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Condition of Hunger Strikers in Iranian Prison Deteriorates while Judiciary Does Nothing
The medical condition of more than a dozen political prisoners at Iran's Rajaee Shahr Prison, who have been on prolonged hunger strike to protest the inhumane conditions of their incarceration, is deteriorating rapidly, yet judicial and prison officials are neither providing proper medical treatment nor addressing the strikers' demands for humane conditions at the prison. - 8/31/17

Iran seeking to develop start-up jobs: Information Minister
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology, has said that his most ambitious plan is to develop start-up businesses in Iran, which is highly sought by the young population. "Providing infrastructure for the development of employment is at the top of our agenda, which would be fulfilled by supporting start-up businesses," Azari Jahromi told Press TV on Tuesday - 8/31/17

In Letter to Judge, Iranian-American Demands Freedom for Himself and Wife
Detained Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari has written a letter from Evin Prison demanding that he and his wife be released for lack of any evidence supporting the espionage charges against them. "I don't know anything about the law and I only had a 10th-grade education in Iran, so I will leave my legal defense to my lawyer. But I will say this: all the charges against me and [my wife] Ms. Afarin Nayssari are, without exception, completely false," Vafadari wrote in his letter addressed to Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. - 8/31/17

Iranian Zoroastrian NGO making efforts for women's empowerment
The Zoroastrian Women's Organization, an NGO founded in 1950 in Iran, is trying to empower women and girls in different aspects, Mehrangiz Shahzadi, the vice president of the organization said here on Monday. The organization follows several goals such as creating jobs for the youth and improving business markets for all walks of life especially for women and girls, Shahzadi said in an interview with the Tehran Times. - 8/31/17

Iranian elite cite 'good genes' in nepotism controversy
It seems to be an unwritten rule that Iranian politicians are entitled to help their children find high-paying jobs. One politician's son recently put his success down to "good genes" - sparking backlash on social media. - Deutsche Welle - 8/31/17

Iran-Israel soccer row apparently much ado about nothing
News of Shojaei and Haji Safi being banned by Iran's Sports Ministry not only sparked an outcry among Iran's social media users, but it also sparked reactions from famous sports, political and artistic figures in the country. -Zahra Alipour, Al Monitor - 8/31/17

An Iranian bookstore in Westwood closes after 36 years
Westwood's Iranian bookstore Ketab Corp. closed its doors last week after 36 years in business. The shop on Westwood Boulevard held roughly 85% Persian titles as well as books in English about Iran, said owner Bijan Khalili, who in a phone call described his customer base as "Persians and those Americans that are interested in Persian culture" in a phone call. -Agatha French, Los Angeles TImes - 8/31/17

Iran volleyball team wins title at 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei
The Iranian volleyball team defeated Russia 3-2 (25-17, 15-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-13) to win the title at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday. - 8/30/17

Iranian-Americans Bagher and Siamak Namazi Lose Appeal Against 10-Year Prison Sentence
Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father Baquer have lost their appeal against a 10-year prison sentence issued for undeclared "espionage" charges, according to their American lawyer. "I condemn in no uncertain terms the cruel and unjust decision of the Tehran Appeals Court," their lawyer, Jared Genser, said in a statement on August 28. - 8/30/17

Families Dismayed Over Lack of Attention to Hunger Strikers in Iranian Prisons
The parents of two political prisoners on hunger strike have expressed concern about their condition and treatment inside Rajaee Shahr Prison, where more than a dozen inmates have been on hunger strike, some for nearly a month. "He's not good after almost 30 days on hunger strike," said Zahra Eghdami, the mother of Jafar (Shahin) Eghdami, in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 27, 2017. - 8/30/17

It's unlikely that IAEA surrender to U.S. pressure: Iran's President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said late on Tuesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency is very unlikely to surrender to the U.S. pressure and accept inspection of Iran's military sites. The remarks by the president came after Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, pressed the IAEA last week to seek access to Iranian military bases. - 8/30/17

10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco: September 23-24, 2017
This year, the festival presents 40 films from Iran, USA, Italy, France, Canada.... We are happy and proud to continue our mission to discover and support the next generation of Iranian filmmakers living and working around the world, while we honor the veteran filmmakers for their distinguished careers. Please join us to celebrate the outstanding works of Iranian filmmakers. Passes and tickets are On Sale Now. - 8/30/17

Bolton's JCPOA exit plan to lead to fiasco for US: Iran Foreign Minister
Iran's foreign minister has slammed a "game plan" drawn up by a veteran US diplomat for the Washington administration to exit the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, saying John Bolton's strategy would only lead to "a fiasco" for the United States. "This plan will definitely be a huge failure for the United States and it will lead to the further isolation of America in the international arena," Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a Wednesday interview. - 8/30/17

Royan Research Institute's International Twin Congress kicks off in Tehran
Royan Research Institute's 18th Congress on Reproductive Biomedicine and 13th Congress on Stem Cell Biology and Technology started work in Tehran on Wednesday with participation of domestic and foreign researchers. Parvaneh Afsharian said that most of the research plans which have been dispatched to the Royan congress are respectively from India, Italy, China, US, Japan, Germany, Iran, UK, Spain and Australia. - 8/30/17

Iran Says European Giants Bidding For Development Of Azadegan Oil Field
Iran says a host of European giants are bidding for the development of its South Azadegan oil field - which was once considered as the world's biggest oil find after it was discovered over 15 years ago. Nouroddin Shahnazizadeh, the managing director of the Petroleum Development and Engineering Company of Iran, told the domestic media that the leading European bidders for the project include Total (France), Shell (UK/Hollande), Eni (Italy), Wintershall (Germany), Rosneft (Russia), OMV (Austria) and Maersk (Denmark). - 8/30/17

High-Frequency Chip Brings Iranian-American Researchers One Step Closer to Next Generation Technology
A novel, high-frequency electronic chip potentially capable of transmitting tens of gigabits of data per second - a rate that is orders of magnitude above the fastest internet speeds available today - has been developed by engineers (Omeed Momeni, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis, and doctoral student Hossein Jalili) at the University of California, Davis. -Bonnie Dickson - 8/29/17

Tehran Tops Biggest Improvers In The Global Liveability Report 2017
The city of Tehran is ranked first among the biggest improvers over the past years in terms of liveability, according to the Global Liveability Report 2017 published by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist. The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. With 5 percent improvement in the past five years Tehran ranks 127 with overall rating of 50.8. - 8/29/17

Iranian Judiciary Official Opposes New Proposal Against Domestic Violence
A senior Iranian judiciary official has voiced opposition to legislation against domestic violence which is being revived by President Hassan Rouhani's government after its first unsuccessful draft in parliament five years ago. - 8/29/17

Tehran Green Film Festival announces international lineups
The 6th edition of the International Green Film Festival in Tehran announced the foreign films for various categories on Tuesday. The festival plans to highlight sustainable tourism this year in line with the UN World Tourism Organization's decision to name 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. - 8/29/17

Iran's Kish Airline to buy Boeing, Airbus planes
Iran's Kish Airline has announced an ambitious plan to purchase over a dozen new planes from global aviation giant Airbus and Boeing. Kish Airline CEO Mohammad Taqi Jadidi was quoted by the domestic media that the plan envisaged buying 10 planes from Boeing and 6 more from Airbus. - 8/29/17

Iran eyeing more foreign investment in its capital market
Iran is planning to attract more foreign investors to its capital market through holding a series of international conferences to introduce this market, Hamid Rouhbakhsh, the director of public relations and international affairs of Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE), told the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview on Monday. -Mahnaz Abdi - 8/29/17

Iran to secure $30 billion of credit line next month
Iran will finalize financing contracts worth $30 billion within the next month, head of the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance Mohammad Khazaei says, dismissing claims that the credit lines will leave the country in the red. - 8/29/17

Volleyball: Yali powers Iran past Russia for Boys' U19 World Championship gold
Porya Yali's sure-fire performance helped Iran to record a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20) win over Russia in the gold medal match of the FIVB Volleyball Boys' U19 World Championship at the Isa City Sports Hall on Sunday. - 8/28/17

PHOTOS: Khazineh Canyon, A Tourist Hub In Western Iran
Darreh Khazineh is a steep canyon located in western Iranian province of Lorestan. Some refer to this natural wonder as Iran's Grand Canyon. People use an elevated suspension bridge that spans Darreh Khazineh over Seymareh River to cross the canyon. The 112-meter-long bridge, with an altitude of more than 85 meters, is said to be the highest in the Middle East. - 8/28/17

US intelligence officials under pressure by Trump administration over Iran
The administration of US President Donald Trump is pressuring intelligence officials in the United States to produce intelligence that could be used to declare Iran in violation of a nuclear deal the president despises, reports say. "Anecdotally, I have heard this from members of the intelligence community - that they feel like they have come under pressure," said Ned Price, a former CIA analyst, The Guardian reported Monday. - 8/28/17

Iranian Spiritual Leader Taheri Sentenced To Death
Imprisoned Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri has been sentenced to death for a second time, two years after an initial death sentence that was overturned on appeal. Taheri's lawyer Mahmud Alizadeh Tabatabaei said on August 27 that Taheri has been sentenced after being convicted of "spreading corruption on Earth" for founding a group called the Circle of Mysticism. - 8/28/17

Iranian-Swedish midfielder Saman Ghoddos invited to Iran national football team
Iranian-Swedish midfielder Saman Ghoddos has been invited to Iran national football team. Ghoddos is one of the 24 players called up by head coach Carlos Queiroz for Iran's last two matches in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. - 8/28/17

One In Four Iranians Suffering From Prediabetes
While 10 percent of Iranians are diagnosed with diabetes, 25 percent of the population are suffering from prediabetes. "That means if they don't get treatment, it will lead to type 2 diabetes," ISNA quoted the deputy health minister Reza Malekzadeh as saying. - 8/28/17

Iran to conduct photon entanglement test soon: Atomic Energy Organization Chief
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says the country will carry out a photon entanglement test within the next few months. "If carried out successfully, it will be the first time that a country in West Asia and the Muslim world is conducting this test," Salehi said in an address to the First National Conference on Quantum Technology in Tehran on Sunday. - 8/28/17

Iranian Dissident, Former Foreign Minister Yazdi Dies At 86
Iranian dissident and former Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi has died at age 86. Ebrahim Yazdi, the prominent Iranian dissident and former foreign minister who was close to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has died following a long illness, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reports. - 8/28/17

Iranians and Their iPhones, and the Futility of Sanctions
U.S.-imposed economic sanctions often have been misdirected and counterproductive, but a new sanctions-related development involving Iran is especially illustrative. First, some background. Iran has been a favorite target of American politicians who use sanctions as a vehicle for expressing disapproval for a regime, with little apparent thought about the actual effects of the sanctions... -Paul Pillar - 8/27/17

Tehran Prosecutor Calls Hunger Strikes "Threats" Amid Mass Strike by Political Prisoners at Rajaee Shahr Prison
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi has described hungers strikes undertaken by prisoners as "threats" that the judicial system will not "surrender to." Dowlatabadi made the comments as more than a dozen political prisoners entered the third week of a mass hunger strike at Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj. - 8/27/17

Iran to 'legally pursue' Apple for cutting apps
Iran's new telecommunication minister says the country will legally pursue Apple for removing Iranian apps from its App Store. The US technology company has cited American sanctions after a number of Iranian startups and online developers complained that Apple had suddenly cut their applications. - 8/27/17

Reformist Iranian MP Calls for Judicial Investigation Into Imprisoned Journalist's Worsening Health
A member of the Iranian Parliament has called on the judiciary to investigate reports about imprisoned reformist journalist Ehsan Mazandarani's deteriorating health after his wife publicly stated that he has been denied medical treatment despite being unable to keep food down. - 8/27/17

Israeli Arms Manufacturer Alleged To Have Attacked Armenia From Azerbaijan
Officials from an Israeli arms manufacturer fired two drone missiles from Azerbaijan into Armenian-held territory, according to a complaint under investigation by the Israali Ministry of Defense. According to the allegations - which have been denied by the company, Aeronautics Defense Systems - the episode occurred a little more than a month ago. Company officials were in Azerbaijan to promote their "suicide drone," the Orbiter-1K, and Azerbaijani officials asked for a sort of live demonstration, to launch the drone into Armenian territory. -Joshua Kucera, LobeLog - 8/27/17

Gift establishes UCI endowed chair in art history, archaeology of ancient Iran
The University of California, Irvine has received a $1.5 million grant from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute to establish the Elahe Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History & Archaeology of Ancient Iran. Additional funding was provided by the UC Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs program. The holder of the $2 million chair in the Department of Art History will collaborate with UCI's Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture. - 8/25/17

Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Refuses to Honour State-Backed Film
Following the twelfth presidential elections in the Islamic Republic, the history of Iran's post Revolutionary state and political figures has become a hot topic and the government is engaged in glorifying its past actions. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is particularly investing in these films. However, the films are receiving a backlash from dissident film makers in Iran. - 8/25/17

Iran warns of 'illegal' US pressure on IAEA after Haley's visit to Vienna
Iran has warned about the consequences of any "illegal" pressure on the UN nuclear agency after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Vienna for a possible review of the nuclear agreement with Tehran. Iran's permanent mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued the warning in a statement on Thursday, a day after Haley met IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in the Austrian capital. - 8/25/17

Iran Says Women Who Are Infertile Or Have 'Too Much Facial Hair' Can't Be Teachers
If you're a woman and are infertile or have "too much facial hair" you can't become a teacher in Iran, according to a new list of conditions and illnesses issued by the Iranian Education Ministry that disqualifies applicants from being hired as teachers. - 8/25/17

President Rouhani VP Reaffirms Promises to Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi After Pushback by Judiciary
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has publicly affirmed promises made by officials of the Rouhani government to detained political leader Mehdi Karroubi after a senior judicial official disputed them. On August 22, 2017, Jahangiri assured reporters that security agents will be withdrawn from Karroubi's home, where he has been detained without trial since February 2011: "I am sure this will happen and the security authorities will make statements if necessary and inform his family." - 8/25/17

Iran says above 1,400 planes cross its skies daily
Iran says at least 1,400 planes cross its skies everyday - an announcement that a top military official in Tehran says is a proof of the country's airspace security for regional and transregional airliners. "Today, Iran has been chosen [by airliners] as the safest air corridor in the Middle East," Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran's Air Defense Force, was quoted as saying by the domestic media. - 8/25/17

Subversion by Satellite: This All-Female Talk Show Is Making Waves in Iran
Iran's first all-female talk show judges its success by an unusual measure: how much the government hates it. The pioneering weekly show, Samte No ("New Direction"), launched last October and caused an instant outcry among Iran's religious hard-liners. With a format similar to that of The View, it features three educated, stylish Iranian hosts in Western dress discussing topics ranging from President Donald Trump's state visit to the Middle East to voting rights to fatwas against wearing nail polish or riding a bicycle. -Marie Claire - 8/25/17

Will Trump recertify Iran? Much hangs in the balance
Within two months, Donald Trump will have to make one of the most important decisions of his presidency: whether to continue certifying Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement signed between Tehran and six world powers in 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. So far, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US intelligence community, and intelligence communities in Europe and the Middle East have concluded that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement, and a decision to recertify would be consistent with those findings. -Richard Nephew, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - 8/25/17

Iran Gets Its 12th Woman Mayor
Iran's twelfth female mayor has been elected for the city of Zanjan, further paving the way for women to reach high managerial posts in the country. Samaneh Shaaddel has taken the helm of affairs in District Two of the city. She used to be in charge of traffic and transportation affairs at Zanjan Municipality for four years before assuming his recent position. She has also served as the deputy mayor of Zanjan for cultural affairs. -IFP News - 8/25/17

FIVB U23 World Volleyball Championship: Iran edges past Russia in, fails to reach semis
The national Iranian volleyball team has achieved a hard-fought victory at the preliminary round of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball Men's U23 World Championship in Egypt, but failed to advance to the semi-final stage of the international tournament. - 8/24/17

In Controversial Move, Iran's New Female Vice President Ordered To Wear Chador
Before she was appointed as Iran's vice president for legal affairs, law expert and college professor Laya Joneydi followed the obligatory Islamic dress code by covering her hair with a scarf and wearing a coat and pants to cover her body. In announcing her appointment to the cabinet, the Iranian government website posted a statement and a photo of Joneydi wearing the chador, which covers women from head to toe and leaves only the face exposed. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 8/24/17

Qatar To Return Ambassador To Iran Amid Regional Crisis
Qatar says its ambassador will return to Tehran more than 20 months after he was recalled in protest over the ransacking of Saudi Arabia's missions by protesters. The decision defies demands by Saudi Arabia and several Arab allies that Doha sever remaining ties with Tehran. - 8/24/17

Iran Reported To Be Negotiating With Twitter To Unblock Popular Website
Iran's new communications minister has said that negotiations are under way to stop blocking Twitter, which has been banned for years despite being used by the country's top leaders. The microblogging platform was barred in 2009 after mass protests broke out against the reelection of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. - 8/24/17

Tehran City Councilors Set Sights On Cleaner Sky
As evidence displays, the capital's air pollution and traffic congestion are amongst the main concerns of the newly-elected Tehran City Council. During the first session of the fifth Tehran City Council on Wednesday, the chairman Mohsen Hashemi highlighted the need for following-up on different urban management plans with the aim of reducing traffic congestion and decreasing air pollution in the capital as one of the main programs of the council. - 8/24/17

Iranian Glue Company's Rules Attract Scrutiny for Possible Rights Violations
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has declared some workplace regulations at the HL Glue factory in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province, to be in violation of the Labor Law, including a requirement that all employees participate in Islamic group prayers. An Iranian human rights lawyer has also compared the company's regulations to slavery. - 8/24/17

Iran-Europe trade up 94% on year in first half of 2017
Trade exchange between Iran and Europe increased 94 percent in the first half of 2017 from the same time in 2016, based on the latest figures released by the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat. Iran-Europe trade stood at 9.9 billion Euros in the first six months of this year, while the figure was 5.1 billion Euros in the time span from January to June 2016, the same report confirmed. - 8/24/17

Isfahan's Healthcare City aims to boost Iran's medical tourism prospects
The first phase of an enormous healthcare city was officially inaugurated in the city of Isfahan, central Iran, on Monday as the country avidly seeks to surge its global share of the medical tourism market. Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh-Hashemi accompanied by several provincial officials cut the ribbon on Isfahan Healthcare City which is comprised of orthopedic, obstetrics and gynecology clinics, as well as medical offices. - 8/24/17

Reformists officially take over Iran's capital city
After 14 years of ruling Tehran, Principlists have relinquished power to Reformists, giving the mayorship and chairmanship of the city council to their rivals. On Aug. 21, Tehran City Council members decided to elect Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former head of Tehran's subway system and son of late two-time President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as head of the council, and Mohammad Ali Najafi, a former economic adviser of moderate President Hassan Rouhani, as the mayor. -Al-Monitor - 8/24/17

PHOTOS: Ruin, village of warps and wefts
Ruin, a village located in North Khorasan province, is home to women who still pursue the traditional arts and crafts of their ancestors, weaving, which began about 400 years ago and is one of the sources of income for the village. About 120 women weavers are currently actively engaged in this industry in Ruin. -Fatemeh Abedi - 8/23/17

FIVB U23 World Championship: Iran volleyball team blanks Turkey
The national Iranian volleyball team has posted its third consecutive win at the preliminary round of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball Men's U23 World Championship in Egypt, and virtually confirmed its place in the next stage of the international tournament. - 8/23/17

IAEA Briefs U.S. Envoy On Iran Nuclear Deal
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has met with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials for what she has described as a fact-finding mission as part of the U.S. administration's review of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. - 8/23/17

Iran's Judiciary Contradicts Rouhani Officials' Promise to Detained Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi
The spokesman for Iran's judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, has publicly rejected a report that security agents will leave detained opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi's home in northern Tehran as "total lies." "Mr. Ejei is confusing the issue," Karrobi's son, Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 20, 2017. "Yes, the agents have not left the house yet, but the deputy intelligence minister and the health minister said in a meeting with my father in the hospital that they would leave when he returns home." - 8/23/17

48 countries to attend in International Green Film Festival's visual art section
The 6th Iran International Green Film Festival (IIGFF6) is slated for September 9-15, 2017, with the objectives of recognizing, screening and awarding the best national and international films and visual arts aimed at protecting the environment, natural resources, increasing public awareness and promoting the culture of environmental preservation. - 8/23/17

Russians To Finance 1 Billion Euro Rail Electrification In Iran
A Russian bank has agreed to provide 1 billion euros to electrify a 500 km railway route in northern Iran, state news agency IRNA has quoted a senior official as saying. Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways for northern network, Yusef Gheranpasha, said the bank will finance the electrification of the line between the cities of Garmsar and Gorgan. - 8/23/17

Iran Denies Joint Operation Against Kurds With Turkey
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has denied a claim by Turkey that the two countries were planning to conduct joint military operations against Kurdish rebel groups beyond the country's borders. "We have not planned any operations across the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran," the IRGC said in an August 22 statement published by Iranian news agencies. - 8/23/17

Saudi Arabia woos Persian-speaking Sunnis in Central Asia
In an unprecedented move that surprised many observers around the world, Tajikistan's state TV on Aug. 8 aired a documentary accusing Iran of involvement in the murder of several Tajik social and political figures as well as 20 Russian military officers in the country during the 1990s Tajik civil war. -Hamidreza Azizi, Al-Monitor - 8/23/17

PHOTOS: Takht-e Soleyman, a 3000-year-old relic
The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman (recognized as a World Heritage Site), in north-western Iran, is situated in a valley set in a volcanic mountain region. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sasanian period (6th and 7th centuries) dedicated to Anahita. The site has important symbolic significance. -Aryan Nasrollahi - 8/22/17

Historical Pol-e Khaju Bridge in Isfahan: Architecturally interesting, visually appealing
To experience Isfahan, a vibrant tourist city in central Iran, it is most magical to walk across Pol-e Khaju at sunset when the 17th-century bridge is lit by glorious colors. A total of 23 arches, decorative motifs and tiles, adjoining arcades and an octagonal pavilion embedded right in the middle are amongst main features of the picturesque bridge that spans Zayandeh-Rood, one of the largest rivers in the central Iranian Plateau. - 8/22/17

Reformist Iranian Journalist Not Heard From Two Weeks After Arrest in Tehran
Reformist journalist Sasan Aghaei's family has not heard a word from him since he was arrested by security agents without a warrant at the office of the reformist Etemad newspaper on August 12, 2017. - 8/22/17

Pouran Derakhshandeh's 'Under the Smoky Roof' to go on screen in 10 German cities
Iranian feature movie 'Under the Smoky Roof', directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh, will go on screen at 10 cities in Germany. The film, starring Farhad Aslani and Merila Zarei, is based on the social and emotional dilemma of divorce in Iranian culture. - 8/22/17

Environment Matters: Iranian couple tie the knot, pledge to plant thousand-plus trees
In a symbolic gesture to safeguard the environment a young bride from the western province of Ilam made the groom to pledge to plant 1372 trees as her "mahr" - a mandatory payment paid or promised to pay by the groom under Islamic law. - 8/22/17

Iran to resume 20-percent enrichment in 5 days if necessary: Nuclear Chief
The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the Islamic Republic is capable of resuming the enrichment of uranium to the 20-percent level at its Fordow facility within a maximum of five days if need be. In an exclusive interview with IRIB News Agency on Tuesday, Ali Akbar Salehi said President Hassan Rouhani's recent warning that Iran would accelerate its nuclear activities to an advanced level "within hours" if the US returned to a policy of sanctions had not been an "empty warning." - 8/22/17

Iran's biggest gold mine beats production estimates
One of the Middle East's biggest gold mines in northwest Iran has beat quarterly production estimates, yielding 142,000 tonnes of recoverable reserves in the four months since March 20. The figure is 3.5 times above the forecast for recovery from Zarshuran mine in Takab, which is believed to hold 110 tonnes of pure gold in reserves. - 8/22/17

Australia Defeats Iran, Claims Asian Cup Basketball Title
Australia became the first-ever FIBA Asia Cup champions after beating Iran 79-56 in Sunday's Final in Beirut. Iran's Hamed Haddadi was named the tournament's MVP and headlined the All-Star Five where he was joined by his fellow countryman Mohammad Jamshidi, along with Shae Ili of New Zealand, Korea's Oh Sekeun and Lebanon's Fadi El Khatib. - 8/21/17

Iran will work to sustain nuclear deal: Foreign Minister
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says his top priority is to ensure that a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other countries will stand. Speaking in a televised interview on Sunday night, Foreign Minister Zarif said the ministry under his watch would work first and foremost to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in place. - 8/21/17

Former Iranian President Appeals To Supreme Leader Over House Arrests
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has appealed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to end the house arrest of two reformist leaders who have been restrained without charge for more than six years. Khatami on August 20 posted the appeal on his website, urging Khamenei to "resolve" the house arrest of reformist politicians Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi. - 8/21/17

Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video Competition
Farhang Foundation in collaboration with local museums and galleries, presents FOCUS IRAN: Contemporary Photography and Video, a biennial juried exhibition of contemporary photography and video works relating to Iranian culture or heritage. This year's winning submissions will be exhibited in Los Angeles and Irvine. - 8/21/17

Iran considers rustic charm to buttress tourism sector
Iran seeks to make the best use of its rich rural landscape as an approach to promote its budding tourism sector with pinpointing over 5000 villages with considerable tourism potentials across the large country. - 8/21/17

Ahmadinejad Corruption Case Shows Promise for US-Iran Relations
Few world leaders have antagonized the United States and Israel with bombastic language worthy of a North Korean dictator more than former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The new Iranian government's decision to try and bust this former leader for corruption is a positive development for President Donald Trump and America. -Observer - 8/21/17

Flow of American tourists to Iran has not slowed down
The tourist flow from the U.S. to Iran has not been slowed down as its year-on-year rate shows no decrease in the stream, says Ebrahim Pourfaraj, the chief executive of the Iranian Tour Operators Association. He ruled out recent allegations by the U.S. State Department that claims Iran denies to grant visas to American nationals, saying, "The Iranian Foreign Ministry has maintained its previous procedure towards [applicant] American citizens despite all the threats and counteractions that the U.S. government has taken." - 8/20/17

Basketball: Iran defeats South Korea, marches into FIBA Asia Cup final
The Iranian men's national basketball team has proudly marched into the final showdown of the 2017 Federation Internationale de Basket-ball (FIBA) Asia Cup in Lebanon after trouncing South Korea in the continental tournament. The Iranian men's national basketball team is scheduled to play Australia at FIBA Asia Cup final on Sunday. - 8/20/17

President Rohani Says Protecting Nuclear Deal Top Priority, As Iranian Lawmakers Approve Cabinet Picks
Iran's parliament on August 20 approved all but one of the cabinet nominees submitted by President Hassan Rohani, who said protecting the landmark 2015 deal to curb Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of sanctions would be the key foreign policy priority for his new government. - 8/20/17

US provocations aimed at demonizing Iran: UN Ambassador
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo has condemned Washington's latest accusations against Tehran regarding its nuclear deal as provocative measures aimed at creating Iranophobia. In a Friday statement, Khoshroo stressed that the August 15 statement by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Iran "is devoid of any shred of truth." - 8/20/17

Iranian Labor Activist Forced to Stay Behind Bars Until December 2018 Despite Completing Sentence
To protest being returned to prison two years after he was released, prominent labor activist Reza Shahabi started a hunger strike on August 9, 2017, in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, 31 miles east of Tehran. The 45-year-old board member of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (UWTSBC) began his protest the day after he returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison on August 8 following several warnings that he would lose his security deposit if he refused to serve the remainder of a six-year prison sentence issued for his peaceful activism. - 8/20/17

Alleged Role In State Crackdown Haunts New Communications Minister of Iran's President Rohani
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi is young and successful, but allegations about his past could come back to haunt him. The 36-year-old electrical engineer, ICT manager, and deputy communications minister was nominated last week by Iranian President Hassan Rohani to lead the country's Communications Ministry. He was approved, along with 15 other cabinet picks, by parliament on August 20. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 8/20/17

Netanyahu's Priorities and U.S. Responses
Recently I wrote about the two-sided Saudi policy on Iran, in which Riyadh sees good reason to take quiet steps to reduce tension with its neighbor across the Persian Gulf while still making alarm about a supposed Iranian threat the basis for keeping the United States tied to its side. But Saudi Arabia is not the only party in the region to exploit an anti-Iran theme as a basis for retaining U.S. support, and it certainly is not the most influential one in shaping U.S. policy. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/20/17

Photos: Natanz Central Mosque (Masjid-e Jameh)
Natanz Central Mosque (Masjid-e Jameh) is located near Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani Tomb in the city of Natanz in Iran's Isfahan province. This four-iwan central mosque is one of the best preserved of all Ilkhanid-era buildings, dating from the early 14th century. -Milad Raf'at - 8/18/17

800 Activists Urge Iranian Parliament to End Child Marriage
Hundreds of Iranian women and children's rights advocates in Iran are urging Parliament to prohibit underage marriage in the country. "In defense of children's human rights, we call for an end to the phenomenon known as child spouses," said a statement signed by more than 800 activists addressing members of Parliament on August 12, 2017. - 8/18/17

Iranian Government Responds to the Demand of the Hunger Striking Opposition Leader
Government of Hassan Rouhani has responded to the demands of Mehdi Karroubi, an opposition leader who was on hunger strike in house arrest. Karroubi is demanding life without surveillance and presence of security officer as well as a public trial. As such the ailing 80-year-old has ended his hunger strike which has sent him to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Tehran. - 8/18/17

Tehran University withdraws report on death of researcher Lotfi Aliasker Zadeh
The University of Tehran has withdrawn a previous report on the passing of its graduate and the founder of fuzzy logic, Lotfi Aliasker Zadeh. The university's website had earlier reported that mathematician and artificial intelligence scientist, Aliasker Zadeh, had passed away last Saturday, several days after news broke that his health was severely deteriorating. - 8/18/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activist to Serve Three Years in Prison For Attending Seminar
Women's rights activist and photojournalist Alieh Matlabzadeh has been sentenced to three years in prison by a preliminary court in Tehran for participating in a women's empowerment seminar. A member of the One Million Signatures for Gender Equality campaign, Matlabzadeh was arrested on November 26, 2016 about a month after attending the seminar in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, along with 20 other Iranian activists. - 8/18/17

Iranian labor market on path to gender transformation
Iranian society has undergone tremendous change in past decades, with women continuously playing a role in this transformation. Indeed, Iranian women have long sought a more active presence in society, gradually distancing themselves from the cliche of being mothers or wives. Today, they make up almost 70% of university applicants and half of the graduates. -Maysam Bizaer, Al-Monitor - 8/18/17

Iran Denies Appeal Of U.S. Student Imprisoned On Spying Charges
Iranian authorities have denied the appeal of a Princeton University researcher who was convicted of spying for the United States and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the university said on August 17. Xiyue Wang, a U.S. citizen and doctoral candidate specializing in Eurasian history, was conducting research for his dissertation in Iran last year when he was detained by Iranian authorities and accused of "spying under the cover of research." - 8/18/17

Iranian American Organizations Condemn Violence and Bigotry Displayed by Hate Groups in Charlottesville, Virginia
Washington, D.C. - As organizations representing the Iranian-American community, we stand united in condemning - in the strongest possible terms - the violence and bigotry displayed by hate groups in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday and Saturday. - 8/17/17

Iranian women claim 9th place at Asian Volleyball Championship
Shifting to high gear in the latter part of the game, Iran served a sweet revenge to Australia in a 5-set thriller, 19-25, 25-18, 20-25 25-22, 15-10 to snatch the 9th place at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship in Manila, Philippines on August 16, 2017. - 8/17/17

Iranian Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi Goes on Hunger Strike to Challenge Arrest
Mehdi Karroubi, one of the opposition leaders of Iran's Green Movement who has been under house arrest since 2010 is now refusing food in protest to the conditions of his arrest. Karoubi decided to go on hunger strike to demand a public trial; he is also asking security forces that are living with him and monitoring his every move while under house arrest to leave him alone. - 8/17/17

Iran Praises 'Martyrdom' Of Fighter Beheaded By Islamic State Terrorists
A 25-year-old-member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who was recently beheaded by the extremist group Islamic State (IS) is becoming the poster child of Iran's military efforts in Syria and Iraq, where Tehran has deployed hundreds of so-called shrine defenders to assist the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fight IS, and spread its influence. Mohsen Hojaji, who according to Iranian state media was a member of Iran's advisory support team in Syria, was reportedly captured by IS last week in an ambush near the border with Iraq. Iranian media report that he was beheaded two days later. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 8/17/17

IRAN: Six Inmates at Rajaee Shahr Prison Punished With Solitary Confinement For Going on Hunger Strike
More than 50 political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison are in severe distress, with at least six on hunger strike in solitary confinement, after they were moved en masse to a high-security ward without any of their clothes or medicine. - 8/17/17

Iranian Soccer Body Says Star Players Not Banned for Playing Against Israeli Team
After days of public outcry over an Iranian official's declaration that two national soccer players were banned from the national team for playing against an Israeli team, Iran's soccer federation announced it has made no official decision. Banning the players, who played against the Israeli team while employed by the national soccer team of Greece, would have been a violation of the world soccer governing body FIFA's regulations. - 8/17/17

Detente in the Persian Gulf is in Everyone's Interests
But a lessening of tension in that rivalry is in Saudi Arabia's interests, as well as being in the interests of Iran. Both countries rely on the oil trade continuing without interruption from armed conflict or the fear of such conflict. Both have potentially restive domestic minorities that could find sympathy and support on the other side of the Gulf. For the Saudis this mainly means Shia in the Eastern Province... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/17/17

Moscow Voices Hope Iran Won't Quit Nuclear Deal
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow hopes Iran will not quit the agreement reached in 2015 with world powers to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions. Lavrov spoke on August 16 after Iranian President Hassan Rohani's warning the previous day that Tehran could abandon the deal "within hours" if the United States imposed any more new sanctions. - 8/17/17

Turkey, Iran Voice Opposition To Kurdish Independence Vote In Rare Visit
Turkey and Iran have voiced strong opposition to a referendum on Kurdish independence scheduled next month in neighboring Iraq during a rare visit to Ankara by Tehran's army chief of staff on August 16. Turkish media said it was the first such visit since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. - 8/17/17

Iranian Ayatollah mocks US over handling of Charlottesville racism
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly criticised the US government over its handling of violence following a recent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. "If US has any power, they better manage their country, tackle #WhiteSupremacy rather than meddle in nations' affairs. #Charlottesville," a post on the religious figure's official Twitter account said late on Wednesday. -Independent - 8/17/17

NIAC: 'Trump's Violations of the Iran Deal Begets Unfortunate But Predictable Iranian Response'
"It should now be clear that Donald Trump's moves to violate and hold certification of the Iran nuclear deal in doubt are actively destabilizing the accord. Unfortunately, in response to Trump's increasingly hostile rhetoric, as well as Congress' moves to escalate sanctions, Iran is now warning that it has its own options to back out of the deal if the U.S. continues to undermine it. We reiterate our call for all parties to the JCPOA to fully implement their obligations under the agreement. - 8/16/17

Comedy "1st Born" billed as first Iranian-American film production
Iranian director Ali Atshani plans to make a comedy project titled "1st Born", which will be the first co-production between Iran and America, the Hollywood Reporter announced on Tuesday. Atshani, renowned for movies such as "The President's Cellphone", "Wish Bone", "Banana Peel", and "Negar's Role" will use a cast and crew from both the U.S. and the Middle East. - 8/16/17

U.S. Says Iran Trying To 'Hold World Hostage' By Threatening to Quit Nuclear Deal
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has said Iran is trying to "hold the world hostage" by warning that it might abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement because of continued U.S. "sanctions and coercion." Rohani earlier in the day told lawmakers in Tehran that the Trump administration seemed to want to go back to the way it was before the nuclear agreement by repeatedly trying to force Iran to change through pressure tactics rather than negotiations. - 8/16/17

Persian carpets trump toxic anti-Iran hype in US
The United States is now the largest importer of Iranian carpets, shipping in $196 million worth of highly prized Persian artistry last year, head of the Iran National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar says. The US has long been a major market for Iran's hand-woven carpets but a stack of sanctions imposed in 2010 pulled the rug from under the Persian craftsmanship, allowing cheaper craft from Pakistan, India, Turkey and China to gain a foothold. - 8/16/17

Political Pundit Sadegh Zibakalam Faces Charges For Discussing Politicization of Iran's Judiciary
Prominent reformist political analyst Sadegh Zibakalam has been slapped with the charges of "propaganda against the state" and "disturbing public opinion" after discussing the politicization of Iran's judiciary with a foreign radio station. - 8/16/17

Iran's Top General Makes Rare Visit to Turkey
In a rare visit, the head of Iran's armed forces is in Turkey. The two neighbors have found themselves increasing rivals in Iraq and Syria, but both sides are trying to find common ground. The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major General Mohammad-Hossein Baqeri, arrived in Ankara, leading a high-ranking military and political delegation, for three days of talks. It is the first visit by Iran's chief of staff since the 1979 Iranian revolution. - 8/16/17

Iran, Russia, Turkey mark a new turn with $7B drilling deal
Turkey's Unit International which signed a drilling deal last week with Russia's state-owned Zarubezhneft and Iran's Ghadir Investment Holding says the contract is worth $7 billion. The drilling in Iran will take place at three oil fields estimated to hold 10 billion barrels of reserves and produce 100,000 barrels per day and a large natural gas field with a production capacity of 75 billion cubic meters per day. - 8/16/17

How Donald Trump's travel ban has hit Iran's tourism renaissance
Trump's repeated threat to withdraw the US from the nuclear agreement, achieved through years of painstaking negotiations, is creating concern that Iran will be pushed back towards isolation -Independent - 8/16/17

President Rouhani: If US Continues Threats, Iran Could Quickly Jump Start Nuclear Program
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday his country prefers abiding by the 2015 international agreement on its nuclear program, but that if the United States continues "threats and sanctions" then Iran could quickly revitalize its nuclear activity to an even higher level than before the deal went into effect. Speaking to members of parliament in a televised address, Rouhani said the U.S. is not a "good partner." - 8/15/17

Iran defeats Hong Kong at Asian Women's Volleyball Championship
Manila, Philippines - Iran bucked a slow start to wallop Hong Kong, 21-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-15 and keep their dream of occupying a more decent placing alive at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship here. - 8/15/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activist Demands Rouhani Provide Reasons for His Exclusively Male Cabinet
President Hassan Rouhani must explain why he didn't nominate women to serve in his new cabinet, feminist researcher Nahid Tavasoli told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a recent interview. "Dr. Rouhani should explain why and based on what expedient principle did he decide not to reinstate [Vice President for Women and Family Affairs] Shahindokht Mowlaverdi?" she said. "He made all these promises about utilizing competent women in key positions and ministries, but didn't deliver. Why?" - 8/15/17

Trump's new world order inadvertently making our planet great again
Arguably one of the most unexpected events since the onset of the Trump administration's unconventional policy reform is the United States backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement, severing alliances with world leaders tackling climate change. Meanwhile, a rescaling of governance regarding climate change has taken root, where various stakeholders ranging from long-standing autonomous nations to state leaders are emerging as key players in combatting climate change. -Kaveh Madani and Shirin Hakim - 8/15/17

Iranian Political Prisoner Responds to "Dolled-Up" Evin Prison Visit by Foreign Ambassadors
A political prisoner held in Evin Prison since 2009 has harshly criticized a state-organized "dolled-up" tour of the facility by a group of foreign diplomats in July 2017 that was used by state officials and media to gloss over the prison's well-documented history of ongoing human rights violations. - 8/15/17

Iranian Drone Buzzes Aircraft Carrier, Endangering Pilots, U.S. Navy Says
An Iranian drone has flown close enough to a U.S. aircraft carrier to put the lives of American pilots of F-18 fighter jets at risk, the U.S. Navy said on August 14. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps issued a statement on August 15 saying their drones are guided "accurately and professionally," dismissing the U.S. Navy's concerns as "unfounded." - 8/15/17

Iran selecting financiers for 200 airplanes: New Iran Air CEO
Iran is in the process of selecting financiers for the purchase of 200 new passenger aircraft from among many domestic and foreign companies which have submitted their proposals to Iran Air, the new CEO of the national airline Farzaneh Sharafbafi said Tuesday. Sharafbafi became the first Iranian woman in July to take the helm at Iran Air which has signed deals with Airbus and Boeing as well as Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR for the purchase of new brand passenger planes. - 8/15/17

Beheading of IRGC fighter unites Iranians
Hojjaji, dressed in military fatigues, is held by an IS fighter with a knife in his hand. In the background, black smoke rises from the overtaken camp. Many who saw it drew comparisons between the expressions of Hojjaji and his captor. Hojjaji, who likely knew his death was imminent, seems resigned to his fate. The IS fighter, with blood running down his cheeks, appears almost anxious. -Al Monitor - 8/15/17

Iran judiciary freezes assets of BBC Persian staff
The BBC has called on the Iranian authorities to reverse a new order that appears to effectively freeze the assets of its staff in Iran. BBC World Service Director Francesca Unsworth said it deplored the apparent "targeted attack" on BBC Persian staff, former staff and some contributors. -BBC - 8/15/17

With Eye on Telegram, Internet Body Says All Social Media Apps Must Store Data Inside Iran
To improve Iran's ability to monitor and censor online content and user activity, the country's Supreme Cyberspace Council (SCC) has ruled that all foreign social media networks must store domestic traffic data inside Iran. - 8/14/17

Daughter Of Iran's 'Hanging Judge' Breaks Silence About Her Notorious Father
Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali is notorious as Iran's "hanging judge," having ruthlessly ordered hundreds of summary executions after trials that sometimes lasted just minutes in the months following Iran's 1979 revolution. His daughter, however, remembers him differently. "My father's outside image is very violent," Fatemeh Sadeghi says in an interview published this month in the Iranian magazine Andisheye Pouya. "But that's not the image of him that I had at home. He was very strict at home, but he would never beat me." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/14/17

Critics & Criticism: Reflections on Iranian Contemporary Art
The aim of this panel discussion (September 4, 2017 in London) is to facilitate a critical reflection on the contemporary Iranian art scene and the issues surrounding its criticism. The conversation will include looking at what the challenges are in practising contemporary art in Iran, how it is discussed both inside and outside the country, as well as what the role of art criticism is in contemporary practices in Iran. - 8/14/17

Iraq To Mediate Between Saudi Arabia, Iran: Reports
An Iraqi leader has said his country will take the role as mediator between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, media in Iraq and Iran are reporting. Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Arraji on August 13 said Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had requested Iraq get involved to help ease tensions between Riyadh and Tehran, according to Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency and Iraqi satellite channel Alghadeer. - 8/14/17

Iran Ranks First In Sturgeon Production
Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Head of Iran Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi said Iran ranked first in the world as regards production of trout and sturgeon. Salehi made the remarks adding "in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), Iran took a major step in the fisheries sector by realizing a production of nearly one million and 100 thousand tons of aquatic species." - 8/14/17

IRAN: Ayatollah Shahroudi named new head of Expediency Council
Ayatollah Shahroudi replaces Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who passed away in January after a 27-year stint on the council, which mediates on legislative differences between the Parliament and the oversight Guardian Council. - 8/14/17

Iran book ticket for 2018 Men's Volleyball World Championships
Iran, the only Asian team competing in the FIVB World League Group 1 this season, qualified for the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championships. On Sunday, the Iranian team eased past Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-16) in Pool A at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Stadium. - 8/13/17

President Rouhani's Second Term Begins
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began his second term with the nomination of 17 proposed ministers for his 18-member cabinet on Tuesday (the nominee for the ministry of sciences, research, and technology has yet to be proposed). And, as is usually the case in Iran's highly contested terrain, it was not without controversy. As a politician who unapologetically claims to occupy the middle ground in the country's contested terrain, Rouhani made appointments that generated unhappiness and disappointment on both sides of the political spectrum. -Farideh Farhi - 8/13/17

Reformist Iranian MPs Form Committee to End House Arrests After Karroubi's Hospitalization
Reformist members of Iran's Parliament have established the Committee to Seek an End to House Arrests following the recent hospitalization of 79-year-old political opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi. "We want resolve this matter without any media sensationalism or political hype," said Ghasem Mirzaei Nikoo, a member of the pro-Rouhani Hope Faction in Parliament, in an interview with the state-funded Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on August 8, 2017. - 8/13/17

Iranian parliament votes to boost military budget in response to U.S. sanctions
The Iranian Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to approve the outlines of a bill to counter the "U.S. terrorist and adventurist acts in the region", boosting by more than 500 million dollars investment in missile defense industry and operations by the IRGC Quds Force. Out of 247 MPs present in the parliament, 240 MPs voted for the bill. - 8/13/17

Journalist Sasan Aghaei With Iranian Reformist Etemad Daily Detained
Iranian journalist Sasan Aghaei has reportedly been arrested. The charges against Aghaei, who works for the reformist daily Etemad, are not clear. The opposition site Kalameh reports that Aghaei was taken away by security forces on the afternoon of August 12 from Etemad's offices of in the Iranian capital. - 8/13/17

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif Accuses Trump Of 'Bad Faith' On Nuclear Deal
Iran's foreign minister has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of showing "bad faith" over the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. Trump "always wanted to kill" the deal, Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on August 10, adding, "To avoid isolation, he's trying to blame it on Iran." "Bad faith on top of U.S. violating the letter & spirit" of the agreement, he also wrote. - 8/13/17

Iran Says Talks Under Way With Airbus On Purchase Of Helicopters
Iran says it is in talks with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus about the possible purchase of 48 helicopters for civilian use. Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan told Iran's Financial Tribune newspaper on August 12 that Tehran plans to order 45 emergency medical helicopters. - 8/13/17

Worsening Relations between Iran and Afghanistan?
According to The New York Times, Iran is sending weapons on helicopters to help the Taliban destabilize Afghanistan. Iran is sabotaging Afghan markets to promote Iranian goods, stealing Afghanistan's water, attempting to bomb Afghan dams, and even participating in drug trafficking along with the Taliban... -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 8/13/17

Iranian Imprisoned Spiritual Leader Awaiting New Verdict While IRGC Arrests His Followers
Followers of imprisoned Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri are being arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) while he awaits a verdict more than three weeks after he was retried for the charge of "corruption on earth." - 8/13/17

Kissinger's Dangerously Flawed Views on Iran
There are few people in the universe of US foreign policy with the standing and prestige of Henry Kissinger... In a recent article Kissinger warned that the defeat of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) would lead to a consolidation of an "Iranian radical empire" if the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their "Shiite allies" in Iraq and Syria inherit the territory currently occupied by IS. -Eldar Mamedov - 8/11/17

Two Barred From Iranian National Soccer Team For Playing Against Israeli Club
Iran says it has kicked two players off the national soccer team after they played on their Greek professional squad against an Israeli club last week in the Europa League tournament. Deputy Sports Minister Mohammad Reza Davarzani on August 10 said midfielders Ehsan Haji Safi and Masoud Shojaei could no longer wear the national shirt of Iran after they played for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv on August 4. - 8/11/17

After Iranian adviser is beheaded by ISIS, IRGC General vows Iran not to rest until eradication of all terrorists
General Qassem Soleimani says Iranian forces will not rest until they have taken out every last terrorist from the face of the Muslim world after Daesh reportedly beheaded Iranian military adviser Mohsen Hojaji in Syria. Mohsen Hojaji, who was a member of the Iranian advisory support team in Syria, was reportedly taken hostage by the Takfiri group near the Iraqi border on Monday and beheaded two days later. - 8/11/17

Trump Again Says Iran Violating 'Spirit' Of 'Horrible' Nuclear Agreement
U.S. President Donald Trump once again asserted on August 10 that Iran is not "living up to the spirit" of its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, and added that it was a "horrible agreement." U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have universally found Iran has adhered to the deal. - 8/11/17

Iran: The Change that Matters Is Happening Already
In Washington, the policy of Iranian regime change that blossomed during the Bush years and withered under Obama has flowered again in the Trump administration. But those advocating regime change and those arguing vociferously against it are both losing sight of the fact that profound change is already happening in Iran. -Sanam Naraghi Anderlini and Sina Azodi, LobeLog - 8/11/17

Iranian Authorities Arrest Six Youths For Promoting Zumba, Other 'Western' Moves
Iranian authorities have arrested six young people for promoting Latin-style Zumba exercises and other "Western" dance moves, local media report. The August 10 reports said the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detained the four boys and two girls in the town of Sharhoud in the northeastern Semnan Province. - 8/11/17

The real footprint of the IRGC in Iran's economy
The Iranian economy consists of three distinct sectors: public, private and semi-state -- which includes religious, revolutionary, military foundations and cooperatives, as well as social security and pension funds. Experts agree that as a result of flawed privatization processes in the past three decades, the ownership of top governmental enterprises has been transferred to the semi-state sector. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor - 8/11/17

Iran Executes Man Arrested at 15 Despite Commitment to Stop Executing Juveniles
Iran has violated its international obligations by executing Alireza Tajiki, who was 15-years-old when he was arrested and 16 when he was sentenced to death, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "The execution of Alireza Tajiki, who was just 16 when he was sentenced to death, again highlights Iran's total disregard for children's rights," said CHRI's Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi. - 8/11/17

Statement on a Comprehensive Policy to Constrain Iran
On August 8, 2017, a bipartisan group of 47 national security leaders issued a statement recommending a comprehensive Iran policy designed to further U.S. national security interests: "The international agreement with Iran continues to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. No American national security objective would be served by withdrawing from it as long as Iran is meeting the agreement's requirements..." -The Iran Project - 8/10/17

Ex-minister Mohhamad-Ali Najafi elected new Tehran Mayor
Mohhamad-Ali Najafi has been elected Thursday as Tehran mayor following a vote at the City Council as the Iranian capital city faces challenges ranging from traffic to air pollution. Najafi, a reformist politician who had served for nine years as Iran's education minister, will replace current Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, who held the post for 12 years. - 8/10/17

Health Tourism Could Fetch Iran 7 Billion Dollars A Year
The Iranian minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare has said that the country has a potential to earn $7 billion in revenues through attracting one million health tourists on a yearly basis. Health-tourism companies from more than 30 countries including the Netherlands, Germany, France, China, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania and Uzbekistan are supposed to collaborate with Iran in this regard. - 8/10/17

Dark Signs in the Persian Gulf
The political and economic assault against Qatar by a Saudi-led coalition so far shows no signs of succeeding in bending Qatar to its will. More seriously, it raises ominous signals for the future of geopolitics in the Arabian Peninsula. That future may have less to do with Iran and more to do with a Saudi Arabia that is demonstrating a newfound aggressive drive towards hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula. -Graham E. Fuller - 8/10/17

Workers at Iranian Sugarcane Company Summoned to Court After Protesting Unpaid Wages
Fifty-three workers of Iran's Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro Industrial Company who have been peacefully demanding back pay and benefits since July 2017 have been summoned without charge to the courthouse in Shush, Khuzestan Province. - 8/10/17

Iranian Police Arrest Dozens Of 'Half-Naked' Youths At Pool Party
Iranian police have detained dozens of young people at a pool party near the central city of Isfahan that authorities say involved dancing and alcohol, state media report. The TV news website on August 9 said provincial forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and local police arrested 64 "half-naked" teenagers of both sexes at the party, which took place the day before. - 8/10/17

Iran to host 4th International Zeolite Conference
The 4th Iran International Zeolite Conference will be held as a two-days event at Golpayegan University in Golpayegan, west of Isfahan. The conference is scheduled for August 23 and 24, 2017, and will bring together professionals from industry and academia who are actively interested in the science and technologies of zeolite and zeo-type materials. - 8/10/17

Hezbollah and the Simplistic School of Counterterrorism
Last month, President Trump made a joint appearance at the White House with a visiting head of government, during which Trump spoke of the visitor's country being "on the front lines in the fight against" an organization that is part of that same country's governing coalition. The visitor was Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the organization was Hezbollah. Members of Hezbollah are ministers in Hariri's cabinet. Hezbollah has the fourth largest bloc of seats among the two dozen parties that are represented in Lebanon's parliament. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/10/17

Stoking War with Iran Courts Disaster
If President Trump's recent pronouncements on Iran are to be believed, it's all but certain that he will not recertify the Iran nuclear deal the next time around. He is expected to accuse Iran of advancing its missile technology and supporting terrorism, which in his view would be a violation of the spirit of the Iran deal, formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue. -Emile Nakhleh - 8/9/17

Iran: Rohani Names Two Women Vice Presidents, But None In Cabinet
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has named two women as vice presidents, a day after proposing a government that included no women in cabinet positions. Rohani's presidential website announced August 9 that he appointed Masumeh Ebtekar as vice president for women and family affairs and Laaya Joneidi as vice president for legal affairs. - 8/9/17

Arrests, Crackdown Put Spotlight On Islamic State Threat In Iran
A fresh wave of arrests of alleged Islamic State (IS) militants, while scant on details, is helping build the case that the extremist group's activities in Iran go beyond the recent deadly bombings in Tehran. That 10 of the 27 alleged IS members were arrested in another country revealed that the effort to clamp down on the militant group had expanded past Iran's borders. The authorities claimed the arrests resulted from intelligence sharing with a third country and they touted the operation as a success that was carried out as IS was planning further attacks on Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/9/17

Iran's Beleaguered Music Community Urges Rouhani to Prevent Concert Cancellations
Members of Iran's music industry are urging President Hassan Rouhani to follow through on his 2017 election campaign promise to uphold citizens' rights by preventing the cancellation of state-sanctioned concerts. The most recent appeal was issued to the president in a letter signed by members of the House of Music, an independent association of musicians based in Tehran, on August 2, 2017 following the cancellation of a concert by a renowned vocalist. - 8/9/17

Muqtada al-Sadr's Saudi Visit and Iraq's Shifting Shia Politics
Last week, the Iraqi Shia cleric and the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia and met with the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the power behind the throne. In view of the Saudi monarchy's rather dark record of treating Shias both in the kingdom itself and elsewhere, including Iraq, this visit is rather unusual. Muqtada could not have forgotten how Saudi Arabia supported Saddam Hussein who killed several members of his family, including his father Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr and the famed Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, his uncle. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 8/9/17

Iranian Drone Plane Forces U.S. Fighter To Take 'Evasive Action,' U.S. Navy Says
The U.S. Navy says an Iranian drone flew within 30 meters of one of its jets on August 8 as the U.S. aircraft was trying to land on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman Bill Urban said the encounter occurred in international airspace as the U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter bomber was preparing to land on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. - 8/9/17

Asian Women's Volleyball Championship: Iran suffers loss against Chinese Taipei
Iran started the 19th edition of the Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship campaign with a loss against Chinese Taipei. Akram Ghahremani's team lost to Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-15, 25-27, 25-17, 25-20) in Group D. - 8/9/17

India cuts Iran oil imports amid Farzad gas field row
India is making good on its promise to cut crude oil imports from Iran amid the two countries' spat over the development of a gas field in the Persian Gulf. According to new data released on Wednesday, India's purchases of Iranian crude fell 16.3 percent in July from a month ago to 414,900 barrels per day (bpd). - 8/9/17

Iran's President Rouhani presents cabinet to Parliament for vote of confidence
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has submitted the list of his nominees for ministerial posts to the Parliament (Majlis). The list, which was presented to the legislature on Tuesday, includes the proposed picks to head 17 out of 18 ministries. - 8/8/17

Bad Selfie: Iranian Lawmakers Take Heat For Pictures With Top EU Diplomat
A group of Iranian lawmakers have come under fire for appearing too eager to take selfies with EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini while she was in Tehran to attend a high-profile event. Mogherini was among dozens of foreign officials in attendance as President Hassan Rohani was inaugurated for his second term on August 5, and the Italian politician's presence did not go unnoticed. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/8/17

Frequent Concert Cancellations In Iran Draws Fire From The Music Community
The musicians in Iran are constantly being harassed and mistreated by the conservatives who are in power in judiciaries, especially in religious urban centers. They are now asking Iranian president to stand up for their rights. A year after 600 Iranian musicians wrote a letter to Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, objecting to increasing mistreatment of the music community and the illegal cancelation of concerts, nearly 100 of them gathered to voice their concerns. - 8/8/17

British delegation meets family of jailed British-Iranian woman
A delegation from London has met with the family of Nazanin Zaghari, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran since April 2016, Tehran confirmed on Monday. "The British delegation which had visited Tehran to participate in the swearing-in ceremony (of President Rouhani) met the family of Zaghari," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told a press conference in Tehran. - 8/8/17

Iran arrests 27 ISIS-linked terrorists plotting attacks
According to a statement by Iran's Intelligence Ministry on Monday, Iranian security forces managed to identify and arrest the Daesh-linked terrorists, who were planning to carry out acts of terror in provinces deep in the country as well as religious cities ahead of the Saturday swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani. - 8/8/17

Why Shirin Neshat complicates 'Aida' at the Salzburg Festival
New York-based Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat is known for her photography, video installations and films. Her work has largely dealt with women's issues in Iran, exploring taboos and touching on gender and cultural conflicts. At this year's Salzburg Festival, she is the stage director for a new production of Verdi's opera "Aida," starring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who debuted in the role to resounding applause on Sunday evening. -DW - 8/8/17

It's Up to Europe to Save the Iran Deal
Donald Trump wants to scrap the nuclear accord with Tehran. Here's how America's allies can stop him. -Tyler Cullis & Reza Marashi, Foreign Policy - 8/8/17

Tensions build along Iraq-Iran border
The Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), which seeks Kurdish autonomy in the country and has been exiled to Iraq, has been intensifying its presence along the border area in recent days. The separatist group helped to defend northern Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS), and with the battle for Mosul now over, it is focusing on consolidating its control over parts of the Iraq-Iran border. -Mauricio Morales, Aljazeera - 8/8/17

U.S. violations of JCPOA destructive, warns Iran's President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that the United States' repeated violations of the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would have a "destructive" impact on the deal's implementation. "The recurrent breaches of commitments by the US government and its move to impose new sanctions on Iran have had negative impacts on Iran's public opinion," Rouhani said in a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Tehran on Saturday. - 8/7/17

The Challenges Iranian President Rohani Faces In His New Term
As Iranian President Hassan Rohani enters his second term in office, he faces a number of challenges both at home and from abroad. Hassan Rohani began his second term on August 5 amid an intensification of pressure from Washington, which has accused Tehran of noncompliance with international obligations following recent missile tests and has characterized the 2015 nuclear accord as a bad deal. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 8/7/17

French automaker Renault signs landmark auto deal in Iran
French carmaker Renault has signed a much-awaited agreement with Iran to produce more than 150,000 cars a year in the country - what is already being described as the Islamic Republic's biggest ever auto deal. The value of the agreement, which was signed after 10 months of negotiations, would be 660 million Euros. - 8/7/17

Iran: Families in the Dark as Prisoners at Rajaee Shahr Illegally Moved to High-Security Ward
The sudden transfer of dozens of political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj to a high-security ward and the denial of their visitation rights is illegal, according to prominent human rights attorney Mohammad Seifzadeh. - 8/7/17

Regional countries to help Iran reshape medical tourism
Iran has signed agreements with 13 neighboring countries with the aim of developing and reorganizing its medical tourism sector. The state-run Tourism Holding Company, affiliated with the Social Security Organization, is to unveil this week a comprehensive plan, which will be implemented with the participation of 22 hospitals and over 200 physicians, specialists, and surgeons. - 8/7/17

Tehran metro among finalists for ITA Tunneling Awards 2017
Tehran metro line 6 is among the four finalists at International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA) Tunneling Awards 2017 in the category of 'major project of the year'. Tehran metro line 6 is vying against three other major project of Confederation LRT Line in Canada, Delhi Metro Phase 3 Expansion of networks, and Qatar Rail Metro. The winner will receive a 500-million-euro award. - 8/7/17

Rouhani's Challenges to Form His New Cabinet
Rouhani now has two weeks to nominate ministers for his cabinet. According to informed sources and media reports, however, he has already made his picks. All nominees will have to seek a vote of confidence by Iran's parliament by introducing themselves and their programs. Members of parliament (MPs) can then speak at the plenary either in support or opposition to the nominated candidate. -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog - 8/7/17

Trump keeps scaring investors away from Iran
Iran hoped that agreeing to curtail its nuclear program would encourage foreign firms to pour tens of billions into the country. But a flood of major investment has not materialized -- and that's largely because of the United States. -Zahraa Alkhalisi, CNN Money - 8/7/17

Four Killed, Eight Injured In Iran Military Base Shooting, Army Says
Iran's army says four of its servicemen were killed and eight others wounded when a soldier opened fire on his colleagues at a military base. A statement said the incident took place on August 6 at a shooting range in the town of Kahrizak, about 10 kilometers south of Tehran. - 8/7/17

Iran Industry Spotlight: Water Management
Like other countries in the region, Iran faces a severe water crisis due to climate change and poor water management. One of the most visible reminders of this ongoing problem is Lake Urmia. Located in the northwestern corner of Iran, Lake Urmia's watershed serves an agricultural regionwith a population of 6.4 million people. Previously one of the largest salt lakes in the world, Lake Urmia was also once a popular tourist destination. However, the last 20 years of environmental conditions and damming of tributary rivers for irrigation have shrunk Lake Urmia's surface area by 70% and its water volume by 95%. -Elliot Plaut - 8/4/17

The Persistence of Falsehoods About the Iran Nuclear Agreement
The biggest current threat to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program, comes from Donald Trump's obsession with killing the accord. That obsession is driven by his impulse to undo whatever Barack Obama did and to fulfill campaign rhetoric based on such contrarianism. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/4/17

World leaders arriving in Tehran for President Rouhani's inauguration
Leaders and senior politicians from around the world are arriving in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to attend the upcoming inauguration ceremony of President-elect Hassan Rouhani. Representatives from a total of 92 countries are slated to partake in the ceremony. - 8/4/17

Iran: President Rouhani Could Appoint Surveillance Expert From Ahmadinejad Era to Telecommunications Ministry
President Hassan Rouhani is considering nominating a former top intelligence official in charge of surveillance from the Ahmadinejad administration to serve in his cabinet, a source in the Information and Communications Technology Ministry told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 8/4/17

Iran footballers break Israel sporting 'taboo'
Two Iranian footballers have been both praised and condemned in their home country after turning out for their Greek club side against Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv. While the Europa League third qualifying round match between Panionios of Athens and Maccabi will probably not last long in the memories of either set of fans, the appearance on the pitch of Iranians Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi in the Greek capital has not gone unnoticed back home. -BBC - 8/4/17

Iran's oil exports to China to reach record levels
Speculations are rising that Iran's oil exports to China would rise to the highest levels over the past 11 months in August. Reuters in a report highlighted speculations that the rise in Iran's exports to China would follow a recent decision by the Islamic Republic to cut the prices for its heavy crude oil. - 8/4/17

Bernie's Vote On Sanctions Was About Protecting The Iran Deal From Trump
This week, when the Senate voted 98-2 to pass new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea, the only senators to vote against the measure were Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). While the Russia sanctions were the focus of nearly every big media outlet's headlines, it is the Iran sanctions that are likely to be the most consequential due to their impact on the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Ida Adibi, Huffington Post - 8/4/17

Addressing Iranian Influence in Iraq
As Iraqis celebrate Mosul's liberation from the Islamic State (ISIS or IS), their country's future is anything but certain. Although it is premature to conclude that the fight against IS in Iraq is over, the Trump administration's approach to Iraq is likely to focus more on countering Iran's influence in the Shi'ite-majority Arab country. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 8/4/17

Provoking Iran into Tearing up the 2015 Nuclear Deal
How easy will it be for President Donald Trump to use the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to provoke Iran to "tear up" the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aka the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran? Annex 1 of the JCPOA spells out the basis on which the IAEA may request extraordinary access to Iranian locations... -Peter Jenkins - 8/3/17

Rouhani formally endorsed as Iran President by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has formally endorsed Hassan Rouhani as president, paving the way for him to take office for a second term as the head of Iran's 12th administration. During a ceremony on Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei gave his official approval for the president-elect by giving him a decree to assign him his duties. - 8/3/17

Iran Should Immediately Release Critically Ill Opposition Leaders Under House Arrest
More than six years into their extrajudicial house arrest, the health of leading Iranian political opposition leaders is in grave danger, renewing urgent calls in Iran for their freedom. The Iranian authorities should immediately release and provide full medical care to Mehdi Karroubi, who was recently hospitalized, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. The three have been imprisoned in their homes without trial since 2011 for leading the peaceful protests against the 2009 presidential election. - 8/3/17

How a Solar Eclipse Got Me Interested in Iran
Unless you are a space geek like me, you might not be aware that the U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse next month -- the first one to occur over the continental U.S. in over 38 years! If you are in its path (or traveling to see it), I wish you clear skies! For me, a total solar eclipse elicits memories of my first trip to Iran in 1999 when I traveled there to view the last total solar eclipse of the millennium with a group organized by Search for Common Ground. -Stephanie Lester - 8/3/17

U.S., European Allies Urge UN To Take Action After Iran Launches Satellite-Carrying Rocket
The United States and three of its European allies have urged the United Nations to send "a clear message to Iran" in response to its recent launch of a satellite-carrying rocket, which the Western powers described as having a "destabilizing effect in the region" Russia's new ambassador to the UN disagreed, however. Vasily Nebenzya told reporters in New York on August 2 that Russia does not consider the launch to be a violation of the nuclear agreement with Iran, the TASS news agency reported. - 8/3/17

New pipeline cuts Iran's reliance on Turkmenistan's gas
Iran has inaugurated a gas pipeline which officials say will dispense with supplies from neighboring Turkmenistan to northern Iranian provinces, especially in the winter when demand spirals out of control. The Damghan-Neka pipeline, the last segment of a trunkline which feeds gas from Iran's giant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf to the Mazandaran province in the Caspian Sea, was inaugurated by Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh on Tuesday. - 8/3/17

Teahouse in Iran's Grand Bazaar may be world's smallest
Among the thousands of shops that line the labyrinthine alleyways of Tehran's Grand Bazaar sits the Haj Ali Darvish teahouse. It's not the only teahouse in the bazaar, but having first opened in 1918, it's definitely one of the oldest. And according to some, it's also the smallest -- not just in the bazaar but in the whole world. -CNN - 8/3/17

Prominent Iranian Activists Defy State Ban on Visiting Hospitalized Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi
With roses in hand, a group of prominent former political prisoners and civil rights activists defied a state ban on visiting Iran's detained opposition leaders when they attempted to visit Mehdi Karroubi in the hospital on July 31, 2017. - 8/2/17

US top diplomat Rex Tillerson repeats allegations against Iran
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is repeating the Trump administration's anti-Iran allegations. Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Tuesday, he American top diplomat accused Tehran of violating spirit of the nuclear deal, which also involves the UK, Russia, Germany, China, and France. - 8/2/17

US, Iranian Leaders See Violations to Spirit of Nuclear Deal
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal has taken focus away from other Iranian "destabilizing activities in the region," such as its ballistic missile program, support for terrorism and the roles it plays in conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. His comments Tuesday during a State Department briefing come as top officials in both the United States and Iran accuse the other side of violating the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which limited Iran's nuclear program to ensure it could not produce nuclear weapons while giving Iran sanctions relief. -VOA - 8/2/17

Iranian Political Prisoners' Letter to Foreign Ambassadors Who Went on Staged Tour of Evin Prison
On July 5, 2017, dozens of foreign diplomats based in Iran went on a staged tour of Evin Prison designed to prevent any contact between the diplomats and political prisoners and inmates with legitimate grievances about the prison's conditions. The following letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), was written by two current political prisoners in Evin who were hidden from the diplomats. - 8/2/17

Celebration of Iranian Cinema Returns to UC Irvine
The 2nd Annual CELEBRATION OF IRANIAN CINEMA in Orange County will be held at the University of California, Irvine August 25-27, 2017. - 8/2/17

Don't Repeat the Iraq War False WMD Claims with Iran
Where were you when the US invaded Iraq 15 years ago? I was an acting Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department, with an inside view on the decision-making process. My colleagues in the department's Intelligence and Research (INR) Bureau disputed supposed evidence about a reconstituted Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme that served as the justification for the invasion. I was not forceful in siding with them, ... -Mark Fitzpatrick, LobeLog - 8/2/17

Is the EU Pushing Back Against Trump on Iran?
The European External Action Service (EEAS) has officially announced that the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on August 5. According to the brief statement released by the EEAS on July 29, Mogherini will visit Iran in her role as chair of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) tasked with overseeing the implementation of the agreement. It also says that she will meet with Iranian dignitaries to discuss issues of bilateral and regional relevance. -Eldar Mamedov - 8/1/17

Iranian teams grab 16 titles in RoboCup 2017
Iranian teams managed to scoop 16 titles in the biggest and most reputable robotic competitions in the world held this year in Japan's Nagoya from 27 to 31 July. After four days of intense competitions, Iranian robotic teams managed to win 16 titles in Japan's RoboCup 2017 in the two junior and adult categories. - 8/1/17

U.S. sanctions violate its obligations to JCPOA: Iranian Committee
A committee chaired by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that the US' sanctions directly violate its obligations to the JCPOA. On Monday, Iran's committee for monitoring the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) also stressed the importance of an intelligent, appropriate, and powerful response to the recent US sanctions imposed on Tehran. - 8/1/17

TIRGAN 2017: The Arts and Culture Festival that Transcends borders and penetrates hearts
Mesmerized by KamanChello playing, a duo string performance of the Persian Kamcheh and occidental Cello, the highly diverse audience comprised of not only Iranians from all walks of life and places, but also with the eminent presence of others including peace and justice loving mainstream Canadians, found themselves in twilight nostalgic and humanistic trance on earth and beyond. Tirgan 2017, the Iranian summer solstice festival ten years in the making in Toronto, had once again attracted 150,000 spectators which included many from the U.S. world down under, as well as from Europe and even Iran. -Davood N. Rahni - 8/1/17

Iranian Opposition Cleric Karrubi Hospitalized For Second Time
Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karrubi has been hospitalized for a second time in a week due to a heart condition, his wife said. Karrubi's wife, Fatemeh Karrubi, told the semiofficial ILNA news agency on July 31 that her husband had been transferred to the coronary unit of a Tehran hospital after having tests done. She said doctors don't think it's safe for him to undergo open-heart surgery. - 8/1/17

Dire Consequences if Trump Pulls out of Iran Deal
Donald Trump rarely tries to hide his intentions. When he intends to do something reckless that will seriously compromise not just US security but that of the entire world, he is not shy about sharing. The prime example of this is Trump's determination to destroy the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal struck between the P5+1 and Iran to limit Iran's nuclear program. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 8/1/17

Artist traces goats' place in history of Iranian culture
The Paris-based Iranian painter Raheleh Roshandel intends to familiarize visitors to her new collection "Iranian Goats" with the place of the animal in the history of Iranian culture. Twenty works from the series that features goats in Iranian mythology, nomad life and some other fields were put on display in an exhibition at Tehran's Shokuh Gallery in mid-July. - 8/1/17

Russia's Gazprom, Iran's OIEC sign deal over oil fields
Russia's Gazprom has signed a cooperation agreement with an Iranian company over the development of two major oil fields in western Iran. The agreement was signed with the Oil Industries' Engineering and Construction (OIEC), Iran's IRNA news agency reported. - 8/1/17

Iran's economy a 'masterpiece of structural ambiguity'
The economy dominated Iran's recent presidential election. Hassan Rouhani, the incumbent, argued that integration into the global economy is the only path to prosperity and job creation, while his rivals accused his administration of having ignored the poor. Rouhani's opponents also promised to create millions of jobs, double the size of the economy and triple monthly cash payments to low-income families. -Ali Dadpay, Al Monitor - 8/1/17

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