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Iran defeats Italy in FIVB Men's World Championship
The 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship has started for the Iranian national team with a valuable 3-1 win against Italy in Pool D of the competitions being held in Krakow, Poland. - 8/31/14

Who is failing Iran's forests, Environment Department or Parliament?
This spring flames of fire soared higher than ever in the forests and rangeland of Iran. Golestan National Park caught fire a number of times burning down or severely damaging over 1000 hectares of the trees. The situation begs the question who is responsible for putting out and preventing these raging flames? - 8/31/14

Minister of Economy touts Iran's economic turnaround
The Iranian economy has faced serious decline due to changes in government subsidies, the rise in inflation and widespread international sanctions. Previous reports regarding inflation indicated that after reaching rates of 40 percent, the inflation rate is now in a downward trend and closer to 23.2 percent. - 8/31/14

Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State
The fact that the Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough against Islamic State fighters, but could make it easier to build a broad coalition against the group and facilitate efforts to form a more inclusive government in Iraq and potentially, Syria. -Barbara Slavin - 8/31/14

New U.S. sanctions run contrary to Joint Plan of Action: Iran
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Saturday stating that the new U.S. sanctions run contrary to the Joint Plan of Action and the current process of nuclear talks. Iran rejects any "unacceptable and unilateral interpretation" of the Geneva nuclear deal and strongly believes that the sanctions violate the commitment of the United States made in the deal, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said stated. - 8/31/14

Nuclear Talks: Crisis Group Points the Way
The talks to resolve concern about Iran's nuclear program will resume in early September. The negotiators will have had time to read and reflect on a well-informed and wise report that the International Crisis Group (ICG) published this week. Let us hope they will have done so. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 8/31/14

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama
A 15-minute phone call made just under a year ago may be what historians say set the stage for a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran - if one is achieved by a November 24 deadline. The call between Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani marked the first direct contact between the United States and Iran since 1979. -Catherine Maddux, VOA - 8/31/14

Iran Didn't Create ISIS; We Did
The Baroness Turner of Camden recently argued in The Diplomat that Iran is the "major driving force" in Iraq's civil war, and furthermore, that Iran is "central to the broader conflict that has seemingly put the entire Middle East beyond hope of stability." -Ben Reynolds, The Diplomat - 8/31/14

President Rohani Condemns 'Oppressive' New Sanctions Imposed by U.S. Against Iran
The United States has announced newly imposed sanctions against more than 25 Iranian entities and individuals that Washington accuses of a range of transgressions. Iranian President Hassan Rohani has condemned the latest round of Western sanctions against the Islamic republic. Rohani, in an address on August 30, called the sanctions an "oppression." - 8/30/14

Iranian Director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Criticizes West's Sanctions On Iran At Venice Film Festival
Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad criticized the U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran during a press conference for her latest film "Tales" at the 71st International Venice Film Festival on Thursday. She said that the embargos "actually penalized the people in the country," AP reported. - 8/30/14

Iran calls on Russia to help end nuclear talks
Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator says Iran hopes to bring the nuclear negotiations to completion "with assistance from its Russian friends." Mohammad Javad Zarif held a joint conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday August 29 to point out Russia's cooperation in Iran's peaceful nuclear program, saying Russia is well aware of the "importance of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities." - 8/30/14

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet
One year after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assumed the office of President, the regime in Tehran is apparently stepping up surveillance of its citizens' online and telephone activities, threatening some with punishment for "seditious" activities. -Doug Bernard, VOA - 8/30/14

Football: Coach Queiroz leaves Iran without signing
The Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz whose visa was due to expire, flew to Dubai on Friday morning without signing an extension to his contract as the head coach of the Iranian national football team. Abbas Torabian the supervisor of Iran's national football team believes he will return to Iran to continue with the negotiations. - 8/30/14

Iranian poacher selling leopard skin gets tough sentence
A poacher in Northern Khorasan, who was arrested while selling leopard skin, has been sentenced to three years in jail. IRNA reports that the leopard was hunted down last winter in a protected area. - 8/30/14

Persian paranoia: America's fear of Iranian cyber power
Rather than large, singular groups of digital spies, Iran has quietly built up a secret, disparate army of "mercenaries", each separate from one another but with similar aims, according to the authors of the report, which will be published soon by Silicon Valley security company Norse. -Tom Brewster, Guardian - 8/30/14

To Defeat Terror, We Need the World's Help
In a polarized region and a complicated world, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presents a unifying threat to a broad array of countries, including the United States. What's needed to confront its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda is a global coalition... -John Kerry, NY Times - 8/30/14

Iranian Culture Minister Next Target For Removal
The Shargh daily reported on Thursday August 28 that critics of the Culture Minister have raised the issues of film censorship and women singing in concerts, and the minister is now charged with submitting a report to Parliament. - 8/29/14

US Grants Intelsat, Eutelsat New Waivers for Iran Channels
The U.S. government has authorized European satellite providers Intelsat and Eutelsat Communications an additional six-month waiver to broadcast Iranian programming after U.S. and European authorities had banned them from working with state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. -Mark Snowiss, VOA - 8/29/14

Head Of Iranian Judiciary Warns President Rohani About "Seculars"
The head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Amoli Larijani, urged President Rohani in a public speech to refrain from appointing "seculars" to his administration and those who do not agree with the main tenets of the constitution. - 8/29/14

Five Thousand Iranian Mine Workers Strike in Protest against Arrest of Strikers
In an increasingly tense and prolonged stand-off between striking miners, the Bafgh Iron Ore Mines, and judicial officials, which originally began in May 2014 over plans to privatize the mine, a new round of strikes at the mines began on August 19 over the arrests of some of the strikers, reportedly involving some 5000 miners... - 8/29/14

Friends of Israel
The lobbying group AIPAC has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy. Is it now losing influence? -Connie Bruck, New Yorker - 8/29/14

Yemen's President Blames Iran for Inciting Conflict
Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi is blaming Iran for inciting the conflict. He claimed in a statement that Iran was trying to "trade Sana'a for the Syrian capital, Damascus," a reference to Iranian support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 8/29/14

Is nonprofit "United Against Nuclear Iran" a Mossad front?
On July 19, 2013 Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis sued the U.S. based nonprofit American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran Inc. which is more popularly known as United Against Nuclear Iran. -Grant F. Smith, IRMEP - 8/29/14

Indonesia Massacre, Iran Sanctions Infuse Venice Film Offerings
VENICE -- Films about a 1960s massacre in Indonesia and the harsh conditions in Iran under present-day international sanctions and how they affect ordinary people struck somber notes at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday. -Reuters - 8/29/14

Families of striking Iranian miners angered by bail
While the court has issued bail for workers detained during the labour protests in Bafgh, their families protest that the accused "have not committed any crime and should not be required to put up bail for their release." - 8/28/14

Senior Iranian Ayatollah Says High-Speed Mobile Internet Is Un-Islamic
"un-Islamic" and violate "human and moral norms". Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said Iranian authorities should introduce measures that would prevent access to the "negative features" of high-speed mobile Internet and 3G services before making them widely available. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/28/14

Caspian Summit will not solve the issue of Caspian Legal regime
The 4th Summit meeting of the Caspian littoral states (Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan Republic and Turkmenistan) is going to be held in September 2014 in Russia. The main subject in the agenda of this meeting is review of the latest draft treaty on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea. However, it seems the summit will not solve the issue of Caspian Legal regime and it will be dominated by other issues. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 8/28/14

Tehran police renew satellite crackdown
Tehran police have once again started a campaign of confiscating satellite dishes from people's homes. The Etemad daily reported on Thursday that some people have described officers arriving at residential buildings with warrants to enter and confiscate satellite dishes. - 8/28/14

Iran Claims Israeli Drone Was Launched From Ex-Soviet Republic
An Iranian military official says that an alleged Israeli drone shot down close to the Natanz nuclear facility was launched from a former Soviet republic to the north of Iran. In Baku, officials have denied a report alleging that the drone was launched from Azerbaijan's territory. - 8/28/14

First-ever European luxury train to set off Iran journey
The first European private train to enter Iran will make a two-week journey from Budapest to Tehran in October. The first "Golden Eagle-Danube Express" train, which comprises 13 lavishly-decorated wood-paneled 1950s carriages and berths for about 70 guests, will set off from Budapest on October 15. - 8/27/14

The Middle East's Unfinished Wars
The predictions of doom in the Middle East that are dominating thinking in the foreign policy commentariat of Washington and other capitals over the spread of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could use a little perspective. -James A. Russell - 8/27/14

Iran Says Modifying Arak Reactor To Ease Western Concerns
Iranian media say Tehran has started to modify its Arak heavy water reactor and limit plutonium output to allay Western concerns that the Islamic republic could be seeking nuclear weapons capability. - 8/27/14

Tehran mayor distances himself from gender segregation plan
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who has stirred controversy with his plan to segregate male and female public servants, declared on Tuesday that he is in essence against gender segregation. - 8/27/14

What Else Can Iranian Americans Learn From Successful Minorities?
In a 2012 article titled Iranian Americans, Take a Lesson, Trita Parsi invited the Iranian American Community to learn three lessons from the Jewish American community. I believe there are many other lessons that we can learn from successful minorities such as Jewish Americans and in here I like to discuss two of them -Nader Habibi - 8/27/14

Extremist Iranian group can't patrol without permits
Iran's interior minister says that Hezbollah motorcycle patrols must attain legal permits before they can carry out any patrolling duties. Khabaronline reports that Minister Rahmani Fazli told a press conference on Tuesday August 26 that the activities of Ansar-e Hezbollah, including their motorcycle patrols, cannot be allowed without the appropriate legal permits. - 8/27/14

US Coast Guard Craft Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Dhow
A U.S. Coast Guard vessel operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf fired today on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive move after the crew of the Iranian vessel turned a machine gun on the Americans with hostile intent. -U.S. Department of Defense - 8/27/14

Iran Speaks More Softly But Keeps Building Bigger Sticks
"Iran's military strategy is defensive" and designed to "deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor and force a diplomatic solution" while avoiding major concessions, says the unclassified executive summary of a congressionally mandated Pentagon report submitted to lawmakers on July 7. -Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg - 8/27/14

Iranian Minister: Saudi Talks 'Constructive'
Iran's deputy foreign minister said he held "positive and constructive" talks with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday where Islamist militancy in Iraq -- which both countries view as a threat -- was one of the topics discussed. -Reuters - 8/27/14

Iran 'Provided' Weapons To Iraqi Kurdish Forces To Fight IS
The Iraqi Kurdish leader says Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to Iraqi Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State (IS) militants. Masud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, made the comment during a joint news conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 26. - 8/26/14

Iranian Scientist Wins UNESCO Biology Award
An Iranian researcher and scientist of the country's Royan Institute won the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for the first time in the history. Professor Hossein Baharavand from the Stem Cell Research Center of Royan Institute was qualified to win the 2014-2015 UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize. - 8/26/14

Israel's "Qualitative Military Edge": Blank Checks, No Balance?
This month the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration had slowed the shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel after it bombed a UN school in Gaza on Aug. 3 with the US-made weapon. The White House has insisted that weapons transfers to Israel have not been suspended or halted, and that the administration is only "taking extra care to look at these shipments." -Marsha B. Cohen - 8/26/14

Will Rouhani's Iran economic stimulus package work?
In mid-July, nearly a year after President Hassan Rouhani took office, his administration introduced a package of economic reforms with the objective of moving the economy out of stagflation. The so-called stimulus package has tried to address key challenges in the Iranian economy... -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor - 8/26/14

Drone downed in Iran was not launched from Israel
One day after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that it had downed an Israeli drone, the IRGC reported that the operation range of the drone indicates that it did not come from Israel but rather was launched from one of the countries in the region. - 8/26/14

Iran: Students must repay illegally granted bursaries
Iran's Minister of Justice has announced that students who received bursaries illegally will have to pay for the costs of their studies. IRNA reports that Mostafa PourMohammadi was addressing the controversial issue of bursaries that were illegally granted to ineligible students under the former administration when he said: "A committee has been established to handle the irregularities." - 8/26/14

Another rare deer killed under protection in Lorestan, Iran
An unknown assailant has shot and killed a rare yellow deer being kept in the Khoramabad Zoo. The head of Iran's Environment and Wildlife Watch reported on August 24 that the deer died from a shot to its shoulder despite efforts by zoo officials to save it. - 8/26/14

How to Ensure a Thriving Caliphate
Think of the new "caliphate" of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its rise, for the fact that the outlines of the Middle East, as set up by Europe's colonial powers in the wake of World War I, are being swept aside in a tide of blood. -Patrick Cockburn, Tom Dispatch - 8/26/14

U.S. and Iran Hit ISIS, Ignore Each Other
With ISIS over-running Syrian bases, the time might seem right for a grand alliance against the Islamic State. But so far, the U.S. isn't talking to Iran or Syria's armies. -Daily Beast - 8/26/14

Why UNESCO recognition eludes Iran's Mount Damavand
Iranian nature lovers must delay their hopes of having Mount Damavand, one of the country's most distinctive features, recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The head of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization says the registration of Mount Damavand on the Natural and Cultural World Heritage list will not be possible unless several government bodies collaborate on the project. - 8/25/14

Iran releases pictures of downed Israeli 'Hermes' drone
The Israeli spy drone shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is an Israeli-made Hermes drone, says an Iranian commander. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can operate within a radius of 800 kilometers and is capable of flying 1,600 kilometers without refueling, said Commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh on Monday. - 8/25/14

Obama Mulling Broader Strikes Against ISIS?
This week's video-taped beheading of a U.S. journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has spurred renewed calls for President Barack Obama to broaden Washington's military efforts to strike the terrorist group, including in Syria. -Jim Lobe - 8/25/14

Ali Karimi takes on Ice Bucket Challenge
Former Iranian international and Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi took on the Ice Bucket Challenge and posted the video on his Instagram on Friday. The challenge, which was born in Massachusetts, comes from the former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates. Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2012. - 8/25/14

Iran holds conference on ancient philosopher Avicenna
Iran has hosted a conference on the philosophy of the Islamic physician and philosopher Avicenna in the country's midwest city of Hamedan. Organized by the Avicenna Cultural and Scientific Foundation, the one-day conference was held to commemorate the ancient scientist Avicenna (Ibn Sinna) on Iran's National Physicians' Day, August 23. - 8/25/14

Iranian FM visits Baghdad, says Iran fully backs new Iraqi PM
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated Tehran's position that Iran fully supports new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In a meeting with al-Abadi in Baghdad on Sunday, Zarif also said Iran attaches great value to the Iraqi people's choice of prime minister. - 8/25/14

Political Prisoners at Evin Transferred into Quarantine without Explanation
Twenty-seven political prisoners have been transferred from Evin Prison's Ward 350 to quarantine, where they are now being held in conditions tantamount to clear and serious ill treatment. - 8/23/14

Iran Politics: Central Contradiction Remains
A vote in Iran's parliament on Wednesday resulted in the dismissal of President Rouhani's minister of science. The vote was a shock but also an important message: the main contradiction in Iran remains between the hardliners and supporters of democracy. -Morteza Kazemian - 8/23/14

Learn about the role of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran
Dr. Ahmed Shaheed is the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. How do UN human rights mechanisms encourage all countries, including Iran, to uphold human rights? - 8/23/14

Interview with Mahta Moghaddam of Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Where are you from? "I was born in Iran and moved to the US when I was 16 years old." What did you want to be growing up? "Always wanted to be a scientist and an explorer. I was extremely interested in the origins of life and universe, the origins of Earth - how it was formed and how it functioned." -JPL - 8/23/14

Iran: Riot police arrest protesting mine workers
Riot police were deployed at the Bafgh Iron Ore Mine on Wednesday August 20 in response to miner protests. According to ILNA, one of the protesting workers reported that police tried to break up the demonstrations and arrested 16 workers. - 8/23/14

A Ministerial Impeachment in Tehran
After a year of relative political calm, initiated by the presidential election of Hassan Rouhani, and their seeming marginalization, the hard-line MPs close to the Steadfastness Front, estimated at no more than 50, were able to break the ranks of conservatives and draw enough support from the caucus that supported Ali Larijani's speakership to remove Faraji-Dana, the minister deemed closest to the reformists and largely supported by the university students and faculty. -Farideh Farhi - 8/22/14

Female Iranian-American photojournalist freed on bail
The Washington Post reports that its female photojournalist who was detained by Iranian authorities a month ago has now been released on bail. The daily has refrained from releasing the name of the photojournalist upon the request of her family; however, it has indicated that she holds dual Iranian-U.S. citizenship. - 8/22/14

Wind Storm kills five in Khuzestan, Iran
Severe winds in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran have killed five and injured 35. The head of Provincial Crisis Management reported to IRNA on Thursday August 21 that one person in Andimeshk, one in Baghmalek and three more in Dezfool were killed under toppled walls and trees or by falling from heights. - 8/22/14

Israeli Democracy Evaporates While Gaza Burns
The wanton destruction Israel is wreaking in Gaza right now, its blatant declarations that it will never relinquish control of most of the West Bank, and its adamant refusal to recognize that Palestinians, whether citizens or not, are entitled to the same basic human, civil and, yes, national rights as anyone else, all make outside interference imperative. -Mitchell Plitnick - 8/22/14

Meet Aref Mohammadi, the Elwy Yost of Persian film: Fiorito
Mohammadi is a Toronto-based filmmaker and writer who also reviews Iranian films; He was a recent winner at the Canadian Ethnic Media Association awards -Toronto Star - 8/22/14

Iranian quake victims demand help from visiting minister
Victims of the recent earthquake in the Mormori region of Ilam Province protested during the visit of the Minister of Roads and Urban Development and demanded the provision of aid and resources needed to overcome their ordeal. - 8/21/14

Report details century of fatal air accidents in Iran
Iran's Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development reported on Wednesday August 20 that the average age of the Iranian air fleet exceeds 20 years, and in the past 100 years to date, two thousand Iranian have died in air accidents. - 8/21/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament
Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. - 8/21/14

France Wants Arabs, Iran, UN Security Council to Tackle Islamic State
France said on Wednesday it wanted the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and regional countries, including Arab states and Iran, to coordinate action against the militant group Islamic State, the insurgents who control parts of Iraq and Syria. -VOA - 8/21/14

Iranian woman scientist selected member of COMEST
Azam Iraji Zad, faulty member of Sharif University of Technology Physics Department was selected as member of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). According to Public Relations Department of National Elites Foundation, she is the first Iranian scientist admitted to the commission. - 8/21/14

New Iranian Science Minister named following impeachment
President Hassan Rohani appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi to replace Reza Farajidana at the helm of the Ministry of Science and Technology today, after Parliament voted to impeach Farajidana. - 8/21/14

Jailed Iranian journalist out on bail after two months
Jailed Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been released on bail after two months in custody. Azarpeyk's lawyer told ISNA that Azarpeyk's family posted bail of 200 million toumans for her release, which occurred at 2 PM. Azarpeyk was arrested in May and charged with propaganda activities against the regime. - 8/21/14

Policy Memo: New Senate Bills Concerning Iran Nuclear Negotiations
In the last week of July, three separate pieces of legislation were introduced in the Senate that, if passed, would have a significant impact on nuclear negotiations with Iran. -Tyler Cullis and Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 8/21/14

Tying the Knot in Today's Iran
Over 11 million eligible Iranians are unmarried, according to official statistics. The government has repeatedly expressed concern over the low rate of marriage in the country over the past few years, and has encouraged single people to tie the knot. -Mehrnaz Samimi, Huffington Post - 8/21/14

Warplanes: Joint U.S.-Iran Operations Over Iraq
Without getting too chummy the U.S. and Iran have been trying to work out some rules for each other's use of UAVs now operating over Iraq. Iranian UAVs have been seen flying over Iraq since late June, apparently with the approval of the Iraqi government (and quiet assent of the Americans, who already had F-16s and UAVs over Iraq). -Strategy Page - 8/21/14

OMID Foundations 10th Anniversary Celebrations in San Francisco Bay Area
The OMID Bay Area Committee is excited to invite you to our 1st Annual Banquet at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Sunday, September 28th at 6:30pm. Marjaneh Halati, the founder and president of Omid Foundations will be present, along with live music, dancing, light dinner, live/silent auction and drinks. - 8/20/14

Famed Iranian Poet Simin Behbahani Dies At 87
Simin Behbahani, one of Iran's most prominent literary figures and a vocal human rights defender who was targeted with censorship and smear campaigns by Iranian authorities, has died in Tehran. She was 87. - 8/20/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament
Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. - 8/20/14

Public Offers Support for Obama's Iraq Intervention
Despite rising criticism of his foreign policy - even from his former secretary of state - President Barack Obama's decision last week to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq enjoys relatively strong public support, at least so far. -Jim Lobe - 8/20/14

Iran: Coroner's office concerned by increase in suicides
The head of Iran's coroner's office says 4,055 people committed suicide in the country last year and the number of suicides is on the rise. The Coroner's Office announced last year that there has been a 14-percent increase in the number of suicides across the country. - 8/20/14

Paying the price for sanctions: The customers with Iranian links being ditched by British banks
HSBC and others deny discrimination, but have hefty fines led to some banks being far too cautious? -Maria Tadeo, Independent - 8/20/14

Legendary Iranian poetess Simin Behbahani passes away
After being in coma state for almost 13 days, the legendary Iranian poetess Simin Behbahani passed away in Pars Hospital in Tehran in morning on August 19, 2014; she was 87. Being nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature, Simin Khalili, known as Simin Behbahani, was the daughter of Abbas Khalili who was himself a poet, author and the editor of 'Eghdam' Newspaper. - 8/19/14

Maliki is Gone: Now What?
Nouri al-Maliki is no longer Iraq's prime minister, but his departure does not mean that Iraq's problems will be resolved easily or soon. A basic change must first occur in Iraq's domestic politics, the power struggles within its different ethnic and sectarian components, and the behavior of regional and international actors towards Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter - 8/19/14

Fifi Howls from Happiness: A Documentary on Iranian Artist Bahman Mohassess
Mitra Farahani's lyrical documentary explores the enigma of provocative artist Bahman Mohassess, the so-called "Persian Picasso," whose acclaimed paintings and sculptures dominated pre-revolutionary Iran. Irreverent and uncompromising, a gay man in a hostile world, Mohassess had a conflicted relationship with his homeland-revered by elites in the art scene and praised as a national icon, only to be censored later by an oppressive regime. - 8/19/14

Iran: Dozens Unlawfully Held in City's Prisons
Several dozen prisoners in a northern city are serving prison terms for exercising their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said. - 8/19/14

Final deal possible only if 5+1 lifts UN sanctions: Iran
The Iranian foreign minister has said that a comprehensive nuclear deal can be reached only if the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) annuls the sanctions resolutions imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council. - 8/19/14

Iranian journalist's arrest extended despite lack of trial
The arrest warrant for jailed journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been renewed again for another month despite Azarpeyk's objections and her demand for due process. In a report by the Etemad daily, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabayi, Azarpeyk's lawyer, said the investigation is now complete and his client should be given a chance to face her charges. - 8/19/14

Iran Lawmakers Urge Ministry To Condemn 'Rights Abuses' In Riot-Hit U.S. Town
The unrest in the U.S. state of Missouri sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black teenager is being played up by Iranian hardliners, with several lawmakers calling on the Foreign Ministry to react and highlight what they describe as blatant human rights abuses in the United States. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/19/14

Airport dogs detect hidden drug shipment headed from Tehran to London
The head of Iran's Airport Police announced that 120 kg of opium headed for London was sniffed out by their dogs. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Sunday August 17, Hassan Mehri told reporters that the opium shipment was found by their dogs during a routine patrol of shipments at Imam Khomeini Airport. - 8/19/14

Iranian photographers face the lash after criticising official's book
Two photographers in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 75 lashes after criticising an illustrated book published by a local official. Both men, who are from Qazvin province, were put on trial when Mohammad-Ali Hazrati, the head of the local cultural heritage organisation, felt insulted by the negative reviews the pair had written in separate posts online about his photography book, "Qazvin, the Land of Times Past". -Saeed Kamali Dehghan - 8/19/14

Strong Quake Hits Western Iran, 250 Injured
The number of people wounded in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Abdanan, in this western province, Monday morning has risen to 250, latest reports said. The strong tremor hit three western and southwestern provinces of Ilam, Lorestan and Khuzestan at 07:02 hours local time (0232 GMT) and was also felt in the neighboring provinces. - 8/18/14

Simin Behbahani, Iranian lady of ghazal, is breathing naturally
Ali Behbahani, the son of Eminent Iranian poetess Simin Behbahani Simin Behabahani's, said that the level of her mother's consciousness has been increased and that she is currently breathing naturally. Simin Behabani has been nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature. - 8/18/14

Iran volleyball team loses to U.S. in four-match series
Iran volleyball team lost its last match against the U.S. in the USAV Cup four-match series on Sunday. The U.S. beat Iran in straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-19) before a crowd of 3,610 at the Bren Center at UC Irvine. - 8/18/14

Iran Says It Will Accept Nuclear Monitoring Only Under Treaty
Iran said it will accept monitoring of its nuclear program as called for in the global non-proliferation treaty, but not any inspections beyond that. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that any inspection beyond the legal framework of the treaty "would be a precedent, against the interests of all developing countries." - 8/18/14

Iran's air routes ready to receive more foreign flights
Iranian air space is ready to receive more foreign flights, said Managing Director of Aviation Operation Control Department of Iranian Civil Aviation Organization Saeed Akbari said. "Flights passing across Iranian air space have doubled," Akbari said, adding the country is set for attracting more flights across its air space. - 8/18/14

Iranian Science Minister To Face Impeachment Debate
Iranian Parliament has announced that its session on Wednesday August 20 will be allotted to the impeachment of Science Minister Reza Farajidana. President Rohani's representative in Parliament expressed every hope that a majority of MPs will oppose the minister's impeachment, saying: "Academia is satisfied with the policies of the Minister of Education." - 8/18/14

Iranian researcher uses ear for identification in airport, border
Iranian researchers at Amir Kabir University Of Technology have developed a method to identify people in airports and border areas through ear specifications. "Biometrics, such as fingerprint and iris are used for identification of people. We used ear as a biometric in this study," said Mina Shahriari, author of the study. - 8/18/14

Tehran is a halfpipe: Entrepreneur makes skateboards in Iranian basement
M.J. Rahimi has mastered some of the world's most popular skateboarding tricks. A music lover's haven Iran's hoteliers cash in on tourism boom Turkish Airlines soaring Qatar counts cost of the 2022 World Cup But the one skill that's fast making Rahimi a recognized name is crafting skateboards inside his basement in the Iranian capital of Tehran. -CNN - 8/18/14

13 European, Asian firms ready to invest in Iran gas projects
Four British and French companies, three Japanese companies, two South Korean companies, and four Chinese companies, as well as four Iranian companies, are prepared to invest a total of $15 billion in Iranian gas projects, the ISNA news agency quoted Soheilipour as saying on Sunday. - 8/18/14

Wary of lifting Iran sanctions, EU overrides own courts
Despite scores of Iranian individuals and companies successfully proving in European courts that the sanctions placed upon them are illegal under EU law, many remain listed, as the EU executive effectively overrides the decisions of its own courts. -Arron Merat, Al-Monitor - 8/18/14

Honoring a young woman who gave life to others in her death
A tragic plane crash in Tehran on Sunday August 10 that took the life of 37 people onboard. But unknown to many is how this crash also claimed the life of a young Iranian woman on the ground as well. Moments before the crash, Hadiseh Ghasemi, 21, a Tehran University student, was riding a taxi in the area. This is when the driver heard the sound of the plane and noticed it is coming down and could possibly hit his taxi. - 8/17/14

Amano hails Iran's resolve for cooperation with IAEA
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has hailed Iran's resolve to settle issues pertaining to its nuclear energy program through cooperation with the nuclear agency. - 8/17/14

Vital Tehran dams on the verge of running dry
Tehran Province's waterworks department reports that most important dams in the province will run out of water in 37 days. At least 12 large cities in the country are faced with serious water shortages, which means 23 million people will have to face the consequences. - 8/17/14

Iran to end organ transplants for foreigners
Iran's Minister of Health has announced that organ transplants for non-Iranians will be banned by the end of September. He cited the long waiting lists for Iranians seeking organ transplants as the main reason for the new regulation. - 8/17/14

Iranian Math Genius's Photos Too Racy For Media Back Home
"No hair, no ears, no neck." That's how one journalist described a front-page portrait of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani that an Iranian newspaper digitally doctored to obscure her hair and skin to placate censors in the Islamic republic. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/16/14

Profiting From Iranophobia?
Eli has a new blog post on The Nation's website today that provides additional details about the curious - one is tempted to say incestuous - relationship between the staff of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the corporate interests of billionaire gold and silver investor, Thomas Kaplan. -Jim Lobe - 8/16/14

Volleyball: Iran Defeats USA in 3rd Friendly Match
Iran's volleyball team defeated USA's team 3-2 (24-26, 26-24, 25-27, 25-20, 15-9) at Viejas Arena at San Diego State in the third friendly match in the USA Volleyball Cup. The four-match exhibition series concludes Saturday night at UC Irvine. - 8/16/14

Iranian FM says nuclear solution will take full 4 months
Iran's foreign minister said on Friday August 15 that it is "unrealistic" to think that the nuclear dispute between Iran and the 5+1 will be resolved before the end of the four-month extension allotted for the talks. - 8/16/14

Iranian Science Minister to face impeachment on Wednesday
Iranian Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Majead Ansari announced that impeachment session against Reza Farajidana, the Science Minister, is scheduled to be held on Wednesday. - 8/16/14

Iranian-Arab activists draw harsh sentences
Preliminary court has sentenced four Iranian-Arab activists in Ahwaz to heavy prison terms after they had already spent more than two and a half years in jail. Hassan Abiyat was sentenced to life imprisonment, Aidan Beyt was sentenced to 10 years and Khaled Obeydavi and Jasem Soadi were each sentenced to five years in prison. - 8/16/14

Iran to construct largest oil terminal in Oman Gulf
Director of Iranian Oil Terminal Company has said the country has been constructing oil terminal in Jask (Hormozgan Province) with capacity of 2.5 billion barrels per day. - 8/16/14

Iran volleyball team defeated by US in second friendly match
Iran national volleyball team lost its second friendly match against US 3-0 (25-23, 25-23 and 25-21) on Thursday in Los Angeles, California. The Iranian team is in the United States for four friendly matches with the countryˈs national team which recently ranked first in the FIVB World League. - 8/15/14

U.S. responds to Iranian Supreme Leader's comments on talks
The U.S. has responded to the Iranian Supreme Leader's statements regarding the nuclear negotiations, stressing that the U.S. had not imposed any fresh sanctions on Iran since the interim agreement reached in November of 2013. - 8/15/14

In Iraq, an Opening for the Saudis
The selection of Abadi was welcomed, if not engineered, by Iran, Saudi Arabia's feared rival for regional supremacy. Under other circumstances, that might make him unpalatable to Riyadh, but the rise of the Islamic State has given Riyadh and Tehran a powerful reason to work together, at least until the threat recedes or is beaten back. -Thomas Lippman - 8/15/14

Is Turkmenistan Losing Iran As A Gas Customer?
It appears Turkmenistan is about to lose its second-best customer for natural gas, Iran. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on August 11 that his country no longer needed gas from Turkmenistan. Zanganeh went so far as to say, "Iran is importing Turkmen gas just because it is important to promote political and economic relations with Turkmenistan." -RFE - 8/15/14

Iran: Head Of Judiciary Reappointed Despite Controversies
The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has renewed Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani's term as head of judiciary for another five years. At a ceremony, Ayatollah Khamenei called on the judiciary to focus on policies to reduce case-processing times, fight corruption, and establish social security and prevent crime. - 8/15/14

Iran ramps up efforts against HIV-AIDS
The Iranian Health Ministry announced that it will start offering various tests as part of its pregnancy services including the HIV test in 10 high-risk areas in 16 provinces. - 8/15/14

Iranian expat Hossein Khosrojerdi 'Redefining Home; Tara Gallery in Santa Monica
Los Angeles Art Spotlight: Acclaimed Iranian expatriate Hossein Khosrojerdi will show his work on Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at the Tara Gallery in Santa Monica,with a reception from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. -Monsters and Critics - 8/15/14

Iraq Crisis: Effort to Aid Kurdish Forces Puts Iran, U.S. on Same Side
MAKHMOUR, Iraq -- The struggles of the embattled Kurdish Peshmerga to repel Islamist insurgents have put the U.S. and Iran on the same side, with both rushing to reinforce a revered fighting force to defeat a common enemy. -WSJ - 8/15/14

So far over two-thousand dead and perhaps ten-thousand or more injured and half a million made homeless, all non-combatants or bystanders save a couple of hundred actual Hamas fighters. This was in Gaza, the world's largest and most densely populated concentration camp, cut off from the rest of the world and under attack during the past three weeks by Israel's Zio-Nazi Likud regime. -Kam Zarrabi - 8/14/14

Words Take Flight in Persian Calligraphy at Sackler Gallery
During a prolific 200-year period in the 14th-16th centuries, four master calligraphers invented one of the most aesthetically refined forms of Persian culture: nasta'liq, a type of calligraphy so beautiful that for the first time the expressive form of the words eclipsed their meaning. "Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy," opening Sept. 13 at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, displays 20 rarely seen masterworks... - 8/14/14

Iran's divorce rate rises
The head of Iran's Land and Document Registry says that in the past three months, there has been a four-percent increase in the rate of divorce compared to the same period last year. - 8/14/14

Presidential praise for Iranian math prize winner (with and without head scarf)
Mirzakhani was born and raised in Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted congratulations today to Mirzakhani using two photos - one showing her with a head scarf and one without. -Lydia Tomkiw, CSM - 8/14/14

Iran's Supreme Leader Dismisses Value Of Direct Talks With U.S.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's interaction with the United States should be limited to "very rare and specific" cases such as nuclear talks. Speaking to the Iranian ambassadors and Foreign Ministry officials on August 13, Khamenei said Iran should interact with all countries, except the United States and Israel. - 8/14/14

Iran's economy shrank 1.9% last calendar year: Central Bank
The Central Bank of Iran has confirmed that the national economy, including the oil sector, contracted by 1.9 percent in the Iranian calendar year 1392 (March 2013-March 2014). - 8/14/14

Candid Discussions: Reza Marashi on U.S.-Iran Relations and Regional Dynamics
Reza Marashi is Research Director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Prior to NIAC, Mr. Marashi worked in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He was also a political analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), covering China-Middle East issues, and previously a consultant at a Tehran-based private strategic consultancy firm focused on Iranian political and economic risks. -Reza Akhlaghi, FPA - 8/14/14

Iran: Land transfer to foreign firms in Aras Free Trade Zone approved
The administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has approved legislation allowing the transfer of land to foreign companies in the Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, which is located in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan. - 8/14/14

Tehran hospital ready to deal with Ebola cases
A hospital in Tehran has been designated as a site for the quarantine of suspected Ebola infection cases. ILNA reports that the head of contagious diseases at the Ministry of Health made that announcement, saying there currently are no adequate forms of treatment for Ebola and that the only resort is to isolate patients and prevent contagion. - 8/14/14

Iranian Becomes First Woman to Win Math's Top Prize
An Iranian-born mathematician has become the first woman to win the prestigious mathematics prize known as the Fields Medal. Maryam Mirzakhani will receive the award, widely considered the Nobel Prize for math, at a ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday. - 8/13/14

Judge Ashley Tabaddor Files Suit against Department of Justice for Violating First Amendment and Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) was today informed of a suit filed against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) by Judge Ashley Tabaddor, an immigration judge for the U.S. Immigration Court. In this suit, Judge Tabaddor challenges an order that indefinitely recuses her from hearing cases involving Iranian nationals, citing that the order violates her First Amendment rights of free speech and association. - 8/13/14

Iran and the U.S. sign MOU to boost Volleyball standards
Iran's Volleyball Federation President, Mohammad Reza Davarzani and his U.S counterpart signed memorandum of understanding in Los Angeles on Monday in order to expand cooperations. Iran's men national volleyball team is in California for a four-game tour against the U.S. - 8/13/14

Washington's Sketchy Pro-Israel/Anti-Iran Camp
My colleague Eli Clifton has a new piece up at Salon about the pro-sanctions group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) and its somewhat murky links to a billionaire precious-metals investor named Thomas Kaplan. I suggest everyone check it out -Ali Gharib - 8/13/14

Iran: Centre urges rethink of ban on satellite programming
The Iranian Parliament's research centre reports that government policies on satellite usage in the country have not succeeded and need to be reconsidered. In a report released on Tuesday August 12, the centre says the ban on satellite equipment and usage has not been an effective policy. - 8/13/14

Strategic research center to formulate new plan for music in Iran
The Center for Strategic Research (CSR) has been assigned the task of formulating a new plan to replace the Plan for Music in Iran, which was made by cultural officials under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "There is a consensus among officials, experts and musicians that the present plan is unacceptable," Mohammadreza Fazeli said. "The experts say that proper professional supervision was not provided for formulating the plan," he added. - 8/13/14

Iranian Oil Minister blasts former government for missing billions
Iran's Minister of Oil has accused the former administration of abuse of power and the promotion of corruption. He added that under the former administration's watch, Babak Zanjani, the Iranian tycoon now in custody on embezzlement charges, managed to receive 2.7 billion dollars thought a "fake bank" with the collaboration of a number of ministers and the head of the Central Bank, and that the money is now untraceable and gone. - 8/13/14

U.S. ready to help new Iraq leader, Iran welcomes choice
Iraq's new prime minister-designate won swift endorsements from uneasy mutual allies the United States and Iran on Tuesday as he called on political leaders to end crippling feuds that have let jihadists seize a third of the country. -Reuters - 8/13/14

A Maple Syrup Mecca for Iran's Gays
With generous social benefits, a welcoming attitude, and a thriving support community, Toronto has emerged as the unofficial capital for gay Iranian refugees.-Nina Strochlic, Daily Beast - 8/13/14

Bridge 2014 High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges
Berkeley, CA - For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country's ongoing economic development. Bridge 2014 will raise awareness about the critical need to build educational bridges and promote the culture of "Entrepreneurs without Borders". - 8/12/14

UANI, Silver Futures, and Confrontation with Iran
Along with AIPAC and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), one of the most active groups that have promoted a policy of confrontation with Iran has been United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), headed by a former Bush administration representative (under John Bolton) to the UN, Mark Wallace. -Jim Lobe - 8/12/14

Iran: Rohani grounds similar planes after fatal crash
Hours after the crash of an Antonov "Iran 140" passenger airplane near Mehrabad Airport, Iranian President, Hassan Rohani issued an order banning the flight of all similar airplanes until the completion of investigations into the cause of the crash. - 8/12/14

Iranian MPs Vote To Ban Vasectomies, Punish Contraception Advocates
Iran's parliament has voted to ban vasectomies and other permanent forms of birth control in an attempt to increase the country's birthrate. The legislation would ban vasectomies and impose punishments for encouraging contraceptive services and abortions. - 8/12/14

The vampire wears a chador in a new film shown in Sundance's Next Fest
In "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night," a vampire's floor-length, black chador makes her one with the shadows as she cruises the deserted streets of Bad City for her next meal. Described as the first vampire spaghetti western in Farsi, this debut by Iranian American director Ana Lily Amirpour is shot entirely in black and white. -LA Times - 8/12/14

Iran's largest wind farm comes on stream
The first phase of Iran's largest wind farm came on stream on Monday in the town of Takestan, which is located in the northwestern province of Qazvin. The wind farm has a power generation capacity of 20 megawatts (MW) in the first phase, which was put into operation at a cost of 30 million Euro, the IRNA news agency reported. - 8/12/14

New Memoir Presents an Armenian-Iranian-American Engineer's Odyssey
'...And Then I Met The Getty Kouros' is a memoir that chronicles the remarkable story of Jack Njdeh Yaghoubian, who has made a huge impact on the world of engineering in the United States and around the world. -Asbarez - 8/12/14

Photos: Plane crashes near Tehran's Mehrabad Airport; 39 dead
Thirty-nine people were killed and nine were injured in a plane crash near Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Sunday, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani immediately ordered the transport minister to prepare a comprehensive report on the cause of the incident. - 8/11/14

Photos: Iran-USA volleyball match at USC in Los Angeles
Olympian Matt Anderson had 23 points and the U.S. men's national team beat Iran 27-25, 25-21, 27-29, 25-17 in the opening match of the USA Volleyball Cup at USC's Galen Center on Saturday night. The series of exhibitions between the two teams are preparation for the upcoming FIVB World Championship later this month in Poland. - 8/11/14

Iran's Science Minister refuses to back down on progressive policies
The Minister of Science and Technology has stood firm in his decisions against the wishes of a number of his critics in Iranian Parliament and the MPs are now reconsidering his impeachment. The MPs' chief demand was reportedly the re-expulsion of students who had been marked for their political activity under the former administration and banned from continuing their education. - 8/11/14

Iran's President Lashes Out At Critics, Calls Them 'Political Cowards'
Iran's President Hassan Rohani has harshly criticized hard-liners opposed to making a deal over Iran's contested nuclear program with world powers, calling them "political cowards." Rohani said: "Anytime we negotiate, they start shaking. Well, to hell. Go and find a warm place for yourself." - 8/11/14

Iranian government opposes concert gender segregation
Iranian police closed down a concert of pop singer Mohsen Yeganeh in Urmia, West Azerbaijan Province last week and announced that concerts in Iranian cities except Tehran would be held for males and females separately. - 8/11/14

Iran lightens punishment for birth control procedures
The Iranian Parliament says the Health Commission has amended the new fertility bill, eliminating prison sentences for vasectomies and tubectomies. Abdolrahman Rostamian reports that physicians who perform these procedures will not face imprisonment but in the new draft of the bill they first would be given oral and then written warning and would finally face the closure of their practice. - 8/11/14

Tehran to host 100 Startup Weekends
Pardis Technology Park (PTP), affiliated to Presidential Officeˈs Department of Science and Technology, will host 100 Startup Weekends in Tehran in the next three years. In each Startup Weekend, 100 university students and startup enthusiasts will participate. - 8/11/14

IMF Says Rouhani Has Stabilized Iran's Economy
The International Monetary Fund said President Hassan Rouhani's policies of reducing energy subsidies along with the easing of international sanctions have helped to steady Iran's economy and cut inflation. -Bloomberg - 8/11/14

Photos: Abandoned Leopard Cubs
Two leopard cubs are being fed and taken care of by the personnel at the environmental office of the Golestan province in the city of Kordkoy in northern Iran. The playful cubs were abandoned outside that office a few days ago by unidentified people. - 8/9/14

A Pipeline From A Land Of Water To A Land Of Oil
Iran is looking for more water and some Iranian officials believe the place to get it is from Tajikistan. The problem is how to get the water from Tajikistan's mountains to Iran, several hundred kilometers away. -RFE - 8/9/14

Iran ready to supply energy to Europe via Nabucco
Iran is ready to provide Europe with gas requirements through the Nabucco pipeline, Ali Majedi, Deputy Oil Minister in charge of International Affairs said on Saturday. Speaking to IRNA, he noted that since Europe seeks to diversify its energy resources, Iran by having the biggest gas reserves can provide Europe with parts of its energy needs through Nabucco pipeline. - 8/9/14

US Bombs Islamic Extremists in Northern Iraq
The U.S. military launched two rounds of airstrikes Friday in northwestern Iraq, using drones and fighter jets. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said remotely piloted aircraft Friday struck Islamic State militants near Irbil. He said fighter planes later dropped eight bombs on vehicles and a mortar position in the area. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 8/9/14

Tehran, London in talks to reopen embassies: Iran diplomat
Iran and the UK are in talks to discuss the full reopening of the embassies of both countries in the near future, the Iranian non-resident charge d'affaires to Britain has announced. - 8/9/14

Persian Music Concert by Shiraz Arts Academy in Sunnyvale, California
Shiraz Arts Academy will hold a traditional Persian music concert in Sunnyvale, California on Saturday August 16, 2014. Shiraz Arts Academy, founded in July 2012 is the 1st educational institution specialized in the study and training of Persian music & arts in Bay Area. - 8/9/14

Iran: President Rohani slams predecessor's oil policies
Iranian president Hassan Rohani accused his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of having "a lack of wisdom" and said: "Under the pretext of circumventing sanctions, they gave the oil away to those who took it away for themselves and in effect circumvented the Iranian people." - 8/8/14

Ali Khademhosseini wins Nano Young Investigator Award from AIChE
The Iranian-Canadian scientist Professor Ali Khademhosseini has won the 2014 award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Khademhosseini was named to receive Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum (NSEF) Young Investigator Award. - 8/8/14

Sharif university students shine at IMC 2014
Tehran's Sharif University of Technology students won two gold and four bronze medals at the 21st International Mathematics Competition for University Students. - 8/8/14

Over 2500 Susa inscriptions translated
Over 2500 ancient inscriptions, which were previously discovered in Susa, have been translated, Iranian expert Abdolmajid Arfaei said on Tuesday. The 75-year-old expert on the Avestan, Pahlavi and Elamite languages was assigned in early June to decipher the brick and stone inscriptions, which are kept at the Shush Castle near Susa, the capital of ancient Elam in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan. - 8/8/14

Geneva talks on Iran nuclear program constructive: US
The United States says American and Iranian officials held "a constructive discussion" over Tehran's nuclear energy program in the Swiss city of Geneva. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Geneva on Thursday to discuss ways to bridge differences in the course of talks over Tehran's nuclear work. - 8/8/14

Islamic State on the Move With Baghdad Still Gridlocked
Forces of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, have lunged toward two strategic dams earlier this month, one in the north and the other west of Baghdad. The northern offensive drove Kurdish forces from areas they had protected, showing how vulnerable Iraqi Kurds could be in the face of more sweeping attacks. -Wayne White - 8/8/14

Iranian cyber police officer sentenced for death of blogger
A court in Tehran has sentenced the accused in the death of jailed blogger Sattar Beheshti to three years in jail and 74 lashes. According to the Beheshti family attorney, the accused has also been ordered to have an obligatory transfer for two years. - 8/8/14

A U.S. Journalist's Arrest Points to a Power Struggle in the Leadership of Iran
Jason Rezaian knew he was being watched. A man on a motorcycle had been following him and his wife for weeks, his colleagues said. The tail was so blatant that Mr. Rezaian, The Washington Post's correspondent in Tehran, had even managed to take a picture of the license plate. -Thomas Erdbring, NY Times - 8/8/14

Irish star surfer Easkey Britton sets up Iran's first surf club
Not content with her lengthy string of competitive surfing accolades, she became the first woman to surf in Iran (while finishing her PhD. in Environment and Society), and founded 'Waves of Freedom', a project teaching women in an isolated and impoverished region of Iran to surf. This month the 28-year-old is going back to Iran to establish the country's first surf club that will be open to both girls and boys. -Liz Dunphy, Irish Examiner - 8/8/14

Comic strips: Iran militia's weapon in its war on sex, drugs and alcohol
Iran's fearsome Basij militia - a paramilitary squad loosely attached to the revolutionary guard - is hard at work imparting morality on the country's youth. Using illustrated stories that mimic the style of comic strips, they aim to deter Iranians from living a 'sinful' Western lifestyle. -France24 - 8/8/14

While Officials Maintain Silence, Hardliners Make Baseless Accusations Against Jason Rezaian
After two weeks of silence by Iranian officials on the reason for the detention of husband-and-wife journalists Jason Rezaian and Yegabeh Salehi and their whereabouts, media with ties to security and intelligence organs believed to be holding them have begun leveling baseless charges of spying against them, revealing the intentions of interrogators to fabricate a case in order to justify their actions. - 8/7/14

Iranian striker Reza Ghoochannejhad seals shock move to Al Kuwait football team
Iran international striker Reza Goochannejhad has signed a contract to join Al Kuwait from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday. He flew out to Cairo where the Kuwaiti team holding a training camp to join rest of the players. - 8/7/14

Rohani deputy slams Tehran's gender segregation plan
The presidential deputy for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, says the Rohani administration does not approve of gender segregation in the workplace. This comes after the head of Iran's judiciary commended the mayor of Tehran for implementing a plan to separate male and female public employees in municipal offices. - 8/7/14

Senior US Diplomats to Hold Nuclear Talks with Iran
The United States and Iran are set to hold high-level, bilateral negotiations on Iran's nuclear program on Thursday in Geneva. In a statement, the U.S. State Department said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will head the American delegation. The chief U.S. nuclear negotiator, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, will also attend. - 8/7/14

Prominent Iranian activist found dead in Turkey
Jamal Hosseiny, the editor-in-chief of the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), was found dead at his home in Turkey. HRANA reports that on Tuesday August 5, Turkish police discovered Hosseiny's lifeless body behind his desk at his home with drops of blood on his face and other parts of the house. - 8/7/14

Iran Nuclear Talks To Resume By Mid-September
Reports from Brussels say Iran and six world powers will meet for a new round of nuclear talks before the next United Nations General Assembly session, which starts on September 16. Michael Mann, a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said on August 7 that the location of talks between negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 group still must be determined. - 8/7/14

Iran showing 'heroic flexibility': Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran is showing 'heroic flexibility' and as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said 'humiliating flexibility' and surrendering to big powers is forbidden. - 8/7/14

Iran's Banksy: 'The walls in my city are the canvas for my paintings'
Interview: Street artist Black Hand tells the Guardian how Banksy has inspired a new set of graffiti on Tehran walls -Saeed Kamali Dehghan - 8/7/14

Hackers made Iran's nuclear computers blast AC/DC
Between 2009 and 2010, Iran's nuclear program was the target of a devastating cyber attack. A virus, reportedly developed by the American and Israeli governments and known as Stuxnet, took control of centrifuge controls in facilities across the country, causing thousands of machines to break. -Rich McCormick, The Verge - 8/7/14

An Experience: Photos of Iranian Women With And Without Veils
Photographer Marziyeh Heydarzadeh has captured snapshots of Iranian women posing at a holly site with and without veils. A short paragraph published with "this experience" states that "hijab, in addition to being a cultural and religious value, indicates differences between those who want to preserve their dignity and those who easily overlook this." The story does not mention how the women felt after this experience, and if they left the site with or without the veil... - 8/6/14

Iran volleyball team heading to U.S.
Iran volleyball team traveled to Los Angeles, California, on early Wednesday to play four friendlies against the U.S. outfit. The Iranian team lost to the U.S. 3-0 in the 2014 FIVB World League, which was held in Florence, Italy in July. - 8/6/14

When Negotiating With Iran, Mind the Russians
Defining the size of Iran's nuclear enrichment program has become a major sticking point in the negotiations between Iran and world powers expected to resume next month. The scale of this enrichment program, however, greatly relies upon undecided agreements between Tehran and Moscow on the long-term supply of nuclear fuel for the Russian-built reactors... -Francois Nicoulaud - 8/6/14

'Anti-Sunni' Satellite Channels Under Fire In Iran
Shi'ite satellite television networks in Iran have come under fire for alleged anti-Sunni programming. Iran's Intelligence Ministry said in an August 4 statement that a number of people working for local and foreign-based Shi'ite satellite channels were arrested during recent raids on "illegal offices" in the provinces of Qom, Tehran, Isfahan, and Khorasan. - 8/6/14

I'm Very Happy To Come Back Home, Nekounam Says After Joining Osasuna Football Team
Iranian national team captain Javad Nekounam has signed a two-year contract with second division side Osasuna, returning to the Spanish club after a two-year spell in the Middle East. - 8/6/14

Iran awards first annual human rights prize
Iran has awarded its first annual prize for human rights activism to the head of the Al-Nasr Children's Hospital in Gaza. The 30,000-euro prize was awarded for the first time on the sidelines of the Islamic Human Rights Ceremony in Tehran. - 8/6/14

At least 11 Killed By Fire At Iranian Prison
Reports from central Iran say at least 11 inmates at a prison have been killed in a fire. Abdullah Mousavi, a local judiciary official, said on August 5 that the prisoners died from suffocation when the fire broke out at the Shahr-e-Kord prison in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province on August 4. - 8/6/14

IRNA: Iran Nuclear Talks Likely on Fringes of UN General Assembly
Iran and six world powers will probably discuss a potential deal on Tehran's nuclear program on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) in September, the state news agency IRNA quoted a senior Iranian negotiator as saying. -Reuters - 8/6/14

Iran Seeking Successor to Iraqi PM Maliki
"We have reached the conclusion that Maliki cannot preserve the unity of Iraq anymore, but Ayatollah [Ali] Sistani still has hopes," said the Iranian official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, referring to Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric. -Reuters - 8/6/14

Rohani leads call to aid Palestinians at NAM meeting in Tehran
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza and called on the United Nations to step in to end the "massacre and genocide" of Palestinians. - 8/5/14

Dedication, Destruction and Hamas
Applying a familiar label or phrase can be a substitute for good analysis, or for any analysis at all. The application activates a set of presumptions associated with the label or phrase while brushing aside any other relevant facts that may contradict those presumptions. The current conflict in Gaza has stimulated a surge in application of such rote phrases to one of the belligerents: Hamas. -Paul R. Pillar, National Interest - 8/5/14

Iranian Researcher Maryam Mirzakhani Receives The 2014 Clay Research Award
Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian university professor and mathematician at Stanford University, is the recipient of the 2014 Clay Research Award from the Clay Mathematics Institute. Mirzakhani well-known for her prominent theories on geometry and ergodic theory, received the award along with Peter Scholz, another prominent mathematician on Algebraic geometry. - 8/5/14

Persian daily "Qanoun" to return to newsstands
A court in Tehran revoked a ban on the Persian daily Qanoun (Law). In a hearing on Monday, the paper was punished by a fine of 50 million rials (about $1,650) after it was found guilty on charges of making 'false accusations', disturbing public opinion and publishing articles against public decency. - 8/5/14

Fertility Push Viewed as Unsexy by Young Iranians
Skeptics wrinkle their brows at the Ayatollah's push for larger families and the government's efforts to restrict family planning and provide incentives for childbirth. Iran's youth want to be free, says a scholar of the Iranian women's movement. -Hajer Naili, WeNews - 8/5/14

The only woman to go in Iran's wrestling arena
Christina Kelley was the first woman to be a team leader for the US National Greco-Roman wrestling squad. She recently travelled with the team to Tehran, the host city of the 2014 Wrestling World Cup. -BBC - 8/5/14

German business looks to renew Iran contacts
German businesses are cooling on Russian investments amid anger over Russia's role in the Ukrainian conflict while simultaneously warming on another big country hit by Western sanctions: Iran. -Wall Street Journal - 8/5/14

Iran's Economy After One Year of Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected to office largely on his promise to lift the economy out if its deepest recession since the Iran-Iraq war. One year later, evidence of a recovery is hard to find, but he has achieved a few significant accomplishments. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani - 8/4/14

Iran vs. USA Men's Volleyball Coming to Southern California
In less than a week, the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team will host Iran for four matches at sites around Southern California. The matches will help both teams prepare for the 2014 FIVB Men's World Championship on Aug. 30-Sept. 21 in Poland. - 8/4/14

NY's Rogue Space Gallery Presents "Portraits: Reflections by Emerging Iranian Artists"
A groundbreaking group show which will further shed light on, and explore, Iran's contemporary art scene by showcasing work by over 20 young Iranian artists who were raised, educated, and born there. The exhibition will be on view from September 17 to September 22, 2014 - 8/4/14

Photos: Iran's film community gives blood for people of Gaza
The Iranian film community has begun a promotional campaign in support of the war-stricken people of Gaza and, as a part of that, a group of them gathered at the Tehran Centre for Blood Transfer on Saturday July 2 to donate blood to be transferred to Gaza. Among the group on Saturday was the Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. - 8/4/14

As We Were Busy...
As we were intensely engaged in the atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza and we debated whether we should or should not participate in the Ghods (Palestine) Day march in Iran to demonstrate our denouncement of the murders in Gaza, members of the Guardian Council had been meeting and reinstated Ahmad Janati as the secretary of the Council, despite his age and health. -Issa Saharkhiz - 8/4/14

Iran's first public detox clinic licensed in Tehran
Iran's Health Ministry has issued a licence for the country's first public centre for alcohol detoxification, which will operate out of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences. A report released last year by the World Health Organization pegged Iran's alcohol consumption per consumer as the nineteenth highest in the world. - 8/4/14

2014 Art of Science Competition Winners: Photos
"Watermark," from postdoctoral researcher Sara Sadr, was this year's first-place winner. The pattern in the image was created by water moving back and forth on the Atlantic coast. - 8/4/14

27 Journalists Now Detained in Iran, says IFJ
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has issued a renewed appeal for the government of Iran to show its commitment to press freedom and human rights by releasing the ever increasing number of journalists being held in the country. - 8/2/14

Tourism Key To Job Creation, Economic Growth In Iran: Finance Minister
Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia says the administration of President Hassan Rouhani believes that the promotion of tourism is the key to job creation and economic growth. Ecotourism and medical tourism are the top priorities, the IRNA news agency quoted Tayyebnia as saying on Thursday. - 8/2/14

Health of jailed Iranian journalist of growing concern
Akram Mohammadi mother of jailed journalist Saba Azarpeyk reports that her daughter's temporary arrest warrant has been renewed and she has been told not to have much hope to see her daughter released. - 8/2/14

Iranian Showman Launches "Child for Child" Gaza Campaign
Popular Iranian children TV show host has run "Child for Child" campaign to support the rights of oppressed Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. "Children all over the world wish a peaceful and comfortable life free of war for Gaza children and we want to realize such wish by running the campaign," said Dariush Farziaei (known as Uncle Pourang in Iran). - 8/2/14

Number of Passing Flights through Iranian Airspace to Increase
The number of flights by the UAE's Emirates Airline through the Iranian airspace will increase after Ukraine closed its airspace following the crash of Malaysia's MH17 flight, Deputy CEO for Aeronautical Operations at Iran Airports Company (IAC) Ebrahim Shoushtari announced on Saturday. - 8/2/14

Iran's inflation rate falls 2.4% in a month
The Statistical Center of Iran has announced that the inflation rate for the 12-month period that ended on the last day of the Iranian calendar month of Tir (July 22) was 24.2 percent, a 2.2 percent decrease compared to the previous month. - 8/2/14

Dejagah rejects Bundesliga and Premier League offers to join Al Arabi
Iranian international midfielder Ashkan Dejagah, who has never played outside of Europe, has rejected Premier League and Bundesliga offers to sign a lucrative contract with the Qatari side Al Arabi. Dejagah's agent, Reza Fazeli, believes that Ashkan made the right decision and the fans should respect his choice. - 8/2/14

Botox on the rise among Iranian men
Majid Abhari, a sociologist and a favorite of the administration, has time and again discussed what he calls the new obsession of Iranian men with Botox, and interprets it as a mental complex in which men see themselves as ugly, and increasingly struggle to beautify themselves, while women, since they are veiled and covered, perceive themselves as beautiful and therefore have higher self-esteem. -Mehrnaz Samimi, Al-Monitor - 8/2/14

High heels and hijabs: Iran's sexual revolution
For more than 30 years, the Islamic Republic has been obsessively battling against sex, but as with anything that is suppressed or banned, people have learned to sidestep the punitive regulations. -Ramita Navai, New Statesman - 8/2/14

Congressional Backlash on Iran is a Problem for Europe, Too
In recent weeks, hard-line members of the US Congress have stepped up their game of obstructing diplomacy with Iran. Resolving the Iranian nuclear conflict has been used as a chip in domestic politics rather than a foreign policy issue pursued through a multilateral track.-Ellie Geranmayeh - 8/1/14

Jailing of returning Iranian journalists called part of anti-Rohani plan
Hossein Mirdamadi, the father of jailed journalist Serajeddin Mirdamai, says the judge in his son's case has said that he will be made an example so that other journalists will not think of returning to Iran. - 8/1/14

As World Condemns Attack on Gaza, US Resupplies Israel with Weapons
The Pentagon on Wednesday announced its recent approval for unlocking a massive stockpile of ammunition for use by the Israeli Defense Forces who continue to pummel the civilian population living inside the Gaza Strip where the death toll now nears 1,400 people-a majority of whom are civilians, including close to 300 children. - 8/1/14

As a Jew, This Makes Me Angry
On Monday, I attended the National Leadership Assembly for Israel. The gathering was more than a little disquieting. Big names who addressed the audience included National Security Adviser Susan Rice, House Speaker John Boehner, Former Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and current Chairman Ed Royce, and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. -Mitchell Plitnick - 8/1/14

Polo in Iran: Breaking barriers, building diplomacy
When the doorbell rang at our California winter home, it was George Dill, telling me in his trademark, gruff voice, "Gery, I've got some Iranian visitors here. I want 'em to meet you." -Gery and Suzanne Warner, Common Ground - 8/1/14

Plaza is a piece of Iran in North Toronto
The men hunch over their lunches at a dining table set in a tidy corner of the ethnic grocery store. They chat in Persian, steal bites from one another's spice-streaked containers and, when their bellies are full, rest their arms on the sides of a chest freezer full to the rim with prepared foods and cold, dried fruits.-Michele Henry, The Star - 8/1/14

Two Azerbaijani Men Jailed For Life For Spying For Iran
A court in Baku has sentenced two Azerbaijani men to life in prison for spying for Iran. Hafiz Valiyev and Agamir Agamirov were officially found guilty of high treason on August 1 and sentenced the same day. - 8/1/14

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