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Trump Says Ready to Talk Directly with Iran's President with 'No preconditions'
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday made his most explicit statement yet that he is open to direct talks with Iran. Trump, in the White House East Room during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, was asked by a reporter if he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. - 7/31/18

Iran's currency rial claws back some losses after record fall
Iran's rial bounced back on Tuesday from a record low which has seen the national currency lose nearly two-thirds of its value since the start of the year. It strengthened 13.72% against the dollar at 109,000 after hitting the record low of more than 120,000 on the unofficial market on Monday. - 7/31/18

Dozens Arrested In Economic Crackdown In Iran
Twenty-nine people have been arrested on charges of 'economic disruption' and will be soon put on trial, according to Iran's judicial spokesman on July 29. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei added that many of the detainees are charged with "corruption on Earth," which is punishable by death. - 7/31/18

Israeli Demands That Iran Exit Syria Not 'Realistic,' Russian Envoy Says
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated demands that Iranian forces and their allies leave Syria are not "realistic," Russia's ambassador to Israel has said. "The Iranians are playing a very, very important role in our common efforts to eliminate the terrorists in Syria," Anatoly Viktorov said in English on Israel's Channel 10 broadcaster on July 30. - 7/31/18

Photos: Lunar eclipse at historical Persepolis
Shots of the moon eclipse were captured by IRNA photographer Reza Ghaderi beside the ancient city of Persepolis, near the city of Shiraz in southern Iran. The so-called blood moon was visible at different times in most parts of the world when the sun, earth and moon lined up perfectly, casting earth's shadow on the moon. People gathered to watch the longest eclipse of the century in Iran. - 7/30/18

Iran's Economic Crisis Worsens As Central Bank Is 'Closely Watching'
The Central Bank of Iran has attributed unprecedented hype surrounding the country's forex and gold markets "mainly to enemies," adding that the increase in gold prices and rate of exchange of foreign currencies has nothing to do with Iran's "economic realities." -Radio Farda - 7/30/18

Iran says impossible to engage with current US government
Iran says it is impossible to engage in talks with the US under the current administration which has adopted a fiercely hostile policy toward the Islamic Republic. "With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialogue and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday. - 7/30/18

Support For Compulsory Hijab Waning, Report by Iranian Parliament Says
The Majles Research Center (MRC) says the number of people who believe in hijab as a religious value, as well as those who believe violating the so-called Islamic dress code is a punishable offense, has been gradually dropping in Iran. - 7/30/18

Man Convicted of National Security Crimes in Iran For Allegedly Promoting His Baha'i Faith
The Appeals Court in Iran's Kurdistan Province has upheld a one-year prison sentence against Zabihollah Raoufi, who was accused of proselytizing his Baha'i faith. He has also been condemned to a year in exile in the remote desert town of Minab, Hormozgan Province-a term he must serve after his prison sentence according to the verdict issued on July 22, 2018. - 7/30/18

Iran to sue US for blocking import of hand-woven carpets
The head of Iran National Carpet Center (INCC) says it will file a lawsuit with international tribunals against fresh sanctions imposed by the US on the imports of hand-woven Iranian rugs into the country. "Hand-woven Iranian carpet belongs to the Iranian nation," Fereshteh Dastpak said on Saturday, adding, "US President [Donald Trump] has wrongly sanctioned the art-industry, which is a symbol of culture and intellectual property of the Iranian people." - 7/30/18

Iran will not wear Adidas at AFC Asian Cup
Iran national football team players will not wear Adidas after the German sportswear manufacturer has decided to deny Iran with access to its services. Adidas has decided to follow in Nike's footsteps. Nike, who was set to sponsor Team Melli with cleats and footwear throughout the 2018 World Cup, announced that it had withdrawn its support of the team because of global economic sanctions against the country. - 7/30/18

Trump's Iran Strategy: Regime Change on the Cheap
War with Iran would be a disaster, but the administration's apparent plan A of indirectly fomenting regime change in Iran also carries grave risks. For one thing, even if it succeeds, the collapse of a state governing over 70 million people and controlling a vast, well-funded, fanatical paramilitary force will necessarily be a chaotic and traumatic process for Iran... - Jonah Shepp, New York magazine - 7/30/18

Iran Crowned Asian U20 Volleyball Champion
Iran swept past South Korea in straight sets (25-22, 25-14, 25-18) in the final match of the 2018 Asian Men's U20 Volleyball Championship on Saturday. Iran and South Korea had already secured their places in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship. - 7/29/18

Iran's currency Rial falls again in historic depreciation
Iran's national currency set a new record low against the US Dollar on Sunday as a result of a race that it appears to be losing on two key fronts: the greenback and the gold. According to media, the Rial plunged past 113,300 on the unofficial market against one Dollar - the lowest rate ever recorded - before noon. The figure marked a major drop from about Rials 97,500 on Saturday. - 7/29/18

French Carmaker Renault Likely To Halt Iran Operations As Other Companies Leave
French car manufacturer Renault says it is likely to leave Iran to avoid renewed U.S. sanctions in spite of previous promises to remain. Several other major companies including Maersk, Total, Peugeot, General Electric, Boeing, Reliance, and Siemens have already left Iran to evade U..S sanctions, which economic experts in Iran say will hit Iranians even harder in about four months' time. - 7/29/18

Increasing Housing Costs Burden Tehran Residents
Residential real estate prices in Tehran have risen 54.4 percent in the past 12 months, according to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). In its latest report on the capital city's housing market, CBI also reported that the price per square meter for Tehran residential units increased to 69.7 million rials (roughly $1,600), compared with the same period last year. - 7/29/18

Mattis: U.S. Not Pursuing Regime Change In Iran
The United States is not after regime change in Iran, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said. Asked whether the U.S. administration had created a regime change or collapse policy, Mattis said on July 27, "There's none that's been instituted." He said the goal of the United States was to change Iran's behavior, as stated by other U.S. officials. - 7/29/18

Rapper Detained For More Than a Month Without Lawyer in Iran's Sistan and Baluchistan Province
Rap artist Shah Baloch, real name Emad Bijarzehi, has been detained in the southeastern Iranian port city of Chabahar without counsel since June 20, 2018, for singing about state oppression against ethnic Baluchis in Sistan and Baluchistan Province. - 7/29/18

Iran Parliament hammering out details of long-awaited bill on rights of children
Finally after months of debates on the bill on children's right, the Iranian parliament (Majlis ) is considering the bill in detail. Majlis passed a law on children's right in 2002. However, a lack of clarity in the law and ineffective legislative strategies prompted the parliamentarians to start to revise the law in 2006. Six years later in 2012 a new bill on children's right was brought before the parliament, which is currently being discussed to be a law. - 7/27/18

Homelessness On The Rise In Iran As Economic Pressures Draw Jobseekers To Cities
The latest official statistics show that 19 million Iranian homeless live in slums on the outskirts of major cities. The figure comes from a recent report released by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development. Ministry head Abbas Akhoundi has cited the figure of 19 million urban homeless in the past, a number that represents nearly 24 percent of the country's population. - 7/27/18

International Court of Justice orders U.S. not to take new sanctions measures against Iran
Mohsen Mohebi, head of the Presidential International Legal Center, said on Tuesday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has demanded the U.S. not to take any new sanctions measures against Iran until the tribunal issues its verdicts on a lawsuit filed by the Islamic Republic against the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. - 7/27/18

1000km of gas pipelines to join Iran's national network by March 2019
Some 1000 kilometers of new gas transferring pipelines will be connected to the national network of the country by the end of current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2019), according to the managing director of Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company. - 7/27/18

U.S. judge rules return of Achaemenid-era relief to Iran: Prehistoric "Persian guard" on the way home
A U.S. judge said on Monday an Achaemenid-era (550-330 BC) bas-relief should be returned to Iran, where the object was originally stolen from some 80 years ago. The limestone relief, which depicts a Persian guard, was confiscated in October from the Park Avenue Armory in New York, where it was being offered for sale at an art fair, the New York Times reported. - 7/26/18

Quds Force Chief Tells Trump That Iran Is Ready To Confront U.S.
A top Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander in Iran says his forces are ready to confront U.S. forces should President Donald Trump act on his warning that Tehran will "suffer consequences" if it threatens the United States. "Mr. Trump, how dare you threaten us?" Qassem Soleimani, who leads the IRGC's elite foreign operations Quds force, was quoted as saying on July 26. - 7/26/18

President Xi Visits the UAE but Skips Iran and Saudi Arabia
On his way to a tour of several African nations China's President Xi Jinping paid an official visit to the United Arab Emirates...Yet an even more significant aspect of President Xi's visit, that has not received any media attention, is that unlike his previous visit to the Middle East, President Xi did not stop at several capitals and instead limited his visit to one country. -Nader Habibi - 7/26/18

Palermo Bills Suspended by Iran's Parliament
The Iranian Parliament has shelved the bill on joining the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), until learning the explicit stance of the Iranian supreme leader over it. The bill, known as the "Palermo Bill" in Iran, already approved by the parliament on June 10, faced the Guardian Council's (GC) opposition, which found incompatibility between the text of the bill and its translation. - 7/26/18

Iran closer to own digital currency as sanctions loom
Iran says it is preparing to develop its own digital currency as a solution which officials in Tehran say would help the country dodge the returning US sanctions. A plan to create an indigenous cryptocurrency was already on the agenda of the Directorate for Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Presidential Office, Iran's media reported. - 7/26/18

Analysts Hope US-Iran War of Words Will Lead to Dialogue
As an August 4 deadline approaches for the first round of new U.S. sanctions on Iran, the war of words between Tehran and Washington has prompted some Mideast commentators to question if a conflict might break out. But Iran's currency, the riyal, has hit a record low of 95,000 to the dollar, losing more than half its value since the start of the year and putting pressure on the government to do something. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 7/26/18

Iran's President Rohani: Resistance strongest response to US empty rhetoric
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says national integrity, unity and resistance provide the most powerful response to the United States' adversity and inappropriate rhetoric. "The Iranian nation has from the start stood up to the American rulers' intransigence, misconduct and breach of promises in all areas, and has chosen the path of resistance," President Rouhani told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. - 7/25/18

Iran's Rouhani shakes up economic team ahead of sanctions
Iran has got a new central bank governor as the country is struggling to check a steep depreciation of the rial and root out a series of irregularities in its banking system. Abdolnaser Hemmati, 61, replaced Valiollah Seif as the top Iranian banker following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Tasnim news agency reported. - 7/25/18

Iranian American and US Permanent Resident Released on Bail From Iran's Evin Prison
Two years after being sentenced to long prison sentences without due process in Iran, Iranian American Karan Vafadari and his American permanent resident wife Afarin Neyssari were released on bail from Tehran's Evin Prison on July 21, 2018. - 7/25/18

After Threats, Trump Says Ready To Negotiate 'Real' Nuclear Deal With Iran
Two days after exchanging harsh warnings with Iranian leaders, U.S. President Donald Trump says he is still eager to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Tehran. "We'll see what happens, but we're ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster," Trump said on July 24 in a speech to veterans in the U.S. state of Missouri. - 7/25/18

Iran Prevents Public Commemoration At Grave Of Celebrated Poet Ahmad Shamlou
Iranian security forces have prevented devotees of fans of late poet Ahmad Shamlou, who pushed for greater freedoms and had some of his work banned under successive governments, from marking the 18th anniversary of his death. - 7/25/18

The Ugly Destination Of Trump's Iran Policy
President Trump's belligerent, all-caps tweet about Iran this past weekend is hardly a natural response to anything the Iranians have been saying or doing lately. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did make a speech on Sunday in which he stated, "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," while advising Trump that "to play with the lion's tail" would become a source of "regret." So, Rouhani was saying that he wants peace with America and that moving toward war would be a bad idea. Hardly the stuff that ordinarily would provoke a flaming riposte. -Paul Pillar - 7/24/18

Iran Lifts Ban On Zoroastrian City Council Member
A top Iranian body has lifted a ban imposed on a member of the minority Zoroastrian religion who had been suspended from his post on a city council in the central city of Yazd, Iranian media reported. Sepanta Niknam was the only non-Muslim elected to the council in the central city of Yazd in May 2017. - 7/24/18

Iranian FM Zarif warns Trump: We've been around for millennia, BE CAUTIOUS!
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warns US President Donald Trump to be cautious after he threatened the Islamic Republic with incredible hardships in a Tweet. "COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them -albeit more civilized ones-for 40 yrs. We've been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, including our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS! ," Tweeted Zarif on Monday. - 7/24/18

Iran, Russia step up energy ties amid West's sanctions
Russia and Iran have discussed energy cooperation between the two countries and through OPEC as part of their efforts to blunt the impact of Western sanctions. According to Russia's Energy Ministry, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met in Moscow and discussed the possibility of Russian oil companies taking part in projects in Iran. - 7/24/18

Turkey has rejected US call to abide by anti-Iran sanctions: Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has described Washington's sanctions against Iran as inappropriate, saying Ankara has told US officials that it will not abide by the bans. Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Turkish authorities had conveyed the message to a delegation of US Treasury and State Department officials during a visit to Ankara last week. - 7/24/18

Iranian Americans Speak Out Against Pompeo's Conflict of Choice with Iran
Washington, D.C. - Jamal Abdi, Vice President for Policy of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement in advance of Sec. Mike Pompeo's address on Iran in California this evening. The National Iranian American Council organized a letter from prominent Iranian Americans objecting to the Trump administration's efforts to destabilize Iran, which was featured in a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times today: - 7/23/18

About 150 Injured as 3 Earthquakes Rock Western and Southern Iran
A 5.9-magnitude quake rattled Kermanshah province, in western Iran near the border with Iraq, Sunday, injuring nearly 150 people, the head of the country's disaster response agency said. Earlier Sunday, 4.7- and 5.7-magnitude quakes hit Hormozgan province, south of Tehran. - 7/23/18

As Water Crisis Continues, Fresh Protests In Southern Iran
Residents of the southern Iranian city of Borazjan have blocked the main road leading into the city as part of a protest over water shortages, state-run Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) reports. "On Sunday morning, July 22, several residents of Borazjan held rallies in the city center to protest the shortage of water," the provincial representative to the Supreme Council of Provinces, Ali Akbar Fatemi, told ILNA, adding that "security forces stepped in to disperse the demonstrators." - 7/23/18

Blasting Iran's regime as 'not normal,' Pompeo calls on Iranian Americans for support in California visit
The Trump administration on Sunday blasted the Iranian government as a kleptocracy that has amassed wealth at the cost of its people, the latest in a series of jabs at Iran's leadership following the United States' withdrawal from the nuclear deal. -Los Angeles Times - 7/23/18

Islamist Hardliners Are Threatening Iran's Very Survival
Since last year, Iran's economy has seriously deteriorated as speculators have rushed to exchange national currency for dollars while others, fearing more troubles to come, have been moving their capital out of the country. Close to $30 billion has reportedly left the country since the currency crisis began. The mounting economic problems have also caused social and political instability. -Shireen T. Hunter, - 7/21/18

Pompeo Reaches Out To Iranian-Americans Amid Hard-Line On Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will reach out to a divided Iranian-American community -- some of whom are dismayed by Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and the reimposition of sanctions as well as a travel ban that prevents many Iranians from entering the United States -- in a July 22 speech near Los Angeles. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 7/21/18

Iranian Judiciary Closes Acid Attack Cases With No Convictions But Promises Victims Compensation
Nearly four years after a series of acid attacks on women in the Iranian city of Isfahan, the judiciary has closed the cases without any convictions while pledging to compensate the victims. "This was a public crime that does not go away with the passage of time and therefore it makes no sense to close the case," Iranian Canadian attorney Hossein Raeesi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on July 19. - 7/21/18

Activists Note Serious Failings by Iranian Organization Tasked With Supporting People With Disabilities
As Iran's State Welfare Organization (SWO) marked its 38th birthday, several people with disabilitiesbased in the country told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that the organization must undergo fundamental reform in order to carry out its mission. - 7/21/18

Terrorist attack near Iraq border leaves 10 Iranian forces dead: Report
A terrorist attack on a military checkpoint on the western border with Iraq and subsequent blast at an arms depot has left 10 members of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) dead, Fars News Agency reported Saturday. - 7/21/18

Khamenei Supports Blocking Region's Oil Exports If Iran's Exports Stopped
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on July 21 backed President Hassan Rohani's suggestion that Iran may block oil exports from the Persian Gulf if its own exports are stopped. Khamenei's website said Khamenei supported Rohani's statement earlier in July that "if Iran's oil is not exported, no regional country's oil will be exported." - 7/21/18

Iranian Girls Burned in 2012 School Fire Protest for Aid in Tehran
A group of Iranian girls who suffered severe burns in a 2012 school fire have staged a protest in Tehran to draw attention to what they say are broken promises of government aid. An Iranian lawyer representing the 11 girls sent VOA Persian several images showing them and their supporters gathered outside the compound of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday. -Shahram Bahraminejad & Michael Lipin, VOA - 7/20/18

Japan To Suspend Imports Of Iranian Oil In Light Of Reimposed Sanctions
Japan is preparing to suspend its crude oil imports from Iran to comply with U.S. demands that are reinforced with threats of sanctions against companies that don't adhere to them. As a result, Japan's Iranian oil imports are expected to plunge to zero as soon as October. - 7/20/18

Iranian Officials Revisit 'Oil For Goods' Scheme As Way Around U.S. Sanctions
Following Russia's lead, EU leaders are exploring the possibility of circumventing U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales by trading oil for goods instead of purchasing it, according to Iranian officials. The deputy chairman of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture, Pedram Soltani, said on July 17 that exchanging oil for goods could be one way of getting around the U.S. sanctions re-imposed after the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal in May. - 7/20/18

Meet Amir Fakhravar, the 'snake oil salesman' pushing regime change in Iran
Fakhravar has become the darling of the Fox News crowd, while opposition activists denounce him for peddling misinformation -Belen Fernandez, Middle East Eye - 7/20/18

Sons of Iranian Canadian Who Died in Evin Prison Sue State Broadcaster For Slander
Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami have sued Iran's state-run TV, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), for slandering their father Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died under suspicious circumstances in Tehran's Evin Prison in February 2018. - 7/20/18

European Bank Throws Doubt On EU Plan To Salvage Iran Nuclear Deal
The head of the European Investment Bank has thrown into doubt whether the European Union can deliver on its pledge to save the Iranian nuclear deal, saying the bank cannot invest in Iran as the EU has envisioned. - 7/19/18

A Case Of Corruption And Embezzlement Angering Iranians
A court in Tehran has been silently investigating a major financial corruption case during recent weeks, reformist daily Sharq revealed on Wednesday July 18. The case is about Samen al-Hojaj Finance and Credit Institution, one of many similar institutions that offered unusually high interest rates to investors, but failed to honor their commitments due to mishandling of funds. -Radio Farda - 7/19/18

Teachers In Iran Launch A Campaign To Protest Low Wages
Protests by Iranian teachers against their low salaries has gained momentum in recent days, social media reports say. The campaign, under the banner of "No! to Payslips and Salaries" was launched by several teachers' rights activists almost immediately after the Ministry of Education declared it will increase teachers' salaries six to ten percent for the next school-year, a local news website, Khabar Online reported. -Radio Farda - 7/19/18

Trump Sought Repeatedly To Meet With Iran's Rohani Last Year, Aide Says
Iranian President Hassan Rohani's chief of staff is claiming that U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly asked to meet with Rohani during his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly last year. "Trump asked the Iranian delegation eight times to have a meeting with the president," Iranian news agencies quoted Mahmud Vaezi as saying on July 18. -RFE/RL - 7/19/18

IRAN: President Rouhani Facing Widespread Outrage as Student Protesters Remain Behind Bars and Receive Harsh Sentences
In a stark display of societal outrage in Iran over President Hassan Rouhani's complicity in rights violations, 120 academics from universities across Iran, some of whom are also current or former lawmakers and cabinet members, have called on the president to order the immediate suspension of the judicial cases against more than 150 students who are still in detention for their participation in the December 2017 - January 2018 protests. - 7/18/18

Europe Plans Bank Accounts For Iran To Ease Repatriation Of Oil Revenues
The Wall Street Journal quoted "several European officials" on July 16 as having said that three European states are about to open new accounts or activate old accounts for the Iranian Central Bank in spite of US sanctions in what it described as "the first concrete sign that Europe could deliver on its promise" to sustain the Iranian nuclear deal. - 7/18/18

Trump Tells Lawmakers U.S. Tough Policy On Iran Is Working
Trump took the occasion of his meeting with the members of Congress to once again reiterate that his tough policy had had an impact on the Islamic Republic. "As most of you know, we ended the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals anyone could imagine. And that's had a major impact on Iran. And it's substantially weakened Iran. And we hope that, at some point, Iran will call us and we'll maybe make a new deal, or we maybe won't." - 7/18/18

Iranian Artists Exhibition in Los Angeles: Only the morning bird treasures the flower garden
The group exhibition Only the morning bird treasures the flower garden, which takes its title from a poem by 14th century Persian poet Hafiz, includes photographs, videos, and other works by more than twenty Iranian artists on the theme of flowers. Co-curated by artist Mehraneh Atashi and Sohrab Mohebbi, the exhibition was originally conceived by Atashi while working in Tehran in 2009, after she was instructed to photograph flowers, rather than take self portraits that address social matters. - 7/18/18

Calls For 'Secure' Universities In Iran, Not 'Securitized'
A recent crackdown on students in Iran has come under criticism by university professors and others who hold President Hassan Rohani responsible for the pressure and are calling on him to take action. More than 100 students were reportedly detained during protests over the economy in late December and early January that evolved into demonstrations against the establishment that included chants targeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Some of the detainees reportedly never took part in the protests, which spread to some 80 cities. - 7/18/18

EU activates law on protecting Iran trade: Mogherini
European countries have activated a blocking statute that prohibits companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says. "Today, the European Council has endorsed the update of the blocking statute annex on the nuclear deal with Iran," Mogherini told reporters in Brussels at a meeting with EU foreign ministers. - 7/17/18

Iran's President Rouhani Renews Calls For Women's Access To Stadium
Responding to a report filed by his cabinet's sports minister, President Hassan Rouhani has suggested that women's access to Tehran's main stadium, Azadi, should continue. Meanwhile, the general manager of Azadi (Freedom) stadium, Nasser Mahmoudifar, who let Iranian women enter the arena after almost four decades of being banned, says he has been fired for doing so. - 7/17/18

Iran Arrests 46 Fashion Workers Including Eight Models in Hormozgan Province
Forty-six members of what security officials have described as an online "modeling ring," including 8 female models, were arrested at an unspecified date in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan according to an announcement by local police chief Gen. Azizollah Maleki on July 16, 2018. - 7/17/18

After Recent Protests, Iran Officials Highlight Corruption
Iran's judicial spokesman has revealed that certain individuals have been arrested and several companies closed down over the alleged abuse of subsidized dollars and price violations on the cellphone market. "Documents have been found that show a number of serious violations have been made on the cellphone market," mid-ranking cleric Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei said during his weekly press briefing on July 15. - 7/17/18

Trade tariff war with US pushing Chinese oil buyers to Iran
Indications are growing that Chinese companies are scrapping plans to purchase oil from the United States and are instead turning to Iran for imports in what appears to be a result of escalating trade tariff war between Beijing and Washington. - 7/17/18

US Rejects European Requests For Relief On Iranian Sanctions
The United States has reportedly rejected requests from European allies that are seeking exemptions from U.S. sanctions imposed on countries doing business in Iran. According to diplomats and other officials, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote a letter to Britain, France and Germany saying the U.S. would not provide widespread protection from sanctions to countries doing business in Iran. - 7/16/18

Iran is Imprisoning University Students Accused of Attending Protests
The number of students being prosecuted for allegedly joining Iran's December 2017/January 2018 protests is much higher than earlier estimates according to a well-known reformist lawmaker. "A list has been put together of the students detained in the December 2017 incidents and they number more than 150," said Member of Parliament Parvaneh Salahshouri in an interview with the state-funded Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on July 10, 2018. - 7/16/18

Iran's Longest-Held Political Prisoner Gets Low-Key Funeral
Iran has held a low-key funeral for a former deputy prime minister who became one of the country's most prominent jailed dissidents. Abbas Amir-Entezam was buried Friday at Tehran's biggest cemetery, Behesht-e Zahra, on the southern outskirts of the capital. His widow, family members and several political activists were among a small group of mourners in attendance. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 7/16/18

Iran files complaint with International Court of Justice over re-imposition of US sanctions
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic has lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the United States' "unlawful" move to re-impose "unilateral" sanctions against Tehran. "Today Iran filed a complaint [with] @CIJ_ICJ to hold US accountable for its unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions," Zarif said in a post on his official Twitter account on Monday. - 7/16/18

Iranian Pilot Arrested After Revealing Safety Lapses On A TV Show
An Iranian pilot who recently made revelations about gross safety violations by Iranian airlines was arrested on Sunday, July 15 in Tehran for a few hours. Amin Amir Sadeghi published a video on his Instagram page showing himself handcuffed by the police saying with a smirk that it was shameful that he had been arrested because he made revelations to save people's lives. - 7/16/18

Detained Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Writes Defiant Letter to Tehran Prosecutor
Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has written a stinging letter to the Tehran prosecutor condemning the sentence issued against one of her clients who was arrested for peacefully protesting Iran's compulsory hijab law. "Tell your judges to issue heavier triple-digit sentences and use foul language if they want, but it won't make a difference because women have decided to rule over their own bodies and men are distancing themselves from your actions, which are an insult to their character," Sotoudeh said in an open letter from Evin Prison addressing Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi. - 7/13/18

Bust of Bibi Maryam Bakhtiari unveiled at NLAI: A woman commander in Iran's Constitutional Revolution
A bust of Bibi Maryam Bakhtiari, a Lorish revolutionary and activist of the Constitutional Revolution, was set at the National Library and Archives of Iran (NLAI) on Tuesday evening. As a military commander, Bibi Maryam played a distinguished role when Bakhtiari tribal forces, with the help of modern arms from the German Empire, successfully captured Tehran in 1909 as part of the revolutionary campaign to force the central government to establish democratic reforms. - 7/13/18

Iranian powerlifter Mohammad Reiesi establishes new world record
Iranian powerlifter Mohammad Reiesi has set a new aggregate record in the 84-kilogram weight class of the World University Powerlifting Cup in the Czech Republic, improving the previous record by nearly 20 kilograms. - 7/13/18

Paris request for US waivers on Iran trade rejected: French Finance Minister
France says the US has rejected its request to exempt French companies from sanctions that Washington plans to impose against Iran. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by media as saying that the US Treasury Department had officially informed Paris that no exemptions would be given to French enterprises for dealing with Iran once the sanctions return. - 7/13/18

As Heatwave Hits Iran, Electrical Grid Stretched To Limit
July temperatures in Iran have reached a whopping 52-53 degrees Celsius (125-127 F) in some spots, as residents struggle with a lack of water and now a looming danger to the electricity network. The high temperatures were recorded in south and southwest of the country, close to the Persian Gulf, while in Ardabil Province in the north, near the border with Azerbaijan, a chilly 13 Celsius or 55 F was recorded. - 7/12/18

Self-proclaimed human rights advocates silent on U.S. sanctions: Iran's Health Minister
Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh-Hashemi on Tuesday criticized the self-proclaimed human rights advocates for their silence toward U.S. sanctions moves against Iran which can impede access of Iranian patients to necessary drugs. "Undoubtedly, the anti-Iran sanctions would harm the elderly and infants while the so-called advocates of human rights are observing and approving them by their silence," Qazizadeh-Hashemi told reporters, ISNA reported. - 7/12/18

Relative calm seen in Iran's currency market
Serious signs have appeared in Iran that show the country's volatile foreign currency market is already heading toward stability. According to media reports, the US dollar was today traded at Rials 78,300 in Tehran indicating a decline of around 4 percent compared to last Wednesday's figure of Rials 81,000. The greenback was nonetheless higher by 8 percent than what it was traded in the capital four weeks ago at Rials 72,500. - 7/12/18

Iranian Teens' Televised "Confessions" For Social Media Postings Prompt Strong Outcry
An Iranian charity for children has condemned Iran's state-run broadcasting organization for airing the "confessions" of teenage girls and boys who had been arrested by the police and accused of public indecency. The police have meanwhile claimed that the teenagers were not crying while they were being interviewed, while the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (the IRIB) has defended its decision to air the confessions, claiming it had been urged to by Iran's judiciary and by viewers. - 7/12/18

Iranian MP from Tehran Accuses His Peers Of Receiving Bribes
Tehran's outspoken representative to parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi has accused his colleagues of receiving bribes to shelve a parliamentary motion aimed at investigating law violations at the capital city's municipality. In one of the most explicit comments on corruption in the Islamic Republic, so far, Mahmoud Sadeghi lambasted an "unknown number of MPs" for bribery to cover up mismanagement at Tehran's City Hall. - 7/12/18

Israeli Leader Tells Putin That He Should Urge Iran To Leave Syria
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he should encourage Iranian forces to leave Syria. Netanyahu said on Facebook late on July 11 that he conveyed this message during a meeting with Putin at the Kremlin during which they discussed the long-running civil war in Syria and the role Iran has played supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. - 7/12/18

Iran Foreign Ministry dismisses US implicating of Iranian embassies in terror acts
Qassemi on Wednesday rejected the allegation by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as baseless, preposterous and part of a targeted propaganda campaign and psychological warfare against the activities of the Iranian embassies, which he said were in line with international conventions and aimed at promoting bilateral friendly relations with other countries. - 7/12/18

Iranian boy meets his favorite soccer player Alireza Jahanbakhsh
A young Iranian boy, who had been photographed wearing a white shirt with a paper tag bearing the name of professional Iranian footballer Alireza Jahanbakhsh Jirandeh on, has finally come face-to-face with his idol. - 7/11/18

Dozens killed as tanker collides with passenger bus in western Iran
At least 11 were killed after a naphtha tanker collided with a passenger bus in the city of Sanandaj, western province of Kordestan, IRNA news agency reported. The tanker's brakes reportedly stopped working and it crashed into the passenger bus which had stopped right outside the bus terminal at midnight and resulted in a massive explosion, the report stated. - 7/11/18

Looming Sanctions Jeopardize Expansion Of Iran's Rail Network
The decision of U.S. President Donald Trump in May to scrap the landmark 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA) has jeopardized Iran's railway projects with international companies. The nuclear agreement encouraged several European and Asian companies to sign contracts worth billions of dollars with Iran for expanding the country's rail network. But fearing sanctions from the U.S., companies such as Germany's Siemens now say they'll cancel their projects in Iran, despite the fact that their own governments still support the JCPOA. - 7/11/18

Corruption Cases Multiply At Tehran Municipality
The Tehran City Council chairman has disclosed a mind-blowing 26,000 complaints against the city over the past two years for legal violations, mostly related to illegal construction activity and financial corruption. Hashemi has said previously that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC) Cooperatives Fund owes trillions of rials (tens of millions of dollars) to the municipality. Many allege corruption at City Hall has allowed the IRGC to evade punishment and fines for its illegal construction activity. - 7/11/18

Rights Attorney Summoned to Court in Iran After Signing Letter Criticizing Judiciary's Restriction of Right to Counsel
Attorney Hossein Ahmadiniaz, the defense counsel in several cases involving human and political rights in Iran, has been summoned by Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Province. - 7/11/18

IRAN: Khamenei Orders Investigation Of IRGC-Linked Suspects In Corruption Scandal
Tehran's Prosecutor-General, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi says the legal cases against several suspects charged with financial corruption in the capital's municipality have been delivered to the Military Prosecutor's office. Jafari Dolatabadi has not named the suspects, but, apparently, all of them have a military background. Tehran's municipality was dominated by an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and former Police Chief Commander, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf for more than a decade. - 7/10/18

Iran's Forcing of Teenage Girl to Confess on State TV for Posting Dance Video Prompts Strong Outcry
Forcing a teenage girl to confess on state TV for the "crime" of posting a video of herself dancing on Instagram represents a blatant violation of freedom of expression and demonstrates the extent to which the authorities are brutally imposing their cultural dictates on the people of Iran. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) condemns the Iranian authorities' arrest and inhumane treatment of 18-year-old Maedeh Hojabri. - 7/10/18

Facing 20-Year Prison Sentence for Taking Headscarf Off in Public, Woman Flees Iran
Shaparak Shajarizadeh, one of the women who took her headscarf off in public during the ongoing protests against forced hijab that have roiled Iran over the last six months, has been sentenced to two years in prison and an 18-year suspended sentence. Shajarizadeh relayed the sentence, issued for "not observing Islamic hijab" and "encouraging corruption" by Branch 1089 of Tehran's Criminal Court under Judge Abolghasem Salavati, on her Instagram page on July 8. - 7/10/18

US targets Iran's tourism: Airlines halt service
The US government says it has sanctioned a Malaysia-based tourism agent for Iranian private airline Mahan Air which is already under American sanctions. The blockade comes as the US prepares to unleash "the strongest sanctions in history" on Iran after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw Washington from a landmark nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. - 7/10/18

IRAN: Disillusioned Regime Insider Calls on Khamenei To Step Down
Former supporter and now opposition figure Abolfazl Qadiani says Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali "Khamenei should step down as a final solution to the Islamic republic's problems." In an article published on opposition website Kalameh on Saturday July 7, former reformist Qadiani, who lives in Iran, called the Islamic Republic "a religious dictatorship." - 7/10/18

IRAN: Khamenei Orders Rouhani To Explain Lack of Transparency In Gold And Forex
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has "ordered" President Hassan Rouhani to present "an accurate report" to shed light on ambiguities about the way the government has allocated foreign currency and sold gold coins to companies and individuals during recent months, Iranian media reported on Friday, July 6. -Radio Farda - 7/9/18

Second Day Of Protests In Borazjan, Southern Iran For Lack Of Water
People in the southern Iranian city of Borazjan held protests Sunday evening for a second day in row over lack of drinking water. The official government news agency IRNA reported that 350 protesters gathered in the city center, but this number seems too low compared with thousands of protesters who had come out the previous day. - 7/9/18

E3 agree to establish dollarless trade with Iran: Russia's Foreign Minister
Major European countries party to nuclear negotiations with Iran - France, Germany and the UK - have agreed to maintain trade with Tehran independent from the US dollar, said Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to Russian news outlet European companies are under increasing pressure from the US to cut business ties with Iran. Since the majority of transactions are currently conducted using the US dollar, firms working in Iran face potential US penalties. - 7/9/18

Dutch airline KLM suspends directs flights to Tehran
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in a statement on Sat. announced that it will stop direct flights to Iranian capital Tehran for "commercial reasons". KLM announced in a statement on its website that the airline will suspend direct flights from Amsterdam to Tehran from 24 September, saying the decision was motivated by negative results and the financial perspective. - 7/9/18

New Protests In Southern Iran Over Water Shortages
Thousands of residents of Borazjan, the center of Dashtestan County in Bushehr province, southern Iran, poured into the streets on Saturday, July 7, to protest "shortage" and "chaotic" distribution of water. Chanting slogans against local authorities, the protesters assembled in the city's main square. -Radio Farda - 7/8/18

President Rouhani's Government Struggling With A New Scandal: Illegal Car Imports
Iran's State Sharia Penal Authority (SSPA) says organized crime has taken place in government subsidized vehicle imports. "A legal case has been filed against the offenders and delivered to the Public Prosecutor's office," the SSPA announced on July 5. -Radio Farda - 7/8/18

Ankara Pushes Back Over US Iran Sanctions
Ankara has criticized Washington's hardline policy toward Tehran, and with Turkey's cooperation seen as vital to enforcing U.S. sanctions against Iran, analysts say a new confrontation could be looming. "The implementation of sanctions against Iran will have a negative impact on the entire region and is extremely dangerous," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview Friday with Turkey's state news agency Anadolu. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 7/8/18

Iran slams Netherlands 'unconstructive' expulsion of embassy staffers
Iran has slammed an "unconstructive" move by the Netherlands to deport two Iranian embassy staffers, saying the Islamic Republic reserves the right to take a reciprocal measure. "The Islamic Republic of Iran regards this decision as an unconstructive measure in relations between the two countries," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday. - 7/8/18

French Shipping Company Drops Iran Due To U.S. Sanctions Threat
French shipping group CMA CGM has decided to pull out of Iran following the U.S. administration's decision to renew sanctions on companies operating in the country, its chief executive says. "Because of the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service to Iran," Rodolphe Saade told an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence in southern France on July 7. "Our Chinese competitors are hesitating a bit, so they may have different relationships with the Trump administration, but we apply the rules," he added. - 7/8/18

South Korea denies halt in oil imports from Iran
South Korea on Sunday rejected reports that it had stopped importing oil and condensate from Iran. Iran's media quoted an announcement by South Korea's Embassy in Tehran as saying that imports from the Islamic Republic still continued. - 7/8/18

53 And Counting! Heat Wave Breaks Records In Iran, Across The Caucasus
An intense heat wave is shattering temperature records in Iran and the Caucasus nations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia, causing power shortages that are adding to discomfort in the region. Weather experts on July 6 said the heat wave is the result of a high-pressure dome or heat dome that formed over the Eurasian region and reaches as far north as southern Russia, where temperatures hit a record high for June on June 28. - 7/6/18

It's Raining Iranian Men, Hallelujah
The World Cup ended for the Iranian national team last week but not before the rest of the world took note of its physical prowess off the field. Images of the team went viral after a suggestive tweet, followed by a breathless report in a British tabloid. Major media outlets picked up the pictures of the well-groomed men and their tailored suits, and Buzzfeed ran a roll call of the squad's most prepossessing members. -Shervin Malekzadeh - 7/6/18

Japan's PM Abe Reportedly Cancels Planned Visit To Iran
Japanese media reported on July 3 that the country's prime minister Shinzo Abe has cancelled his plan to visit Iran during this summer. The visit would have been the first by a Japanese leader since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Abe planned to meet Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. -Radio Farda - 7/6/18

A bridge between past and present: The contemporary art of Iran
"The visual identification between the sovereign, often himself not a Persian, and earlier Iranian kings was deliberate and significant, used to validate the ruling elite," writes Linda Komaroff in In the Fields of Empty Days, the catalogue she edited to accompany an exhibition of the same name that opened in May at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. -Michael Abatemarco, Santa Fe New Mexican - 7/6/18

IRAN: 63 University Groups Slam President Rouhani and Reformists For Crackdown on Students
Sixty-three student organizations from universities across Iran have issued a statement sharply criticizing President Hassan Rouhani for a crackdown led by his Intelligence Ministry on students who were arrested during nationwide protests in December 2017 and January 2018. - 7/5/18

Aircraft Manufacturer ATR Distances Itself From Iran
Iran's aviation industry has received another severe blow. Following the footsteps of Boeing and Airbus, ATR also announced last week that it has decided to distance itself from Tehran. The decision was announced at a time that ATR had prepared several planes for delivery to Tehran, and even painted them exclusively for the Islamic Republic's national airline, Iran Air. -Radio Farda - 7/5/18

EU parliament supports EIB's work with Iran in defiance of US threats
The European Parliament has granted permission to the European Investment Bank (EIB) to do business in Iran as Europeans scramble to devise mechanisms aimed at saving the 2015 nuclear deal without the US and protecting their commercial ties with Tehran in the face of returning American sanctions. - 7/5/18

Iranians Say Water Still Dirty in South Despite Quick-Fix Pledge
Residents of southwestern Iran say their water supplies have been dangerously polluted for days despite pledges by Iranian authorities to quickly resolve the problem. Residents of the Khuzestan provincial cities of Khorramshahr, Abadan and Ahvaz contacted by VOA Persian on Wednesday said they continued to experience shortages of clean running water. -Ali Javanmardi & Michael Lipin, VOA - 7/5/18

Iran launches secondary currency market
Iran's top banker says a secondary currency market meant to ease tensions around the prices of the US dollar has started to work. Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), said the second currency market would enable "minor importers" to buy their required dollars from exporters of certain non-oil products. - 7/5/18

Four Iranian Female Sufis Sentenced to Five Years Imprisonment Each Under National Security Charge
Four followers of Iran's persecuted Sufi Gonabadi Order have been sentenced to five years in prison each after being arrested at a protest in Tehran in February 2018. Dr. Nazila Nouri, Avisha Jalaleddin, Shima Entesari and Sima Entesari were found guilty of "assembly and collusion against national security" by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran in early July 2018. The news was reported via a tweet by Sufi former lawyer Mostafa Daneshjou‏ on July 3. - 7/5/18

Iran, Switzerland Presidents Explore Ways To Deepen Ties
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Swiss counterpart, Alain Berset, have held talks on issues of common interest and explored ways to strengthen bilateral Tehran-Bern relations in various fields. During a meeting in Bern late on Monday, the two presidents stressed that there is no obstacle to the enhancement of ties between Iran and Switzerland, and that the two countries are determined to employ all means to that end. - 7/3/18

Foreign Ministers of Iran, remaining JCPOA parties to meet in Vienna on Friday
Foreign ministers of Iran and the five remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal are scheduled to meet in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Friday to discuss ways of maintaining the international accord after the US's withdrawal. - 7/3/18

Snow Job: Iran Accuses Its Enemies Of 'Stealing Clouds' To Create Drought
A senior Iranian official has accused Iran's foreign enemies, including Israel, of modifying the weather in the country in order to create drought. "Foreigners are suspected of intervening in the country's climate," Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran's Passive Defense Organization, a subdivision of the armed forces, said on July 2 in the Iranian capital, Tehran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 7/3/18

Shots Fired at Protest as Officials Unable to Ease Water Shortage Crisis in Iran's Khuzestan Province
Shots were reportedly fired during protests over water shortages in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr in Iran's Khuzestan Province but the Interior Ministry has denied any fatalities. Khuzestan, home to mostly ethnic Arabs, is Iran's main oil producer and contains the country's largest oil refinery but remains economically disadvantaged compared to northern provinces. - 7/3/18

Russian Railways Launches 1.2 Billion Euro Project In Iran
Russian Railways has begun the 1.2 billion-euro electrification of the Garmsar-Ince Burun railway line in Iran, which stretches to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, linking Central Asia to the Persian Gulf and beyond. - 7/3/18

Arrest of Iranian diplomat on suspicion of plotting attack on MKO is a 'false flag ploy': Iran Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reacted angrily to the arrest of an Iranian diplomat on suspicion of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) in Paris, calling the move "a sinister false flag ploy". - 7/3/18

Protesters, Police Clash For Second Night In Southwestern Iran Over Drinking Water
Demonstrators protesting over water scarcity in southwestern Iran have clashed with police for a second night, local media report. The state-run IRNA news agency said the protesters threw projectiles at police and set trash cans and a car on fire in a protest that began late on July 1 in the city of Abadan, some 660 kilometers from Tehran. It did not say how many people were involved in the protest, but said the situation was now "under control." - 7/2/18

Systematic Misuse Of Subsidized Foreign Currency By Iranian Importers
President Hassan Rouhani has given a 15-day deadline to his trade minister to publish the full list of car importers, who have received cheap foreign currency from the state. According to published official records, Iranian entities and individuals seem to have systematically misused subsidized foreign currency provided by the government for importing essential goods. -Radio Farda - 7/2/18

Iran plans private-sector oil sales to thwart US sanction: First VP
Iran's first vice president says the country is considering oil exports by the private sector in a bid to thwart forthcoming US sanctions, which mostly aim to curtail the Islamic Republic's revenues by blocking its crude oil exports. - 7/2/18

Iran's President Rohani Due In Switzerland, Austria Amid Nuclear-Deal Dispute
Iranian President Hassan Rohani is traveling to Western Europe this week, amid continued uncertainty over the future of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. Rohani's trip to Switzerland and Austria, which took over the rotating European Union presidency on July 1, comes after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal and moved to reinstate economic sanctions against Tehran. - 7/2/18

Khuzestan water crisis said to be settled by July 6: Iranian officials
Iranian officials have pledged to resolve water scarcity and increased salinity of municipal water in the southwestern province of Khuzestan by July 6. Late on Saturday, protests sparked in the cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan in Khuzestan Province mainly over the poor quality of the water, with 11 people, including 10 police forces, sustaining injuries in an ensuing shootout. - 7/2/18

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