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March 18 2018
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An Iranian judge who punishes minor crimes with tree planting not jail

- Mohammad Reza Amuzad is a judge in Galikesh, northern Golestan province, who punishes minor crimes with alternative sentences such as planting trees in the province. During the past one and a half year that he has judged in this rather small city, Amuzad has passed many cases of alternative sentences since he believes they are more preventive than jail, Khabaronline reported on Saturday. - 3/11/18

Iranian Environmentalists Detained in Crackdown Denied Legal Counsel Amid Claims Some Were "Jewish Spies"

- Several environmentalists who were arrested by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Intelligence Organization in January 2018 continue to be denied access to legal counsel more than six weeks into their detention. "The families want to know what the charges are so that they can visit the detainees in prison and exercise their natural right to get a lawyer," a source with knowledge about the case told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 28, 2018. - 3/6/18

Attack on national lands "colossal, unforgivable mistake": Iranian Environmentalist

- The recent directive issued by the Supreme Council of Environment on changing the boundaries of protected areas is a colossal and unforgivable mistake, environmentalist Mohammad Darvish has said. The recent directive which is clearly giving consent to shrink the boundaries of protected areas for drilling, mining, logging, etc. activities is rolling back the previous efforts made for the past decades to conserve the precious national treasures. - 2/27/18

Can Iran and Afghanistan cooperate to bring an oasis back from the dead?

- Since 2014, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been crafting a restoration plan that would require Afghanistan to help restore the flow of the Helmand, the main river feeding the former wetlands, and Iran to overhaul its water management. And last month, experts from the two nations met in Paris for a workshop on transboundary water issues. The bilateral efforts hearten water researchers. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine - 2/23/18

Iran: Dusty Khuzestan still in tight spot, out of breath

- Once again the old story of recurrent sand and dust storms in the southwestern province of Khuzestan is going around. For some years now elevated levels of PM 2.5 fine particles, tens of times above the standard average, is the new normal for the province. - 2/15/18

PM 2.5 level 'beyond hazardous' as another dust storm hits southwestern Iran

- The recent sand and dust storms have increased the PM 2.5 fine particles concentration to a 'beyond hazardous' level in the southwestern city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan province, on Tuesday. According to Khuzestan provincial department of environment the fine dust concentration has jumped to 60 times above the recommended limits once again over the past months. - 2/14/18

Iranian-Canadian Academic Dies in Custody While Under Interrogations

- A third detainee, 63-year old Iranian-Canadian Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, has died in custody in Iran, barely 17 days after his arrest and while under interrogations. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) holds the Iranian Judiciary fully responsible for the death of Seyed-Emami and calls for an immediate, international UN-led investigation into the three deaths that have occurred in custody in Iran in the past 40 days. - 2/11/18

Tehran Airports, Schools Closed Due To Heavy Snow

- Heavy snowfalls have forced airports and schools in Tehran to close, while hundreds of cars have been blocked on highways out of the Iranian capital for hours. Tehran's Imam Khomeini International and Mehrabad airports were shut due to poor visibility "until further notice," state television said on January 28. Schools closed in several parts of the country, including the capital, and hundreds of Red Crescent teams were mobilized to bring help to stranded drivers. - 1/29/18

Water And Conflict In Iran

- The most important sentence in the Persian language is arguably "Baba ab dad." The sentence means "father gave water." It is the first sentence taught to Iranian children when they are learning to read and write. Beyond its phonetic simplicity, it establishes the sense of obligation to one's parents that is so indicative of an Iranian childhood. It also establishes an expectation that elders will care for young and that the powerful will care for the powerless. In a sense, "father gave water" is the most succinct articulation of the promise of the social contract in Iran. Today, the Iranian fatherland is struggling to give its people water. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 1/27/18

Iran facing race against time to tackle water crisis

- Some major Iranian cities are facing water rationing and other mandatory restrictions if the worst dry spell in more than 50 years persists. With a third of the winter already over, the Alborz mountains towering over Tehran which are usually blanketed in a snow covering at this time of the year barely have a dusting over them while the wider Tehran plateau has just seen some sparse rain so far this year. - 1/23/18

Iran wins Energy Globe World Award 2017 in water category

- Iran secured the first place in Energy Globe World Awards 2017 in the category of water here on Tuesday. Beating the other two finalists, the Philippines and Singapore, Iran jointly with Sri Lanka won the event's top prize in the mentioned category. The Energy Globe Award was founded in 1999 by the Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and is one of today's most prestigious environmental awards. - 1/19/18

Iranians Pray For Rain Amid Water Crisis

- Iranians in some of the regions hardest hit by years of drought have taken to public prayer sessions in desperate bids to end the dry spell and ease the strain on Iran's dwindling water supplies. Religious services have been routinely held outdoors in Iran since the cleric-led revolution in 1979, but the recent rain prayers were unique in their focus, and in at least one case worshipers gathered in a remote, arid location. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 1/18/18

Why Iran is facing reduced rainfall?

- It is all over the news in Iranian media. Iran is unprecedentedly suffering from low precipitation and experiencing a prolonged drought. Deciding whether the use of the word "unprecedentedly" is scientifically accurate or not is not a job that can be done by the press. It certainly needs extensive, reliable geological and meteorological data to confirm the claims. However, what Iranians are experiencing over the current winter, most significantly in provinces located in arid and semi-arid areas such as Isfahan, Tehran, Qom or South Khorasan is way different than winters of few years ago. - 1/16/18

Huge Oil Spill After Iranian Tanker Sinks In East China Sea

- Chinese ships are racing to clean up a massive oil spill after an Iranian tanker sank in the East China Sea. The Sanchi's crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are all believed to have perished in the incident. - 1/16/18

Last surviving Asiatic cheetahs to undergo artificial insemination

- Head of the Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Project said a team of experts from France will come to Iran in a few weeks to perform artificial insemination on the last surviving Asiatic cheetahs, Koushki and Delbar. - 1/12/18

Iran-Iraq Border Hit By Series Of Moderate Earthquakes

- A series of moderate earthquakes struck near the Iran-Iraq border and other areas of Iran on January 11, most of them occurring in the same region hit by a major quake in November that killed over 530 people. Four people suffered minor injuries from the latest quakes and little damage was reported, Iranian state television said. - 1/12/18

96 percent of Iran experiencing prolonged drought: Official

- Nearly 96 percent of Iran's total area is suffering from different levels of prolonged drought, the director for drought and crisis management department of Iran's Meteorological Organization said. Referring to Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) over the past 84 months, Shahrokh Fateh said drought severities range from abnormally dry to moderate, severe and even extreme drought. - 1/9/18

At Least 21 Injured As Earthquake Rocks Western Iranian Region

- A 5.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Iran's western province of Kermanshah on January 6, injuring at least 21 people, state television reports. The semiofficial ISNA news agency said the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 520 kilometers west of Tehran, was near the epicenter of the quake. The quake struck at 6:55 p.m. local time. - 1/7/18

Iran's Interior Ministry rules out link between HAARP and recent earthquakes

- Deputy Interior Minister for Security and Law Enforcement Mohammad Hossein Zolfaqari has ruled out a link between repeated earthquakes in Iran and the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) project, saying the claim lacks scientific basis. HAARP was initiated as an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It was designed and built by BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT). - 12/28/17

Magnitude 4.2 quake rocks Iran's capital city Tehran

- A magnitude 4.2 quake shook Tehran at 12:54 AM on Wednesday and was felt by Tehran, Karaj and surrounding cities. According to initial reports, the epicenter of the tremor that happened at the depth of 12 kilometers, was the city of Malard on the border between Tehran and Alborz provinces. - 12/27/17

Asiatic Cheetah Cub Saved From Smugglers

- Following the arrest of an animal-trafficking band in Tehran, an Asiatic cheetah cub was discovered and required measures were taken for her protection, Iran's Department of Environment official website reported on Tuesday. - 12/27/17

Tehran earthquake a wakeup call for the region

- It should be reiterated that earthquakes in the Tehran-Karaj-Qazvin areas of the southern foothills of the mighty Alborz mountains, are foreseeable and inescapable. Instead of false and unrealistic statements, the authorities should prepare the citizens for the occurrence of large-magnitude earthquakes. They should seriously retrofit the vital structures, replace poorly constructed buildings, stop the corruption in the building industry, and enforce the "Iranian Code for Seismic-Resistant Buildings Design" -Manuel Berberian, Temblor - 12/27/17

Southeastern Iran Hit By Another Moderate Earthquake; 23 Reported Injured

- An earthquake of magnitude 5.2 rocked Iran's southeastern province of Kerman on December 21 and at least 23 people were injured, state TV said, only a day after two people were killed by a similar tremor near Tehran. Rescue teams were dispatched to the town of Kuhbanan, the epicenter of the latest quake, officials said. No deaths were reported. - 12/22/17

Roudsar Persian Leopard Arezoo Dies In Fight With Hedgehog

- Persian leopard Arezoo, well-known for being named after her habitat in Roudsar, northern Iran, was found dead apparently after a fight with a hedgehog. On February 5, the Roudsar leopard survived a complicated spinal surgery after getting caught in a trap. - 12/22/17

Tehran Municipality welcomes startup ideas to mitigate air pollution

- Tehran Municipality embraces new, innovative startup ideas to face the persistent challenge of air pollution, director of Tehran Municipality's ICT organization said on Tuesday. Tackling Tehran's air pollution requires more active interactions between [responsible] organizations and private sector and the municipality welcomes new startup ideas to face this challenge, Nasimonline quoted Mohammad Farjoud as saying. - 12/22/17

One Dead, Nearly 100 Injured After Earthquake Hits Near Iran's Capital Tehran

- Iranian officials say a woman died and nearly 100 people suffered minor injuries after an earthquake struck near Tehran late on December 20, sparking panic in the capital and neighboring areas. Authorities said on December 21 that the woman died in the town of Malard, close to the epicenter of the 5.2-magnitude earthquake, about 40 kilometers southwest of Tehran. In Tehran and other cities and towns, the latest quake sent panicked residents into the streets and parks, and tens of thousands of people braved the cold to spend the night outside, fearing stronger aftershocks. - 12/21/17

Weak aftershocks reduced risk of major quake in Iran's capital city Tehran: Official

- The head of Iran's Seismology Institute says the risk of a major earthquake in the capital city of Tehran has decreased as several weak aftershocks were registered following a magnitude 5.2 tremor, which affected six Iranian provinces. Ali Moradi said seven 2-3 magnitude aftershocks have been registered in Tehran so far, adding, "There is no more concern for larger tremors" after the major quake occurred, IRNA reported on Thursday. - 12/21/17

Air pollution shuts schools, cancels sports events in Iran's big cities

- Schools have been closed on Tuesday in Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, Urmia, and Arak and sports events have been cancelled as a result of heavy air pollution. Schools have been closed on Tuesday in Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, Urmia, and Arak and sports events have been cancelled as a result of heavy air pollution. - 12/20/17

Smog Prompts School Closures in Iran's capital Tehran

- Iranian authorities have shut down schools and canceled sporting events around Tehran due to thick smog covering the capital city. Authorities decided to close kindergartens and primary schools in all but two cities in the Tehran Province, which is home to around 14 million people, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported on December 17. - 12/18/17

Southeastern Iran Hit By Two Strong Earthquakes; At Least 18 Injured

- Iran's southeastern province of Kerman has been hit by at least two strong quakes in recent days, injuring at least 18 people and damaging around 20 buildings, state media reported. The first quake of magnitude 5.9 struck on early on December 12 about 56 kilometers north of Kerman, a city with a population of more than 820,000. - 12/13/17

Tehran Earthquake Preparedness 'Woefully Low, Unacceptable': Official Warns

- Earthquake preparedness in the city of Tehran is woefully 'low' and 'unacceptable', Ismail Najjar, head of the state-run National Disaster Management Organization said on Thursday. Tehran is perched between no less than three major fault-lines. The Mosha, the Tehran, and the Rey fault lines are each on their own enough to bring down a city if they get active. - 12/2/17

Moderately Strong Quakes Hit Eastern Iran Near Kerman; Damage Reported

- Two moderately strong earthquakes hit eastern Iran in quick succession early on December 1. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first, a relatively strong magnitude 6.0 tremor, struck at a shallow depth close to the city of Kerman, which has a population of more than 821,000. - 12/1/17

Iran Quake Survivors Spend Second Night In Open As Death Toll Rises

- Thousands of people spent a second night in makeshift tents or out in the open as authorities downplayed hope for finding more survivors of a powerful earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border that killed hundreds of people. Iran's Kermanshah Province bore the brunt of the quake, with state media saying that at least 430 people died and about 7,000 others were injured in the country when the quake hit on November 12. - 11/14/17

Iran in Mourning After Earthquake that Killed 430

- Iran's state-run IRNA news agency said at least 430 people were reported dead and 7,000 others injured. Many of the victims were in Sarpol-e-Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province. Iraq's Interior Ministry put the death toll there at seven people with 500 injured. The U.S. Geological Survey said quake was centered near the town of Halabja in Iraq's Kurdistan region and was felt as far away as Turkey and Israel. - 11/14/17

PHOTOS: Death And Destruction After Powerful Quake Near Iran-Iraq Border

- Rescue workers and desperate relatives dug through debris in a search for survivors after a powerful earthquake hit near the Iran-Iraq border. 395 Iranians were confirmed dead as of Monday afternoon. Over 6,650 others were also injured. Iran's Interior Ministry said on November 13 that most of the casualties were in Kermanshah Province, with residents reporting feeling the 7.3 magnitude quake throughout the region, from Turkey to Kuwait. - 11/13/17

Photos: Maskan-e Mehr government built affordable housing in Sarpol-e Zahab, Iran damaged severely in quake

- Users in Iranian social media are particularly angry about the news of damages and casualties from Sarpol-e Zahab. This town is home to a government built apartment complex known as "Maskan-e Mehr" that were constructed during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presidency as an affordable housing project. These government housing complexes have been heavily damaged and angry users are asking questions about building safety standards. - 11/13/17

Endangered Persian Leopard "Arezoo" Released Back To Wild in Roudsar

- A Persian leopard that had been severely injured by getting caught in snare in February was fully recovered and released back to wild on Sunday. On February 5, Arezoo which is named after her habitat in Roudsar, northern Gilan province, was found while suffering from serious damages by getting caught in snare. - 11/7/17

Photos: Khartouran wildlife refuge home to 60 endangered Asiatic cheetahs

- Khar Turan National Park or Touran Wildlife Refuge is an Iranian National Park in Semnan province, southeast of Shahrud. The place is home to one of the largest populations of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs. Currently there are about 60 collars in the world, all of which are living in Iran. - 11/6/17

A need for national, regional, international cooperation to save Caspian seal

- There is a great need for national, regional and international cooperation to conserve the Caspian seal, an environment official has said. Caspian seals are only found in the Caspian Sea. Unfortunately the seals which are the sole marine mammals inhabiting the Caspian Sea have fallen into a drastic decline, Parvin Farshchi, deputy head of the department of environment for marine affairs, said in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times. -Maryam Qarehgozlou - 11/3/17

Interview: 'It will take a lifetime of dedication to save Asiatic Cheetah'

- The Asiatic cheetah also known as Iranian cheetah is a Critically Endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran. It once occurred from the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East to the Kyzylkum Desert, Caspian region, Pakistan and India, but has been extirpated there during the 20th century. The Asiatic cheetah survives in protected areas in the eastern-central arid region of Iran, where the human population density is very low. - 10/2/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTOS: Minimal landscapes of Iran

- Photographer Mohammad Moheimany has captured some very beautiful pictures from natural landscapes and surrounding environments of Iran in Landscape and Minimal styles. - 7/17/17

Photos: Lake Maharloo simmers, turns red

- The waters of rich salt lake Maharloo (map), situated on the outskirts of Shiraz in southern Iran, look reddish for a good reason. The growth of bacteria and particularly seaweeds come to change the color of the water body which is rich in potassium and salts. In mid-summer the lake loses its water due to high evaporation leaving behind a white bed and reddish color water. -Reza Ghaderi - 7/10/17

Afghans Stage Rare Anti-Iran Rally, Denounce Iran's President Rouhani

- Residents and civil society activists staged a protest Friday in southern Afghanistan to denounce neighboring Iran's President Hassan Rouhani for criticizing Afghan water management and dam projects. Hundreds of demonstrators peacefully marched through the streets of Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province near the Iranian border. They chanted, "Death to Hassan Rouhani" and "Death to enemies of Afghanistan." -Ayaz Gul, VOA - 7/8/17

International event issues Tehran Declaration, vows to fight dust storms

- Ministers and high-level representatives participating in the UN-backed International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran (July 3-5) wrapped up the second day with the Tehran Ministerial Declaration, agreeing to "cooperate on combating SDS at sub-regional regional, and international levels." - 7/5/17

Iran's President Rouani: Environmental issues are 'extra-national, extra-regional'

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Monday that environmental issues are "extra-national and extra-regional challenges", noting regional wars have caused environmental problems. "The only way to live peacefully in the West Asia and Middle East region is adopting a win-win policy in the area of environment, helping and standing beside each other," Rohani said during an opening speech at the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran. - 7/4/17

Can Iran lead a global fight against dust storms?

- In the last two years, the UN passed four resolutions on sand and dust storms in an attempt to facilitate a global political will to tackle this pressing environmental problem. Now an international conference hosted by Iran and UN has brought together leaders and experts from 34 countries to discuss ways to combat dust storms and form partnerships to take action. -Ali Mirchi and Kaveh Madani - 7/3/17

Iranian President Criticizes Turkey's Dam Projects

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized major dam projects by Turkey on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Rohani is demanding that Turkey halt construction of both dams, saying that they were "dangerous" for the entire Middle East. Rohani made the comments during a conference on sandstorms in Tehran on July 3. - 7/3/17

Six metropolises, 289 cities in Iran facing water stress

- Six metropolises of Isfahan, Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, Shiraz, Kerman, and Mashhad and 289 other cities in Iran are currently troubled with water stress, deputy energy minister said on Friday. "The amount of water consumption is roughly equal to the amount of water stored in these cities," IRNA news agency quoted Rahim Meydani as saying. - 6/27/17

Iran to hold international conference on combating sand storms

- Iran is organizing a three-day international conference on combating sand and dust storms in July, with participation of representatives from over 30 countries across the world. The International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms is to be held in Tehran on 3-5 July 2017. - 6/26/17

An Iranian Woman Breeding Crocodiles Calls For Support

- Mojgan Roostaei is the only Iranian female entrepreneur who works on crocodile breeding in the country. Roostaei, 33, is one of the exemplary job creators in the southern province of Hormozgan. She has called officials for providing financial support to improve her first-of-its-kind job. - 6/6/17

See the Ancient Water Tunnels Below Iran's Desert

- From above, it seems as though a series of holes were pierced in the desert's dry surface. But a hundred feet below the mysterious pits, a narrow tunnel carries water from a distant aquifer to farms and villages that wouldn't exist without it. These underground aqueducts, called qanats, are 3,000-year-old marvels of engineering, many of which are still in use throughout Iran. -Rachel Brown, National Geography - 6/1/17

Photos: Duck undergoes cataract surgery in Tabriz

- Iranian ophthalmologist Behnam Ghaffarzadeh examines a duck that has just undergone cataract extraction at the surgeon's office in the northwestern city of Tabriz, May 25, 2017. -Amir Sadeghi - 5/29/17

Photos: Magnitude 5.7 Quake In Northeastern Iran Kills Two, Injures Hundreds

- A 5.7-magnitude earthquake that shook the northeastern province of North Khorasan on Saturday night claimed two lives and left more than 400 injured. The earthquake hit 3 cities and 97 villages of the province at 22:30 local time which was followed by 26 aftershocks. - 5/15/17

Iranian Island of Qeshm in Persian Gulf registered as UNESCO Global Geopark

- The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has registered Iran's southern Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf on its Global Geoparks list. "The Qeshm Island has been granted the designation of UNESCO Global Geopark for a four-year period from May 5, 2017 to May 4, 2021. And the first revalidation will take place in 2020," the UNESCO official website announced on Friday. - 5/8/17

Death toll rises to 35 in flood, landslide in western and northwestern Iran

- Severe flood and landslide in western and northwestern parts of Iran have so far claimed 35 lives and left 8 missing. Heavy rain which started on Friday morning caused flood in the afternoon and unfortunately the northwestern cities of Azarshahr and Ajabshir hit the hardest by the flood, ISNA quoted Ismail Najjar, head of the Crisis Management Organization as saying on Saturday. - 4/15/17

Casualties Reported After Strong Quake Hits Northeastern Iran

- A magnitude-6.1 earthquake has struck near the northwestern Iranian city of Mashhad, reportedly killing at least two people and injuring several others. The quake struck nearly 80 kilometers southeast of Iran's second-biggest city at about 10:40 a.m. (0640 GMT/UTC) on April 5, the U.S. Geological Survey and Iranian media said. Reports said aftershocks shook the region. - 4/5/17

Iranians celebrate Sizdah Bedar nature festival by going outdoors

- Iranian people are celebrating Sizdah Bedar, the traditional Persian festival of nature, by spending time outdoors with family and friends. The ancient Iranian festival was held on Sunday, which this year marks the 13th day of Farvardin the first month on the Persian calendar. - 4/2/17

Iran's environmental chief says she won't give up to pressures

- As U.S. President Donald Trump signed a long-promised executive order on Tuesday to end the country's climate change efforts and revive the coal industry, Iran's environmental official Masoumeh Ebtekar pledged pressing ahead with plans to rebuild the country's damaged environment. "I won't give up in the face of pressures and will continue implementing plans as far as I'm in office," Ebtekar said on Wednesday - 3/30/17

Time ripe in New Year to rethink our environmental responsibilities

- The coincidence of the Iranian new year with spring implies that everything is about to revive in the upcoming year, particularly the environment. With the trees blooming and springs bubbling once again the New Year starts. The ever changing nature teaches us to keep changing towards perfection. - 3/28/17

Iran to divert water from Gulf of Oman inwards

- Iran says it is implementing a landmark project to divert water from the Gulf of Oman to its central plateau - a project that could not only address the country's surging water crisis but could also help push ahead relevant economic plans in host regions. - 3/23/17

The importance of common fox in Iran

- The ecology of the common fox is of interest because of high adaptability. This species is found in all regions of Iran with the exception of the northern forests and the drier parts of the central deserts, where it is replaced by the sand fox. In Europe common fox (or red fox) is a reddish color but in Iran it is usually a buff grey-brown with a browner back. In North America, however, there are many distinct color varieties, with up to 20 percent of red foxes being black or silver. -Farnaz Heidari - 3/6/17

Iran's budget bill proposes $125M to deal with dust storms

- Dust storms which consistently disturb local residents of southwestern province of Khuzestan coupled with public utility outage has become a national concern lately. Dust particles originated from host spots (mostly dried up wetlands) located in Iran or Iraq are the main reasons for the storms. - 2/26/17

Photos: Salt Dome in Qom, Iran

- Qom salt dome (Kuh-e Namak), a natural wonder covering an area of over 1 square miles, is located about 10 miles from the city of Qom on the road to Jafarieh. The salt dome houses a small lake which adds to its attraction. -Ahmad Zohrabi - 2/24/17

President Rouhani visits Iran's Khuzestan Province to address environmental crisis

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has paid a visit to the southwestern province of Khuzestan, which is reeling from heavy floods and dust storms, a situation which has led to disruptions in the distribution of water and electricity there. - 2/23/17

Budget deficit could do irreparable damage to Lake Urmia

- Officials in charge of Lake Urmia restoration program have said the government has not allocated budget to the project in the next Iranian calendar year (March 2017-March 2018) and this could do irreparable damage to the lake's restoration program. - 2/20/17

PHOTOS: Dust storm, public utility outage spark protests in Ahwaz, Iran

- Recurrent periods of suffocating dust storms, lately accompanied by crippling power and water supply cuts, have provoked public protests in the city of Ahvaz, southwestern province of Khuzestan. - 2/17/17

PHOTOS: Iranians Protest Air Pollution, Water Cuts In Ahvaz

- Demonstrators took the streets of the western Iranian city of Ahvaz on February 13 to protest against air pollution, water shortages, and power cuts. Amateur video obtained by RFE/RL's Radio Farda showed crowds chanting against what they called "injustice." They also condemned state television for its apparent lack of reporting on the condition of public utilities in city. - 2/15/17

Iranian Minister, Ranger Engage In Verbal Fistfight Over Persian Wild Ass

- Iran's Minister of Industries, Mines, and Trade has lampooned environmentalist activists' concerns over the spoiling of the pristine habitats of Persian wild ass. The drama had been on its climax when commander of Damavand Wildlife Patrolling Unit reacted to rather blunt and blatantly irresponsible remarks by the minister who had said that a few wild asses should not impede the way to exploring mines in a pristine habitat - 2/15/17

Iran - Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and culture

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