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August 22 2017
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Reformist Iranian Journalist Not Heard From Two Weeks After Arrest in Tehran

- Reformist journalist Sasan Aghaei's family has not heard a word from him since he was arrested by security agents without a warrant at the office of the reformist Etemad newspaper on August 12, 2017. - 8/22/17

Iran to resume 20-percent enrichment in 5 days if necessary: Nuclear Chief

- The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the Islamic Republic is capable of resuming the enrichment of uranium to the 20-percent level at its Fordow facility within a maximum of five days if need be. In an exclusive interview with IRIB News Agency on Tuesday, Ali Akbar Salehi said President Hassan Rouhani's recent warning that Iran would accelerate its nuclear activities to an advanced level "within hours" if the US returned to a policy of sanctions had not been an "empty warning." - 8/22/17

Iran will work to sustain nuclear deal: Foreign Minister

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says his top priority is to ensure that a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other countries will stand. Speaking in a televised interview on Sunday night, Foreign Minister Zarif said the ministry under his watch would work first and foremost to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in place. - 8/21/17

Former Iranian President Appeals To Supreme Leader Over House Arrests

- Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has appealed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to end the house arrest of two reformist leaders who have been restrained without charge for more than six years. Khatami on August 20 posted the appeal on his website, urging Khamenei to "resolve" the house arrest of reformist politicians Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi. - 8/21/17

Ahmadinejad Corruption Case Shows Promise for US-Iran Relations

- Few world leaders have antagonized the United States and Israel with bombastic language worthy of a North Korean dictator more than former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The new Iranian government's decision to try and bust this former leader for corruption is a positive development for President Donald Trump and America. -Observer - 8/21/17

Flow of American tourists to Iran has not slowed down

- The tourist flow from the U.S. to Iran has not been slowed down as its year-on-year rate shows no decrease in the stream, says Ebrahim Pourfaraj, the chief executive of the Iranian Tour Operators Association. He ruled out recent allegations by the U.S. State Department that claims Iran denies to grant visas to American nationals, saying, "The Iranian Foreign Ministry has maintained its previous procedure towards [applicant] American citizens despite all the threats and counteractions that the U.S. government has taken." - 8/20/17

President Rohani Says Protecting Nuclear Deal Top Priority, As Iranian Lawmakers Approve Cabinet Picks

- Iran's parliament on August 20 approved all but one of the cabinet nominees submitted by President Hassan Rohani, who said protecting the landmark 2015 deal to curb Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of sanctions would be the key foreign policy priority for his new government. - 8/20/17

US provocations aimed at demonizing Iran: UN Ambassador

- Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo has condemned Washington's latest accusations against Tehran regarding its nuclear deal as provocative measures aimed at creating Iranophobia. In a Friday statement, Khoshroo stressed that the August 15 statement by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Iran "is devoid of any shred of truth." - 8/20/17

Iranian Labor Activist Forced to Stay Behind Bars Until December 2018 Despite Completing Sentence

- To protest being returned to prison two years after he was released, prominent labor activist Reza Shahabi started a hunger strike on August 9, 2017, in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, 31 miles east of Tehran. The 45-year-old board member of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (UWTSBC) began his protest the day after he returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison on August 8 following several warnings that he would lose his security deposit if he refused to serve the remainder of a six-year prison sentence issued for his peaceful activism. - 8/20/17

Alleged Role In State Crackdown Haunts New Communications Minister of Iran's President Rohani

- Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi is young and successful, but allegations about his past could come back to haunt him. The 36-year-old electrical engineer, ICT manager, and deputy communications minister was nominated last week by Iranian President Hassan Rohani to lead the country's Communications Ministry. He was approved, along with 15 other cabinet picks, by parliament on August 20. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 8/20/17

Netanyahu's Priorities and U.S. Responses

- Recently I wrote about the two-sided Saudi policy on Iran, in which Riyadh sees good reason to take quiet steps to reduce tension with its neighbor across the Persian Gulf while still making alarm about a supposed Iranian threat the basis for keeping the United States tied to its side. But Saudi Arabia is not the only party in the region to exploit an anti-Iran theme as a basis for retaining U.S. support, and it certainly is not the most influential one in shaping U.S. policy. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/20/17

800 Activists Urge Iranian Parliament to End Child Marriage

- Hundreds of Iranian women and children's rights advocates in Iran are urging Parliament to prohibit underage marriage in the country. "In defense of children's human rights, we call for an end to the phenomenon known as child spouses," said a statement signed by more than 800 activists addressing members of Parliament on August 12, 2017. - 8/18/17

Iranian Government Responds to the Demand of the Hunger Striking Opposition Leader

- Government of Hassan Rouhani has responded to the demands of Mehdi Karroubi, an opposition leader who was on hunger strike in house arrest. Karroubi is demanding life without surveillance and presence of security officer as well as a public trial. As such the ailing 80-year-old has ended his hunger strike which has sent him to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Tehran. - 8/18/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activist to Serve Three Years in Prison For Attending Seminar

- Women's rights activist and photojournalist Alieh Matlabzadeh has been sentenced to three years in prison by a preliminary court in Tehran for participating in a women's empowerment seminar. A member of the One Million Signatures for Gender Equality campaign, Matlabzadeh was arrested on November 26, 2016 about a month after attending the seminar in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, along with 20 other Iranian activists. - 8/18/17

Iran Denies Appeal Of U.S. Student Imprisoned On Spying Charges

- Iranian authorities have denied the appeal of a Princeton University researcher who was convicted of spying for the United States and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the university said on August 17. Xiyue Wang, a U.S. citizen and doctoral candidate specializing in Eurasian history, was conducting research for his dissertation in Iran last year when he was detained by Iranian authorities and accused of "spying under the cover of research." - 8/18/17

Iranian American Organizations Condemn Violence and Bigotry Displayed by Hate Groups in Charlottesville, Virginia

- Washington, D.C. - As organizations representing the Iranian-American community, we stand united in condemning - in the strongest possible terms - the violence and bigotry displayed by hate groups in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday and Saturday. - 8/17/17

Iranian Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi Goes on Hunger Strike to Challenge Arrest

- Mehdi Karroubi, one of the opposition leaders of Iran's Green Movement who has been under house arrest since 2010 is now refusing food in protest to the conditions of his arrest. Karoubi decided to go on hunger strike to demand a public trial; he is also asking security forces that are living with him and monitoring his every move while under house arrest to leave him alone. - 8/17/17

Iran Praises 'Martyrdom' Of Fighter Beheaded By Islamic State Terrorists

- A 25-year-old-member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who was recently beheaded by the extremist group Islamic State (IS) is becoming the poster child of Iran's military efforts in Syria and Iraq, where Tehran has deployed hundreds of so-called shrine defenders to assist the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fight IS, and spread its influence. Mohsen Hojaji, who according to Iranian state media was a member of Iran's advisory support team in Syria, was reportedly captured by IS last week in an ambush near the border with Iraq. Iranian media report that he was beheaded two days later. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 8/17/17

IRAN: Six Inmates at Rajaee Shahr Prison Punished With Solitary Confinement For Going on Hunger Strike

- More than 50 political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison are in severe distress, with at least six on hunger strike in solitary confinement, after they were moved en masse to a high-security ward without any of their clothes or medicine. - 8/17/17

Iranian Soccer Body Says Star Players Not Banned for Playing Against Israeli Team

- After days of public outcry over an Iranian official's declaration that two national soccer players were banned from the national team for playing against an Israeli team, Iran's soccer federation announced it has made no official decision. Banning the players, who played against the Israeli team while employed by the national soccer team of Greece, would have been a violation of the world soccer governing body FIFA's regulations. - 8/17/17

Moscow Voices Hope Iran Won't Quit Nuclear Deal

- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow hopes Iran will not quit the agreement reached in 2015 with world powers to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions. Lavrov spoke on August 16 after Iranian President Hassan Rohani's warning the previous day that Tehran could abandon the deal "within hours" if the United States imposed any more new sanctions. - 8/17/17

Detente in the Persian Gulf is in Everyone's Interests

- But a lessening of tension in that rivalry is in Saudi Arabia's interests, as well as being in the interests of Iran. Both countries rely on the oil trade continuing without interruption from armed conflict or the fear of such conflict. Both have potentially restive domestic minorities that could find sympathy and support on the other side of the Gulf. For the Saudis this mainly means Shia in the Eastern Province... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/17/17

Turkey, Iran Voice Opposition To Kurdish Independence Vote In Rare Visit

- Turkey and Iran have voiced strong opposition to a referendum on Kurdish independence scheduled next month in neighboring Iraq during a rare visit to Ankara by Tehran's army chief of staff on August 16. Turkish media said it was the first such visit since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. - 8/17/17

Iranian Ayatollah mocks US over handling of Charlottesville racism

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly criticised the US government over its handling of violence following a recent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. "If US has any power, they better manage their country, tackle #WhiteSupremacy rather than meddle in nations' affairs. #Charlottesville," a post on the religious figure's official Twitter account said late on Wednesday. -Independent - 8/17/17

NIAC: 'Trump's Violations of the Iran Deal Begets Unfortunate But Predictable Iranian Response'

- "It should now be clear that Donald Trump's moves to violate and hold certification of the Iran nuclear deal in doubt are actively destabilizing the accord. Unfortunately, in response to Trump's increasingly hostile rhetoric, as well as Congress' moves to escalate sanctions, Iran is now warning that it has its own options to back out of the deal if the U.S. continues to undermine it. We reiterate our call for all parties to the JCPOA to fully implement their obligations under the agreement. - 8/16/17

U.S. Says Iran Trying To 'Hold World Hostage' By Threatening to Quit Nuclear Deal

- The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has said Iran is trying to "hold the world hostage" by warning that it might abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement because of continued U.S. "sanctions and coercion." Rohani earlier in the day told lawmakers in Tehran that the Trump administration seemed to want to go back to the way it was before the nuclear agreement by repeatedly trying to force Iran to change through pressure tactics rather than negotiations. - 8/16/17

Political Pundit Sadegh Zibakalam Faces Charges For Discussing Politicization of Iran's Judiciary

- Prominent reformist political analyst Sadegh Zibakalam has been slapped with the charges of "propaganda against the state" and "disturbing public opinion" after discussing the politicization of Iran's judiciary with a foreign radio station. - 8/16/17

Iran's Top General Makes Rare Visit to Turkey

- In a rare visit, the head of Iran's armed forces is in Turkey. The two neighbors have found themselves increasing rivals in Iraq and Syria, but both sides are trying to find common ground. The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major General Mohammad-Hossein Baqeri, arrived in Ankara, leading a high-ranking military and political delegation, for three days of talks. It is the first visit by Iran's chief of staff since the 1979 Iranian revolution. - 8/16/17

How Donald Trump's travel ban has hit Iran's tourism renaissance

- Trump's repeated threat to withdraw the US from the nuclear agreement, achieved through years of painstaking negotiations, is creating concern that Iran will be pushed back towards isolation -Independent - 8/16/17

President Rouhani: If US Continues Threats, Iran Could Quickly Jump Start Nuclear Program

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday his country prefers abiding by the 2015 international agreement on its nuclear program, but that if the United States continues "threats and sanctions" then Iran could quickly revitalize its nuclear activity to an even higher level than before the deal went into effect. Speaking to members of parliament in a televised address, Rouhani said the U.S. is not a "good partner." - 8/15/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activist Demands Rouhani Provide Reasons for His Exclusively Male Cabinet

- President Hassan Rouhani must explain why he didn't nominate women to serve in his new cabinet, feminist researcher Nahid Tavasoli told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a recent interview. "Dr. Rouhani should explain why and based on what expedient principle did he decide not to reinstate [Vice President for Women and Family Affairs] Shahindokht Mowlaverdi?" she said. "He made all these promises about utilizing competent women in key positions and ministries, but didn't deliver. Why?" - 8/15/17

Trump's new world order inadvertently making our planet great again

- Arguably one of the most unexpected events since the onset of the Trump administration's unconventional policy reform is the United States backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement, severing alliances with world leaders tackling climate change. Meanwhile, a rescaling of governance regarding climate change has taken root, where various stakeholders ranging from long-standing autonomous nations to state leaders are emerging as key players in combatting climate change. -Kaveh Madani and Shirin Hakim - 8/15/17

Iranian Political Prisoner Responds to "Dolled-Up" Evin Prison Visit by Foreign Ambassadors

- A political prisoner held in Evin Prison since 2009 has harshly criticized a state-organized "dolled-up" tour of the facility by a group of foreign diplomats in July 2017 that was used by state officials and media to gloss over the prison's well-documented history of ongoing human rights violations. - 8/15/17

Iranian Drone Buzzes Aircraft Carrier, Endangering Pilots, U.S. Navy Says

- An Iranian drone has flown close enough to a U.S. aircraft carrier to put the lives of American pilots of F-18 fighter jets at risk, the U.S. Navy said on August 14. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps issued a statement on August 15 saying their drones are guided "accurately and professionally," dismissing the U.S. Navy's concerns as "unfounded." - 8/15/17

Beheading of IRGC fighter unites Iranians

- Hojjaji, dressed in military fatigues, is held by an IS fighter with a knife in his hand. In the background, black smoke rises from the overtaken camp. Many who saw it drew comparisons between the expressions of Hojjaji and his captor. Hojjaji, who likely knew his death was imminent, seems resigned to his fate. The IS fighter, with blood running down his cheeks, appears almost anxious. -Al Monitor - 8/15/17

Iran judiciary freezes assets of BBC Persian staff

- The BBC has called on the Iranian authorities to reverse a new order that appears to effectively freeze the assets of its staff in Iran. BBC World Service Director Francesca Unsworth said it deplored the apparent "targeted attack" on BBC Persian staff, former staff and some contributors. -BBC - 8/15/17

With Eye on Telegram, Internet Body Says All Social Media Apps Must Store Data Inside Iran

- To improve Iran's ability to monitor and censor online content and user activity, the country's Supreme Cyberspace Council (SCC) has ruled that all foreign social media networks must store domestic traffic data inside Iran. - 8/14/17

Daughter Of Iran's 'Hanging Judge' Breaks Silence About Her Notorious Father

- Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali is notorious as Iran's "hanging judge," having ruthlessly ordered hundreds of summary executions after trials that sometimes lasted just minutes in the months following Iran's 1979 revolution. His daughter, however, remembers him differently. "My father's outside image is very violent," Fatemeh Sadeghi says in an interview published this month in the Iranian magazine Andisheye Pouya. "But that's not the image of him that I had at home. He was very strict at home, but he would never beat me." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/14/17

Iraq To Mediate Between Saudi Arabia, Iran: Reports

- An Iraqi leader has said his country will take the role as mediator between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, media in Iraq and Iran are reporting. Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Arraji on August 13 said Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had requested Iraq get involved to help ease tensions between Riyadh and Tehran, according to Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency and Iraqi satellite channel Alghadeer. - 8/14/17

IRAN: Ayatollah Shahroudi named new head of Expediency Council

- Ayatollah Shahroudi replaces Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who passed away in January after a 27-year stint on the council, which mediates on legislative differences between the Parliament and the oversight Guardian Council. - 8/14/17

President Rouhani's Second Term Begins

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began his second term with the nomination of 17 proposed ministers for his 18-member cabinet on Tuesday (the nominee for the ministry of sciences, research, and technology has yet to be proposed). And, as is usually the case in Iran's highly contested terrain, it was not without controversy. As a politician who unapologetically claims to occupy the middle ground in the country's contested terrain, Rouhani made appointments that generated unhappiness and disappointment on both sides of the political spectrum. -Farideh Farhi - 8/13/17

Reformist Iranian MPs Form Committee to End House Arrests After Karroubi's Hospitalization

- Reformist members of Iran's Parliament have established the Committee to Seek an End to House Arrests following the recent hospitalization of 79-year-old political opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi. "We want resolve this matter without any media sensationalism or political hype," said Ghasem Mirzaei Nikoo, a member of the pro-Rouhani Hope Faction in Parliament, in an interview with the state-funded Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on August 8, 2017. - 8/13/17

Iranian parliament votes to boost military budget in response to U.S. sanctions

- The Iranian Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to approve the outlines of a bill to counter the "U.S. terrorist and adventurist acts in the region", boosting by more than 500 million dollars investment in missile defense industry and operations by the IRGC Quds Force. Out of 247 MPs present in the parliament, 240 MPs voted for the bill. - 8/13/17

Journalist Sasan Aghaei With Iranian Reformist Etemad Daily Detained

- Iranian journalist Sasan Aghaei has reportedly been arrested. The charges against Aghaei, who works for the reformist daily Etemad, are not clear. The opposition site Kalameh reports that Aghaei was taken away by security forces on the afternoon of August 12 from Etemad's offices of in the Iranian capital. - 8/13/17

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif Accuses Trump Of 'Bad Faith' On Nuclear Deal

- Iran's foreign minister has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of showing "bad faith" over the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. Trump "always wanted to kill" the deal, Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on August 10, adding, "To avoid isolation, he's trying to blame it on Iran." "Bad faith on top of U.S. violating the letter & spirit" of the agreement, he also wrote. - 8/13/17

Worsening Relations between Iran and Afghanistan?

- According to The New York Times, Iran is sending weapons on helicopters to help the Taliban destabilize Afghanistan. Iran is sabotaging Afghan markets to promote Iranian goods, stealing Afghanistan's water, attempting to bomb Afghan dams, and even participating in drug trafficking along with the Taliban... -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 8/13/17

Iranian Imprisoned Spiritual Leader Awaiting New Verdict While IRGC Arrests His Followers

- Followers of imprisoned Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri are being arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) while he awaits a verdict more than three weeks after he was retried for the charge of "corruption on earth." - 8/13/17

Kissinger's Dangerously Flawed Views on Iran

- There are few people in the universe of US foreign policy with the standing and prestige of Henry Kissinger... In a recent article Kissinger warned that the defeat of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) would lead to a consolidation of an "Iranian radical empire" if the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their "Shiite allies" in Iraq and Syria inherit the territory currently occupied by IS. -Eldar Mamedov - 8/11/17

Two Barred From Iranian National Soccer Team For Playing Against Israeli Club

- Iran says it has kicked two players off the national soccer team after they played on their Greek professional squad against an Israeli club last week in the Europa League tournament. Deputy Sports Minister Mohammad Reza Davarzani on August 10 said midfielders Ehsan Haji Safi and Masoud Shojaei could no longer wear the national shirt of Iran after they played for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv on August 4. - 8/11/17

After Iranian adviser is beheaded by ISIS, IRGC General vows Iran not to rest until eradication of all terrorists

- General Qassem Soleimani says Iranian forces will not rest until they have taken out every last terrorist from the face of the Muslim world after Daesh reportedly beheaded Iranian military adviser Mohsen Hojaji in Syria. Mohsen Hojaji, who was a member of the Iranian advisory support team in Syria, was reportedly taken hostage by the Takfiri group near the Iraqi border on Monday and beheaded two days later. - 8/11/17

Trump Again Says Iran Violating 'Spirit' Of 'Horrible' Nuclear Agreement

- U.S. President Donald Trump once again asserted on August 10 that Iran is not "living up to the spirit" of its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, and added that it was a "horrible agreement." U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have universally found Iran has adhered to the deal. - 8/11/17

Iran: The Change that Matters Is Happening Already

- In Washington, the policy of Iranian regime change that blossomed during the Bush years and withered under Obama has flowered again in the Trump administration. But those advocating regime change and those arguing vociferously against it are both losing sight of the fact that profound change is already happening in Iran. -Sanam Naraghi Anderlini and Sina Azodi, LobeLog - 8/11/17

Iranian Authorities Arrest Six Youths For Promoting Zumba, Other 'Western' Moves

- Iranian authorities have arrested six young people for promoting Latin-style Zumba exercises and other "Western" dance moves, local media report. The August 10 reports said the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detained the four boys and two girls in the town of Sharhoud in the northeastern Semnan Province. - 8/11/17

The real footprint of the IRGC in Iran's economy

- The Iranian economy consists of three distinct sectors: public, private and semi-state -- which includes religious, revolutionary, military foundations and cooperatives, as well as social security and pension funds. Experts agree that as a result of flawed privatization processes in the past three decades, the ownership of top governmental enterprises has been transferred to the semi-state sector. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor - 8/11/17

Iran Executes Man Arrested at 15 Despite Commitment to Stop Executing Juveniles

- Iran has violated its international obligations by executing Alireza Tajiki, who was 15-years-old when he was arrested and 16 when he was sentenced to death, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "The execution of Alireza Tajiki, who was just 16 when he was sentenced to death, again highlights Iran's total disregard for children's rights," said CHRI's Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi. - 8/11/17

Statement on a Comprehensive Policy to Constrain Iran

- On August 8, 2017, a bipartisan group of 47 national security leaders issued a statement recommending a comprehensive Iran policy designed to further U.S. national security interests: "The international agreement with Iran continues to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. No American national security objective would be served by withdrawing from it as long as Iran is meeting the agreement's requirements..." -The Iran Project - 8/10/17

Ex-minister Mohhamad-Ali Najafi elected new Tehran Mayor

- Mohhamad-Ali Najafi has been elected Thursday as Tehran mayor following a vote at the City Council as the Iranian capital city faces challenges ranging from traffic to air pollution. Najafi, a reformist politician who had served for nine years as Iran's education minister, will replace current Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, who held the post for 12 years. - 8/10/17

Dark Signs in the Persian Gulf

- The political and economic assault against Qatar by a Saudi-led coalition so far shows no signs of succeeding in bending Qatar to its will. More seriously, it raises ominous signals for the future of geopolitics in the Arabian Peninsula. That future may have less to do with Iran and more to do with a Saudi Arabia that is demonstrating a newfound aggressive drive towards hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula. -Graham E. Fuller - 8/10/17

Workers at Iranian Sugarcane Company Summoned to Court After Protesting Unpaid Wages

- Fifty-three workers of Iran's Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro Industrial Company who have been peacefully demanding back pay and benefits since July 2017 have been summoned without charge to the courthouse in Shush, Khuzestan Province. - 8/10/17

Iranian Police Arrest Dozens Of 'Half-Naked' Youths At Pool Party

- Iranian police have detained dozens of young people at a pool party near the central city of Isfahan that authorities say involved dancing and alcohol, state media report. The TV news website Iribnews.ir on August 9 said provincial forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and local police arrested 64 "half-naked" teenagers of both sexes at the party, which took place the day before. - 8/10/17

Hezbollah and the Simplistic School of Counterterrorism

- Last month, President Trump made a joint appearance at the White House with a visiting head of government, during which Trump spoke of the visitor's country being "on the front lines in the fight against" an organization that is part of that same country's governing coalition. The visitor was Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the organization was Hezbollah. Members of Hezbollah are ministers in Hariri's cabinet. Hezbollah has the fourth largest bloc of seats among the two dozen parties that are represented in Lebanon's parliament. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/10/17

Stoking War with Iran Courts Disaster

- If President Trump's recent pronouncements on Iran are to be believed, it's all but certain that he will not recertify the Iran nuclear deal the next time around. He is expected to accuse Iran of advancing its missile technology and supporting terrorism, which in his view would be a violation of the spirit of the Iran deal, formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue. -Emile Nakhleh - 8/9/17

Iran: Rohani Names Two Women Vice Presidents, But None In Cabinet

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has named two women as vice presidents, a day after proposing a government that included no women in cabinet positions. Rohani's presidential website announced August 9 that he appointed Masumeh Ebtekar as vice president for women and family affairs and Laaya Joneidi as vice president for legal affairs. - 8/9/17

Arrests, Crackdown Put Spotlight On Islamic State Threat In Iran

- A fresh wave of arrests of alleged Islamic State (IS) militants, while scant on details, is helping build the case that the extremist group's activities in Iran go beyond the recent deadly bombings in Tehran. That 10 of the 27 alleged IS members were arrested in another country revealed that the effort to clamp down on the militant group had expanded past Iran's borders. The authorities claimed the arrests resulted from intelligence sharing with a third country and they touted the operation as a success that was carried out as IS was planning further attacks on Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/9/17

Muqtada al-Sadr's Saudi Visit and Iraq's Shifting Shia Politics

- Last week, the Iraqi Shia cleric and the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia and met with the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the power behind the throne. In view of the Saudi monarchy's rather dark record of treating Shias both in the kingdom itself and elsewhere, including Iraq, this visit is rather unusual. Muqtada could not have forgotten how Saudi Arabia supported Saddam Hussein who killed several members of his family, including his father Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr and the famed Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, his uncle. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 8/9/17

Iran's Beleaguered Music Community Urges Rouhani to Prevent Concert Cancellations

- Members of Iran's music industry are urging President Hassan Rouhani to follow through on his 2017 election campaign promise to uphold citizens' rights by preventing the cancellation of state-sanctioned concerts. The most recent appeal was issued to the president in a letter signed by members of the House of Music, an independent association of musicians based in Tehran, on August 2, 2017 following the cancellation of a concert by a renowned vocalist. - 8/9/17

Iranian Drone Plane Forces U.S. Fighter To Take 'Evasive Action,' U.S. Navy Says

- The U.S. Navy says an Iranian drone flew within 30 meters of one of its jets on August 8 as the U.S. aircraft was trying to land on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman Bill Urban said the encounter occurred in international airspace as the U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter bomber was preparing to land on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. - 8/9/17

Iran's President Rouhani presents cabinet to Parliament for vote of confidence

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has submitted the list of his nominees for ministerial posts to the Parliament (Majlis). The list, which was presented to the legislature on Tuesday, includes the proposed picks to head 17 out of 18 ministries. - 8/8/17

Bad Selfie: Iranian Lawmakers Take Heat For Pictures With Top EU Diplomat

- A group of Iranian lawmakers have come under fire for appearing too eager to take selfies with EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini while she was in Tehran to attend a high-profile event. Mogherini was among dozens of foreign officials in attendance as President Hassan Rohani was inaugurated for his second term on August 5, and the Italian politician's presence did not go unnoticed. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/8/17

Frequent Concert Cancellations In Iran Draws Fire From The Music Community

- The musicians in Iran are constantly being harassed and mistreated by the conservatives who are in power in judiciaries, especially in religious urban centers. They are now asking Iranian president to stand up for their rights. A year after 600 Iranian musicians wrote a letter to Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, objecting to increasing mistreatment of the music community and the illegal cancelation of concerts, nearly 100 of them gathered to voice their concerns. - 8/8/17

British delegation meets family of jailed British-Iranian woman

- A delegation from London has met with the family of Nazanin Zaghari, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran since April 2016, Tehran confirmed on Monday. "The British delegation which had visited Tehran to participate in the swearing-in ceremony (of President Rouhani) met the family of Zaghari," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told a press conference in Tehran. - 8/8/17

Iran arrests 27 ISIS-linked terrorists plotting attacks

- According to a statement by Iran's Intelligence Ministry on Monday, Iranian security forces managed to identify and arrest the Daesh-linked terrorists, who were planning to carry out acts of terror in provinces deep in the country as well as religious cities ahead of the Saturday swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani. - 8/8/17

It's Up to Europe to Save the Iran Deal

- Donald Trump wants to scrap the nuclear accord with Tehran. Here's how America's allies can stop him. -Tyler Cullis & Reza Marashi, Foreign Policy - 8/8/17

Tensions build along Iraq-Iran border

- The Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), which seeks Kurdish autonomy in the country and has been exiled to Iraq, has been intensifying its presence along the border area in recent days. The separatist group helped to defend northern Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS), and with the battle for Mosul now over, it is focusing on consolidating its control over parts of the Iraq-Iran border. -Mauricio Morales, Aljazeera - 8/8/17

U.S. violations of JCPOA destructive, warns Iran's President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that the United States' repeated violations of the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would have a "destructive" impact on the deal's implementation. "The recurrent breaches of commitments by the US government and its move to impose new sanctions on Iran have had negative impacts on Iran's public opinion," Rouhani said in a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Tehran on Saturday. - 8/7/17



The Forgotten Schools: The Baha'is and Modern Education in Iran, 1899-1934

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