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Behind the Congressional Disagreements over the Iran Nuclear Deal
The hysterical campaign launched against the Iran nuclear deal by the flag-waving militarist partisans in and around the US congress has terribly obfuscated the issues included in the deal. Not surprisingly, the campaign has created a number of misconceptions regarding both the actual contents of the deal and the main disagreements between the advocates and opponents of the deal. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 8/31/15

Penelope Cruz accepts role in next Farhadi film
Penelope Cruz is reportedly acting in Asghar Farhadi's next film, which will be shot in Spain in October of 2016. The Shargh daily reports that veteran Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is one of the film's producers. - 8/31/15

Iran: Rohani seeks discretion around house arrests
President Hassan Rohani said in reference to the house arrest of Iranian opposition leaders that repeatedly raising the issue does not help his administration's efforts to end the situation. At a press conference on Saturday August 29, Rohani spoke of his campaign promise to end the house arrest of MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi, the leaders of the Green Movement. - 8/31/15

Oregon Senator Says He'll Endorse Iran Nuclear Pact
Another U.S. senator, Democrat Jeff Merkley from (the western state of) Oregon, declared his support Sunday for the international accord to bar Iran from building a nuclear weapon. -Merkley became the 31st senator to say he will vote next month in favor of the pact, moving President Barack Obama closer to a mathematical certainty that the deal will take effect. - 8/31/15

Iran says negotiating with Russia for Sukhoi fighter jets
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says Tehran is in talks with Moscow for the purchase of Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets. "We are discussing the purchase of Sukhoi fighter planes" from Russia, Dehqan said in an interview withLebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news networkon Sunday. - 8/31/15

Shelter owner, dozens of cats die in fire
Fire at an animal shelter near Eshtehard led to the death of 200 cats and the owner and operator of the shelter. A spokesman for the local fire department reports that the fire occurred at 6 AM, killing one person and 200 cats. - 8/31/15

Revealed: The Lessons of Khobar Towers
Saudi Arabia reportedly has taken custody of Ahmed al-Mughassil, accused of being a central figure in the truck bombing at Khobar Towers in eastern Saudi Arabia in 1996 in which 19 American airmen died. The report immediately raises questions about the timing of this story, the motives behind it, and the circumstances of the reported arrest. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/31/15

Iran Sentences 2 on Spy Charges
Iran's Revolutionary Court sentenced two people to 10 years in prison Sunday for spying, but did not identify the suspects or their nationalities. A court spokesman said the two spied for the United States and Israel. - 8/31/15

Dick Cheney Never Disappoints
Previewing his September 8 address on the Iran deal to (who else?) the American Enterprise Institute, Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz have published a lengthy op-ed ("Restoring American Exceptionalism") in Saturday's print edition of The Wall Street Journal. It's predictably over the top, apocalyptic, and entirely Manichean in word and spirit. Appeasement, Chamberlain, Hitler, Hiroshima, Nagasaki--it's all there. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 8/31/15

Photos: World soccer stars team sinks Iran's 3-0 in Tehran charity match
The team of world's retired professional footballers has produced a dazzling performance against Iran's football stars of the past in a charity match, the proceeds of which went to the Iranian society that supports MS patients. - 8/29/15

Sunni Scholars Call For Ban On Iranian Prophet Muhammad Film
Prominent Sunni Muslim scholars are demanding that Tehran ban a film on the life of the Prophet Muhammad that was released on August 27, though it is expected to break box-office records in Shi'ite Muslim Iran. - 8/29/15

Obama Assures American Jewish Leaders on Iran Deal
President Barack Obama told American Jewish leaders the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran is the best option for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, saying that "true friendship," like that between the United States and Israel, allows room for debate. Speaking in a live webcast Friday, the president delivered remarks about the disputed deal and how it will impact the relationship between the United States and Israel. -Katherine Gypson, VOA - 8/29/15

MP seeks solutions to house arrests, media ban of Iranian opposition leaders
Iranian MP Ali Motahari has written a letter to the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, urging him to review the matter of the house arrest of MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi and also the media ban on former president Mohammad Khatami. - 8/29/15

Some Dubious Characters, Connections Among Ex-Military Foes of Iran Deal
When something big happens in the foreign policy world-especially a political issue that requires a vote in Congress-advocates try to shore up their positions with what are called, in public relations terms, "validators." On issues of national security, of course, the military validator is of particular importance. -Ali Gharib and Grace Cason, LobeLog - 8/29/15

Iranian security officers block memorial for executed political prisoners
Iranian intelligence and security officers prevented a gathering of families and activists from taking place at Khavaran Cemetery on August 28. Khavaran is the burial ground of some of the thousands of political prisoners who were executed in the late eighties following an edict by the late leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini. - 8/29/15

Hundreds of thousand migrants have fled Middle East, Africa for Europe
A UN report reveals that more than 300,000 migrants have taken the hazardous route across the Mediterranean Sea to escape to Europe this year, and 2,500 of them are estimated to have lost their lives en route. - 8/29/15

The Molten Three: Israel's Aborted Strike on Iran
I must admit that Moshe ""Bogie" Ya'alon did not top the list of my favorite politicians. The former army Chief of Staff and present Minister of Defense looked to me like a mere lackey of Netanyahu and a one-dimensional militarist. Many people call him a "bock", a non-complimentary German-Yiddish term for billy goat... -Uri Avnery, Counterpunch - 8/29/15

Sophisticated Phishing Campaign Targets Iranian Diaspora
Civil society activists in the Iranian diaspora community are being targeted with an elaborate and sophisticated phishing campaign designed to steal their email communications and contacts, a group of Canada-based researchers contends in a new report. -Doug Bernard, VOA - 8/28/15

Cheetah Conservation Day aims to protect species in Iran
It is now half a century since the habitat of the Asiatic Cheetah has been reduced to the Iranian plains. Outside of Africa, the Iranian plains are the only place where cheetahs can be found. The ninth annual festival of Cheetah Conservation Day is being observed, even as estimates indicate that only 40 to 70 head of cheetah are left in Iran. The festival is being held from August 27 to 28 in Tehran's Mellat Park in tandem with celebrations in 13 other provinces. - 8/28/15

Iran and the Third Rail of American Politics
A distinctive feature of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P-5+1 and Iran to limit Iran's nuclear program is that the fate of the plan in Congress rests not on the details of actual arms control agreement but on the dreaded third rail of America's dysfunctional domestic politics. America's "third rail" of domestic politics once consisted of a relatively small number of hot button issues (Social Security, for example) that politicians simply could not touch for fear of retribution by the voters. -James A. Russell - 8/28/15

Iran Sees $30 Billion From Future Tourism
The deal struck between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear program should see sanctions against the country beginning to ease by next year - and Iranians are hoping the lifting of travel restrictions could prompt an influx of international tourists. Travel agencies already are seeing an increase in demand. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA - 8/28/15

EU working on new deal in rush to Iran
The European Union is said to be working on a political agreement to fast-track plans for future energy deals in Iran. Financial data and news provider Bloomberg on Thursday cited "two people with direct knowledge of the talks" as saying that the deal could be signed as early as November. - 8/28/15

Committee for the Liberation of Iraq Members on Iran Deal
"Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal," President Obama observed August 5 at American University in perhaps his most forceful and aggressive speech in favor of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There really is no question regarding the fundamental truth of that assertion. -Grace Cason and Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 8/28/15

Senator Tom Carper to support Iran nuclear deal
NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) announced that he will support the Iran nuclear deal: "Senator Carper has distinguished himself as a champion of diplomacy with Iran, and his statement today welcoming the deal will help ensure that the last two years of tough negotiations result in a verifiable deal instead of a disastrous missed opportunity. - 8/28/15

Greenhouse gas emissions rising in Iran
The head of National Air and Climate Change at Iran's Environmental Protection Agency reports that 500 million tons of greenhouse gases are produced by the country annually and in the next 10 years it is expected to reach 2 billion tons. - 8/28/15

German Support For Barenboim Concert In Iran Draws Israeli Ire
Star conductor Daniel Barenboim is hoping to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert there, the Berlin State Opera said August 27, drawing angry protests from Israel. Barenboim, 72, who is general music director of the German capital's flagship opera house, "is in talks with Iran about a possible concert in Tehran," the house said. - 8/28/15

Swiss conference: Iran 'pole of stability' for business
Switzerland, which became the first nation to lift sanctions on Iran last month, has arranged a major conference for its business owners, urging them to make the most of business opportunities in the energy-rich country. Some 500 business people gathered in Zurich to have Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Giulio Haas call Iran "the pole of stability in a very, very unsafe region", media reports from the event said. - 8/28/15

Prominent Iranian Activists, Intellectuals Call On Congress To Back Nuclear Deal
Activists who have taken to YouTube and social media in support of the agreement are hoping that it will ultimately strengthen the hands of the moderates and result in an opening up of the political situation inside the country. Many of them are based in Iran -- including student activist Zia Nabavi, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, and top human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was released from prison in 2013. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/27/15

Football: World Stars to Play Iranian Stars in Tehran Charity Match
Players expected to participate in the World Stars team captained by Michel Salgado include Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Fabio Cannavaro, Guti, Fernando Hierro, Fernando Couto, Vitor Baia, Bodo Illgner, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Steve McManaman, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly, Gaizka Mendieta, Edgar Davids, Jari Litmanen, Christian Karembeu, Boudewijn Zenden and Santiago Solari. - 8/27/15

Iran Cultivates Closer Ties with Azerbaijan
After six years of turbulent relations between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, several recent trips by high-ranking Iranian officials to Baku and Azeri ministers to Tehran are the latest signs that the two countries want to forget bad memories and establish closer relations. This rapprochement is in part a response to the mutual security challenges that Iran and Azerbaijan currently face. -LobeLog's Tehran correspondent - 8/27/15

Iranian Official: No Reports of Damage, Injury in Tehran Quake
According to a report by Iranian Seismological Center of the Institute of Geophysics of University of Tehran, an earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale shook the city of Firouzkouh on Tuesday night, located about 110 kilometers (68 miles) northeast of the capital city. - 8/27/15

The Biggest Myths About Doing Business with Iran
I've led three delegations of top international CEOs to Iran over the past three years. The first, in 2013, was during Ahmadinejad's presidency and later, in 2014 and 2015, under Rouhani. We met with Iranian business leaders, young entrepreneurs, religious leaders, students, artists and people we would encounter in markets or on the street. -Dick Simon, Huffington Post - 8/27/15

Reactivated suspended sentence keeps Iranian activist in jail two more years
Iranian student activist Bahareh Hedayat has to serve another two years in jail, even though her family expected her to be released having served five and a half years in jail. Bahareh Hedayat, born in 1981, was an executive member of the student group Tahkim-e Vahdat and also its spokesperson before going to jail. - 8/27/15

Neoconservatives Play the Long Game on Iran
David Addington, the legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, made that declaration to Jack Goldsmith of the Office of Legal Counsel in the months after September 11, 2001. Goldsmith would later recall that Cheney and Addington were the first people he had ever met of a certain kind... -David Bromwich, LobeLog - 8/27/15

European companies ignore US, keen on returning to Iran market: Report
London-based The Guardian, in a new report published on Tuesday, noted that the nuclear agreement has actually widened the gap between the two sides of the Atlantic, saying, "The ink was barely dry on the agreement with Iran ... before a German government plane packed with the nation's economic elite touched down in Tehran." - 8/27/15

Iran admits interest in Russian Superjet
An Iranian official has admitted Iranian aviation companies' interest in Russia's Superjet passenger planes amid Tehran's quest for new aircraft to build up the country's aging fleet, the Fars news agency says. - 8/27/15

Booker Torn Between GOP Donors and His Party
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is feeling the heat. Progressive advocacy groups are pushing Democrats from one side to back the Obama administration's plan to constrain Iran's nuclear program. From the other side, meanwhile, New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie vows to lobby Booker to join the senior senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, in opposing the Iran deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 8/27/15

Berlin orchestra's planned Tehran concert angers Israel
The Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim has been in talks to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert, drawing angry protests from Israel. -Guardian - 8/27/15

U.S. Senate Democrats Increasingly Confident Will Uphold Iran Deal
Senator Patty Murray on August 25 became the 29th Senate Democrat to declare her support for the deal -- bringing the party within five votes of the 34 needed to uphold President Barack Obama's expected veto of a resolution rejecting the deal that Republican leaders are preparing to send him. - 8/26/15

Russian Anxieties about the Iranian Nuclear Accord
A great debate is currently taking place in the U.S. about whether the nuclear accord between Iran and the P5+1 is a "good deal" or a "bad deal" for America and thus whether or not Congress should reject it. Although not nearly as vociferous, a similar debate is taking place in Moscow over what the implications of the Iranian nuclear accord are for Russia. -Mark N. Katz - 8/26/15

The Iran Issue and the Exploitation of Ignorance
Polls of American public opinion on the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program have produced widely varying results. One can find polls to support whatever position one would like to portray as the prevailing public view on this issue. Poll results on this subject are especially sensitive to the wording of the question that is asked. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/26/15

Iranian Human Rights Defenders Coming Out Massively in Support of the Iran Deal
The list includes Iran's most respected human rights defender, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer that has spent several years unjustly in jail. Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has also posted a video, as has Mehrangiz Kar. Perhaps the most moving one comes from Zia Nabavi, a renowned Iranian political prisoner sentenced to ten years of prison, who taped his voice recording in support of the deal from inside his prison cell. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 8/26/15

Group of Christian leaders backs Iran deal
More than 50 Christian leaders have signed on to a letter urging members of Congress to "remember the wisdom of Jesus" and approve the nuclear deal with Iran, the latest in a growing lobbying push by religious groups favoring the agreement. -Nahal Toosi, Politico - 8/26/15

Imprisoned Iranian Cartoonist Grateful for International Courage Award
Jailed artist Atena Farghadani has expressed gratitude upon hearing she was awarded the 2015 Courage in Cartooning Award by the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), her father said after visiting her at Evin Prison on August 16, 2015. - 8/26/15

Iran to forgo wheat import for first time
For the first time, Iran will not import wheat this year thanks to satisfactory state purchases of the crop from local farmers and decent harvest, the country's deputy agriculture minister says. The Agriculture Ministry has bought 7.8 million metric tons of the strategic grain so far, with overall guaranteed purchases expected to surpass eight million metric tons, Ali Qanbari said. - 8/26/15

Britain Will 'Tread Carefully' as Embassy Reopens in Iran
After reaching a deal with world powers over its nuclear program in July, Iran's apparent diplomatic rehabilitation continues. Britain has reopened its embassy in Tehran, four years after it was ransacked by protesters. Iran has also reopened its embassy in London. After visiting the newly re-opened British Embassy in Tehran, London's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it was vital to open a dialogue with Iran's leaders. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA - 8/25/15

Inspection Priorities at Parchin
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expressed a desire to visit a building at the Parchin Ammunition Plant near Tehran. The IAEA believes that experiments related to nuclear weapons may have taken place there early in the 2000s. The building is an unremarkable rectangular industrial building that would attract no interest whatsoever except that there are rumors about its past uses. -Robert Kelley - 8/25/15

Wanted For Terrorism, Commander Of Iran's Quds Force Is Actually Kind And Emotional, Brother Says
Qassem Soleimani, a top military commander in Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is a wanted man. For years, he's been linked to support for terrorism, covert operations, arms smuggling, and other efforts aimed at expanding Iran's influence abroad and undermining that of its enemies. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/25/15

The Danger of Rogue Israeli Military Action against Iran
The New York Times reported on August 21 that, according to leaks by Ehud Barak's biographers, the former Israeli defense minister and his boss, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, were ready to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure in 2010, 2011, and 2012. -Wayne White, LobeLog - 8/25/15

Iran's historical wall of Darabgerd to be registered in Guinness
Heritage activists in Iran have embarked on a project to get a historical wall in southwest Iran registered in the Guinness Book of Records. Mohammad Bagher Mohajer, director of a local NGO in the province of Fars, said Monday that plans are underway to enlist Darabgerd as the world's longest mud brick wall. - 8/25/15

Giant whale washed up along southern Iranian coast
The decomposing body of a 13-meter-long whale is washed up on a beach in southern Iran, with experts providing conflicting accounts on why the giant creature has died. Iranian media said Monday that the animal was spotted a few days ago on a beach near the port city of Dayyer in southwestern province of Bushehr, a first such incidence in decades in the gas-rich area. - 8/25/15

Commentary: Right-wing American bloggers have a problem with facts about Iran's Jews
Two prominent right-wing websites took aim at my GlobalPost article showing that Iranian Jews support the nuclear agreement with Iran and disagree with the views of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. -Reese Erlich, GlobalPost - 8/25/15

German FM to visit Iran early October for talks on nuclear accord
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to travel to Iran in October for talks on the nuclear accord, which was struck between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, including Berlin, earlier in the year. - 8/25/15

How to Persuade Undecided Democrats to Oppose the Iran Deal
With virtually all Republicans already committed to rejecting the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action between the P5+1 and Iran, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the "brains" behind the Iraq debacle, has hit on just the person to persuade Democrats to defy their president. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 8/25/15

Top Senate Democrat Backs Iran Nuclear Deal
Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid has expressed his support for the agreement the United States and five other nations reached with Iran to limit the country's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The Senate Minority Leader called the deal "the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" in a statement Sunday. - 8/24/15

FIVB Volleyball Boys' U19 World Championship 2015: Colossal Rasoul opens the way to bronze medal for Iran
An incredible tournament-high production of 40 points from Iranian star Rasoul Aghchehli ejected the Asians to a remarkable bronze medal as they won over previous champions Russia 3-1 (25-17, 26-28, 25-16, 25-23). - 8/24/15

Sanction, military threats against Iran harm JCPOA: President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says threats of military action and re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran will harm efforts for the restoration of trust between Iran and six world powers. "These sardonic remarks are indiscreet slogans and jokes that would harm the process of confidence-building," Rouhani told British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Tehran on Monday. - 8/24/15

Iran collects nine medals in Shotokan karate tournament
Iranian male and female karate practitioners have received nine medals, including four gold ones, at the 12th edition of the World Shotokan Karate-Do Championship in Japan. - 8/24/15

Multifaceted Obstacles Facing Iran-US Rapprochement
Dr. Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Iran's former ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva has taken part in an interview with Khabaronline news website to answer various questions on the effects of the recent nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Iran's regional relations in the Middle East, and the outlook of Tehran's ties with Washington. - 8/24/15

Noam Chomsky on the Iran Deal
Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that "the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons... -Noam Chomsky - 8/24/15

In Iran, a Women's Soccer Revolution
In a country where women aren't allowed to attend soccer games, the sport is taking off at the youth level--in part thanks to an Iranian-American -Bill Spindle, WSJ - 8/24/15

Iranian Nurses' Groups Oppose Firing Of Protesters
The Nursing Associations in Yazd and Khorasan Razavi have issued a statement denouncing the termination of four hospital nurses at Tehran's Amir Alam Hospital for taking part in labour protests. - 8/24/15

Plan to save at-risk species called a high priority by Iranian official
Seventy-six animal species including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish are under threat of extinction, according to Iran's Department of the Environment. The department's director of Biodiversity and Wildlife told ISNA on Sunday August 23 that 30 of those species are now high priority and "an action plan to save them has been prepared or is under preparation". - 8/24/15

Iran-UK ties important to both countries: Diplomat
A top Iranian diplomat says diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic and the United Kingdom are a necessity. "Having relations and diplomatic missions is of significance to both Britain and Iran," said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi on the sidelines of a ceremony in the British capital, London, to reopen the Iranian Embassy. - 8/24/15

Iran, Britain Reopen Embassies
Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has reopened the British embassy in Tehran, four years after Iranian protesters stormed the building and forced its closure. In a historic step in the thawing of relations between Tehran and Western powers, Hammond on August 23 declared the British embassy open and raised the Union Jack flag within the garden of the 19th century residence in the heart of Tehran. - 8/23/15

Iran's President Questions Role Of Hard-Line Vetters, Meets With Pushback
Iran's Guardians Council, long accused of being a tool for hard-liners in factional power struggles, is at the center of a new war of words among top state officials. The exchange comes ahead of elections early next year for parliament, which is currently controlled by conservatives and hard-liners, and for the Assembly of Experts, which oversees and appoints the country's supreme leader. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/23/15

Schools in Iran's Kurdistan province to promote Kurdish language
The head of the Kurdistan board of education says the Kurdish language will be incorporated into middle school text books for the next academic year. ISNA reports that Rashid Gorbani told a press conference on Tuesday August 17 that one third of literature and language texts for middle school will be dedicated to Kurdish. - 8/23/15

Iranian Film Festival in San Francisco: September 26-27, 2015
Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran, which showcases independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians from around the world, will present 33 films from ten countries at its 8th annual event. The films range from fiction, documentary, animation, short, music... - 8/23/15

Congressman Nadler on Why He Supports the Iran Deal
This September, we will face one of the most serious global security decisions in our history. It is a decision that I have taken my time to consider, knowing the stakes are too high to allow for anything but clear-headed and thoughtful analysis, with an acute awareness that there are sharply divided opinions and passionate feelings on both sides. -Jerrold Nadler, LobeLog - 8/23/15

Just Desserts: Ben and Jerry Join Pro-Iran Deal "Donor Strike"
"Lobbyists and billionaires plan to spend over $40 million to stop the diplomatic deal with Iran-the one the Obama Administration negotiated to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," the ice cream moguls wrote in a letter to MoveOn supporters and posted online. "That's dangerous, because if too many Democrats listen to the flood of hawkish, misinformation-ridden TV ads-and if they vote with Republicans-they could override the president's agreement in just about a month." -Marsha B. Cohen - 8/22/15

Banning of Films Continues under Rouhani Administration, 14 Movies Now Forbidden
Despite repeated statements made by President Rouhani regarding the need to allow more cultural freedoms in Iran, the banning of films in the Islamic Republic has continued unabated during his two-year administration. - 8/22/15

Photos: Iran unveils solid-fuel precision-guided missile with a range of 500 km
Iran unveils a new solid-fuel precision-guided missile, named Fateh 313, which has been designed and manufactured by experts at the Defense Ministry's Aerospace Industries Organization. - 8/22/15

Planned Israeli Attacks On Iranian Nuclear Sites Said Blocked
Israel's Channel 2 TV reported August 21 that a plan for Israel to strike Iranian nuclear facilities was blocked on three separate occasions in recent years. The report comes as Israel has been strenuously lobbying against a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that aims to curb Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions' relief. - 8/22/15

Iran Nuclear Debate Fracturing American Jewish Community
The debate over the nuclear deal with Iran is dividing American Jews, who have traditionally aligned with the Democratic Party and supported Barack Obama in two elections - but not always when it comes down to Iran. Four notable polls conducted since the deal was announced demonstrate that the American Jewish community is divided. -Cecily Hilleary, VOA - 8/22/15

AIPAC's Military "Expert" Loves the MEK And GOP's Islamophobic Fringe
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has committed over $20 million to defeating the Obama administration's nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. But that doesn't mean its campaign has gone smoothly. One of the top challenges facing AIPAC is finding reputable ex-military validators to denounce the agreement. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 8/22/15

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Tahereh Qurratu'l-Ayn
Global and Iranian history are both closely intertwined with the lives and destinies of prominent figures. Every one of them has laid a brick on history's wall, sometimes paying the price with their lives, men and women alike. Women have been especially influential in the past 200 years, writing much of contemporary Iranian history. - 8/22/15

Senator Corker and the Nuclear Agreement
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long given us hope for reasonableness even when he and we have been surrounded by partisan rabidity and a lack of reason. Corker was one of the few Republican senators to refrain from signing the Tom Cotton letter that lectured the Iranians on how they cannot count on the United States sticking to any agreement that Iran may reach with it. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/22/15

After Nuclear Deal With West, Iran Gears Up to Cash In
When Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps took over the nation's telecommunications monopoly in 2009, the move was denounced as another dark step in the hard-line military group's seizure of the levers of power. Last month, however, the company, the Telecommunication Company of Iran, was put up for sale, as the Revolutionary Guards now seem more interested in cashing in on what Iranian leaders are hoping will be a flood of foreign investment... -Thomas Erdbrink, NY Times - 8/22/15

AP Mangles Parchin Story, Hopes Nobody Notices
On Wednesday the Associated Press published an exclusive that was guaranteed to provide ammunition to those in the United States who are working to defeat the Iran nuclear deal in Congress next month. The story, "UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site," describes a draft of a so-called "side agreement" reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the nuclear watchdog agency's planned inspections at Iran's Parchin military base... -Derek Davison - 8/21/15

Britain, Iran To Reopen Embassies After Four-Year Closure
Britain and Iran will reopen their respective embassies, four years after their closure when protesters angry over Western sanctions stormed the U.K. mission in Tehran. Officials said Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who helped negotiate a historic nuclear deal between Iran and the West, will travel to Iran August 23 for the reopening of the British embassy. Tehran will reopen its embassy in London at the same time, officials said. - 8/21/15

IAEA Director 'Disturbed' By Report On Iranian Nuclear Inspections
The head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says he is "disturbed" by a report suggesting his organization has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a statement on August 20 that such statements "misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work. - 8/21/15

Turkey-Iran Tensions on Rise
The cancellation of a visit to Turkey last week by Iran's foreign minister has brought increasingly tense relations between Ankara and Tehran into sharper focus. The two countries back opposite sides in the Syrian civil war and accuse each other of heightening sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 8/21/15

EXHIBITION: Newsha Tavakolian - Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album
"The family photo album is the showcase for my generation. The yellowed albums and pictures of smiling children dressed up in their best clothes are testament to our hopes and dreams, but they end in blank pages and the moment when our parents stopped taking our pictures (...) - 8/21/15

What's Really behind Khamenei's Recent Anti-US Statements?
Last week Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iran will not allow the United States to try reestablishing its influence in Iran. Taken together with the statement of the hardline managing editor of Keyhan Hussein Shariatmadari insinuating that the religious leader was against the nuclear agreement, this statement raised the question of whether Khamenei was having second thoughts about backing the moderate and reconciliatory policies of his president, Hassan Rouhani. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 8/21/15

Post-sanctions Iran must focus on building a knowledge economy
In 1979, the Islamic Revolution rid Iran of over two and a half millennia of monarchy. It also led to a three-decade exodus of highly educated Iranians from the country. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for over twenty-five years, Iran has consistently had one of the highest rates of brain drain in the world. -Kayvan Vakili, Quartz - 8/21/15

In Letter, Obama Tells Congress U.S. Will Still Press Iran
In his most comprehensive effort to assure wavering Democrats, President Obama wrote in a letter to Congress that the United States would unilaterally maintain economic pressure and deploy military options if needed to deter Iranian aggression, both during and beyond the proposed nuclear accord. -NY Times - 8/21/15

Will Iran nuclear deal affect Persian businesses in L.A.?
The nuclear deal struck between Iran and the U.N. Security Council is being hotly debated in Congress. In Los Angeles, business people in the largest community of Iranians outside Iran are talking about what an end to sanctions might mean for their businesses. -Andy Uhler, Marketplace - 8/21/15

Iran widens media charm offensive with access for BBC following nuclear deal
Iran's media charm offensive following last month's landmark nuclear deal has crossed a new frontier with a visa for a reporting trip and and high-level interview granted to a BBC correspondent for the first time in six years. -Guardian - 8/21/15

Phased End of Iranian Arms Embargo Is US Victory
The benefits that Iran will accrue by complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have set off alarm bells in Washington. Opponents have misrepresented the deal's lifting of an international arms embargo as a major and unnecessary concession to Iran. The arms embargo, however, was designed to end if and when Iran concluded a nuclear deal with world powers. The delayed end of the embargo is the result of the Obama administration's tough negotiating tactics, which bordered on brinksmanship. -Henry Johnson - 8/20/15

Senators Joe Donnelly and Ed Markey announce support for Iran nuclear deal
NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after Senator Joe Donnelly announced his support for the Iran nuclear agreement: "Senator Donnelly's announcement is a very big deal. This was clearly not a political decision or a partisan decision, but a decision based on the premise that rejecting this deal would violate the principle that war must only be a last resort. - 8/20/15

Wall Street Journal Denies Iranian Charges That Reporter Spied
The Wall Street Journal denied Iranian state media accusations that one of the newspaper's senior reporters spied and conspired against Iran's government. The stories in the Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan and other outlets called Farnaz Fassihi a secret go-between for the Obama administration when it sought to make contact with the Iranian opposition Green Movement in 2009. The movement rose to prominence and sparked mass demonstrations following Iran's disputed presidential election that year. - 8/20/15

Iranian Ex-Prosecutor Acquitted Of Murder In Protesters' Deaths
A former Iranian prosecutor has been acquitted of murder charges related to the killing of three antigovernment protesters in 2009, Iranian news agencies report. Reports said Said Mortazavi will spend time in jail and pay a fine for receiving "illegal money" during his time as the head of Iran's Social Security Fund. - 8/20/15

Optimism on the Iran Deal, Whichever Way Congress Decides
Most pundits predict that Obama will have enough votes to push through the Iran nuclear deal. An AIPAC-driven Congress will oppose it, but Obama will use his veto power to overcome the opposition. At the end of the day, optimists forecast, the president will receive the requisite support in Congress to prevent a veto override. -Gary Leupp, Counterpunch - 8/20/15

Menendez Rejects Iran Deal, Sides With Donors To His Legal Defense Fund
Tuesday's announcement by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that he would vote against the Iran deal, making him the second Senate Democrat to oppose the White House's signature foreign policy initiative, was a surprise to no one. Menendez had been an outspoken critic of the White House's Iran diplomacy, even aligning himself with the controversial Mojahedin-e-Khalq, a fringe Iranian exile group that advocates regime change in Tehran. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 8/20/15

Democratic Leader Says U.S. House Will Uphold Obama On Iran Deal
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, says U.S. President Barack Obama has enough votes from lawmakers to stop a Republican-led effort to block the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. - 8/20/15

26 Top Jewish Leaders Back Iran Deal in New York Times Ad
Jewish supporters of the Iran nuclear deal have published a full-page New York Times ad backing the agreement signed by 25 current and former prominent communal leaders. The signers include heads of national Jewish organizations, leaders from major federations and former lawmakers, all calling on Congress to approve the deal. -Forward - 8/20/15

In Iran, 'death to America' doesn't mean what you think
Hardline Iranians continue to shout "death to America" at Friday prayers and political rallies as they have for decades. That chant is cited by conservative U.S. politicians as proof that Iran remains hostile and can't be trusted to implement nuclear accords. -Reese Erlich, GlobalPost - 8/20/15

Iran: Report says interference waves now less intense
Iran's minister of transportation has announced that the report on the effects of interference waves has been forwarded to the Supreme Council of National Security. Many critics have challenged the state's use of interference waves to block or censor satellite programming, calling it a serious threat to people's health. - 8/20/15

Seventy-Plus Nuclear Non-Proliferation Experts Endorse Deal
The Arms Control Association (ACA) released a joint statement on Tuesday endorsed by 75 of the world's leading nuclear non-proliferation specialists, including a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and former top U.S., UN, and foreign government non-proliferation officials. The statement concludes that the July 14 agreement "is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear non-proliferation efforts." -Jim Lobe - 8/19/15

Iran remembers 1953 US-led coup against then Iran PM
Iran is remembering the anniversary of the 1953 coup against the government of then democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. Six decades after the notorious coup, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the first time published a document in August 2013 which confirmed Washington's role in the coup d'etat. - 8/19/15

Senator Menendez's Efforts to Derail the Iran Deal
"Menendez has long opposed any diplomatic solution to the U.S.-Iran standoff. He proved this when he and Senator Chuck Schumer teamed up with Republicans to kill the Iran negotiations in 2014 and earlier this year with sanctions. The pair were unable to convince their Democratic colleagues to sabotage U.S. diplomatic efforts then, and so far they are the only Democratic Senators signed onto this latest attempt to kill a deal." -NIAC Action - 8/19/15

Obama Gains More Support For Nuclear Deal With Iran
Three more Democrats in the U.S. Senate announced their support for the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on August 18, raising to 23 the number who back the deal and increasing the likelihood that President Barack Obama can veto Republican attempts to block the accord. - 8/19/15

The Backfiring of Israeli Strategy on Iran
Those paying attention both to the Israeli government's implacable opposition against the agreement restricting Iran's nuclear program and to the issue of Iran's other activity in the Middle East might take note of some background that several analysts, including Shibley Telhami and Aaron David Miller, have noted: that Israeli agitation about the Iranian nuclear program was a principal impetus for negotiating the agreement on that subject that was finalized in Vienna last month. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/19/15

The Next Middle East Nuclear Challenge: Israel
The nuclear agreement with Iran opens the way to forging a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. Until now a Middle East NWFZ has had the hallmarks of a hopeless cause. It's been all too easy for Israel to use fears aroused by Iran's nuclear program to oppose the notion. The July 14 agreement deprives Israel of that excuse. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 8/19/15

How Iran's Jews Survive in Mullahs' World
The first thing I noticed about Shahab Shahamifar as we strolled to synagogue on a Saturday morning in July was his yarmulke. It was a medium-size, black knitted one, and he was wearing it as we walked the busy streets of Tehran. Then I noticed that no one looked up. -Larry Cohler-Esses, Forward - 8/19/15

Europe, US may invest in Iran glass industry
German, Italian and US companies indicated readiness to invest in Iran's glass manufacturing industry, head of the Iranian Glass and Crystal Producers Association said. They made their intentions known to Iranian officials during visits by European delegations to Tehran recently in the wake of last month's conclusion of nuclear negotiations, Ahmad Amir-Ahmadi said. - 8/19/15

Baku tells Tehran to join EU gas pipeline plan
Iran's media say Azerbaijan has officially proposed to Iran to join a key project to export natural gas to Europe. Azerbaijan reportedly wants to engage Iran in gas exports to Europe through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). - 8/19/15

Cultivating Seeds of Peace, Global Day of Action to Support Iran Deal
Rallies took place in cities across the globe on Saturday in support of the historic nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. Organized by volunteer Iranian expats and unaffiliated with any political groups or campaigns, the #SupportIranDeal mobilization spanned continents as participants called for peace and denounced well-funded efforts to derail the deal. -Common Dreams - 8/18/15

Iran denies plans for establishing chamber of commerce with US
Iran has denied media reports about plans to set up a joint chamber of commerce with the US after the conclusion of nuclear talks last month. In a statement, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines said no measure has been taken yet for establishing such an entity, adding any reports to the contrary "lacked any legal basis". - 8/18/15

U.S. Senate GOP Leader Concedes Iran Deal 'Likely' To Succeed
U.S. President Barack Obama has "a great likelihood of success" in his showdown with congressional Republicans on the Iran nuclear deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has grudgingly acknowledged. The Republican-led Senate and House are expected to reject the deal in a joint resolution next month amid near universal condemnation of the accord by Republicans. - 8/18/15

Russia, Iran Plan To Expand Military Cooperation
Moscow and Tehran say they plan to expand military and economic cooperation after international sanctions against Iran are lifted under a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. - 8/18/15

Supreme Leader accuses U.S. of using nuclear deal to influence Iran
Iran's Supreme Leader has once again emphasized his anti-American stance, saying he will not allow the United States to use the nuclear agreement to spread its influence in the country. - 8/18/15

Another Rabbi for the Iran Deal
I signed a letter to Congress with 340 of my rabbinic colleagues in support of the Iran deal. Despite the fact that AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) is spending $20-40 million to defeat it, they do not speak for the Jewish community. Neither does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak for all Israelis. -Rachel S. Mikva, Huffington Post - 8/18/15

Iran deal quietly picks up some GOP backers
For example, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, used to be seen as one of the most influential voices in GOP politics on matters of international affairs. With that in mind, it matters that Lugar doesn't want to see the Iran deal derailed, putting him sharply at odds with his former colleagues in Congress. -Steve Benen, MSNBC - 8/18/15

Iran gets first ever associated gas offer
A French company has proposed to buy associated gas from an offshore Iranian oilfield in the Persian Gulf in order to convert it into LNG, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says. The offer marks the first of its kind to Iran by a foreign company to use natural gas associated with oil production instead of burning it off as the country often does in a practice known as flaring. - 8/18/15

The Forward Discovers the Real Iran -- Not Netanyahu's Caricature
Over the course of the past 25 years, the image of Iran presented by the Israeli government has become increasingly simplistic, one-dimensional, void of any nuance -- in short, incomplete at best and inaccurate at worst. This simplistic image of Iran has become so pervasive that Western journalists almost without exception are shocked when they visit the country and discover a fundamentally different reality. -Trita Parsi, Forward - 8/18/15

Off the Coast of Iran, a High-Stakes Version of Spy Versus Spy
In the skies and waters of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, United States and Iran continue to constantly watch each other. American naval ships openly roam the waters along Iran's 1,100-mile-long southern coastline, their radar trained on the Iranian shore and on Iranian ships leaving their harbors. Iranian fighter jets patrol the skies, keeping an eye on American combat plane... -Helene Cooper, NY Times - 8/18/15

Iranians Coordinate a Global Event to Support the Iranian Nuclear Deal
A group of ten to fifteen people dressed in Israeli Defence Force (IDF) t-shirts and waving Canadian, Israeli and IDF flags slowly encircled a large group of Iranians holding posters reading "#SupportIranDeal" and "we choose peace". -Mahsa Alimardani, Global Voices - 8/17/15

Reinventing Academic Ties: Opportunities for U.S.-Iran Higher Education Cooperation
The warming of diplomatic relations with Iran marks the beginning of a new era of potential cooperation between higher education institutions in the United States and Iran. After decades of limited academic ties, institutions in both countries are eager to renew relationships and initiate new ones. The Institute of International Education is supporting increased U.S.-Iran academic cooperation by launching the IIE Iran Higher Education Initiative, - 8/17/15

State of Sanctions on Iran after Nuclear Deal
The following is the introduction and summary of a paper prepared by the law firm Berliner Corcoran and Rowe (BCR) LLP. It addresses the current state of sanctions on Iran in light of the July 14 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) agreed between the P5+1 and Iran in Vienna and the implications for U.S. individuals and entities wishing to do business in Iran. The entire brief can be found here. -Jim Lobe - 8/17/15

US Senator's 'No' on Iran Deal Makes Any GOP Support Unlikely
With a month left before the deadline for U.S. Congress to vote on the international deal limiting Iran's nuclear program, President Barack Obama appears to have lost his only chance to get any Republican support for the agreement. - 8/17/15

Iran to build specialized nuclear hospital: Salehi
Iran has launched a plan to build a major specialized nuclear hospital in the near future, says the country's nuclear chief. "Work will soon get underway to construct it (the hospital)," said Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, adding the plan has been given the all-clear by President Hassan Rouhani as well. - 8/17/15

Iran Deal: A Response to AIPAC
AIPAC recently issued a memorandum to congressional members and staff with respect to the future of the Iran sanctions regime should Congress reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This memorandum notes that, if a joint resolution of disapproval for the JCPOA were to be passed by both houses of Congress and President Obama's inevitable veto overridden by a two-thirds vote again of both houses, the U.S. sanctions regime would remain legally in place. -Richard Nephew, LobeLog - 8/17/15

Iran Gives UN Agency Documents Linked to Past Nuclear Work
Iran has given the U.N. nuclear agency documents linked to a probe of allegations that Tehran tried to develop atomic weapons, meeting a key deadline to potentially satisfy a condition for sanctions relief under an accord reached with world powers last month. - 8/17/15

Iranian officials blame derailment on rail tampering
Iranian officials say the train that derailed after leaving Gorgan in Golestan Province was sabotaged by the removal of more than 600 nuts and bolts from the rails, causing the track to give way. - 8/17/15

Iran opens Middle East's largest caviar plant
Iran has opened a sturgeon farm described as the Middle East's largest on its Caspian coasts to produce high-end caviar -- the most prized luxury delicacy reserved for the rich. - 8/17/15

Earthquake strikes Tehran and Semnan provinces in Iran
According to a report by Iranian Seismological Center of the Institute of Geophysics of University of Tehran, an earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale on Thursday night rattled the districts of Javad Abad, Pishva and Varamin, south of Tehran. The institute also said that the quake was followed by seven aftershocks and foreshocks - 8/15/15

Imprisoned Iranian Artist Suffering from Lymphatic Disease
The artist and civil activist Atena Farghadani has developed signs of lymphatic disease in prison as she awaits her chance to challenge a 12-year prison sentence in the appeals court, according to her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi. - 8/15/15

The Faith Healer Who Has The Iranian Regime Scared To Death
Spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri attracted a significant following in Iran by spreading the word of mystical love and the idea that he could help cure the sick by connecting them to divine powers. But his work has earned him a death sentence in the Islamic republic -- a punishment Tehran normally reserves for drug dealers and those who take up arms against the regime -- and sparked calls for leniency and allegations of a cover-up. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/15/15

Russia Ready To Send S-300 Missile Systems To Iran
Russia is ready to send S-300 long-range, surface-to-air missile systems to Iran and is working to have the sanctions against Tehran removed as soon as possible, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on August 14. Russia is "completely satisfied" with the Iran nuclear deal, Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow, adding that the deal will be enforced with or without U.S. support. - 8/15/15

Head of Tehran teachers' group faces new charges
The General Secretary of the Tehran Teachers' Association is now facing new charges: "Conspiracy to disrupt national security and propaganda against the regime". Abdi was arrested following the wave of teacher protests that began last March and spread across the country to demand better pay and conditions. - 8/15/15

Henry Siegman, Leading U.S. Jewish Voice for Peace: "Give Up on Netanyahu, Go to the United Nations"
"Well, what I am suggesting he (President Obama) do, and what many others have suggested, as well, indeed for some time now, is that he finally act on a truth, that he understood for quite some time now-namely, that any government that is headed by Netanyahu not only is disinterested in pursuing a two-state solution, but indeed sees as its primary mission and goal, policy goal, is to prevent a two-state agreement." -Democracy Now - 8/15/15

Why we disagree with Chuck Schumer on the Iran deal
Schumer's alternative to the agreement is to "keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more." He does not explain how his strategy would be accomplished without the support of Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, the other parties to the deal besides the United States and Iran. -Senators Richard Lugar and J. Bennett Johnston - 8/15/15

Big Oil in Retreat
The plunge of global oil prices began in June 2014, when benchmark Brent crude was selling at $114 per barrel. It hit bottom at $46 this January, a near-collapse widely viewed as a major but temporary calamity for the energy industry. Such low prices were expected to force many high-cost operators, especially American shale oil producers, out of the market, while stoking fresh demand and so pushing those numbers back up again. -Michael Klare, LobeLog - 8/15/15

Bad Intelligence Leading Us to War Again?
On August 6, Jeb Bush did us the tremendous favor of reminding us of the bad intelligence that led us into a strategic disaster in Iraq that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands-nearly 5,000 of them American. Actually, it wasn't bad intelligence. It was cherry-picked intelligence, even faked, and designed to mislead politicians and the public into believing, among other things, that Iraq was actively developing a nuclear weapon. -Robert Kelley - 8/14/15

More Support For Iran Deal From U.S. Democrats
Two more Democrats in the U.S. Senate have announced support for the Iran nuclear deal as allies of President Barack Obama inched toward their goal of ensuring Congress cannot kill the deal. - 8/14/15

Ailing Student Activist's Continued Detention Violates Iran's Own Laws
Prominent student activist Bahareh Hedayat should have been released by the end of July 2015 with the completion of more than five years in prison but efforts to end her unlawful incarceration have so far been unsuccessful, according to her husband Amin Ahmadian. - 8/14/15

Right and Wrong Lessons From the Iraq War
It really rankles some people that Barack Obama was correct from the outset, before any unfolding of the history confirming he was right, that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a huge mistake. And one can understand how to some ears Mr. Obama's subsequent references to the Iraq War may have a grating "I told you so" quality. -Paul R. Pillar - 8/14/15

How Obama could salvage the Iran deal
If Congress votes down the Iran nuclear deal, President Barack Obama says, the agreement will collapse and war will come "soon." But Obama has broad powers to act alone - even against the will of Congress - say experts and former administration officials familiar with internal deliberations. -Michael Crowley, Politico - 8/14/15

Iran unveils first oil project under new model
Iran plans a $2.2 billion development of a field shared with Iraq to produce 50,000 barrels of oil per day, an official says, marking the first introduction of major energy projects under a new contract. - 8/14/15

Mercedes pays compensation to Iran Khodro
German carmaker Mercedes-Benz has paid Iran Khodro 42 million euros in compensation for leaving Iran in the heyday of Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Tehran-based media reports say. The reparation comes as Mercedes, owned by Daimler, seeks to return to Iran in anticipation of sanctions being lifted - 8/14/15

India Prepares to Pay $1.4B Iran Oil Dues
Indian refiners have got the green light to prepare to pay Iran $1.4 billion in oil dues, two sources with knowledge of the issue said, in one of the first signs that last month's nuclear deal is helping Tehran unlock frozen funds. -Reuters - 8/14/15

Iran Deal: Overture to the Middle East Grand Opera
The US debate on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is in full swing and will not be resolved soon. That must wait until the final vote in the House and Senate on whether to override President Barack Obama's promised veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval. Until then, we can expect only rival commentaries on the merits and demerits of the JCPOA. These will be less about the merits/demerits than about the political power and influence of the various parties to the national discussion. -Robert E. Hunter - 8/13/15

Iranian-Americans forge a rare bond to support nuclear deal
On the day U.S. and Iranian negotiators reached a historic nuclear agreement last month, Hadi Partovi threw an impromptu party in his backyard outside Seattle, setting in motion a rare expression of solidarity among the country's most prominent Iranian-Americans. -Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters - 8/13/15

In Iran Nuke Deal, Partisan Interests Trump Security
A week after President Barack Obama passionately defended the Iran deal in a speech at American University, the political ripples keep spreading. Many commentators have complained about Obama's tough tone and his equation of Republican opponents of the deal with Iranian hardliners who chant "Death to America" at staged government rallies... -Barbara Slavin - 8/13/15

Iran Deal Has Fallen Victim To Washington Politics, Expert Says
The Iran nuclear deal has fallen victim to a long-running political war between the White House and Republican-led Congress, a former top White House aide and nuclear expert says. Gary Samore, who was forced to step down as president of the lobbying group United Against Nuclear Iran because he supports the agreement, said on August 12 - 8/13/15

Cautious Optimism after the Iran Deal
It is risky to try to discern longer range trends in the Middle East based on a few short term developments. Nonetheless, I can't resist finding some small shards for cautious optimism in the events of the past few weeks. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 8/13/15

A New Claim by Iranian Hardliners: McDonald's is a Sandwich Espionage Front!
As Tehran lays the groundwork for the country's return to world markets through the continuous influx of European officials and the over 6,500 companies that have announced their readiness to do business with Iran, the issue of McDonald's restaurant opening a branch in Iran has turned into a hot discussion subject for politicians of both major political factions of the regime. -Firoozeh Matin - 8/13/15

Switzerland Lifts Sanctions On Iranian Oil, Precious Metals Sales
Switzerland is lifting some sanctions against Iran in what it calls a sign of support for the agreement between Tehran and world powers over its nuclear program. - 8/13/15

Mass prayers at Iranian schools encouraged as Islamic teaching tool
In line with government policies to further inculcate school curricula with Islamic teachings, Iran's Ministry of Education reports that 50,000 schools are now holding mass prayers. - 8/13/15

Iran's troubled bond market
Plagued by the woes of Iran's troubled banking system, many Iranian firms are considering raising capital by issuing dollar-denominated bonds once sanctions are lifted. However, the road to this end won't be easy - and the lifting of sanctions alone won't solve everything. -Morteza Ramezanpour, Al-Monitor - 8/13/15

Villagers must pay for killing 20 wild boar in Zanjan
Twenty wild boar have been killed by residents of a village in Zanjan, Iran. The Zanjan Department of the Environment reports that the boar had gathered at a water hole to drink in the farming region of Ijrood when the residents attacked them with hunting weapons, clubs, stone and iron bars. - 8/13/15

Kerry: 'No' Vote Could Destabilize Relations with Allies
If the U.S. Congress rejects the Iran nuclear deal, that could destabilize the country's relations with allies on other crucial issues, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday. "That is a recipe, quickly, my friends, for them to walk away from Ukraine, where they are already very dicey and ready to say, 'Well, we have done our bit,'" said Kerry, referring to efforts to support the Ukrainian government in its fight against Russian-backed rebels. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 8/12/15

Iranian Americans Place Ad in New York Times in Support of Diplomacy and Peace through the Iran Nuclear Agreement
August 11, 2015, New York, NY - Twenty-four prominent Iranian Americans, consisting of authors, business leaders, media personalities, scientist, and scholars, published an open letter in support of the Iran nuclear agreement as a full page advertisement in the New York Times. - 8/12/15

Nuclear Deal or Not?
Deja vu all over again, some misguided Israelites and their agents in the U.S. coopted by Benjamin Netanyahu continue interfering in the very essence of the American government and the U.S. sovereignty through their leveraging and hedging in the election processes, boycotts and silencing of American oppositions and leading the U.S. to wars, all for self-serving prophetic ulterior motives. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 8/12/15

UANI, Joe Lieberman and the MEK
I only have a few words to add to Jim's post about United Against a Nuclear Iran naming Joe Lieberman as its new president. Those words are: Mojahedin-e Khalq. That's the ex-terrorist Iranian opposition group, often known as the MEK, that has campaigned tirelessly for decades for regime change in Iran, and Joe Lieberman is one of their favorite advocates in Washington. -Ali Gharib - 8/12/15

Iran orders extra 500,000 bpd oil output
Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has ordered oil production and exports to be ramped up by 500,000 barrels per day in preparation for the removal of sanctions on Iran, a news agency says. - 8/12/15

Iranian Americans Firmly Support the Iran Nuclear Deal
The nuclear deal with Iran has brought to the surface -- perhaps even caused -- divisions within the Democratic Party and the Jewish American community...There is one community, however, for which the Iran deal has become a catalyst for unity -- the Iranian American community. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 8/12/15

The Iran Deal and South Asia
The agreement between Iran and world powers may be making Iran's Arab neighbors nervous, but for South Asian countries with energy worries, it has come as a relief. The lifting of sanctions on Iran could mean economic growth, improved security, and increased cooperation region-wide. It could be a transforming factor in a region with deep-seated political, economic, and environmental problems. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 8/12/15

Iran's Carpet Weavers at Work, Anticipating Jump in Exports
"The Persian hand-woven carpet is Iran's ambassador. I'm delighted that the ambassador is in the process of resuming work in the U.S.," exporter Jila Rassam Arabzadeh said this week. "The Persian carpet is like the Iranian flag, known all over the world. Let our flag fly." -AP - 8/12/15

How the Iran Deal Could Reshape the Middle East
The profound changes occurring in the Middle East have led to exaggerated estimates of a decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East. There is a sense that the U.S. ability to "call the shots" has been diminished, and concern that the United States is likely to withdraw from the region. In fact, the U.S. standing is likely to increase as Washington repositions itself. -Nation of Change - 8/12/15

Iranian-Americans Support Diplomacy with Iran
Dear fellow Americans, We are Americans of Iranian descent. Like all Americans, we're proud of our great country, and we vigorously defend the U.S. ideals of freedom and opportunity. We've worked together to make this the best country in the world. We urge you, our fellow Americans, to show your desire for peace and prosperity by supporting the recent agreement among the U.S., Iran, and other major world powers. - 8/11/15

Obama the Anti-Semite?
There's an odd, but not altogether surprising, line of attack developing against the Obama administration and other proponents of the Iran nuclear deal: that they are anti-Semites. How did this happen? The meme mostly owes to salvos from neoconservatives and other right-leaning publications lashing out; so far, the most notable of the attacks have come from the Wall Street Journal's opinion pages, the liberal-but-right-wing-on-Israel Jewish online magazine, Tablet and of course, the Weekly Standard. -Ali Gharib - 8/11/15

Photos: Sand storms in Sistan take a toll on daily life
All government offices and businesses were closed due to the heavy sand storms in Sistan on Sunday August 9. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Sunday August 9, heavy winds raised the concentration of airborne dust particles to over 34 times the acceptable level. Meteorological reports say winds could reach 100 km/h today. - 8/11/15

Jailed Human Rights Activist Narges Mohammadi Needs Urgent Medical Care
Imprisoned rights activist Narges Mohammadi's medical illnesses have reached a critical stage and require immediate attention, her husband Taghi Rahmani told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 8/11/15

Russian navy fleet docks at Iran port city of Anzali
A Russian navy fleet has docked at the northern Iranian port city of Anzali in a bid to boost friendly maritime ties between the two countries. On Friday, the two Russian warships -- Volgodonsk and Mahachkala -- arrived in Anzali for a three-day stay with around 130 personnel on board. - 8/11/15

Punishing fines proposed for Iranian women who defy hijab
The Cultural Commission of the Iranian Parliament has proposed a bill to impose heavy fines on women who remove their headscarf in public or simply don't wear one. The proposal calls for a fine of 100,000 toumans (about $35) for a woman who takes off her headscarf in a car. - 8/11/15

What's the Big Deal? The Iran Nuclear Deal in Perspective
Of course Congress should endorse the Iran deal. The renunciation of the agreement by Congress would have disastrous consequences for the Middle East, empowering warmongers everywhere, but especially in Washington, Tel Aviv, and Tehran. There are three motives driving opponents of the deal... -Stephen R. Shalom, New Politics - 8/11/15

Iran says can transit Qatar gas to Europe
Iran has raised a new option to export natural gas to Europe which it says involves extra supplies from Qatar. Mohsen Jalalpour, the president of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, has told reporters Iran can take Qatar's gas and transit it to Turkey to be pumped to Europe. - 8/11/15

UANI, Samore Go Their Separate Ways
It seems that the stridently anti-deal United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and its president until today, Gary Samore--who has spoken in favor of the Iranian nuclear deal--have sealed an amicable agreement to divorce, effective immediately. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 8/11/15

Behind Israel's Hysterical Opposition to the Iran Nuclear Deal
In light of the fact that Israel is in possession of at least 200 (surreptitiously-built) nuclear warheads, and considering the reality that, according to both US and Israeli intelligence sources, Iran neither possesses nor pursues nuclear weapons, the relentless hysterical campaign by Israel and its lobby against the Iran nuclear deal can safely be characterized as the mother of all ironies-a clear case of chutzpah. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 8/10/15

Europe Uses Iranian Trips to Bolster Nuclear Deal
It seems like a weekly tradition for senior European officials to travel to Iran. On August 4, for the third consecutive week, a delegation of Europeans arrived in Tehran, this time as part of an economic panel led by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni and Minister of Economic Development Frederica Guidi. -LobeLog's Tehran correspondent - 8/10/15

Lawyer for Washington Post Reporter Expects Iran Trial Verdict Soon
A lawyer for Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian said a verdict in his espionage trial in Iran could come within a week after a Tehran court held a final closed-door hearing on Monday. Leila Ashan spoke after the fourth hearing since the trial began in May. - 8/10/15

Ex-Iranian President's Son Begins 10-Year Jail Term
The son of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani began a 10-year prison term for financial crimes, including embezzlement, and security offenses. Mehdi Hashemi presented himself to Tehran's Evin prison on August 9 while insisting that the case against him was politically motivated. - 8/10/15

Claire McCaskill: Under No Pressure in Iran Nuclear Debate
Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said she does not believe she and other uncommitted U.S. lawmakers feel under any pressure from either side as Congress weighs its support of the Iran nuclear agreement. -Victor Beattie, VOA - 8/10/15

CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS EXCLUSIVE: President Barack Obama on the P+5 Iran deal
CNN's FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with President Barack Obama who presses his case for support of the nuclear deal negotiated between the U.S., its allies, and Iran, for a global exclusive interview in the Map Room at the White House. This interview marks the President's first televised one-on-one since his Iran policy speech at American University in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. - 8/10/15

Iran's Military Chief Signals Support For Nuclear Deal
Iran's official IRNA news agency says the country's military chief has signaled his support for the Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers despite expressing concerns about it. - 8/10/15

Iran Rejects Accusations about Military Site As 'Lies'
Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday that accusations about activity at its Parchin military site were "lies" spread by opponents of its landmark nuclear deal with world powers clinched last month. -Reuters - 8/10/15

Obama Brushes Off Attacks on Iran Deal
U.S. President Barack Obama has said a constructive relationship with Iran is possible because of the agreement reached to curb Tehran's nuclear program. But he doesn't think such a relationship will take shape immediately. - 8/9/15

29 U.S. Scientists Praise Iran Nuclear Deal in Letter to Obama
Twenty-nine of the nation's top scientists -- including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers - wrote to President Obama on Saturday to praise the Iran deal, calling it innovative and stringent. The letter, from some of the world's most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control, arrives as Mr. Obama is lobbying Congress, the American public and the nation's allies to support the agreement. -NY Times - 8/9/15

Hiroshima and the Dangers of a New Cold War
On the anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki it is important to look back at the reasons for those barbaric acts and to look forward to what needs to be done. The First and the Second World Wars were the most devastating wars ever waged in history. Nevertheless, although those wars killed tens of millions of human beings and destroyed many cities, the end of the Second World War witnessed the use of a new category of weapons by the United States that have the potential to end human civilization as we know it. -Farhang Jahanpour - 8/9/15

US exports to Iran up 60% in first half of 2015
Official figures show US exports to Iran jumped by a whopping 60 percent in the first half of 2015. Iran's media have quoted figures released by the US Department of Commerce as showing that the value of US exports over the period reached a total of $140 million. - 8/9/15

France's ADPI to invest in Iran airport projects
Iran says ADPI Group, a leading French company specializing in airport architecture and engineering has voiced interest in the development of three key airport projects in the country. - 8/9/15

AIPAC Bristles at Obama's Reminder of Iraq War Lobbying
Surprisingly, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which plans to spend between $20 and $40 million to advocate against the Iran deal, came out swinging, denying having taken any position on the invasion of Iraq, in comments to The New York Times' Julie Hirschfeld Davis. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 8/9/15

Iranian Journalists' Day: Cartoons, Detention and Trial
Iran has designated August 8 as the National Journalists Day to pay tribute to Iranian journalists and reporters and to remember those who had been killed while on duty. Here are a few cartoons by Iranian cartoonists marking this day as well some related news. - 8/8/15

Policy Memo: Iranian Human Rights Defenders: Nuclear Deal is Good for Human Rights in Iran
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by UN powers and Iran is focused exclusively on trading constraints and verification over Iran's nuclear program for the easing of nuclear-related sanctions. However, many Iranian human rights advocates and informed observers believe that the successfully negotiated nuclear accord can be an important step towards enabling Iranians to strengthen civil society and improve human rights within the country, and for the international community to increase diplomatic efforts to address the human rights situation. - 8/8/15

Poll Results Widely Differ: Don't be confused by the conflicting numbers on the Iran deal!
Many polls have come out in recent weeks regarding the public's attitude toward the Iran nuclear deal. While many of these polls show that Americans support the agreement such as those conducted by Public Policy Polling, ABC News/Washington Post, some polls show that Americans oppose the deal such as those conducted by CNN and Pew Research. Why is there such a discrepancy? Which polls should we trust? - 8/8/15

U.S. 'Concerned' Quds Commander Visited Russia, Violating UN Ban
The United States is investigating reports that the commander of the elite Quds Force in Iran's Revolutionary Guard recently visited Russia in violation of a United Nations travel ban, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said August 7. Iranian officials told Reuters that Major General Ghasem Soleimani met with senior Russian officials in Moscow late last month and discussed the delivery of Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran. - 8/8/15

White House 'Disappointed' Key Democrat Opposes Iran Deal
The White House says it is "disappointed" but not "surprised" that one of the top Democrats in the U.S. Senate came out against the pending nuclear deal with Iran. Spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday the senator, Chuck Schumer, has had a difference of opinion with President Barack Obama going back to 2003, referring to Schumer's vote and support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq. - 8/8/15

Lawyer: Post Reporter's Trial Resumes Monday in Iran
Detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian will be back in an Iranian court Monday for what likely will be the last hearing in his closed-door espionage trial, his lawyer said Saturday. "They told me that this will be the last hearing, but I cannot be 100 percent sure because there are always unexpected matters," Rezaian's lawyer Leila Ahsan told the French news agency AFP. - 8/8/15

Iran to unveil new oil contracts in London
Iran will introduce its new oil contracts to a London conference planned for December as the country seeks to boost recovery from its fields with the help of foreign companies, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says. Energy officials have said Iran has identified nearly 50 oil and gas projects worth $185 billion up for grab. - 8/8/15

Rays of Hope in the Middle East?
For once the news from the Middle East doesn't seem to be all bad. That doesn't mean the news is -- most of it is not -- but amid all the continuing conflicts some encouraging signs of sanity and seriousness of purpose have appeared. -Thomas Lippman - 8/8/15

Key US Democrat Schumer Announces Opposition to Iran Deal
President Barack Obama's effort to sell the Iran nuclear deal to a skeptical Congress has been dealt a serious setback, with one of the president's top allies, Senator Chuck Schumer, coming out against the pact. - 8/7/15

NIAC Action Deplores Schumer's Rejection of Iran Deal
"Senator Schumer's decision to oppose the Iran deal is deplorable and highly disappointing. This is the most consequential foreign policy vote Congress will hold since the Iraq war authorization. By coming out on the wrong side of this debate, Schumer has disqualified himself from becoming the Senate Democratic Leader. - 8/7/15

Changing Iran
Republican rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal dominated news headlines long before Congress received the 159-page document. Former presidential candidate John McCain--who derided President Obama's willingness to engage Iran directly without preconditions during the 2008 election--was among the first to vocalize his disapproval. -Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog - 8/7/15

Senior Iranian Official Reveals Details About Secret Talks With U.S.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has been credited with easing tensions between Tehran and Washington and helping secure a nuclear deal with world powers last month in Vienna. But after he came to power in 2013, the self-proclaimed moderate was stunned to learn that secret talks between the two countries -- which ultimately paved the way for the accord -- had begun at least two years earlier, according to former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/7/15

The family behind the Iran is Great van: 'what happened to us was serendipity'
At 1pm on Monday, a family van parked outside the Science Museum in central London. Within two hours, as the family of four including eight-year-old Lucas and his younger sister Emilea returned from the nearby Natural History Museum, they found their windows had been smashed...Cristian Ivan, the Romanian father, had no idea the big "Iran is Great" sign emblazoned on both sides of his van could cause such a commotion. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 8/7/15

Facebook Activist Details How She Received a Seven-Year Prison Sentence in Iran
One of the eight Facebook activists sentenced to long prison sentences in 2013 for social and political commentary posted on their Facebook pages, has asserted that she was denied access to a lawyer during her detention, interrogated about private matters, and charged with crimes she never committed. - 8/7/15

Iran's Jewish community gets behind nuclear deal with U.S.
Tapo, one of six kosher restaurants in Tehran, has become an informal hangout for the city's small Jewish community. During a lunchtime rush last week customers ate savory kebabs while excitedly discussing the signing of the U.S.-Iran nuclear accord. -Reese Erlich, GlobalPost - 8/7/15

Iraq, Iran, and the President on Mindsets
President Obama's speech at American University was a thorough enough review of the issues that have come to surround the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program that any fair-minded listener who focuses on merits rather than politics would reach the conclusion, as Mr. Obama has, that completion of this agreement as being in U.S. interests was not a difficult decision or even close to being one. -Paul Pillar, LobeLog - 8/7/15

Iran Tried To Stop Houthi Rebels In Yemen, Obama Says
Iran tried to hold back Shia rebels who were intent on taking the Yemeni capital of Sanaa at the height of the uprising in 2014, President Barack Obama told a group of reporters Wednesday afternoon.  The Houthi rebels, however, ignored the advice and marched on, precipitating a much wider war in Yemen. -Ryan Grim, Huffington Post - 8/7/15

Sanctions Worked, Congress. Let Them Die.
Economic sanctions sometimes are called "war by other means." But in war, the executive branch generally controls the battlefield without congressional interference. That's unfortunately less so for sanctions. Many members of Congress are fighting President Obama now to maintain congressional sanctions against Cuba and Iran. American businesses bear the burden of sanctions. -Stephen R. Heifetz, NY Times - 8/7/15

Israeli President: Netanyahu's Anti-Iran Stance Harming Country
Israel's president suggested on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been overzealous in opposing the Iran nuclear deal, opening a "battlefront" with Washington and isolating his country. Reuven Rivlin, who holds the largely ceremonial head of state post, argued in three separate newspaper interviews that Netanyahu's vigorous campaign against last month's nuclear deal between world powers and Iran could ultimately hurt Israel. -Reuters - 8/7/15

President Obama Speaks on the Iran Nuclear Deal at American University
So this (Iran) deal is not just the best choice among alternatives -- this is the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated. And because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and non-proliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors -- who served under Republican and Democratic Presidents -- support it. - 8/6/15

PAAIA Launches Ad Campaign in Support of Iran Nuclear Deal
As Congress begins its deliberations on the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is launching a national communications campaign so that the general public, our lawmakers and opinion makers are better aware of the Iranian American community's broad support for the nuclear accord reached between the international powers and Iran. - 8/6/15

Sanctions crumble in Europe's rush to Iran
With American political leaders hunkered in a bitter dispute over whether to embrace the Iran nuclear accord, the Europeans are snapping up trade deals, pending the removal of sanctions to resume full-fledged business relationship. - 8/6/15

US Navy: Iranian Frigate Approaches Ship, Points Weapons
An Iranian frigate approached a coalition auxiliary ship in the Gulf of Aden late last month and pointed its weapons at the vessel and a U.S. Navy helicopter, a U.S. military official said Wednesday. - 8/6/15

Obama's Hard Sell on Iran
With the most important foreign-policy initiative of his Presidency at stake, President Obama has gone on the offensive to salvage his controversial Iran nuclear deal, amid a blitz of television ads and opposition, both at home and abroad. -Robin Wright, New Yorker - 8/6/15

John Bolton's Reverence for the United Nations
As implacable opponents of the nuclear agreement with Iran continue to scramble for any argument that has a chance of helping to shoot the deal down, a prize for originality ought to go to John Bolton for a new idea he tries out on us in an op ed today. The idea involves sanctions, and it involves the United Nations. Bolton got a recess appointment in the George W. Bush administration as ambassador to the United Nations for a little more than a year, although it would be more accurate to describe his role then as ambassador against the United Nations. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/6/15

US Lawmakers Focus on Verifying Iran's Nuclear Compliance
U.S. lawmakers emerged from a closed-door meeting with top intelligence officials giving widely diverging views on America's ability to detect any cheating by Iran on the terms of last month's landmark international nuclear accord. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 8/5/15

Death to America? Or a Life Sentence?
An Iranian political cartoonist recently drew a demonstrator in the streets shouting, "Life imprisonment to America." In other words, the July 14 nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 (the JCPOA) has created a new reality and a different U.S.-Iranian relationship. Iranians will now need to soften or retire the old, reliable "Death to America" slogan that has echoed through Tehran's streets for 36 years. -John Limbert - 8/5/15

Amnesty issued for twenty Iranian prisoners
The spokesman for Iran's judiciary reported on Monday that 20 prisoners convicted of security charges "have been released or had their sentences reduced". The Islamic Republic often refers to political prisoners as "security convicts". - 8/5/15

Italy to fund $2B of projects in Iran
Italy has agreed to provide funding and insurance coverage for industrial, construction and infrastructure projects worth $2 billion in Iran which hosted the latest European delegation after the conclusion of nuclear talks. Italy's Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni led the Italian political and economic delegation on the visit to Tehran. They followed in the footsteps of officials from France, Germany and Serbia. - 8/5/15

Republicans Ready U.S. House Bill Rejecting Iran Nuclear Deal
The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has introduced legislation disapproving of the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers and said the House will vote on the measure next month. - 8/5/15

Iranian students champions of international astronomy Olympiad
Iranian high school students have come in first place in the 9th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA). Iran's students became this year's world champions with three gold, four silver and three bronze medals - 8/5/15

Eli Lake Rejects Obama's "Politics of Fear"
When it comes to fear, Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake knows what he's talking about. Over the years he's warned us of the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein's stockpiled weapons of mass destruction, the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar (though, to be fair, Lake may have been getting paid for that one), and nefarious al-Qaeda conference calls, among many other things. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 8/5/15

An Iranian rapper speaks about hip-hop and its future in Iran
"Our group was the first group that used what they call explicit language in Iranian music." So says Alireza Jazayeri, a rapper whose stage name is Alireza JJ, who originally gained fame as a member of a hip-hop group called Zedbazi, "Even before the revolution there was no explicit language or curse words in art. We were the first who actually brought it to mainstream, like they did in American hip-hop in the late 80s." -Moira Lavelle, PRI - 8/5/15

Obama to Make Major Speech on Iran Nuclear Pact
U.S. President Barack Obama is planning to make a major speech later this week to discuss the international accord to restrain Iran's nuclear program. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama will raise arguments he believes are central to supporting the accord, which bars Iran from building an atomic weapon in the coming years in exchange for lifting crippling Western and U.N. sanctions. - 8/4/15

Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Araghchi: The Nuclear Program Was Devastating
In his remarks (in what was supposed to be a private session with the state run national radio and television network), Araghchi says, among other comments, that from an economic perspective, the nuclear program had brought "huge damage" to Iran and categorized the amount of harm to be "unimaginable." "If we try to calculate the costs of producing the material, we cannot even imagine the amount," he said. -Shirin Karimi - 8/4/15

Collective Security in the Caspian Sea: Iran has conflicts of interests with all 4 other countries in the Caspian Sea
Recently, the Iranian and Russian officials are talking about agreement for a collective security in the Caspian Sea. Also, in the past, there has been proposals in the same field which include the decisions made in the Baku Summit Conference of the Caspian Sea states regarding security cooperation in the Caspian Sea based on a Russian proposal. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 8/4/15

Iran Moves To Silence Media Critical Of Nuclear Deal
Iran's state media watchdog has suspended a hard-line publication and warned two other like-minded outlets for criticizing the nuclear deal reached last month between Iran and major world powers. - 8/4/15

Republicans Claim Enough Votes To Kill Iran Deal In U.S. House
Republicans claim to have enough votes to pass a resolution blocking the Iran nuclear deal in the U.S. House, but not enough to overcome a likely presidential veto of their resolution. House Republican Peter Roskam said that 218 of the House's 434 current members have committed to voting for his resolution of a disapproval -- all of them Republican. - 8/4/15

Iran, US closer to joint trade chambers
A top Iranian trade official has confirmed that the United States has already taken measures for the establishment of the US-Iran Joint Chamber of Commerce, saying a reciprocal move will start in Tehran once the Chamber is officially launched in Washington. - 8/4/15

Iran's top sculptor Parviz Tanavoli to dedicate work to Zimbabwe's Cecil
Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli has announced his plans to dedicate one of his latest works in his Lion series to a lion killed in Zimbabwe in July in order to take part in the international outcry over the death of the animal. - 8/4/15

Mohsen Moazami: A Farewell to Pre-Set Paths
Mohsen Moazami is a Founder and Managing Director at Columbus Nova Technology Partners (CNTP), a novel global technology investment firm combining the best attributes of venture and private equity business models. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA). He and his wife also contributed to the PARSA Community Foundation and the Iranian Scholarship Fund (ISF). -Jahandad Memarian, Huffington Post - 8/4/15

Six Iranian forest rangers freed after death sentences stayed
The head of Iran's Department of the Environment says six of eight forest rangers who were sentenced to death have now been released. IRNA reports that on Monday August 3, Massoumeh Ebtekar said in a speech in Yasooj that efforts are still underway to secure the release of the other two rangers. - 8/4/15

India seeks to salvage reckless loss in Iran
Indian oil minister plans to visit Tehran at the head of a delegation to win back development of a major gas field, which New Delhi lost by dawdling under US pressures. Dharmendra Pradhan will visit on the heels of Indian Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi who traveled to Tehran with officials from the finance, petroleum and natural gas ministries and the Reserve Bank of India. - 8/4/15

Not Fit to Lead
The Iran hearings have shown how the Republican Party can no longer be trusted with the presidency. -William Saletan, Slate - 8/4/15

U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal and Rapprochement: The Historic U.S Policy Paradigm Shift in the "Middle East" and Beyond
With the much belated signing of the Iran nuclear deal and the anticipated prospects of its ratifications and implementations, western foreign policies spearheaded by the U.S. are undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift. As a result, its ramifications for the balance of power in the region will reverberate for decades to come. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 8/3/15

President Rouhani Praises The Nuclear Deal: Achievement Of Iranian Administration Beyond Expectation
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the achievement of his administration in resolving the nuclear issue has been beyond initial expectations. Speaking in a live televised show on Sunday, President Rouhani said he did not mean to exaggerate, but believed that what was achieved at the end of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries was beyond what was initially expected. - 8/3/15

Can America Make New Friends But Keep the Old in the Middle East?
These are exactly the sort of fears that the Israeli as well as most Gulf Arab governments have about the prospect of an Iranian-American rapprochement arising from the Iranian nuclear accord. Indeed, although they outwardly object to the accord because they claim it does not do enough to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, they also fear that they will be negatively affected by an improved Iranian-American relationship even if Tehran complies with the terms of the agreement and does not acquire nuclear weapons. -Mark N. Katz - 8/3/15

Activist's letter sparks campaign for mothers in prison
A campaign to support imprisoned mothers has been launched by a group of activists in response to the recent letter from jailed human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi. - 8/3/15

The Pivot to Eurasia
Let's start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. From now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations -- the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS' New Development Bank) -Pepe Escobar, LobeLog - 8/3/15

Iran plans to buy 80-90 Boeing, Airbus planes a year
Iran plans to buy as many as 90 planes per year from Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus (AIR.PA) to renovate its fleet once Western sanctions are lifted. "Iran will buy a total of 80-90 planes per year from the two aviation giants in the first phase of renovating its air fleet," said Mohammad Khodakarami, the caretaker director of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization. - 8/3/15

Shaking Up Alignments in the Middle East
Some recent policy decisions by Middle Eastern governments have the potential to shake up regional alignments, or what are widely perceived to be alignments. In the near term this will have little to do with the Iran nuclear agreement, despite the attention the agreement is getting at the moment. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/3/15

Iran's Royan institute achievement in treating cerebral palsy, polio by cell therapy
Iran's Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology researchers obtained great achievements for treatment of children suffering cerebral palsy and polio. The researchers applied cell therapy method for treatment of children's cerebral palsy, said Head of the research center Hamid Gourabi. - 8/3/15

Living Trans, From Iran to New York City
Up-and-coming actress Pooya Mohseni tells The Advocate what it took to come out as trans at 37, offering a riveting tale of survival that took her from Iran to New York City. -Advocate - 8/3/15

Iran Deal Backers Urged to Lobby Congress
U.S. President Barack Obama told groups who support the Iran nuclear deal to make their voices heard to Congress to counter the millions of dollars in lobbying by those who want to derail the agreement. In a call Thursday with groups affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington think-tank, Obama said activists who want peace must not make the same mistake they did in the run-up to the Iraq war, when proponents of the war drowned out their weaker voices. - 8/1/15

Keep Expectations of Iran's New Regional Role Realistic
Only a few short weeks ago, Iran was considered the main instigator of all the troubles in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and, according to some, even in Latin America. Some in the US and in the region still continue to believe this fantasy. -Shireen T. Hunter - 8/1/15

Hero Iranian firefighter laid to rest in Bandar Abbas
People in the southern Iranian city of Bandar Abbas have honored a heroic firefighter who gave his life to rescue people trapped in a fire. Barekat Jowzari, 42, was buried Saturday amid emotional scenes in the port city's main cemetery, local sources said. - 8/1/15

Tehran's Promise: The revolution's midlife crisis and the nuclear deal
In "The Anatomy of Revolution" (1938), the Harvard historian Crane Brinton likened revolution to fever. The first stage is raging delirium, as ruthless radicals eliminate the ancien regime and purge their moderate collaborators. In the second, societies begin a long, fitful convalescence, often under dictatorial rule, as the "mad religious energy" subsides. The final stage is recovery and a return to normalcy, which may even include remnants of the past, as "the religious lust for perfection" dies out, "save among a tiny minority." -Robin Wright, New Yorker - 8/1/15

Just What Is Turkey Up To?
Turkish policies towards the Middle East have been in wild oscillation over the past many weeks, even months. Ankara has now finally and begrudgingly initiated military action against ISIS in cooperation with the US. But it has also initiated air attacks against its former Kurdish negotiating partners. Just what is going on? There may not be any coherent strategy, but the following seem to me to represent the key issues driving policy. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 8/1/15

Afghan children still denied education in Iran despite Leader's edict
Iranian schools are still rejecting many Afghan children despite a statement by Iran's Supreme Leader that all Afghan children in Iran should have the opportunity to study. Ayatollah Khamenei's edict even included the children of undocumented immigrants. - 8/1/15

Why Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Neocons Hate the Iran Deal
The most diehard opponents--Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman, and a boatload of neocons led by the perennial naysayer John Bolton--issued their fusillades against the accord ("an historic mistake," "diplomatic Waterloo," to say nothing of the standard charges of "appeasement" from those with no understanding of history) long before they could possibly have browsed its 159 pages of legalese and technical annexes. -Fred Kaplan, Slate - 8/1/15

One Congressman's Iran
Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan and the longest-serving Jewish member of the House, said something important this week: "In my view, the only anchors in public life are to dig deeply into the facts and consult broadly and then to say what you believe." -Roger Cohen, NY Times - 8/1/15

Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 165 degrees, near world record
Wherever you live or happen to travel to, never complain about the heat and humidity again. In the city of Bandar Mahshahr (population of about 110,000 as of 2010), the air felt like a searing 165 degrees (74 Celsius) today factoring in the humidity. Although there are no official records of heat indices, this is second highest level we have ever seen reported. -Jason Samenow, Washington Post - 8/1/15

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