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In Remote Iranian Province, Women Make Gains At Ballot Box

- Iran's sprawling southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province is notorious for insecurity, poverty, drug trafficking, and deadly clashes between security forces and militants. More recently, however, it made headlines this month for sweeping a record number of women onto city and village councils. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/26/17

Senate Panel Backs New Sanctions on Iran

- CAPITOL HILL - A Senate panel has overwhelmingly approved new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's support for international terrorism and its ballistic missile program, the first move to punish Tehran since a landmark nuclear accord went into effect. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 5/26/17

Saudi Rulers To Take War Dreams In Iran To Grave: Iranian Official

- Iran's Foreign Ministry says Saudi leaders will take their wish to provoke a military attack against the Islamic Republic to their graves. The strong-worded reaction by Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi came after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a recent interview that his country "will work to have the battle in Iran." - 5/26/17

Response to Passing of Deeply Flawed Iran Sanctions Bill (S.722)

- "With a vote for this flawed sanctions bill the Senate Foreign Relations Committee decided to give Donald Trump new tools to kill the Iran deal and stumble into war with Iran. After Iranians overwhelmingly voted for openness and engagement, Senators have effectively endorsed Trump's calls for a provocative and dangerous approach to the Middle East. NIAC Action condemns this vote and urges the full Senate to abstain from moving the bill forward." -NIAC Action - 5/26/17

Iran Experts Assembly warns Bahrain Saudi Rulers To Take War Dreams In Iran To Grave: Iranian Officialof gathering 'storm'

- Iran's Assembly of Experts has strongly condemned the Bahraini regime's recent raid on the residence of the spiritual leader of the country's Shia majority. The Assembly said in a statement on Friday that the inhumane treatment of Sheikh Isa Qassim by the Bahraini Al Khalifa regime, which has been aided by the Saudi regime, would "create a tide and a storm that will not subside except with the toppling of the oppressive Al Khalifah system." - 5/26/17

More Than 15,000 Petition Iran's Judiciary to Free Prominent Teachers' Rights Activist

- An online petition signed by more than 15,000 people calling for the release of imprisoned teachers' rights leader Esmail Abdi has been delivered to the judiciary and the office of the president. "Mr. Abdi is not a thief, murderer, drug dealer, embezzler, foreign spy or traitor to his country," said the petition addressed to Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani. "He is a trade union activist elected by the teachers of Tehran according to the laws and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran." - 5/26/17

Costs of the Clenched Fist

- In his first inaugural address, one of President Barack Obama's messages to America's adversaries was that "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." A few years later, the unclenching of Iran's fist was marked by the election of reformist Hassan Rouhani and the entry of Iran into negotiations with the United States and five other powers, leading to a detailed agreement in which Iran accepted severe limitations on, and intrusive scrutiny of, its nuclear program and closed all possible pathways to possible acquisition of a nuclear weapon. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/26/17

Iran: Newly Elected Reformist Council Member Arrested For Calling Prophet Mohammad "Secular"

- Javad Giahshenas, a newly elected reformist member of the city council in Hamadan, northwestern Iran, was arrested for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammad. "The merciful prophet was secular and Islam is the same as liberalism," Giahshenas was quoted saying during a presidential campaign event at the Islamic Azad University of Hamadan, where he works as an academic staffer at the political science department. - 5/26/17

Trump's Alignment with Sunni Autocrats Masks Shallow Understanding of Region

- President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia has engendered endless press reporting and analysis. Two key points stand out in the media coverage. First, the trip was mostly show than action. Second, the Saudis played up to Trump's craving for adulation and narcissism. They knew he was a fickle showman and acted accordingly. He of course loved it, and they proved that rich princely Bedouins could capture the world stage, at least for a fleeting moment. -Emile Nakhleh - 5/25/17

U.S. Treasury Eyes More Sanctions On Iran, Reviews Aircraft Sales

- The U.S. Treasury chief told Congress on May 24 that he is looking for ways to increase sanctions on Iran, including by reviewing licenses the Treasury previously granted to Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran. - 5/25/17

IRAN: Newly Reelected Rouhani Abandons Promise to End Six-Year House Arrest of Opposition Leaders

- In his first press conference after being declared the winner of Iran's May 19, 2017 election, President Hassan Rouhani refused to commit to ending the more than six-year extrajudicial house arrests of three opposition leaders, a pledge he made during his first presidential campaign. - 5/25/17

Arms Deal Stories Omit War Crimes Arms Will Be Used For

- The Trump administration wrapped up a weapons deal with the Saudi Arabian government this week that will be worth up to $350 billion over the next ten years. News of the deal came as Trump visited Riyadh and paid fealty to one of the United States' most enduring allies in the Middle East. -Adam Johnson, LobeLog - 5/25/17

Iranian Women Face Bias in the Workplace: Human Rights Watch

- Laws and policies that discriminate against women interfere with Iranian women's right to work, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Women confront an array of restrictions, such as on their ability to travel, prohibitions on entering certain jobs, and an absence of basic legal protections. - 5/25/17

Iranian Activists Acquitted of National Security Charges for Peaceful Defense of Labor Rights

- Trade union activists Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsani-Rad have been acquitted of the charge of 'acting against national security' for peacefully advocating for labor rights. Azimzadeh, chairman of the Free Workers Union of Iran (FWUI) and his colleague Ehsani-Rad, were taken to court by the Safa Rolling and Pipe Mills Company and accused of provoking its workers to go on strike in April 2015 to demand several months of unpaid wages and benefits. - 5/25/17

What's on Rouhani's second-term economic agenda?

- Hassan Rouhani's re-election on May 19 is welcome wind in the sail of the moderate political forces in Iran. The sharp rise in the index of the Tehran Stock Exchange can also be seen as an indication that economic players view the election results as a positive development. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor - 5/25/17

Targeting Iran or England, terror has one origin (Saudi Arabia): Iranian Foreign Ministry

- Speaking on Tuesday, Bahram Qassemi condemned in the strongest terms a terrorist attack at a concert hall in the English city of Manchester, which killed at least 22 people, and said the ideological origin of that attack was the same as the source of a raid that killed 11 Iranian border guards in the city of Mirjaveh on April 26. "We believe that the taproot and the ideological origin of terrorist incidents in Iran's Mirjaveh and the UK's Manchester is one and the same," Qassemi said. Though he did not name any party by name, he was most likely referring to Saudi Arabia. - 5/24/17

The Elders welcome Iran election result as spur for peace and tolerance

- The Elders welcomed the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani in Iran as a sign that the Iranian people clearly desire peaceful relations with the outside world and a more tolerant society at home. The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights. - 5/24/17

Five Killed, Hundreds Arrested In Bahrain At Shi'ite Protest; Iran Blames Trump

- At least five people were killed and hundreds arrested in Bahrain on May 23 after police stormed a sit-in by protesters supporting the Sunni-ruled kingdom's top Shi'ite cleric, Bahrain's Interior Ministry said. Human Rights Watch called the Diraz raid a crackdown on free expression and said there was no coincidence it occurred two days after a "convivial" meeting between Trump and King Hamad. - 5/24/17

Learning to Lose in Iran

- Win or lose, it has become obvious that the fortunes of Hassan Rouhani and his administration remain bound to the memory of 2009 and the Green Movement. Calls for the release of the movement's imprisoned leaders by the cheering crowds were a constant reminder on the campaign trail that the indignity of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection continues to be a source of grievance for millions of Iranians, a legacy to be redeemed at the ballot box. -Shervin Malekzadeh - 5/24/17

President Rouhani's Battle With Hardliners Over UN 2030 Educational Guidelines Follows Him Into Second Term

- A major challenge for newly reelected President Hassan Rouhani's second term is integrating guidelines from a UN agenda into the country's educational system-a project he began in the summer of 2016 that was stalled by fierce opposition from hardliners. - 5/24/17

Trump's Riyadh Speech: Bowing to the Saudi Regime

- The bar for Donald Trump's speech in Riyadh had been set so low that it was scraping the sand. How much could be expected from a notorious exploiter of Islamophobia speaking to a gathering of leaders of majority Muslim countries? Getting through the experience without causing major new damage should perhaps be considered a success. Perhaps Trump and his speechwriters were wise not to attempt anything more. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/24/17

Trump in the Middle East: From 'America First' to Saudi and Israel first

- President Donald Trump's visit to the Middle East has turned out as expected: no single act of outreach to the Muslim world could undo his fueling of Islamophobia and no amount of Iranophobia could cover up the irony of Trump and Saudi Arabia uniting against intolerance. -Trita Parsi, Middle East Eye - 5/24/17

Iran's Conservatives Lose a Presidential Election and More

- In the past two decades, Iranian presidential elections have been accompanied with surprising results and even tumult. Newcomers have won against better known and financed politicians while presumed establishment candidates and assumed winners have done poorly. This time around, the surprise was not in the results but the blunt conversation generated by the campaign and the skeptical way the voters assessed the promises of the candidates. -Farideh Farhi - 5/23/17

JUST WHISTLING A TUNE IN A HURRICANE Mr. Trump's Historic First Foreign Trip

- I watched with great disgust President Trump's long delivery at the gathering of Moslem heads of state in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His half-hour-long speech was eloquently worded, obviously not his words, as he lacks the degree of literacy or the command of the language required for that. The content of his speech was rhetorical, hypocritical and transparently shallow and, I might add, disgracefully dishonest. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 5/23/17

Women win highest ever seats in Tehran City Council election

- Six women have been elected to Tehran's 5th city council election, registering a record high out of the total 21 members. The number of female councilors has been doubled in the 5th council elections compared with the previous rounds, in which women's number was not more than three - 5/23/17

Rouhani's Victory: The View from Brussels

- The first Western leader to congratulate Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as Iran's president on May 19 was the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. It is clearly an indicator of the importance the EU attaches to relations with Iran. Also remarkable is Mogherini's message lauding Iranians for "passionately taking part in the political life of their country." -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 5/23/17

Iran's President Rohani Criticizes Trump's Saudi Summit, Says Vote Shows Iranians Want Engagement

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized a summit of Muslim countries that was attended by U.S. President Donald Trump, calling the meeting in Saudi Arabia a "a show with no meaning." Trump addressed dozens of leaders of Muslim states in Riyadh on May 21, urging leaders to fight against Islamic extremism and calling for the isolation of Iran, which he accused of fueling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror." - 5/23/17

Word on the Street after Moderate's Landslide Win in Iran

- Iranian people came to streets to celebrate the victory of Hassan Rouhani, the moderate candidate in Iran's twelfth presidential election. Rouhani secured 57% of the 40 million votes Iranian cast. He defeated the hardliner candidate Ebrahim Raisi, a former notorious prosecutor and jurist, who received 38.5% or 15.7 million of the votes. -Sara Rustampour - 5/22/17

Pro-Rohani Reformists Sweep Tehran Council Elections

- Iran's moderates and reformists have swept to power in Tehran's City Council, winning all 21 seats and driving the conservatives from power. It was another boost to the moderate and reformist camp after President Hassan Rohani won a resounding victory in the May 19 presidential election. - 5/22/17

Mr. Trump, When you were Dancing in Riyadh...

- Dear Mr. Trump, when you were dancing in Riyadh and calling for a "regime change" in Iran, the Iranians were changing their regime, just a little more. This is what they have been doing over the past decade, step by step, one election at a time, and without American boots on the ground. -Fatemeh Keshavarz, Huffington Post - 5/22/17

Iran's Zarif Scorns Saudi Deals With U.S., Alleged Ties To September 11 Terror Attacks

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia for their weapons and investment deals and suggested that the Arab country's policies were to blame for the September 11 attacks in the United States. - 5/22/17

10 ways Iran is more democratic and modern than Saudi Arabia

- Though both Iran and Saudi Arabia define themselves Islamic states, in almost every respect Iran is a far more modern and democratic country and society than Saudi Arabia is or can ever be. -Alexander Mercouris, The Duran - 5/22/17

Trump Calls For Coalition To 'Stamp Out Extremism,' Slams Iran During Landmark Speech

- U.S. President Donald Trump has called for a "coalition of nations" in the Middle East to come together with the aim of "stamping out extremism" during a landmark speech on May 21, the second day of his visit to Saudi Arabia. - 5/22/17

Tillerson Says It Is Likely He Will Eventually Speak With His Iranian Counterpart

- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it is likely he will eventually speak to his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, "at the right time," although he has no plans to talk to him at this point. - 5/22/17

Hassan Rohani Declared Winner Of Iran's Presidential Vote

- President Hassan Rohani has been declared the outright winner with nearly all the ballots counted from Iran's May 19 presidential election, a seemingly emphatic endorsement of the incumbent's efforts to reengage internationally and seek modest reforms within Iran's clerically dominated society. - 5/20/17

Scapegoating Iran Will Not Resolve Middle East Challenge

- During his Middle East trip, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to pursue an ambitious list of objectives. Paramount among these is to strengthen regional cooperation in defeating the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) and Islamist terrorism in general... A key difficulty, however, is that President Trump and leaders of his administration clearly seek to achieve these ambitious goals by (mis)representing Iran as the world's leading exporter of terrorism and a threat to Israel and Arab states, especially those in the Persian Gulf. -Shirin T. Hunter - 5/20/17

NIAC Responds to President Rouhani's Reelection, Calls on Trump to Choose Diplomacy

- "The Iranian people have spoken by coming out in record numbers to vote in Friday's presidential elections. By continuing to engage at the ballot box, and once more demonstrating their preference for the most moderate option available, they have chosen a path of gradual transformation through peaceful participation. Once again, the Iranian people have shown their persistence to choose their own destiny and to reject all attempts to stymie that right." - 5/20/17

Iran Presidential Vote Pits 'Engagement' Against 'Self-Reliance'

- Iranians are voting in a four-man presidential race that could reinvigorate efforts for an economic and diplomatic thaw with the West or draw the curtain on a four-year interlude in hard-line domination at all levels of government. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/19/17

PHOTOS: Iranians go to polls to elect president

- Iranians are voting at a presidential election in which four candidates, including incumbent Hassan Rouhani, are competing for the presidential post. The polls opened at 8:00 local time (03:30 GMT) on Friday. More than 54 million people are eligible to vote the election. Exit polls are expected on Saturday. - 5/19/17

What Future Will Iran Choose?

- As Iranians head to the polls to vote in their presidential elections on Friday, much attention has rightly focused on the choice they will make. The incumbent Hassan Rouhani, and his hefty coalition of reformists and pragmatists, are trying to fend off a hardline conservative ticket headed by judiciary stalwart Ebrahim Raisi. - 5/19/17

U.S. Bombs Syrian, Iranian-Backed Forces For First Time, Leaving Eight Dead

- U.S. forces have for the first time bombed a convoy of Syrian government and Iranian-backed militia forces after Russia was unable to keep them from entering an area where U.S. allies have been preparing to battle the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, the Pentagon says. - 5/19/17

Sherman: "We Are Safer" Because of JCPOA

- In a May 16 event held by the Cato Institute, Ambassador Wendy Sherman spoke at length about the Iran nuclear deal and its status under the Trump administration. Sherman, who served as Barack Obama's under secretary of state for political affairs from 2011-2015 and was one of the key figures in negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, also discussed the administration's policy toward Iran more generally. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 5/19/17

Most Yarsani Religious Minority Candidates Disqualified From Iran's 2017 Councils Elections

- The majority of Yarsani candidates seeking seats in Iran's May 2017 elections for local councils have been disqualified, the faith's spokesman, Siavash Hayati, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). The Yarsan spokesman told CHRI that in Hashtgerd, northeast of Tehran in Alborz Province, 28 of the faith's 30 candidates were rejected by the local election monitoring committee. - 5/19/17

Presidential Vote Count To be Announced Gradually in May 2017 Elections

- The authority in charge of counting ballots in Iran's presidential election has backed down from its initial decision to announce the winner after all votes have been counted. "The Interior Ministry actually agrees that it is more practical to report the vote count gradually," said Assistant Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Moghimi on May 17, two days before Iranians vote for their next president and local councils. - 5/19/17

Raeesi 2017, Or Ahmadinejad Redux? Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

- In the run up to the 2017 election, the emergence of Ebrahim Raeesi as the most likely candidate to defeat President Hassan Rouhani has drawn comparisons with the surge of support for Ahmadinejad in 2005. But how much do the two elections really have in common, and how likely is Raeesi to become the next president of Iran? -Reza HaghighatNejad, LobeLog - 5/19/17

Analysis: Iran's Younger Generation Positioned To Restore Political Roar

- When Mahmud Ahmadinejad was elected to a second term as president in 2009 as a result of what is widely regarded as vote-rigging, Iran's younger generation played a leading role in the massive street protests that ensued and gave birth to the opposition Green Movement. Iran's rulers were shaken. For the first time since the days of the shah, Iranians screamed "death to the dictator!" from Tehran's rooftops. Iran's youth were energized -- and angry. -David Patrikarakos, RFE - 5/18/17

US Extends Obama-era Nuclear Sanctions Relief for Iran, Adds Other Sanctions

- The Trump administration has announced that it will continue nuclear sanctions relief for Iran, keeping in place an Obama-era deal. Under the 2015 deal, sanctions punishing Iran for its nuclear program were waived in exchange for Iran's commitment to roll back the program. But continuing the sanctions relief requires the renewal of a six-month waiver. The most recent waiver, issued by former Secretary of State John Kerry in December, was set to expire this week. - 5/18/17

John Kerry, security experts team up to defend Iran deal from Trump

- Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry along with other top security experts have come to defend the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, from the country's hardline President Donald Trump. Through a newly formed organization called Diplomacy Works, Kerry and several national security experts who served under former U.S. President Barack Obama are fighting to protect the nuclear agreement, The Independent reported. - 5/18/17

Rouhani's Unlikely Supporters

- According to the polls, incumbent Hassan Rouhani is the frontrunner in Iran's upcoming presidential elections, which will be held on May 19. However observers acknowledge that the win is still not guaranteed and that Rouhani faces a tough re-election. According to Rouhani supporters, the greatest threat facing Rouhani is not posed by election rivals but by an apathetic public who may choose not to participate in elections or, even worse, boycott Friday's vote. -Sussan Tahmasebi, LobeLog - 5/18/17

Iranian Judiciary Forbids Campaigners From Printing Rouhani's Criticism of Revolutionary Guard

- Since reformist leader Mohammad Khatami endorsed incumbent President Hassan Rouhani's second-term election campaign, hardliners have been working to suppress the message, as well as Rouhani's criticism of his powerful, hardline opponents, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 5/18/17

Iran's Instagram election sees rivals battle on social media

- This is an Iranian election like no other, where the main battles are being fought on social media. For the first time candidates, as well as voters, have discovered the power of messaging apps as a way of bypassing state media and reaching out directly to each other. -Leyla Khodabakhshi, BBC - 5/18/17

Rouhani Not a Sure Bet in Iran's Presidential Elections

- Iranians will go to the polls Friday, the same day Donald Trump begins his first foreign trip as U.S. President arriving in Saudi Arabia, where the kingdom's leaders vowed this month to start "the battle against Iran." Trump and America have figured prominently in Iran's presidential election campaigning with hardliners on the Principilist wing of Iranian politics claiming the legacy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who used to argue, "All our troubles are caused by this America." -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 5/17/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activists Use Elections as "Opportunities" to Put Forth Demands

- A member of the Women's Citizenship Center, a non-governmental organization in Tehran, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that women's rights activists are increasingly using their leverage as an important voting block to put forth their demands during elections. - 5/17/17

Rouhani and Raisi: Battle Unfolds Polarizing Iran's Presidential Election

- As Hassan Rouhani continues to receive support from reformist leaders, the battle unfolds between him and the hardliner's candidate, Ebrahim Raisi who has now joined forced with Tehran Mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. Meanwhile, Hardliners are attacking Rouhani accusing him of abusing power to purchase his residence in Tehran lower than the market price. They are also spreading rumors about Rouhani's son death, who died some twenty years ago. - 5/17/17

Iranian Opposition Leader Musavi, From House Arrest, Announces Will Vote For Rohani

- Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011, will vote for President Hassan Rohani in Iran's election on May 19, according to the opposition website Kalameh. The website reported on May 16 that Musavi has requested that security forces bring a mobile ballot box to his residence so that he can cast his vote. - 5/17/17

Rouhani's Attempt to Adopt UNESCO Educational Guidelines Emerges as 2017 Election Issue in Iran

- In the run-up to Iran's presidential election on May 19, 2017, the country's hardline supreme leader has strongly denounced the Rouhani government's attempt to integrate guidelines from a UN agenda into the country's educational system. Conservative voters have meanwhile been pointing to the document as alleged evidence of centrist President Hassan Rouhani's so-called pro-Western beliefs. Rouhani is currently seeking a second term. - 5/17/17

U.S. Signs Defense Deal With United Arab Emirates With Eye On Iran

- The United States has signed a new defense cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which like Saudi Arabia regards Iran as a strategic adversary that is fomenting conflicts throughout the Middle East. - 5/17/17

Iran Bans already Vetted Reformist Candidates from Running

- As the elections draw near, Iran's Supreme Leader warned that any "rebellion" in the course of the elections would provoke a "slap" from state security forces. Meanwhile 37 candidates who had been previously vetted by Iran's Election Committee have been banned from running for City and Village Councils Election in Iran. - 5/17/17

Results of Iran's presidential election to be announced all at once: Interior minister

- Iran's interior minister says the results of the country's upcoming presidential election will be announced all at once, and not at different stages. Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli made the remarks in a televised interview on Tuesday, saying this has been enshrined in Iran's Presidential Election Law. - 5/17/17

Here Are The Smears Marring Iran's Election(s)

- While elections in Iran look like slug-it-out campaigns, with many of the trappings of competition -- government critics, disagreement on high-profile issues, and televised public debates -- they are kept tightly in check by unelected officials under the country's clerically dominated system. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 5/16/17

Tehran City Council Candidate Says "Military Organizations" Intervened to Disqualify Reformist Candidates

- Ali Tajernia, a reformist politician and former member of Iran's Parliament, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that his last-minute disqualification from the Tehran City Council election, following pressure by "military organizations," is "illegal" and he will file a formal complaint. - 5/16/17

Iranian Vice President Drops Out Of Presidential Race, Backs Rohani

- Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has dropped out of the presidential race and thrown his support behind incumbent Hassan Rohani, who is seeking a second term in the May 19 vote. Jahangiri, a reformist politician, was believed to have joined the race to boost Rohani's chances of reelection and defend the government's policies in televised debates. - 5/16/17

Turkey's Erdogan Expected To Press Trump On Syria, Gulen, Iran Case

- In a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on May 16, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to press the United States to refrain from arming Syrian Kurdish rebels that Ankara considers to be terrorists. The White House meeting comes amid intense and complex international diplomacy over the war in Syria, where Turkey and the United States both support forces in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's government. - 5/16/17

I live in Irvine but my congresswoman seems to be the representative from Trump Nation

- I live in Irvine with my family and thousands of other American citizens of Iranian descent. I came to this country as an immigrant and a refugee of war, and I have never taken for granted the opportunities America represents. All across the country, Iranian Americans have worked to better their communities, participating in all walks of civic life. But because Iran is one of the countries targeted by Trump's ban, we now face persecution and separation from family and friends in our native country. -Farshad Farahat, Los Angeles Times - 5/16/17

As Trump Cozies Up to Saudi Arabia, War With Iran Becomes More Likely

- Many people view Donald Trump as the most dangerous man on the planet, but next week he flies to Saudi Arabia for a three-day visit during which he will meet a man who surely runs him a close second as a source of instability. This is deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31 - the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia since his father King Salman, 81, is incapacitated by old age - who has won a reputation for impulsiveness, aggression and poor judgement in the two-and-half years he has held power. -Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch - 5/16/17

Rohani Says Iran Faces 'Historic Decision' In Upcoming Presidential Poll

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told a Tehran crowd of some 20,000 supporters that the country is "on the edge of a great historic decision" with its May 19 presidential election. Rohani, 68, told the crowd at Tehran's Azadi Stadium that "we should not let Iran become isolated again." - 5/15/17

In Online Video, Khatami Urges Iranians To Vote For Rohani

- Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami urged Iranian voters in an online video to reelect President Hassan Rohani on May 19. Khatami, who was the country's president from 1997 until 2005, has since been banned from any appearances in Iranian media by the country's hard-line judiciary. - 5/15/17

U.S. Calls On Iran To Free Jailed Baha'i Leaders

- The United States has condemned Iran's imprisonment of leaders of the Baha'i religious minority and called on Tehran to release them and other prisoners of conscience. Seven Baha'i leaders were arrested by Iranian authorities nine years ago and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment. They were reportedly sentenced to 20 years in prison. Their sentences were later reduced to 10 years. - 5/15/17

Qalibaf Quits Iran's Presidential Race, Backs Hard-Line Cleric Raisi

- Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has withdrawn from Iran's presidential race to back hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi. In a May 15 statement published by Iranian media, Qalibaf said the decision was vital for the "preservation of the interests of the people, the revolution, and the country." - 5/15/17

Will Proposed Wall Along Turkish-Iranian Border Keep Out Kurdish Separatists?

- Ankara's apparent intention to build a wall along its border with Iran is being met with skepticism by some regional experts who question its practicality and whether it will curb cross-border terrorism as Turkey intends. -Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 5/15/17

Iran's President Hits Back At Rivals In Final TV Debate

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has hit out at his two main conservative challengers, who accuse him of mismanagement, corruption, and failing to improve the economy following a landmark 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. The attacks and tit-for-tat accusations came during the third and final presidential debate aired live on Iran's state-controlled television on May 12 ahead of the vote on May 19. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 5/13/17

Iran's Elections: What You Need to Know

- On May 19, the Islamic Republic of Iran holds presidential elections, the first following the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement. Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is running against five other candidates, approved by Iran's Guardian Council to compete in the election. The race has centred heavily on economic policies for tackling high unemployment and growing inequality, together with how to reintegrate the country into global financial platforms following the rollback of sanctions in the aftermath of the nuclear deal. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 5/13/17

29 Members of EU Parliament Urge Iran to Release Detained Journalists and Activists Ahead of 2017 Elections

- Ahead of Iran's elections on May 19 for president and local councils, 29 members of the European Parliament have written a letter to Federica Mogherini, the representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission, urging the EU to call on the Iranian government to stop the pre-election intimidation campaign against journalists and activists and ensure a free and fair vote. - 5/13/17

U.S. Said Near $100 Billion Arms Deal With Saudis Ahead Of Trump Visit

- A week ahead of President Donald Trump's planned visit to Riyadh, the United States is preparing an arms deal for Saudi Arabia worth more than $100 billion, the Reuters news agency reported on May 12. - 5/13/17

Iranian Local Teacher's Union Leader Exiled for Singing Popular Ballad to Students

- A teacher in a port city in northern Iran has been exiled for singing to his students. Aziz Ghasemzadeh has been ordered by the Gilan Education Department to move to Roudbar, 65 miles south of Anzali, for one year, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 5/13/17



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