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August 23 2014
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Political Prisoners at Evin Transferred into Quarantine without Explanation

- Twenty-seven political prisoners have been transferred from Evin Prison's Ward 350 to quarantine, where they are now being held in conditions tantamount to clear and serious ill treatment. - 8/23/14

Iran Politics: Central Contradiction Remains

- A vote in Iran's parliament on Wednesday resulted in the dismissal of President Rouhani's minister of science. The vote was a shock but also an important message: the main contradiction in Iran remains between the hardliners and supporters of democracy. -Morteza Kazemian - 8/23/14

Learn about the rold of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran

- Dr. Ahmed Shaheed is the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. How do UN human rights mechanisms encourage all countries, including Iran, to uphold human rights? - 8/23/14

Iran: Riot police arrest protesting mine workers

- Riot police were deployed at the Bafgh Iron Ore Mine on Wednesday August 20 in response to miner protests. According to ILNA, one of the protesting workers reported that police tried to break up the demonstrations and arrested 16 workers. - 8/23/14

A Ministerial Impeachment in Tehran

- After a year of relative political calm, initiated by the presidential election of Hassan Rouhani, and their seeming marginalization, the hard-line MPs close to the Steadfastness Front, estimated at no more than 50, were able to break the ranks of conservatives and draw enough support from the caucus that supported Ali Larijani's speakership to remove Faraji-Dana, the minister deemed closest to the reformists and largely supported by the university students and faculty. -Farideh Farhi - 8/22/14

Female Iranian-American photojournalist freed on bail

- The Washington Post reports that its female photojournalist who was detained by Iranian authorities a month ago has now been released on bail. The daily has refrained from releasing the name of the photojournalist upon the request of her family; however, it has indicated that she holds dual Iranian-U.S. citizenship. - 8/22/14

Israeli Democracy Evaporates While Gaza Burns

- The wanton destruction Israel is wreaking in Gaza right now, its blatant declarations that it will never relinquish control of most of the West Bank, and its adamant refusal to recognize that Palestinians, whether citizens or not, are entitled to the same basic human, civil and, yes, national rights as anyone else, all make outside interference imperative. -Mitchell Plitnick - 8/22/14

Iranian quake victims demand help from visiting minister

- Victims of the recent earthquake in the Mormori region of Ilam Province protested during the visit of the Minister of Roads and Urban Development and demanded the provision of aid and resources needed to overcome their ordeal. - 8/21/14

Report details century of fatal air accidents in Iran

- Iran's Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development reported on Wednesday August 20 that the average age of the Iranian air fleet exceeds 20 years, and in the past 100 years to date, two thousand Iranian have died in air accidents. - 8/21/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament

- Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. - 8/21/14

France Wants Arabs, Iran, UN Security Council to Tackle Islamic State

- France said on Wednesday it wanted the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and regional countries, including Arab states and Iran, to coordinate action against the militant group Islamic State, the insurgents who control parts of Iraq and Syria. -VOA - 8/21/14

New Iranian Science Minister named following impeachment

- President Hassan Rohani appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi to replace Reza Farajidana at the helm of the Ministry of Science and Technology today, after Parliament voted to impeach Farajidana. - 8/21/14

Jailed Iranian journalist out on bail after two months

- Jailed Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been released on bail after two months in custody. Azarpeyk's lawyer told ISNA that Azarpeyk's family posted bail of 200 million toumans for her release, which occurred at 2 PM. Azarpeyk was arrested in May and charged with propaganda activities against the regime. - 8/21/14

Policy Memo: New Senate Bills Concerning Iran Nuclear Negotiations

- In the last week of July, three separate pieces of legislation were introduced in the Senate that, if passed, would have a significant impact on nuclear negotiations with Iran. -Tyler Cullis and Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 8/21/14

Warplanes: Joint U.S.-Iran Operations Over Iraq

- Without getting too chummy the U.S. and Iran have been trying to work out some rules for each other's use of UAVs now operating over Iraq. Iranian UAVs have been seen flying over Iraq since late June, apparently with the approval of the Iraqi government (and quiet assent of the Americans, who already had F-16s and UAVs over Iraq). -Strategy Page - 8/21/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament

- Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. - 8/20/14

Public Offers Support for Obama's Iraq Intervention

- Despite rising criticism of his foreign policy - even from his former secretary of state - President Barack Obama's decision last week to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq enjoys relatively strong public support, at least so far. -Jim Lobe - 8/20/14

Paying the price for sanctions: The customers with Iranian links being ditched by British banks

- HSBC and others deny discrimination, but have hefty fines led to some banks being far too cautious? -Maria Tadeo, Independent - 8/20/14

Maliki is Gone: Now What?

- Nouri al-Maliki is no longer Iraq's prime minister, but his departure does not mean that Iraq's problems will be resolved easily or soon. A basic change must first occur in Iraq's domestic politics, the power struggles within its different ethnic and sectarian components, and the behavior of regional and international actors towards Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter - 8/19/14

Final deal possible only if 5+1 lifts UN sanctions: Iran

- The Iranian foreign minister has said that a comprehensive nuclear deal can be reached only if the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) annuls the sanctions resolutions imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council. - 8/19/14

Iran: Dozens Unlawfully Held in City's Prisons

- Several dozen prisoners in a northern city are serving prison terms for exercising their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said. - 8/19/14

Iranian journalist's arrest extended despite lack of trial

- The arrest warrant for jailed journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been renewed again for another month despite Azarpeyk's objections and her demand for due process. In a report by the Etemad daily, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabayi, Azarpeyk's lawyer, said the investigation is now complete and his client should be given a chance to face her charges. - 8/19/14

Iran Lawmakers Urge Ministry To Condemn 'Rights Abuses' In Riot-Hit U.S. Town

- The unrest in the U.S. state of Missouri sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black teenager is being played up by Iranian hardliners, with several lawmakers calling on the Foreign Ministry to react and highlight what they describe as blatant human rights abuses in the United States. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/19/14

Airport dogs detect hidden drug shipment headed from Tehran to London

- The head of Iran's Airport Police announced that 120 kg of opium headed for London was sniffed out by their dogs. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Sunday August 17, Hassan Mehri told reporters that the opium shipment was found by their dogs during a routine patrol of shipments at Imam Khomeini Airport. - 8/19/14

Iranian photographers face the lash after criticising official's book

- Two photographers in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 75 lashes after criticising an illustrated book published by a local official. Both men, who are from Qazvin province, were put on trial when Mohammad-Ali Hazrati, the head of the local cultural heritage organisation, felt insulted by the negative reviews the pair had written in separate posts online about his photography book, "Qazvin, the Land of Times Past". -Saeed Kamali Dehghan - 8/19/14

Iran Says It Will Accept Nuclear Monitoring Only Under Treaty

- Iran said it will accept monitoring of its nuclear program as called for in the global non-proliferation treaty, but not any inspections beyond that. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that any inspection beyond the legal framework of the treaty "would be a precedent, against the interests of all developing countries." - 8/18/14

Iranian Science Minister To Face Impeachment Debate

- Iranian Parliament has announced that its session on Wednesday August 20 will be allotted to the impeachment of Science Minister Reza Farajidana. President Rohani's representative in Parliament expressed every hope that a majority of MPs will oppose the minister's impeachment, saying: "Academia is satisfied with the policies of the Minister of Education." - 8/18/14

Wary of lifting Iran sanctions, EU overrides own courts

- Despite scores of Iranian individuals and companies successfully proving in European courts that the sanctions placed upon them are illegal under EU law, many remain listed, as the EU executive effectively overrides the decisions of its own courts. -Arron Merat, Al-Monitor - 8/18/14

Amano hails Iran's resolve for cooperation with IAEA

- Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has hailed Iran's resolve to settle issues pertaining to its nuclear energy program through cooperation with the nuclear agency. - 8/17/14

Iranian Math Genius's Photos Too Racy For Media Back Home

- "No hair, no ears, no neck." That's how one journalist described a front-page portrait of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani that an Iranian newspaper digitally doctored to obscure her hair and skin to placate censors in the Islamic republic. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/16/14

Profiting From Iranophobia?

- Eli has a new blog post on The Nation's website today that provides additional details about the curious - one is tempted to say incestuous - relationship between the staff of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the corporate interests of billionaire gold and silver investor, Thomas Kaplan. -Jim Lobe - 8/16/14

Iranian FM says nuclear solution will take full 4 months

- Iran's foreign minister said on Friday August 15 that it is "unrealistic" to think that the nuclear dispute between Iran and the 5+1 will be resolved before the end of the four-month extension allotted for the talks. - 8/16/14

Iranian Science Minister to face impeachment on Wednesday

- Iranian Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Majead Ansari announced that impeachment session against Reza Farajidana, the Science Minister, is scheduled to be held on Wednesday. - 8/16/14

Iranian-Arab activists draw harsh sentences

- Preliminary court has sentenced four Iranian-Arab activists in Ahwaz to heavy prison terms after they had already spent more than two and a half years in jail. Hassan Abiyat was sentenced to life imprisonment, Aidan Beyt was sentenced to 10 years and Khaled Obeydavi and Jasem Soadi were each sentenced to five years in prison. - 8/16/14

U.S. responds to Iranian Supreme Leader's comments on talks

- The U.S. has responded to the Iranian Supreme Leader's statements regarding the nuclear negotiations, stressing that the U.S. had not imposed any fresh sanctions on Iran since the interim agreement reached in November of 2013. - 8/15/14

In Iraq, an Opening for the Saudis

- The selection of Abadi was welcomed, if not engineered, by Iran, Saudi Arabia's feared rival for regional supremacy. Under other circumstances, that might make him unpalatable to Riyadh, but the rise of the Islamic State has given Riyadh and Tehran a powerful reason to work together, at least until the threat recedes or is beaten back. -Thomas Lippman - 8/15/14

Iran: Head Of Judiciary Reappointed Despite Controversies

- The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has renewed Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani's term as head of judiciary for another five years. At a ceremony, Ayatollah Khamenei called on the judiciary to focus on policies to reduce case-processing times, fight corruption, and establish social security and prevent crime. - 8/15/14

Iraq Crisis: Effort to Aid Kurdish Forces Puts Iran, U.S. on Same Side

- MAKHMOUR, Iraq -- The struggles of the embattled Kurdish Peshmerga to repel Islamist insurgents have put the U.S. and Iran on the same side, with both rushing to reinforce a revered fighting force to defeat a common enemy. -WSJ - 8/15/14

SUMMON THE EXORCIST

- So far over two-thousand dead and perhaps ten-thousand or more injured and half a million made homeless, all non-combatants or bystanders save a couple of hundred actual Hamas fighters. This was in Gaza, the world's largest and most densely populated concentration camp, cut off from the rest of the world and under attack during the past three weeks by Israel's Zio-Nazi Likud regime. -Kam Zarrabi - 8/14/14

Presidential praise for Iranian math prize winner (with and without head scarf)

- Mirzakhani was born and raised in Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted congratulations today to Mirzakhani using two photos - one showing her with a head scarf and one without. -Lydia Tomkiw, CSM - 8/14/14

Iran's Supreme Leader Dismisses Value Of Direct Talks With U.S.

- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's interaction with the United States should be limited to "very rare and specific" cases such as nuclear talks. Speaking to the Iranian ambassadors and Foreign Ministry officials on August 13, Khamenei said Iran should interact with all countries, except the United States and Israel. - 8/14/14

Candid Discussions: Reza Marashi on U.S.-Iran Relations and Regional Dynamics

- Reza Marashi is Research Director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Prior to NIAC, Mr. Marashi worked in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He was also a political analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), covering China-Middle East issues, and previously a consultant at a Tehran-based private strategic consultancy firm focused on Iranian political and economic risks. -Reza Akhlaghi, FPA - 8/14/14

Iran's economy shrank 1.9% last calendar year: Central Bank

- The Central Bank of Iran has confirmed that the national economy, including the oil sector, contracted by 1.9 percent in the Iranian calendar year 1392 (March 2013-March 2014). - 8/14/14

Iran: Land transfer to foreign firms in Aras Free Trade Zone approved

- The administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has approved legislation allowing the transfer of land to foreign companies in the Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, which is located in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan. - 8/14/14

Iran and the U.S. sign MOU to boost Volleyball standards

- Iran's Volleyball Federation President, Mohammad Reza Davarzani and his U.S counterpart signed memorandum of understanding in Los Angeles on Monday in order to expand cooperations. Iran's men national volleyball team is in California for a four-game tour against the U.S. - 8/13/14

Washington's Sketchy Pro-Israel/Anti-Iran Camp

- My colleague Eli Clifton has a new piece up at Salon about the pro-sanctions group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) and its somewhat murky links to a billionaire precious-metals investor named Thomas Kaplan. I suggest everyone check it out -Ali Gharib - 8/13/14

Iran: Centre urges rethink of ban on satellite programming

- The Iranian Parliament's research centre reports that government policies on satellite usage in the country have not succeeded and need to be reconsidered. In a report released on Tuesday August 12, the centre says the ban on satellite equipment and usage has not been an effective policy. - 8/13/14

Iranian Oil Minister blasts former government for missing billions

- Iran's Minister of Oil has accused the former administration of abuse of power and the promotion of corruption. He added that under the former administration's watch, Babak Zanjani, the Iranian tycoon now in custody on embezzlement charges, managed to receive 2.7 billion dollars thought a "fake bank" with the collaboration of a number of ministers and the head of the Central Bank, and that the money is now untraceable and gone. - 8/13/14

U.S. ready to help new Iraq leader, Iran welcomes choice

- Iraq's new prime minister-designate won swift endorsements from uneasy mutual allies the United States and Iran on Tuesday as he called on political leaders to end crippling feuds that have let jihadists seize a third of the country. -Reuters - 8/13/14

UANI, Silver Futures, and Confrontation with Iran

- Along with AIPAC and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), one of the most active groups that have promoted a policy of confrontation with Iran has been United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), headed by a former Bush administration representative (under John Bolton) to the UN, Mark Wallace. -Jim Lobe - 8/12/14

Iran: Rohani grounds similar planes after fatal crash

- Hours after the crash of an Antonov "Iran 140" passenger airplane near Mehrabad Airport, Iranian President, Hassan Rohani issued an order banning the flight of all similar airplanes until the completion of investigations into the cause of the crash. - 8/12/14

Iranian MPs Vote To Ban Vasectomies, Punish Contraception Advocates

- Iran's parliament has voted to ban vasectomies and other permanent forms of birth control in an attempt to increase the country's birthrate. The legislation would ban vasectomies and impose punishments for encouraging contraceptive services and abortions. - 8/12/14

Iran's Science Minister refuses to back down on progressive policies

- The Minister of Science and Technology has stood firm in his decisions against the wishes of a number of his critics in Iranian Parliament and the MPs are now reconsidering his impeachment. The MPs' chief demand was reportedly the re-expulsion of students who had been marked for their political activity under the former administration and banned from continuing their education. - 8/11/14

Iranian government opposes concert gender segregation

- Iranian police closed down a concert of pop singer Mohsen Yeganeh in Urmia, West Azerbaijan Province last week and announced that concerts in Iranian cities except Tehran would be held for males and females separately. - 8/11/14

Iran's President Lashes Out At Critics, Calls Them 'Political Cowards'

- Iran's President Hassan Rohani has harshly criticized hard-liners opposed to making a deal over Iran's contested nuclear program with world powers, calling them "political cowards." Rohani said: "Anytime we negotiate, they start shaking. Well, to hell. Go and find a warm place for yourself." - 8/11/14

Iran lightens punishment for birth control procedures

- The Iranian Parliament says the Health Commission has amended the new fertility bill, eliminating prison sentences for vasectomies and tubectomies. Abdolrahman Rostamian reports that physicians who perform these procedures will not face imprisonment but in the new draft of the bill they first would be given oral and then written warning and would finally face the closure of their practice. - 8/11/14

IMF Says Rouhani Has Stabilized Iran's Economy

- The International Monetary Fund said President Hassan Rouhani's policies of reducing energy subsidies along with the easing of international sanctions have helped to steady Iran's economy and cut inflation. -Bloomberg - 8/11/14

Tehran, London in talks to reopen embassies: Iran diplomat

- Iran and the UK are in talks to discuss the full reopening of the embassies of both countries in the near future, the Iranian non-resident charge d'affaires to Britain has announced. - 8/9/14

US Bombs Islamic Extremists in Northern Iraq

- The U.S. military launched two rounds of airstrikes Friday in northwestern Iraq, using drones and fighter jets. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said remotely piloted aircraft Friday struck Islamic State militants near Irbil. He said fighter planes later dropped eight bombs on vehicles and a mortar position in the area. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 8/9/14

Iran: President Rohani slams predecessor's oil policies

- Iranian president Hassan Rohani accused his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of having "a lack of wisdom" and said: "Under the pretext of circumventing sanctions, they gave the oil away to those who took it away for themselves and in effect circumvented the Iranian people." - 8/8/14

Geneva talks on Iran nuclear program constructive: US

- The United States says American and Iranian officials held "a constructive discussion" over Tehran's nuclear energy program in the Swiss city of Geneva. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Geneva on Thursday to discuss ways to bridge differences in the course of talks over Tehran's nuclear work. - 8/8/14

A U.S. Journalist's Arrest Points to a Power Struggle in the Leadership of Iran

- Jason Rezaian knew he was being watched. A man on a motorcycle had been following him and his wife for weeks, his colleagues said. The tail was so blatant that Mr. Rezaian, The Washington Post's correspondent in Tehran, had even managed to take a picture of the license plate. -Thomas Erdbring, NY Times - 8/8/14

Iranian cyber police officer sentenced for death of blogger

- A court in Tehran has sentenced the accused in the death of jailed blogger Sattar Beheshti to three years in jail and 74 lashes. According to the Beheshti family attorney, the accused has also been ordered to have an obligatory transfer for two years. - 8/8/14

Islamic State on the Move With Baghdad Still Gridlocked

- Forces of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, have lunged toward two strategic dams earlier this month, one in the north and the other west of Baghdad. The northern offensive drove Kurdish forces from areas they had protected, showing how vulnerable Iraqi Kurds could be in the face of more sweeping attacks. -Wayne White - 8/8/14

Comic strips: Iran militia's weapon in its war on sex, drugs and alcohol

- Iran's fearsome Basij militia - a paramilitary squad loosely attached to the revolutionary guard - is hard at work imparting morality on the country's youth. Using illustrated stories that mimic the style of comic strips, they aim to deter Iranians from living a 'sinful' Western lifestyle. -France24 - 8/8/14

While Officials Maintain Silence, Hardliners Make Baseless Accusations Against Jason Rezaian

- After two weeks of silence by Iranian officials on the reason for the detention of husband-and-wife journalists Jason Rezaian and Yegabeh Salehi and their whereabouts, media with ties to security and intelligence organs believed to be holding them have begun leveling baseless charges of spying against them, revealing the intentions of interrogators to fabricate a case in order to justify their actions. - 8/7/14

Rohani deputy slams Tehran's gender segregation plan

- The presidential deputy for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, says the Rohani administration does not approve of gender segregation in the workplace. This comes after the head of Iran's judiciary commended the mayor of Tehran for implementing a plan to separate male and female public employees in municipal offices. - 8/7/14

Senior US Diplomats to Hold Nuclear Talks with Iran

- The United States and Iran are set to hold high-level, bilateral negotiations on Iran's nuclear program on Thursday in Geneva. In a statement, the U.S. State Department said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will head the American delegation. The chief U.S. nuclear negotiator, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, will also attend. - 8/7/14

Iran Nuclear Talks To Resume By Mid-September

- Reports from Brussels say Iran and six world powers will meet for a new round of nuclear talks before the next United Nations General Assembly session, which starts on September 16. Michael Mann, a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said on August 7 that the location of talks between negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 group still must be determined. - 8/7/14

Prominent Iranian activist found dead in Turkey

- Jamal Hosseiny, the editor-in-chief of the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), was found dead at his home in Turkey. HRANA reports that on Tuesday August 5, Turkish police discovered Hosseiny's lifeless body behind his desk at his home with drops of blood on his face and other parts of the house. - 8/7/14

Iran showing 'heroic flexibility': Rouhani

- President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran is showing 'heroic flexibility' and as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said 'humiliating flexibility' and surrendering to big powers is forbidden. - 8/7/14

When Negotiating With Iran, Mind the Russians

- Defining the size of Iran's nuclear enrichment program has become a major sticking point in the negotiations between Iran and world powers expected to resume next month. The scale of this enrichment program, however, greatly relies upon undecided agreements between Tehran and Moscow on the long-term supply of nuclear fuel for the Russian-built reactors... -Francois Nicoulaud - 8/6/14

'Anti-Sunni' Satellite Channels Under Fire In Iran

- Shi'ite satellite television networks in Iran have come under fire for alleged anti-Sunni programming. Iran's Intelligence Ministry said in an August 4 statement that a number of people working for local and foreign-based Shi'ite satellite channels were arrested during recent raids on "illegal offices" in the provinces of Qom, Tehran, Isfahan, and Khorasan. - 8/6/14

Iran awards first annual human rights prize

- Iran has awarded its first annual prize for human rights activism to the head of the Al-Nasr Children's Hospital in Gaza. The 30,000-euro prize was awarded for the first time on the sidelines of the Islamic Human Rights Ceremony in Tehran. - 8/6/14

IRNA: Iran Nuclear Talks Likely on Fringes of UN General Assembly

- Iran and six world powers will probably discuss a potential deal on Tehran's nuclear program on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) in September, the state news agency IRNA quoted a senior Iranian negotiator as saying. -Reuters - 8/6/14
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