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January 29 2015
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Freer and Sackler Galleries Celebrate the Persian New Year and Iranian Art Exhibitions with a Free Family Festival

- The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will present its seventh annual "Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration" free family festival Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Throughout the day, visitors of all ages can learn, play and feast at a celebration encompassing both museums to mark Nowruz, the beginning of the new year of 1394 in Iran, Afghanistan and many other countries, coinciding with the first day of spring. 01/29/15

ABC Picks up BoomGen's "Of Kings and Prophets"

- The secret is finally out. We're thrilled to announce that our TV franchise based on one of the most significant stories of the ancient world, Of Kings and Prophets, has been picked up by ABC Network! -Mahyad Tousi and Reza Aslan, Founders, BoomGen Studios 01/29/15

Iran set to cancel Geneva pact if new sanctions emerge

- Iranian Parliament's national security and foreign policy commission has announced it is preparing a bill to cancel the Geneva nuclear agreement if new sanctions are imposed against Iran. 01/29/15

Iran: Detained U.S. journalist to go on trial soon

- Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist detained in Iran, will soon go on trial, the Chief Justice of Tehran has told reporters. He added that Rezaian is in contact with his family and has been visited by them. 01/29/15

Iran: Prominent Human Rights Activist Detained and Kept from Seeing VP of German Parliament

- Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi was detained by security agents for several hours as she tried to meet with the Vice President of the German Parliament, Claudia Roth, in Tehran on the afternoon of January 25, 2015, according to Saham News. She was released at midnight, after she was interrogated and threatened with imprisonment. 01/29/15

Iran Names New UN Ambassador After Controversy Over Initial Candidate

- Iran has named career diplomat Gholamali Khoshroo as its new ambassador to the United Nations. Khoshroo, a former deputy foreign minister, is currently serving as Iran's ambassador to Switzerland, according to the country's official news agency, IRNA. 01/29/15

Khamenei Adviser Meets Putin

- A top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises Khamenei on international affairs, also held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak. 01/29/15

Netanyahu Speech Could Hurt Talks With Iran, Pelosi Warns

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's scheduled speech to the U.S. Congress in March could damage the Obama administration's attempts to broker a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons development, the senior U.S. House of Representatives Democrat said Wednesday. -Reuters 01/29/15

Opinion: Iran Talks Give US More Options

- Over the past 18 months, the U.S. and Iran - Saudi Arabia's rival -- have conducted a high-level bilateral dialogue that belies their 35-year lack of formal diplomatic relations. The near-daily negotiations that are going on now in Europe in an effort to reach a nuclear agreement are unprecedented in duration, depth and intimacy. -Barbara Slavin, VOA 01/28/15

Iranian Weekly publication "Setareh Sobh" closed after printing MP's letter

- The Setareh Sobh weekly has been shut down by order of the Culture and Media Court for publishing Ali Motahari's letter to the Head of the Judiciary demanding action on the house arrest of opposition leaders. 01/28/15

Featured Video


Iran Sanctions Update: NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi

NIAC Applauds Successful Efforts to Halt Senate Sanctions Bill - Today, the chief Democratic sponsor of new Iran sanctions legislation, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), relented in his effort to pass new sanctions. He announced that he and a group of his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to the President in which they pledged to vote against new sanctions prior to March 24, the target date for a political agreement with Iran. 01/28/15

Photos: Airborne dust forces flight cancellations in Khuzestan, Iran - Flights from Abadan and Ahvaz in southwestern Iran have been cancelled due to poor visibility caused by increased dust in the air. The Tasnim News Agency reports that the head of the Khuzestan Meteorology office said: "Rainfall has declined by 30 percent compared to last year and this is one of the main reasons for dry soil all across the province and the increase in airborne dust particles." 01/28/15

Iran Says It Warned Israel Via U.S. Officials - Iran says it has sent a warning to Israel through U.S. officials over the recent killing of a senior paramilitary commander in an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria. Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying that Iran told Americans that Israel crossed Iran's "red lines" by killing Allahdadi. 01/28/15

Carlos Queiroz to stay in Iran as national team's football coach - Carlos Queiroz is going to stay as Iran football coach until the end of the 2018 World Cup. Team Iran failed to advance to the 2015 Asian Cup semi-final under tutelage of the Portuguese coach, being beaten by Iraq 7-6 on penalties. 01/28/15

Analysts on Iran: Time to Move Beyond Sanctions - Arguing that sanctions have served their purpose, and that the promise of sanctions relief is key to securing Iran's agreement to a comprehensive nuclear deal, three top foreign policy analysts were critical on Monday of congressional efforts to levy new sanctions against Tehran. In particular, they took aim at the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, which has undergone several revisions aimed at overcoming President Barack Obama's threatened veto. - Derek Davison, LobeLog 01/28/15

Toronto MP issues apology after comments anger Iranian-Canadians - At one point, Leung is heard asking someone, "Let me ask you, if you like Iran so much, then why do you come to Canada?" He continues: "Why are you here? What are you fleeing from?" Leung's comment angered some attendees. One of them fired back: "And I can tell you, go back to China." -CTV Toronto 01/28/15

Twitter adds Iran, Cuba and 26 other countries to location options - Twitter has implemented a change that allows users in Iran, Cuba, and 26 other countries to select their location in their account settings, an option which wasn't previously available. Iranian users, in particular, have been vocal about this issue in the past. -Mashable 01/28/15

Let Nuclear Sanctions on Iran Serve Their Final Purpose - The kerfuffle over congressional moves to impose additional sanctions on Iran is obscuring a question that requires attention. Have the US and EU understood that the nuclear negotiations will not yield the non-proliferation measures that the US and EU need if they refuse Iran the sanctions relief that Iran needs? -Peter Jenkins 01/27/15

US lawmakers introduce resolution against new Iran sanctions - A group of US senators have introduced a resolution against imposing more sanctions on Iran over Tehran's nuclear program amid talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group. The resolution was presented on Monday by 10 Democratic senators and an independent, who caucuses with Democrats, Reuters reported. 01/27/15

Iranian MPs Move to Permanently Ban Journalists Connected to Shuttered Publications - A few days after the Iranian Judiciary ordered the reformist Mardom-e Emrooz newspaper banned, ultra conservative members of the Iranian Parliament are working on legislation to permanently ban journalists who have worked for reformist publications that were shut down by the authorities. The measure is meant to ensure that such journalists will not resurface and continue their work in another publication. 01/27/15

Iran's economy can grow by over 8% if sanctions lifted: Finance Minister - Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia said on Monday that the Iranian economy can grow by over eight percent if the sanctions against the country are lifted. Achieving this goal requires making use of all economic capacities in the country, the Fars news agency quoted Tayyebnia as saying. 01/27/15

Where Does MOSSAD Not Have Influence in Iran? - It would be very strange if the discovery of MOSSAD's penetration into the highest leadership of Lebanese Hezbollah a few days ago does not create a security-political storm in Iran. Last week, seyed Hassan Nasrallah announced that a senior Hezbollah authority had been a spy for Israel. He was talking about Mohammad Shoorbe (Shawraba), the head of Nasrallah's personal detail and the commander of Hezbollah's foreign military operations. -Farzaneh Roostaee 01/27/15

Controversy swirls around tourists hunting rare birds in Iran - Iran's Department of the Environment denies having issued any hunting permits for rare birds to tourists from Arab countries. Ahmad Ali Keykha, the department deputy head, said on Monday January 26 that the organization has never issued any permits for foreign nationals to hunt rare birds in Iran. 01/27/15

Bob Menendez needs to face up to his role in creating the Mideast mess - That mess stems from the actions endorsed by Menendez and several other senators whom I hereby dub "The Axis of Lunacy." The axis is bipartisan, including Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona. -Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger 01/27/15

Looking Two Steps Ahead into Saudi Arabia's Future - Much has been written about King Abdullah's legacy and what Saudi Arabia accomplished or failed to accomplish during his reign in terms of reform and human rights. Very little has been written about the role that Muhammad bin Nayef, the newly appointed deputy to the crown prince, could play in the new Saudi Arabia under King Salman. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 01/27/15

A Portal Between Tehran and NYC: Open For Conversation - Without a doubt, the lack of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran creates a serious hurdle for Iranians and Americans to meet one another. But artists in NYC and Tehran launched a project, known as Portals, that solves that problem. 01/25/15

Bread gets more expensive in Iran as controls loosen - Bread prices have gone up once again in Tehran and other cities as the second phase of deregulating bread prices begins. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Saturday January 24, the second phase of lifting the cap on bread prices will be implemented. 01/25/15

We are very close to nuclear agreement: President Rouhani - Iranian president Hassan Rouhani says the country is "very close" to clinching a deal with global powers on its nuclear program. At a Sunday meeting with visiting Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Rouhani said that Iran has been involved in satisfactory negotiations with P5+1. 01/25/15

Middle Eastern Turmoil and the Scaremongering on Iran - It has not been a smooth month for those who want to keep Iran in pariahdom forever and thus seek to kill any international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions bill that is the deal-killers' principal vehicle at the moment and is in the Senate banking committee has not been attracting the hoped-for Democratic co-sponsors. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 01/25/15

Photos: Iran's Nature Cleaners - The 46th provincial program of Iran's Nature Cleaners took place in Toushan Village in Gorgan, with the participation of over 60 eco-friendly citizens. The organization comprises people who volunteer to clean up rubbish discarded in nature. -Mohammad Cheraghali 01/25/15

Allies, Lawmakers and Officials Warn Against New Iran Sanctions - Key allies, policymakers and members of Congress have recently warned about the impact that new Iran sanctions legislation would have on efforts to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. -Ryan Costello, NIAC 01/25/15

Iranian Foreign Minister Summoned To Explain Walk With Kerry - Iranian state media reported on January 25 that parliament has summoned Foreign Minister Javid Zarif to appear and explain his recent stroll with U.S. counterpart John Kerry during nuclear negotiations in Geneva. 01/25/15

Iranian school principal latest victim of violence near Pakistani border - Media sources in Iran report that a school principal was killed in Saravan in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The Entekhab website reports that unknown assailants shot and killed school principal Kamal Gomshad Zehi while he was on his way to work in the southern region of Sistan-Baluchistan. 01/25/15

Poet of Persia - For one with knowledge of Parviz Tanavoli's status as one of the most important and highest-grossing contemporary Iranian artists, it is difficult, to say the least, to match the man in the flesh with his grandiose reputation. -Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient 01/25/15

Obama's State of the Union Address and its Bearing on US/Iran Relations - When it comes to America's foreign policies, It's too bad that trying to do what's good for America is so often blocked by special interest groups and elected officials who owe their positions, hence their loyalties, to influence peddlers with different agendas. Watching the proceedings of January 21st Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on C-SPAN exemplified this tragic state of affairs. -Kam Zarrabi 01/24/15

Female Asiatic Cheetah, 3 Cubs Sighted In Turan National Park - Head of Khar Turan National Park in Shahrud has announced the sighting of four new Asiatic Cheetahs, including a female and her three cubs. Ali Akbar Ghorbanlou told Mehr News that the frequent sightings of Asiatic cheetahs have considerably raised the hopes among environment and wildlife lovers. 01/24/15

Iranian Acid-Attack Punishment Delayed As Physicians Refuse To Administer Sentence - In a very rare ruling, a man who threw acid on another man in Tehran about a decade ago has been sentenced to be blinded based on the Islamic eye-for-an-eye retribution law. But his punishment has been delayed as physicians have refused to administer the sentence, according to an Iranian judicial official who recently spoke to domestic media. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/24/15

Oil price rise after Saudi ruler's death is seen as temporary - Oil prices went up following the news that Malek Abdullah had passed away. Reports indicate that the rise in prices is temporary and Saudi Arabian oil policies will not change before the OPEC meeting in June. 01/24/15

King Abdullah's Mixed Legacy - King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who died early Friday morning at the age of 90 or 91, left a very mixed legacy - stability, prosperity, and widespread popularity at home, but war and crisis all around the kingdom's borders and a foreign policy in disarray. -Thomas Lippman, LobeLog 01/24/15

U.S. is prime destination for Iran's international mail - Iranian Postal Services announced that the highest volume of outgoing mail it handles goes to the United States. IRAN reports that the head of Iranian Postal Services, Hossein Mehri, told reporters on Wednesday January 21 that the largest amount of incoming mail arrives from Germany, China and England. 01/24/15

Iran announces record gas production - Iran said on Saturday that it has been able to produce a total of 105 million cubic meters of sweet gas per day (mcm/d) from five prioritized projects in the country's energy hub of South Pars from June 2013. 01/24/15

Iran loses to Iraq in penalties, misses Asian Cup semis - Iranian national football team has missed the chance to play in the Asian Cup semifinals after it suffered a defeat to Iraq in the penalty shootouts. The two west Asian neighbors faced each other in Canberra Stadium on Friday in the most fascinating match of the competition that saw Iraqi eagles win the game 7-6 in the penalty shootouts. 01/23/15

Photos: Students sahve heads in sympathy with teacher diagnosed with cancer - Mohammadreza Ghaderi, a physical education teacher in an elementary school in Hamedan and a cycling champion in Iran and Asia, has recently been diagnosed with cancer. To express sympathy with their teacher, the school's students shaved their heads bald. 01/23/15

Iranian teachers begin strike to protest wages, inadequate budget - Teachers from across Iran have begun a strike in the past two days to protest their wages as well as reports that the education ministry will only get a 14-percent budget increase in the coming year. 01/23/15

Iran's Security Forces Block Service To Remember Republics' First PM - Security forces prevented a special commemoration service planned for the twentieth anniversary of the passing of the Islamic Republic's first prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan. Commemoration services for Bazargan were banned over the past seven years under the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bazargan passed away in Zurich in 1995 at the age of 87. 01/23/15

Chutzpah Squared, Bibi and Boehner - As Mitchell Plitnick pointed out on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11, although now it appears that Bibi would like to put off the occasion until March 3, when AIPAC will be holding its annual policy conference and unleashing its 12,000-plus attendees on Capitol Hill. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 01/23/15

Saudi Arabia's Controversial Death Sentence - Last October, Saudi Arabia's Special Criminal Court sentenced Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr-a popular Shi'ite cleric and outspoken political dissident-to death. This was not an ordinary criminal trial, even considering Saudi Arabia's liberal use of capital punishment. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog 01/23/15

Looking Beyond a Nuclear Agreement with Iran - After more than three decades of estrangement, the US and Iran aren't likely to quickly normalize their relationship even if-which is still a big if-they reach a nuclear deal in the coming weeks or months. The animosity and mutual distrust run too deep, according to new policy brief released by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) Friday. -David Shams 01/22/15

Opinion: Deepening Israel-Iran Conflict Likely to Bring More Violence - Two developments this week linked to the long-running conflict between Israel and Iran are likely to generate even more violence and uncertainty at a time when threats are already multiplying from Sunni Muslim extremists. -Barbara Slavin, VOA 01/22/15

Iran's Hard-Liners Irked By Zarif's Geneva Stroll With Kerry - A 15-minute stroll in Switzerland with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has landed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in hot water. The two men took a stroll in downtown Geneva and along the Rhone River on January 14 as part of bilateral talks to reach a lasting deal over Iran's nuclear program. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/22/15

Iranian Judiciary Shuts Down Newspaper for Publishing "I am Charlie Too" Quote - Two days after the conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan demanded judicial authorities close down reformist newspaper Mardom-e Emrooz, which was only in operation for 16 days, the newspaper was shut down by orders from Branch 2 of Media Court of the Iranian Judiciary for publishing "I'm Charlie" on its front page. 01/22/15

Hills, hairpins, harmonies: On the road in Iranian Kurdistan - "Yavash, yavash," the small, gray-haired doctor says, leaning across from the passenger seat to put a hand on his friend's shoulder, imploring him to slow down the black Toyota as we approach another hairpin bend in the dusty road. -CNN 01/22/15

Iran's IRGC Warns Israel Following Air Strike That Killed Iranian Commander - The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned on January 20 that Israel should expect "devastating thunderbolts" in response to the January 18 air strike in Syria that killed an IRGC general and several members of the Lebanese Hizballah militia. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/21/15

War On Satellite Dishes: 6,000 Receivers Destroyed In Shiraz, Iran - Six thousand satellite receivers and dishes have been destroyed in a stadium in the city of Shiraz, according to reports by Iranian news agencies that posted photos of the police action, in the latest phase of Iran's ongoing war on banned satellites. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/21/15

Obama Says 'Shadow Of Crisis Has Passed' - In his annual State of the Union address on January 20, Obama said: "Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran...But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails..That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom." 01/21/15

Iran will face no problem even with $25 oil: Finance Minister - Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia says the administration will face no problem even if oil price drops to $25 a barrel. "For the time being, predicting oil price fluctuations is not possible. So, the administration is preparing itself to deal with any probable situation," 01/21/15

Iran asks UN for help with increasingly arid climate - The head of Iran's Department of the Environment says forecasts indicate that dry weather and a lack of precipitation in Iran will increase eleven fold by 2050. 01/21/15

Iran, Russia agree to solve S300 missile system issue - The Iranian and Russian defense chiefs agreed on Tuesday to expand defense relations in order to resolve the issue concerning the S-300 air defense missile systems. In 2010 Russia refused to deliver the missile systems under a pressure by West. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Iran on Wednesday. 01/21/15

Iranian-Swiss Woman Nominated For Oscar For Her Short Film "Parvaneh" - Iranian-Swiss film director and screenwriter Talkhon Hamzavi has been nominated for an Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards in the Short Film (Live Action) category for her work "Parvaneh" along with the producer Stefan Eichenberger. 01/20/15

Photos: People in Varzaneh Pray For Rain - When all else fails, turn to God -- The people of the farming town of Varzaneh gathered on Friday January 16 to pray for rain. Like other countries in the region, Iran has been dealing with severe drought and water shortages in the last few years. Many farmers have lost their jobs or are on the verge of doing so. -- Will God hear the people of Varzaneh? -Hamidreza Dastjerdi 01/20/15

Iran lauds meeting with Kerry for advancing nuclear talks - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told IRNA that in his meeting with U.S. State Secretary John Kerry, they discussed the details of an agreement to finalize the nuclear negotiations. 01/20/15

First Iranian-made electric car "Sabrina" unveiled - Iranian carmaker Diyar Khodro has launched trial production of the electric car, which is projected to be produced in large scale in the next Iranian calendar year, starting on March 21, the Fars news agency reported. The car can travel more than 250 kilometers per charge. 01/20/15

Why WaPo Gets the Iran Sanctions Fight Wrong - With the fight over whether to pile on more Iran sanctions heating up in D.C., the Washington Post has weighed in. It will not come as a surprise to regular readers of the editorial board that the paper is holding its usual liberal-hawk line: the editors tacitly endorse Congress's push for more pressure on Iran. -Ali Gharib 01/20/15

Photos: Gucci shines as Iran wins group contest in Asian Cup - Iran has defeated United Arab Emirates 1-0 to win the group stage of the Asian cup Australia 2015. A late header by Reza Ghoochannejad put Carlos Queiroz's men on top of group C of the games in Brisbane on Monday. 01/19/15

Iran Nuclear Talks End With 'Limited' Progress - Diplomats say the January 18 nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva have ended with "limited progress." Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city. 01/19/15

AIC Statement: Menendez-Kirk Sactions Bill - While Iranian and American officials are negotiating over the nuclear issue, the US Congress is pushing for new sanctions legislation. Even before it is finalized, drafts of the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015," co-sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), are in circulation. This threat of potential new sanctions has sparked an intense public debate between Republican and pro-sanctions Democratic Senators on one side and the Obama administration on the other. -American Iranian Council 01/19/15

Terrorist Attacks on Charlie Hebdo - Despite all the reporting and commentary on the terrorist attacks on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, political pundits and mainstream media have failed to shed any light on some of the submerged factors that might have provoked those heinous attacks. Indeed, the simplistic and politically expedient explanations such as "incompatibility" of Islam with the modern world or "good vs. evil" have shed more heat than light on the issue. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh 01/19/15

Photos: Rouhani unveils smuggled Iran artifacts returned from Belgium - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has opened an exhibition showcasing hundreds of ancient Iranian artifacts returned to the country from Belgium after decades of legal battles. The artifacts were displayed at the National Museum of Iran on Saturday in the presence of Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials. 01/18/15

In defense of freedom of expression - The Wednesday edition of Charlie Hebdo (a week after the barbaric attack by two deranged terrorists on its premises) carried a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad, with a caption "Je Suis Charlie", with a tear drop on his face announcing, "all is forgiven". It is not clear who is forgiven and for what, but if it refers to the terrorists it certainly is not appropriate. -Farhang Jahanpour 01/16/15

Deciphering Iran's Strategic Vision - With nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers set to resume on January 18 in Geneva, no breakthrough in the talks is in sight. This deadlock begs the questions: what is the logic behind Iranian foreign policy, and why do Iran's policymakers appear so intractable in the face of an unprecedented sanctions regime? -Sina Toossi 01/16/15

US Journalist Jason Rezaian Indicted by Tehran Revolutionary Court, Says Prosecutor - During a press conference today, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told reporters that the imprisoned Washington Post correspondent, Jason Rezaian, has been indicted and that his case has been forwarded to a Tehran Revolutionary Court. The Prosecutor's announcement, after 170 days of "temporary detention" of the journalist, did not include a statement about the charges Rezaian is facing. 01/15/15

The Origin of Islamic radical fundamentalism and its plausible eradication - Global resurgence of violent Islamic fundamentalism can only be circumvented with full comprehension and acknowledgment of what has historically gone wrong, and the educational achievements, socio-economic empowerment, indigenous political progress, and blind justice leading to equality in the Muslim countries. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan 01/15/15

Islamic Reformation: The Antidote to Terrorism - The horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has once again raised the question about violence and Islam. Why is it, some ask, that so much terrorism has been committed in the name of Islam, and why do violent jihadists seek justification of their actions in their religion? -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 01/14/15

GRAND HYPOCRISY: Where is Solidarity When it really Matters? - The impressive show of solidarity in Paris over the weekend was, at least in the mind of this observer, one of the greatest open exhibitions of mass hypocrisy anywhere. No, I am not in any way condoning the terrorist acts by some extremist elements against the publishers of some silly, distasteful and blatantly racist cartoons. -Kam Zarrabi 01/13/15

Iran's NPT Withdrawal Option - The risk of failure in the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program has increased after the most recent meetings in Oman and Vienna. The resolution of the key remaining points of contention-about Iran's enrichment capacity and, even more problematic, the timetable for lifting sanctions-calls for daring political decisions from both negotiating teams that run counter to the positions of their respective establishments. -Francois Nicoulaud 01/13/15

Yes, Words Can Hurt You: They Just Did! An Essay on Freedom of Expression - It is a pity that the entire world doesn't subscribe to some unified code of conduct or civilizational values - some code of conduct such as the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you'd have done unto you. To be even more specific; wouldn't it be nice if the whole world subscribed to OUR codes of conduct in order to avoid disagreements and confrontations? Unfortunately that's not the way our species has evolved! -Kam Zarrabi 01/11/15

Make Sure Iranian Americans Are Counted- Tell the Census Bureau You Support the MENA Test - In October of 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it will test a new Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) ethnic category as part of its mid-decade research for possible inclusion in the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is now soliciting public comments in the Federal Register on the MENA category. 01/10/15

Photos: The Sistan Bread - Traditional bread making is still practiced in many villages across Iran. These photos by Hamed Gholami show the bread making process by the women in Sistan and Baluchestan province, from grinding the wheat to preparing the dough and baking the bread in the mud ovens. 01/6/15

Two Endangered Persian Leopards Die Within 10 Days - In less than ten days, two dead leopards have been found in east and west of Golestan province. The leopards are believed by Department of Environment experts to having died of hunger; they further speculate that the motorway crossing the national park would also play a role in the deadly incident. 01/1/15

The Nuclear Negotiations: The Melting Strategy and the Missiles Time Bomb - Given the secrecy of the P5+1 negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, it is hard to surmise the concessions being made or the structure of a final settlement. However, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: the path to a nuclear deal will involve many "mini deals" by which Iran's nuclear program will be slowly "melted" away to a symbolic level in return for a measured release of its frozen oil money and lifting of some sanctions. -Hooshang Amirahmadi 12/30/14

Photos: Iranian two-seat electric vehicle unveiled - A two-seater electric vehicle built by a group of students and professors in Qazvin Islamic Azad University was unveiled in Azad University of Tehran. The newly-unveiled plug-in car has a width of 120cm and its length is 2m, which can reduce parking problems on the streets of Tehran. Moreover, The car does not produce any pollution. 12/30/14

Photos: The Grief of Bam Citadel - Bam Citadel (Arg-e Bam) is the largest adobe building in the world, located in Bam, a city in Iran's southeastern province, Kerman. Bam Citadel was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 2003. After 11 years and despite various restoration operations, ruin scars remain on the Citadel. -Hamid Sadeghi 12/29/14

Photos: The Citadel of Furg in Birjand - The Citadel of Furg, or Arg e Furg, is a citadel from the 12th century, located in Iran's South Khorasan province 90 km east of the city of Birjand. The citadel was founded by Meerza Muhammad Rafiee Darmiany I (Lama). Materials used in the building include stone, brick, clay, gypsum, lime and mortar (Sarouj). -Mohsen Nofresti 12/28/14

Photos: Iranian Army Test Fires Shalamcheh Missiles In Drills - The Iranian Army's air defense units have shot down three unmanned aerial vehicles on the third day of major military exercises code-named Mohammad Rasoulallah (Mohammad, the Messenger of God) in southern parts of the country. 12/28/14

Pardis Sabeti and Team of Ebola Fighters Recognized by TIME as 2014 Person of the Year - Iranian American and award-winning computational geneticist at Harvard University,Pardis Sabeti, along with other Ebola fighters, were named TIME magazine's 2014 Person of the Year. The Ebola fighters were chosen for their bravery and stepping-up during a time when many others were reluctant to do so. 12/24/14

Photos: Iran Honors Its Fallen Jewish Soldiers - Iran is well-known for its stinging anti-Israeli rhetoric and refusal to recognize what it calls the "Zionist regime." So, it might have come as a surprise when officials in Tehran unveiled a monument honoring Iranian-Jewish soldiers who died in action during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. -Frud Bezhan, RFE 12/20/14

Persian Architectural Element Windcatcher Featured On Iranian Currency - The picture of famous windcatcher of Aghazadeh House is printed on the Iranian bill as the Iranian unique structure is going to be registered in world heritage list of UNESCO. The windcatcher of this house is considered as one of the most beautiful and original windcatchers with a height of 18 meters and 19 vents to adjust the temperature even when there is no wind in the region. 12/18/14

The IAEA Faces a Major Credibility Test - On December 11, the spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that his agency was, as Gareth Porter asserted on this website earlier this month, not interested in accepting a recent invitation by Iran to visit Marivan, at least at this time. -Robert Kelley, LobeLog 12/15/14

Why Hasn't the IAEA Followed Up Iran's Inspection Offer? - When Iran offered last month to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Marivan region near the border with Iraq, the IAEA might have been expected to respond with alacrity to the opportunity. -Gareth Porter, LobeLog 12/8/14

Photos: Saffron Farms in Ghaenat, Iran - Iran has long been a significant source of high-quality saffron production and export which accounts for up to 95 percent of saffron production in the world. These photos by Mohsen Noferesti show saffron farming in the city of Ghaenat in northeastern Iran. 12/4/14

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last updated on Thu Jan 29 13:55:51 GMT 2015