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May 30 2016
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Iran Arrests 8 Over 'Obscene' Music Videos

- Iranian authorities have arrested eight people involved in allegedly producing "obscene" music videos. Mizan Online, a news agency controlled by Iran's powerful judiciary, quoted Tehran prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi on May 28 as saying that the eight were arrested last week in Tehran. They were not identified by name. - 5/29/16

"The Salesman" director, stars receive warm welcome at home

- "The Salesman" director Asghar Farhadi and the film's stars Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidusti got a tremendous welcome on Friday morning after arriving in home with the two awards they won at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. - 5/28/16

From ancient Persian poetry rises 'Feathers of Fire,' billed as largest shadow-theater play

- Rahmanian's new project is the shadow puppet production "Feathers of Fire," which bills itself as the largest shadow play ever performed. The story is culled from the "Shahnameh," an ancient book of epic Persian poetry that Rahmanian adapted into a lavishly illustrated book for a modern audience in 2013. -Los Angeles Times - 5/27/16

Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem in Talks to Star in Asghar Farhadi's Spanish-Language Film

- Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who just won two awards at Cannes for his Tehran-set drama "The Salesman" (Forushande), is resetting his untitled Spanish-language movie with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in advanced talks to star. -Variety - 5/27/16

'Homeland' actress: Iran, free jailed British-Iranian mother

- Once, I hoped to return to Iran. Like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the woman who now sits in an Iranian jail, I longed to visit family, friends, the land of my birth. Her arrest last month, the latest in a string of arrests of dual nationals lured back to Iran, has thrown cold water on my hopes, for now. The oppressors, for the moment, have won. -Nazanin Boniadi, CNN - 5/25/16

Kamancheh Master Kayhan Kalhor Plays in Tehran amid Conservative Backlash against Concerts

- After six years of silence in Iran, music of kamencheh master Kayhan Kalhor blared out in Vahdat Concert Hall once more. On Saturday night, May 21, Kalhor and his ensemble performed to a full hall of ardent fans in Tehran. - 5/24/16

How Leonardo DiCaprio became unlikely champion in Iran

- Iranians were elated when they discovered that actor Leonardo DiCaprio had shared on his Instagram account a photo of Iran. DiCaprio, a champion environmentalist, republished The Weather Channel's photo of drying Lake Urmia to bring attention to climate change. -Holly Dagres, Al-Monitor - 5/24/16

Asghar Farhadi, Shahab Hosseini awarded at Cannes Film Festival

- The Iranian film "The Salesman" by Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi received two awards, for Best Screenplay and Best Actor, won by Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini. - 5/23/16

Cannes: Why Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman' Signals a Post Nuclear Deal Cinematic Resurgence in Iran

- Asghar Farhadi's return to Cannes with his well-received "The Salesman" comes after the Iranian auteur's Paris-set "The Past" vied for a Palme d'Or in 2013. It also marks his somewhat unexpected return to shooting in Iran after "A Separation." -Nick Vivarelli, Variety - 5/22/16

Concerts of Popular Iranian Musicians Canceled Due to Pressure from Religious Conservatives

- Two of Iran's top musicians have been prevented from performing in the city of Neyshabour and other locations in northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province by the local prosecutor. Iran's House of Music, an independent association of musicians, has written a letter to Judiciary Chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani protesting the ongoing disruption of sanctioned musical performances. - 5/20/16

Kering, Cannes honor Iranian Filmmaker Ida Panahandeh

- Kering, a leading world company for apparel and accessories, and the Cannes Film Festival honored Iranian filmmaker Ida Panahandeh with the Women in Motion young talent award on Sunday. - 5/18/16

New director of IRIB says change in news programs high on agenda

- The new director of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Abdol-Ali Ali-Asgari, has said that making a couple of major changes to new programs is high on the agenda. Speaking to the reporter after his inauguration on Tuesday, he also said that IRIB will turn its main focus on producing educative programs. - 5/18/16

Kayhan Kalhor's concert in Nishapur cancelled despite proper permits

- The concert of Prominent musician Kayhan Kalhor in Nishapur was cancelled on Tuesday May 10 by the order of the city's prosecutor. The Our Music website reports that the concert was to be held for two nights and it had obtained all necessary performance permits from the Ministry of Culture and Guidance. The concert is also scheduled to play in Yazd, Kermanshah, Khorramabad and Tehran. - 5/11/16

Iranian women barred from provincial stages as classical concert tours

- The third leg of Shahram and Hafez Nazeri's Persian classical music concert tour is set to kick off in Isfahan on May 19 and 20, and the group's female musicians have been banned from appearing on stage. - 5/10/16

Iconic Persian Composer Passes Away in Exile: Houshang Ostovar (1927-2016)

- The Persian composer Houshang Ostovar passed away in Paris. He was 89. On January 7th, 2015, the composer died of cancer but for unclear reasons, his wife, Farideh Behboud, waited 4 months to make an announcement, ISNA reported. - 5/10/16

Noted director Abbas Kiarostami leaves hospital after long stay for cancer operations

- Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami was released after 50 days in hospital and will reportedly continue to receive treatment at his home. Kiarostami was reportedly released on Tuesday April 26 after four surgeries said to be related to complications caused by intestinal cancer. - 4/27/16

Farhadi Film "The Salesman" Gets Last-Minute Acceptance At Cannes

- Asghar Farhadi's latest film, The Salesman (Foroushandeh), has been accepted into the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows the story of a couple acting in a production of Arthur Miller's Death of Salesman in Tehran. - 4/24/16

Fajr Film Festival Showcasing Bright Lineup of World Cinema

- A vibrant lineup of movies, documentaries and shorts by directors from around the globe will be screened during the 34th Fajr International Film Festival, which opened on Wednesday at Tehran's Charsu Cineplex. - 4/22/16

Where are the censors? Popular TV drama flouts Iran's Islamic taboos

- "Shahrzad", a slick, new Iranian TV series set in the Shah era, is raising eyebrows and wowing audiences across the country. But it's also sparking fears of a crackdown to come. -France24 - 4/22/16

Hye Times

- Armenian and Persian tales on vinyl, as dangerously funky as ever. Just don't call them 'exotic'. -Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient - 4/21/16

Announcing The 8th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Celebrating Iranian Heritage

- Now in its eighth year, the 2016 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival has officially been announced. Calling on filmmakers worldwide to submit short films visualizing some aspect of Iranian art,culture, and heritage, Farhang Foundation's annual online short film festival offers contestants the opportunity to compete for $10,000 (first prize), $5,000 (second prize), and $3,000 (third prize). - 4/20/16

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: Apr 30-­May 22

- For more than two decades, UCLA Film & Television Archive has showcased the ever-unfolding film tradition of Iran for Southern California audiences. This adventure has been a journey of constant discovery, as the Archive has tracked Iran's national cinema, its evolving modes of storytelling and the perspectives and achievements of its leading talents. - 4/19/16

'Fahrenheit 451' Movie in the Works at HBO From '99 Homes' Director

- "99 Homes" filmmaker Ramin Bahrani is set to write, direct and executive produce a new take on Ray Bradbury's classic novel "Fahrenheit 451" that is in development at HBO Films, TheWrap has learned. -The Wrap - 4/14/16

This Is What It's Really Like To Be A Musician In Iran

- Ninja Tune producer Ash Koosha was imprisoned in Tehran, and sought asylum in the U.K. He talks about pushing boundaries both inside and outside his home country. -Niloufar Haidari, Fader - 4/9/16

Lights, Camera, Revolution: A brief history of Iranian cinema, from Haji Agha to Agha Farhad

- To best understand the roots of Iranian cinema, one must perhaps travel back to the early 20th century, when the Qajar monarch Mozaffareddin Shah was shown cinematographic footage during a visit to France. -Zara Knox, Reorient - 4/7/16

Actress among activists arrested for animal rights protest in Tehran

- Iranian actress Hediyeh Tehrani and 16 other environmental activists were briefly arrested for participating in a protest at Tehran's Laleh Park in support of animal rights. The Reporters Club reports that Hediyeh Tehrani and the activists were arrested on Friday April 1. - 4/3/16

Head of Tehran orchestra seeks administrative changes or he'll leave

- Ali Rahbari, the head of Tehran's Symphonic Orchestra, whose resignation was turned down by the Ministry of Culture and Guidance, says the orchestra needs an independent administration. - 4/2/16

Leading Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami battles coma, cancer

- After Iran's master musician Mohammadreza Shajarian was said to have fallen victim to cancer last month, it was also announced that prominent Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is also fighting cancer. - 3/28/16

Veteran Iranian Actor Implores Rohani To Free Opposition Leaders

- Ezzatollah Entezami has written a letter to President Rohani calling for an end to the house arrest of the opposition leaders detained for the 2009 election protests, MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi. In his letter dated February 21, Entezami writes that ending the house arrests will result in "confidence building and the strengthening of national unity". - 3/21/16

Tarabnameh - Part 1: A play By Iranian Director Bahram Beyzaie

- Tarabnameh has its genealogy in the tradition of Takhte-Hozi plays-a tradition of popular plays, combing comedy and music, dance and poetry. Centuries of despotism have rendered this form bereft of content. In Tarabnameh, a play with a cast of thirty-seven actors, this ancient comic genre keeps its joyous ambiance but takes on new form and meaning, underscoring the possibilities of once forgotten traditions becoming rich, robust, and lively modern forms of theater. - 3/19/16

The Death of the King: A play by acclaimed Iranian writer and director Bahram Beyzaie

- Departing from a single line in Persia's history books, critically-acclaimed Iranian playwright, Bahram Beyzaie wrote 'The Death of the King' shortly after the Iranian Revolution. Beyzaie's play tells the story of an ordinary family charged with treason, accused of killing their nation's ruler. -April 13-17 at ODC Theater, San Francisco - 3/14/16

You can't touch me, says Dia Mirza's Iranian co-star to her

- You do know that you cannot touch me, right?" those are the first words Iranian matinee idol Reza Golzar mutters to Bollywood actress-producer Dia Mirza on the sets of their Indo-Iranian co-production, 'Salaam Mumbai'. Dia protests with a laugh, "That's totally unfair. You cannot be that good looking and put a mandate on touching." -Times of India - 3/14/16

Iran Sets New Restrictions On University Concerts

- Iran has set new restrictions on concerts held at universities, as hard-liners dig in their heels after election gains for moderates who might seek to ease some of the Islamic republic's harshest limits on cultural life. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/8/16

Metallica and their secret 'Persian Magnetic' fans ignoring the ban on metal music in Iran

- 'Radio Dreams' follows an Iranian writer's attempt to bring his heavy-metal heroes, Metallica, to Iran. Michael Griffiths meets fans trying to do the same in real life -Independent - 3/5/16

Iranian Music Distributors Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

- Three music distributors have each been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 200 million rials (approximately $6,600 USD) for "insulting the sacred" and "propaganda against the state" by a Tehran appeals court. - 3/2/16

Why are Iranians lip synching to political speeches?

- The Dubsmash app, as BBC Trending has reported in the past, is usually used by people to create and share videos of themselves miming or lip-synching along to the words of pop songs. But the prominent Iranian actress Baran Kosari has used it to film herself miming to the music-free soundtrack of a recording of former President Mohammad Khatami. -BBC - 2/25/16

Iranian TV Show Angers Afghans

- A new show on Iran's state-controlled television has angered critics who say it promotes hatred against Afghan refugees living in the Islamic republic. The show, titled Outbreak, features a storyline about an Afghan man carrying a biologically engineered virus who is sent to Iran by the United States. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/24/16

Iran's cultural gatekeepers surprisingly greenlight a folk-rock fusion band

- Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the clerical establishment that determines what's culturally appropriate and what's not has cast a skeptical eye toward Western rock music. But the clerics might be loosening up. -Marco Werman, PRI - 2/19/16

Photos: Noted German quartet gives first Shiraz performance at historic bathhouse

- The Leipzig String Quartet performed in the historic Shiraz Vakil Bathhouse on Sunday February 14. The concert was organized by the Aftab City Art Institute in collaboration with the German Embassy`s cultural department and Goethe Cultural Institute and the Fars Guidance Ministry. - 2/17/16

Iranian films at Queens World Film Festival in New York

- Four Iranian films will be screened at the 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF): A Report About Mina (Documentary), Lima (Animation), My Sister's Photo (Short Narrative) and Oblivion Season (Feature Narrative). - 2/16/16

"Standing in the Dust" wins best film award at Fajr Film Festival

- "Standing in the Dust" is about the life story of Motevasselian who along with his colleagues, Mohsen Musavi and Taqi Rastegar-Moqaddam, and photojournalist Kazem Akhavan was kidnapped by Israelis in 1982 in Lebanon. - 2/13/16

Iranian films Nahid and Sonita to screen at Portland International Film Festival

- The 39th Portland International Film Festival is being held February 11-27 in Portland, Oregon. This year the Iranian films Nahid, directed by Ida Panahandeh, and Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, will be screened at the festival. - 2/8/16

Iranian Officials Condemn Radical Mob's Attack On Top Actress

- An attack last week on one of Iran's most famous actresses by hardline vigilantes has been condemned by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Rouhani administration's top official in charge of women's affairs. - 2/4/16

An Iranian rock star in London: the highs and lows of Ali Azimi's turbulent career

- 'Persistence is the key to success', my late grandfather used to say; it's also a philosophy the London-based Iranian musician Ali Azimi keeps close to his heart. A former mechanical engineer, Azimi came to public attention in 2009 with his band, Radio Tehran, and their album, 88. -Ben Mirza, Reorient - 2/4/16

Iran's 'Sormeh' Wins Award At Italian Film Festival

- Sormeh, a short fiction movie directed by Iranian filmmaker Azadeh Ghochagh has won the Best Film Award in the main section of the Italian short film festival 'Dieciminuti'. Ghochagh's production had competed with other movies from France, the UK, Finland, Bahrain, the US, Italy and Norway. - 2/3/16

Rokhsareh Qaem-Maqami's Sonita wins top award at Sundance Film Festival

- Sonita, a joint production of Iran, Germany and Switzerland, by Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Qaem-Maqami, has won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival: World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary and Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary - 2/1/16

Celebrated Iranian actress attacked in Kashan on way to screening

- Extremists attacked the prominent Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya in the city of Kashan on Sunday. She was there to attend the screening of her latest film, Yahya Sokoot Nakard (Yahaya did not remain silent), and the event proceeded despite the attack. - 1/26/16

Forouzan, Persian film star in Pahlavi era, passes away in Tehran

- Forouzan, one of the big stars of Persian popular cinema in 1960s and 1970s died in Tehran. She was 78. Forouzan, born Parvin Kheirbakhsh, acted in various popular films such as Ganj-e Ghroun (directed by Siamak Yasemi, 1965), Dalahu (1967), Raghaseh-ye Shahr (Shapoor Gharib, 1970) and Dayereh-ye Mina (Dariush Mehrjoui, 1978). - 1/26/16

Iranian filmmakers to answer for promos on satellite programs

- Ten Iranian filmmakers have been summoned to the media and culture court over the content of promotional teasers for their films as shown on satellite programs. The Cinema daily reported on Friday January 15 that the filmmakers will have to appear before the court on Saturday. - 1/16/16

The game industry of Iran

- How economic sanctions and piracy shape how people in Iran make and play games. -Yara Elmjouie, Polygon - 1/15/16

Exile, Censorship, and Pink Floyd: A Q+A With Curator Tom Vick on the Iranian Film Festival

- Tom Vick, the Curator of Film at the Freer and its sister museum, the Sackler Gallery, spoke to Arts Desk via email about this year's selections, qualities of Iranian cinema, how Iranian directors work, which selections will appeal to non-cinephiles, and more. -Steve Kiviat, Washington City Paper - 1/15/16

Netflix Opening to Iran Ends State Broadcasting's Decades of Monopoly

- The Islamic Republic of Iran's near total monopoly on the broadcast of film and television series has effectively ended following the January 7, 2015, decision by Netflix to make its vast archive available to Iran and 129 other countries. - 1/12/16

Feathers Of Fire: Shahnameh Shadow Play at Fort Mason in San Francisco

- Experience a new type of shadow puppet theater with ShadowLight Productions' Feathers of Fire. This action-packed, cinematic shadow play tells a magical story of star-crossed lovers, based on Shahnameh, a classic Persian epic legend from the 10th century. - 1/6/16

Judge's Tirade Bodes Poorly for Independent Music Producers in Iran

- An Appeals Court judge has admonished collaborators of a popular music site for ignoring repeated warnings that they were operating illegally and having ties with Iranian singers abroad opposed to the Islamic Republic. - 1/4/16

2016 Noor Iranian Film Festival Official Selections Announced

- Noor Iranian Film Festival is pleased to announce its 2016 Official Feature, Shorts, Animation, and Documentary Selection. More than 35 films from filmmakers around the world have been selected and will be showcased in 2016. - 1/4/16

Katayoun Goudarzi and Shujaat Husain Khan Continue a Musical Journey with the Release of "Ruby"

- The melding of musical styles is too dry a term, and perhaps a foolish one, but it is hard to put into words what occurs on some occasions. The harmonious relationship between Iranian-born singer Katayoun Goudarzi and one of India's foremost and prolific classical musicians Shujaat Husain Khan defies proper description. -BWW - 1/4/16

Iranian Ministry Blocks Album Release; Composer Banned From Working

- The latest album of music by Majid Derakhshani, titled Khoroosh (roar), has been denied distribution, with the security department of the Ministry of Guidance stating that the prominent musician is banned from working. - 12/28/15

Iran's biggest-budget film, Muhammad, The Messenger of God, eliminated from Oscar race

- Majid Majidi's film "Muhammad, The Messenger of God," Iran' entry for the best foreign film category at the Oscars, has been eliminated in the first round of selections. On Thursday December 17, the academy announced the list of nine foreign films still vying for the best foreign film Oscar of 2016, and Majidi's epic was not among them. - 12/19/15

How one Iranian TV show is breaking censorship boundaries

- Some reports in Persian-language media sources have argued that "Shahrzad" is indicative of important political developments in recent years. They believe the series has caught those behind Iran's censorship off guard - with censors perhaps not realizing its significance. -Masoud Lavasani, Al-Monitor - 12/19/15

Underground Music Distributors Await Appeal Decision for Six Years in Prison

- Two Iranian musicians and a filmmaker who were jointly sentenced to six years in prison and fined 200 million rials (about $6,650) each for "insulting the sacred" and "propaganda against the state," are awaiting a ruling by a Tehran appeals court, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 12/16/15

Iranian actors to stage Woody Allen's play in Tehran

- Iranian actors will stage a Persian version of 'Don't Drink the Water' by American comedian and playwright Woody Allen in the capital, Tehran. Directed by Davoud Bani-Ardalan, the play has been translated into Persian by Negar Shaterian and will be performed by a group of 11 Iranian actors - 12/16/15

Detained Iranian songwriter released on bail

- Jailed Iranian poet and songwriter Yaghma Golrouyi was released on bail on Wednesday without any formal announcement of the charges against him. Golrouyi's arrest triggered widespread outrage and controversy on social media. - 12/10/15

Abbas Kiarostami Unveils Compilation Project, '24 Frames Before and After Lumiere'

- Attending the Marrakech Film Festival to deliver a masterclass, 75-year old Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami unveiled his latest project - "24 Frames before and After Lumiere" - a compilation project based on 24 four-and-a-half minute films that he has been directing over the last three years and aims to release in mid-2016. -Martin Dale, Variety - 12/10/15

Satire show challenges Iranian TV culture

- In the absence of attractive and entertaining programs on Iranian TV, comedy show 'Khandevaneh' is gaining momentum and drawing public attention. Especially among the young. -Your Middle East - 12/8/15

Iran hardliners close concerts in challenge to president

- Hardline sympathisers in Iran have been causing the abrupt closure of concerts, intimidating musicians in a show of force aimed at the moderate administration of President Hassan Rouhani. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 12/4/15

Popular Iranian Poet, Songwriter Arrested

- Awell-known Iranian poet and songwriter has been arrested in Tehran for reasons that remain unclear. Forty-year-old Yaghma Golruyi was detained at his home in the Iranian capital on November 30, his wife, Athena Habibi, said via social media. - 12/2/15

Tehran orchestra thwarts order to omit female musicians from concert

- A performance by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra to open the World Wrestling Club competitions was cancelled after the conductor refused to accept a last-minute demand to remove all female musicians. - 11/30/15

Carnegie Mellon University Hosts The Segah Festival of Persian and Turkish Music

- The Center for Iranian Music (CFIM) at Carnegie Mellon University presents the Segah Festival of Persian and Turkish Music from January 14-16, 2016, in the College of Fine Arts building on the CMU campus. Festival events are open to the public; Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh students, faculty and staff are admitted free. - 11/30/15

2015 APSA awards Iranian actress Motamed-Aria

- The 2015 edition of Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) has awarded Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Aria during a ceremony held in Brisbane, Australia. Motamed-Aria received the event's Special Mention for the Best Performance by an Actress for her appearance in 'Avalanche,' directed by Iranian filmmaker Morteza Farshbaf. - 11/29/15

"Princess of Rome" avant-garde animation in Iran

- "Princess of Rome", young Iranian director Hadi Mohammadian's animation about a religious historical story about Imam Hassan Askari's marriage to Malika, the granddaughter of Roman Emperor Caesar, is on screen at Iranian theaters. - 11/25/15

Watch a Modern Dance Odyssey From Itinerant French-Iranian Artist Lafawndah

- This is "Tan," the debut video from Paris-based musician Lafawndah's forthcoming EP of the same name. Setting aside the video for a moment, there is not much else out there like her new music at present, whether in vocal tone or urgency or the beats' unwillingness to adhere to a particular pattern or preset. -The Muse - 11/20/15

Filmmaker Mina Keshavarz Explores Economic Status of Rural Women in Iran

- In her latest documentary, "Will She Win the War?," Iranian filmmaker Mina Keshavarz challenges the status quo placed on today's Iranian women. Through the of story Roghieh documentary filmmaker Keshavarz shows the struggle for a young woman in southern Iran who is trying to secure jobs for women through a local community bazaar, as threats by a local politician grow. -Elahe Amani, WNN - 11/6/15

Slaughterhouse review - an honest portrayal of Iran's drug problem

- A new Kurdish film showing a more transparent approach to the drugs epidemic in the Islamic Republic gets the green light from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance -Guardian - 10/31/15

Iranian actress 'branded immoral' for posting pictures without hijab

- Sadaf Taherian, an Iranian actress, has caused controversy in her home country by posting pictures of herself on social media not wearing a hijab. The Iranian government reportedly called her "immoral" and banned her from acting. Taherian published the photographs on Instagram in protest at strict Iranian laws that require women to cover their head in public. -Barney Henderson, Telegraph - 10/30/15

Iranian Pop Musicians Accuse Culture Ministry Of Prejudicial Tastes

- A group of Iranian pop music artists has written an open letter to President Hassan Rohani to protest their discriminatory treatment by the Ministry of Culture and Guidance. They write that their music is regarded by the ministry as "shallow" compared to traditional music and this view has resulted in rejections and refusals for concert and distribution permits. - 10/29/15
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