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October 02 2014
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Six Iranian Filmmakers Launch Campaign Urging Deal Over Nuclear Crisis

- Six prominent Iranian movie directors have launched an Internet campaign saying "there is no deal that is worse than no deal" in an effort to end the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. The website for the campaign, which is in English, says international sanctions have hurt the Iranian people without harming Iran's nuclear program and urges Tehran and world powers to "address the issues, not special interests." -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 10/1/14

Is Rouhani Preparing the Ground for Failed Nuclear Talks?

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's recently concluded trip to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly offered signals that Iran's complex political establishment is, at least right now, quietly going along with the push toward an internationally agreed deal over Iran's nuclear program. -Derek Davison - 10/1/14

Group Sues Iranian Culture Minister For Letting Women Sing Solo

- The head of the Family of Martyrs and Veterans Association reported on Tuesday September 30 that a suit has been filed against Culture Minister Ali Jannati for issuing permits allowing women to sing solo in concerts. - 10/1/14

Putin Optimistic Of Eventual Accord After Fourth Caspian Summit

- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is hopeful that an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea can be adopted at the next summit of the sea's five littoral states. Putin made his comments at the fourth Caspian Sea summit in the Russian city of Astrakhan - 10/1/14

Military service increased for Iranian men

- Conscription in Iran will increase from 21 months to two years beginning the next Iranian calendar year. Spokesman for the Conscription department of Iranian Armed Forces Mousa Kamali said on Tuesday September 30 that the three month increase in the length of compulsory service has been made due to declining birth rate, need of planning for population growth and provision of public service professionals." - 10/1/14

Iran's President Rouhani calls British PM's remarks 'inappropriate and unacceptable'

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticized the anti-Iranian statements made by British Prime Minister David Cameron at the recent session of the United Nations General Assembly, calling them "inappropriate and unacceptable". - 10/1/14

President of Anti-Nuclear-Iran Group Dismisses Imminent Threat of Iranian Nuke

- Yesterday, Gary Samore, president of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), published a column on the website of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) arguing that even if talks between the P5+1 and Iran collapse, "Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons in the near term is severely constrained by political and technical factors." -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 10/1/14

Britain Launches First Air Strikes On IS Militants in Iraq

- British Defense Minister Michael Fallon says British jet fighters on September 30 launched their first air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq. Fallon said two British warplanes "identified and attacked a heavy weapons position that was endangering Kurdish forces" in northern Iraq, then attacked an armed pickup truck with IS militants in the same area. - 10/1/14

Bibi Comes to Town

- The Prime Minister of Israel addressed the UN General Assembly on Sept. 29, once more filling the chamber with fire and brimstone. Like many a leader before him, he built his speech on the well-tried formula that attack is the best form of defense. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 10/1/14

Eighteen Nobel Laureates Call for Immediate Release of Iranian Physicist

- The Iranian Judiciary should immediately release the Iranian physicist and prisoner of conscience, Omid Kokabee, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. On September 26, 2014, in an open letter to Iran's Leader, Ali Khamenei, eighteen physics Nobel laureates called for the "immediate and unconditional" release of Kokabee. The letter was published in the leading scientific journal Nature. - 9/30/14

The Real Barriers to a Final Nuclear Deal with Iran

- Another round of negotiations between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program ended without any agreement in sight last week in New York. Many causes for the failure to reach an agreement have been cited, including: the number of centrifuges Iran should be allowed to keep; the still ambiguous status of the Arak heavy water reactor... -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog - 9/30/14

Iranian facebook users call for mercy in appeals court

- The lawyer for a number of Facebook users who were arrested by Iranian authorities for their cyber activities reported on Monday September 29 that his clients have "accepted some of their mistakes and expressed remorse" in the appeals court. - 9/30/14

Museum Cleansing Targets Work of Iranian Sculptor, Parviz Tanavoli

- Tehran Municipality has announced that it is looking at "cleansing" its museums, and there is some concern among Iranian artists that the city is considering auctioning off the works of prominent sculptor Parviz Tanavoli. - 9/30/14

Top US Official: Nuclear Deal Could Improve Ties, Onus on Iran

- A top advisor to President Obama said that a deal over Iran's nuclear program could lead to a new era of relations. "A nuclear agreement could begin a multi-generational process that could lead to a new relationship between our countries," said Phil Gordon, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region, in a speech Saturday to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 9/30/14

Iran: Netanyahu Speech 'Baselessly' Associates Islamic State, Islamic World

- Iran says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "baselessly" associated the Islamic world with the Islamic State group during his address to the United Nations General Assembly. In a reply to the Monday speech, Iran also said Netanyahu continued a policy to "sabotage and disrupt" Iranian negotiations with world powers over the country's nuclear program. - 9/30/14

Iran: Woman arrested at volleyball game now charged

- Ghoncheh Qavami, the Iranian woman who was detained three months ago for trying to enter a stadium to watch a volleyball game, has been charged with "propaganda against the regime." Qavami's lawyer told Iranian media that his client has pleaded not guilty and will present her defence at trial. - 9/30/14

Caspian Sea littoral states end summit signing 3 accords

- The fourth Summit of the Caspian Sea littoral states ended in the Russian port city of Astrakhan on Sunday after signing three agreements and releasing a joint statement. The day-long summit was attended by heads of state from Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan who discussed legal status of the world's largest lake. - 9/30/14

Iran To Help Lebanon Army Fight Extremists

- A senior Iranian official has said that Tehran will supply the Lebanese army with military equipment to be used in fighting Muslim extremist groups. The Lebanese army has been fighting Sunni militants near the border with Syria for the past two months. - 9/30/14

Caspian Sea Summit Kicks Off In Russia

- The Caspian Sea summit has opened in the Russian city of Astrakhan with the sea's five littoral states seeking an agreement on who owns which parts of the Caspian and therefore access to valuable oil and gas reserves. - 9/29/14

The threat of ISIS should be taken seriously

- When all of a sudden ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Sham) emerged on the scene, and in a matter of days occupied large swathes of mainly Sunni-inhabited parts of Iraq and Syria, including Iraq's second city Mosul and Saddam Hussein's birthplace Tikrit and called itself the Islamic State, many people, not least Western politicians and intelligence services, were taken by surprise. -Farhang Jahanpour - 9/29/14

Documentary film charts Iranian Baha'is' peaceful response to oppression

- A powerful new documentary film, telling the story of the Baha'is of Iran and their peaceful response to decades of state-sponsored persecution, had its UK premiere on 12 September. The film has been made by acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari. He was Newsweek's Iran reporter from 1998 to 2011 and has produced a number of other documentary films about Iran. - 9/29/14

Iranian Women Unemployment Rate at 43.4 Percent

- Women's unemployment rate in the last eight years reached 43.4 percent, according to the latest report released by the Statistical Center of Iran. Although it has been years since women are working outside home, job opportunities for women have been restricted by the male-dominated society and unjust competition. - 9/28/14

Idaho Cities, Towns Hold Vigil For Pastor Jailed In Iran

- The small Idaho town of Meridian was one of several municipalities in the U.S. state that held a vigil to pray for the safe return of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini who is in an Iranian jail. - 9/28/14

Iran's President Rouhani: Nuclear Talks 'Extremely Slow'

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says progress in ongoing nuclear talks with Western envoys has been "extremely slow" and warned that negotiations must speed up for a deal to be reached by a November 24 deadline. - 9/27/14

What is the meaning of new Moscow Stance on Caspian Sea?

- According to a reports posted recently in many places in the wake of the 4th Caspian Summit which is going to be held in Astrakhan of Russia, a Russian Foreign Ministry official, Igor Bratchikov, has told reporters in Moscow on September 22, 2014 that the Kremlin "supports the conditions of the 1921 Soviet-Iranian treaty under which the Caspian is considered a lake and is divided into two sectors." -Bahman Aghai Diba - 9/27/14

Squaring the Circle of ISIS

- Well, expect no more. In the Middle East, the old battle script is quaint. ISIS is our new enemy. Or perhaps it is ISIL, or IS, or Daesh, or the Caliphate, or something. The point is, we have an enemy that "we need to fight there so we won't have to fight it here." It seems a pity because we share so much. They hate Bashar al-Assad and so do we. They can't stand the Persian ayatollahs and neither can we... -Bernard Chazelle, LobeLog - 9/27/14

Iran's inflation rate has dramatic fall

- Iran's Central Bank says the inflation rate has been cut in half compared to the same time last year, falling to 20.1 percent. The report adds that health services have been hit with the highest inflation at 30.1 percent, with transportation trailing at 25 percent. - 9/27/14

Iraq Looking for an "Independent" Sunni Defense Minister

- Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said that the government was looking for an independent Sunni Muslim to fill the post of defense minister in an effort to improve chances of reunifying the country and defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). -Barbara Slavin, LobeLog - 9/27/14

Photos: President Rohani meets Iranians in New York

- Foreign and Iranian investors are welcome, President Hassan Rohani said a meeting with Iranians residing in the US. Iran has achieved progress in promotion of relations with international players particularly the neighbors, he said on Thursday night in New York. - 9/26/14

US Negotiator Cites Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks

- "I believe we are making progress," Wendy Sherman (chief U.S. negotiator at nuclear) said, referring to the last round of talks on Tehran's nuclear program currently underway in New York - and coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly annual meeting. - 9/26/14

Iran's Rohani Addresses Extremism, Nuclear Issue At UN

- Addressing the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said the West is responsible for "strategic blunders" that have turned the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus into a "haven for terrorists and extremists." - 9/26/14

Iran, EU, US held trilateral meeting in New York

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif , US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU former Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton met in New York on Thursday night. The three top diplomats sat down to discuss progress made during the ongoing nuclear talks and to confer on how to proceed with the negotiations. - 9/26/14

Viber Company Refutes Tapping Claims by Iranian Officials

- Following statements by Iran's Cyber Police Chief about his force's ability to monitor messages on Viber, the instant messaging service for cellphones, a Viber Company representative told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the application's communications are encrypted and as such it is not possible for third parties to monitor messages. - 9/26/14

Iran turns Cameron's criticisms back on Britain

- Iran has slammed the British Prime Minister for accusing Iran of supporting terrorists in the Middle East region, saying it is Britain that "has afflicted the world with the evil of ISIS." Mehr News reports that Marzieh Afkham, a spokeswoman for Iran's foreign ministry, said: "Britain has a history of creating discord in the region, and many of the problems in the region are a result of wrong British policies." - 9/26/14

The Cameron-Rouhani Meeting: What Comes Next?

- The meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and British Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly yesterday was an important moment for geopolitics, British-Iranian relations, and the growing European dialogue with Tehran. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 9/26/14

British Prime Minister, Iranian President Hold First Talks Since 1979

- British Prime Minister David Cameron has met with Iran's President Hassan Rohani at the United Nations -- the first meeting between the countries' leaders since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The meeting took place as the UN General Assembly got under way on September 24. - 9/25/14

Obama at UN: 'Reject Cancer of Violent Extremism'

- On Iran, the president said his administration is committed to diplomatically resolving the nuclear issue "as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them." "This can only happen if Iran takes this historic opportunity," he said. - 9/25/14

Iran's President Rohani tells UN chief he's optimistic about nuclear deal

- President Rohani, who is currently in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Iran is committed to all international agreements and the International Atomic Energy Agency's provisions, and it wishes to pursue its peaceful nuclear program. - 9/25/14

Iranian opposition leader Karroubi in hospital for latest health problem

- Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under house arrest since February 2011, has been hospitalized due to gastrointestinal complications. Fatemeh Karroubi reported that her husband's physical health have been seriously compromised by the house arrest; however, she added that his spirits remain strong. - 9/25/14

Iranian Hardliners Block Rouhani's Promises of Greater Freedom

- But Rouhani's defenders say he appears to be single-mindedly pursuing a nuclear deal with the West, hoping that this would boost his political capital and allow him to take on the conservative forces which are blocking his domestic policies. -Reuters - 9/25/14

Apocalypse Now, Iraq Edition

- Sometimes, when I turn on the TV these days, the sense of seeing once again places in Iraq I'd been overwhelms me. After 22 years as a diplomat with the Department of State, I spent 12 long months in Iraq in 2009-2010 as part of the American occupation. My role was to lead two teams in "reconstructing" the nation. -Peter Van Buren, LobeLog - 9/25/14

EU Plans for Iran Gas Imports If Sanctions Go

- The European Union is quietly increasing the urgency of a plan to import natural gas from Iran, as relations with Tehran thaw while those with top gas supplier Russia grow chillier. -Reuters - 9/25/14

Politics, Revolutionary Guard Corps still interfere in Iranian soccer

- After the Iran-Iraq War ended and the Iranian economy flourished, the former generals who had fought started to participate in areas such as politics, economy, culture and sports. -Al-Monitor - 9/25/14

Rouhani to Hollande: West should comprehend Iran regional influence

- New York - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said here Tuesday in a meeting with his French counterpart that West should comprehend Iran's regional influence; major message of Iran-Sextet nuclear talks is that major world issues can be resolved through holding talks. - 9/24/14

Rouhani Looks to Warmer Ties with Saudis, Tepidly Criticizes US Syria Strikes

- Speaking at a press breakfast with about two dozen media representatives, Rouhani expressed hope that the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) and Tehran will conclude a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program by the current Nov. 24 deadline but noted that differences remain and that this week's series of meetings in New York are likely to be critical. -Jim Lobe - 9/24/14

Iranian activists rally around jailed female volleyball fan

- Three hundred Iranian political and cultural activists have written to President Hassan Rohani, drawing attention to the dismal situation of Ghoncheh Qavami in Evin Prison and urging the government to respect her citizen's rights and facilitate her release. - 9/24/14

Iran Police Chief says Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber inevitable in information era

- Police Chief Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moqaddam said on Tuesday that in the age of information making proper use of communications technologies is unavoidable and a must for progress. - 9/24/14

Hijab patrols on Tehran streets quashed by officials

- The 4,000-member Ansar-e Hezbollah patrols, which had announced their intention to confront any public noncompliance with Hijab (the Islamic dress code), will no longer hit the streets of Tehran due to resistance from the Security Forces. - 9/24/14

Iran ready to supply Europe gas via Austria: President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic can be a reliable supplier of energy for Europe, adding that Tehran is ready to transfer gas to the European countries via Austria. The Iranian president made the remarks in a Tuesday meeting with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer in New York on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly meeting. - 9/24/14

Moscow Voices Stance On Caspian Before Summit

- Russian Foreign Ministry official Igor Bratchikov told reporters in Moscow on September 22 that the Kremlin supports the conditions of the 1921 Soviet-Iranian treaty under which the Caspian is considered a lake and is divided into two sectors. - 9/24/14

Iran's Rouhani on Global Stage as Opponents at Home Speak Up

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Rouhani arrived in New York yesterday with the clear understanding that he's being carefully watched back home. The official purpose of his trip is to address the United Nations General Assembly, but much more is at stake. -Adnan Tabatabai - 9/24/14

Tehran's missing nuclear answers

- Iran could consider providing information on issues with military dimensions, as well as allowing IAEA inspectors to visit the Parchin base provided that the West ceases its imposition of pressure -Shahir ShahidSaless, Gulf News - 9/24/14

U.S. told Iran of intent to strike Islamic State in Syria - source

- The United States informed Iran in advance of its intention to strike Islamic State militants in Syria and assured Tehran that it would not target the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Iranian official told Reuters. - 9/24/14

Iran's President Rouhani arrives in New York

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in New York to attend the 69th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. The plane carrying the Iranian president arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday afternoon local time. - 9/23/14

Caspian Sea is not the sea of peace: On the occasion of the 4th Summit of Caspian Leaders

- Leaders of the Caspian Sea littoral states keep talking about the peace and security in the Caspian Sea. They even signed a security agreement in the Third Summit of the Caspian States (Baku, Azerbaijan Republic, 18 November 2010). But the reality is that the Caspian Sea is not as peaceful as it looks. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 9/23/14

Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian, Imprisoned in Iran, Suffers Severe Weight Loss

- Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi have lost a "shocking" amount of weight in prison, an informed source has told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. According to this source, the family of the imprisoned Iranian journalist Yeganeh Salehi was allowed to have their first visit with her and her Washington Post reporter husband Jason Rezaian on September 7, and they were astonished at the couple's appearance. - 9/23/14

Obama to Meet Israeli PM as US Denies Quid Pro Quo with Iran

- President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are to meet next week, as the White House denies any deal with Iran regarding the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants and talks over Tehran's nuclear program. -Victor Beattie, VOA - 9/23/14

Explore Iran's UPR: In 2010, Iran accepted 126 recommendations on human rights

- During its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Iran received 212 recommendations from 51 countries and accepted 126. Ahead of Iran's second UPR in October 2014, we took a look at Iran's implementations of these 126 recommendations. Has Iran's government done what it promised? - 9/23/14

Family's Video Appeals to Iran for Release of American

- Anticipating the arrival of Iran's president in New York on Monday for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, the family of Amir Hekmati, a former United States Marine incarcerated in Tehran for three years, has called attention to the case by releasing a video in which his father, who has terminal brain cancer, appeals to Iranian leaders for Mr. Hekmati's freedom. -Rick Gladstone, NY Times - 9/23/14

Iranians Arrested Over Khomeini-Insult Texts

- Eleven people have reportedly been arrested in the southern Iranian province of Shiraz after allegedly sending insulting SMS text messages about Islamic republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. - 9/23/14

Is Iran Using the ISIS Crisis for Leverage in the Nuclear Talks?

- On Sunday a Reuters report quoting unnamed "senior Iranian officials" suggested Tehran was trying to use the crisis posed by the group that calls itself the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS) in Iraq to increase Iran's leverage in negotiations over its nuclear program. -Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog - 9/23/14

Rohani Says Iran Will Help Defend Middle East Against 'Terrorists'

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani says Tehran will help people in the Middle East defend themselves against "terrorists." Speaking September 22 before leaving for New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting this week, he said "the government and armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will help them everywhere." - 9/22/14

Kerry Holds Rare Face-to-Face Talks with Iran's FM

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a rare face-to-face meeting with Iran's foreign minister Sunday, saying there is an opportunity for progress on nuclear talks. Kerry spoke with Mohammad Javad Zarif in a New York City hotel for more than an hour. - 9/22/14

Iranian Americans Come Together to Celebrate and Support Cyrus Habib for Washington State Senate

- A number of PAAIA members and affiliated Iranian Americans gathered on Tuesday to celebrate and raise funds for Cyrus Habib, a member of Washington state's house who is running for state senate. - 9/22/14

Iranian Security Forces Injure, Arrest Protesting Dervishes

- A second day of protest by Gonabadi dervishes in front of the Tehran Prosecutor's office was met violently by security forces, who attacked and arrested a number of protesters. Majzooban-e Noor reported earlier that more than 800 dervishes were held overnight. - 9/22/14

Iranian Judiciary Gives Deadline For Blocking Sites Like Whatapp

- The Iranian judiciary has given the administration one month to block mobile social networking sites such as Whatapp, Viber and Tango. The Rohani administration has not yet reacted to the judiciary's demand, but President Hassan Rohani has already expressed opposition to blocking mobile phone social networking sites such as Whatsapp. - 9/22/14

Iran, China Prepare For Joint Naval Exercises

- Chinese warships have docked at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf as the two countries prepare to conduct joint naval exercises. - 9/22/14

Ahead of UN Meeting, Iran Seeks Compromise on IS, Nuclear Programs

- UNITED NATIONS-- Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants, but would like to see more flexibility on Iran's uranium enrichment program, senior Iranian officials told Reuters. -Reuters - 9/22/14

President Rohani's Message To The American People: "I Want To Reduce Tensions"

- Rouhani also expressed optimism about Iran's warming relations with the United States. "The close relationship between the two nations can resolve many problems. A closer contact and relationship would also be beneficial for the American people, and they can open new ways for the American politicians. We have to look at future more than the past," he said. - 9/20/14

Column: Domestic Politics Limit Iran's Maneuverability on Nuclear Deal

- Among the arguments Iranian officials are marshalling in the nuclear negotiations that resumed this week in New York is that domestic politics severely constrain their ability to compromise. This is the best we can do, they seem to be saying: Accept our position or you will face even more hardline interlocutors in the future. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 9/20/14

Iran Nuclear Talks: The Price of Failure

- Once upon a time, it seemed that the Obama Administration had held off opponents in Congress as well as pressure from Israel in order to press forward with negotiations with Iran. It seemed that President Barack Obama's penchant for diplomacy was finally bearing fruit and that the United States and Iran were coming to the table with a sense of determination and an understanding that a compromise needed to be reached over Iran's nuclear program. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 9/20/14

Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

- NEW YORK-Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. As the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 9/20/14

Nuclear watchdog confirms Iran's continued compliance

- As Iran and the 5+1 meet in New York for further nuclear talks, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed in its latest monthly report that Iran is meeting its commitment outlined in the Articles of Agreement reached last November in Geneva. - 9/20/14

Iran's Jila Baniyaghoob on journalism, prison and Rouhani

- Jila Baniyaghoob, a prominent Iranian journalist and women's rights activist, has a charisma that comes through even on an online chat. In fact, she seems untainted by the many hardships she and her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amouei, also a journalist, have endured to practice their profession in Iran. -Guardian - 9/20/14

Obama Not Scheduled, But Open To Meeting With Rohani

- U.S. President Barack Obama is not scheduled to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani next week when both will be at the UN General Assembly, but a senior U.S. official said Obama remains open to such a meeting. - 9/19/14
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