
The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) registered Iran's Lut Desert on World Heritage List during 40th session of the World Heritage Committee on Sunday. - 7/18/16

World team ahead of Iran at Chess Star Cup
World team chess players managed to keep the lead against Iran in the seventh round of Chess Stars Cup underway in the Iranian Caspian port city of Bandar Anzali. - 7/18/16

Complex view of Islam found in poetry of Iran, Stanford researcher shows
In a study of Persian literature, Stanford religious studies scholar Ahoo Najafian describes the role of poetry in the context of modernity in Iran. Ironically, those by the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini spoke out against established, strict religion. -Stanford News - 7/18/16

Solmaz Sharif and the poetics of a new American generation
Step gently on words such as "home" or "citizen" or even "body" with a foot born elsewhere and they combust. Place names are even more incendiary. What happens when we read BEIRUT or TEHRAN or SAIGON while sitting at a cafe in Santa Monica? This is war's lexicon. It incorporates and redefines, especially by naming... -hn Freeman, Los Angeles Times - 7/18/16

Iran court begins trials over Saudi embassy raids
A court in Iran has begun the trial of the individuals involved in raids earlier this year against vacant Saudi diplomatic perimeters in the country. The raids occurred on January 2, when demonstrations were held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad - both of which were vacant at the time - over Saudi Arabia's move earlier to execute a prominent Saudi cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. - 7/18/16

Turkey's Lose-Lose Coup Situation
The dismaying coup events in Turkey may take some time to be resolved. But one thing is already clear-this attempt at military intervention, however the final scenario plays itself out, is a disastrous lose-lose event for everyone in Turkey. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/18/16

Democracy, only solution to regional woes: Iran President
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the solution to regional problems does not lie in the use of force but rather in respecting democracy, adding that the era of military coups has come to a close. - 7/17/16

Serious signs indicating Iran opening
Iran says it has started talks with global engineering giants Siemens and Rolls-Royce over power projects - a development that experts say show the country is gradually opening up to investors after the removal of the sanctions. - 7/17/16

Celebration of Iranian Cinema at University of California, Irvine
Join us for the Inagural CELEBRATION OF IRANIAN CINEMA in Orange County at the University of California, Irvine August 5-6, 2016. In collaboration with the Jordan Center for Persian Studies. Special thanks to our co presenter: The UCLA Film & Televisions Archives. - 7/17/16

First episode of doc series on Iranian entrepreneurs released
The first episode of "Karestan", a documentary series on Iranian entrepreneurs, was released on Saturday. Director Bahram Azimpur, project manager Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and producer Mojtaba Mirtahmasb attended a screening of the episode entitled "Cotton and Fire" at the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA). - 7/17/16

Iran Plans First Tender to Draw $12 Billion Green Investment
Iran is planning its first tender for utility-scale renewable-energy projects by year end as it begins a green power build out that could draw $12 billion of investment by the time it's complete. -Bloomberg - 7/17/16

Regional Implications of the JCPOA
What are the regional implications of the Iranian nuclear deal (the JCPOA)? A good place to start may be to ask what has not happened since the JCPOA was signed: (1) The regional states have not rushed to acquire independent nuclear capability. You may recall that this was widely predicted at the time... -Gary Sick - 7/16/16

NIAC Capitol Hill Briefing Assesses JCPOA Implementation and Complications
"We should be pursuing another diplomatic win with the Iranians before the end of this administration," said New America's Suzanne DiMaggio, speaking at a National Iranian American Council (NIAC) briefing on Capitol Hill on July 14, marking the one year anniversary of the Iran nuclear agreement. - 7/16/16

Iran and Chinese claims in the South China Sea
The international Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague (which has nothing to do with the ICJ or International Court of Justice), on 12 July 2016 voted unanimously (by five Judges) in a 497 page decision, that the Chinese claims for owning 85% of the South China Sea (one of the biggest and busiest maritime territories of the world and close to the size of entire India) was contrary to the international law of the sea. This was the response of court to a case filed by Philippines against China in 2013. - 7/16/16

Firms say US Congress blocking Iran plans
In the wake of the recent anti-Iran bills adopted by the US Congress, global corporate leaders are already complaining that American lawmakers are undermining their plans to approach the vast Iranian market. - 7/16/16

Effort to Kill the Iran Nuclear Agreement Continues
The one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is naturally an occasion for stock-taking, as such anniversaries commonly are. Much spinning is mixed in with the stock-taking, and it is worthwhile to take stock of the spinning as well as of the reality that is relevant to the agreement. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/16/16

Iran ratifies Paris climate deal, bringing it closer to enter into force
The Iranian cabinet of ministers, headed by President Hassan Rouhani, ratified the Paris climate deal on Wednesday and brought the deal closer to enter into force. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degree Centigrade by cutting back on the greenhouse gas emission. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020. - 7/16/16

Italy's ANAS to build key highway link in Iran
ANAS, Italy's state-owned national roads and highway construction company, says it has signed a major deal with Iran to construct what could be a strategic highway connecting one of the country's key ports on the shores of the Persian Gulf to the border point with Turkey. - 7/16/16

Why America Needs an Interests Section in Iran
The one-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) provides us with an opportunity to debate what the final six months of the Obama Administration should bring to Iran policy. This next period is of deep import, as it will create a new baseline for the incoming President. -Morad Ghorban, National Interest - 7/16/16

US Is Delaying Iran's Return to Global Economic Community
It is a year on Thursday since Iran and the West struck their historic nuclear deal. It is in deep trouble - and the fault lies with the United States. Iran promised to cut back its peaceful nuclear program. In return Washington undertook to relax its sanctions against Iran and open the way for its return to the global economic community. This agreement, reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015, appeared to bring an end to nearly 40 years of cold war between Iran and the West stretching back to the 1979 Islamic revolution. -Peter Jenkins and Peter Oborne - 7/15/16

One Year On: Why Iran Has Yet To Cash In On Nuclear Deal
A year ago, the inking of a historic nuclear deal with world powers led some euphoric Iranians to dream of an economic boom and the end of international isolation. Despite the lifting of crippling sanctions that freed billions in assets and removed many obstacles to trade, there are few signs that Iranians have reaped the economic benefits that they had expected from the July 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. -Frud Bezhan and Hannah Kaviani, RFE - 7/15/16

New Law Reduces Employment Prospects for Women in Iran
Iran's Parliament has ratified an amended law that reduces the working hours of female employees with certain family obligations by eight hours per week. Although the law requires employers to pay these women full-time wages, rights advocates say the law will harm the employment prospects of women entering the job market and reduce the job security of those already employed, as employers balk at the costs the legislation will incur upon them. - 7/15/16

"Assholism" goes on stage in Tehran to awaken people's conscience on social issues
Director Ali Hosseini has said that he intends to awaken the conscience of people in Tehran on some social issues by staging a play based on Xavier Crement's "Assholism" at Tehran's 3-Noqteh Amphitheater. Hosseini has written the play by a Persian translation of the book by Mahmud Farjami. - 7/15/16

NIAC Action Welcomes EU Decision Not to Reciprocate on American Travelers
NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi released the following statement after the European Commission indicated it would intensify efforts to achieve visa waiver reciprocity, foregoing a potential suspension of the Visa Waiver Program in reaction to restrictions on European travelers: - 7/15/16

U.S. House Approves New Sanctions On Iran Over Missiles, Terrorism
The U.S. House passed two bills imposing new sanctions on Iran for continuing to develop ballistic missiles and denying the Iranian government and banks access to the U.S. financial system and dollars. But Democrats called the GOP bills cynical attempts to score points with grass roots conservative constituents in an election year. - 7/15/16

Iran introduces 12 sectors to foreign investors
KPMG, the giant global company that provides audit, tax and advisory services, has been quoted by the media as indicating in a report that the target sectors include oil, natural gas, mining and electronics. The KPMG report has estimated the value of potential investments in the 12 sectors at $250 billion. - 7/15/16

Iran reports huge rise in exports to US
The latest official figures show that there has been a whopping rise in Iran's exports to the United States in the second quarter of 2016. Figures released by Iran's Customs Administration show that Iran exported Rials 300 billion (about $8 million) to the US over the period. The figure marks an 80-fold increase compared to the same period last year when it stood at only Rials 3.8 billion ($0.1 million). - 7/15/16

Iran extends visa on arrival to 3 months
Iran has increased its visa on arrival extension from 1 month to 3 months, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicraft Organization Director Masoud Soltanifar announced. For the time being, citizens of 190 countries can obtain visa on arrival at the country's airports with one-month validation, he added. - 7/15/16

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Quits after Years of State Harassment and Threats
Constant pressure and harassment by Iran's Judiciary and security establishment have forced a human rights lawyer to leave her profession. Giti Pourfazel-who spent nearly 10 years representing political prisoners and their families, usually for free-has submitted her resignation to Iran's Bar Association. - 7/15/16

Hill Update on Iran Legislation
As we have over the last year, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. -LobeLog - 7/15/16

Saudi Supports Anti-Iran Fanatics
If Saudi Arabia is on a quest to paint itself as a responsible actor in the region, the kingdom took a big step backward over the weekend. That's when a former top official-who remains an influential figure-declared support not only for regime change in Iran but for one of the strangest would-be agents of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. -Ali Gharib - 7/14/16

Death of a Director: Medical Team Blamed For Death of Abbas Kiarostami
Dariush Mehrjui, the director of the acclaimed drama "The Cow", has said that top Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami died because of his Iranian medical team's negligence. "The murderers are among us," noted Mehrjui who was weeping bitterly and asked the country's judicial authority to bring them to trial. - 7/14/16

One Year After Iran Nuclear Deal, Sides Remain Compliant but Wary
One year ago, exhausted diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers emerged from a meeting at a luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria with what they had been seeking for nearly two years: a comprehensive agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting harsh economic sanctions. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 7/14/16

Health Official Says Sexual Transmission Of HIV Rising In Iran
A senior official in Iran's Health Ministry says sexual transmission of HIV is on the rise in the country, in part, because of taboos about discussing sex. Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayari said the share of HIV transmission through sexual intercourse had doubled during the past decade from 15 percent to 30 percent of all cases. - 7/14/16

Caspian Sea legal regime must guarantee littoral states' interests: Iran FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Caspian Sea's legal regime should guarantee that the interests of the littoral states are met in view of the geopolitical developments. Zarif made the remark in a ministerial meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Wednesday. - 7/14/16

Kurdish Rebels, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Renew Decades-old Conflict
Kurdish rebels have been clashing with Iran's Revolutionary Guard since mid-June in an area along the Iran-Iraq border, according to Iran's state TV. Videos on social media also allegedly show Iran shelling positions held by Kurdish rebels. -Sirwan Kajjo, Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 7/14/16

70-Year-Old Man Sentenced to Flogging for Demanding Information on Missing Son
The wife of Hashem Zeinali, a 70-year-old man who was given a lashing and prison sentence after peacefully demanding information about his missing son while standing outside Evin Prison, is hoping that the Appeals Court will overturn the ruling. - 7/14/16

Legal Expert Expresses Outrage over Charges against Renowned Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli
Charging the prominent Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli, who also holds Canadian citizenship, with "disturbing public opinion and spreading falsehoods" is "shocking," an expert on the Iranian legal system told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/14/16

U.S. House Passes Bill To Block Purchases Of Heavy Water From Iran
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on July 13 to undercut the Iran nuclear deal by blocking the purchase of "heavy water" from Iran as authorized under the agreement. The House is due to vote on two other measures aimed at derailing the nuclear deal later this week. - 7/14/16

Senate Bill Beefs Up U.S. Sanctions On Iran Over Missiles, Terrorism
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation to sanction persons involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and require the president to enforce an arms embargo against Tehran. - 7/14/16

Iran to buy planes from Mitsubishi
Iran has reportedly started talks to purchase planes from Mitsubishi Aircraft - the aviation arm of Japan's industrial giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Japan's media say the country's Mitsubishi Aircraft is negotiating with Iran to provide the country with its regional passenger jets that are currently under development. - 7/14/16

Saudi Arabia's Perspective on the U.S. Presidential Race
The Saudi leadership is coming to terms with the possibility of Donald Trump becoming America's 45th president. From Riyadh's perspective, a Trump presidency represents many risks stemming from countless unknown variables surrounding the Republican Party's presumptive nominee. It appears that this is exactly what Trump wants. In the real estate mogul's words, "We must, as a nation, be more unpredictable." -Giorgio Cafiero and Joshua Hodge, LobeLog - 7/14/16

Poll: Iranian Public Souring on Nuclear Deal, Rouhani
A brand-new public opinion poll conducted by IranPoll.com on behalf of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland finds that Iranians have not experienced the economic benefits they expected following the successful implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Consequently, opinion is beginning to turn on the nuclear deal and on its chief Iranian architect, President Hassan Rouhani, who is expected to stand for reelection next year. -Derek Davison - 7/13/16

U.S. House To Vote On Legislation To Derail Iran Nuclear Deal
The U.S. House on July 13 will vote on Republican legislation to undercut President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran nearly a year after the deal was announced. The White House issued a threat to veto the legislation on July 10, saying it would kill the nuclear agreement, which it said remains "critical to ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is and will remain exclusively peaceful." - 7/13/16

Commentary: Iran's Hard-Liners Crack Down as Their Base of Support Narrows
There is a crackdown underway in Iran. But it is no longer just a crackdown on dissent. Rather it is an attempt to crush views or expressions that depart from the insular and rigid worldview of an increasingly small band of hard-liners. - 7/13/16

Iranian vessels mounted with machine guns approach US warship in Strait of Hormuz
In the latest escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran, five Iranian military vessels maneuvered extremely close to a US warship carrying a top American general just six months after two US ships were detained by Iran. - 7/13/16

Russian, Iranian, Azerbaijani Presidents To Meet In Baku
The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan are expected to hold talks in Baku early next month. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour said on July 13 that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rohani will meet with their Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in the Azerbaijani capital on August 8. - 7/13/16

Trump: Using Ahmadinejad's Playbook
Sometimes, Washington can be a strange place. A growing chorus of voices warns of dire consequences should Republican Donald Trump win the presidency, but few beltway insiders give him a realistic chance of victory. Many Iranians around the world think differently. -Reza Marashai, Cairo Review of World Affairs - 7/13/16

US figures urge more Iran engagement
More than 75 high-profile current and former US political and military personalities have written to US President Barack Obama, advising that he pursue deeper engagement with Iran. Politico reported the development on Monday, saying the letter was penned by bipartisan signatories. "Given the stakes, the US will need more, not less, engagement with Iran," they wrote. - 7/12/16

Anniversary of Iran Nuclear Deal: Neocons Still Anti-Diplomacy
There is going to be a storm of hot takes to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal. And the first drops are already falling. The take that caught my eye at this early stage is a curtain-raiser exemplar of neoconservative thought a year after the accord. It comes our way in the pages of the Weekly Standard, authored by Michael Makovsky, the head of the neocon outfit, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. -Ali Gharib - 7/12/16

Iranian musician composing opera on Nezami for Germany
Iranian musician Nader Mashayekhi has been commissioned by the Berlin State Opera to compose an opera on Nezami Ganjavi (c. 1141-1209 CE), the greatest romantic epic poet in Persian literature who brought a colloquial and realistic style to the Persian epic. - 7/12/16

Saudi Backing of Iranian Exile Group Inflames Mideast Conflicts
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a respected former Saudi ambassador to Britain and the United States, startled many observers when he turned up Saturday at a conference in Paris of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq or MEK. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 7/12/16

Jailed Iranian Human Rights Defender's Mother Calls On Rohani To Intervene
The mother of jailed Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi has called on President Hassan Rohani to intervene in the case of her daughter, who has been on hunger strike for two weeks. Mohammadi, one of Iran's top rights activists, has reportedly refused to eat since June 27 to protest a refusal by prison officials to allow her to speak to her Paris-based children on the phone. - 7/12/16

Iran says it has regained 80% of its lost oil market share
Mohsen Qamsari, the director of international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), has told Bloomberg that Iran's success to regain a major share of its lost market has been materialized through the country's ability to export about 2 million barrels of crude oil per day. - 7/12/16

Don't litter: A public-spearheaded campaign to leave no trace in the nature
With the beginning of any public holidays in the country, Iranian environmentalists, resort managers, and locals often voice their concerns over the substantial amount of garbage strewed around beaches, riversides, forests, etc. - 7/12/16

Iran body approves new oil deals
An Iranian advisory body has approved the text of the new format of its oil sector contracts after they were put through certain amendments that had earlier been raised by the critics in the country. The seal of approval for the contracts was put by the Resistance Economy Committee, Reuters reported. - 7/12/16

Thousands Attend Funeral For Iranian Film Director Abbas Kiarostami
Thousands of Iranians, including artists, intellectuals, and others have attended the funeral ceremony in Tehran of the country's top filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, who died last week at the age of 76. Some at the memorial service held posters that said "First Welcome, Last Farewell" -- a reference to the lack of official attention he received in the Islamic republic. - 7/11/16

Saudi bids to revitalize MKO doomed to failure: IRGC
A commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says efforts by Saudi Arabia and foreign media to pump new blood into the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group are doomed to failure. - 7/11/16

Rivals Trade With Iran, Why Can't we?: Boeing
American aerospace and defense giant Boeing has criticized a possible ban by Congress on its multi-billion dollar agreement with Iran, saying that all rivaling companies should also withdraw their contracts with Tehran in case the ban is finalized. - 7/11/16

Prominent Iranian Sculptor Accused Of 'Disturbing Public Peace'
Prominent Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, who was recently banned from leaving the country, says he's been accused by the police of "disturbing public peace" and "spreading lies." Tanavoli spoke to the semiofficial ILNA news agency after visiting Iran's special court for culture and media. "They told me my sculptures are examples of disturbing the public peace and spreading lies," Tanavoli said on July 10. - 7/11/16

One Year On: The Iran Deal Has Fulfilled Its Promise
The annual Herzliya Conference made headlines a few weeks back simply due to the fact that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled out a no holds barred attack on Benjamin Netanyahu. It was interesting to hear that Ya'lon told the crowd that "at this point in time and in the near future, Israel does not face any existential threats." Ya'alon tied his remarks to theIran nuclear deal, and in doing so fell in line with IDF assessments, which were laid out by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot in January 2016 during the INSS Conference. -Shemuel Meir, LobeLog - 7/11/16

Metabolic diseases in Iran five times global average
According to IRNA, Shahla Farshidi has said that the number of affected children in Iran is five times more than that worldwide, calling consanguinity marriage - marriage of the same blood - the main reason behind rise of metabolic disease in Iran. - 7/11/16

Labor Rights Activists Detained Incommunicado in Iranian Kurdish City of Sanandaj
Labor rights activists Hashem Rostami and Mozaffar Salehinia have been imprisoned in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran's Kordestan Province, for more than two weeks without charge or access to a lawyer, informed sources told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/11/16

Iran Announces Indictments for 3 Dual Nationals, Foreigner
Iran announced Monday that three dual nationals and a foreigner held in the country have been indicted on unknown charges, part of a series of detentions in the wake of last year's nuclear deal with world powers. The four, who have ties to Britain, Canada and the U.S., all are believed to have been detained by hard-liners in Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. -AP - 7/11/16

Iranian Lawmaker Survives Assassination Attempt
Iranian lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpishe has survived an assassination attempt in Kermanshah Province in the west of the country, Iranian news agencies reported. Falahatpishe sustained minor injuries but a local official and their driver were killed when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle, the reports said. Another official injured in the attack was reported to be in serious condition. - 7/11/16

Chess is very popular among the Iranians, Anatoly Karpov says
Seven-time World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov, who has come to Iran to attend the first edition of Chess Stars Cup, says that the sport is very popular among the Iranian people. The prestigious competition will take place in Bandar Anzali Free Zone, northern Iran, from July 9th to 21st. FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will also attend the Chess Stars Cup. - 7/9/16

Abbas Kiarostami's body arrives in Tehran among mourning crowds of artists
On 8 July, Abbas Kirostami's body arrived in Tehran from Paris; a crowd of Iranian film directors, actors, actresses and other artists were in Tehran airport to pay their respects. Kiarostami, a director whose films served a poetic introduction to the lives of the ordinary Iranians, died Monday, July 4, at his home in Paris. He was 76 and battling gastrointestinal cancer. - 7/9/16

Washington will have to pay dearly if it breaches JCPOA: Iran nuclear official
Iran's top nuclear official has stressed the Islamic Republic's strong commitment to the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and six world countries in July 2015, warning the United States about the negative repercussions of violating the deal. - 7/9/16

Iran Explores Joining Project To Harness Energy From Nuclear Fusion
Laban Coblentz, spokesman for the ITER project, told AP that a high-level Iranian delegation led by nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi and Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari visited St. Paul Lez Durance in southern France on June 30-July 1, where a fusion-harnessing device is being built. - 7/9/16

Man Who Was Imprisoned in Iran for Posting Jokes on Facebook Denied Timely Appeal Verdict
Computer engineer Soheil Babadi, who was imprisoned in Iran for posting jokes on a satirical Facebook page, has been waiting close to a year for a ruling on his appeal against his prison sentence. The authorities have meanwhile refused to release him on bail or allow him to receive medical treatment outside of Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj (west of Tehran) where he has been held in Ward 12-where political prisoners are kept-since October 1, 2014. - 7/9/16

Iran Vows To Continue Missile Tests Despite UN Chief's Criticism
Ban warned that Iran's missile tests could increase tensions in the Middle East. His report stopped short of calling the missile launches a "violation" of the UN resolution carrying out the nuclear deal, a determination he said was up to the Security Council. The United States and its allies have called the tests a UN sanctions violation, but Russia and China have blocked attempts to punish Iran for it. - 7/9/16

U.S. House Passes Legislation To Block Sale Of Boeing Airliners To Iran
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation aimed at blocking the sale of Boeing airliners to Iran, a deal that was authorized under Tehran's year-old nuclear deal with world powers. The Obama administration has said it will veto any legislation that undermines the nuclear agreement with Iran. - 7/8/16

Iranian Women Sports Spectators: In or Out?
Images of spectators participating in the third week of the world volleyball championships in Tehran revealed a number of women inside the stadium. In the past years Islamic Republic official have barred Iranian women from entering stadiums to watch sports events. - 7/8/16

Iran plant blaze not act of sabotage: Minister of Petroleum
Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says a raging blaze at a petrochemical plant in southwest Iran has not been caused as a result of an act of sabotage. The blaze started with an explosion in a key tower of the plant - the tallest in the Middle East. There have also been conflicting reports on the number of casualties. - 7/8/16

Imprisoned Iranian Journalists Granted Brief Reprieve from Prison
After eight months in detention, newspaper columnist Afarin Chitsaz was released from Evin Prison in Tehran on July 5, 2016 on 10 billion rials ($324,000 USD) bail until her appeal hearing, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned. Two imprisoned reformist journalists who were apprehended on the same day as Chitsaz during a wave of arrests by the Revolutionary Guards were meanwhile temporarily released. - 7/8/16

How nuclear deal has cooled Iran-US cyberwar
Sitting in a brightly lit apartment in Brooklyn, an American hacker who asked Al-Monitor to call him Alex scribbled down a dizzying array of cyberstrikes between the United States/Israel and Iran since 2010. The page was fast being covered in Alex's rushed handwriting, and his eyes glimmered with excitement. -Narges Bajoghli, Al-Monitor - 7/8/16

Maz Jobrani: Building Cultural Bridges, One Laugh at a Time
Maz Jobrani likes to make people laugh. The Iranian-American knew early in life that he wanted to become an actor or comedian. His path to stardom was a long journey. His immigrant story is not unusual. He was born in Iran's capital Tehran, but grew up in America. -Marsha James, VOA - 7/8/16

In Support Of The Imprisoned Iranian-American Father And Son, Baquer And Siamak Namazi
Iranian-American organizations NIAC Action and PAAIA have issued press releases in support of a resolution introduced in the U.S. Congress demanding that Iran release two imprisoned Iranian-Americans, father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi. No charges have been filed against either Siamak, held since October 2015, or his father, held since February 2016. - 7/7/16

U.S. Lawmakers Debating Bills To Prohibit Boeing Sale To Iran
A U.S. House subcommittee on July 7 will debate legislation aimed at halting Boeing's sale of passenger jets to Iran, in the largest U.S.-Iranian business transaction since 1979. Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate. Democrats are expected to oppose the legislation and President Barack Obama could veto it, if it passes Congress. - 7/7/16

Iran on verge of eliminating polio: Health Official
Iran is close to eliminating Polio as no incidence of the disease has been reported in the country since 2000, the head of the communicable diseases department of the ministry of health said on Monday. - 7/7/16

Armed bandits kill four border guards in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province
Armed bandits have killed four Iranian border guards during clashes in the country's southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan. An informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IRNA on Wednesday that the guards were killed in an ambush by terrorists in the border region of Jakigour in the southern Sarbaz district of the province. - 7/7/16

Maryam Rajavi -- MEK Propaganda Queen -- Advertises Her Serives For Iran's Enemies
The Middle East is in turmoil. Deaths and destruction are a daily occurrence throughout the region. Families flee their homes in fear, forced into an uncertain future. No end is in sight. Yet into this calamitous scenario a slick, sophisticated terrorist recruiter's advert has popped up which ISIS itself could learn from. -Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post - 7/7/16

Ailing Iranian Political Prisoner Temporarily Released and Promised Retrial Shortly After Judiciary's Harsh Refusal
Imprisoned labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh was temporarily released on "extendable furlough" on June 30, 2016 and promised a retrial three days after judicial authorities publicly refused to look into his case following a debilitating hunger strike that left him hospitalized. - 7/7/16

Persian Family Day 2016 in Toronto, Canada
This annual event will be celebrated on 23rd of July 2016. The Fifth "Persian Family Day" will be held on Saturday July 23, 2016 at Mel Lastman Square - a renowned venue for festivals and family gatherings at the heart of Toronto. - 7/7/16

The US could have destroyed Iran's entire infrastructure without dropping a single bomb
The United States had a top-secret operation that gave it the ability to shut down much of Iran's infrastructure ahead of a full-scale war, without a single bomb being dropped. -Paul Szoldra, Tech Insider - 7/7/16

Photos: Hundreds Of Iranians Mourn Film Director Kiarostami
Hundreds of Iranians attended a candlelit ceremony to mourn the death of film director Abbas Kiarostami, who died at the age of 76 after a career spanning more than four decades. President Hassan Rohani said on Twitter on July 5 that the director's "deep attitude toward life and invitation to peace and friendship" will be a "lasting achievement." - 7/6/16

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's new documentary promotes charity for poor child patients
Director of acclaimed social drama "Tales" Rakhshan Bani-Etemad in her new documentary is promoting charity for child patients whose parents are unable to cover the cost of medical treatment for their illnesses. - 7/6/16

Iranians to mark National Mount Damavand Day
Iranians will celebrate the National Mount Damavand Day on July 22 to attract the public's attention to the importance of mountains in the country's history and nature. The festival is coordinated by the Mount Damavand lovers NGOs, Iranian climbers club, and some other organizations. - 7/6/16

Trump not to 'rid' Iran deal but to 'revise' it, his advisor says
US Republican presumed Donald Trump does not plan to "get rid of" Iran's nuclear deal but he will "revise" it if he wins the White House in the 2016 presidential election, says his top foreign policy advisor. - 7/6/16

U.S. legislators to call for release of Americans held by Iran
The resolution will call for Iran to immediately and unconditionally release businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, 80, both of whom have dual citizenship. The text of the resolution was seen by Reuters. - 7/6/16

English Translation of "Charand-o Parand" Published: Revolutionary Satire from Iran, 1907-1909
For the first time ever, Charand-o Parand (Stuff and Nonsense), a classic of Modern Persian literature and political satire, is now available in English. Translated by two distinguished scholars of Persian language and history, Janet Afary and John R. Perry, this volume makes Dehkhoda's entertaining political observations accessible to scholars of Iranian history, as well as all English readers interested in great literature. - 7/6/16

Decades On, Land Mines Shatter Young Lives in Iran
Remnants of a war fought decades ago continue to devastate innocent lives in Iran. During the conflict with Iraq in the 1980s, millions of land mines were buried throughout Iran's western border provinces. Despite efforts by government demining programs, an unknown amount of undetonated ordnance still litters the countryside. -John Otis, NY Times - 7/6/16

An EU Strategy for relations with Iran after the nuclear deal
This report outlines the potential for a more structured and strategic relationship between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -European Parliament - 7/6/16

Iranian basketball players fail to qualify for Olympics
The Iranian men's national basketball team has suffered the second defeat in a row at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, missing the Rio Olympics. In a disappointing evening at the multi-purpose Pala Alpitour indoor sports arena in Turin, Italy, on Tuesday, the Iranians missed the Rio berth by five points and conceded a 70-75 loss to Mexico. - 7/6/16

Lockheed Martin says not looking into Iran
Global aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp says it will not look to capitalize on the Iranian market thus rejecting earlier reports that it was exploring the possibility of supplying the country with helicopters. - 7/6/16

Auteur Abbas Kiarostami, who gained global recognition for Iranian cinema, passes away at 76
Speaking to the Guardian from Tehran, Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi said, "He wasn't just a filmmaker; he was a modern mystic, both in his cinema and his private life." He noted that Kiarostami's success empowered many generations of Iranian filmmakers and added, "He definitely paved ways for others and influenced a great many people. It's not just the world of cinema that has lost a great man; the whole world has lost someone really great." - 7/5/16

President Rouhani vows to eradicate misuse of public funds
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has promised to root out "corruption in the country's administrative and economic system." The president made the remarks in a Monday statement addressed to the nation and in reaction to recent revelations of exorbitant payments made to some high-level managers. - 7/5/16

Iran Leader: I am sensitive towards 2009 "events"
Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has said that he is sensitive towards the year 2009 events. He used the term events to avoid using the term protests. Khamenei's comments about the 2009 elections were in response to a student who stood up and raised his voice about Khamenei's stance towards the leaders of the Green Movement, who have been in house arrest for the past 8 years. - 7/5/16

What lies above: Stunning photographs reveal the beautiful ceilings in Iran's mosques, bazaars and public baths
French photographer Eric Lafforgue has travelled Iran capturing pictures of the country's elaborately tiled ceilings. The images show in intricate detail how heavily mathematics and geometry featured in Islamic architecture. Many experts believe the most exquisite and delicate architecture ever created can be found in Iran -Daily Mail - 7/5/16

Iran loses to Greece at FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament
Iran opened the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Olympic qualifying tournament campaign with a 78-53 defeat to Greece at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy on Monday. - 7/5/16

Teacher's Rights Champion Beaten and Slapped with New Charge after He Attempts to Visit Political Prisoner
A little over a week after teachers' rights activist Rassoul Bodaghi was conditionally released from prison on April 29, 2016, he was charged with "insulting the supreme leader" and now faces up to three more years in jail. - 7/5/16

150-member Italian trade delegation due in Tehran next week
A 150-member trade delegation, comprised of senior officials and economic activists in various fields will leave the Italian province of Marche for Tehran on July 11 to confer on development of commercial ties with Iranian officials, Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPO) reported on Monday. - 7/5/16

U.S.-Iran education exchange plans cool over hardliners' spy charges
Just before last year's nuclear deal with Iran, five U.S. universities visited the country to explore renewing educational ties that flourished before the Islamic Revolution. The group, which included representatives from Rutgers and the University of Southern California (USC), found a desire on both sides for more exchanges and concluded that U.S. students and scholars would be warmly welcomed in Iran. But there was a hitch... -Reuters - 7/5/16

Iranian TV Claims Tehran Thwarted IS Plans For Paris-Style Attacks
Iranian state television aired a documentary claiming that militants detained last month and linked with Islamic State had been paid to carry out assaults in Tehran like the ones in Brussels and Paris. - 7/5/16

Iranian-Canadian sculptor says he's been barred from leaving Iran
A renowned Iranian-Canadian sculptor who is considered a rock star among his peers says he has been barred from leaving Iran. Parviz Tanavoli, who divides his time between B.C.'s Horseshoe Bay and Tehran, said he was about to board a flight to London from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on Saturday when he had his passport confiscated and was told he could not leave.-Globe and Mail - 7/5/16

Iranian Dissident Camp Near Baghdad Airport Shelled; Several Injured
A camp for Iranian dissidents near Baghdad's international airport was shelled, injuring several people, Iraqi officials and camp residents said on July 4. The bombardment set fire to several caravans in the camp, where members of the opposition People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran are waiting to be resettled outside the country. - 7/5/16

Leaked Salaries Cast Iran Officials In Harsh Light, But To What End?
Simmering anger in Iran's hard-line media over official salaries has forced President Hassan Rohani's administration onto the defensive with a likely reelection bid for the relative moderate on the horizon. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 7/4/16

Babies Switched at Birth: Two families on emotional roller coaster over nurse's grave mistake
On a popular show called Mah-e Asal that goes on air in Iran during the holy month of Ramadan, one true story went quite viral this year. Two families learned the hard way that their babies were switched at birth after passage of almost a year. - 7/4/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Iran see off Argentina in tie-breaker
Iran beat Argentina 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 25-22, 16-14) in Tehran on Sunday. Despite neither team having a chance to quilify for the Final Six in Krakow, the players treated the home crowd to a thrilling match. - 7/4/16

Software AG forays into Iran's IT sector
Germany's Software AG, a world leader in enterprise Software and solutions, has announced serious plans to venture into the Iranian IT market. The company, the second largest software vendor in Germany and the seventh largest in Europe, says this is part of a strategy to leverage its potential of becoming the fastest-growing IT sector in the Middle East region in the next five years. - 7/4/16

Russia set to fund railway line between Iran, Azerbaijan: Report
According to Tasnim news agency, head of the press service of Azerbaijan Railways OJSC Nadir Azmammadov, has said that Russian Railways OJSC has discussed the terms of its participation in the financing of the Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway with the related parties in the Azeri capital, Baku. - 7/4/16

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016: Iran defeats Serbia, but falls to Italy
Italy led by Vettori and Juantorena smoothly beat Iran 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-21) in Tehran on Saturday. This is the eighth time Iran and Italy have clashed in the World League and the first time since 2014. Italy have won four of the previous seven World League meetings. - 7/3/16

"Salesman" Awarded Best Film at Munich Festival
Asghar Farhadi's acclaimed drama "The Salesman" won the ARRI/Osram Award, which is presented to the best film in CineMasters -- the international competition -- at the Munich International Film Festival, the organizers announced on Saturday. - 7/3/16

Journalists in Iran Warned Via Text Message About 'Hostile' Groups
Hundreds of journalists in Iran have received an anonymous text message warning them not to have contact with "hostile" organizations outside the country. Iranian media say some 700 journalists and public figures received the text message Friday. - 7/3/16

Saudi Arabia: When Anger Substitutes for Diplomacy
When the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini meets with her counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at an EU-GCC ministerial meeting on July 20 in Brussels, the mood will be far from jubilant... At the root of these disagreements are conflicting policies toward Saudi Arabia's great nemesis, Iran. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 7/3/16

Executives of top Iran fund forced to resign en masse
President Hassan Rouhani has accepted the mass resignation of those on the board of trustees of Iran's sovereign wealth fund as revelations about high compensation packages at state-owned firms take new casualties - 7/3/16

Democratic Party Platform Fight on Israel and Palestine
At last week's Democratic Party platform drafting meeting, I introduced Bernie Sanders' amendment to the Israel/Palestine section calling for and end to the occupation and settlements. What follows are my comments, speaking for the amendment -James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 7/3/16

Iran Leader Says Will Not Coordinate With U.S. Over Syria
Iran's supreme leader says Tehran will never coordinate with the United States on Syria and other regional conflicts. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks published on his website July 3 that "we don't want such coordination as their main objective is to stop Iran's presence in the region." - 7/3/16

#RumiWasntWhite: Outrage over Hollywood Choice to Play Persian Poet
It was only four months ago that the U.S. film industry was slammed for snubbing actors of color by casting white actors to play the part of Asians, Hispanics, or Native Americans, and ignoring great performances by minorities when the nominees for this year's Oscars were announced. But Hollywood, say critics across the Middle East, doesn't appear to have gotten the message. -Cecily Hilleary, VOA - 7/1/16

Iran removes chiefs of 4 banks over 'unusually high salaries'
The chief executives of four of Iran's major commercial banks have been sacked from their posts for receiving "unconventionally" high salaries. Iranian media reported on Thursday that Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia had removed the heads of Bank Mellat, Bank Saderat, Refah Bank and Mehr. - 7/1/16

Will Clinton Follow the Money on Foreign Policy?
With a combined $10 million in contributions, billionaire Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl Saban are emerging as the biggest donors to the super PAC Priorities USA Action, which supports Hillary Clinton. For her part, Clinton has done much to assure Saban, who described himself in a 2010 New Yorker interview as a "one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel," that she shares his views on Israel. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/1/16

Report: US Sailors' Detention by Iranian Forces 'Wholly Preventable'
PENTAGON- The detention of 10 U.S. sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier this year was "wholly preventable," according to the commander of naval forces in the Middle East. -Carla Babb, VOA - 7/1/16

72% of Iran's population struggling with long-term drought: Official
Since the beginning of the current crop year in Iran and based on the indices of the past nine months (September 23, 2015-June 20, 2016) periods of drought have affected parts of Isfahan, Yazd, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, South Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi, Fars, Kerman, Semnan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Qom, Markazi, Gilan, and Mazandaran to different extents, Shahrokh Fateh said. - 7/1/16

IRGC warns KRG officials over insecurities in western Iran
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' second-in-command has warned Kurdish officials against loose commitment to security issues, days after terrorist cells were smashed in northwestern Iran by IRGC patrol units. - 7/1/16

Iran Takes Steps to Satisfy Banking Watchdog
On June 24, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - an intergovernmental body that sets and promotes standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing - revised its public statement regarding Iran to account for positive steps that Tehran has recently taken to bring itself into compliance with global banking norms. -Tyler Cullis, NIAC - 7/1/16
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