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First Group Of Iran Hajj Dead Return Home

- Iran is welcoming a plane carrying home the first group of Iranian pilgrims killed in last week's stampede during the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. President Hassan Rouhani was among several senior officials attending a repatriation ceremony Saturday at the Tehran airport as the plane arrived. - 10/3/15

Kerry, Zarif Meet At UN To Discuss Syria, Iran Nuclear Deal

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held an impromptu meeting at a United Nations gathering of world leaders October 2 to discuss Syria and carrying out the Iran nuclear deal. Kerry and Zarif sent their advisers out of the room to meet alone, then left separately without commenting. - 10/3/15

Iran Orders Bahraini Diplomat To Leave In Tit-For-Tat Move

- Iranian news media are reporting that Iran's Foreign Ministry has declared Bahrain's second-ranking diplomat in Tehran persona non grata and ordered him out of the country. - 10/3/15

Silent Arrogance: Netanyahu at the UN

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly today, one day after a speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Nothing of substance is going to change as a result of these speeches. But Netanyahu's in particular offered a good picture of the current state of affairs and why they are what they are. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 10/3/15

The Destructive U.S.-Backed Campaign in Yemen

- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) reports that during a six-month period from late March until last week (even before the incident involving the wedding) at least 2,355 civilians had been killed in the fighting in Yemen, with almost two-thirds of the deaths caused by airstrikes conducted by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 10/3/15

After the Iran Deal: Getting Beyond Enmity

- Why has the United States been so unwilling to take advantage of a closer tie with Iran, the most internally stable nation in the area with a population of roughly 80 million, a post-sanction burgeoning economy with substantial American investment opportunities, and sizable energy resources? Why have we been unwilling to recognize that Iran has legitimate national and religious interests-some quite compatible with our own regional concerns? -Charles Naas - 10/2/15

Netanyahu Slams Iran Nuclear Deal at UN

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a blistering condemnation of the deal between Iran and major world powers aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly Thursday in New York. -Margaret Besheer, Mark Snowiss, VOA - 10/2/15

NIAC Action Denounces Latest House Effort to Derail Iran Deal

- NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3457, the "Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act," a bill that would threaten to kill the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: - 10/2/15

Saudi King expresses sympathy to Iran over pilgrim deaths

- After days of contentious exchanges between Iranian and Saudi authorities over the tragic incident in Mena that led to the death of thousands of Muslim pilgrims, the Saudi King has reportedly sent a message of condolence to the Iranian government. - 10/2/15

Cardin Finally Introduces Still-Weaker Iran Oversight Bill

- After a couple of weeks of negotiations with fellow Democrats and (indirectly) with the White House, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has finally introduced the latest version of his "Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015." It is co-sponsored by eight of his most AIPAC-sensitive colleagues, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who, like Cardin, voted with Republicans to reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last month. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 10/2/15

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Iranian Bank's Appeal Over 1983 Lebanon Attack

- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by Iran's central bank against a $1.75 billion judgment over a 1983 bomb attack on a U.S. Marines barracks in Lebanon. - 10/2/15

Henry of Arabia

- The only person Henry Kissinger flattered more than President Richard Nixon was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. In the early 1970s, the Shah, sitting atop an enormous reserve of increasingly expensive oil and a key figure in Nixon and Kissinger's move into the Middle East, wanted to be dealt with as a serious person. He expected his country to be treated with the same respect Washington showed other key Cold War allies like West Germany and Great Britain. -Greg Grandin, LobeLog - 10/2/15

Iranian government reacts to restrictions on women travelling abroad

- After the National Women's Futsal team captain, Nilufar Ardalan, was denied leaving the country to participate in the Asian Championships 2015 because her husband refused to give her permission to leave the country, negative reactions to the legal requirement of a husband's permission for Iranian women seeking to travel abroad continues to make headlines. - 10/1/15

Iran Says Hajj Death Toll Hits 464

- Iran's hajj organization said Thursday that 464 Iranians are now confirmed dead after last week's stampede during the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Before Thursday, Iran's total had been half that number with the fate of others unknown since the crush of pilgrims happened outside the city of Mecca last week. Saudi authorities have said the total number of victims is at least 769 people with Iranians making up the largest share. - 10/1/15

Conspiracy Theories Fly In Iran Over Deadly Hajj Incident

- Tehran has said that negligence and mismanagement by Saudi organizers caused last week's hajj stampede that left at least 464 Iranians dead. The Iranian losses were the largest incurred by any nationality in the deadly crush that took place in the Mina neighborhood of Mecca on September 24, the deadliest tragedy to befall the annual Muslim pilgrimage in 25 years. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 10/1/15

Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources

- Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters. - 10/1/15

Rouhani's Dual Messages and Iran's Security Strategy

- Rouhani's UN message has opened the door on engagement with the US but insists that cooperation on resisting IS is the priority in Syria Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's address at the UN General Assembly and a talk the previous night to about 150 Americans touted the recent nuclear breakthrough as a precedent for further diplomatic accommodation with the United States. -Gareth Porter, Counterpunch - 10/1/15

Iran's nuclear deal and the regional countries

- Although some regional countries initially opposed the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany), once the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the two sides in July 2015, practically all regional countries welcomed it. -Farhang Jahanpour - 10/1/15

AIPAC Spent $14.5 Million on TV Ads during Iran Deal Debate

- In the aftermath of Senate Republicans' failed efforts to derail the plan agreed on in July to limit Iran's nuclear program, responsibility has fallen on AIPAC for its inability to persuade a meaningful number of Senate Democrats to join their GOP colleagues in opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). To put it bluntly, AIPAC, a group with historically stronger ties to the Democratic Party, failed miserably. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 10/1/15

The United States and Iran: A Great Rapprochement?

- In 1968, as the world was unravelling at the seams, the historian Bradford Perkins published The Great Rapprochement. The book chronicled the U.S. move away from "Anglophobia" and toward "Anglophilia" during the two decades prior to the First World War. Without the "great rapprochement," a product of geopolitical calculations and cultural affinities, the United States may not have allied with Great Britain during the world wars. What a different world it could have been. -Matthew Shannon - 9/30/15

Iranian Hard-Liners Criticize Zarif's Handshake With Obama

- Hard-liners in Iran are criticizing a handshake and encounter between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that, according to a senior White House official, lasted less than one minute. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 9/30/15

Iranian Judiciary Silent on Status of Tech Expert almost Two Months after His Arrest

- Nearly two months after the arrest of information technology expert Arash Zad, who was detained at Imam Khomeini Airport by the authorities as he was leaving Iran on August 1, 2015, officials have released no information as to why he was arrested or the charges that he is being held under. - 9/30/15

Iran: No government fanfare for victorious women's futsal team

- The Iranian Women's National Futsal team, which won the Asian Championship Cup last week, arrived in Tehran on Sunday September 27 without any reception from the country's Ministry of Sport. - 9/30/15

What Happens if Turkey's Next Election Is Still Inconclusive?

- On November 1, Turks will head back to the polls to redo their country's inconclusive June elections. That vote stripped Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of the parliamentary majority it had held since 2002 (the first election in which it stood) and led to months of negotiations over forming a coalition government. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 9/30/15

President Rouhani: Iran Seeks Peace, Development

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that the nuclear deal agreed to between the six major powers and Tehran should signal a new era and help lead to peace and stability in the Middle East. Speaking at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, Rouhani said the nuclear deal is "not the final objective, but a development which can and should be the basis of further achievements to come." -Margaret Besheer, VOA - 9/29/15

Obama, Zarif 'Shake Hands' At United Nations

- U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have reportedly shaken hands on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Reuters news agency quoted an unidentified Iranian official as saying the "accidental" event occurred on September 28. - 9/29/15

Obama Says U.S. Willing To Work With Russia and Iran To Resolve Syrian War

- U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States is prepared to work with Russia and Iran to bring an end to the conflict in Syria but that a resolution to the war must include a "managed transition" away from Syrian President al-Bashar Assad. - 9/29/15

Accused Iranian tycoon gets trial date two years after arrest

- Almost two years after Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani was arrested for embezzlement and corruption, his first trial will finally take place on October 3 before Judge Salavati. IRNA reports that Zanjani's lawyer says it is not yet clear whether the trial will be held behind closed doors or not but he adds that his client prefers an open trial in the interest of "public enlightenment". - 9/29/15

Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq to Share Intelligence on Islamic State

- Iraq says it will share military intelligence and security information with Syria, Iran and Russia to fight Islamic State. A spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the intelligence group will focus on "monitoring the movements of the terrorists...and degrading their capacity." - 9/29/15

Mecca Stampede: Behind Iran's Reaction

- The stampede in Mecca has opened the door to criticism of the Saudi monarchy and its management of a religious holiday that brings some two million Muslims to the holy city each year. Unsurprisingly, the loudest critiques have come from the Iranian government. At the heart of Iran's discontent is the sense that the Saudis, through their mismanagement, have deliberately put Iranian pilgrims in harm's way. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog - 9/29/15

Russian, Iranian Leaders: Assad Must Remain in Power

- Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, have told U.S. media outlets that embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must remain in power to fight terrorism. Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Rouhani said that in driving out terrorists in Syria, "we have no solution other than to strengthen the central authority of that country." -Victor Beattie, VOA - 9/28/15

Iranian mothers still denied getting citizenship for children

- Iranian Parliament has voted against giving citizenship to the children of Iranian mothers and fathers who are foreign nationals. A spokesman for the Social Commission of Parliament said it is estimated there are one million children born from marriages between Iranian women and foreign nationals and the children's "status remains undefined". - 9/28/15

West's actions fomenting violence in Mideast: Iran's President Rouhani

- President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has hit out at the West for adopting measures that have fueled tensions in the region. He made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with members of American think tanks in the US city of New York, where he is to take part in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). - 9/28/15

Israel's Opposition to the Nuclear Treaty with Iran

- Relations between Iran and Israel go back almost to the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign state, following Turkey, and the two countries had very close diplomatic and even military cooperation for many decades. -Farhang Jahanpour, IPS - 9/28/15

ENTIRE INTERVIEW: Amanpour/Rouhani

- This is the full interview and accompanying transcript of CNN's Christiane Amanpour's conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Mr. President, welcome. Welcome to the program. Thank you for joining us. PRES. HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN (through translator): I thank your program and you for preparing this interview. -CNN - 9/28/15

Russia is Back. Get Used to it.

- This coming Monday, President Barack Obama will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the UN General Assembly, their first meeting in 15 months. This will be no ordinary occasion, given Russian aggression in Ukraine, the West's sanctions, and a lot of bad blood between the United States and the Russian Federation. -Robert E. Hunter - 9/28/15

Top US, Iranian Diplomats Discuss Syria, Iran Nuclear Deal

- The United States sees a "major opportunity" in diplomatic talks at the United Nations to end the bloodshed in Syria and Yemen and to make progress toward achieving peace there. Secretary of State John Kerry gave that optimistic assessment following his talks in New York Saturday with Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, ahead of the opening of the annual U.N. General Assembly debate on Monday. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 9/27/15

Iran: Saudi Arabia Should Apologize for Hajj Deaths

- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday in a statement on his Website, "The Saudis should accept the responsibility and apologize to the Muslims and the victims' families. ... This issue will not be forgotten and the nations will pursue it seriously. ... The Islamic world has a lot of questions." - 9/27/15

How Pope Francis US Visit Can Help Boost Diplomacy and Defeat Militarism

- Pope Francis's visit to Washington DC could not have been better timed for the Obama administration. Relations with Cuba have been normalized and the Iran nuclear deal has survived the theatrics of the mandated Congressional review. Pope Francis has of course played an important role in many of these wins for President Barack Obama. He helped with the backchannel diplomacy with Havana, he has endorsed the Iran deal and the White House has reportedly also enlisted his offices to help secure the release of three American citizens imprisoned in Iran. -Trita Parsi - 9/26/15

Whatever Happened to the Iranian Parliament's JCPOA's Review?

- Earlier this week Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appointed Abbas Araghchi, the deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs and chief nuclear negotiator, to oversee the implementation phase of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The appointment came after Secretary of State John Kerry designated Ambassador Stephen Mull as lead coordinator for JCPOA's implementation on the US side. -Farideh Farhi, LobeLog - 9/26/15

Rohani: 'Long Road To Travel' Before U.S.-Iran Ties Normalize

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said that ties with the United States had improved, but there was a "long road to travel" before their relations could normalize. "The situation has certainly changed," Rohani said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to a group of senior editors from media organizations. - 9/26/15

US-Iran Talks to Focus on Nuclear Deal, Regional Tensions

- Working out ways to implement the Iran nuclear deal and possible discussions of the Syrian conflict will be on the agenda when Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. The two will meet Saturday in New York, where world powers are gathering for the U.N. General Assembly. - 9/26/15

Iran: Release Teachers as School Year Begins

- The Iranian authorities should immediately release seven teachers apparently detained for peaceful union activities. By stepping up the arrests and sentencing of outspoken teachers in the weeks prior to the start of the school year on September 23, 2015, the authorities appear to be sending a message to other educators not to speak out about their concerns. -Human Rights Watch - 9/26/15

Iran Urges Saudi Arabia To Find Over 300 Missing Iranians In Hajj Stampede

- Iran has urged Saudi Arabia to find 344 of its citizens who are still unaccounted for in the aftermath of the deadly stampede at the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia that killed 717 people on September 24. Some 136 Iranians were killed and 102 injured, according to Said Ohadi, head of Iran's hajj organization. - 9/26/15

IAEA Welcomes Pope's Support for Iran Nuclear Deal

- Speaking at the U.N.'s headquarters in New York, the pope said the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers "is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy." The pope had expressed hope for a lasting agreement that would "bring forth the desired fruits with the cooperation of all the parties involved." He noted "an urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons." -Margaret Besheer, VOA - 9/26/15

Iran's commitments under the Nuclear Treaty are just short of total surrender

- After 13 years of intensive talks and a fast-developing nuclear enrichment program, Iran has agreed to the most intrusive, restrictive and comprehensive set of demands to which any member state of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has ever been subjected. In reality, as some Iranian commentators have argued, Iran has relinquished most of her rights as an NPT member, short of total surrender. -Farhang Jahanpour, IPS - 9/26/15

No Meeting With Rohani On Obama's Busy UN Schedule

- U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of Russia and India on the sidelines of a United Nations summit in New York next week, but Iranian President Hassan Rohani is not on his busy schedule, the White House has said. - 9/25/15

Tehran Says 131 Iranians Killed In Hajj Tragedy

- Iranian officials say at least 131 Iranians were among the more than 700 pilgrims killed in a stampede at the hajj in Saudi Arabia on September 24, the worst disaster at the annual Islamic event since 1990. Said Ohadi, the head of Iran's hajj organization, told the official IRNA news agency that more Iranians could still die, as 60 others were injured in the tragedy. - 9/25/15

Mother of Imprisoned Iranian Physicist Writes Letter to Khamenei Pleading for His Freedom

- The mother of Omid Kokabee, a physicist imprisoned in Iran since January 2011, has written a letter to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling for her son's freedom on the occasion of the start of the new academic year. Omid Kokabee, 32, was a doctoral physics student at the University of Texas, who was arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport on January 30, 2011, as he was about to leave Iran to return to the U.S after visiting his family. - 9/25/15

Imprisoned Iranian Teacher Sentenced to Three More Years in Prison after Completing Six

- Teachers' rights activist Rassoul Badaghi, who was near the end of serving a six-year prison sentence for his peaceful labor activism, has been condemned to an additional three years in prison. - 9/25/15

Jafar Panahi, Iranian Filmmaker, Persists Despite a Ban

- There's a memorable scene in "Taxi," the latest film by the Iranian dissident director Jafar Panahi, in which his vivacious, now 11-year-old niece recites the rules for making a movie in Iran. They include: Respect Islamic headscarves, avoid contact between men and women, avoid violence, avoid discussing political or economic issues, avoid "sordid realism." -Rachel Donadio, NY Times - 9/25/15

The Real Reason America Needs to Engage with Iran

- A U.S. policy that counters bad Iranian behavior while increasing engagement will not turn Tehran into ally. But it may over time turn it into just a "competitor," and that would be a good thing. -Ilan Goldenberg, National Interest - 9/25/15

How Europe helped save Obama's historic nuclear deal with Iran

- On the surface it might appear that the key players who lobbied lawmakers the hardest for the congressional vote on this issue were the Obama administration and the pro-Israel lobby. However, the role of European members of the P5+1 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) should not be ignored. These countries influenced the decision of the members of the US Congress both directly and indirectly, and it's possible the deal wouldn't have survived without their efforts. -Nader Habibi - 9/24/15

Not Losing Face in Syria

- After four years of war, with more than 200,000 dead and several million displaced and refugees, there's no end in sight to the Syrian crisis. On the contrary, the risks have increased that the West's differences with Russia over Ukraine and some other issues-and Moscow's greater involvement in support of Bashar al-Assad's government-will cause the Syrian conflict to acquire global dimensions far beyond the Middle East. -Shireen T. Hunter - 9/24/15

Supreme Leader Revives Feared Intelligence Unit Of Iran's IRGC

- When reports emerged earlier this month that prominent Iranian Internet entrepreneur Arash Zad had been arrested in August at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport, it was unknown who apprehended him, or why. But suspicion has since fallen on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) intelligence arm, whose increased activities could indicate that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejuvenated the much-feared unit so he can gain greater control over the country. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 9/24/15

Cardin's Bill Softer But Still Toxic

- Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) appears to have watered down his "Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015" in the hopes of wooing more Democrats to support it. But the latest draft, while not as toxic as the first, still contains a number of elements that are likely to prove highly objectionable and provocative to Iran and Washington's P5+1 partners. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 9/24/15

Iran displays new drone Mohajem-9

- Iranian Air Force introduced on September 23 a new domestically manufactured drone with a 500 km range. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) introduced at the exhibition is reportedly capable of travelling for six hours reaching top speed of 200 kilometres per hour at sea level and 120 kilometers per hour on cruise. - 9/24/15

France welcomes Iran's accession to World Trade Organization

- Matthias Fekl, the French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade and Tourism Development, has said that his country supports Iran's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Fekl made the remark in an interview to Radio France Internationale (RFI) on Wednesday after returning from Iran. - 9/24/15

Message to Rouhani: Rights Crisis in Iran Must Finally Be Addressed

- When Iranian president Hassan Rouhani addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015, his third trip to the organization's New York headquarters since his election in June 2013, he will stand on a record of great success in the nuclear negotiations-and abject failure in delivering on his pledges to defend basic civil rights and liberties in Iran. - 9/23/15

In appreciation of Farrokh Najmabadi's life

- Farrokh Najmabadi, the former Iranian minister of Industries and Mines, a high official in the National Iranian Oil Company, and a former official of the World Bank, passed away in Bethesda, Maryland on September 17 after a long illness. As director of the national telephone company, he laid the foundation for Iran's modern telephone system; he played a key role in the formation and operations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); and was one of the architects of Iran's industrialization drive in the 1960s and 1970s. - 9/23/15

Iran-Europe Forum seeks to revive trade

- The second Europe-Iran Forum will be held in Geneva on Thursday and Friday to discuss reviving trade links which have hit a bottom low because of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic. - 9/23/15

Cyrus Habib Announces Bid for Washington State Lieutenant Governor

- Washington State Senator Cyrus Habib has announced his candidacy for the Washington State Lieutenant Governor. If successful, Habib will become the first Iranian American to be elected to the position of Lieutenant Governor, the highest officer of a state after the Governor. - 9/23/15

In post-nuclear-deal Iran, a modest academic opening to the US

- Iran has given permission for five Americans to study in a Tehran University masters program - a 'breakthrough,' the department head says. Others are enrolling in Persian language classes. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 9/23/15

AIPAC's Democrat Problems Go Beyond Obama

- Last week, journalists Josh Rogin and Eli Lake published a piece at Bloomberg Businessweek explaining how the influential pro-Israel lobby AIPAC came to be defeated in the biggest fight in a generation. The story holds important truths. It's essentially about the tough spot AIPAC was put in by the Obama administration's hardball tactics to protect the achievement of the nuclear deal with Iran, hardly a surprise given the stakes at hand. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 9/23/15

Iran's Parchin Nuclear Myth Begins to Unravel

- For well over three years, heavy doses of propaganda have created a myth about a purported steel cylinder for testing explosives located on a site at Iran's Parchin military testing reservation. Iran was refusing to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the site while it sought to hide its past nuclear weapons-related work, according to that storyline. -Gareth Porter, CounterPunch - 9/23/15

Iranian Activists Call On Iran To End Support For Syria's Assad

- Scores of Iranian political activists and intellectuals have launched an online campaign calling on Iran to end its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and take in Syrian refugees fleeing violence there. The more than 70 activists, who include several former political prisoners, blame Assad and his foreign supporters, including Tehran, for the exodus of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to Europe. - 9/23/15

Could Iran, U.S. tag-team ISIS? 'You must be dreaming,' Iranian general says

- Some of Iran's top commanders we spoke to laughed off any notion of cooperating with the U.S. in the battle against the extremist group. Many of the country's military and political leaders accuse the United States of being responsible for ISIS' rise. They also believe that the American-led air campaign to root out ISIS is deeply ineffective. -CNN - 9/23/15

Iranian officials head to US to follow up on JCPOA

- A number of high-ranking Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have headed to New York, the United States, to pursue the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) recently clinched between the Iran and the P5+1 group of countries. - 9/22/15

Iran making film on 175 martyred military divers

- Iran is making a film to pay tribute to 175 military divers whose bodies were recently recovered some 30 years after the end of the Iraq-Iran war. Some of the retrieved bodies had their hands tied and bore no scars, indicating that they were buried alive by the forces of the former Iraqi Ba'ath regime during Operation Karbala-4. - 9/22/15

Is Russia Dictating Next Steps in Syria?

- A series of Russian moves to bolster support for dictator Bashar al-Assad and for a negotiated political settlement to Syria's four-and-a-half-year civil war may allow for a new, unified focus on combating the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). But many questions remain about Russia's true aims, America's response, and the willingness of the Syrian parties themselves to negotiate an end to their conflict. -Derek Davison - 9/22/15

Iranian political prisoner's sentence extended by new charges

- Saeed Razavi Faqih, an Iranian political prisoner currently in Rejaishahr prison, has been sentenced to another three and a half years in jail. The Kaleme website reported on Sunday September 21 that the Revolutionary Court has sentenced Razavi Faqih to two years for "insulting the leader", one year for "propaganda against the regime" and another six moths for "insulting the Assembly of Experts". - 9/22/15

President Rohani Says Iranian Military Ready To Fight IS

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani says his country's military is the most reliable force to take on "terrorists in the region." Rohani said Iranian troops are willing to help both Iraq and Syria in the struggle against Islamic State militants, but insisted Tehran has no military intentions toward other nations. - 9/22/15

France business development office inaugurated in Tehran

- France has inaugurated a business development office in the Iranian capital Tehran as part of efforts to strengthen economic ties with Iran. French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl inaugurated the "Business France" office on Monday. - 9/22/15

Russian Involvement and a Redirection of Policy on Syria

- The recently increased Russian involvement in Syria ought to be viewed as an opportunity, more so than as a threat or as something that needs to be countered. Although Moscow's current involvement is only an extension of its longtime relationship with the Syrian regime, it represents just enough of a change to serve as the closest thing we are likely to have to a peg on which to hang some needed rethinking about the Syrian conflict. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 9/22/15

UN Watchdog Reports 'Significant Progress' in Iran Probe

- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that "significant progress" has been made in the U.N.'s long-running probe into allegations Iran worked to develop nuclear weapons. Yukiya Amano said he reported to the IAEA's board about his trip to Iran that included visiting the Parchin military site that has been a key focus of the investigation. - 9/21/15
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